Faith as a Friend

 

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.– Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

 When I start a devotional, an anthology piece, or a children’s story, I don’t know where or how long it is going to take to get my desired results. I have stories that were written years ago, when my girls were babies. It’s hard to throw those pieces of myself away. It becomes harder and harder to keep faith in my writing. However, I keep plugging along and nurturing my writing by gaining knowledge from more seasoned writers. In those moments, when anxiety floods my mind, I take time to refresh my perspective. I’ll lean back in my recliner, (that’s why I have a lap top) and ask for guidance. Only God’s unseen strength can fill my heart and give me the courage to keep on writing.

 Do you have those anxious moments? We all do. However, faith is a powerful friend because in the isolation of our writing life, we can gain new confidence. Because we may not talk to too many people day after day and we may worry about what tomorrow holds for us in our writing life. That’s why faith becomes our friend, probably our best friend. Our anxiety gets us nowhere. We can’t change what might be. We need to take time each day to get a fresh perspective. Keep your hope in the unseen. God may reward you with great words for the world. We have it in us, we just have to get it out into the world.

 Lord in our isolation help us keep our faith in you. Help us find the words to touch those who read them. Remind us that you are there as our friend and will calm the anxieties that flood our souls. We lean on our faith in you for the confidence and fresh perspective we need each time we sit down to write. Amen

Noble Plans

But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand. Isaiah 32 NIV

God gives me the privilege of planning each and every day. This is the beginning of the New Year and there is no better time to revisit my old writing plans and create new ones. As I look toward the future, I want my writing to honor God, as well as others. My plans should include ways to bless others with my writing and things I do. I have been preparing the way by cleaning out emails, unsubscribing from emails, organizing projects and general cleanup. Even these honor God because I am preparing the way to honor Him with my writing by being prepared. Something I am not noted for. However, each morning, I need to pray, allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in following my well-intentioned plans, and by allowing God to lead my way. If I do, God will empower me to do them. That’s the most amazing thing about faith. I have faith in God and He places His faith in me.

God gives you the privilege of planning your life and writing life each day, too. However, He wants that alone time with Him each morning. Remember that “Our God is a jealous God.”.  He wants you to center your plans around His plans. Pray and He will listen. Our actions or inactions show God we are waiting for His lead. He expects us to follow-up our plans with deeds. Having the ideas and not following through is not honoring God or ourselves. No matter what we write, we are responsible for our words and deeds. You have the privilege of creating new and noble plans or plans that won’t withstand God’s desire for us as writers. Follow His lead.

Lord, help us to put You first in our plans and deeds each day. We want to honor You and ourselves in our actions and our words. Listen to our prayers and guide us each day. Amen

Don’t Be a Fool

 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

When I sit down to write, my inner critic starts nagging right away. You’re not any further than you were years ago. Why don’t you quit? It’s a waste of time. You have so much else to do. Nag, nag, nag. I get frustrated before I start. If I do get started, the minute I have a problem, my mind wanders. I don’t try to find a solution. I’m like my five-year old granddaughter, who gets frustrated because she thinks she should already know how to tie her shoes, put her boots on, or other new things. Instead of practicing or asking for help, she gets angry and cries. I sometimes think that’s how I must look to my parent in heaven, when I give up. I don’t ask for His help right away. I struggle, cry, and complain. If I had remembered to ask for peace in my spirit, enlightenment, and the right attitude, I would have gotten much further.

Do you find yourself in the same predicament, during your writing time? It’s so easy to put ourselves down. You wouldn’t let your children put themselves down. After their outburst you would put your arm around them and encourage them to ask for help when they need it. Don’t fear God or fear of failure keep you from asking for help from your Father. Your Father will put his arm around you and lead you, too. I just wait too long. I can picture Him up there smiling and waiting to reach out his hand and help. I’m not trying to be flowery, when I use these words. It’s just the way I feel and the way the words come out. He wants to be there for us, but we wait so long complaining, instead asking for His wisdom and instruction in our writing. He wants the best for us and will lead us to where we can get the knowledge, wisdom, and instruction for the path He wants us to follow. He will give us just what we need.

Father, help us not to be petulant children. Help us to grow in our relationship with you and ask for Your encouragement and guidance at the beginning of our writing sessions. Show us where to go to get the knowledge, wisdom, and instruction to accomplish all we can in your name. Amen

Untrained Servants

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. II Corinthians 11:6 NIV

Paul and the other apostles made it clear that Paul was untrained as a speaker. When he spoke it was of his personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus. I speak of my personal relationship with Jesus through my writing. I don’t have the first hand and physical knowledge Paul had of Jesus. Paul and the other apostles were plain everyday people passing the message on the best way they could. That is what they were led to do. Now days, people who look plain, ordinary and even boring are looked over. We miss the knowledge and love that lies in their hearts. Paul would have been overlooked by our modern standards for spiritual leaders. People look for talent to entertain, instead of content to touch their souls.You know the preachers that can yell the loudest and have the biggest cathedrals. By commingling my knowledge and understanding, I pray I am successful in my small endeavors. For me that means I would like some spiritual nugget I possess to grow into a boulder for someone else and be passed onto others.

Through your writing or speaking you can only hope and pray that someone’s heart is touched. Whether we are children’s writers, spiritual writers, anthology writers ,we all want to speak to or touch someone’s heart. That’s what writing is all about. We are untrained servants too and no matter what we intend to pass onto others,we need to do this with some knowledge in our genre. If we are intimidated by our lack of knowledge, we should keep searching and learning. I know this keeps me searching and learning in my spirituality and writing endeavors. Just like Paul, our way of communicating may not always be the most eloquent, but if it’s coming through with love and discernment, people’s hearts will be touched.

Lord help us to always to communicate our knowledge to the best of our ability. Help us to communicate and touch people’s hearts and spirits through prayer and love. Amen

Spiritual Grounding

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. – Luke 10:21 (NIV)  

It scares me, when I sit down to write a devotional. There are so many implications in each Scripture. I know no matter how much I study or learn; my dependence is on the Father to open my heart to understand each Scripture. I’m still not sure. I have to remind myself prayer and study go hand in hand. If I don’t study and pray my writing is just an exercise in intellectual vanity. Prayer without study produces spirituality with no grounding. Both are necessary for what is placed in my heart. I accept that someone else may read the verse and find a different meaning for them and that’s okay. It’s how the scripture touches each of us.

No matter what we write, we need to be careful where we lead one another. I always think about the fact that long after I’m gone, my words may still be there. I don’t want them to haunt me, I want them to be good words that make a lasting impression. We may mean well, but unlike speaking our words aren’t spoken. People can’t see our facial expressions or hear the inflection in our voice. Without those additions our words can wound or send someone in a direction we didn’t plan. Words are powerful. If you’re ever on Facebook, you can see how that happens every day. Putting prayer with our writing is an asset, not an annoyance.

Father, if we need prompting, prompt us. We give our writing to you and want to please you. Help us to do that each time we put ink to paper or fingers to the keyboard. Amen

Many Parts-One Body

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.– 1 Corinthians 12:12 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 

When I put it in the context of writing, I really didn’t know which part of this seemed more important, so I chose these two verses that spoke to me the most. I immediately thought of my critique group, which is made up of many wonderful individuals. Unfortunately, I always felt uncomfortable and out-of-place because most were accomplished writers. Some of us writers are weaker and feel less important than the more experienced and knowledgeable ones. These verses have helped me realize that I do have a place in the group. Being one of the weaker writers I was led with great care to encourage my strengths. God also put us together so the more accomplished writers can hone their leadership skills. I will be rejoining my group once again.

Pray about it and if you want to belong to a critique group, don’t hesitate. It may take a few tries before you mesh with a group, but there’s one out there for all of us. Sit, listen and take in all you can from their experiences and corrections. We all have a purpose in a group. Even though we may appear the weakest or less important, we are most necessary for everyone’s growth.

Lord help us to reach out to each other with love and care. Help us to grow in our writing and honor your choices for us. Help us to believe that even though we may be the weakest and feel less important that we are a necessary asset to the group. Amen

Chosen Ones

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

There was great joy and freedom when I realized that I didn’t choose God, but He chose me! Someone wanted me. As a kid, I always waited to last to be chosen for a game. As an adult, it was wondrous to realize I was chosen before I was born. God had a predestined plan for my life. I realized that’s why, even as a  child, I always had  in my heart a desire to write. I’m ashamed to say have been very lax in my writing in the past few years, but it’s always there nagging at my heart. God wants me to get involved in my writing life, once again. I love writing, but sometimes I let the ups and downs of my life dictate, when I write. I’m so glad God works with me on my weaknesses. He keeps urging me on in my destiny. He may not have a great book in my future, but He has the confidence in my will to move on with my life, writing and desire to share and help others.

This great love we have for writing is nothing compared to the love we will face when we come into the kingdom of heaven. The overwhelming desire to please the Lord with the talents he has given us should be used with respect. Whether you write for children, spiritual, fiction, or non fiction, God chose you for a purpose. God’s choice in me or you didn’t just happen at salvation and it will continue throughout our lives. God is working things out in ways that you aren’t even aware of.  Get involved in your writing life. God works in ways that are invisible to our view. Rejoice in that truth. Trust in His unending love. We will fail at times, but need to pick up where we left off and continue on with the talents he gave us and the love he is giving us. I am and will continue to follow His lead.

Lord, lead us and we will follow.

Who Leads You?

For all those who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.” Romans 8:14

Did you know one of the greatest gifts God offers us is the privilege of being led by the Holy Spirit? I love the fact that I am led by the Holy Spirit’s wisdom. When I lean on my own wisdom, I am in trouble. The Holy Spirit provides me with God’s wisdom. He helps me to make good and right decisions. Knowing I  have the ability to tap into the Spirit’s wisdom to make my decisions is freeing. The Spirit’s wisdom allows the decisions I make today to change my tomorrows, too.

In our daily decisions, whether it’s in our personal or writing life we need to use this guidance. Stop and ask for guidance with each new decision you are unsure of because you will receive an answer. It may be through another person, or an inner reassurance, if your decision is based on prayer. When my girls were small, I would take a deep breath, close my eyes and throw a “Lord, help me” to the heavens.  I think that deep breath along with closed eyes gave my girls the impression an explosion was erupting within. However, that short prayer gave me enough time to regroup and receive an answer. Depend on the Holy Spirit, he never leads us in the wrong direction. Just like we like our children to listen, God loves his children to listen to His counsel.

Lord help us to remember, as your children, we are not alone. In those times of anger or confusion let us turn to the Holy Spirit before making our decisions. You are always there with guidance and love. Let our decisions be your decisions for our lives and the lives of those we love.

Serve Wholeheartedly

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”  Ephesians 6:7

When I sat down to write, I used to worry a lot about the words I wrote. Will they hurt or touch someone’s heart? Will they make someone angry or happy? Will I find the right words to put on the paper. Sometimes, I wrote an article or passage over and over trying to find just the right words. It’s in my nature, I am predominately a people pleaser. I don’t want to make anyone angry, hurt or confused by what I say or write. If I continually change my writing, who am I serving? Am I serving God with my writing? Am I doing God’s bidding or am I people pleasing?

Do you find yourself in this dilemma? It’s a demobilizing state for any writer. Thinking and changing words continually is non- productive for you, as a writer. Later in my writing and faith journey, I’d offer my writing, as a sort of offering to God. I felt some comfort with the belief he would guide me.  He helps when we reach out to Him in times of need. It’s a battle, when I sit down to write. Do you feel the tingling of stress mounting in your body? I used to. I would get so nervous, my head would be swirling. I would realize I was almost hyperventilating. Sounds silly, but it was true. Ask and God will give you the words. Allow Him to lead your fingers on the page. He wants to be in charge, let Him. You will make Him happy and you will be happier, too.

Lord help us to remember in those times we lose the words we need to allow you to give us the words you want others to hear. We are your servants. We offer our hearts and words to you.

Completed Through His Hands

photopottershandsFor we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

I get scriptures in my email. When I read this scripture, I had an “Aha” moment. I shivered as goose bumps popped out on my arms. “Wow, I am the results of God’s workmanship.” This was a new understanding and it struck a note. I always understood God created me, but being the result of His workmanship struck a different note. It made me realize that a great deal of thought and care lent a hand to complete me. I felt valuable and knew God fashioned something special in me, enabling me to accomplish things that only I’m uniquely gifted to do. Another fact I learned from this devotional is that the Greek word for workmanship is poem. So to be a poem is special. Poems touch people’s’ hearts. I like to feel that as a writer, my writing can and should touch someone’s heart and or feelings. I’m sorry that have a peculiar train of thought, but. I was touched by this scripture.

God has empowered all writers to do good works. If God has led you to be a writer, each day he will trust your to serve him. Your don’t have to write devotionals, children’s stories, or human interest pieces. We do have to be respectful as writers in our choice of words. He wants us all to be able to do something special with the talents he has given us. Remember your are a product of he workmanship and that alone should make you feel valuable. Keep his poem alive and touch others hearts with your writing.

Lord help us to remember how hard you worked on creating us. Help us to create our own wonderful poems and touch others in you name.