Unlikely ‘teachers’

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I read some good advice last night.  The author advised being on the lookout for each day’s teachers.  Her experience of being guided and taught by God includes His use of diverse events and people she encounters each day.  It could be the annoying or ‘boring person who teaches me courtesy.’ (Marilyn McEntyre, Word by Word)

My first offering to you, fellow pilgrims, comes from an unlikely teacher, the singer Carole King.  My other schoolmaster this week has been the Spanish language.  Reading the Bible in a different translation always brings new and delightful insights.

May we gratefully receive whatever the Lord gives us, trusting His creative way to bring us encouragement and training.

You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, running, yeah, yeah, to see you again. Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call. And I’ll be there, yes, I will. You’ve got a friend. (The ‘gospel’ according to Carole King)

Driving into the pregnancy resource center today, I was listening to a podcast when this familiar song from the ‘70s came on.  Listening to the lyrics, one would have thought it were Jesus talking.

Jesus is the optimal, perfect friend.  He never uses, abandons or shames us. He knows just when and what we need, tailoring His provision to our personality and situation.

Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you. Psalm 50:15 ESV

A friend of mine texted me this morning. “I wish I had a nearby friend or that you lived down the street!”  I knew what she meant. Sometimes we need a real flesh-and-bone person who will cry with us and hug us.  But Jesus is always available, 24/7.

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Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. Exodus 28:3 NIV

I read my Bible in Spanish.  This morning, I saw the repetition of the word ‘para’ in the three places underlined above.  Para can mean: in order to, so that, for the purpose of.

Friends, we have a Father and Lord of Purpose! Everything our God does is according to His good plan. In verse 2, right before this one, God tells Moses:

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. ESV

God is not just a utilitarian, one-size-fits-all Creator.  No, He purposefully acts on behalf of individuals, providing what is pleasing to the eye and honoring to the person.

Moreover, our Maker includes us, ‘em-purposing’ us to craft beautiful and functional art.

Finally, God dignifies us through stirring our hearts and gifting us with talents.

What a Master!

How the Lord changed my mind

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God still surprises me and I’ve VERY glad.  I am learning that He doesn’t tend to act in the same manner in similar sets of circumstances.  I should know that just through the two accounts of God’s instructions to Moses about how He, God, was going to provide water from the Rock to thirsty, wandering Israel in the wilderness:

In the first instance, Moses was to STRIKE the rock.

Ex 17:5-6 Then the Lord told Moses, “Go over in front of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.  I’ll be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. You are to strike the rock and water will come out of it, so the people can drink.” Moses did this in front of the elders of Israel.

But again, when the people had no water, God told Moses to TALK to the rock. Moses disobeyed.

Numbers 20:8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”

The God who spoke our varied and intricate universe into existence IS creative and intent on teaching us obedience.

Now to my situation:

For almost two years I had been creating video content for my YouTube channel (videos and transcripts here)  to help English language learners acquire English through simple stories in slow English.  But as 2019 turned into 2020 I had been questioning whether I should continue.  The response and number of subscribers to the channel didn’t seem worth the time I was spending.  After much prayer and discussion with Mike, I decided to let my waning desire be my guide to a decision.  I stopped creating videos in early February 2020.  Relieved of that ‘task’ each week, I happily shifted more time to what was providing satisfaction:  acquiring Spanish!

This self-imposed lay-off coincided with the 5 weeks of work it took to move from a rental house here in Huntsville into a new house and get our household up and running.

To my surprise, God intervened about two weeks ago to direct my thoughts back to ‘English without Fear’.  Through Scripture, books on God and various prayers I read as well as devotions from my favorite teaching & praying pastors (John Piper, Scotty Smith, & Charles Spurgeon) God seemed to be saying that I had a duty to STEWARD my talents, gifts and experiences for the benefit of others.

I immediately thought about His gifts to me – the personal joy in learning and using French, German and Spanish as well as the ability to teach a second language.

“Huh,” I mused and pondered. “The Lord doesn’t seem to be working through my desires right now. He seems to be appealing to the responsibility I have to put to use for others more of my skills and experience.”  Since calling a halt to ‘English without Fear’ I’ve been using my growing, intermediate Spanish skills in my newish volunteer position as an intake counselor at our local pregnancy resource center.  Was God urging me NOW to add back into my week teaching English as a second language via my videos?

I pondered, reasoned, waited and prayed.  The message came again – “Maria, as a believer, you are called NOT to be idle nor hide your gifts, your light, under a bushel basket”

Maybe DESIRE alone should NOT be what determines how I spend my time. With that conclusion, I started back up creating content for ‘English without Fear’.

My resolve, for now, is to be faithful with what the Lord has given me. It matters not if few still watch.  If one or two are helped, then isn’t that enough? And if NO one watches right now, isn’t the bigger principle my obedience to Holy Spirit nudges?

Therefore, for the time being and with His grace, I will keep my hand to the plow, confident that He will signal me when and if it is time for a course change.

 

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