Motivation for Long Days at Work

When I’m exhausted by the thought of putting one more second of time into producing something for someone else, to someone else’s standards, according to someone else’s timeline, I find encouragement in these verses.

I hope you do too.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

“Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

The boring parts of work don’t always leave us feeling fulfilled. The Lord calls us to un-glamorous, unexciting work.  Whether the bland parts of jobs, like shuffling through paperwork, or the blah parts of working through life like doing the dishes, quietly tending to our affairs is part of our testimony.

Work is an expression of creating and stewarding what the Lord has given us. It is part of sustaining and supporting the affairs that the Lord has made us responsible for. When we quietly mind our lives and care for what He’s given through work and ordinary tasks, we evidence how we value all the Lord has provided.

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Colossians 3:23

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”

In your heart, your work can be unto the Lord. It needn’t be for your boss that you do your work honestly and to the best of your ability. Rather, reflect the character of the Lord. God made man, and He is sovereign over the systems we live in. That includes the workplace.

1 Corinthians 15:58

“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Even work that seems in no way related to the Gospel can be used by the Lord for His good purpose. Sticking stamps on a stack of envelopes might just be a part of the work of the Lord today –and His work is never in vain.

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Psalm 90:17

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.”

You don’t have to figure out how refilling the copier’s ink can be made into a spiritual act. Your life’s work, surrendered to God and completed to glorify Him, is up to God to use as He will. Keep in mind that the work of your hands is part of God’s plans. He will establish it, He will cause it to bear fruit. He is faithful to us even in the little things, just as He calls us to be.

1 Corinthians 3:12-13

“…their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.”

Doing work lazily or half-heartedly without concern for doing it well catches up to you. God knows your heart, your ambitions, your motivations, and your true efforts. Do quality work. It will be tested, it will be shown for what it is. Let it be through and through “our utmost for His glory.”

{Originally posted on My Faith Radio}

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope, #DreamTogetherLinkup, #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #LiveFreeThursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

I’d love for you to guest post on First and Second! Especially for an upcoming series…more here.

Resting With A Yoke On

I’m one of those happy people who gets to work in my pajamas sometimes. My work, however, doesn’t involve sleeping. I have to be awake. More than that, I have to be thinking, communicating, and putting significant effort in if I’m going to do a good job. You too, huh?

Maybe I was just extra-ready for bed, but when I read the classic verse recently, the reference to “rest” made me laugh:

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” –Matthew 11:29

Who rests with a yoke on?

Worn by animals under the direction of their master as they labor, yokes are devices for steering oxen and other livestock through the process of completing their purpose. Biblically, people are referred to as being under the yoke of slavery to sin and the yoke of kings or oppressive nations.

Taking on Jesus’ yoke means we, as laborers for Christ, submit to Him as a master. Jesus tells us about what He’s like as a master: gentle and humble. He says His yoke teaches us. That certainly differs from other kinds of yokes used to burden or belittle.

But the idea of His yoke being restful?

Work isn’t restful- even for doers like me.

Of course, the plain text isn’t talking about sleep-rest. What Jesus refers to is “rest for your soul.”

Rest for the soul– that we actually do find when submitting to His yoke, as His laborers.

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Our lives are wrapped up in striving. We live by effort, working at this and that to create and fulfill until it’s time for what’s next. We work for money just to need to work for more money. Our goals are stepping stones to bigger goals. The mentality tends to be “make it count.”

Meanwhile, our souls are ever straining against the yokes of these masters. Our earthly masters don’t aim to fulfill us, but to be fulfilled.

Whether money, reputation, ambition, or meaning, our not-Christ masters and their yokes chaff against the truth of what God made us for: Him.

“That is why we labor and strive,” Paul explains to Timothy, “because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior” (1 Timothy 4:10.)

Do you want rest for your soul, rest for the soul weary from the striving to save you using money, fame, ambition, or anything else?

Put your hope in your Savior. You’ll put on His yoke. He’ll lead you without all the chaffing and straining against deadlines and expectations you weren’t made to meet. He’ll lead you in the way of perfect peace, a soul-restful path indeed.

 

Interested in guest posting on First And Second? Click HERE…new series on Sin Lies, looking for your thoughts!

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

 

Maybe God Doesn’t Want Your Best

We’re an ambitious bunch.

Reach for the stars. Be all you can be. Unlock your potential.

This fits with Scripture right? Let’s see…

Noah’s greatest aspiration…probably not building an ark against all reason to survive a deadly flood.

Job. Job was successful. He did great things. And He was a Godly man. Then God let Satan mess up His life and take away His earthly possessions, loved ones, and health.

But that’s the Old Testament.

In the New Testament we meet Peter. Expert fishermen. Based on His devotion to Jesus and his faith, we can be pretty sure Peter was seeking to live a good, godly life. He ended up persecuted, jailed, and using his fishing talents on people who largely didn’t want what he was offering.

Paul was kind of a big deal. He even wrote up a whole list of why he had every reason to brag and was all set up for major success in life- as a God-fearing man. Then He met Jesus. All appearances of success and Paul reaching his earthly potential went out the window. God even gave him a thorn in the side, keeping Him weak.

About those aspirations….

Maybe God doesn’t want your best because He wants His best for you.

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The Lord we serve can use anyone and any circumstance for good. He can be glorified by teachers, celebrities, CEOs, and housewives. He can also be glorified by failures, criminals, the bed-ridden, and the crippled.

Your ability to earn top dollar and desire to use the money for good doesn’t make being CEO God’s goal for you. Your inability to read well doesn’t mean God’s plans for you don’t involve using words to share His Word.

So often we try to reason through God’s plans for us instead of submitting to and following His.

We miss out when be doubt what He prepares for us to do is even better than what we are prepared to do.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10

What that means for you and I is this: focus less on what you believe you can be successful in and more on who He’s made you to be.

Interested in guest posting on First And Second? Click HERE…new series on Sin Lies, looking for your thoughts!

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

Equally Yoked Friendship

Ever participated in a three-legged race? Your leg is bound to a partner’s. Then, you’re supposed to run, together, to a destination.

I remember the terror of participating in this sort of for-bystanders’-amusement-only activity. The image in my mind is fresh: I was looking up at someone I didn’t know, who appeared larger than life, as they exclaimed “hang on!” Then I tasted dirt. My partner’s frustration at my lack of coordination and pace was all the more bitter to swallow.

I’ve been the friend unequally-yoked, dragged along by someone headed somewhere emphatically I wasn’t interested in or equipped to go to.

But I’ve also been the friend marching ahead, feeling as if I’m hauling dead weight…

Read the rest over at Becky’s My Ink Dance Blog.

I’m honored to be sharing words on her beautiful site!

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This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

Word of the Week: Works

Solomon declared that all of his works brought only vanity and vexation. He drew for us the conclusion that none of our works are meaningful under the sun. Later, He encourages us to enjoy what we do for God approves of those who fear Him and keep His commandments.

But in all this, Solomon wasn’t just talking about occupation.

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” –Ecclesiastes 2:11

In other translations, this verse is rendered without the word “works.” Some simply say “all that my hands had done.” Other translate “All of my activities.”

As Ashlee suggested in her guest post about trusting in a job, “works” can be defined as many things.

The definition of “works” in this context is a long list, including descriptors like:

  • Accomplishments
  • Achievements
  • Business
  • Arts
  • Activities
  • Actions
  • Labors
  • Practices
  • Yields
  • Things

Things is actually on there.

Our “works” are our “things.” They are what we do throughout our days.

Your “thing” of cleaning house?

Your “thing” of making others smile?

Your “thing” of mastering a lesson?

They all count.

Remember the famous, freeing words?

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9

The definition of works here is very similar.

None of the things we carry out on earth earn us meaning, worth, or eternal profit under the sun. Can’t earn those. That’s all the free gift of God in Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful for that. Because if I’m honest, it gets tiresome trying to build myself up creating some great profit or meaning out of the cleaning, the smiling, and the learning. These all have their role under the sun and they all have a place in my life.

But all the “more” I seek is found in Him. All the gain comes in Christ alone. Fearing Him and enjoying what he provides is enough.

So my works can just be things. They don’t have to be more than that. I don’t have to work on my works being more meaningful. What a relief!

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

In Jobs We Trust

{The ninth installment in the In ____We Trust Series}

Grateful to have Ashlee' Perry here today. A courageous writer and serious student of the Word, Ashlee humbly shares devotional posts and thought-provoking questions focused on Scriptural truth over at her blog, The Maze.

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No, I’m not talking about Steve Jobs here.

Our jobs are our primary source of income. With it, one is able to financially provide for the needs of one’s family, to buy necessities and pleasures of everyday life. Jobs are great, awesome, and the Bible specifically speaks and command us to work, because a laborer is worthy of his wages (1 Timothy 5:18) and if we don’t work, we won’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Working is a part of life, being commanded by God for us to do since the Creation and the Fall of mankind (Genesis 3: 17).

There’s nothing inherently wrong with work, but good things can also become our idols.

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Since May 2015, I have been in search for a full-time job. Although I love writing, and would one day hope to become a full-time writer, at this point in life, I know that isn’t possible. Every day for eight or nine hours, I alternate between job hunting and applying for jobs, which takes up most of the day, and exercising for breaks. With this day to day pattern, and with the constant reminders of the need of income looming around me, it’s hard not to obsess and idolize having a job.

When working becomes an idol, we begin to neglect the things God has stewarded us, placing that thing above God.

When you think of stewardship, most Christians think along the lines of money, but actually that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Stewardship goes far beyond giving money to a charity that you like, or volunteering for a weekend with underprivileged children. Biblical stewardship is our acknowledgment of the various gifts and talents that God has graciously given to us, and using them in such a way to give Him all the glory. With our jobs and time we spend with our jobs, how well are we being a steward?

When things are out of order, and when we have our priorities out of balance, work can become an idol.

We become neglectful of the things God has stewarded to us, to the extent that it becomes a detriment to us and those around us. God gives each of us certain talents and abilities, and when they’re used for things other than to glorify Him, our works become useless. In the words of Solomon, he states:

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:11

When God isn’t in the center of our business, our work, or our jobs, all those “good actions become completely futile. Stewardship without the presence of God is just good works.

Good Actions

By trusting in our jobs or talents over the One who gave us those skills, we’re in a sense demoting the power of God working in and through us. We’re creating for ourselves another “god” and placing it before the One True God. It’s easy to fall into this trap, whether it is with our jobs or personal life. We place our value and worth into those things, when actually, they can be swept away from us in any given moment. As Christians, our validity isn’t found in what we have or the job we possess. Our validity is found only in Christ.

Proverbs 16:3 gives strong words on what happens when our work is done to glorify God – our thoughts are established by Him. This isn’t saying that whatever we want, God will give it to us like a genie we make wishes to. I’m actually saying the opposite here – by submitting our will to God’s will, whatever He desires for us will be accomplished, for our good and for His glory. Our purpose isn’t defined by our job, title or position; it’s defined by our reverence and trust in God (Ecclesiastes 12: 13&14).

So, where does your trust lie?

Is your trust rested in the things that you possess and can obtain, namely your job, money, or resources, or does it rest in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross?

For the next few weeks, guests will be writing each Monday on something (or someone) we tend to trust in besides God. 

What about you? How do you fill in the blank: In ______ I Trust?

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

In Control We Trust

{The fifth installment in the In ____We Trust Series}

If I were in charge everything would be okay. People would do I want them to do, and since I generally care about some people, some people would be better off for it.

I would have everything I think I need, really hard stuff wouldn’t happen, and easier hard stuff I’d keep around to make myself sharp. I’d have no reason to worry and I’d feel fulfilled.

If I were in control.

That’s what I want to believe. More importantly, that’s what trusting in control has me assuming. Too often my life is based on that “if.”  I tell myself: If I were control, I’d have what I need to be okay.

But, control is a lie. It’s an illusion.

None of us are really sure what everything being okay would look like.

We can’t even a little bit grasp how to make everything okay for everyone at the same time. I’m even sure that we are incapable of consistently choosing the best for others, no matter how good our intentions may be.

There’s a reason for this: we’re sinners.

If we were in control, sin would be reigning. Because, let me repeat, we’re sinners in a world skewed by sin.

That we aren’t in control is actually a blessing.

in control we trust

What trusting in our own control really comes down to is trusting in an illusion instead of trusting in God. Illusions aren’t sustainable and can’t function fully. They are, at best, lies.

Proverbs 30:8 says:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”

The poverty and riches rejected here are examples of forms of control we are deceived by.

Isn’t it often in gaining riches of information, money, relationships, etc., that we believe we gain control over our lives?

But wisdom here is clear: these forms of control are elusive illusions.

We don’t actually need them. They can’t actually offer us fulfillment or make life okay. It doesn’t matter what we gain control over: it won’t be enough.

We do well to ask only for our daily bread.

To have only our daily bread is to have only what we really need to live well. Notice also that our daily bread is given. Specifically by the one who is in control of everything.

control

Seeking control over more than our portion is seeking to have something more than what God has given. This conveys that in our hearts, we don’t find God to be enough. Through this, we deny the reality of God’s perfect control over everything.

There are consequences for trusting in control, or anything we seek to gain apart from God’s giving. The rest of the verse reinforces this:

“Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’

Or I may become poor and steal,

and so dishonor the name of my God.”

-Proverbs 30:9

When we live in pursuit of a false power like control, we stop living in pursuit of the Lord. We’re deceived into believing that what we’re going to gain will be enough or will justify our sinful means.

But the “end,”or the “reward” of control, is disappointing.  

Because ultimately, trusting in control means trusting in ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I really disappoint myself when I get what I want. It’s crushing when at the end of all that toil, all I get is more of what I already have: worries, concerns, responsibilities, weaknesses, and sin.

That’s the stuff we’re made out of, folks.

Unless we’re stuffed full of Jesus. Unless He’s reigning on “our” thrones. Unless we recognize that when we fight Him for control we’re trying to take over a ship we don’t know how to steer. And don’t know the course for. Or the goal.

Take a breath and let it go. Thank Him that He knows where we’re going and how to get there. Thank Him that our daily bread is enough.

Praise Him that we don’t have to live by elusive illusion, but can live abundantly by faith.

Praise Him that He has got all of it under control, so we don’t have to. He guarantees it will all be more than good: it will be perfectly completed in Him!

For the next few weeks, guests will be writing each Monday on something (or someone) we tend to trust in besides God. 

What about you? How do you fill in the blank: In ______ I Trust?

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

He’s Got the Battle If We’ve Got the Praise- The Word Works Series

If there’s anyone I know who is comfortable being uncomfortable, it’s Christine. I mean that in the best way. She’s always bravely sharing about the gritty, not-so-fun parts of life on Precepts and Life Preservers. But she also always bluntly calls us to come with her, nearer to Christ, and to the comfort He provides while stretching and convicting us. Be blessed by her words today.

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Life likes to bring along impossible battles, doesn’t it?

They span a variety of things that threaten our very faith, and our very purpose. Or at least, that’s how it feels.

Infertility. Chronic illness. Job loss. Depression. Divorce. Natural disasters. Oppression around the world.

Maybe you were like me this week, needing to get through something and you felt ill-equipped. Like it loomed over you, solid and imposing and you gathered what little battle gear you have knowing the enemy rolled its eyes at how futile your little pile of armor was.

But sometimes we need to change our definition of armor, of doing battle. After all, we have a Mighty King who thrives on conquering the impossible.

The Father has me camped out in the book of Joshua lately, and the timing is no coincidence. Joshua faces the impossible. Like, major impossibility at every turn.

He’s supposed to fill the shoes of one of the most compelling leaders ever. He’s supposed to get an entire nation of people to a new land inhabited by a people so fierce that they stop the entire bulk of Israelites in their tracks and have them considering going back to captivity. He’s supposed to devise a way to scale massive sets of walls built one atop the other while facing an army of defenders.

Impenetrable.

Impossible.

I love when the Almighty directs us to His Word and places us right where we might witness His provision span thousands of years. The same Jericho-provision given Joshua lays waiting for us right now.

We stare up at our own personal Jericho and wonder the best way to assess it, approach it, scale it, win it, own it.

What gear do I need? What kind of armor is going to make a difference? What’s my big plan, Stan?

We worry, we get ready to pass out, we become frantic, we’ll take advice from anyone, we despair, we become stubborn.

Meanwhile, He waits to complete the provision He’s already said is ours, if we’ll just follow His instruction so that we might witness His glory in all its fullness.

He waits for us to heed His instruction. And He waits for us to let Him do battle while we step into our only role.

To praise Him.

Yep. We get to praise.

Our weapon is lifting our voices and hearts.

Our armor is the victory declaration of His Provision.

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Your Promised Land that looms large? He has said it’s always been ours. We just have to step into it.

“Be strong and of good courage… do not cower. Do not heed your fears. Take the land I have given you to possess.”

Joshua 1:6, 7

And how do we take the land?

We lift victory-praise. We surround, we encircle our Jericho with shouts of His mighty faithfulness and glory. We shout with everything in us that He’s got this. We march and shout and sing and trumpet His goodness until He reaches a mighty hand beneath our battle ground and with one shake reduces it to rubble.

“Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king, and its army. March around the city once, with all the armed men flanking the priests. Do this for six days. Have the seven priests carry trumpets of ram’s horns in front of the Ark of the Covenant. On the seventh day, march seven times around the city, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast, have the all the people give a long shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”
Joshua 6:2-5

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And do not for a moment think your praise will end your battle, beloved. Your praise itself does not bring your Jericho down.

Your praise is the proof that your God is about to bring your Jericho down!

“The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded all the people, ‘Shout!!! For the Lord has given you the city!”

-Joshua 6:16

He will reduce your Jericho, your battle, to rubble… to stepping stones that will take weary feet into the Promised Land.

How do we know we have this same promise?

The same hand that brought down Jericho is the same hand that shook Golgotha and rent the veil with His Son’s last breath. It’s the same hand that wrenched keys of death from our enemy and freed every captive. It’s the same hand that beckoned Christ from the tomb.

This is who faces our battles. That verse in 2 Chronicles 20:15 that says the battle is the Lord’s? It’s our truth for today, more so than ever.

Psalm 22:3 says the Lord inhabits the praises of His people.

Look at Acts 16 and see how praise created an opening for God to break shackles, open jail cells, even saved the jailer.

Psalm 149:5-9 says,

“Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them— this is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the LORD.”

So weary friend, unsure about the looming impossible…

He excels at impossible.

And He’s got the battle if we’ve got the praise.

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

He Must Increase- The Word Works Series!

Formerly a journalist, Lois approaches her blog, Waxing Gibbous, with facts. Facts about life, the facts of a story she is living, and the facts of who our Lord is and how He is working right now. She lives and writes truth, and I’m blessed to share this space with her today.
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When I was in my early 30s, I wrote a book about infertility. I worked on it during the long months after my husband and I ended our three-year effort to conceive and before we adopted our first daughter from China.

I believed then—as I still believe now—God’s promise to work all things for the good of those who love him, those who are called according to his purpose. So every chapter, which mostly focused on the spiritual and emotional aspects of infertility, flowed out of my desire not to let our struggles go to waste.

My book was published by a traditional Christian publisher in 2003. The business was different back then; huge numbers of social media followers were not necessary to secure a book contract because social media barely even existed.

I had no blog, no platform, no speaking career. I was simply a former journalist, wife and mom-to-be with some deeply held beliefs about how God uses our pain for his glory.

In the months after the book’s release, the publisher arranged for me to promote it on several national Christian television and radio programs. I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed this process—it was fun to be on the other side of the interview after so many years of working as a reporter.

After about a year, though, I received the phone call no author ever wants to receive.

The editor was very sorry, but the book hadn’t lived up to sales projections. As a result, the company was going to sell off the remaining inventory at a deeply discounted price and put the book out of print.

I was angry and embarrassed, but what I felt most at the time was bitter disappointment. I couldn’t believe that the project I had poured my heart and soul into would be snuffed out so soon.

For a while, I held on to an irrational hope that the editor would call me back and say the company had made a mistake—that the decision makers had changed their minds about putting my book out of print.

That call never came.

What did come, though, was a message from the Holy Spirit. A familiar scripture that made a new impression on me—shared as part of a Bible study I started on the very day the publisher called.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

(John 3:30)

These seven words were spoken by John the Baptist near the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, but in my heart, I knew they also were what one of my mentors would call a “right now word from God.”

In those disappointing days after my book went out of print, I sensed that my current season of influence—however small and short-lived it might have been—was over.

God wasn’t just ushering me off the stage,

He was guiding me out of the building completely.

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And somehow, John 3:30 helped me be OK with that.

I had no way of knowing that, in the years ahead, I would decrease so much I almost disappeared completely.

Soon thereafter, we moved to a new state where nobody knew about my writing background. Life was good in many ways, but the wilderness stretched long ahead of me. For several years, my words simply went away.

Years later, once the fog dissipated and the desert was mostly a memory, I started writing again. I took it slowly at first—with an article here and there, then a blog. Another book is in the works, but my past disappointment often hangs like a dark cloud over my current efforts.

One morning not too long ago, I read an article by a literary agent about the kind of platform that publishers require these days. It was discouraging, to say the least.

Forget being in the ballpark. I’m not even in the same universe.

Later that day, as I was thinking about what to write for this series, John 3:30 came to mind again.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

In God’s economy, it’s not about numbers, platform or audience.

It’s not about the logical, most obvious way that God can use our trials for his glory.

It’s not about us at all.

Is there a message in there for you today? There is for me, though I confess it doesn’t make much sense right now.

fulfill purpose

As I look to the future—to what I sense God is calling me to do, writing wise—the way forward is a bit murky. How it all fits in with God increasing and me decreasing, I’m not sure.

One thing is certain: While I need to do my part—even in the face of near-insurmountable odds—God will be the one who gives the increase.

At this point, only He knows what that might look like. But I do know it won’t happen unless I get to work.

So a promise and a prayer from scripture that I ran across several months after my editor called is giving me faith to take the next step, even when the next step is just to write another sentence.

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.

Lord, Your love is eternal;

do not abandon the work of your hands.”

(Psalm 138:8)

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

THE WORD WORKS

A simple “I love you” can take root in a person’s heart and change them. Hearing “I believe in you” or “you’re special” makes all the difference to children- and confident adults. Likewise, disparaging words can wreak havoc on anyone’s life.

Our words are powerful. How much more are His?

Over the centuries, people have used God’s Word for many powerful purposes. Some have seen it as a rule book. There are people who find it so unlike any other book that they won’t approach it without an intercessor. People have used it to punish, dehumanize, build up, excuse, justify, and permit any number of wrongs.

On the other hand, many have found God’s Word to be a valuable self-help book. It has been used in diverse and plentiful ways to teach morality. The Bible has informed cultures and governments. On a more personal level, it has been used to encourage and to build up.

But Scripture isn’t a tool for us to use and mold as we find convenient.

God’s Word- breathed by Him upon us- is alive and active.

His Word is at Work.

A weapon we wield, a light for our path, a refuge we run to, Scripture does more than work for us. God’s Word works in us. <<click to tweet>>

In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul thanks God:

“because, when you received the word of God…you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”

As Christians, the Holy Spirit uses the God-breathed Word to breathe new life into believers. His Word works in us to:

Equip us. Correct us. Teach us. Train us.

Guide us. Bless us. Grow us.

Free us. Transform us. Exhort us. Sustain us.

Flow through us.

(all those links are to Scripture- breathe it in!!)

We don’t always feel like God’s Word really works in our culture, our circumstances, or our lives. But He does- and it does.

I’ve experienced this in my own life and study of Scripture. I know many others have too.

For several upcoming Mondays, some wonderful bloggers will be sharing posts in this series reflecting on how God’s Word Works in their lives. Each Wednesday, I’ll reflect on a particular Word from His Word related to each blogger’s post.

We would love for you to join us as we praise the Lord and rejoice in His Work in our lives through the Word! 

Join in this multi-week series of bloggers sharing how God’s Word has worked in their lives! <<Click to Tweet>>

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.