Christian Life

We Are God’s Artwork, His Artists

A friend gave me the book, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman.

The term art is painted with broad strokes. Freeman’s scripture-based premise is that we are God’s image-bearers, his artwork, and as such, it’s our task, our privilege, our terror, to find and live the individual artistry God has placed in each of us for His glory and the benefit of others. Everyone—even Dorothy, “the meek and small,” as she describes herself to Oz, The Great and Terrible—is God’s artist.

I’ve just started the book, but here’s a sentence that stopped me in my thought-tracks:

We’re desperately afraid of desire, terrified that if we consider for too long what we most deeply want, we will be confused about which desires come from us, which ones come from God, and how to tell the difference.

Bull’s-eye!

Daring to dream is God-given. And not following those dreams might be a waste of one’s purpose at best and disobedient at worst!

This same friend once said, “Are we going to be accountable for our unopened gifts?” Hmm.

I’ve known that God made me me for a reason: allowed me to develop certain interests, skills, and passions. Freeman gives us a gentle nudge, or kick in the pants, in the direction of doing something about it.

All right then—ready, set, GROW.

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Categories: Christian Life, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

“There’s No Place Like Home”

How do the ruby slippers relate to God? Follow this yellow brick road with me, and you’ll see.

ruby slippers on the yellow brick road“There’s no place like home.”

For years I’ve said that if I clicked my ruby slippers, I’d end up in the Highlands of Scotland. To me that’s meant that I absolutely love it there—feel at home—long to be there.

Home is where the heart is. One of those trite, but true sayings.

We think of our heart as the seat or expression of our emotions. Really, our heart is what we think, since thinking drives our behavior. Our emotions are then a byproduct of thinking and behavior. In other words, our heart is what we think, where we put our attention.

When you think of home, do you think of a place, people—where you live? The Bible makes numerous references to “home” as a person’s dwelling place.

Here’s another definition of home as a noun: a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.

But the definition I like best is of  “to home in on”: return by instinct to its territory after leaving it, move or be aimed toward (a target or destination) with great accuracy, focus attention on.ruby slippers

Now we’re getting to God. When my attention is off of God, when my mind wanders in the world, takes the wrong turn on the yellow brick road—I’m lost—homesick. I don’t care what it is that pulls me away, I’m still pulled away. Not home.

To be at home with God I picture being in Mary’s place, sitting at Jesus’s feet. When Martha complains to the Lord about her sister, Jesus responds: “Martha, Martha,” (or insert your own name) the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41,42) Mary is focussing her attention on Jesus.

photoThese are my ruby slippers. My granddaughter gave them to me for Christmas. I squealed with delight when I opened her gift. But I have to keep the slippers in my closet because one of my cats likes to kick-fight with them, and I’m afraid the slippers will lose. Every time I look at my ruby slippers I think of Home. “There’s no place like home.”

Worshipping the Lord, paying attention to Him, thinking about Him, aiming toward Him. That’s Home.

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If Martha Had an Open-Plan Kitchen

If Martha had an open-plan kitchen she would’t have missed out on what Jesus was teaching; she might not have whined about Mary not helping her, and Jesus might not have chided Martha that Mary did the better thing, (Luke 10:38-42). And we might have missed that lesson from the Lord.

This silly thought occurred to me when friends were visiting. Sunday morning we had church at home. The dad of the visiting family was giving a little homily to his kids. I was puttering away in the kitchen, making waffles for brunch. I enjoyed doing both: serving our guests by cooking and listening to the Word of God.

Martha, Lazarus’s sister, must have just been having a grouchy day when Jesus was in her home, because we later see her to be a woman of great faith. Whatever the reason, the Lord knew what was in her heart and used the opportunity to teach and encourage her.

Here’s Martha meeting the Lord after Lazarus has died, John 11:20-27:

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Martha trusted Jesus completely. 

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“…Pray…and Heal Their Land.”

“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
This passage made a jaw-dropping impression on me when I took Henry Blackaby‘s Experiencing God course. “Called by My name”!—exclamation point mine. What greater privilege could there possibly be?

An octogenarian friend said that what helped her memorize the verse was to think alphabetically: humble themselves, pray, seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways.

Second Chronicles 7:14 is one of those pesky “if…then” verses. “…then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Pray for the people of the Arabian Peninsula!—exclamation point God’s.

The other knock-you-between-the-eyes thing I got from Blackaby was, “Look what God is doing and join Him.”

Okay, we did. It’s too long a story, but joining Him meant that my husband and I got involved in work that on occasion puts us in these very hot, desert countries–and we’re not hot weather people! The very short of it is that it has been an extraordinary experience.

“The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9  If you want to see what God is doing in the Arabian Peninsula read Reema Goode’s Which None Can Shut and follow her blog where she keeps the reader up to date with wit and wisdom.

On my last trip I met some local people through friends. When I left, I was given gifts by the women of the family—tokens of hospitality. It was a gift seeing the genuine trust and affection between my friends and this local family.

It may be hot and dry in the Arabian Peninsula, seemingly not fit for man nor beast, but it’s not a Godforsaken land. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that.

Here’s a link to a website: Praying Through the Arabian PeninsulaLook what God is doing and join Him.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
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Pray for the People of the Arabian Peninsula

     Cristine Eastin © 2012
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Buck Up, Little Camper

We all need encouragement now and then. I think this seldom-used, maybe archaic phrase is so cute. “Buck up, little camper.” I picture a little kid getting a parental chuck under the chin. The kid’s lower lip pulls back in place, and parent and child smile warmly at each other. “Now run along and play,” says the parent.

This picture of grandpa and grandchild that I took in Mevagissey, Cornwall, England, has that sweetness about it. (Hurray for telephoto lenses.)

Today I read Christian author Jan Watson‘s blog. She talked about “recharging” in God’s Word when your battery’s low.

Here’s the verse I’ve been plugged into lately, reading it over and over—Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I relax when I get to “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I’m reminded that I can’t get there myself and therefore don’t have to. Ah, what a thirst-quenching drink.

Then, since we are what we think, I repeat “trust, joy, peace, hope” to drill those words into my thinking and thence into my doing.

But what do you do when you’re too tired to even drag yourself to the well? Tired unto tired out. No self-condemnation, no despair. Lift your chin toward your heavenly Father for that encouraging, “Buck up, little camper.” And lean your tired head into the Father’s hand and rest.

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BTW—to you women who love Christian historical fiction, you MUST read Jan Watson. Her series starts with Troublesome Creek. Jan is clearly anointed to write for us.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
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