Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sowing and Doing for God

Where to begin? As I was reading a devotional this morning that moved me to pieces, I felt the Lord saying "you have to tell your story". I had every intention of sharing this story with my small group. However, I felt a tug saying "No, share it with more. Write about it; write about Me." Oh, Lord in Heaven, what honor and privilege to write about YOU. Fighting back the tears, I am now writing, literally without a clue as to how this will be formulated.

Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. Isaiah 30:8

Then they said to Jeremiah, "May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the LORD your God sends you to tell us. Jeremiah 42:5

I've been involved in a small group from church for almost two years. I began sharing the responsibility of leading the study with our group leader last spring, knowing that she was leaving the group and I would take the reigns with another lady as co-leaders. In August I found out I would be leading solo. Whoa. Leading, coordinating host homes, organizing, solo. Whoa, Lord. I didn't sign up for that. I didn't sign on the dotted line for that. Surely my name was forged. Are You sure, Lord? Do you remember whom You are asking, here? Remember, me little ol' Paula. Did You maybe get my 'file' mixed up with someone else's? I was hoping to be able to sit back and listen without the responsibility of leading and preparing every other week. I was looking forward to the flexibility of not taking my turn on a week I didn't feel well. I wasn't looking for this responsibility and pressure. But, I trust You, Lord. You had to deal this card this way for a reason and I need to play it, for You. I think I need this accountability. I don't need an "escape clause". I need the discipline and to be held be moved out of my comfort zone and for God to transform my discomfort into a passionate desire.

I digress. So, last week at group we started a new study. It was our first meeting in three months since we broke for the summer. It was "my" was God's group placed in "my" hands and "my" care. It was the first of many firsts. We had a small attendance of five and had the flexibility to get off track a little. The author was questioning herself and one of the things she was questioning was when was the last time she had led someone to Christ. In this list of questions she was proposing to herself, she asked if we could relate to any of them. There were about six or so and I could relate to a few of them, including this one. I admitted to the group, and now to the world, that I don't know that I've ever led anyone to Christ. Correct that...I said I've never led anyone in the sinner's prayer or shared the Roman's road. They piped in and said "oh no, you are a witness by how you live." I said, yes, I hope I am but that I feel guilty for never walking that Roman's road with someone and seeing him/her encounter and accept Jesus Christ.

We shared how we can plant many seeds just by our conversations with others and we are not to be the one that does it all: plant it, water it, tend it, and grow it. I confessed guilt over not planting more seeds in a more direct way pointing to God in my conversations. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8

There is one lady I had on my mind that evening. Someone I enjoy very much and think of very highly. I expressed how she's been going through some stress at work and I wanted to share my faith in one of those plantings of seeds. Something as simple as praying for her and telling her so. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 1 Corinthians 15:37

Monday afternoon I emailed her expressing my heart and allowing God to do with my expression whatever He chooses.

"I have been praying for you. I’ve been asking God to cover you with peace and assurance and that you will have whatever you personally need to get through this glowing. I know you have been on edge and nervous about this. I have been praying all your nerves will be settled and you sail through this calm at heart."

On Tuesday afternoon, she said "I printed your email." With the stress, drama, and chaos of the day, I wasn't following what she meant and which email she meant as we exchange them regularly. The light bulb went off and I exclaimed "oh." She said she had it laying on the table with her the whole time. The expression on my face must've been 'deer in the headlights' because I couldn't believe it. I think I said, "really?" She continued to say she glanced at it and read it several times during the situation. She said it was very encouraging and she felt herself calm. It seemed to have meant a lot to her...more than I ever dreamed.

Are you serious? Get out of here? I couldn't have made that kind of impact with that small gesture. I'm still in 'shock' and surprised by it. It was just my heart. I had been praying for her. I did care for her state of mind and the calmness of her heart. Like I said, she is one great person and awesome at what she does.

What if I had not done that? What if I had not sent that email? What if that small act, that small seed didn't come to mind during group? Would it really have made a big difference to not do it? I think so. I may never know what that seed will form. [1 Cor. 15:37 above] But, I do know I followed what I believe to be God's quiet (very quiet) voice and His gentle nudging. I only pray He continues to keep my mind sharp and bright, open to more opportunities for some seed plantin'. Show me Lord where to sow Your seeds. Show me to sow.

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. Ecclesiastes 11:6.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6

Yes, Lord, let us sow generously not for the goal of reaping generously for ourselves but that we would reap generously with eternal matters.

A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. Galatians 5:9
A little faith. A little seed. A little sowing.

Do you have some seeds that need released? Do you have some sowing that needs to be done?

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Picture is of my gorgeous petunias; one of the few annuals I buy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Dead Will Rise

About a month ago I took my 117th trip to Lowe's since April (due to my new home). Granted Lowe's calls my name more due to the yard than the actual home. I've re-done every flower bed with new mulch and with every bed being edged with stones. Many trips to buy only manageable amounts loaded into my small SUV.

If you are like me, every trip to Lowe's means just a quick peak to peruse the garden center's flowers. Just a peak to see if there's anything new. Are ya with me? Is anyone hearing me on this?

Well on this 117th trip I was legitimately in the garden center getting more stones and mulch. I passed a clearance cart. Coreopsis. What? Why are those on sale? They look great, still green, and the buds hadn't bloomed yet. Being a perennial they were $4.98 instead of $6.98. I already had one and love it as it continually blooms with small brilliant yellow flowers. [They are still yellow in my front bed.]

So I purchased two. I planted one in the back where there was already a hole waiting to be filled. The other one resided on the front porch temporarily. I knew where I wanted it in the front bed, viewable from the street. I am really not sure why I moved so slowly to plant it. I was faithful to remember to water it on the porch in its original container. I was faithful. Until...we had many days of heat and no rain. And, I was busy pulling crabgrass (a weed) from the back yard, and planting grass seed. That required attention and water. Yet, my sweet little cory sat alone and unattended.

Opening the front door to finally water it, I found it crying to me "why did you let me die?" I stewed over it for awhile, mad at myself for letting it go. I thought that's five dollars. I just wasted five dollars. Five dollars, I tell ya. Yet, I'll use a coupon to get a dollar off an item. Oh well, lesson learned...don't buy until ready to plant. I was over it and accepted my waste.

Being that this week is compost (yard waste) pick up, I went to the front porch to retrieve my dead coreopsis. It was time to accept that cory had to go to the its new home and be recycled into compost. I was going to dump the whole thing, minus the container, into my yard bag. Imagine my surprise when I see little new sprouts at the base. Wow. I was awed. I was going to cut the tops so baby cory had room to grow and flourish. Wait. I have to photo this. Wait. I have to write about this. What? Bore my precious peeps with this? Yes, stay with me. You know I always have a point, even if long-winded

I had been working in the yard prior to this and I was searching for something to write--opening my mind to let God show me. I had something and began formulating it in my head. Soon after is when I found the dead rising. My original topic had escaped my memory.

As soon as I saw my plant I said (to myself, quietly) "and the dead will rise." This plant is much like our lives and our salvation experience. We die to our self, our old life, and then we rise in new life and new birth in Christ. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:33

When this title came to me, I thought of what God can do with anything dead or dying. Immediately to mind was Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. I've referenced this miraculous event of Jesus' many times over the last two years. Jesus made it very apparent that He did not want to heal a sick man but wanted to raise a dead man. We know Christ had the power to do so and to also get to Lazarus sooner than four days. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." John 11:14-15

Many things that are dead, or dying, He can raise and breathe life into:
♥ dead homes (families)
♥ dead relationships
♥ dead spirits
♥ dead ministries
♥ dead bodies
♥ dead opportunities
♥ dead jobs
♥ dead marriages
♥ dead hearts
♥ dead faith

He can resurrect the dead and bring life unimagined. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" John 11:40

Do you think that maybe the power, mentioned in Ephesians 3:20, is partly our believing, mentioned in John 11:40? There is much to be said about our believing or doubting. There is power in believing. There are many accounts of where those 'dying' with ailments rise with health and life because of faith and believing. For a refresher on some of those, read
Master's Touch, Our Faith.

Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." Luke 17:19

All things are possible with God. Mark 10:27
That includes all resurrections being possible.

Nothing is truly dead with His power of life around the corner, is it?!

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

Picture is of the dead Coreopsis rising.