Grace, love and fellowship

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14

Where does the time go? The weeks seem to go faster and faster and I wonder what I got accomplished. Each day comes with a list of “to do’s” that I check off as I finish them. Most of the things I need to get done on the list are connected to some kind of interaction with somebody. Many think that being a writer means being alone in work, but not true. I have connections daily with many people through email, phone calls, meetings, coffee and more. I truly enjoy this although I also like the quiet times when I can write. It’s all good.

As we journey through life, none of us is really alone. There are people everywhere that we can have a relationship with at different levels. What makes some relationships more precious to us is the bond we have in Christ. There is an understanding, or there should be, of whose we are and how we are related to others in Christ. This includes a knowledge about grace, love and fellowship that we share. It is a powerful circle to be a part of and I am thankful.

Prayer: Lord, you are at the center of my circle and I thank you for that truth. I pray that I display your grace and love in the fellowship of those who call you Lord. May the same be true with those who do not know you. May they sense something different in me that draws them to you. Amen

Faith Tip: Be intentional in showing grace and love as you fellowship.

Morning stretch


DSC00044 (Photo credit: number657)

You are my refuge and my shield; 
    I have put my hope in your word. – Psalm 119:114

Have you ever watched taffy being made? It really is neat to see how the three bars on the machine continually stretch the mass of sweetness to perfection.

There are times I feel like I am on a taffy machine being stretched in different directions all the time. I have writing projects to work on, ministry responsibilities, social media that I try to keep up with, and of course, life at home stuff. For me, the days race by quickly and I wonder if I will ever get caught up.

Our stretching has a purpose … not only does it grow us in character, but more importantly, it brings us to our knees and that’s the perfect spot where God wants us to be. Dependence on God is what makes things happen. Relying on his power in our life gives us more strength than if we depended only on ourselves. It makes life sweet.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the stretching you have done in my life. It was necessary for me to struggle and be challenged so that I can reflect your son, Jesus. Amen

Faith Tip: If you are being stretched today, be thankful for it. God is preparing you for wonderful things.

Staying on track

English: Jogging with dog at Carcavelos Beach ...

Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”

Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied. – Joshua 24:19-22

There are times when I am very strong and focused on a goal such as healthy living. I am eating fruit and veggies, exercising, and doing whatever I can at the moment to be healthy. Then there are other times. I may have had a challenging day and all my focus goes down the tube and I want something that I perceive will satisfy my needs … usually having to do with ice cream and pizza.

The Israelites had a passion, just like we do, to worship and serve God. There are times when we have it all together and can be focused on the goal. Then there are other times. Our humanness takes over when life gets challenging and we lose our focal point of the way we were going. Somehow we get off-track in following God by going after distractions of the world.

God knows our weakness. Our creator has provided a way to get back on track and continue the journey. His name is Jesus.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for helping me get back on track when I journey down my own road. Your way is always better. Amen

Faith Tip: What road are you on today and who are you following? Do you need to be refocused? God will help you … just ask.

Following faithfully

English: Htv camera

English: Htv camera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. – Numbers 14:24

Gathering with a group of sisters in the Lord yesterday always is a delight to me. The purpose of the gathering was to be a supportive small group audience for the speaker being video-taped for her teachings to be made available through Zondervan. What an exciting time for her! I can see how she has been following God and the lessons she has learned, and now has been blessed with this taping to be a blessing for all who view it.

Making the choice to follow God gives us a different spirit. It is different from what the world says is the way we should go. This spirit, entwined with the Spirit of God, says to follow Jesus. The world will reach out to us to try to pull us off the path, but remain focused on the Lord. He’s bringing us to the Promised Land.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your Spirit you have given me. I pray that today I will follow you wholeheartedly and not be distracted by things that are not in your plan for me. Amen

Faith Tip:  Make a choice this morning to follow Jesus in everything you do today.

Why do you ….?

Fernley, NV, January 12, 2008 -- At a Red Cros...

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. – Hebrews 6:10

I often ask myself, “Why do I write?” “Why do I mentor?” “Why …” As I set priorities in my life and recognize the reason I do what I do, I am more likely to reach the goal set before me. I believe that my goal was ultimately set by God. From what the Bible says, I am important to him, my transformation is essential, our relationship is vital, and his kingdom is significant. Knowing what is important to God helps me to use my time in a manner honoring his goals for me.

We often think we are wasting time when we are working at something and don’t see improvement, or ministering to others and the same problems arise, but it’s not time used carelessly. God has a purpose for us to be where we are right now. The opportunities given to us to show love to others reflects the love we have for God. He will not forget this … ever.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I pray that I can keep your goal clearly in front of me as I schedule my days. Thank you for allowing me to serve you. Amen

Faith Tip: What is it that God has for you today? Does it involve showing love to people? Consider it a joy.

What’s your gift?

The purpose of spiritual gifts

The purpose of spiritual gifts (Photo credit: bdentzy)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9

I took a spiritual gift’s assessment the other day and faith was my top gift. I began to wonder what that meant and how it could be used for the kingdom. I know I have faith, but don’t all believers have it? What would make it numero uno on my list? So as I do often, I research on the Internet for more information. I came across a blog that had this definition: The gift of faith is the ability to envision what needs to be done and to trust God to accomplish it even though it seems impossible to most people.

Okay, I can see myself in that, but I also know that it is God who gave me the gift, along with the vision, and the experiences where I learned to trust him completely. It’s all God. 

What about your gifts? God created them in you for a purpose. Take a spiritual gift survey and find out how you might best serve God. Perhaps you already know and you’re waiting for the call and opportunity. Pray into that. God wants to use you. You will be blessed by it.

Prayer: All praise to you, Jesus, for the gifts you have given me. I pray that I continue to point to you in my manner whenever the gift is acknowledged for it is truly all yours. Amen

Faith Tip: Find a spiritual gift assessment to take on-line, or ask your pastor for one.

All together now

West Michigan Word Weavers Writers Retreat

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God‘s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. – 1 John 3:18-20 The Message

Writers know and understand the hopes and fears of other writers. That’s why it is great to be part of a writer’s group. We can share our struggles in the craft and know others have experienced the same thing. Writers can share their hopes and dreams and together, we can work towards those goals. Traveling the journey together is the important part. If we are alone in the journey, the focus becomes us. In a group, even though we may fall short in the business one way or another, we don’t need to only focus on that. We can help and encourage others, which in turn, helps ourselves.

The Christian journey is the same in that although we fall short of God’s glory, we don’t need to focus on that and become locked up in moving forward. In walking together and sharing our lives with one another, truly living in community, we can focus on the love of God given to us in abundance and experienced through his people. This is truly living.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the community you have put me in. I pray that I show them love and help them to your glory and honor. Amen

Faith Tip: Who is in your community? Share in the blessings of traveling the journey of life together. It may start with a cup of coffee.

Turn to Praising

 LORD, you are my God
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago. – Isaiah 25:1

When will the suffering end? This is a thought I have at times when it seems like heart-breaking circumstances are happening everywhere. My prayer list seems endless as I learn of needs through media such as television, radio, internet and phone. When it starts to get overwhelming, I remind myself to stop.

Stopping from the cycle of needs all around to refocus on who God is will bring us into a concert of praise. Praising God happens all the time around the world, and if we enter that praise, we join in on what’s already happening. The Spirit of God will lift us up out of the “circumstances” into his throne room of grace. Our hearts will rejoice in knowing the great love and faithfulness of Jesus.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being in control of all things. I pray that I remember your perfect faithfulness in all circumstances. Amen

Faith Tip: Feeling stressed? Begin to praise God and allow the Spirit to take over.

Project Management

"Classic" size Franklin Planner w Mo...

Image via Wikipedia

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. – Romans 12:1

Having managed projects in the past, there is a sense of control as the plans are being written out and each step that will be taken with the expected response presumed. I have also added that method to planning done in my life. The greatest lesson I have learned is that it normally doesn’t work out the way I had it planned. The perceived control was never there. I trusted myself more than God.

Surrendering our lives to God is a tough choice that we need to practice and commit to each day. It sounds like an easy choice since God is who He is, but in reality as we move through our day, we may find that choices made are through our wants rather than what God wants. God does know the perfect way for us, but we need to trust and obey.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being the one who truly is in control. You know better than I the way to go and I ask that you forgive me when I challenge Your way. Amen

Faith Tip: Practice trusting today by allowing God to choose.

God Can Do It!

Dressed up teddy bear

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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I remember years ago when Old Kent Bank used to hold a yearly dress a bear/doll contest. I loved looking at all the creative outfits worn by the toys, and I desired to be a part of the giving to some special child. However, I did not have the gift of sewing. One day, I decided to give it a try. In one day, I made a nightgown, hat, and slippers for a bear on the sewing machine. It turned out great. I really felt I was being guided through it. The Holy Spirit took over in the task and helped me complete it. God worked wonders through my weakness.

There are many areas in life where we are weak as humans. That doesn’t mean we need to fall into those weaknesses, because we can’t help it. God’s power is the perfect fit for our weakness. He can work wonders that we know can only come from Him if we allow God to do so. The choices we make, if God honoring, will be empowered by the Spirit.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that Your grace is provided for all the wrong choices I make. You give me another chance. I pray for your power in my life today. Amen

Faith Tip: Feeling like you have an old weakness that just keeps hanging on? Today, grasp onto the power of Christ and don’t let go. He will walk you through.