Uncategorized

Leaving the Wilderness and Entering the Promised Land

 

For the Lord your God is bringing you in to a good land, a land in which you will eat with out scarcity, in which you will lack nothing- Deuteronomy 8:7

As soon as our plane landed in Seattle, I knew I wouldn’t like it there. It was dark and dank with a constant mist in the air that left me damp and cold. But it was where my husband got his first “real” job so we had to go. I grew up in southern California and then moved to Las Vegas in my teens, so I had known nothing but sunshine up to that point. Once we settled in, I realized how incredibly lonely I felt. Most days the weather matched my mood: dark, rainy and dismal. I felt trapped indoors. I was in the throes of parenting with a two year old and a baby on the way and no support system to speak of locally. My husband worked long hours. He left early in the morning when it was still dark, he came home after dark too-tired and worn out from the day. The commute for him was long but necessary due to the fact that we couldn’t afford anything close to his work.  The days for me were difficult and dragged on. I remember praying and begging God to get me out of there for four long years. But His answer was always ‘no.’ I didn’t understand it at the time, not even a little bit. But now, looking back, I can see all that God did inside of me during those dark years.

I think of that season now like my own wilderness experience. Much like the Israelites who were rescued from slavery only to find themselves wandering the desert for forty years, facing confusion, fear and scarcity. We not only were lacking financially but relationally and spiritually as well. During those wilderness years God was not only humbling me, but testing me, and most importantly, teaching me to rely solely on Him and His word. Would He be enough for me during those hard times? Would I doubt His goodness or faithfulness or His ability to help? Or would I stay faithful to Him and obey Him even when I was disappointed and confused.

The sooner that we learn the lessons that God is trying to teach us, the sooner we can move from the wilderness in to the promised land.

Finally, after four long years of being miserable, I decided to embrace where I lived. I accepted it.  I surrendered my need to move away from the gloom and embraced my place completely. I began to serve in multiple ministries and cultivated real friendships.  I started to focus on all that we had instead of all that we lacked. I had a change of heart towards God, choosing to believe that His plans were better than mine and that He could be trusted. One year later, a miracle happened. Just like that, my husband was given a new job opportunity that required a move to the sunny state of Arizona.

All along I thought I was waiting on God but it turns out He was really waiting on me. Waiting on me to learn the lessons that I so desperately needed to learn.

Maybe today you feel like you’re in a wilderness season. A season of fear or scarcity that you can’t seem to break free from. If you can relate, let me encourage you that a new day is coming. God will lead you to your promised land. Whatever that may be for you, a land of abundance. A land where dreams come true and relationships are rich. If you’re in a wilderness season right now, hang on! Don’t give up. Do your best to embrace the place and season that you are in. Keep trusting that God is good. After all, you are called to the place that He has you in. We may not like the place that He has us but we can serve God anywhere. There are always needs to be met and people to help if we only take our eyes off of ourselves and look around us.

 

Christianity

Use Your Talents and Doors Will Open

His master said to him, well done, you upright and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy which your master enjoys- Matthew 25:21

Have you ever wondered if what you have to offer is enough? If your gifts and talents are of any value to anybody at all? Maybe, like me, you don’t feel all that talented. Even if you feel less than, I promise you that you do in fact have talents and abilities. God created each and every person full of potential and you are here on earth for a reason. You matter!

When I look at the parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25,  it encourages me that even though I may not feel like I have much to offer and am scared to risk offering what I do have, God can take what I give Him and multiply it to use for the good of others and for His glory.

The parable in Matthew 25:14-35 is about a master who leaves talents (money) to his servants while he is away. He expects his servants to invest the talents so that the master will get a return on his money. The master gives one man five talents and that man invested them and made five more talents, doubling what his master had given him. He gives another man two talents, that man also invested and gained two additional talents, doubling his money as well. But the last man was only given one talent and he was afraid of losing it so he buried the talent in the ground thinking it would be better to keep it safe than to invest it and loose it all.

So often we can do the very same thing with our gifts and talents. We become paralyzed by fear. What will people think? What if I’m not good enough? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I fail? So we hide our talents away for nobody to see or enjoy. If you don’t use what you have, you are guaranteed to receive nothing in return. If you do use your talents, you will most definitely gain more. I don’t know about you, but I would rather do my best to work with what I’ve got than never try at all and be guaranteed to get nothing in return.

If we are faithful to develop the potential that we have, God can take what we offer, no matter how small it may seem, and multiply it in such a way that we get a return on all that we had invested.  When we are faithful with what we do have, God will be faithful to give us what we don’t have. More opportunities, more resources, more talent and more skill. It is our responsibility to steward what we have well and use our abilities to serve others and better society.

My question for you is, are you using the talents that you have? Are you working to develop your potential? Gifts and talents are like a muscle, we need to work at them to develop them. What talent can you give to God as an offering so that the Holy Spirit can take what you have given and multiply it. He will bless you with more when you use what you have.