I hope that the sun is streaming into your home or office with the same cheerfulness that it is bringing into mine. I love the sunshine!
The last couple of days on Pleasant Drive have been especially enjoyable. I can't help but love unscheduled days at home. I've been steadily making our house a home this summer, and the results are good for my very soul. I am not an artist. I can't draw a lick, but I love to use my creativity to pull a house together. It takes time. The best houses grow and change as we grow and change.
Yesterday, I single-handedly rearranged the furniture in our bedroom. I've hated the arrangement since the day we moved in. It just didn't have a good vibe to it, you know? I like it SO much better now, and Brian does, too! I love that he pretty much lets me do my thing with the house. He has excellent taste and style, and he gives his opinion when I ask for it. Some of the best things about our house were his idea, but he allows the house to be my domain. I'll share pictures next week.
For today, I'll show you pictures from the yard. This is a huge flower bed. It's the very first thing you see when you drive up to our house. And, here it is right after we planted it:
The growth has been incredible! I can't wait to see it at the end of the summer! Gardening is one of the most rewarding things. The spiritual analogies in gardening are endless.
I was reminded of some key truths as I studied these pictures alongside of Luke 4. I've made it my personal aim to study the life of Jesus. I think that, in order to become like Jesus, we have to know how His life story. Yesterday, I was reading through Luke, when I camped out on Luke 4 for a while.
In my flowerbed, these plants did not automatically do their "job" as soon as I plopped them into the soil. In fact, for several weeks, I wasn't sure that they would even survive the testing of the heat and sand. They were looking a little ragged. But, after a period of adjustment, with careful fertilization and care, they have matured to fulfill the purposes for which I placed them in the flowerbed. You're getting the analogy, aren't you?
Luke 4 starts out with Jesus being led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for testing. I had forgotten that sometimes the Spirit's job is to lead us to periods of unrest and trial, rather than to lands flowing with milk and honey. He wasn't leading him astray, but he was leading him to a desolate place (the wilderness), where only God's word could provide victory for him. He was away from family, friends, and all distractions that could step in to save the day for him. It was him and God. That's it. Can you identify with this kind of wilderness period of your life? Have you ever felt desperate and alone, and fully reliant on the Lord? I know I have!
The chapter goes on to make the point that, only after Jesus had followed the Spirit for a season of testing, was he ready to minister. The wilderness period came before Jesus' ministry. In order for him to be ready to tell of the good news of God, he had to endure the testing that would certainly show him the very nature of God. I don't know about you, but this encourages my heart. It reminds me that the testing that I endure is not pointless. It's a state of preparation for ministry.
Another important aspect of this chapter is the fact that Jesus left his hometown to do ministry. For us, this might not necessarily mean leaving our homes, but it might. I think, more than that, it's an idea of being open to leaving one's comfort zone, in order to fulfill God's purposes in your life. This might mean moving to a different neighborhood, shopping at a different grocery store, or relocating to a different country.
Luke 4:18 says, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me..." This is probably the most critical component of the entire chapter. The authority that we have is God-given, not self-proclaimed. If we try do any ministry in our own strength, we will be void of God's authority.
And finally, in spite of what would've been fun or easy, Jesus maintained His commitment to His calling. His friends and family were begging him to stay with them. Wouldn't this have been a difficult thing to withstand? But Jesus said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." Sometimes it is very hard to stand steadfast on what the Lord has called us to do. Often, it isn't the most popular or easy thing to do. It's difficult. It goes against the grain. But, if we are to be like Christ, we must stand firm on our dedication to tell others about Him.
I praise God today for clearly teaching me truths for my own life through His word. Isn't it incredible to think about a book that was written many years ago that is still relevant to my daily life? Only the Bible. Only the living and active Word of God.
Have a blessed weekend!