Monday, January 26, 2015
Last week on two separate occasions, I had the opportunity to share with some lovely ladies a few illustrated insights that the Lord had blessed me with at times when I needed it most. I was reminded of how great of an Illustrator our Jesus Christ truly is and it isn't only intended for my spiritual eyes to marvel at His works. This thought pinged my heart because Illustrating isn't anything new for Him. This is something that Jesus has being doing for quite some time. In His time here on earth He spoke in parables in order for people to see the story He was sharing. Mark 4:33 HCSB says, "He would speak the Word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand." The reason it pinged my heart is because I had taken what He illustrates for me for granted...it's something that makes me feel good when I am feeling down or lowly...it helps navigate me from point A to point B...it makes sense of this season to the next, strengthening me along the journey...it's what gets me through. His Truth and His daily reminders to me is what blesses me in my walk with Him. I have to be honest and say this is where I tend to take it for granted...in my daily walk. He shows me beautiful blessings along my way as I plow through my day. I am so focused on my tasks and often times things around me, not always the things He's showing me but the things I want to see obscure the blessings I see around me but don't recognize as blessings. This is what I totally take for granted. It's in quiet moments or in opportunities that I get to share my heart with a friend that Jesus will illustrate just what He has done and blessed me with. He paints a beautiful illustrated story for me to understand what I may have missed in a time that I overlooked it but He brings it to full picture now that He's got my full attention! These beautiful illustrations are not meant to stay with just me. It's meant to be shared. To encourage others. To bless others. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 AMP tells us, "Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words." This was an "A-HA!" moment.
I've always been a type of person who learns visually. Sitting down to study 'WORDS' and learning by a book full of words is tough for me. TOUGH...but, I can do it. Not my favorite thing to do...but, I will do it. Call me strange, but for not enjoying the studying of words I actually LOVE words. I love to look up the definition of them, what they mean, their origin and then I reflect on how it ties into what is being said in the sentence it is used in. BUT, I do not find pleasure in sitting down and reading word after word in a chapter book! Weird? Yes! I know. The Lord knows this, too, so I believe that's why He has blessed me for as long as I can remember with very vivid dreams and analogies that tie His Word into my life and whatever I may be dealing with at that time.
Now, picture books...I absolutely adore them! My most favorite kind of book! They are usually large enough to fit perfectly nestled into my lap as I flip page after page. Gazing upon each deliberately color filled illustration which is full of vividness and variety of effects that in the picture alone it speaks its story. One reason I love picture books is because they do not require an age or reading level to crack them open and enjoy. One picture book can easily entertain an audience ranging in ages and reading skills. I'm sure of this!
Understand, chapter books are very, very important. There are amazing, wonderful people God has blessed to be able to read, dissect, break down and define all those amazing words that I love so much. I am thankful for those people and stand amazed by them. I, however, do not hold the capacity to even pretend that I slightly understand how they do this. God blesses each of us with different gifts and talents so that we can be a blessing to others. Romans 12:6 in the Amplified says, "Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them..." Amen and thank you, Jesus!
I share all this to say, it takes me awhile to get things and fully grasp them, so I believe God uses analogies through vivid illustrations in my dreams or just in little moments that He seizes for me. Often times, He may have to hit the rewind button several times playing it over and over again until I finally see what He is showing me. It's always perfect. The timing. The exact moment. The place where I'm at. The season in my journey. He knows. Then I get to push that rewind button and begin to replay what He has already shown me being able to pause it as I steep in that moment that catches me, that speaks to me, that calls me to my kness. I get to see Him in all His Glory. I can almost visualize God and Me sitting on the couch about to watch the 'video' of what He just captured for me. As I'm watching it, He's watching me and my reactions and smiling upon me as He sees me seeing what He already saw for me. His strong arm goes around my shoulder as I begin to slump forward and inward toward Him in the moments of hardship and difficulty. He fully embraces me as He smiles over me expelling His radiance upon me as I rest in Him seeing how He's working in my life for the good. He continues to pour blessing upon me as I see it...I finally see it! His Face shines upon me. Oh, how I just adore those moments with Him! NOW, if I would only slow down in my hurried life in which I think the tasks of the day and my agenda are so dog-gone important that I need to fly by and see things in a blurred vision, oh, how much more calm would my soul be!! Goodness, Me!! Psalm 46:10 AMP, "Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God."
Did I happen to mention that I am a slow learner, too? I am very intelligent. But I most definitely seem to take a long time to learn something of great importance when it comes to my eternal life in Heaven. I get caught up so easily with things of this world that I know full well will not last and will absolutely pass away that I tend to put my spiritual well being on the back burner. 1 Corinthians 7:31 says, "...For this world in its present form is passing away." I'm reminded of God's Truth in Romans 12:2 which says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will." This, my friend, is my daily fight. My quiet time with the Lord. My time with Him to equip me, to strengthen me, to set my mind on Him. To keep my eyes fixed on Him. It's continual.
I like to think of my life as a book that God is writing my life-story in it, filling it up full of His Glorious artistic drawings that tell a story in itself! The amazing thing about my life-book is that it's on-going. It is still a work in progress. It is still being edited. Redrafted. New stories written and, of course, magnificent illustrations are filling the pages with such detail. Another great thing about this life-book is I don't have to wait until it's completed to begin turning the pages of it to look at them. One of my most favorite things to do is to turn the pages back and look at the previous chapters. There were some that were mundane but glimmers of God sparkled through revealing His Presence. There were some very exciting and celebratory times that God was front and center gracing us with ALL that He is. Other times were dark, scary, unsettling yet, again, God's Light was present in those times but just not recognized at that moment. Have you ever looked at a picture that you've looked at time and time again, but then you reflect upon that picture...you study it, and you find something that you hadn't seen all those times you 'looked' at it before? That's what it's like with God and His daily blessings. It's important, necessary for us to go back and reflect on what He has done - to see Him in a situation when we weren't able to previously. Being able to go back and reflect seeing God's work in my life, moment by moment...season by season, makes it very apparent - clear -understanding, gives me security and a deepening LOVE for Him. He IS always with me. He IS always at work for me. He IS always at work in me. He Is always at work through me. He IS always illustrating Himself into my life with His love. It is all around. I only need to recognize it. Let be. Be still. Know that He is God.
How often do we have a book that we just love and we have to share it with our friends? Well, this is like our life-book. I need to be just as enthusiastic and open to sharing what God puts on my heart as I am with a beautiful book that I enjoyed reading (I know, can you believe that I actually graduated up to reading books now? Crazy!) Here's the awesome part, NO ONE will have ever read your life-book before! So, no worries about sharing it with them! Your life-book is a one-of-a-kind, precious, beautiful story that someone needs to hear. The Author has intentionally, deliberately, precisely placed each brush stroke upon your life-book page. He is present in each and every moment of your life-story. His fingerprints are not only upon your life-story but upon YOU! Psalm 139:14,16 HCSB, "I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful and I know this very well. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began."
My prayer is that you may be encouraged just as I have been this past week. I feel as if my heart has just received an electric shock to get it pumping to its full capacity again. Praise the Lord! I pray that things in our day would be recognized and noticed as God taps on our shoulders to gain our attention. May we be willing to reflect back into our life-books and 'reflect' on some moments or seasons that we haven't been able to for some reason or another and allow God to reveal Himself. Allow Him to illustrate how He worked or is working that time for His Glory. May we grow from what we learn in the pages of our life-book and have the willingness and the courage to share our story. Luke 1:45 AMP, "And blessed (happy, to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord." What a beautiful promise!
Take care and be blessed!
Monday, January 5, 2015
GO! We've all read the verse in Mark where Jesus tells His disciples to 'go into all the world and preach the good news.' But exactly how does that apply to us today? For years when I read this verse and others like it in the New Testament, I believed that it only applied to those called to be Missionaries. Those who were called to foreign lands who could "GO." Goodness, was I ever a babe in my spiritual walk...I'm so thankful that I grew and began to comprehend what the term "Go" meant.
We, as believers, are all disciples. We are all called to GO and preach the good news. In fact, it's a command, not a request. This got me thinking about who I shared Christ with. Does it mean that all believers are missionaries? Yes and no. Missionaries afar in foreign lands...some are, Yes; all of us, NO! Missionaries right here in our own homes...absolutely YES! Every single one of us.
I'm not a quick study and it was through the ever patient Lord in His teaching me the true meaning of
what a disciple (definition: someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person; Christ's followers according to the Gospel accounts) really meant. What it meant to GO and preach the good news. Here's what I learned over much time.
Mark 16:15 AMP, "And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race.]
I personally like to break down words and look at the meanings behind them. That helps me to understand better and fully grasp what is being said. So I'd like to do that here before I go on because it was after I did this along with several God moments that it became very apparent that this was going to be my heart's passion to share with others. OK, here goes...
GO: definition - to move on course: proceed; to continue to do something...to continue being done: to begin and carry on an action, process or movement...to move along.
In the definition of GO the word continue stood out to me so I looked up it's definition and here's what it means.
CONTINUE: definition - to keep happening or existing: to remain active or in existence without stopping...to maintain...to remain...to keep going...to cause to continue...to allow to remain.
All this is action. We tend to like to move. We can do this. It really doesn't take much to get something moving and to keep it moving. Slow and steady is always best. Ripple effect...like a drop in the ocean!
INTO ALL THE WORLD: This literally means EVERYWHERE! Some can hop on a plane and fly to a third world country and be missionaries short term or long term. While most of us cannot. Our mission field is right here where we call home. It starts right in our homes and then into our neighborhood, then out to our community. That's our world.
PREACH AND PUBLISH: Preach is basically to write or speak about something in an approving way: to say that something is good or necessary. To deliver a sermon. To deliver. One version of Mark says to "Testify" which is to talk about or say something in an honest and confident way. To show that something is true or real: to give proof of something. Publish is to make generally known: to make public announcement of. All this to say, simply share what Christ has done for you in your life.
THE GOOD NEWS (THE GOSPEL): That Jesus Christ is our Savior. John 3:16-17 HCSB, "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."
TO EVERY CREATURE [OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE]: I have to admit this one caught me off guard for a bit not understanding the creature statement until I went to India and witnessed helpless deformed sweet souls sitting amongst crowds of people begging for anyone to just give them a moments notice. It was at that very moment that God spoke to my heart that all too often we (I) dehumanize others that I am either way too uncomfortable to approach or it's just easier for me not to have them on my "radar" so I don't have to think about or do anything about it. Let me tell you, that experience was so life changing for me that I fully understand what the Lord means by the WHOLE HUMAN RACE! HE loves EACH and EVERY individual and longs for them to know Him. Please hear me when I say this, I am not asking you to go and immerse yourself into a place where it may be dangerous, I am asking you to instead of physically looking with the eyes on your head start looking with the eyes of your heart. Jesus will create opportunities for you to be His Hands and Feet. He will tug at your heart strings...we need to be attentive and aware to what He is asking of us to do.
In Romans 10:14-15 TLB it talks about how can others call on Christ if they don't believe in Him because perhaps they didn't hear about Him, probably because nobody spoke about Him...only because no one went to talk about Him! This is a perfect example of the whole reason of why we should GO in our world!! It reads, "How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can the believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news."
After reading this I began to wonder who spoke to my family about Christ? I was brought up in Church as was my parents and my grandparents...so I'm not sure who spoke Christ to my family member to pass along this wonderful gift. I'm so very grateful though for this amazing gift that I am able to pass along to my children as well as those that God brings across my path.
OK...back to the time that I believed that going into all the world literally meant hopping on the next jet plane to Africa. This was some time ago and I believed that this is exactly what it meant. My belief back then was being a Christian all I needed to do was just follow the Golden Rules and I was doing alright. Boy, did I have quite a bit a spiritual maturity to be had. In John 3:30 HCSB it says this of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease." What this scripture says to me is that I need to turn my focus from within to upward to Him. This lead me to another scripture in Ephesians 4:32 AMP which says that when I do this and Jesus is residing in my heart then it's easier for me to, "...become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely,] as God in Christ forgave you" in my daily living. This lead me to begin seeing with the eyes of my heart instead of my physical eyes.
At first it was so overwhelming, I didn't know where to start so I for a while I stood still doing nothing. But then God encouraged my heart little by little. I began moving small step by small step. Doing. Going. Taking action. Don't fail to do anything just because you can't do everything. It can all seem overwhelming when looking at the whole picture. It was Mother Theresa who said, "Do small things with great love." This is something we all can do. It doesn't require much of us to do something small if it is done with great love. Mother Teresa has many simplistic yet powerful quotes that inspire me that I'd like to share just a few with you... "God doesn't require us to succeed, He only requires that you try." "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." "Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." These four quotes hold four things that we do in our daily living with our own friends and families. How awesome and rewarding would it be if we extended it to those outside the four walls of our home? The world around us has us living in such a jet-setting pace that literally nearly no one looks anyone in the eyes anymore because there's far more important things happening on the electronic devises in our hand!
All that you have - our resources, giftedness, and abilities - God has entrusted it to you. God has given us what we need to show others Himself in us. We just need to trust God...Go...believing God to finish the work...which may include us or it may not. God wants to do something through but He also wants to something in you. This requires your willingness to be used by God. Many years ago I asked myself this question, "How much faith does it take to do what I'm doing currently?" Where I was at that time not very much faith at all sadly enough. This was a pivotal point for me. Spiritual growing up started taking place and you all know whenever growing happens pain tends to accompany it. But am I ever thankful for this growth, though! This meant in order for me to move forward on this journey God had set before me, I had to take action...even if it meant just taking one wobbly awkward step at a time holding tightly to my Heavenly Father's Strong Hand! And that's exactly what I did.
I began to realize that what I did in my everyday living really did matter because it positively or negatively impacted the lives of others...family, friends or strangers. In the book 'Becoming a Contagious Christian" the author states, "Although our actions have nothing to do with gaining our own salvation, they might be used by God to save somebody else! What we do really matters, and it can affect the eternities of people we care about." What we do each and every day really does have meaning in the big picture of God's plan. Everybody needs Jesus' Light. Believers have that light and there's somebody out there that needs that light that you have. The only way for them to receive that light is if you offer it to them by sharing it. By sharing it you must first GO when God calls you and cross paths with that person. Sometimes I get tugs on my heart to go somewhere, to do something or to take a different path in my routine. I don't always understand it at the time but I try to remember and be sensitive to what God is trying to do.
I, however, am NOT a perfect person! I slip and mess up quite a bit! But here's the awesome part...God extends GRACE! He's forgiving and I don't have to be perfect! I will never be perfect or even near perfect! I just have to keep trying and keep striving and when and I do mean WHEN I mess up I only need to fall forward in Him! Psalm 84:11 TLB says, "For Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk along his paths." God always gives us the strength to keep going when we feel as if we can't. Psalm 46:1 TLB tells us, "God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble." This was entirely encouraging to me because this meant that I didn't have to do it all on my own! I had only to let God lead me and then He would give me the strength and the ability to do it. When I realized this, then I was all the more eager to accept the offer to GO!!
The picture above posted says GO and...
This can mean anything for you. The possibilities are endless. GO to the coffee shop and greet the cashier with a smile and eye contact calling him/her by name asking how their day is going making small conversation. GO to local elderly home and visit shut ins. GO to a single mom and offer to babysit or help in other ways she may need. GO __________ and _______________. (You fill in the blanks...what works in your world.) Going and doing doesn't always require us to be big, dramatic, time-consuming, or extremely hard. It requires us to be a bit more mindful, deliberate, intentional and thoughtful. This is something we all can do.
Be prayerful about what Go and... looks like for you. Ask God to help you open the eyes of your heart and where you can begin. Remember, "Do small things with great love."
Being a lover of meanings behind words I want to leave you with a few words that we tend to do daily that we can try to extend to others:
SMILE: a facial expression in which the eyes brighten and the corners of the mouth curve slightly upward and which expresses especially amusement, pleasure. encouragement. Beam: a line of light coming from a source.
CHEERFUL: causing good feelings or happiness
CONSIDERATE: showing kindness toward other people: marked by or given to careful consideration
KIND: having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others: wanting and liking to do good things and to bring happiness to others
THOUGHTFUL: showing concern for the needs or feelings of other people: given to or chosen or made with heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others
These are just a drop in a whole ocean of action words that we do daily. I pray that this encourages you just as much as it encouraged me years ago and continues to encourages me. May you be blessed and richly reward as you GO and...
"What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the Gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the Gospel. Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible." 1 Corinthians 9:18-19 NIV
Take Care and Be Blessed,
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
THINGS TO DO...be enough. And I am!
How? Definitely not on my account, self-confidence or assurance of who I am. Most assuredly through Jesus Christ!
Things that tug on my heart and circumstances that I am forging through, I have always reached for the nearest scrap of paper that I can find to jot down things that I truly feel that the Lord needs for me to see...learn...and remember. I usually stuff it away in my 'smash book' of collected notes of scripture, thoughts, promises and encouragement. This said note gracefully floated from beneath the collection of notes the other day as I picked up my binder to put it in its rightful spot. I had written this just this past fall. Something I've been trying to learn to be. It just so happened to be on a "To Do" list. Ironic? Maybe. I believe it was with great cause that I unknowingly at the time wrote it on this paper. It is a wonderful reminder for what needs to be done. Being enough.
We live in a world that flashes in our faces with mega-phones screaming in our heads that we are NOT ENOUGH! Not thin enough, pretty enough, tall enough, popular enough, rich enough, cool enough, fun enough, ______ enough...etc! Of course, the world around us seems to offer such marvelous solutions for said problems--for a price...something that will literally cost us and often times it isn't only monetary.
I, on my own, am not enough. No matter how hard I try, I just will not be enough because there will always be something bigger, something better, something more that grabs hold of me and tries to get me to measure up. Measure up to what or to whom, I'm not quite sure but I do know that I will never, on my own, feel as if I am enough according to this world. I just don't have the strength, skills, mind-set or endurance to do so. I have spent far too much time and energy focusing on what 'others' think...would think...what their opinions would be...how I looked physically as well as in social standing. This was a HUGE waste of my time. I asked myself just who was I so concerned about. Who were the 'others?' Who were 'they?' My focus was far too much narrowed and concentrated on things that can waste away.
For about six months now, the Lord has really been tugging at my heart and ministering to me about being enough in Him. What this means is that even though I am not enough on my own I can fully rest assured that I am completely enough through Jesus Christ because He is more than enough. And because He resides within me it is His strength and all that He is that makes me enough. He is the One whom I need to place my focus and spend my time with.
This sounds simple enough, yet it was extremely challenging in my application. I would verbally whisper time and time again these three simple yet powerful words to serve as a reminder..."I AM ENOUGH. I AM ENOUGH. I AM ENOUGH!" The more I would speak these words the more God changed my focus. Instead of being so concerned with what 'others' thought, I began focusing on God and glorifying Him. I realized that the more I did this the more freeing and peaceful I felt. Don't get me wrong, I didn't snub my noise to everyone and everything around...I'm human and I tend to be concerned with how I look in appearance, and getting caught up with my "I wished..." statements that would only benefit me. I did, however, learn to not let it be my primary focus and concern. I sought God and relied on Him each new day. I slowly began to realize that all that I wished for were for things that were either highly unrealistic or required much from me that I just didn't have. I began asking myself some important questions like, ' What was I doing things for and for whom were I doing them? Why? What was I pursuing and for what reason? Who was I looking to in order to be recognized? Why am I so concerned of others' approval?'
It appeared to me that I was far too consumed with what 'this world' thought. I fell into the mold of what the world thought was 'good...flawless...desirable...and so on.' Things that bothered me much was slowly bothering less. For example, my body, self-image. For as long as I can remember I was never fully satisfied or happy with how I looked. For years, I invested in this and that diet product, joined various gyms, purchased countless 'magical' beauty products. There were moments that I got the desired outcome but then something else (whatever it may be at that given moment to distract from where I was) came along and I was unhappy again. The lovely looking glass in my bathroom would faithfully remind me each and every morning that I needed work done and lots of it. I would tell that looking glass just what I thought needed to be done in order for me to be happy. I spoke as if it actually could do something about my complaints. This is something that I am not at all proud of doing and I have to admit I still catch myself speaking to that looking glass as if it were a long lost friend. That's when I speak to Christy and speak Truth of who I am and whose I am.
A good friend of mine gave me something to read that contained this amazing story. It's called 'The Sculptor.' I wished I knew who wrote this lovely story because I'd like to thank them! Let me tell you, this helped me do a complete turn around on how I viewed myself. Take a look...
In front of me sits a brick of clay. Not just any old clay. The best clay available anywhere. It cost me a lot, but it's worth it.
I know exactly what I want to sculpt. I've got this mental picture of a beautiful girl. She's vibrant. She's perfect. She's her.
I start by shaping her body. I've given a lot of thought to how I want her to look. What curves I want where. How long I want her legs. How her arms should hang. The shape of her hips and breasts. I have planned every single square inch of her.
Next I move to her face. I'm extra careful here. With every touch of My Hand, every swipe of My Palm, I create a face that takes My breath away. Her eyes are deep, glowing, magnetic. Her nose is amazing. Her mouth is unlike all others.
Now onto her hair. I won't stop until I get it just right. Just the right texture, body and color. She'll probably complain, but the truth is that I've never created any better than her.
She's My Masterpiece!
OK, you might have guessed it by now, but this is no ordinary sculptor. He's the most well-known sculptor in all of history. And many think He does the best work. His name? God.
And you are His project...His masterpiece. He has NEVER created anyone who is more beautiful that YOU! He's the Perfect Artist, and you are His result.
Unlike every other artist, He never makes a mistake. He never has to start over. He had in mind what you were going to look like when He created you in your mom's womb, and you've come out just right!
"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out: You formed me in my mother's womb. I thank You, High God--You're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration--what a creation! You know me inside and out. You know every bone in my body: You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit. How I was sculpted from nothing into something." Psalm 139:13-15 MSG
After reading this and letting it penetrate my soul, I became mindful to fix my eyes more on God in this area of my life. It's important to be aware of the way we set our minds because we will begin to behave and act in that way. That's why it's vital to set our mind on God and His Word. "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7a AMP When we intentionally change our focus to God things change for the better...God becomes much clearer to us. Our minds are then filled with the Word of Christ and the things of the world doesn't have much influence. My body is not very good, flawless or desirable according to this world but I have to say that I believe that I am excellent, unique and quite vintage...extraordinarily one-of-a-kind!!
We've all heard of these sayings, "There's always something to be thankful for," and "It could be worse." I think we tend to say these to help us feel better for the moment, but we need to truly believe them because they're true. I'm thankful that I have a functioning body that enables me to get around. Thankful that I have limbs that get me to where I need to go and do what I need to do. Thankful for my sight...hearing...the ability to speak. Thankful for so much more! I will continue to work on keeping my body maintained in a healthy state but to be realistic about it. I'm not going to grow to a luxurious 5'7" stance when I know that this body is only temporary and in all reality I've shrunk to a glorious 5'1" and embracing it to its fullest! I am ever so thankful that I am able to stand tall no matter what measurement is documented.
It has never been God's intention for you to be enough on your own because He is ENOUGH! Christ makes me enough! Christ makes you enough! You in yourself are not enough...You in Christ Jesus will be enough because is He is ENOUGH!! "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone}; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed; Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 AMP
I've decided to place my value in God. To glorify God in all that I do. Being enough in Christ means that even though I may be struggling on any particular day, I can stand tall with complete confidence that He loves me, accepts me and calls me His own. I am His Masterpiece. His Creation. His Fingerprints are all over me and that is very, very good! So with jiggly arms, muffin top, thunder thighs, double chin and much wrinkles here and there I can boldly and confidently say, "I AM ENOUGH!" and truly believe it! I am the daughter of a King that is not moved by this world. For my God is with me and goes before me...I do not fear or fret or waste my time in front of my looking glass because I AM HIS!! And for this reason alone, I celebrate and rejoice!
When you believe that God, the Sculptor and Creator of you, is ENOUGH you will begin to feel settled...come to rest... be clear...become fixed, resolved and established leaning toward peace as you trust God in all of His "ENOUGHNESS!" "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]. Isaiah 26:3-4 AMP
My friend, I encourage you to stand tall in Christ confidently moving forward knowing that you are a wonderful work of art, a true masterpiece that was perfectly created. Be glad and rejoice in the Lord giving Him praise and glory for the work He has done and continues to do in you. As we learn to be enough in Christ we can expect wonderous truths and promises that He speaks to us through His Word. God's word is our Life Map. Everything we need to know is in the B-I-B-L-E. Commit to God and lean on Him waiting patiently as He does a brilliant work within you. When you believe that you are enough through Christ then His Radiance is ever-more vibrant and radiates fantastically through you to the world around you. "Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday. Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not..." Psalm 37:5-7a AMP
My darling, YOU ARE ENOUGH!
Take care and be blessed,
Monday, December 8, 2014
It’s been several weeks now since I have returned from Calcutta, India. I first want to extend my gratitude and appreciation for all of your prayers not only during the time of my trip but for the many months that lead up to it. I would appreciate your continued prayers as God is still doing a work in my heart as to what this whole mission trip plus Christy will equal out to be.
The next day I returned to women sitting and working on Rosette making and fabric twine making. I had this day slotted to work more with them to help them master this skill but God had better plans. He allowed me the privilege to hear each of their testimony. One by one, each woman stood and spoke in their native language, Bengali, and shared their story. Just about each and every one of them were very thankful for the PEACE Center and the help of learning tailoring. Many thanked me for coming and teaching them this new skill. Some shared what they hoped their future would hold. But there was one lovely woman who when I first met her held her head low, would not look at me in the eyes, and just had a sad, sad look upon her. She stood and spoke for quite some time. Through the interpretor she shared that she was a Muslim women with four children. Her husband tortures her (emotional abuse and withholds food.) She was sent to this tailoring school to help provide for her family but she stated that she has a hard time learning and understanding things…this included the tailoring. It was when I was speaking about the Rosette and fabric twine that something within her clicked. She understood…the making of the items but more importantly the story behind them. She said that this is something that she could do. She then came up to me and gave me a miniature version of a fabric twine basket with a Rosette on it plus she gave me a beautiful flower that she herself created all her own out of the fabric scraps. She presented it to me with a giant smile and looked me in the eye embracing me! Such joy! I was later told that she had gone home the night before and made many more Rosettes and had already got many in their village wearing them! God is so GOOD!
These are just some of the lovely Rosettes that the tailoring students blessed upon my head!
I really wish that I could take the time to sit down with each and every one of you. There was so much that I experienced and had the privilege of witnessing that I would quite possibly have to write a book. Just know that God did a beautiful work in and through me. I was blessed by wonderful, amazing, obedient Christians who inspired me and helped me put things in proper perspective. There is beautiful and amazing things happening in India, however, there is very, very much more work to be done there. Your prayers for India and the people of India is greatly needed. There are very few Christians in India doing amazing work for God. God is blessing them and guiding them, but honestly I don’t know how they don’t allow discouragement keep them from moving forward. There are many obstacles and hindrances that prevent even speaking the Name of Jesus. But God is good and His people are faithful! My prayers will include India and those who live there doing God’s work as well as what direction God is leading me now that He had me see with my heart and not my eyes.
May you be blessed!!
Thank you again for your faithful prayers!
If I had a special bottle that I could capture all the sights, smells, sounds and stimulation overload constantly happening in Calcutta, I would have captured it especially for you all to fully grasp just exactly what life is like in this very large and busy place. My very first experience in India was the driving! Let me tell you something, I so did NOT understand their method of driving of no rules, no speed limit, not stop signs/lights, no specified lanes and the constant horn honking. That was just the vehicles—cars, trucks, cabs, and many buses. Motorbikes, bicycles, makeshift wheeled-things, other transporting things (no words for what they used!), pedestrians and yes, cows and goats in the midst of all the shuffling and hustle and bustle of traffic. An experience in itself!!
Surprisingly, each day got easier and quite comfortable since we had the most excellent drivers. When daylight shone upon this city and we were driving to our many destinations, we got to witness something that my eyes had never seen and my mind as well as my heart could not comprehend. No defined curbs separated the road from the walkway and there were so many people…people that would be selling their many items on top of tarps just strewn upon the ground. Next would be a make shift café of sorts made from scraps (wood, rocks, bricks, tarp, boxes, whatever could be found and could be used.) A fire would be the heat source and the food, tea would be prepared there as patrons would gather around. Just a ways down from that would be a mother with her children bundled up in whatever linens she had found trying to lay as comfortably as possible to get rest. Next to her were several children with what appeared to be a grandfather bathing one of his grandsons in the gutter with runoff water that must have streamed down from the café. The little guy lathered up with soapy suds and being rinsed off with gutter water using a small metal bowl. Just around the corner from them were two large cows grazing through the pile of garbage that is just thrown into a pile only to be burned later. Make-shift housing all around, laundry from the homeless strewn about wherever you looked, living wherever possible. People coming and going. Scurrying here and there. We come to a stop –traffic cop trying to direct traffic and all of a sudden on my window a hand appears tapping three times onto my window. Not knowing where the hand came from I looked out my window only to find a young adult male that looked very deformed and disabled just sitting literally in the midst of all this traffic only inches away from vehicles on either side of him. His eyes met mine and I saw such despair and helplessness. I have to admit I was very startled and not sure what to do. Not having anything that I could give him, I leaned back brokenhearted and began weeping. He then gently placed his entire hand flat upon the window and rested it there for the rest of the time we waited—which ended up being close to 10 minutes. I began praying for him, feeling such sadness and a horrible pain in my heart. We finally began to drive off and slowly his hand slipped off the window. I had heard about the homeless and beggars but I had not personally experienced something so heartbreaking. I felt like he was invisible. Cars, people just passed him by as if he didn’t exist. He was right in the middle of the busy street and people deliberately avoided him like he was an obstacle. I didn’t get it. I had a whole host of emotions that I offered up to God.
God was wonderful in dealing with me. Not giving me answers to my “Why?” but to remind me that PEOPLE MATTER! Every single person…PEOPLE MATTER! I, too in my everyday life, had gotten in a visual perspective of only seeing things that I only wanted to see and if that meant turning a blind eye to people on the street corners with signs asking for help then I did only choosing when I wanted to “see” them and then I would continue doing my own thing. God sees everyone and loves each one the same. Seeing doesn’t always have to be done with my eyes…sometimes it is very important to see with the eyes of my heart. I had asked God to break my heart for what breaks His and I believe He did just that.
At the PEACE Centers, where I spoke and worked with various women (some men, too!) was a most amazing experience like no other. There were several places that we went to, but it was the PEACE Center in Bauria that I had the opportunity to connect with the women who were tailoring students there. I first spoke Sunday morning at church which was awesome. It was a packed house. Sitting on the floor…down the hall—both directions, and people standing outside listening through the windows. Amazing!! The next day, I had the pleasure of speaking to the students directly. Their faces were so precious. They all had looks of desperation and much eagerness to soak up whatever I had to share.
I started off by asking them where their fabric scraps would be. With a bit of confusion they went to look for some and gathered some from the trash. I took the material that they brought to me telling them that the world would just toss this aside…discarding it, not seeing any purpose or use for it. They may even step on it, make it feel useless and treat it as if it were nothing worthy. We, like the material, can very much feel the same way. Believing what others say about us, how they treat us, the situations that we go through tossing us here and there—we begin to believe that we are unworthy, useless, unhopeful, and no purpose to fulfil. But our Heavenly Father does not waste anything…He does not discard or throw away. He takes things that the world meant for this and turns them into something quite beautiful through life’s journies. I took that piece of fabric scrap, roughly cut out four pieces (because life can be quite rough on us) and I began demonstrating the process of the Rosette. How God holds each petal which represents our season in His Hand. Nothing can snatch us out of His Hand. Even when we are put to the flame of life to be shaped, molded, contained in everyday living as well as those times of extreme heat of walking in the flame…we are still in His Hands. I continued this process four times. I explained to them that God loved each of us so much that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die on the Cross so that we may have eternal life. We must keep God the center of lives, which the button in the Rosette represents. I held that Rosette up pointing out the singe marks that represents our dark times, times of struggles, times that we want to hide or are shameful about, but it is when the layers of the petals that God puts together those very spots that we try to hide create the uniqueness and beauty of the Rosette. It is a Materpiece…one of a kind! Their faces spoke very loudly…AMAZING!! I explained to these wonderful ladies that they were not an accident, that they were created on purpose and for a purpose! God has a life story that He is writing specifically for each of their lives and they are living it. They got it!!
I wasn’t finished yet. I explained that God does not waste anything. The lefteover fabric scrap that I had used I took and made strips and began making fabric twine which can be made into a basket, bowl, bag, mat, etc…the possiblities are endless!! I explained that like the material as it is being twisted and turned and pulled together it is becoming very strong and united, unable to come apart. It is strengthened by this process. God does this with us as well. The process is not always pleasant and comfortable, we question and wonder why we must go through things, but in the end a beautiful creation is displayed. God’s Masterpiece! I told them that they are His treasure…that He delights in and sings over them…they are precious to them. By now, they are visibly happy, faces smiling from ear to ear and very eager to begin making these Rosettes and fabric twine. They took to it quickly. Understood it wonderfully.
“The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and He will refresh your life with His love.” Zephaniah 3:17 CEV
Thursday, October 23, 2014
How often do we forget to live in the present? The today? We seem to reach into the next day or beyond and try to grasp hold of the things that lie within it and pull it in toward us. That is impossible since we don't know what tomorrow holds. Why do we do that? Why do we want to push the fast forward button wishing that we could either push all the other buttons like Stop, Pause, Rewind besides the one that really needs to be pushed, which is the PLAY button!
We get to our tomorrow, which becomes our today...the day that we were so concerned and worried over yesterday and now it's not as much of a concern because now tomorrow holds a whole new load for us to try to carry so we've got to try to reach forward into tomorrow not living today and we're trying to forget about yesterday. Whew! That's exhausting! No wonder we're all wiped out at the end of the day. That's not the kind of life that God intended for us to have. He intended for us to have a complete, full and abundant life, which only He can give. He tells us in John 10:10 in the Amplified version that, "I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." Let me tell you something...God's Word is timeless. His Word is fitted to speak to us in the now from things of old. His Word is always FRESH! So, this is meant for you and me TODAY!
Today is the only day that we will have to live in it. If we try to carry things that lie ahead in our tomorrows while we are living in today, then we will stumble and fall because we create a load that is much too much for us to carry. Or sometimes we may try to duplicate today from yesterday picking up things that ought not be picked up by us! It was never meant for us to carry in the first place. God wants you to live in His Freedom. That means freedom from things like fear, guilt, worry, bitterness, and death. Surrendering to God these things that we try to carry either from our past or things we try to grasp out from our tomorrows will give us the freedom to live for today. We will have the freedom that Christ gives to be ourselves in our today.
To have Hope for tomorrow we need to trust and rest in God, allowing Him to take charge of each of our today's. Letting Him set the course before us directing our steps one at a time. I know this is challenging because sometimes life has us running around like race horses chomping at the bit ready to take off as if there were no tomorrow, but we cannot live our lives this way...chaotic and in circles. Instead, we need to be walking purposefully with God daily. He always has hold of you. Holding your hand. Never letting go, but if we are too busy clutching things that aren't meant for us to hold, then we're missing something pretty awesome...we're choosing things that can't do what a Mighty God can and will do and has done for us. Psalm 73:23 tells us very clearly what God does, "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand." How awesome is that?!
God has promised to give us perfect peace. We know that He holds true to all of His promises. We can be experiencing anxiousness, worry, concern, fear, guilt or whatever other baggage we choose to carry but when we surrender it to Him we can be assured that we will find rest, comfort, joy and peace as He lightens our load. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6 nasb
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3
I would like to end with this verse from Psalm 16:11 nkjv,
"You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Let's keep our focus on His Presence in the present so that we can "Learn from yesterday; Live for today; Hope for tomorrow."
Take Care & Be Blessed,
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I am a very social person. Outgoing and absolutely love being actively involved with others engaging in conversation, coffee dates or thrifting dates! Any time there is a Bible Study, a Women's event, or a club to join I am there. I can't get enough. Then this summer happened. I began noticing that God was doing a different kind of work in my heart. One that I had never experienced before.
When events were coming up, God spoke to my heart to say "No."
WHAT?!!....wait...WHAT?!! But, I've always done this! My friends, Lord! I want to learn more about You and do more for You...with my friends!! "Christy, say, No. Not right now" I didn't get it. But I did it. It was hard...extremely hard, but I did it.
More and more God began withdrawing me from...
you name it...anything that I invested far too much of my time in, including...you guessed it... friendships! He didn't sever ties to anything but withdrew me drastically from everything that I busied myself with that didn't allow for any time quiet time with God.
I felt so far removed that at one point I began feeling a potpourri of emotions such as - lowliness, broken-heartedness, crushed-in-spirit, isolation, feeling unseen, and forgotten. The strange thing about all of these emotions was that I never felt alone. Even though some of the emotions warrant singleness and aloneness I never felt that. I always felt God's presence. Now, hear me when I say this...I was not a quick study to catch on to this in the midst of it. It would be in the midst of a few of my pity parties that God would make His way through the crowd of ONE and raise my head to reveal His awesome Self to me. Imagine that! He was even there at my party!! My miserable party...He was there!
In my time set apart, I began digging more and more into God's Word and applying His Truth to my life. However, I was still experiencing these same emotions and my prayers consisted first, asking the infamous question of why? Then I began asking for me to understand His plan for these emotions I was experiencing with confusion and really without reason...I wasn't feeling sorry for myself and I hadn't been hurt by anyone. Later my prayers turned to surrender. To allow Him to use all of what I was feeling to do a work in me helping me to be sensitive to what He had for me to do...whatever that would be. When I embraced that I began to see what He was doing through and in me. God was preparing my heart for those He would bring across my path that were experiencing precisely what I was experiencing.
But why remove me from everything? Because all those things were my distractions. My world...my mind was filled with too much happenings...too much noise. Even with most of them being good and things for the Lord I busied myself so much so that I didn't leave any time or space for God Himself. I would not have taken the time to even notice that God was tugging on my heart string. It's so easy to fill myself with God things to overflowing that I left absolutely no room for God. He had to literally pour everything out from my life emptying myself to where all I had was Him.
I love how God works with me. It's not always pleasant at the time but He is always good and generous that He whispers, "Oh, child, hold on my dear. A beautiful thing is happening. I've got you. Let me hold you, sweet child." He not only does a work for some time but He also gives me a beautiful story that He gives me through the help of others that feed encouragement and Truth into my life through my life during my journey. Literally, their words tie in together a story that God has already been penning and we're just finally getting to see the picture.
Here's the beautiful story (analogy) of what I experienced...
Imagine a caterpillar
They are lowly, slow moving inching their way around. They may be vibrant in color but have guards out keeping others at a distance from seeing their true colors. They're considered obscure...not well-known; not known to most people. Like us, we put on what we want others to see when in reality we have these protective guards around us keeping others at a distance from truly knowing us. We sometimes feel obsolete, not well-known. We want people to like us so we worry about what others think.
We get so tired of living this way being pulled in so many directions. Going what seems for miles in one direction only to have to turn back around and go back miles more. Exhaustion. Overwhelmed. Overworked. Weary. Worn Out. Swamped. Defeated. Deflated. Discouraged. Disillusioned. These are just a few of the things that go along the route of my emotional and mental state when I was trying to do it all.
That's when God took action to one of my favorite verses, "Be still and know that I am God."
Envision this caterpillar finding the perfect set of leaves to wrap itself tightly in and hang upside down from a branch spinning itself a silky cocoon into a shiny chrysalis. Now, it waits. Psalm 27:14 says, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
That's what God did with me when He removed me from everything. He wrapped Himself around me that all I had was Him. When I stopped resisting His embrace...treating it as such and not as a straight jacket...I waited for the work that He was doing, the 'Intensely Hard yet Incredibly Beautiful' work that He was doing in my heart.
Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly. Amazing, isn't it. Something that once was so low to the ground covered with tiny little poky things that only inched itself around. Now, with time, embracing, transformation and waiting, look what that caterpillar became...
a vibrant, radiating, colorful beautiful creature that has been transformed to fly high to soar far from place to place from fragrant flower to fragrant flower.
God does not look at who you are, but what you can be. There is more than meets the eye. He values our development more than our comfort. He wants us to grow continuously. He believes in us and He encourages us. Sometimes this may mean taking us completely out of our comfort zone and removing us far from our social lives, like He did with me. It's not forever. It was just a short few months, and I am happy that He had me journey through this. Ask me at the start of this journey when I was a lowly caterpillar and I would have given you a different answer. No matter where you are in life, there is always hope because God is a God of HOPE! Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Hope is what saw me through. Hope is like oxygen to the soul. Clinging on to hope and trusting in God looking to Him each day with faith that He would give me precisely what I needed for that day and believing that He would do the same for me tomorrow...kept my hope alive.
Take away from this journey that I just traveled...
TAKE...MAKE...ACQUIRE...SET ASIDE...ASSUME...GET HOLD OF...CHOOSE...EMPLOY
I would like to share with you some other versions of Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." because I find it interesting some of the words that are used are exactly what I know the I very much struggle with.
CEV "Calm down and learn that I am God."
HCSB "Stop your fighting --and know that I am God."
NASB "Cease striving and know that I am God."
AMP "Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God."
CEB "That's enough! Now know that I am God."
TLB "Stand silent! Know that I am God!
Wow! What did you think? I really reverted back to childhood when I read the Common English Version. "That's Enough!" How many of you, like me, knew when your parents said those two words with the emphasis with an exclamation mark meant to immediately stop doing what I was doing...NOW! God is like a parent trying to settle His overactive child just long enough to climb up into His lap...enjoy time with Him feeling His loving embrace.
Did you notice that every single version reminded us to "Know that God is 'I AM." That's powerful. Far too often I tend to make Him smaller that who He truly is. He IS the Great I AM! He is GOD. I need to be still, calm down, cease my striving, stop my fighting, let be, stand silent and be in awe of who God is. He is I AM. He is Worthy. Worthy of my time. Who am I to not make time for the One who "created my inward parts; knitted me together in my mother's womb; remarkably and wonderfully making me." (Psalm 139:13-14) The Creator of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) God wants to be my Companion. My constant companion. I often am striving for others to hang out with, to do things with, to be BFF's with and so on, but God is patiently waiting saying, "Here AM I. I AM your faithful Companion, Christy. Will you turn to Me?"
I will make it a priority to carve out time for my God. To stop trying to take charge of my life and turn it over to the One who actually knows what He's doing! It's so easy to get short sighted. That's why when we see what we think is a mountain looming before us God calls us to 'Come to Him all who are weary and He will give us rest.' (Matthew 11:28) Sometimes our going to God requires us to retreat...meaning to take a few steps back to get a better focus...the ability to gauge at what is before us. Retreat is simply a place of privacy, refuge, pullback and a period of withdrawal. This gives us an opportunity for God to work within us to allow us to see that perhaps that mountain that we see is truly only a molehill that we can move forward in. He equips us. He strengthens us. God is able. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
I pray that you take time for God today. Even if it's just a moment. Enjoy His presence. His embrace. He loves you.
Take Care and Be Blessed,
Thursday, September 25, 2014
That on its own can perhaps make us a little apprehensive. Being called can look different in so many ways, yet has one meaning. Being called requires us to be obedient to that call in which Christ calls us. It also means that perhaps we are going to feel unqualified, uneasy as it has us getting out of our comfort zone and moving outward from where we most feel safe.
God calls many to do things that have us flying across the continent to serve in foreign countries...feeding the hungry at local missions...giving money to the person on the corner holding a cardboard sign...or simply smiling, making eye contact and carrying on a conversation with store clerks, waitresses and the like. Being called will look different for everyone but the call has one purpose and that is to Glorify God as we allow Him to work not only through us but in us.
I'd like to share with you a series of dreams that I had over two years ago as I was on a missions trip that left me questioning why God would have me go practically on the other side of the world doing what I did and then left me wondering about the people I was blessed to serve. Here's what I got...
Imagine, if you will. There's a large line of silhouetted individuals from all over the world...men, women and children. A silhouette of Jesus is standing across from the line of people in the distance. They are patiently waiting and holding in each of their hands an eye dropper with one drop of water in it. The land is parched. The ground hard, dry and cracking. No sign of life in the near-concreted soil to be seen anywhere. Jesus is waving both hands slowly gesturing those to come...He's calling them, one by one. He is continuously motioning for the individual in the front of the line to move forward. That individual steps up and squeezes the eyedropper dropping the single drop of water onto the parched land. That individual continues walking toward Jesus and moves on.
The water that was dropped, quickly gulped it without change. The next individual responds to Jesus' calling, steps up and drops their one water drop onto the same spot like the one previous. That individual also moves toward Jesus and moves on. Again, there was no change in the soil but that did not stop Jesus from calling and those individuals to listen, obey and step up dropping their single drop onto the same spot. For the one in the front of the line they can only see Jesus motioning them to move forward. The other individuals have the water that brings life but is waiting for Jesus to instruct them and call them to use it. This goes on for some time until something begins happening to the soil. The next individual that obediently steps up...dropping the single drop of water...gets the beautiful privilege of witnessing this change. As the drop lands on the once near-cemented ground it changes texture. It is now soft, tender and rich. It took the obedience of so many before that person to prepare the land before it reached the right amount of water that it needed before the change was noticeable. That person continues forward as Jesus continues to call them and moves on.
The next individual answers their calling and steps up to place their single water drop onto the now rich soil. The soil remains the same as the water is gingerly absorbed. That person moves toward Jesus after doing what they were called to do. This same process of being called by Jesus continues. Being obedient to that calling, doing what Christ asks, then moving forward in Jesus. Once again, an individual steps up drops the droplet of water and then a glorious site of a vibrant green sprout emerges from the enriched soil. It took many before this one individual to prepare the soil for what God was planting and to nourish what He has already planted before any signs of change appeared. Moving forward, the next individual has the opportunity to fulfill their calling as well by placing their droplet of water onto this wonderful new sign of life. This individual does and the sprout remains the same for the time being. On and on, many individuals do the same without change.
Through complete obedience to their calling, he next individual steps up and places their drop of water and the sprout amazingly and wonderfully grows into a sapling. It is beginning to grow upward to the marvelous sky. This same process of a droplet of water being dropped onto the soil in which this vibrant young sapling is growing happens until another branch appears...buds blossom into beautiful flowers creating amazingly sweet fruit...green leaves mature filling each branch with such lushness. Beautiful growth and formation is happening on the ever-growing tree because of the many who had been called to invest their water droplet and by the many who Christ will continue to call. Some may get the privilege of seeing change happen in their calling, while others do what's asked of them joyfully in the Name of Jesus while not getting to see the changes that are taking form but trust God for Him to complete the work.
As many called individuals step up to the tree and dropping their one drop of water onto it this tree holds its majesty, solidness, fruitfulness and is full of life. Here's where I come in. It's my turn to be in the front of the line. I see Jesus motioning me to come as He had will all the others before me, to step up and do what He has asked of me to do. I do. I take my place of where I was called and release that tiny drop of living water right at the base of the tree. I wait momentarily to see what affect my drop of water had on this beautiful tree. Wait a second more... Hmmm...
Jesus is still motioning for me to come toward Him. This is where I begin to wonder what good I did by placing that one little, tiny drop of water onto the already rich soil that was housing this majestic tree. What could that one little, tiny drop of water do to help this tree to continue its growth and blossoming?
Well, being the gal... who wants to know...what's happening and just how Jesus will do things, I... did not... move forward! I actually popped my hip out to one side placing my closed hand upon it ready to ask Jesus my questions that I wanted answers for. "So, God...how did this help the tree? Are there anymore fruit that happened to sprout way up high out of sight as I placed 'MY' drop of water onto the soil? Tell me, what do you plan to do from here? How else can I help? Do you want me to go grab some more water and come back to put more on the tree...because this little amount surely isn't enough?! What else can I do while I'm here? Can I prune some branches? Pick some weeds? Disc around the soil? Tell me, Jesus. I want to help."
As I was busy in asking all these humanly brilliant questions, I finally realized that leaves were beginning to fall. Fruit dropping ruined to the ground. The branches are now beginning to droop a bit. I turn around and see individuals still waiting...still waiting patiently and joyfully just being in God's presence. I turn back around and Jesus doesn't say anything but He continues motioning with His hands for me to move forward...toward Him. He wants me to move...He wants me to move without having answers!! Whaaat? But.... I wait a moment and gaze upon what used to be a vibrant flourishing, fruit producing green tree that is now this yellowish-brown with drooping branches and scarce fruit. I begin to see the soil hardening and that's when I realize that... I NEED to MOVE!!
I reluctantly move forward because surely this tree isn't losing life because of me. I came to help it. I begin to realize as I took small slow steps forward that in my staying too long in the place in which I was called, I was prohibiting others to see God's calling for them to deposit their life giving water upon the tree. The longer I remained asking questions and wanting to be of help, the more the tree was beginning to loose its life. I had already done what God had asked of me to do. Now I need to move forward in Him making room for the person behind me to step up to the tree and place their single drop of water upon the soil. When I finally move out of the way, the next person answers their call depositing their droplet and the tree begins to perk up, the dying leaves begin to fill with life again, fruit no longer dropping but instead holding strong upon the branches. The line of individuals begin to move yet again and the tree is cared for by each of their drops that they've deposited upon Christ's request.
This was the extent of the dream but not the meaning. Through much prayer and patience in waiting on the Lord to reveal to me what all this meant, I realized that God calls each and every one of us to go and do in His Name. When we do that we are being willing vessels used by God for a greater picture that He is revealing bit by bit in the life/lives in which we are serving. God has been present and working long before I ever show up. I'm just another piece of the puzzle in the Gigantic picture that He has created.
When I stopped at the tree like a spoiled little girl wanting explanation and future plans for which I had been called to be a part of, I was actually being a hindrance to what God was doing and with whom He was calling to do it. God doesn't need me to accomplish anything but I absolutely need Him to accomplish everything. He desires a relationship with me. In this relationship He wants to see me grow, to be humble, to love others and to be His representative with my actions. By me stopping and holding up the line I prevented others from doing what God desires for them to do in His Name, to grow in Him and show His love in their calling. We all have seasons in our lives. We are not meant to remain in one place without growth and growth requires us to branch out from where we are.
I had to come to the understanding that I may never get the privilege of seeing the impact or outcome in what God places upon my heart to do for others. I am a very tiny part to a much bigger picture...but my very tiny part is vital to the completion of the work God is doing. I must understand the reason behind I am doing what I am doing for others. I do it because God calls me to it, believes in me, equips me and wants to see me grow as I am obedient. He is working beautifully already and I want to be part of that, blessing others as His Love is magnified.
My mind must be checked constantly because I can find that I feel as if I were the creative one that came up with this wonderful idea to do this great thing for someone. In reality, it's God placing that upon my heart to do. He deserves the praise and all the glory. I can do nothing on my own. It is only through Him...His strength that I am capable of anything. My confidence must remain sin solely in Him.
Hebrews 10:35-36 HCSB says, "So don't throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God's will, you may receive what was promised." This encourages me because most times I will not have the honor of seeing what comes from God in which He has called me to do. But He does promise me that He will bless me in ways that I cannot even imagine. I have to tell you that in these past two years life has been challenging but I can say that in those challenges my family and I held on tightly to His Promises and have been greatly blessed in doing so. We have found favor when things seemed impossible...we've encountered graciousness with life when it was wound up tightly...peace in troubling times...and so, so much more.
I want to encourage each of you to really consider to what God is calling you. Are you seizing these opportunities? Do you recognize them in everyday life? Has He called you to a foreign place...either in Country or in a different area in your city? You, too, are a vital puzzle piece to what God is doing in the lives of others...will you allow Him to place you in the proper place?
1 Peter 4:10-11 HCSB says, "Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God's words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen."
I'd like to finish with 2 Peter 1:3-8 HCSB, "His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Take Care and Be Blessed,