Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Gift of...Pickle?

What are some of your spiritual gifts?  Encouragement?  Exhortation?  Helps?  Administration? Serving?  Teaching? Giving? Prophesying?

I have the gift of pictures.  That's right---pictures. I suppose it could be called the gift of Encouragement or Word of Knowledge or even Prophecy. Visions.  I've moved in all of those through pictures.  Let me explain.  Sometimes I see this very vivid picture in my head.  Just a still picture.  Or it could start as a picture and the more I tune in to it, the more I see.  Sometimes it's a word.  For instance, one time I was praying for a woman and I felt that the Spirit of God was telling me that she was "Park Avenue's Finest!"  I didn't know this woman, but I told her what I had heard the Spirit tell me.  She started to cry!  Oh no, I thought, what did I say?  Apparently, this woman had grown up on Park Avenue, but it was the total opposite of the Park Avenue that we know.  She was ridiculed all her life for living on Park Avenue.  This simple word brought healing to this woman.

Another time, in a prayer group, I got the word "pickle."  Pickle???  Oh, Lord, I thought, I am NOT saying that. These women will think I'm nuts!  But I knew most of the women very well.  They were my friends and they knew that if God gave me the word, pickle, He would also supply the explanation.  So I was obedient and said, "I don't know, but I'm getting the word...pickle."  I think they did look at me like they had just eaten a pickle..you know, that puckered up look...Huh?  Pickle?  Then Lana laughed.  She told us that she had been to a pickle bar recently and was amazed at how many different kinds of pickles there were.  The whole pickle prayer fiasco turned into a session of learning and understanding how God uses all of us in a different manner according to our gifts and we are all so different and unique! ...Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. (1 Corinthians 7:7)

Yesterday, I shared about my spiritual dryness and renewal.  During my wilderness or whatever you want to call it, I did not experience any of my spiritual gifts.  I had all but forgotten them.  Then I ran into my friend, Nancy (also of the pickle group), whom I hadn't seen in a very long time.  She asked if I was using my gifts, and I told her no, I haven't had an opportunity.  Truth was, I wasn't in a spiritual position to use them.  I was spiritually dry at the time.  

I've only recently been restored, renewed.  And in the past month, it's like everything has been flooding back in!

Last week, I received a picture while praying for someone in my car.  I was on my way to work a few days later, and  I was thanking God for bringing these gifts alive again-these gifts that I let lay dormant all these years.  I apologized for and repented of allowing the beautiful gifts that he gave me to just lay there. He showed me a picture of a Christmas tree with an unopened gift underneath.  And a little girl playing with all these wonderful toys, while the gift lay under the tree.  I didn't really know what was in that box.  It was wrapped with a bow, very pretty, but completely forgotten.

I started making things up about what's in the box-clothes--practical, yet the toys are more fun....a locket, with God's signature on it...it was just Mary's imagination trying to figure it out.  What was revealed to me later was that what's really in the box always changes--it's what we need at the time to minister to those who need it---it's God's grace.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us (Romans 12:6).  There is no real tangible picture of what's in the box, because we can't put a tangible label on the contents.  

He gives us many gifts-some are spiritual gifts, some are talents, and some are the gifts of the Spirit, which we ALL have. The point of the picture though, is that the gift is always there.  It's beautiful---the most beautifully wrapped gift, and the contents are exactly what we need, but so often we overlook it or ignore it in favor of something more desirable to us-something that might give us temporary satisfaction.  Something that's easier to put together than what's in the box.  Something that tastes better than what's in the box.  Something that feels better or looks better on us than what's in the box. But the box is always there, just as God is always there.  The box is always under the tree, because it's like Christmas all the time if we soften our hearts, open the eyes of our hearts and allow God to enter those rebellious, scary parts of us which deny or ignore the gift.  We're afraid, we're tired, we're comfortable, we're lazy...whatever...but God doesn't move.  

He just waits.  He picks up the gift when we are ready and hands it to us.  He says, excitedly, "Go ahead!  Open it! You're going to love it!  When I saw it, I thought of you!  I HAD to get it for you!"  "It's perfect for you!"  Think of how we would disappoint him if we say, "Oh no, I can't."  or "Take it back.  I can't accept this."  Or worse, "I don't like it.  Can I exchange it?  Maybe get a gift card?  This way I can just get what I want."  Oh, I don't ever want to say that to Him! 

May you always be open to receive the gracious gift of Jesus.

Blessings along the path,

Song of the Day:
For you Country fans, here's a song for you
Jessica King: The Gift of Grace

Stream of Consciousness-pickle--Christmas--gifts---
Legend of the Christmas Pickle

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