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February 2008

January 2008

Comfort Zone

Comforting_midtone "Come, follow me," Jesus said....At once, they left their nets and followed him.

~Matthew 4:19-20

We are creatures of habit.  We create routines in our lives, and stick to them.  Sometimes we complain that we are bored, but in truth, we generally find these routines comforting.  We don't like change.  Sure, for a time, we enjoy new experiences, new surroundings, but then we long for the comforts of the familiar, the tried and true.

God, however, has a way of calling us out of the familiar.  He called Abraham out to a new land.  He called Moses and the Hebrews out of Egypt to the unfamiliar desert.  They resisted at every step.  They were out of their comfort zone.  But God knows that we will get stuck if we always cling to the safe and familiar.  He calls all of us to step out of our comfort zones, in faith.

I wish I could have the faith of Peter and Andrew, John and James to just drop my life and follow Jesus.  My husband and I are what you call 'risk adverse'.  We both know that you have to take risks to have breakthroughs and growth, but the future seems so unpredictable.  I can see that this is totally a lack of faith and trust on my part.  It would be easier too, if the Lord just laid out exactly what I should do to follow.  But then, that is also not His style.  He didn't give Moses advance notice of the escape plan, and that pesky Sea in the way.  Jesus rarely, if ever, told the disciples where they were headed next.  Trust and Obey, as the old hymn goes.

The times when I did trust and obey, it was mostly because I had reached the end of my rope and had no other choice.  The results were always marvelous - truly much better than I could ever have asked or imagined.  Still, here I am, so resistant to making those changes in my life that could yield even more amazing results -- for me and God's kingdom.

So, in tribute to expanding my comfort zone, I tried a new medium in my art.  The above is my first real foray into watercolors.  Watercolors are scary for me because they are more unpredictable.  With a pen or pencil, the line goes right where you put it, but watercolors and those brushes flow around.  Of course, that's also the benefit.

I recommend trying something new on a regular basis.  Try something that you are afraid of -- maybe not something dangerous, but something that makes you hesitate.  As we listen to God and learn to trust that new experiences won't 'kill' us, perhaps we can become more faithful in the bigger changes the Lord asks us to make.  And knowing Him, He'll be asking to shake things up any moment now!

Lord, help me hear your call on my life, and help me be ready to respond when I do.  Take my life, all of it, and mold it and shape it to do your work for your glory.  This I pray in the name of your son, Jesus, who was willing to follow you even unto death.  Amen.


Work for the Lord

My_work_here_is_done_big ...to accept his lot and be happy in his work -- this is a gift of God.

-Ecclesiastes 5:19

My husband just got back from the Mississippi Gulf Coast yesterday, where he and crew of church folk spent the week repairing homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina.  It shocked me that two years hence, there could still be so much work to do there, but alas, there is.  I heard that most insurance companies paid out a mere $19,000 for totally destroyed houses.  What's more, apparently, FEMA wants its trailers back, leaving residents only a few more months to repair or abandon their homes.

That aside, I considered what a blessing it is that good Christians, and others, from all over the country came, and are still coming to do the hard work of recovery in these areas.  Christians, especially, are called to care for others, and give of themselves. 

Work can be hard, even a drudgery sometimes, but at those moments, it's important to remember the verse from Colossians which reminds us that we are to work as if we are working for the Lord, because His watching us, and our ultimate reward is from Him.  I know that's what my hubby was thinking as he baked on the roof one day, only to watch fierce storms tear at his work the next.  Every bit of work we do here on earth stores up a treasure for us in Heaven.  Laundry, cleaning the toilet, mowing the law -- if done out of love for others, and for His glory, will gain us the appreciation in Heaven that we often lack here on earth.  So if you're overlooked for that raise, or someone else takes credit for your idea, remember that the only boss truly worth impressing is The Big Boss, The Man Upstairs.

Lord, help me to find joy in my labor, and to seek approval from You and not the world.  Let my work bring glory to You and Your Kingdom.  And let me show Your love to others by being a servant like your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.