Wednesday, March 3, 2010

To Blog or Not To Blog?

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17


"To blog or not to blog, Lord?" That was my question to the Lord last week. "Establish the work of my hands and heart daily, Lord."
I asked the Lord to reveal His answer to me. I wasn't sure how He would, but I knew He would.


I was first inspired to blog by my sweet friend Heather's beautiful family blog. I love going there to read about her family. Her blog is peaceful and refreshing. I had enjoyed a few other blogs, too, but Heather's first inspired me to begin "Joy In The Truth" with my husband's enthusiastic thumbs up. (Now that I have been in Bloggityville for a while, I have met some very nice friends here.)


So, why do I blog? Two simple reasons:


1. To share how God is working in my heart and life and in the hearts and lives of my family. I love seeing God at work in other's lives. God is alive. I love to sit with a family member or friend or talk on the phone and hear how God is working and transforming hearts. I can't help but proclaim His name and goodness. "I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol Your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend Your works to another; they will tell of Your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on Your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of Your awesome works, and I will proclaim Your great deeds." Psalm 145:1-6


2. To remember our journey as a family with our Faithful God. "Remember your journey...that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD." Micah 6:5


Last week I was asking the Lord if Joy In The Truth was still on His agenda for me. I feel no pressure to blog. As I feel led by Him, I write and share. I have no platform. I have no agenda. I am simply His.


While some graciously say there has been much encouragement and fruit for His glory from this computer screen and keyboard, blogging also leaves us vulnerable. Criticism, judgment in general and judgment of motives happens. When it occurs within the Body of Christ, it can be especially painful.


Humbly before the Lord, I am certain that He alone knows the motives of our hearts. He alone refines and purifies. I am so thankful for those truths. "I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity." 1 Chronicles 29:17


"...acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you..." 1 Chronicles 28:9


"Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God." 1 Corinthians 4:5


So, last week I was asking the Lord, "To blog or not to blog?" Is it important? Is Joy In The Truth making a difference at all?
His answer came at 2:41 AM yesterday morning. (I was asleep, but I awoke at 5:15 AM to this e-mail, which left me in jaw-dropping awe of God's goodness....again!!!!!!!) This e-mail is from a sister in the Lord at my church. She and I met when our cherubs were in the same class a few years ago at the Christian academy under the umbrella of our church, which I have attended for 25 years. I admire this woman, who is a wonderful wife and the mother of several blessings. She loves the Lord with all of her heart, she stays on the narrow road, and she isn't shy about challenging me (or others) to stay on the narrow road that leads to life. I like, appreciate and applaud a woman like that! With her permission, I am sharing this testimony, keeping her name anonymous.


Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2010 2:41 AM
Subject: Hello
Good early morning, Sharon - I hope that all is well with you!

The LORD used the experience that you shared about giving food to the homeless woman (that was posted on your blog a while back) to provoke me unto good works for HIS Glory.

I want to share my story with you:

My mom got her rotator cuff surgically repaired on Friday. I was in the waiting room for an unexpected seven hours... :O I did my Bible study, read a lot of Gigi Graham's book 'Weather of the Heart', and prayed for all kinds of things and people.

The LORD used this time of Bible study and prayer to prepare my heart for something that happened closer to the seventh hour: A man whose wife was being operated on (by the way, this was all in same-day-surgery) was asking about how much longer he had to wait until he could see her. The receptionist told him it would be a while so he could go eat some lunch and then come back. He responded that he used the last of their money to buy his wife a new bra and nightgown that she wanted in preparation for the surgery that day. He continued to say that he was used to not eating (skipping meals) and that he would go and get a soda for lunch. Then the man left. As soon as he left, I went up to the receptionist and asked 'Did that man just say he doesn't have money to eat food?' She confirmed that I had heard correctly.

The HOLY SPIRIT then filled me. I felt shaky and my heart was pounding, however I raised my hand to see how bad I was shaking and it was very steady to sight. I knew that the LORD was directing me to give this man money to eat in HIS Name. Remembering the post on your blog, it was as if GOD was reminding me of that as my example as to what to do here.

I wrote a note on scripture lined paper that said, 'JESUS wants you to eat. HE loves you!' I put into it $20 (which by the way, again confirmed that this was from GOD...I never have cash with me, let alone that much). I actually wrote the note twice because I was so nervous. I waited and waited for that man to come back...not knowing if I would be called back to my mom in the process thereby missing him completely. I encouraged myself that if this was truly from the LORD, HE would make our paths meet at just the right time so I didn't need to anxiously wait for this man.

In that time of waiting, I talked myself out of this whole thing a couple of times. I played out scenarios where the man would get upset at my attempt to help him, or get angry that it was in JESUS' Name (especially since he was with another man who seemed unfriendly, and actually gave me a VERY not nice look before any of this took place...).

So the man finally came back. When he did, he had two ways to walk to where the other man was sitting: he could either walk past me or around another bend. He took the bend... In fear that I would miss the opportunity to be the Hands of JESUS, I called out 'Sir!' but he didn't look back. I didn't call out again. I just sat there continuing to doubt that this was from the LORD. About five minutes later (which felt like five hours), this man and the other man he was with got up to take a walk and they were passing right in front of me...

I took my note and handed it to the man saying, 'This is for you.' He looked confused, took the paper and started to walk away. A few steps later, he turned around and smiling said to me, 'What is this?' I responded, 'It's for you.' He thanked me and went on his way. I saw him again in the recovery area, as I was sitting with my mom and he was finally going back to his wife, and we met eyes, and he smiled and thanked me again. Oh, and by the way, I overheard him in the waiting room speaking about his kids, so this was a man with a family...

I was so humbled that the LORD would use the likes of me to meet a need in someone else's life. This man would not stand out as someone you would quickly help... He was not 'refined' in his speech or dress, his teeth needed dental work, he had tattoos and earrings, and of course, there was that not nice looking friend by his side...but how I was overwhelmed at GOD's Love for this man...as a parent who loves his child because they are his... I praise GOD for what happened and pray that that man would get saved - that a seed would have been planted...

I thank GOD for your faithfulness and example which encouraged me during this time.


Tears streamed down my face as I read this. I prayed for this man, his wife and his friend. I prayed for their salvation and eternal life. I prayed for my friend and her mom. I thanked God for her obedience unto Him.

I also thanked the Lord for His answer to my prayerful question. Yes, for now anyway, we believe Joy In The Truth is still on His agenda for me. May it always bring glory and honor to Him and may it never dishonor any person.
Thank you to my friend herein (her name is not anonymous to God or me) for letting your light shine for the praise of His name! Thank you also sharing this testimony and for being His vessel of encouragement to me.

"I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands." Psalm 63:2-4

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

11 comments:

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Sharon - that was beautiful!

I for one love how God uses you to encourage me and bless me with His truth!

I understand your words of questioning if it is time to stop blogging or not. I have been there many times!

God has definitely used you many times in ways you might never know until we all meet face to face in glory!

Lots of love,
Jill

Heather said...

As if you had to ask..the Lord uses you Sharon, you are an obedient and willing servant set forth, equipped by the Master of Ceremonies and what a joy it is to read your experiences through His mighty word and spirit.

This post rocks!Not because it is carefully and prayerfully written, not because you chose to share, but because the body of Christ was set in motion as a result of the sharpening of another. What a treasure, above all things that His name would be glorified.

Awesome!
Love,
Heather

Jennifer said...

I don't often comment but I do often read your blog...and am blessed. I am encouraged that you are going to continue blogging for the time...and it was so exciting to read not only your friend's story but how blogs can, indeed, be effectively used:)

Thanks for sharing your heart...

Mich said...

Oh what a beautiful story.

So glad He still wants you to stay in Blogland for a little while longer...I would miss your encouraging words and scripture reminders.

Sara said...

WOOHOO! I too have walked through a time of wondering about the blog. I quietly faded into the shadows for a bit. So excited that our Abba Daddy answered to clearly for you.

Keep writing for Him,
Sara (aka Sarah Dawn)

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Wow! What a blessing reading your friend's story and testimony. I'm so glad that God answered your question and that it was a yes, to keeping your blog going.

As I've told you before, it was your story about "Meet Me At The Table" that spoke to me when you did the devo for Proverbs31.org. From there I started visiting your blog and have always been encouraged in the Lord. After visiting you, is when I felt God urging me to start my own blog where I could encourage others too.

You are a blessing and God is so good!

Lee Ann

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

I have been here before as well my friend. So glad that God had more blogging in His plans for you!

Runner Mom said...

I need the kleenex! This was beautiful! Sharon, God is using your blog to share His love and His Word to others. I love coming to "visit." Thank you for being obedient to Him and posting as He leads and directs you. Would love to sit with you and simply share about Him...but a few miles separate us, so blogging is the next best thing!
Love you!
susan

Eagles Wings said...

Sharon, I am so glad for this time that the Lord has allowed you to continue to blog! I love reading your post and just listening to the music on your blog has blessed me numerous time!
Wow, what an awesome testimony about the BIG APPLE..and homeless woman.
Wow, I think the Lord may be speaking to me about that one...I just read this yesterday and printed it out: http://www.incourage.me/2010/02/hidden-face-of-homelessness.html
Thanks for sharing the Father's heart!
God Bless and look forward to continue reading!

Rachel Olsen said...

I love how God calls, confirms and equipes us to do His will when we have a heart soft towards Him as you do.

Top to bottom this was a good post, my friend.

Thanks for the kind words on my new blog today ~ Rachel

Cara@TheSheetBoutique said...

What a heartwarming story... I pray that I too would answer to His call (even the little tiny nudges... not just the big ones) and BOLDY respond in obedience.