To Write or Not To Write

If I was asked to speak to young writers (young by either years or experience), this is what I would tell them…

WRITE. BE INSPIRED. BE WHO GOD CREATED YOU TO BE!

Write, Write, Write!

Write when you’re passionate…let that pen bleed. Write when you’re not passionate…push that pen to speak. There will be times, you won’t have much to say. Write anyway. It doesn’t mean you have to share it with the world. Just write it to keep the words flowing. I have heard it said… 

…if you dream of being a writer, then you must begin writing today! 😉 Write when you’re “blocked.” This is when outside sources come in handy. Sources like the daily prompt on WordPress is a great option. Keep journals. Don’t limit yourself; use different mediums. Try drawing, word art, poetry, typing and even word games to prompt your senses. Social media is a great outlet, too; however, be careful here! Remember, whatever you put out in the internet world can stay there forever…and sometimes, it can come back to haunt you (Avoid drama)! 😉 Try writing with different styles, different themes and different methods. Write short stories, fiction, essays, poetry, blogs, songs, etc. Enter contests, writing sessions and other opportunities where your writing can be stretched and subjected to someone outside your sphere of influence. Over time, you will be amazed how strong your writing will become. 

Be Inspired!

Read everything and anything to gain inspiration. The more you read, the more inspired you will become. Find a mentor within your orbit who loves writing even more than you do, someone who can gently critique your writing styles to help you consistently improve. Find a mentor outside your orbit to whom you can look for inspiration, as well as, after whom you can model a portion of your style. If you are a person of faith, it is incredibly important to read your Word and become grounded. There are so many fallacies in this world that if your foundation is not the Word of God, you will find yourself swayed by every wind and doctrine that comes along. Unplug. Get alone at least 30 minutes each day. Unplug from electronics and get out in nature. You will be amazed how inspiring this can be!

Believe In God!

This portion was written specifically for the audience of whom I had prepared; however, it’s great advice for the masses…

God gave you a gift; use it! He wouldn’t give it to you if He wasn’t going to use you, even if it’s for no one else but yourself! 😉 Believe in yourself. God does. Take a minute to read through Psalm 139. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made, and He has created you for His purpose. Find that purpose as you write about it. Don’t ever let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Too many authors, poets and writers, if they could return from the grave, would tell you there’s treasures in those words they buried while living. 

Believe in others as well as yourself. Be willing to submit your works to others. Remember, iron always sharpens iron. Friction can bring out magnificent beauty in the gold. As well, be encouraging of those around you.  You will find as you lift up another, you will be blessed, too!

Well, I do hope this has been helpful, and I’d love to hear from you! What have you found to be helpful in your writing endeavors? What inspires you? 😊

quotesgram.com

Advertisements

The Evidence Is In Your Hands

Our true character comes out in the way we pray.

Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.

We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; The Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

Prayer is simple, prayer is supernatural, and to anyone not related to our Lord Jesus Christ, prayer is apt to look stupid. – Oswald Chambers**

I picked up a new little perennial calendar with prayer quotes from Oswald Chambers, and I find myself challenged in my prayers more often than not. He has such a blunt way of stating things, and his words seem to pierce my heart even on subjects with which I am very familiar.

“Our true character comes out in the way we pray.” This is so very true. I heard a pastor preached this past weekend on this same subject. Pastor Rhonda Holland was speaking at a ladies conference, and she gave the illustration of the women who went to the tomb after Jesus died. She referenced Luke 24:1, when Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James and Salome went to the tomb and carried spices to anoint the body of Jesus. She said, “Now, why do you carry spices to a tomb? Jesus had told them He would rise in three days. They had believed in Him when He walked the Earth. They had even followed Him to the cross. Yet, on that third day, the evidence of what they believed was in their hands.” The only reason you bring spices to a tomb is to anoint a dead body! The evidence of what they truly believed they would find in that tomb was carried in their hands!! If they had actually believed Jesus was going to be risen when they got there, they wouldn’t have needed the spices. They would have, instead, carried tambourines for singing and shouting!

Often times, we claim we believe God’s Word to be true. We say we believe Jeremiah 29:11, that promises God has good plans for our life, plans to prosper and not to harm us. We claim to believe Romans 8:28, which tells us He works all things for our good. We even boldly declare the promise found in Romans 8:37 that we are more than conquerors through Christ; yet, the evidence of what we truly believe within the depths of our hearts can be seen and heard in our prayers when the storm really hits too close to home. We cry. We fear. We doubt, and we question Him. We wail and travail, fearing the worst is yet to come!

What if we were to actually believe He was going to do what He said He was going to do? What if we really claimed the promises He gives to us in His Word? What if we actually prayed as if we knew His promises were right and true?

Remember, if those three women had come to the tomb truly believing Christ had risen, they would not have carried those spices for embalming His body. They would have come rejoicing, praising His name, dancing in celebration of what had already come to pass and expecting that stone to be rolled away! 😉

 What is the evidence you hold in your hands?

 

**See more at: http://prayer-coach.com/2011/06/10/prayer-quotes-oswald-chambers/ and http://www.christianquotes.info/top-quotes/18-powerful-quotes-from-oswald-chambers/

 

 

 

To Reach Them

We never know someone’s struggle. We never know their pain until we come in close, until they let us in past the protective shield they’ve constructed. Just as a wounded animal responds with growling and even a bite, sometimes, those most wounded will respond with the most hatred and venom. Just as a child whose grown up way too fast will grit their teeth and bare the scars and brokenness without a tear to shed, those most crippled often respond with a cold stare and clenched jaw. 

 

source: flickr.com

 We must reach to Him for the love they need. We must be His arms extended to show them grace and mercy. We can’t assume we know how they feel or even what they’ve been through, but He knows. 

Oh, but the one who is broken and almost barren inside and, yet, is somehow able to respond to the love shown. That one to whom grace is freely given and the ice around her heart is finally shattered. Oh, the joy that will overflow! 

We must first reach Him to reach them. We must first love Him to love them. Our acts of kindness, our showing of mercy will never last if it is only from our own mind, our own hands. Some will never respond, and that’s okay. It’s not a reflection of you. It is only a rejection of Him. 

Just keep loving Him and reaching to them. Those who reject, just move on past, but keep on praying. God will have His way. God will reach their hearts. 

Sometimes, you’re just to plant the seed. Sometimes, you get to pour the water. Regardless of your position, He’s always the One who brings the increase. You just keep obeying His call, and He will take care of the rest. 

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19

Ponderings of Today

No matter where you find yourself today…
Whether it be facing a tunnel of indecision and questioning…

Or the abundance of overflowing laughter and joy…


Look back and realize you are blessed.

Grasp that heart of gratitude and press forward…

 Then you will be able to look ahead with passion and desire…

And never allow the roads of regret and pain to keep you from the HOPE of tomorrow.
Penned – 12/31/15 – MG

Light Pierces Through at Christmas

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world.

He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’.”

John 8:12

light pierces

He is the Light which never fails. When the storm seems the darkest, when the waves are crashing in, just remember, light always pierces through the darkness. There is no storm so strong that He cannot prevail. There is no darkness so deep that He cannot shine.

This world in which we live is such a dark place. There are many waves of confusion crashing upon the shores of those around us. The storm clouds rage in so many with whom we come in contact, and yet, too often, we fail to shine the Light that would help them to see.

I think, maybe, during the Christmas season, some of us become more aware, because after all, it’s the season to be jolly, kind and thoughtful, and we see light everywhere! However, others of us miss prime opportunities during this season, because we have gifts to buy, food to cook, goodies to bake, families to visit, children to wrangle and overspending to be reconciled. We may overlook the lost and weary simply because we are so tired and dreary!

During these next few weeks, as we join together to celebrate the holidays, let us remember how to be His light to this dark and stormy world:

He brings peace where there is chaos.

He brings love where there is hate.

He brings truth where there is a lie.

He brings healing where there is brokenness.

He brings life where there is death.

The world can find this light if they can simply…

Just hope.

Just trust.

Just believe.

Let us be the light that pierces through their darkness.

Let us show them He is the Light of Life!

A King’s Gift

Mephibosheth…what a name. He was crippled in both feet, too…his nurse had dropped him as a child…and his Daddy and Grandaddy had been killed in battle…and he was born to royalty, but his kingship had been taken away, because a new king had been crowned. By law, he could be killed by that new king. He just wanted to be left alone to die in his misery…but the new king had called upon him. 

I wonder what he was thinking when he got that message. I wonder what he thought of his life. What hardship he had endured. What tragedy he had survived…I don’t think he was thriving in his current life. I don’t think he was too excited about this call either. He had to receive the call…and he had to answer; after all, it was the King

If it were me, I think I might just tell that messenger, “Will you just kill me now?? I mean, really. I’m crippled. I’m broke. I have no family. I have no heritage. I have no inheritance, and now, the very one who’s taken my inheritance away from me is calling for me to come to him…probably to kill me! What more do you want from me? Can’t you just leave well enough alone?!” What a terrible lot in life. 

He followed through with the request. He went to see the king. Could you imagine his anguish as he entered the Kings’ courts? Could you imagine his resolution, probably, to just take his death sentence and be done with this sorry life he’d been handed? In your mind, can you see him??

Now, could you imagine his relief when King David told his servants to clothe him in the finest robes and seat him at his personal table for a fine dinner? That’s what happened! He was seated at the king’s table to eat of the king’s meal, and then, he was welcomed in to live at the king’s palace for the rest of his days! 

You see, before he died, his father had been best friends with this king. This king grieved over losing his best friend. This king longed to show kindness to his best friends’ household, and Mephibosheth was the only one left. 

Oh, what relief. Oh, what utter JOY!! Could you imagine the turn of events? To be given such a gift, I would be elated! To be given such grace, I would be ecstatic!! I would be overjoyed

Did you know, you and I can actually receive such a gift??

It may not be in an earthly kingdom, but it is in a heavenly one. Here on this earth, you and I are destined for a life of sin and an eternity of hell, but we have a Father in heaven who sent His Son to die for us, to forgive us our sins, and if we’ll just accept His invitation, He promises to give us an eternity of heaven!

What an incredible story…what an incredible ending…it’s a true one,* by the way…

What an incredible opportunity for you and me… How about it? Will you accept the invitation today? All you have to do is believe. 

*2 Samuel 9:1-9 
*John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Heart Questions

Why do babies die too soon?Questions-of-the-Heart-300x259

Why do mothers get cancer?

Why do fathers die tragically?

Why do friends hate and kill?

Why do the innocent suffer?

Sometimes, my heart asks the hard questions, the kind of questions that don’t have easy answers to find. Sometimes, my mind scrambles to understand why evil can be so prevalent in a world in which God made and in people whom God created. Sometimes, life just seems unfair, unruly and undesirable.

Often, I wonder why innocent children are taught to carry guns and strap bombs on themselves to kill people of another religion and race. Often, I wonder why this one is healed of sickness and disease and another says goodbye. Often, I wonder why one family can be so blessed and another can be left so desolate.

In all of this questioning, I have found some answers to be true…

We live in a fallen world, and we’re not home (in heaven) yet. This life we live is not perfect, and we become fools when we believe it should be. There are evil men (and women) in our culture today, and their only intent is to wreak havoc wherever they can.

Sometimes, people are in the wrong places at the wrong times. Sometimes, people are doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes, people aren’t doing what they should.

There are laws of the land which, just simply, must be followed, like “Gravity is real, and if you think you’ll jump from that building and remain unharmed, you’re just wrong.” There are, also, spiritual laws which, again, if you desire a better life, must be followed. Even if you’re not a believer, you can see that ‘reaping what you sow’ comes to pass. As in, “If you think you can spend all that money and not go into debt, and not owe many people in return, you are just fooling yourself!”

There are some things that just “are what they are,” and there’s nothing we can do about it. There’s some things that are just sin, and sin will never bring about good things in the long run. There’s some things from which we must learn lessons in order to grow and mature beyond where we are, and there are some accidents and “freakish happenings” which just happen for no apparent rhyme or reason.

I don’t have answers to all the why’s, how’s, and when’s, and I would never try to presume that I do; however, I can tell you this: I know a God who does know all answers and so much more. I know He is faithful and true. I know He loves us, and I know He cares about every little or big thing we face. I know He is there when we need Him, and He can carry us through the storm when we can’t carry ourselves.

How do I know this, you might ask? I know this, because I believe. I know this, because I believe His Word to be true. I know this because of my personal relationship with Him. I know this because of the changes I have seen, not only in my own life but, also, in the lives of so many with whom I’ve come into contact.  I know this because of the miracles He has done in my life, and not only in my life, but in the lives of my family, my friends and, even, in people I barely know.

I know He is God. He is faithful. He is true, and He loves me and you. Does this mean, somehow, that my life is never, or will never, be touched by pain, grief or aguish. NO! Just because I believe in a loving God does not mean I will never experience something bad. I’ve seen and experienced plenty of things I wished I hadn’t, and I’m sure that I will experience more in my lifetime. That’s just life, living in an imperfect world with imperfect people. Even Jesus, the Son of God, experienced heartache, pain, suffering and, also, death. By no means, am I better than He! Sometimes, life is just not going to be what we expected it to be, but that doesn’t make Him any less of a perfect God, any less of a living God! It just makes us human and living in a human world.

So, will I always have more questions than I have answers, well, I hope so. Questions make us search our hearts, search down in our souls. Questions make us seek for deeper meaning. Questions make us seek for a higher purpose, an understanding beyond our own.

The Bible says…

Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

*Note: I do not own nor do I possess this picture. Found it by simple Google search. Directed to http://achurchofchrist.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Questions-of-the-Heart-300×259.jpg

Fears and Phobias

Everyone has phobias. Everyone has fears. If you say you don’t, then, I’d guess, you’re probably lying. Even the toughest, meanest among us have one fear or phobia or something that causes us some level of discomfort at one time or another. 

I have a “phobia” of hotel floors and tile showers that I don’t know are very clean. I envision my feet getting some unknown fungus imbedded and contracting some kind of unknown sickness without a cure! Haha. I know, crazy, right? I wear flip flops…my husband laughs at it…until one day he gets sick! Haha!! Seriously, it is a hang up, but I’ve learned to temper the crazies over the years, and now, I mostly just wear socks around the hotel room, and hop from standing on my socks to the shower floor…and some of you think I’m kidding!… LOL! 😂 
  
Ok, so, I am exaggerating a bit to, hopefully, make you laugh; however, there are some in this world with major phobias and fears, and it’s no laughing matter. 
 
There is a difference in having a “phobia” (in a joking sense), as in a certain dislike or “icky feeling” about something and having real worries, real fears, real phobias. 
 
Worries that are consuming… Fears that are paralyzingly… Phobias that are debilitating…

This kind of difference is what I want to talk about for a minute… If we, who call ourselves Christians, are going to make an impact on those around us, we need to live like the conquerors Christ, through the writings of Paul, told us to be. It surely doesn’t mean we will never have worries, never encounter a phobia, or even live our lives with never having a moment of real fear. However, it does mean we should live our lives in victory and not in defeat. 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Do you know there are 365 Scriptures on not being afraid? 365! That’s one for every single day of the year!! (I love it when God does really cool stuff like that.😊) That means He has given us a Scripture to stand on every single day of the year when we do encounter fears and concerns. As Christians, we can stand on the promises of God and rest in the assurance that He is still in control, regardless of the turmoil we may see before us. 

God knew we would battle fears. He knew we would encounter the unknown here on this earth, and He has equipped us to conquer. He has armored us with protection to WIN!! 

Light Pierces Through

  When the storm seems the darkest, when the waves are crashing in, just remember, light always pierces through the darkness. He is the Light which never fails. There is no storm so strong that He cannot prevail. There is no darkness so deep that He cannot shine. 

He brings peace where there is chaos. 

He brings love where there is hate. 

He brings healing where there is brokenness. 

He brings life where there is death. 

He is able. He is faithful. He is God. 

Just hope. 

Just trust. 

Just believe. 

Tunnel Light

  

I wonder if the closer you get to the end, the more light that you will see?

 

Do you feel you’re in a tunnel today? Keep walking. Keep pushing. Keep going. You can make. You will make it. I have faith in you. 

Most importantly, God has faith in you, and He is cheering you on. You are His. He created you, and He loves you, no matter who you are, where you’ve been or where you are right now. Trust Him, and just believe. 

Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”