What Do You Have in the House?

In II Kings 4, a widow approached Elisha for help and he asked her an odd question, “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” All she had was a jar of oil, but God used that jar of oil to work a mighty miracle. We humans tend to overlook what God has already given us, considering it to be “not enough.” Her oil was definitely not enough – until God touched it.

If you read yesterday’s review of Priscilla Shirer’s devotional, Awaken, it shouldn’t surprise you that the following thoughts were triggered by Day 2. And of course I had to apply them to me.

Experiencing the Bible is my jar. The oil is the gift of words and my joy in them (especially my joy in THE Word).

I’d begun a much simpler version of the book years ago. I kept putting it down, and God kept bringing me back to it. This year, I finally finished and published it. I asked God about marketing, but He told me not to worry about it. The point, at that time, truly was obedience.

Then, on October 1st, my husband passed away, taking his income with him, and suddenly I was the widow going to God saying, “I can’t do this on my own. I have to have Your help!” He pointed to the “jar on the shelf” and told me to get started. He has truly been my ever-present help in recent months, supplying my needs in consistently miraculous ways, but He’s also kept me moving forward with a vision that has grown far beyond anything I’d imagined.

In the midst of this my son, who owns Pixel Drip Studio, offered to create a full website to replace this simple blog. That started a conversation, and plans, and ideas that triggered a lot of action. So here I am, pouring out the oil. To the print book, I added first an ebook and then a journal. I’m already looking to the next book…actually, the next two. I’m also studying marketing, newsletters, social media and more.

God gives us all gifts, talents, and abilities, providing us with “jars of oil.” Then it’s up to us to pour out the oil and sell it for a profit. It took the widow time, effort, and humility to go borrow all those vessels from her neighbors and then fill them. Too, it generally requires the help of others, both her neighbors and her son in her case, and my son…both of them actually…in mine.

It can also take walking in obedience in advance. Had I not finished Experiencing the Bible when God told me to, it wouldn’t have been sitting on the shelf when I needed it.

So I’ll repeat Priscilla’s question from Day 2. What are some of the “jars of oil” you might be overlooking right now that He’s already provided?

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Back in the Saddle?

I wish I didn’t have to put a question mark on this title, but life is an odd thing. It can throw you.

In many ways, things have been intense since Jack passed away and I entered widowhood. I spent weeks working on the apartment, adapting it to me-only living, and then I spent weeks going through decades worth of records and papers and…stuff. Losing my husband made me acutely aware of what my kids would be dealing with if something were to happen to me, so I set about ensuring that transition would be as easy as possible. Just today I put the finish to the last piece of the puzzle: The Book. It contains pretty much every legal and informational paper they might need at my passing. Except all my passwords. I do need to work on that.

All that to say this. As of now, with that last task complete, I feel like my brain is my own again. (Happy Birthday to me!) Starting today, Son #2 (Owner of pixeldripstudio.com) has begun planning a new website for me, one that will help me do so much more than simply blog, and it’s got me excited and fired up all over again. We’ve been talking style and options and possibilities, and I’m thinking in terms of articles and blog posts and freebies…

I’m also working on converting Experiencing the Bible to ebook format. It’s a challenge for two reasons.
1. While I read ebooks all the time I’ve never learned about their formatting. (I am now!)
2. Part of the print book’s power is the built-in journal. I have to do a bit of rewriting and adjusting to compensate. It won’t be a huge deal for the reader; they’ll just want to invest in a journal to write in. Maybe I’ll even create a matching one myself? Maybe.

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’m back in the saddle and back at work. And it feels GOOD.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Love What You Do

Photo credit Barry Hatch
Photo credit Barry Hatch

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
–Steve Jobs

Meditations: Ephesians 4:1b

Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

Ephesians 4:1b

…walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.

This verse speaks to each of us. We are called to the body of Christ. We are called into a specific church. We are called to a ministry or ministries. God does nothing without purpose. He would not place me in a body without calling me to be an active part of that body. Indeed, Eph 4:16 says that we are to be as parts of a physical body, actively working, fulfilling our purposes so that all of the body’s needs are supplied.

So the question is not, “Am I called?” but rather, “Where am I called?” I am to seek the answer to that question and, having found it, I am to walk worthy of that calling.

But what does it mean to walk worthy? Perhaps the obvious answer is that I am, whenever I am in my place of ministry, to fill that place with godly excellence. Yet I am convinced that the intent here is the accomplishment of something far greater.

Consider the very phrase “walk worthy.” When I see these words I immediately think of God’s admonishment to us to teach our children as we “walk by the way” (Deut 6:7). In fact, the New International Version of the Bible expresses it in just this way. “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” It goes on, of course, to expound upon what this type of living entails.

So in truth I am to walk worthy of the calling at all times. As I walk into the grocery store, I am to walk as one who knows she has the call of God on her life. As I walk into the post office, I am to remember who I represent and walk worthy of His name. For years, I was called to demonstrate godly excellence in the choir loft, doing all in my power to become the best choir member I could be, but I am to demonstrate that same godly excellence in all I do…and that same godly attitude too!

And, too, this truth applies to all the callings God has placed upon my life. I am to walk worthy of my calling as wife, as mother, as blogger, as friend…

Though it might seem nice on occasion to set aside the label “Christian” and let self have its own way, I do not have that right. Even if I had no other call on my life, I have the highest call – that of a child of God – and above all else I must not fail to walk worthy of that calling.

And here is yet another thought. I had already finished this segment when I went back, reread the verse, and saw something more. (This is a common thing when meditating upon God’s Word!) We are commanded to walk worthy of the calling with which we were called. Actually, even as I type, I see even more in the two words – THE CALLING.

First, we are called with a specific calling. I am not to walk worthy of someone else’s calling, but rather am to walk worthy of my own. My flesh may declare that it wants to work in the Children’s Church, thinking this would be a fun place to serve, but if God has called me to work in the nursery instead, I would be walking in disobedience if I headed in a Children’s Churchly direction. Since disobedience is sin…

But the thought that really stopped me in my tracks is this one. With what calling am I called? If I were called with the President’s calling – that is, if the President of the United States were to call on me to do something – I would not only do it, but would undoubtedly do it to the very best of my ability. There is no way I would even consider giving the President of the United States anything less than work of the highest quality! But we are not called with the President’s calling. No, we are not called with any mere man’s calling, but rather we are called with GOD’s calling. How is it, then, that we too often offer Him second or even third best…or nothing at all? Do we consider Him to be less important than the President? Do we subconsciously take advantage of His quickness to forgive? Do we find that, since we can’t see Him with our physical eyes, it is easier to ignore the fact that He is there and waiting for us to move, waiting for us to do (and do well) what He has called us to do?

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:7)

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C