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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 2:10’

His name keeps popping up in books and blog posts: Andrew Murray.

His words are thought-provoking:

  • “Never try to arouse faith from within. You cannot stir up faith from the depths of your heart. Leave your heart, and look into the face of Christ.”
  • “Abiding fully means praying much.”
  • “Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds you abased and empty, His glory and power flow in.”

So who was this deeply thoughtful man, Andrew Murray(1828-1917)? Did his conversion experience turn him around 180 degrees like Paul’s? Did he face great danger like David or Daniel? Did he impact throngs of people with his preaching like Jonah or John the Baptist?

 

andrew_murray-gif

 

 

No. According to the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org), Andrew grew up in a Christian home. No spectacular transformation from unbeliever to saint.

His father was a Scottish Presbyterian minister who served in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa. Andrew became a pastor himself and served several pastorates, also in South Africa.

Andrew helped found two schools, made several evangelistic tours of South Africa, and received an honorary doctorate for his contributions to world missions. Today he is best known for his devotional writings, found in the 240 publications to his credit.

Not a shabby list of accomplishments, but Andrew faced no giants or lions. There are no cliff-hanger stories to tell about him. He simply served God faithfully where he was.

No doubt there are some who would skim-read such a biography, yawn, and seek more exciting stories–Adoniram Judson’s or David Livingstone’s.

Andrew Murray may have written some thoughtful books and essays, but let’s face it. His life-story borders on ho-hum ordinary.

But wait. The Bible and annals of history are overflowing with the stories of ordinary people such as:

  • Jethro, a shepherd. Yet his wisdom greatly assisted his son-in-law–Moses (Exodus 18:1-27).
  • Mordecai, a captive. However, he was in the right place at the right time to hear of a plot against the Jews (the book of Esther).
  • Lydia, a dealer in fine purple cloth and dye. She just happened to provide housing for Paul and Silas, and became the first convert—in all of Europe (Acts 16).

No doubt these people considered themselves just ordinary folk. But God used them in astonishing ways.

The truth is, there is no such thing as an ordinary person in God’s kingdom.

So, guess who’s talking when that voice in your head whispers, “You are a nobody. You aren’t accomplishing anything worthwhile in your life.”

It’s not God!

He placed within each of us wondrous, unique gifts. Would God do that if we were worthless?

Second, he placed us within a circle of influence that includes family, neighbors, friends, church acquaintances, business contacts, and more. (And let’s not forget the ripple effect.)

Third, God provides opportunities within that circle for us to use our gifts, be a blessing to others, and  bring him praise.

So whether God ordains you or me to be a leader or follower, a platform personality or a behind-the-scenes helper, a larger-than-life Paul, or a lesser-known Andrew Murray, we each have a unique niche to fill—especially designed by God himself.

 

potter

 

For we are God’s workmanship, 

(Think of it—we are the handiwork of the Master Designer!)

Created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 

(Works that will bring glory to God and supreme satisfaction to our hearts.)

which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).”

(Availing ourselves to what he’s prepared results in supremely worthwhile accomplishment.)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Thank you, Father, for gifting each of us with unique abilities to fulfill your specially designed plans. Thank you that in your kingdom there is no such thing as ho-hum ordinary, because you, the Master of the universe only create masterpieces! May our joy be centered in faithfully completing the works you have prepared for each of us.

 

Art and photo credits:  www.newparadigmthinkers.wordpress.com; http://www.dayofgrace.me.)       

 

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She glides across the platform in confident strides.  One hand waves in sweeping arcs to the large audience. The crowd is clapping and cheering.

In the other hand, with confident ease, she holds the microphone.  And the smile—big and broad. Bright white teeth visible even from the balcony.

Able to sing like a nightingale and speak truth with conviction. Impacting thousands.

Now there is someone God is using in a powerful way, to make a significant contribution in the Kingdom of God. No doubt she’s highly valuable to God.

Does a little demon ever park on your shoulder and whisper, “So what’s your claim to fame? What are you doing that’s important? Your spot in the scheme of things is nothing compared to that shining star on the stage. You might as well face the truth: You are unimportant. The ship of Significance has passed you by.”

Does that speech sound the least bit familiar? You’re not alone. Demons use those same lies on a lot of us. Evil spirits aren’t very creative, are they?

But here’s the truth of the matter:

Each of us is the workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:10). The Greek word sometimes has the connotation of “work of art.” You are a work of art—carefully designed and executed.

The verse goes on to explain we’ve been created to do good works. It does not say the same work. Diversity of personality, talent, and interest are necessary among the children of God in order that all his plans are accomplished.

He made each of us unique, to fulfill a personalized plan. Every now and then we see such a plan unfold so clearly, we know God engineered the circumstances. Sometimes it’s a unique set of talents or gifts that work together sublimely to meet a need.

Take, for example, the naturally talented writer, who happened to grow up in a bilingual home, and studied Christian Education in college. She was especially prepared by God to write Spanish curriculum for a Christian publishing company.

Other times the plan is much less obvious. That’s called walking by faith.

But rest assured you are valuable to God (Matthew  10:29-31).

Believe that he has prepared in advance good works for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).  Take joy and satisfaction from completing those good works.

It may not be walking across a stage with a microphone. It might mean walking across the kitchen with a rolling pin—to bake cookies for the neighbors.

That’s just a small thing, you say?

Think about this: What if God especially likes small things?

Personally, I’m fascinated by small things. Miniatures, doll houses, petit-point, babies!

Scripture gives us indication that God loves small things, too.

Sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).

Two little mites given by a widow (Mark 12:41-44).

Five small barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:1-13).

Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

Let’s never again allow those little demons of abasement to put us down. God has promised: “I will bless those who fear the Lord—small and great alike” (Psalm 115:13, emphasis added).

You see, in God’s sight, we’re of equal worth.

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