Category: thoughts by Veda Lucas

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The LORD said to Moses, ‘… and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship…. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you.’”  Exodus 31:1,3,6

Have you ever heard anyone say they’re all thumbs? Can you imagine how silly we’d look if we were? Holding anything would be almost impossible. We need our fingers, eyes, ears, and noses as well as all the other essential parts of the body. Just as our physical bodies are made up of multiple necessary parts, so is the Body of Christ. We all have a part to play.

My husband was incredibly talented with his hands. There wasn’t anything he could not repair, build, or figure out if it required hands-on ability. I often joked that I had to give away my appliances in order to get anything new. He was always doing some type of maintenance work at our church as well as for our neighbors, friends, or family.

For much of his life, he didn’t see his ability as anything special. He certainly never considered it a spiritual gift.

Then God opened his eyes to the truth of today’s Scriptures. Just as preaching and teaching are spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit, so were the skills he had. Once he learned to value the spiritual gift God had blessed him with, he experienced a contentment in his Christian life he had never know before. Only then could his gifts be used to the maximum benefit of the kingdom and for God’s glory.

Never underestimate your talent and how God can use it. He gave it to you uniquely — for a reason.

Father, help us to realize you’ve placed each of us in the Body as is pleasing to you. You’ve gifted each of us in a way that will best fulfill your purposes for our lives. May our deepest heart’s desire be that our gifts be beneficial to the body of Christ. Amen.

By Veda Lucas
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thoughts by Veda Lucas Thoughts by Women

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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Love is the signifying factor that we belong to Christ.

1 John 3:18  instructs us, as dear children in Christ, not to love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. So how do we do that as a body of believers?

1 John 3:16-17 describes it well —

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

It’s not likely you’ll be called on to lay down your life, but you will have opportunities to provide for others that are less fortunate than you.

Thabiti M. Anyabwile, in his book What Is a Healthy Church Member? states that,

The local church is the place where love is most visibly and compellingly displayed among God’s people. It’s where the ‘body of Christ’ is most plainly represented in the world.”

Put love into action, trusting God’s Spirit for the ability to do so. Participate in giving to others through a ministry at your church. Help start a food bank that provides for the hungry in your area. Adopt a single mother in your community and provide school supplies, Christmas gifts, etc. Or it can be as simple as giving to your church’s benevolence fund.

Father, give me opportunities this week as a member of the body of Christ to love in deed and in truth so the watching world will be drawn to Christ as I, along with other believers, act to meet their needs in your strength. Amen.

By Veda Lucas
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Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from my mouth and give them a warning from me… if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.”  Ezekiel 33:7,9

What’s your heart’s desire for the year 2020? As I drive my granddaughters to school in the mornings, we pray over our day and for other concerns or needs we have using memorized scripture passages. In this way, I am attempting to teach my granddaughters to pray biblical prayers.

When we were working on memorizing an example prayer by the apostle Paul from Colossians 1:9-13, I asked my granddaughters to choose from the list of things Paul prayed for the Colossian believers that they would like to pray for themselves. Without any hesitation, the thirteen-year-old answered that she would be filled with the knowledge of his will. I think many of us would have the same heart’s desire. We all want to know what God’s will is for our lives.

By praying biblical prayers, we can be confident we are praying according to the will of God. If we are praying according to his will, then we can be confident he hears us. And if we know God hears our prayers, we can be equally confident he will give us what we petition him to provide (1 John 5:14).

Our scripture today reveals an important element of his will. God’s will is that we warn others by sharing the gospel with whomsoever he gives us opportunity. In 2020, may that be our heart’s desire, and may God give us the desires of our hearts.

Dear Father, as the year is underway, may I use every opportunity you give me to share the gospel in my home, in my school, and in my workplace. Father, please use the Gospel to bring many to Christ so that as they experience a new year in 2020, they can also experience the joys of becoming a new creation in Christ. Amen.

By Veda Lucas
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“Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:3

Everyone stumbles now and then, even Peter though he never thought he would. Peter said to him, ‘Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be’” (Mark 14:29 NKJV). On the night Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, Jesus predicted that all the disciples would be made to stumble because of lack of faith in him. Peter in his overzealous confidence denied it could happen. Peter was so sure of himself he proclaimed emphatically that if he had to die with Christ he would not deny him (Read Mark 14:27-31).

But, we know Peter did…three times! (John 18). God, in His omniscience, had zeroed in on a weakness in Peter’s character. Jesus allowed Satan to sift Peter through humbling circumstances, pruning the pride that would prevent him from becoming the leader that God intended him to be in the early church. Along with Jesus’s prediction of Peter’s denial was that of his restoration. After his repentance, Peter was to be used to bring the other disciples into a restored relationship with the Lord (Luke 22:31-32) so they might not stumble anymore either.

Is there an area in your life in which you’ve grown self-sufficient, overly confident, or adamant about assuming that you couldn’t fall into temptation? Often, we can identify these areas by the lack of time we spend in prayer over them.

If the Holy Spirit brings something to mind, ask the Father to prune that tendency from your heart. That way, you may help someone else to not stumble either. We all need to help each other live godly lives.

Father, help us guard against pride that causes us to act independent from the power of the Holy Spirit. Help us to always walk in a spirit of humility aware of our great need of you. In Christ’s name, Amen.

By Veda Lucas
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“… to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:6

After being on the mission field in China for 15 years, Hudson said in a letter to his mother, “I continually mourn I follow at such a distance and learn so slowly to imitate my precious Master. I cannot tell you how I am buffeted sometimes by temptation. I never knew how bad a heart I had. Yet, I do know that I love God, and love his work, and desire to serve him only in all things…often I am tempted to think that one so full of sin cannot be a child of God at all…”

I don’t think Hudson Taylor was enslaved to some horrid sin. I think as he grew in his intimate relationship with God, he grew in his hatred of sin and despised even the hint of it in himself. Yet, he struggled because of his perception of being a servant of Christ. Eventually, Hudson rejoiced in the finished work of Christ, realizing as he said at the end of his letter, “I rejoice in the riches of his grace that has made me accepted in the Beloved.”

If we have fallen somewhere along the way, if we’ve not trusted him, if we’ve wanted our way more than his, let’s do as Jesus instructed Peter (John 21:15-23). Let’s share what we know. God has taught us that when we blow it, we have the opportunity to be real and teach others how we’ve handled circumstances in our lives. Let’s allow God to use us where we are as he continues his sanctification process.

Precious Lord, as my sin becomes magnified in comparison to your perfection, let that fact draw me closer to you instead of pushing you away. Let me realize you reveal a sin in me so you can help me deal with it once and for all. Thank you for your gracious mercy. Amen.

By Veda Lucas
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“Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” Mark 14:29 (NKJV)

Scripture describes a time in the Apostle Peter’s life in which he had done what he thought he would never, ever do. On the night he instituted the Lord’s Supper, Jesus predicted that all the disciples would be made to stumble because of him (Mark 14:27). Peter, in his overzealous confidence, responded, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be” (Mark 14:29 NKJV). Peter was so sure of himself that he proclaimed emphatically that even if he had to die with Christ he would not deny him. Yet, hours later, he did just that (Mark 14:66-72).

God, in his omniscience, had zeroed in on a weakness in Peter’s character. Through humbling circumstances Jesus pruned the pride that would prevent Peter from later becoming the leader of the early church God intended him to be.

Often, we can identify areas we’re overconfident in by noting the lack of time we spend in prayer over them. If the Holy Spirit brings something to mind, ask the Father to prune that tendency from your heart. Give him permission to use whatever means is necessary so that you may fulfill the purpose he has for your life.

Dear Father, you promise in your word to prune branches that don’t bear fruit. I ask you to humbly search me and see if there are barren branches. I give you permission to do whatever is necessary that I may bear lasting fruit for your glory. Amen.

By Veda Lucas
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But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3

A few years ago, a popular Christian song depicted Paul and Silas at the midnight hour standing in a Roman prison cell, beaten, battered, and abandoned. Yet, their voices, singing praise to God, could be heard above the other prisoners’ sounds of despair.

As I imagined Paul and Silas’ bloody and bruised hands lifted in genuine heartfelt praise to God, I longed to have a heart that would praise him despite the circumstances. I pleaded for God to develop such a heart within me.

During that time, my thirteen-year-old daughter, April, suffered from curvature of the spine. Her condition worsened to the degree that it required surgery to prevent life-threatening heart or lung damage. My husband and I researched the doctor and knew he had performed the surgery multiple times. After the surgery, April would be in severe pain for an extended period of time. God had impressed it upon my heart to do a Bible study about suffering. I thought God was preparing me to help April endure the suffering she’d experience after surgery. But he had a different purpose.

April never woke up after that surgery. That began the most difficult journey of my life — learning to live without her. At times when I was drowning in grief, I’d praise God for the moments I shared with April.

Instead of focusing on what I’d lost, I’d focus on what we’d had. Through that journey, I’ve learned our strength to enduring difficult times doesn’t come from within ourselves but from God who inhabits the praises of his people.

Dear Lord, in the midst of suffering, help me find the boldness to praise you anyway knowing that you are in control, are always there, and care about me. Thank you for your love and mercy for me. Amen.

By Veda Lucas
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thoughts by Veda Lucas Thoughts by Women