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Dying to Live

Christian Writing MinistryI retired around Christmas and knew when I did that I needed time to do nothing. I needed to spend time with Jesus, allow Him to heal me of the past and to prepare me for the next season of my life. I had worked for the same place for most of my life, since I was 17 and my everything had ended up being that job. What I mean is it was my security, my identity, my purpose; it was what I had given myself to for more than half my life. I had gotten fired 3 years before and spent a year fighting and going through the process to get my job back. By the grace of God, I did. (That’s another story…) So, now when I was retiring, I was aware of all of this “stuff” that I had invested in my job. I am a person that is very organized and efficient; I am a fixer and love to help. I can multi-task and do massive amounts of work in a short amount of time and do it correctly. So, when I retired, people kept telling me they couldn’t believe it was possible for me to do nothing.

Well, there have been several times I’ve contacted people, offering to volunteer in various positions, and it’s pretty amazing but none of them have been seen through. The places seem to need and want me, but yet it doesn’t happen. I know it is God reminding me to be still and to know Him. In my Believing God Bible study I have learned sometimes faith is stepping out, being active and doing and other times faith is being still, doing nothing. God grows us deeper before He grows us wider. For now, my life and my world is very small; but yet I know God is at work.

For Lent… first I thought I would do the thing I do every year and give up chocolate. Then I thought I would fast on bad words and feast on good words. I prayed and not until Ash Wednesday service did it come to me that Jesus wanted me to give up listening to the radio and talking on the cell phone in the car, which was to be my fast, my feast was to pray in the car. I was having such a hard time doing this….I was running out of things to say. (Imagine that!) I asked the ladies in my small group (Morning Blend) at church to pray for me and on my way home from group I heard in my spirit that praying isn’t all about talking non-stop, it’s listening too!

Here are some of the things I’ve heard while listening…

In Morning Blend I am doing the Believing God Bible study by Beth Moore and one of the studies is for us to create a prayer list for ourselves and people we know then ask God for scripture that relate to those subjects. We are to re-word the scripture into a prayer. Well, one day on the way to church, I was driving and trying to scribble on a napkin the scriptures that I was getting, they were coming so fast! It also turned out that when I had made the list of needs for myself as to where I was in my life and what was going on in my “season” I wasn’t exactly right. God showed me some other scriptures in a different area.

During the Easter season this year we had a sermon series at church about dying to live, based on the seed that dies to reproduce.
“The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone–a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24

“What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first.” 1 Corinthians 15:36

The sermon included interaction with the congregation. We had the opportunity to go forward and get a wheat seed which symbolized what we needed to die to and we would put it in a tray of dirt. On Easter Sunday, those same trays were on the altar with green grass 5-6” tall! I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me go back; when I heard the sermons about the seeds; I of course thought I knew what I needed to die to. I was ready to stick my seed in the dirt that first night, but as I listened, Pastor Dave said something about taking it home and looking at it for a week and sitting with God with your seed and for some reason, that’s what I did. I put the seed in my Bible mesh pocket and looked at it every day for a week. I prayed about it, I asked my small group to pray for me to know what my seed was…but all along, I thought I knew.

The next weekend came and I was serving at church all three services, I forgot my Bible at home on Saturday so I couldn’t bury my seed. By this time, I had come up with a different thing my seed would symbolize for me…my attitude. I thought this had to be it, although I didn’t feel as though I had received that word from God, but I still thought it was right. Well, God surprised me again. I gave my mom a ride home from church and we were talking about people we knew and after I dropped her off at her house, it was real clear. I was only alone in the car for a second, I hadn’t even pulled away from the curb yet and I heard God say to me “that’s what I mean….out of the same mouth come blessings and curses and that ought not be so” James 3:10 (This is what we had been studying all week in my Believing God Bible Study…what verification!). I just broke and said out loud “I am a man of unclean lips and I live in a world of people of unclean lips” Isaiah 6:5 The next day between services, I brought my seed up and planted it, I took the holy water and sprinkled it on the dirt over my seed and I knew beyond a doubt I need to die to my mouth.

So, I am dying daily. It’s not been easy, but God is doing His part. I pray daily for Him to “set a watch over my lips” Psalm 141:3 and He’s being faithful. There are times He intercepts my thoughts before they become words and I cooperate, most of the time…. Of course, other times, those words just fly right out, and I immediately pray a prayer of repentance and acknowledge I can’t do this without God, but I am going to live!!!


Dying to Live

I retired around Christmas and knew when I did that I needed time to do nothing. I...
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