Category Archives: The Abilities God Seeks

Availability

Introduction

First let me say that I am very thankful for the opportunity to contribute to this site. I was a little hesitant at first to agree, it is one thing to preach a sermon on a Sunday night, it is something completely different to write an entire series to be posted for literally the entire world to see. Nevertheless, I am very happy to do it, and I am truly grateful to my father for his faithfulness to this site and to the Word.

Many abilities are praised nowadays as being special… almost superhuman. Singers and dancers, athletes and actors, they are all put on a pedestal. They are seen as greater people because of certain talents that they have. Even in our churches this has taken place. People are idolized for certain abilities that they posses. People long to sing like the person that sang in church on Sunday morning. They wish they could speak as gracefully as the guest speaker that came to visit. But what does the Bible have to say about abilities? What abilities is God looking for in the life of His people?

Scripture Reading

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:8)

And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people. And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai; All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words. Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:7-14)

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. (Ezekiel 22:30)

The Ability of Availability

The first ability that God is looking for is availability. God is looking for people that will be willing to make themselves available to His use. Often we have the idea that in order to be used of God we have to have certain special abilities or skills, but as we will see more important to God than any talents that we have is our willingness to be used by Him.

In the first verse, we have a glimpse at a vision that Isaiah was given by God. Isaiah was in Heaven standing before the Lord Jesus sitting on His throne. As Isaiah was watching the angels worshipping Christ, the Lord spoke. He had a vision that he wanted carried to His people Israel, but He needed a messenger to bring it to them. Christ asked the question that is still being asked to us today: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Notice that He did not say, Who is the most eloquent speaker that I have created? or Who is the most charismatic leader on the earth? The Lord only presented one qualification: Who will go for us? He was not looking for the most graceful or the most charming, Christ was only looking for one that would be willing to go. (I Corinthians 1:25-29)

The Importance of Availability

The second story that we read about is the story of the life of Queen Esther. Esther was a Jew that had been chosen to be queen by a pagan king during a beauty pageant of sorts. Out of all of the women in the kingdom, King Ahasuerus chose this woman, who happened to believe in God, to be the queen. At this time a wicked man named Haman hated the Jews and one Jew in particular, Mordecai, Esther’s cousin. Because of his deep hatred for the Jews, he tricked the king into signing a decree allowing him to hang all of the Jews. When Esther found out that her cousin had started mourning she sent to find out why and this is where our passage picks up.

Mordecai wanted Esther to go before the king and to petition on behalf of the Jews. Esther, however, was hesitant to do this because in that time you only went before the king when he called you. If the king did not call you and you went into his court, you could be killed, unless he raised his golden scepter to spare your life. The problem was that Esther did not make herself available to God until she understood the importance of availability.

The question that Mordecai asked Esther was one that we need to ask ourselves: Who knows if you were placed here for such a time as this? In our daily lives: at the store, in the bank, at the gas station we have the ability to speak to people that others may never speak to about the gospel. The question then that we must ask ourselves every day is, Who knows if I was placed here for such a time as this. You are the only Jesus that some will ever see. Will you make yourself available to God to be used for His glory and for the good of others?

The Dangers of Unavailability

In the final verse of our reading we see the dangers of being unavailable. In Ezekiel’s time the people of Israel were living in open sin and rebellion against God. God was seeking for a person that would make himself an intercessor for the nation. He was looking for someone to be available to be used, but He found no one. Because of this lack of availability on the part of the people of Israel, the nation was destroyed, sent into captivity. We also see in the story of Esther that Mordecai told her that if she was not willing to make herself available to God, that she and her family would be destroyed. You can make yourself available to God, and your availability to Him may be the difference in the life of your family or your nation, and it definitely will be the difference in your life.

So…

  • Are you willing to make yourself available to God?
  • Is your answer the same as Isaiah’s, Here am I send me, or do you make excuses like I just can’t do it.
  • Even If you don’t know what your abilities are, or how you can best serve God, just pray and tell Him that no matter what He has for you you are available to be used of Him.

Acceptability

Introduction

Yesterday we looked at one of the great abilities that God is looking for in all of His people – the ability of availability. Today we are going to take a look at the second of these abilities – acceptability.

Scripture Reading

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:1-7)

A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 1:6-8)

The Ability of Acceptability

As we studied yesterday, God wants us to present ourselves as we are and make ourselves available to be used by Him. But, as we will study today, in order to be greatly used by God, we must first make ourselves acceptable to Him. Yesterday was a study on our willingness to be used; today we will be discussing our ability to be used. Romans tells us that we are to present our bodies as a sacrifice to God, daily surrendering our own desires for the glory of God. However, before we can be used we must first become useable. Just as a person would not use a toilet brush for a toothbrush, God cannot use people whose lives are not acceptable to Him. As we saw yesterday, God wants to use everyone, but He has a standard that must be met before he can use a person. This verse in Romans gives us the first step in living an acceptable life: holiness. The word holy means sacred or set apart. God wants to use people that will be set apart totally for Him and for His service. God is a jealous God; He is unwilling to share you with someone or something else. The first of the Ten Commandments is, Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. If you want to be acceptable to God you must be set apart for Him, unwilling to compromise with the world.

The Acceptable Sacrifice

In Genesis, we see the passage that really sums up the steps to living an acceptable life. Cain and Able, the first two brothers ever to live on the earth had been given two different tasks and responsibilities with their lives: Able was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer. From their father they had also learned about the blood sacrifices that they had to make for the payment of their sins, as well as for an offering to God. Cain however, felt that what he was doing should have been enough for God; that God should not have expected more from him. One day, Cain came to God with an offering, but it was not an offering of blood as God had commanded, but an offering of fruit and vegetables. Able also brought an offering to God, an offering of the blood of a lamb. God rejected Cain’s offering, but He accepted the offering of Able. God already made it clear that the only offering that He would accept was an offering of blood, so the rejection of Cain’s offering should not have surprised him. But Cain became very angry with God. God asked Cain a seemingly obvious question: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” Cain remained angry until he killed his brother. We can talk about how foolish Cain was for not doing what God told him to do, but how often do we get angry at God for not accepting our leftovers. God says clearly in Malachi that he was sick of the people giving Him their leftovers. He told them to try offering them to the rulers and see if they appreciated them. God wants our first, our best, and our all. How do we become acceptable to God? First, if we want to be used and acceptable to God we must be willing to live holy lives. Secondly, we must follow what God said to Cain in order to become acceptable: Do well and you will be accepted. If we will set ourselves apart to God and obey his word, which was Cain’s downfall, He will most certainly be willing to use us.

So…

  • Do you strive to live a life that is acceptable to God, or are you satisfied with living your own way?
  • Ask God to help you to live a life that is acceptable and pleasing to Him.

Responsibility

Introduction

Yesterday, we looked at our acceptability to God to be used by Him. Over the next three days, we will look at different aspects of that acceptability; abilities that we must have not just to be acceptable to Him, but to be greatly used.

Scripture Reading

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. (1 Samuel 15:3&4,9-15)

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (2 Samuel 12:7-8,13)

The Irresponsible

In these two verses we see two different men, in two different circumstances, committing two different sins, with two completely different outcomes seems to make sense, right? The problem is that the man who seemed to commit the greater sin is actually given more grace than the other is. So what is the story? In the first passage, we read the story of Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul had been chosen by the people and by God to be king and, for a while, things went well. Saul was obedient to the Lord; he was following the direction of God’s man, Samuel. Then Saul grew prideful. He began to “get a little big for his britches.” The first major sign of the end of Saul’s reign was in I Samuel 13. Saul was getting ready to go to battle with his army, but he was waiting for Samuel the priest to come and make an offering to God for the people. Saul began to get impatient and decided to make the sacrifice on his own, a job commanded by God to be performed only by the priests. Right after he finished sacrificing Samuel arrived and questioned Saul why he had made the sacrifice. Saul responded that he forced himself to do it because of the people. Then we look at this passage and see again Saul’s problem. Saul just could not admit when he was wrong. He had been commanded to destroy everything from the Amalakites, the sheep, goats, cattle, people… everything, but when Samuel arrived after the battle, he heard animal sounds. When he asked Saul why they did not kill everything, Saul again played the blame game, “the people did it for your God.” Saul was willing to blame everyone but himself. Because of Saul’s inability to be responsible for his actions, Samuel tells him that God has taken the kingdom away from him and given it to a neighbor. Saul was the first king of Israel, and the only person in his family to serve as king. God did as He said He would do and took the kingdom from him and gave it to a man named David.

The Responsible

In the second passage, we see a glimpse into the life of the new king, David – definitely not at the high point in his life. David has committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed to cover up his sin. If God was so harsh with Saul for not killing some sheep, then surely he must have killed David, right? Well that is not what happened. God did not kill David or take his kingdom away from him or his family until much later. So what was the difference? We can see the difference in God’s dealing with David when we look at his response to Samuel. When Samuel came to David and confronted him about his sin, David did not try to blame anyone else and he did not get angry at Samuel. He simply said, “I have sinned.” David acknowledged his sin and took responsibility for his own actions, and because of that, God gave him the mercy that Saul did not receive.

Our Responsibility

This ability of responsibility, accepting responsibility for our own actions, is what the idea of confession is all about. It is paramount to our ability to be used by God. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” The word confess means to acknowledge. it is the idea of coming to God and telling Him the things that you have done wrong; taking responsibility for your own actions. If you will be like David and be responsible for the things that you have done, God will be willing to use you.

So…

  • What is your response when you are confronted with your sin?
  • Do you respond like David and acknowledge and confess your sin, or do you respond like Saul and blame others?
  • If you want to be greatly used by God you must take responsibility for your actions.
  • Ask God today to help you be more responsible for what you do.

Reliability

Scripture Reading

And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. (2 Samuel 11:14-15)

As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters. (Proverbs 25:13)

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2)

The Ability of Reliability

Think about what you would look for in a person if you needed something done. What if it was a matter of life or death? Would you entrust the life of your child to a stranger, or to someone that you knew was not trustworthy? God has something that He wants done, and it is a matter of life or death for His entire creation. God has a message for everyone to hear that can save the one who receives it from an eternity in torment. He is looking for people that He can be sure will deliver that message to this world. These are the people He will entrust that message to.

What this reliability really boils down to is faithfulness. In the first passage, we see the faithfulness of a man named Uriah. Now the name Uriah may not be too familiar, but his wife’s name, Bathsheba, probably is. In the events leading up to this passage, King David had committed adultery with her while Uriah was out fighting in a war. David’s adultery led to Bathsheba getting pregnant, so David sent for Uriah from the war to cover up his sin. When Uriah refused to go home to his wife out of respect for his fellow soldiers, David had to come up with another plan, and decided to get rid of Uriah by having him abandoned in battle. In order to get a message to his captain, he sent the message by the hand of the man that would be going back to the war anyway, Uriah. David had so much faith in Uriah that he sent Uriah’s death warrant in his own hand to Joab, the captain. Uriah unfailingly delivered the message to Joab despite the fact that it meant his own death.

Our Reliability

When a man sends out a messenger, he wants the message being delivered and delivered properly. When he sends out a messenger who has proven himself to be faithful and trustworthy, he can be relived to know that the message will be delivered properly. He does not have to worry because he knows that the messenger is trustworthy. In I Corinthians 4:1, we are told that we all are stewards of a message: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, in order to be used in a great way as a steward, we must prove ourselves faithful in delivering that message to everyone that we can. Remember that the message that you are carrying is a matter of life and death for the entire world. You would not give a bag of diamonds to someone that you had just met, but you would give it to your best friend. If you want to be greatly used as a messenger of God, you must first prove yourself reliable.

So…

  • Are you a reliable messenger of the good news of Jesus Christ?
  • Are you faithful to deliver the message that God has entrusted to you, or have you not delivered the message?
  • Ask God to help you be a faithful messenger as you seek to be greatly used by Him.

Impeccability

Scripture Reading

Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:8)

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15)

The Ability of Impeccability>

The word impeccable according to Webster’s Dictionary means “Without defect or error; faultless; flawless.” In these passages and throughout the Bible the word impeccable can also be translated blameless. Impeccable is a word that one would use when looking at a very high quality diamond. So does this mean that a person has to be perfect? Well, yes and no. Our goal should always be to strive for perfection. We should always be trying to do the best that we can do in the power of the Lord, and always be working toward a sinless life. However, Romans 3:23 tells us that all of us have sinned, and none of us will ever be able to accomplish that goal until we reach Heaven. So what does being impeccable mean to us? To sum it up into one saying it simply means to live in such a way that you would feel comfortable running for President.

The Reason for Impeccability

Often we want to compartmentalize God. We want to stick Him in a little corner of our lives and pull Him out whenever we need Him. But God is not a genie in a bottle awaiting our every wish. He has rules and standards we follow if we are to be greatly used by Him. In I Timothy 3, we read that one of the qualifications of a bishop (the Bible name for a pastor) is to be blameless. Well, as far as I am concerned, there are few people God uses more than pastors, and one of their qualifications is to be blameless. So why is being blameless so important? We find the answer in the passage from Philippians. Paul tells us that our reason for being blameless in this “crooked and perverse nation” is that we shine as lights among them. Matthew 5:14 says that we are the light of thew world. One of our main responsibilities as Christians is to be a mirror. We are to reflect the light of Jesus to this world that is stumbling in the darkness of sin. When we sin, we begin to cover that mirror with our own dirtiness and filth. As that mirror becomes dirtier and dirtier, less and less of the light of Christ can shine through. The less light that shines through, the fewer people will be drawn to the saving light of Christ. This does not mean that we must be completely sinless – even a diamond that appears to be perfect has some faults – but we must strive to be sinless. We should also keep short accounts with God. Come to God often to confess your sins and ask His forgiveness. It is impossible never to get dirt on your mirror, but the more often you clean it the more effective you will be at leading others to Christ, and the more God will use you.

So…

  • Can you honestly say that your life is impeccable – that you strive to be sinless?
  • How clean is your mirror? Do you keep short accounts with God, or do you let the dirt pile up before you clean it off?
  • Ask God today to help you to live a blameless life.
  • Keep short accounts with God. The cleaner you are the more He will use you.