Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One of my other resolutions, for lack of some other term to call it, is to focus on my prayer life this year. I tend to be the laundry list kind of person. I want to develop that aspect of my Christian walk so it's what it should be - communicating with God.
I want to share a book that has truly helped me in this exploit - THE 21 MOST EFFECTIVE PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE by Dave Earley. Just as the title suggests, the author focuses on 21 prayers raised up by various characters in the Bible. Each prayer has its own chapter, and within that chapter the story of the original prayer is given and discussed. Then, Earley brings the prayer into the context of modern-day. He suggests how this prayer might be one that readers should pray.
I have already read the entire book and am going back again camping out a little longer on each prayer. Some of the prayers particularly hit home with me. The prayer of Elijah was simply, "Answer me." Earley tells a story of a missionary in this section that brought me to tears in light of the fact that I will be going to Haiti later this year. Also, the prayer of Jabez which speaks of enlarging his territory, strikes a chord with me as you might notice in one of my earlier posts about God enlarging my influence.
Prayers aren't magic incantations to get what we want. Prayer is communicating with a God Who knows what our best path is and wants to guide us on it. With that in mind, I'm learning to pray and commune with Him. As I learn, I recognize Him all around me. He was always there; I just wasn't tuned in. Now that I've begun to tune in through prayer, this Christian life has become more of an adventure than ever before.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sorry for the late post today. When you keep a two-year-old, she rules your time. Nap time.

Today I've been thinking about why I write. I asked myself that a couple of years ago. When I did my quiet time that day, I ended up in 1 John. As I flipped through that book I kept noticing the word writing or write. Upon further inspection, I discovered my philosophy for writing Christian fiction.
The first reason I write is because I have heard, seen, and experienced the Word of life - Jesus. I now must proclaim and testify to Him. This type of writing will make our joy complete by the fellowship we can share through Christ.
The second chapter in 1 John explains that I don't write something new or unknown but to confirm the truth that Christians know. The writing also is to guide us away from sin and warn about those who try to deceive and lead us astray.
Chapter five explains the purpose for writing is to know that you truly have eternal life and not an illusion. This reiterates our position in Christ and boosts our trust in God.
Naturally, I understand that the specific comments made in 1 John were discussing the writing of that book or letter. However, I believe the message can transfer to the present day.
When I write Christian fiction, I include truths from God's Word such as how to receive salvation, overcoming sin or discouragement, and finding hope in Christ alone. These ideas aren't my original thoughts, but I do weave them through an original storyline to testify to the hope God has instilled in me.
This adopted philosphy guides my writing projects by providing a plumb line for checking my motives. If there is no witness or testimony about Him, it's not mine to write.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Recently on the ACFW loops, much attention has been focused on what word should characterize you this year. I've thought about that and come to the conclusion that my word is influence.
For those familiar with the prayer of Jabez from the Bible, you might remember that he asked God to increase his territory. This can also be interpreted as influence. Like Jabez, I am asking God to increase my influence for Him this year.
First Peter the third chapter encourages us Christians to "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But, do this with gentleness and respect ..." God has given me fiction stories which hold truths about salvation and being a believer. This is one way I can answer as to the hope I contain with gentleness and respect thus spreading my influence for the Lord.
Have you considered what word should characterize you this year? I pray God will lay on your heart the word that will guide your exploits this year. January 1st, 2013, I hope to look back knowing I did my best to increase my influence for Christ and look more like Him.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don't you love it when a plan comes together? Or, when God brings it together.
In the Jan. 23rd issue of Woman's World I had an article published about my friend, Sue. She shared her trials from becoming a widow with young children to marrying a man who turned out to be verbally abusive. After her second husband left, she found herself devoid of self esteem and finances to support herself and her children. But, the article explained that it is never too late to turn your life around. Through prayer and God's leading, she found her passion for dog grooming. Now she does a job that is satisfying and supports her.
Tonight I asked Sue to share her testimony with my Pregnancy Center girls. What better message to send than - it's never too late to turn your life around? I'm praying God will use this to encourage the girls to press on following God's leading.
Sometimes we all feel a little lost, but it's never too late to humble ourselves in prayer and ask God to lead us in the direction He has for us. He keeps His promises - He can use even the bad situations in our lives to bring about good. He has our best interest at heart, and His plan is always the best as opposed to our way which might just be good or better.
It's never too late to seek God's best for you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Please take notice of the quote below my name. Life is God's novel, let Him write it. I'm not sure who said that or wrote that, but I do know it has become the theme of my life right now.
Let's face it, as Christians our lives are like a story unfolding through the direction of the Lord. Sometimes, if I'm honest, I like to take over the writing. Not a smart idea. Just as the song by Casting Crowns says: to God, our life is history. He's already standing at the end. I'm trying to keep this in mind. He has the best in mind for me, and He knows the best decisions and directions.
By relying on His leading, I've been traveling into the world of writing. God has blessed me with articles in a national magazine and a column online. He has also recently allowed me a contract for one of my novellas. Someone asked me how I felt now that I will be traditionally published. The first word that came to mind was humble. I am humbled by the fact that God would actually allow me this writing ministry.
Stories contain a theme or a motive - a dominant idea. God has constantly given me stories of hope to share - the hope found only in Him. My prayer would be that God would use me and my writing to touch someone with the hope they may be searching for. If one is touched for Christ, all of this is worth it.
Thus, join me here for updates on my writing as well as that of others in the form of guests and reviews. Also, stay tuned for messages that God would have me to share with you here.
Bless you, reader. Keep letting God write that novel of your life. Who knows what plot turns and characters He will introduce - it's an adventure!