Monday, January 4, 2010

OK, now I "get it"!

I have felt especially "contemplative" lately. I guess that comes with the new year. Given the time to do so, I am generally a pretty deep thinker. I like to roll things around in my head and put them before God, to get his take on things. I have to admit that there are some phrases, song titles, and slang that just make me a little queasy. Case in point, the phrase "bloom where you are planted". No offense, but that phrase has always set me on edge. I guess as a type A- personality, it sounded a bit trite to my ears. I prefer the idea of "bust your buns and do the best you can, and go as far as you can go, and don't settle for less."...that's more like the person I have been. Now?... well, let's just say, I'm rethinking a few of my viewpoints.

The following scripture was written by John the Apostle, probably the closest disciple to Jesus. He is recounting John the Baptist's ministry, who was the "forerunner" of Jesus, and his earthly cousin.

Version: NAS

John 3:22-30

22. After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing. 23. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and they were coming and were being baptized. 24. For John had not yet been thrown into prison. 25. There arose therefore a discussion on the part of John's disciples with a Jew about purification. 26. And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have borne witness, behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him." 27. John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. 28. "You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.' 29. "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full. 30. "He must increase, but I must decrease.
Look at the scripture in red, because these two thoughts were what God wants to stress today. He is the one that "gifts" us with our abilities. Yes, believe it or not, we all have special "gifts" from God, some being more apparent than others. Hospitality, financial giving, mercy toward others, just to name a few. God gives them out as He sees fit. Have you ever asked God what your "gift" is? I want to address not so much the "gifting" that you may have, but the wise use of whatever it is that God does see fit to hand over to you. Do you use yours wisely?
John the Baptist had been gifted with a purpose. A purpose that had been placed upon him by the Holy Spirit from his conception. He was to prepare the way for Jesus and His earthly ministry.
John had been given a place and people. He lived in the desert, wore camel hair britches (ouch) and ate wild locusts and honey. Sorry, that doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me. He was a "misfit" and "weirdo" by the world's standard, yet he fulfilled a purpose that had been given to him by God. He was to preach repentance to the people to prepare their hearts for Jesus arrival on the scene. John the Baptist was the "opening act", and Jesus was the "main attraction".

John sees his place in the grand scheme of things. He doesn't get his head all puffed up and lose perspective. He says in so many words, "God has given this to me as my purpose. This is my job, and I'm going to do it His way, in His place and in His timing. I'm fulfilling a purpose for Jesus and that is to start the plan into motion. Then I'm handing it over to Jesus. Because He's the one this is all about."
John knew what he was gifted to do and he did it. Even though he was in the "New Testament", John the Baptist, was the last "Old Testament" prophet. He never performed a miracle, but his life and ministry were crucial to Jesus' ministry.
Now, back to you and me. God's put something on me, a call if you will, and He's saying to me to be a person who will go out and do what He's asking of me. He's given me a gift, but He has given each one of you a gift also.  Will we use them wisely?
Take your gift out of the closet, and let it be known. Start using it. Tell Jesus, "I'm going to let you take over, I give You permission to "increase". My agenda will "decrease". You are the one that this is all about. Use my gifting Lord."
 Less of me, more of Jesus.
God has been dealing with me about this. Putting our gifting to good use, whatever it is. OK, now I get it, and now I can say it. Don't squander what God has given you. Don't hide it because of fear or lack of confidence...

"Bloom where you are planted".
Word for the day: "The ability to take what I have given you and to make it worthwhile. Don't squander what has been entrusted to you."


  1. Thank you, Debra. I'll be thinking on your message for today. I appreciate that you are sharing His word.

  2. Debra,
    I am lovin' this daily devotional! I can read it in the morning and meditate on it all day long! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. Hello Debra, I am now doing a Bible Study Fellowship and it is on the book of John this year. Thank you for doing the Lord's work I really appreciate your efforts. Love you, sandi

  4. Great post for the first Monday of the year, for the first post of our new decade! I'm with you on "busting my buns". Thanks for starting my week of on such a positive note.

    Take care, Sue

  5. This message is especially meaningful to me right now as I am in a transition. I am asking the Lord to show me where and how He wants to use me. I dont want to fill my life with activities that are meaningless - I want my life to count for eternity. I will be pondering the scriptures you shared. Thanks so much for being the messenger. ~ Rebecca

  6. I always feel like a misfit...and sorta weird.
    My pastor has a saying...there are two kinds of people in the world... dysfunctional and even more dysfunctional... I try to stay in the first categories as I think the second one crosses over a huge moral line.

    I kinda beat to a different drum which puzzles even me, but it probably is one of those odd blooms on some obscure flower, that blooms under some strange conditions that aren't even what normal flowers bloom in. See ... how weird is that. However, I have never performed a miracle either... but Debra, with all due respect... I think if I baptized God in the flesh... it would fall in the miracle of miracles catagory... see I am doing it again ... thinking kinda in another stream of thought, not out of irreverence, just my nature. Now just to clear this up, I don't wear camel britches... maybe camel colored... and I don't wash down bugs with honey either...or live in the desert, that in itself would be a huge miracle for me...I am a big baby. I guess a wierd big baby...who LOVES HIM...and this post. So in saying all that... sometimes when we move in our gifts it feels weird.
    Does that make sense?

  7. Hey everyone, Day 1!!!!
    Oh Lee, you DO make me laugh you strange little flower, you! Let's start a "weirdo's club". You and I can be charter members. Anyone else feel like a stranger in the world? Think different, talk different, act different? Yeah, I think we ALL probably are a little different! But hey, different is good!
    love, Debra
    p.s. I'll be ordering our camel hair big girl britches, send in your sizes! LOL

  8. thank you Debra, for smoothing over my awkwardness... I think I need a size xxxxxlarge., and a jar of honey... and some anti-itch creme.

  9. Debra,I love this post. Thanks for the reminder to be what God intends for me to be...."bloom where I am planted." Too many times I keep digging myself up and moving to a new spot. Funny but I don't so well when that happens. God must be so tired of seeing me replant myself.

  10. Hello Everyone-

    I too always thought that 'bloom where you are planted' meant that you settled into low expectations and acceptance.

    Having said that, I need acceptance- no doubt because I tend to think I need to change things.

    As to my gifts, I will admit that there have been times in my life when I got burned out at church and at work (school)using them, over-committing them-

    That is something to think about-

  11. Hi Debra & everyone else. This is such a good post ~ don't I say that every week? I had a 24 hour bug or I would have been here yesterday. I did print and read it and will probably do so again several times.

    Lee, you're so cute. I'm just glad to hear there are so many others that feel kind of out of place like I do. People meet me and they'd never know how odd ball I feel, or that I'm not confident, or that I'm a nervous person. I've been looked at with shock by people who don't really know me when they hear that.

    I just love reading everyone's post here. Between Debra a all of you I always get a warm feeling when I'm here. And I love hearing what each person gets from the same writing. It gives me a chance to think about it in a way I might not have.

    I'm really gonna love getting to read here everyday, whether it be short or long Debra.
    Thanks for all you share with us.

    Warm Hugs Ya'll....Tracy :)

  12. I have always struggled with this...I needed to read this today. Four days after you posted it, but just in time for me.
    Thank you. :-)


  13. Hi Debra,

    Like Anne, I really needed to read this today. I wasn't even looking for your site, which truly amazes me. I got your site mixed up with another one and clicked on your site instead. I was just about to click off again (as I was in a rush) but decided to scroll down a bit since I haven't been here in a few days and read this one and when I started to read it (standing up at my kitchen counter) I took my lap top and sat down, read your post and started to tear up.

    The last couple of days have been hard. What you wrote here addressed exactly what God wanted me to hear today. I also read your next post (will address that in that post). The best part was the reminder about John and how he was the opening act. I also liked the part about I need to give God permission to increase His agenda and decrease mine. Lately I have been feeling so, so inpatient with my life (next post is perfect timing) and now I, too, "get it" that I am working off my agenda lately and not His.

    I have a couple of troubling things in my life right now and acceptance is hard, but "bloom where you are planted" is what I need to hear right now. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am a HUGE believer in expressing what God says to us - it is not preaching, it is sharing. What we take from it is exactly what God wants us to take from it.



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