Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)
TITLE: Sharing God's Gifts
By Patricia Todd
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After Jesus had risen we read of how He encouraged Peter to feed His sheep.(St. John, chapter 21, verses 15 – 17). He repeated the words three times as if to hark back to the times that Peter had denied him.
In 2 Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 9 we read the words that God spoke to Paul:- “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (RSV)
Over the years these verses have been a great encouragement to me as I have sought to follow the Lord and to minister to others. In particular, they have helped me to minister words of encouragement in song. This is a gift which God first gave me many years ago to share with others. No one was more surprised than I at the time because I didn't consider myself to be a great singer or even very musical. What is more I couldn't write the music down or play an instrument. All I could do was to sing the songs which God had given me.
The first song which God gave me came to me as I was out walking in Belfast. It was the autumn of 1972. I had spent that summer working as a volunteer on a community development and summer play-schemes project in a large housing estate in a very troubled area. There was constant gunfire and several people were shot in our neighbourhood. On occasion I had to lie down at the side of the street to try to keep out of range until I hoped the firing was over.
That particular Sunday I was walking the five miles back to that area. I had to walk because there were no buses running as there had been so many buses taken and burnt. God gave me a song about how his light was greater than all the darkness in the world, His love stronger than all the suffering in the world and His life mightier than all the death in the world. The words and the melody came to me as I walked and I sang them all the way there and back.
The next day I felt led to share this new song at a prayer group that we had in my university chaplain's house. I can remember still that I was quite nervous but I sang the song despite my nerves and it blessed and encouraged us at what was a very bleak time in Belfast.
After that God frequently gave me new songs to share and, in His strength, I sang them. Over the years He gave me some which seemed quite specific for individual people. Often these were given for people that we were praying for and I shared them with the people concerned. A great many of the songs are words of encouragement of one kind or another and they may speak particularly to those going through a hard time.
Just over a year ago I realised that I could put some songs on the Christian section of a music web-site. I found it hard to have the confidence to do this. Of myself I felt so unworthy. Yet, as on so many other occasions in the past when I had struggled with this ministry, I felt reminded of Jesus' words to Peter: “when you have turned again strengthen your brethren,” and of God's words to Paul: “my power is made perfect in weakness” So, in faith, I put some of the songs on the internet and, over the past year, quite a number of people have contacted me to say how they have been blessed through listening to them.
As Christians we all have different talents, gifts and ministries and, whatever they are, we should always be prepared to use them for the encouragement of others regardless of how inadequate we may feel.
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