Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't swerve or you'll miss it!

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we possess for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
Unswervingly - what a strange word to find in my bible.  I can just imagine the writer writing a word then crossing it out, then trying another.  Then once again he crosses he out.  Finally he stands up from his table or desk and walks across the room to his book shelf where he pulls off his trusty Thesaurus.  He blows on it to release it from its blanket of dust and then skims through it to the right page.

without wavering; remain steady; not deviating; unswervingly

'That's the word I want.  It is important my readers to not get the wrong image.  God wants them to know His faithfulness is sooo strong that they will not even feel the slightest shimmy from the path if they trust Him completely.'  Unswervingly.

Does that describe your faith?  Does that word describe anything about you?  I am afraid it doesn't describe me or my faith most days.  I waver.  I deviate.  And I definitely swerve.

"You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself unswervingly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."  Deut 30:20
"For this is what the LORD says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold unswervingly to my covenant--to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off."   Isaiah 56:4,5
"By this gospel you are saved, if you hold unswervingly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain." 1 Cor 15:2
"For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as unswervingly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ."  Heb 3:14 
There are so many more accounts in the bible -

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review A Woman's Guide to Fasting

Lisa E Nelson has written a wonderful book to guide women through the maze of fasting as a spiritual discipline.  I absolutely loved this book and would highly recommend it to every PERSON out there.  Not just women.  However it is a nice book to share with a few close girlfriends.
A Woman's Guide to Fasting
Lisa offers women an easy to read and easy to put to practice approach to fasting.  She tackles common questions, concerns and worries that I know have been on my mind.  I have never fasted before this book and I will definitely be doing it after.

Lisa is not legalistic or suggest in any way that I would be a better Christian if I did this.  Instead she dives into the heart of God and how we can follow after it in many different ways.  Fasting is just one of them.  But I must add that this book did more for my entire spiritual walk than just specifically for the idea of fasting. Lisa is an encourager.  She does a fabulous job of encouraging me in every aspect of my journey of faith.

Her writing style is relaxed and soothing.  It feels like having a coffee with Lisa at a quaint little tea house.  She fills each of her points with abundant scriptures.  You become friends with her before you finish the book.  She shares a lot of insight from her own life.  I particularly loved her section on the experience of 9-11 and how her husband and family was affected that day and how God used fasting to call her spirit into prayer.  Very powerful!

Pick up this book.  It is a must read! In fact, I will tell you that I normally give away my copies of review books to my library. However this one is staying right where it is - on my bedside table.  (Well, after I loan it out to my friends that is.)

Thank you Lisa for gently calling me to a closer relationship with my heavenly Father.  May He bless you as you continue to touch the lives of other women.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an HONEST review.  I am not required to provide a positive response.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wow! A light bulb moment

The other night I sat in on a live chat with a prolific Christian author, Susan May Warren and her friends.  It was fun and educational.  She talked about writing stuff that might bore a lot of you.  However she gave me some food for thought.  I will be chewing for awhile.

She gave me a certain thought that has stuck in my head for a few days.  I think it relates to everyday life.  It has to do with Point of View.  That is writing vocab for "who" is the teller of a scene.  In some books it stays the same consistently throughout the whole story.  In others, it can change depending on the scene.

For my NaNo project I am trying a different style than I have done before.  It is written as a strictly romance genre.  Which means most publishers want a hero POV and a heroine POV.  I have only written one other project from a his/hers perspective before.  It is my second manuscript titled Another miracle.

The author who lead the on line talk, Susan May Warren, gave me a treasured tidbit; a nugget of author gold.  Almost always the scene is told from the point of view of the character who has the most to lose.  That provides the reader with more of an emotional ride.  I can see that, however it got me thinking of my own life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

You are so good to me

Yesterday our community was shook by some devastating news of a tragedy.

The morning yesterday felt off-kilter, unsettling and just plain weird when I got up.  It wasn't until 8:55 am that I received the news. Suddenly off-kilter and weird felt much better than the truth.  Any plans we had for our day were shifted in order to be there and support those who were affected the most.

Throughout the day I found myself carrying some invisible baggage.  I did not want to name it - for the pain was so close. Yet I couldn't put it down.  I felt in some strange way I needed to carry my share.  So I did.  I held it close.  I prayed for it.  I prayed about it.  I mourned.  And then I prayed some more.

This morning I still feel heavy.  I feel a new burden and it is definitely weariness.  It is born of more than two weeks of early mornings to write.  From keeping my household afloat with the usual day to day activities.  From keeping up with jobs and after school sports and dance classes for three active teenagers.  And from the disappointment of yesterday that carries a new weight - Lord let us help the other hurting ones out there.

So I did my devotional this morning and then put aside my laptop and curled up with a warm fuzzy blanket, a raging fire and Jesus. Although my body wanted to sleep, my mind needed rest and peace more.  So I let myself just rest in His embrace.

Jesus said, 'come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28
It is an invitation.  It is a promise.  And it is words of comfort to a dry and thirsty soul.

Be still and listen.

Is he saying them to you?

A song kept creeping into my thoughts as well.  It brought me a measure of peace.  I have a link for you here in case you are feeling burdened today too. (Link - scroll down to the bottom of the lyrics where there is a grey box with a play button.  Click that and a new window will open that plays the song.)

The Lord wants us to curl up in His lap and tell him when we are feeling burdened.  He wants to restore us. For that I am thankful. He truly is an amazing God.

Today my prayer is for the family and friends in our community that are mourning a huge loss.  For the ones who are wondering 'why'.  To the folks who are angry and can't understand or accept what has happened.
Lord, you are an amazing God.  You are greater and mightier than anything we can ever imagine.  It is Your desire to draw near those who are hurting, those who are feeling heavy and burdened - whether by pain or sorrow or dissatisfaction.  You want them to come to You for rest.  You love them and it hurts Your heart to see them in so much pain.  But God you are willing and able to heal those broken hearts.  Thank you.  Help open their eyes to You and Your strength over the next days and months as they try to pick up the pieces.  

I thank you Jesus for holding me today.  You are my Jesus who loves me.

Has there been a time in your life when you crawled into His lap and let His peace and rest envelop you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Great Thou Art

This month as I am striving hard to complete 50K words in the Nanowrimo contest I have taken on a wider, bigger goal that that as well.

If you've been following along with me you know that this is my second year doing Nano.  (See previous post here.)  However last year my goal was just the 50K.  This year I wanted to swallow the whole experience - write every day a certain amount of words.  In order to do that I needed to be disciplined.  To be honest, discipline is something that is often absent in my life.  I am more of a whatever-you-feel-like-at-the-moment kind of gal.  So before I entered into this contest I decided it needed to encompass more than my writing.

I decided to be disciplined with God too.  So I set my alarm for 5 am every week day.  I get up, make a tea and a fire and sit down on the couch with my Bible and  a devotional book.  Then after spending half an hour with God I open my laptop and start to write.  Depending how fast I type that morning I can almost complete the daily word count in the next hour before my children need to be wakened for school.  I was amazed at how a little discipline made a huge difference in my life.

  • It renews my love for my Saviour   
  • It gives me a boost for my day.  
  • And before 7 am I can complete my biggest challenge of the day.

Now part two of this new me is how do I keep it going for a month. I am also not a good finisher.  I wanted to be successful not just in building a writing habit but more so a quiet time habit. Here I am on day 16 of the month long challenge and this is my progress report.  I have missed three mornings of writing.  I have missed zero mornings of quiet time.

How did I manage that yo may ask?  Once I slept in too long and just used my time to read the Bible instead of cracking my laptop open.  Then twice I woke up with headaches.  I read from my bible then curled up on the couch with a blanket and went back to sleep until my kids had to get up.

I don't tell you this to boast.  For I have done nothing incredible.  I have just been obedient.  I do tell you this to encourage you. Mostly though, I tell you this to share what happened this morning.  I woke at 5 am with a song in my head.  That is not all too different.  But today the hymn was How Great Thou Art.  It was so strong and clear I decided to grab a hymnal and sing through the song before I started my Bible reading.  It was a nice way to begin my morning with God.  Then I opened my devotional and the bible reading was from Psalm 66.
Shout for joy to God, all the earth! 
Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. 
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! 
So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. 
All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, 
they sing the praises of your name
It was one of those little reminders (a fingerprint of God on my day) that He is in control.  He reigns in my mornings and in my nights.  He reigns in my writing and in my other daily duties.

Then I shall bow in humble adoration, and there proclaim, my God how great Thou art.
If you need a little pick me up check out this video.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You are here.

Have you ever wished God would point his finger to a big red dot on the floor and say, "stand here"?

I have.

I read a blog post the other day with a variety of fun door mats. The first one caught my eye and made me ponder its meaning all day.
I think we all at some point wish we had more specific direction.  A map with a little more detail on it.

The cool thing is that God has the whole plan mapped out.

Even if you can't read it, He wrote it and understands every mark on it.

He knows ever turn and every adjustment needed to make to get you from A to B.

Or from there to

Ask God to help you.  Pray that he would show you where to stand to be in the centre of His will.

There are so many instances that God tells us to come to Him. He wants to show you the way.  He is waiting for you to ask.

James 1:5
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
Matthew 7:7
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Psalm 25:4,5
Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long. 

Where are you standing?  Are you where God wants you to be? Check out my post on purpose if you aren't sure.

In the meantime, here is a little pick me up for you today.

 Blessings my friend!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book Review Softly and Tenderly by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck

Click here to listen to the first few pages.

Softly and tenderly is a story about two families all connected by one woman, Jade Benson.  She is in her thirties, married to Max, a Lawyer.  She lives near her in-laws June and Reb who are well-to-do Southern folks.  Jade owns two businesses and is trying to care for her ailing mother, Beryl who is dying of leukemia.  Jade and the family members around her have to grapple with enormous life issues in this 289 page story.  There is infertility, abortion, divorce, infidelity, adoption, pre-marital sex, drug addictions, death, deception, abandonment issues and social climbers.  Frankly I was overwhelmed.  I had a hard time relating to the main character.  I couldn’t believe with everything on her plate she was still standing.  If I wasn’t reading this book for a review I would have shelved it.  But I didn’t and by the end I was glad I kept going.

I really wanted to like this book.  I liked the edgy feeling to the book, the very natural and casual voice of the authors.  Yet, I found it did not follow a ‘typical’ Christian format.  I do not want to open a whole new can of worms, but for a story about all believers but one in the main cast, the issues of sin were handled so lightly.  A few characters felt their indiscretions were no big deal.  That is fine on page ten of a story but by the end as a reader I want to see restoration.  I want to believe that my God is bigger than ALL the stuff Jade is dealing with.  And He is, but the story doesn’t actually say that.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Write on Purpose ... over and over again

Everyone ends up somewhere.

But few people end up somewhere on purpose.

Those were words shared in the sermon this last Sunday at my church.  They have stuck like glue in my head, dripping into almost everything I've done so far this week.  Aside from becoming a sticky mess, they have focused me on a bigger prize.

Getting where I want to go ON PURPOSE, not by accident.

It is a perfect mantra for me this month.  It is, after all NaNoWriMo month.

HUH?   NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month.  So basically a writer has one month to write 50K words in a novel.

"For fun?", you ask.

Yes.  But more so to get somewhere on purpose.  See, a writer's life can be solitary and lonely.  In fact no one around may even be aware you are a writer unless you tell them.  Or better yet, show them a finished product.  NaNo tries to ingrain in writers a habit of writing everyday - just like a full time author would do.  On purpose.