Saturday, February 9, 2013

Called to Create

Exodus 35:30-36:1—And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship. And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works. And Bezaele and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the Lord has commanded.”

Have you ever stopped to consider that creativity is a calling? In the above passage from Exodus, it clearly states that being creative is a calling. God called Bezalel by name in order to create all the parts and pieces to furnish the Tabernacle of Meeting, as well as the garments the priests would wear as they carried out their service to the Lord. And not only was Bezalel called, but he was filled. Filled with the Spirit of God, as well as wisdom, understanding, and knowledge in his craft. God had very specific plans for the building of the Tabernacle, and He gifted certain artistic people with the abilities to be able to build and create all the pieces required for it.

God still has important plans today, and He has called each of us, no matter our gifts or talents, to help. He has commissioned each of us to preach the gospel to all nations. For the creative folks of the world, maybe that seems like a stretch. It really isn’t. God did not create all of us to be preachers or missionaries, at least not in the strictest sense of the word. Most of us will never stand in the pulpit of our church or travel to foreign lands to preach. But we are all called to share God’s truth with those we come in contact with, using the tools He has given us. For the artistic among us, we are called to use our creative gifts to carry out God’s commission. Now don’t panic. He has called you by name. And just as He gifted Bezalel in Exodus with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of his craft, God will also, through His Spirit, gift you with what you need to carry out your specific calling. It is God’s divine desire for you to create, whether your artistic bent is music, sculpture, thought-provoking words, acting, or any other imaginative endeavor. God has called you, gifted you, and is asking for you to become still before Him so He can show you precisely how to carry out the calling He’s placed on your life. Are you ready to rise to the occasion?

What do you feel God is asking you to do, and what steps will you need to follow to carry it out?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Master Of Dreams

The more often I read it, the more I fall in love with the Old Testament story of Joseph. What a heart he had, to endure all he did without a single gripe or complaint. And what triumph he had after remaining faithful to God even in the worst of times. In Genesis 37, we see the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers. In my most recent reading, one verse stood out to me like never before.

Genesis 37:18-19 says: Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming.” (Emphasis added).

Joseph’s brothers had grown upset by all of Joseph’s dreams, and behind his back, they called him a dreamer. In their minds, it was a derogatory name, a slur. The word “dreamer” there can also be translated as “master of dreams.” That struck me as interesting. God gave Joseph dreams when he was but a teenager, and those dreams didn’t come to fruition until many years later. Yet the very dreams that caused Joseph’s brothers to grow weary of him and sell him into slavery were the same ones that carried him through slavery, imprisonment, and ultimately a promotion to the second most powerful man in all of Egypt. Dreams can be powerful enough to give us direction and guide our lives.

As I considered the words “master of dreams,” something resonated within me. I want to be a master of dreams on par with Joseph. God has placed things within me—thoughts, ideas, hopes. Some are in relation to goals I hope to accomplish in and through my writing career. Others are story ideas that I one day hope to birth into full-fledged novels. Most feel much bigger than me, far beyond my reach. But just like Joseph, those dreams can act as guideposts as I progress through my life, things to hold onto when moments grow dark and I fear I’m losing my way. And so what if they are too big for me to achieve on my own? I’m never on my own. God promises in His word that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will accomplish the dreams He plants within me in His time, just as He did with Joseph. And He will do so in a fashion that leaves no question that He orchestrated the whole plan, from dream inception to completion. I will rely on Jesus Christ to help me reach the “master of dreams” level in my writing and my life.

What dreams has God put in your heart? Are they easily attainable, or seemingly insurmountable?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Audience of One

I’m a fairly introverted person until I get comfortable with new acquaintances. But as a writer, there is a part of me that desires to be known. While I have no desire to keep up with the ins and outs of the Hollywood jet set, I love to imagine my works of fiction in the libraries of the rich and famous. Presidents. Kings. The beautiful people of the world. I suppose there is a part of me that craves that attention. I know there’s a part of me that desires to share the gospel of Christ with them, and what better way than through an innocuous story about the Old West?

Well, God gave me one of those awe-struck moments today that just took my breath away. While looking anything but beautiful in my mismatched pj’s, fuzzy slippers, and hair still a tangled mass of bedhead curls, I swept the hard-surface floors of my home. As I worked, a praise chorus from long ago bubbled to my lips.

I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship you
Oh my soul, rejoice.
Take joy, my King
In what You hear.
May it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear.

When I sang “take joy, my King, in what You hear,” it hit me. While I don’t have anything published at the moment, my desire has already been fulfilled. I have the attention of a king, and not just any king. The KING of kings knows my name, and He hangs on every word I speak. He is intimately aware of my writings because I long ago prayed and dedicated that talent to Him.

What more attention could I crave than to be known by the King who wears the Name above every name? Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). Today, my choice is to write for an audience of One and trust that if He wants me to be known by others, He will open the doors in His perfect time.