Saturday, December 5, 2015

Baby Steps

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo by Rachel Vorhees, from Flickr
First of all, if you have a Kindle or Kindle app, this is the final day of a two day sale for the Kindle version of both my books.  Afar Off is free today, here: http://amzn.to/1XH7t1T.  And our one year devotional, Breastplate Gems, is $2.99, here: http://amzn.to/1XH7TVX. It's a good time to grab both!

"Writing = brutal discipline. Tyrant goals. Can't write a book if we don't write a chapter. Can't write a chapter if we won't write a page." -- Beth Moore, December 2, 2015 tweet

Having several books out, that Beth Moore tweet struck a respondent chord.  But, sometimes. it's even further down than a page.  It can be that one sentence or that one word that's holding us back. And that's really the truth about a lot of things, isn't it?  Baby steps accumulate.


We've all heard Zechariah 4:10a, "For who hath despised the day of small things?".  And it always gets tied to some activity accepted as spiritual.  But it fits about anything we do.  If it's done with the right heart, anything can be spiritual.  Even mowing the lawn or waving "Hi." to our neighbor.

Somehow, we seem to have the urge to start most things at the point of success instead of the beginning.  I've never figured out if that's a pride thing from our Old Sin nature.  Or is it a holdover from before the fall, when we were intended to always be successful, but now our fallen nature is a barrier to beginning at that level?  Either way, it's not the way things go.

Think of a really tall skyscraper.  It doesn't start that way.  Nor does it start whole and just get pulled upright.  After the plans are made, the first action is to fence off the ground where it'll be built. And then comes the glamorous part.  They dig a hole.  Like almost everything else in life, if it's to stand, the building needs a solid foundation.  So, the hole gets dug till it's both large enough and deep enough.

Next we see the beginnings of the frame built, along with the floor and walls of the foundation poured in place.  From there, more of the building's skeleton will be built up, then the outer shell and inner workings.  Sometimes, that's done in repeated stages.  Other times, the framework is fully completed, then the rest gets added.

There may be some variation, but there's always a plan that starts from below ground up, in the right sequence to build the sturdiest, yet nicest building, in the least possible amount of time.  If the construction crew deviates from the plan, they either have to go back and make repairs or the building won't have the integrity it requires.  And the delays for repair may be costly.

If you're a regular reader, you know I have a short term mission trip planned.  It's scheduled for mid-January.  My original thought was probably pretty naive.  I expected I'd start asking for funding, the sale of my books would help, all the money would come in, and I'd nail down the details of the trip. I do, things happen, I go.  While God is still in it, it's not to the degree He ought to be.  Which is why the whole thing went differently.

I planned, then started the funding page.  And I continually let people know it's there.  And, at first, nothing happened.  Then, some of the money came in and I put in a small additional amount, when a friend offered to cover the rest for the plane tickets.  So the tickets were purchased.  And then the money stopped coming in.

Finally, months later, a couple of copies of my books sold and a bit more money came in.  And I realized I had room to cover the rest of my housing by using my credit card.  So, two days ago, I reserved my place in the hostel a block from the San Jose church.  I still need money for meals, although breakfast is included at the hostel.  And I need some to cover some transportation and maybe a few extras.  But I expect that'll show up, too.  But there's a lesson in how it went.

Just like the building, there has been a plan and everything has to be done in the right sequence, at the right time.  Deviate from that and there could be problems.  With a building, you can't start building upward before the base is ready by the bottom girders being fully set in the concrete.  And the concrete has to be dry and set.  Then each stage of the construction comes in its proper sequence.  And there's continual discussion with the architect and referral back to the plans.

While I'm the construction crew for the trip, in another sense I'm also the building in God's plan. Things need to properly come together for the trip, but I need to be readied, as well.  Otherwise, the foundation of the trip won't be as solid and whatever the trip is foundational for won't be as steady. So, everything must be done with the right materials, the work has to be done in the right order, and it requires consistent communication with the designer.  And we have to trust the architect.  Let me reiterate the last part.  There has to be regular communication with the architect and we have to trust Him completely!

When we keep in touch with the Supreme Builder, He guides us around all the problems.  Since He designed how things are intended to go, trusting Him always gets the best results, no matter what the circumstances.  And we come full circle back to Beth Moore's tweet and our partial verse.

Zechariah 4:10a, For who hath despised the day of small things?

In writing a book, it starts with a word or phrase.  Maybe another, but an idea comes together. Sentences lead to paragraphs, paragraphs create chapters, the chapters complete the book. Similarly, a building is planned, then the foundation is put in, followed (in sequence) by the rest of the building.  The closer the construction is to the required materials and the plan for how they go together, the sturdier and more lasting the building.

In everything we do, trusting the Architect leads to the baby steps that create something beyond our imagination.  Even though it may seem like small things are all we see.  And the biggest part of that, after trusting Him, is maintaining communication and following His guidance.  The results are always perfect.  How's your construction project going?

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