“Be Productive because God is Productive”

“Be productive because God is productive” these words blinked at me in an early morning stare thanks to my computer. They were in the subject line of an email. On opening it there was nothing – just those 6 little power packed words staring back at me. Oh well, something glitched again. Ok… now what?

I went on with my morning, washing clothes, dishes, folding, packing, ordering meds from the pharmacy, reading email, checking FB, etc.

Didn’t think anything more until this afternoon. Yup, you are right I went back and checked it again to see if there was any change, a clue, something…. Nada.

Just those same six words staring at me.

So I have to do something, right?

Aaaaand, my brain goes into overdrive!

First discover the meaning, is it a request or a command?

A trick or genuine? A mistake or word from…..?

What do I do with it? Am I reading more into it than is meant?

My head is spinning!

In the end, I take it as a challenge- a word from God. He talks to me like this every now and then and I’ve discovered if I don’t listen, I’m usually sorry- for a long time.  

And…even though creation was a very long, long time ago… and I’m in the here and now, I’m pretty sure that God is still productive each and every day.

So if I’m supposed to be productive because He is productive, how is that going to happen, what must be done to accomplish it?

Does it mean I’m to be reading and sharing? Putting what I read into practice?

Does it mean I’m to be listening for the next instruction?

Does it mean that I’m to just go about my business and do my best?

Just what is that anyway?

I went out and found the post on the website that was connected to the email. And, I was right, this was a command to me! I have vacillated between “producing” something to sell on my website.

You know,t hat moment where the thought appears out of nowhere: “To commercialize or not to commercialize- that is the question!”

My husband’s first thought was: “Yes, commercialize” bring in some income. It’s honest work. You can do that.” My first thought was: “No, I can’t do that. It would be demeaning in some way to acquire funds from friends who read. And besides God wouldn’t want me to gain from discussing my life with Him.”

So I’ve been balancing on that pasture fence I’ve been on for some time. Maybe from fear, from disdain, or from the honest possibility that whatever I chose to do would flop in my face.

Now I pray.

Stay tuned. 

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17

Out in the Wilderness. Again?

Or have you never left it? 

We often perceive being out in the wilderness while on our journey here as a negative experience. We want to know: “How long?” “Why am I here?” “What is it I’m supposed to learn while I’m out here in this dry and thirsty land?” 

I’ve come to a new appreciation of that wasteland that usually makes me very sad, and stirs up hard memories. I learned something a short while back that was not new to me, but it was a seed that had not sprouted; nor do I think it would have while I was wandering in the wilderness.

I had the opportunity to sit and learn from Michael Card, the musician, at a Biblical Imagination Conference. If you are not familiar with him or his work, he wrote the Christmas song “Immanuel” and about 400 other songs.

At the conference, he taught from the Gospel of Mark. Part of our experience involved sitting down with the book of Mark in one hand and a highlighter in the other- seeing The Word.

I came away with knowledge that has been available to me since I was a child; but the seed had been fallow in the dusty crevices of my heart waiting for the rain of understanding. My eyes were opened. I focused. No glossing over the reading of the words one more time. Now I searched for specifics.

The one thing that kept leaping off the page at me is this:

When Jesus, in His man body, was overwhelmed by the crowds, the noise, the wants, the needs, the gimmes that people kept asking for- He left. ran away to the desert, the wilderness around Galilee, to the quiet and the space and the peace that it afforded as a respite.

He knew that being in the crowds and providing for their needs was necessary. However, the message He brought to them that would heal their hearts and minds was not what they sought. It was not Him, but the “WIFM” that brought them-“what’s in it for me?” that propelled them to seek him out. They wanted to see miracles, to be fed, to hear a famous prophet. They did not see the Messiah sitting in front of them.

At the end of Mark 1, Jesus healed a leper and told him not to tell anyone; but to go to the priest and fulfill the requirement of the law. Overjoyed at his healing, the leper runs off and tells everyone he meets-no one ever recovered from leprosy, but he has just been healed! Mark tells us what happened immediately after in verse 45: As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

The wilderness became His refuge.

Many times I have felt God’s hand heavy upon me when I felt I was sent out to the wilderness in my walk with Him for what I thought was for punishment or to a place where He sent me “to learn a lesson.” Immediately, Job comes to mind when I think about the wilderness. I feel Job’s pain, not the physical pain- but the hurting of his heart. I’ve been out there in that dustbowl of a wilderness, my heart in the same state as his- dry and devastated at what I’m going through. I’ve said words just like these:

“What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention, that you examine him every morning and test him every moment? Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant? If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.” Job 7:17-21

My experiences in the wilderness were quite bleak at the time. Yet Mark tells us Jesus willingly went back to the desert after just going through 40 days of being tempted by the devil out in that wilderness. Now I see that the wilderness is not my enemy. With new eyes I wonder if it was not for my protection and the preservation of my sanity instead of the isolation and destitution I felt. 

Have you been out to the lonely places, the desert, the wilderness? How do you see the wilderness? Is it bleak and imposing? Or has He shown you a refuge, a place of restoration, a time of preparation? What does it feel like when you are out there?

“He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.” Deuteronomy 8:15-16

 

Salt and Light Bloggers

 saltandlightbloggers

This is a new Facebook page linking many Christian women bloggers from around the world. There will be links to various blogs posted here that you may visit to your heart’s content.  Each day more and more will join to share their blogs via this page. Their life experiences are varied as are their blogs. They are young, old, married, single, stay at home moms, working women, homeschoolers, public schoolers, rich, poor. Some have many children, some have no children. They live in the city and they live in the country. Some are involved in church ministry or mission organizations. Some are women with a burden on their heart to share with others. 

You will find recipes, crafts, design, technical assistance, jewelry, organization helps, inspiration, encouragement, life stories and more! Through them all runs the same thread- they love the Lord and want to share what He has given them.  They have much to say and one or another will surely touch your heart (or maybe your pinterest pinky). 

Please visit them and be sure to comment after you’ve read, just to let them know that you stopped by. Feedback is important to let them know that others are reading their blogs. Your reactions shared with them will be iron sharpening iron. You will provide encouragement to their souls and you will be encouraged by their steadfast walk in all circumstances! 

Please share with your friends the links that touch your heart- consider them a gift from your heart to theirs. In this way we will all truly be Salt and Light.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:11-12

 

Five Minute Friday: Afraid

It’s 5-minute Friday again. The prompt for this week?

AFRAID.

I know! Even looking at the word invokes fear doesn’t it?

It’s interesting that even in scripture the implication is that it’s a state of being-not just a feeling. Encompassing all of us, our whole selves. Head to toe. Even our hair and skin freak out when fear arrives.

The Lord knows what feeble creatures we are. He tells us over and over “do not be afraid”, “fear not” and still- we cringe and shrink back and hope He doesn’t notice how afraid we are.  Fear can disrupt our lives and immobilize us.

I have discovered that being the age I am and the age that I will become as I continue down this path, succumbing to fear and living in that state of being afraid could overwhelm me like it does so many others as they age. However, I choose to move forward knowing that each step I take I am closer to the Throne of God. I have decided to trust that He knows best for me and that I do not have to be afraid. After all, He’s been teaching me that all my life.

When I was 3, the second bible verse I learned was: What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee Psalm 56:3.  (if you are curious, the first one I learned was: Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10. It was probably chosen intentionally for a room full of 3 year olds!)

And I think this sums it up perfectly:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11