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Truly the World's Oldest Profession

"The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them" - Genesis 3:21.

After the debacle known as the Fall of man, God performed another creative act: He made something. We are not told how He made the garments for Adam and Eve, but since there were already animals on the earth, and since God would have had to obtain the skins from those animals, it appears that God would have taken the lives of those animals, took their skins, and fashioned them into clothing of the right size for both humans. Therefore, if anyone is a seamstress, tailor, or fashion designer, they are truly involved in the oldest known profession! Do you see that even your simple creative tasks that you may take for granted have their roots in God's creation, and more specifically, how he created you?

Lord, You are the Creator and in Your creative genius, you created me! That doesn't just apply to my physiology, but it also pertains to my tendencies, gifts, and creative traits. The latter isn't just producing great works of art, but also involves such daily things as cooking, sewing, child-raising, and talking. Thank You, Lord, for I am truly fearfully and wonderfully made.


Your Favorite Color

"She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple" - Proverbs 31:22.

God spoke forth creation, and it is an amazing kaleidoscope of wonders, including countless, shapes, sizes, combinations, effects, and experiences. It seems like He wants humans to not only enjoy that abundant variety, but also to mirror it in what they create in their personal as well as work life. In today's verse, the woman decorates her home, which few will see, and herself, which probably many will see, in attractive and colorful array. What's more, perhaps she had a favorite color or color combinations as she decorated, which is just another expression of the creative DNA God put into each person. Do you make the world around you beautiful? Are you an expression and model of God's diverse creation and love for variety? Do you only enjoy God's natural beauty He produced, or do you also produce your own beauty that will inspire and give enjoyment to those whom God sends to see and experience it? What is your favorite color? Who put that in you that whenever you see that color it would bring you enjoyment?

Lord, You are the Creator, and in Your creative wisdom, You made mankind creative, and that includes me. That creativity involves home and office decorating, choice of clothing style, color selection, preference for furnishings, and on and on. I accept Your mandate to decorate my world and my person in a way that brings glory to You and joy to the world around me. I also accept that You created me with my joy when I see certain color or colors, and I now realize that is part of my creativity.


The Kids Go Swimming

In one month, I will be heading to Kenya with a team of 16 others. We will visit Upako Centre in their new venue while we are there, and I enjoy reading the updates we receive from Pastor Francis showing that the location is working out and giving the children more opportunities to learn and grow. Here is Pastor Francis' update from last week with pictures (If you are a recent subscriber to this blog, you can read more about what I do in Kenya on my site under the category Kenya or Sophia Fund):

Dr. J,

UpakoSwim1We are all well and we thank God for all the good that the children are enjoying and this is because of your continued support. Mary is well and happy at her new school and she asked me to tell you a big thank you. Here are some things that are happening with us here:

  • Teacher Lillian started a swimming class for the children yesterday at a nearby retreat centre .She says that the children needs more exposure so that they will fit in properly when they grow up.
  • The Dr. Stanko Academy is doing a lot of things with the children alongside their normal classes. UpakoSwim2
  • There is a major drought here so the bricks project has stopped because of water but we shall continue once the drought is over.
  • Belver and Lillian are continuing with counseling and distribution of sanitary towels to girls in school.
  • The orphans are more healthy and progressing well.
  • The new environment is promising and the Academy will start developing talents as the children grow.
  • We have very good volunteers who handle the children in different stages every day.

God bless you all as we work for God through caring for the orphan and vulnerable children.

Pastor Francis

I need to collect a "war chest" of money to give to your partners when I go over on March 2. That means I need your help if we are to continue the progress that they are making, made possible by their faith and labor. I am asking that you invest in their work by contributing generously to their cause. You can give through my website using PayPal or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for sharing in what Pastor Francis calls "caring for the orphan and vulnerable children."


Vigorously

"She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night" - Proverbs 31:17-18.

If your creativity is going to work, you are going to have to "work" it. That means you are going to show up every day (or close to it) and put in the time and hours to express it, or to improve and hone it. What's more, you must produce creativity that is "profitable" for you. That doesn't mean you have to make money necessarily, but you should find that it is enjoyable, refreshing, and rewarding. Sometimes you will have to work into the night, substituting work for sleep or other recreation. The key word in today's two verses is "vigorously," which means a concerted, energetic effort toward the task at hand. Are you putting the work into your creative expressions? Is it a profitable and meaningful experience for you?

Lord, I have not put the time into my creative gifts for several reasons, but one of them is fear. I have been afraid that things will not go well, so I keep myself busy, soothing my mind with empty commitments of what I will do one day when things settle down in my life. I can see now that I have to show up regularly to work at it, whatever my "it" may be. I can see from today's passage that I may need to burn some midnight oil in order to find the time to vigorously do what I love. If that's the case, Lord, so be it!


Invest in Your Gift

"She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard" (Proverbs 31:16).

The woman in Proverbs 31 bought a field so she could fund her creative enterprise. She had made money and then invested her money into another aspect of her business creativity that could produce more revenue. Are you willing to invest money into your creativity? This could be in the form of lessons to help you improve, money for supplies, investments the return of which could fund more creativity, or trips or excursions to see things that will inspire and strengthen your creativity. If you are not willing to invest in your creativity, why should anyone else do so? And don't expect people to purchase your creativity just because you produced it and you need support. Your work must be worthy of marketplace dollars before you can expect people to part with their hard-earned cash for the fruit of your creativity.

Lord, I have starved and stunted my creative gift by not investing in it, somehow convincing myself that this was the humble and "Christian" thing to do. I see now that this stinginess represents poor stewardship, for You have given me a gift, and I must invest in it before I expect anyone else to do so, and that includes an investment of time to perfect my gift. Forgive me for being timid where my creativity is concerned.


Proverbs 31 Creativity

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands" (Proverbs 31:13).

The woman described in Proverbs 31 is many things, and among them is creative. Her creativity is first manifests in her selection of raw materials, and it seems she is combining two fibers that usually stand alone and have different uses. Second, s he has to make decisions, but is not afraid to try something new. Third, she works, and does not waste her time watching reality TV or old movies. Finally, she is eager, which indicates she has dealt with her fear and plows ahead to finish the job she has envisioned in her mind and heart. How many of those traits do you apply in your creativity? Do you think these traits are only for women? Where are you making creative experiments to produce a finished product that will benefit other people?

Lord, today I learned that creativity involves concerted effort to produce an end product that requires many creative decisions along the way combined with hard work on my part. Help me to use my timely creatively and wisely to produce end results that will satisfy my creative thirst and meet the needs of others.


Mundane Creativity

"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking" (2 Peter 3:1).

Many people think that creativity is having a thought, producing an invention, composing a piece of music, or starting a business that no one in the universe has even thought or created before. Most of the time, that is not the case. Usually creativity is an expression that is unique to the creator, and timely to meet a need at hand. In today's verse, Peter was creatively writing a letter, speaking to issues and teaching things that he had already written about. He hoped that this time his creativity would spark interest or strike a chord in the readers that his previous letter had not done. Do you have any mundane creativity that you have not really considered creativity? Have you fallen into the thinking that your creativity must be at the level of Michelangelo or Beethoven to be categorized "creative"?

Lord, part of the problem with my creativity is my thinking. I have limited my definition of creativity and therefore dismissed some fairly common activities and practices of mine as "not creative." That's been a mistake that I am going to correct. Even if I am involved in something I do over and over again, I will no longer see that as mundane but as a creative expression.


Creative Testimonies

"They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death" (Revelation 12:11).

A testimony is a story that contains the truth about some event in one's life. Today's verse states that a testimony is part of the believer's warfare against the evil one. Did you ever stop to think that your creativity is one of the weapons you have in your spiritual war arsenal? Your creativity tells a story, and when you submit to God's direction and express your creativity, you give a testimony of His work in your life, whether you are building, singing, speaking, writing, dancing, or problem-solving. That testimony then makes a statement to all the spiritual forces who rebelled against God that you have you have chosen to be obedient to Him in all things, and that includes even how you express your creative gifts.

Lord, I have a testimony, in fact, I have many of how You have worked in my life. I can utter those testimonies, but I also need to find other creative ways to share the goodness You have shown to me and my family. I understand now how important this is, for my testimony expressed through my creativity is one of my weapons in this life practice called spiritual warfare.


Sideshow or Main Event?

If you recently subscribed to my blog, you should know that I am creating some content for one of my devotionals called the Life is a Gold Mine daily devotional. I need to produce 60 entries on creativity, and I am doing them every day until they are complete. You can see my other posts on creativity by going to my blog's section on Creativity, or you can access thousands of other devotionals on my site, if this topic doesn't suit your fancy.

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"From that land he [Nimrod] went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city" (Genesis 10:11-12).

Nimrod used his creativity not to paint or to write, but to build whole cities and civilizations! He was a mighty warrior, and I would imagine he also applied his creativity to that trade as well. While Nimrod was a creative genius, there was only one problem: He used his creativity to build his own kingdom and not God's! His creative works, namely Babylon, Assyria, and Nineveh, became the enemies of God's people for generations. Do you see that man's creativity did not cease with the Fall of Adam and Eve? Do you grasp how massive mankind's creativity can be that it would be able to create an entire civilization from scratch? Can you see that the answer to ungodly creativity is not to stop creating, but to change the motivation so that it is used for God's glory? Are you creating to build your kingdom or God's kingdom?

Lord, I don't know how far-reaching my creativity can be, for I have honestly not looked at it as my main expression, but rather something I do in my spare time or when I feel like it. I don't know how many songs I can write, poems I can produce, organizations I can begin, or movements I can start, because I have not seen that as my purpose. Today's insight has helped change all that, and I will no longer see my creativity as a side show but as the main event!


A Creative Legacy

"Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them" (Acts 9:39).

Dorcas was an simple woman in an obscure and tiny town who was helping poor people. If she were alive today, she would have a sewing machine, a place to buy a lot of fabric, and a fitting room in her home. Yet she parlayed all that into a creative purpose that caught the attention of Peter, and her legacy was reported and recorded by Luke for all time. That is power of creativity when it is tied to a purpose and used to help other people. Do you see the power in devoting your life to something creative that blesses others? What simple but useful creativity do you have that you can express in a purposeful way? What evidence would others produce that would verify and confirm your creative work and legacy?

Lord, I want to bless and help people, but I must do that according to who I am and what you have gifted me to do. I am willing to take my creativity, no matter how basic, and produce a body of work that will glorify You and make an impact in the lives of other people.