Use Your Gifts. Lesson 28 of 40

How would you feel if you gave someone a well thought out gift, only to find out that they didn’t think much of it.  If they used it, it wasn’t  very often and they didn’t take good care of it.  You wouldn’t be too happy would you?  Here is the thing, God has given each of us gifts, and He expects us to use it and for His glory.

I have learned that I shouldn’t take my gifts for granted. I must work on perfecting them, and one of the best ways to do so, is to use them often and according to God’s leading. I must also look for ways to develop my gifts. I should never get to the point of thinking I know it all because there is always room for growth.

Additionally, God has shown me that I can’t turn my gifts “on “and “off” based on my feelings or the setting that I am in. Sometimes, we are placed in certain situations that we think is beneath us, so we choose not to share our gifts in that setting, and if we do, it is not with the spirit of excellence. WRONG ANSWER! We take orders from God, not our feelings or ego. We shouldn’t wait for the “big stage” to turn “on” our gifts. We must start now and do so with all our heart. If teaching is your gift and you have been asked to teach a Sunday School class with only two half-awake students; I encourage you to prepare to teach those two students in the same way you would if you were called to teach an audience of a million people and all the cameras were on you. It is also important to note here that sometimes we don’t operate in our gifts because we don’t see the value in them. Instead, we are too busy coveting another’s gift that seem bigger and shinier than ours. We’ve missed the point all together when we have this mindset.

It is my desire to be a good steward of the gifts God has given me. I want Him to be pleased with the way that I used them to be a blessing to others. In the end I want to hear, “well done good and faithful servant, enter the joy of the Lord.” How about you? What have you been doing with your gifts? Are you using them for His glory or have you hid them and only take them out when its convenient for you? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Be Blessed,

Anika

1 Peter 4:10-11  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

 

Turn Off The Distractions. Lesson 27 of 40

There is nothing like feeling overwhelmed or having something hanging over your head that you just don’t want to deal with. In cases like these, I am quick to look for something to distract me instead of dealing with the issue or how I am feeling. I sometimes grab my phone to do some mindless scrolling or reading. I have also been gluttonous and even ate the wrong things, to use food as a distraction. This is not beneficial because after I am done being distracted, the problem still exist.

For today’s lesson, I have learned that I must be willing to turn off the distractions and deal with the issues that are before me. Before I can turn off the distractions, I must be honest with myself and admit that I am not looking to relax but I am trying to avoid dealing with an issue. There is a difference! I am learning to turn off all the external distractions and run to God to help me deal with the very thing I am trying to avoid.

Do you find that you look for ways to get distracted when you have issues you are trying to avoid? Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Be Blessed,
Anika

Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

 

What Does It Mean To Be Comfortable In My Own Skin? Lesson 21 of 40

I am learning that becoming comfortable in my own skin, goes beyond embracing my physical appearance.  It goes so much deeper. Becoming comfortable in my own skin includes embracing who God made me to be.  I must also embrace how He chooses to use me.  The more I become comfortable in my own skin, the more confidence develops and the freer I become to operate in my gifts.  It also helps me not to compare myself to others in the process (not totally there, but I am making great strides).

As I become more comfortable in my own skin, it is easier for me to celebrate others without trying to be like them. God did not make me a cookie cutter.  He made me uniquely me, without mistakes.  It’s an insult to God when I try to be like someone else instead of just being who He made me to be. How about you?  Are you comfortable with being in your own skin or are you often trying to be someone else?  Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Be Blessed,

Anika

Isaiah 64:8 (NLT) And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter.    We all are formed by your hand.

 

No More Wigs? Purging Time. Lesson 20 of 40

For today’s lesson, I am learning that I must purge the things that I have been hiding behind. For me, that thing was my wig.  The wig covered what I didn’t want anyone else to see, my biggest area of insecurity… alopecia. The wig made me feel beautiful.  There was nothing wrong with enhancing my beauty, but it was wrong that I didn’t ’t feel beautiful without the enhancer. After publishing this video, I made it one full year without wearing a wig.  That may not sound like a big deal, but you must understand that this came after ten years of constant wig wearing.  When I first shaved my remaining hair and made my bald head debut, I had intentions of still occasionally wearing wigs.  However, after my debut, I tried to put the wigs on at different times, but I was so uncomfortable and would take them off.  A few months ago, I decided to get a head start on spring cleaning and was purging unwanted and unused items in my closet.  In the process, the Lord laid on my heart to get rid of all my wigs.  You would think that it would have been easy for me to do this, considering that I had not worn any of them for an entire year.  But that was not the case.  The tears that followed the purging of the wigs, caught me off guard.  But I later realized that I cried because I was letting go of something that was familiar and had offered comfort.  The wigs had become a part of my identity.  The Lord is doing a great purge in my spirit and is bringing me to a place of understanding who I really am.  He wants me to become comfortable in my own skin.  Getting rid of the wigs are a part of that process and I must say that I am becoming more compliant and excited about the process and the results.

How about you, what is that thing that God is asking you to purge so that He can do what He wants to do in you.  Is a mindset (fear, unforgiveness, etc) , a relationship, eating habits, a job?  Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Isaiah 43:19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

Speak Up About Your Faith. Lesson 18 of 40

Today, it seems like the ones speaking the most and loudest are the ones who don’t have much worth listening to.

I have learned that I carry truth and I must speak that truth without reservation.  I’ve always known God to be real.  I remember as a child having deep convictions to serve Him, I went back and forth on those convictions.  However, it was not until my Junior year in college that I surrendered, once and for all, no turning back!

The truth of Jesus is as real as real gets for me.  I have never been so convinced of anything else in my life.  This conviction is not just from the words of scripture but from my own personal experiences.

My own, “He picked me up out of the miry clay and placed my feet on a rock to stay” experiences.

My own, “you don’t know like I know what He has done for me” experiences.

My own, “I would have lost my mind, but God!” experiences.

My own, “I am so drenched in favor I don’t deserve” experiences.

As a result, I must speak up

I must speak up about His love when hate wants to silence me.

I must speak up about His ability to save because so many are lost.

I must speak up about His truth that will offend because many are dying with comfortable lies.

I must speak up about His standards even it causes me to be an outsider….and it will…and it has.

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes ” (Romans 1:16).  How about you?  Do you struggle with sharing your faith in Jesus with others? What hinders you?  Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Anika

Speak Up And Apologize. Lesson 17 of 40

Do you know anyone who will shout all day about how others hurt them?  Those individuals tend to be silent when the tables are turned, and they are the ones inflicting the pain.  We can’t yell about how hurt we are when we are the ones offended, and then remain silent when we are the offender.

I have learned that I need to speak up when it is time to apologize.  I must be willing to acknowledge and sincerely apologize when I hurt others.  A true apology is given without an excuse for the action that offended the individual.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Don’t ruin an apology with an excuse.”  I apologize by taking ownership for what I did wrong. We don’t gain the respect of others because we always get it right.  Instead, respect is earned when we are willing to be humble, avoid the temptation to blame others and admit what we did wrong.

Yes, God does tell us we are to forgive each other, even if there is no apology given.  However, I am more likely to keep my distance from those who are too prideful to apologize for their wrongdoing, even after I have forgiven them.  Pride kills relationships while a sincere apology can do wonders to restoring and strengthening them.

Is it difficult for you to take ownership for what you did wrong and apologize?  Or, do you struggle in this area.  Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Be Blessed,

Anika

James 5:16  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

Mathew 5:23-24 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice[a] at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.