Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Be Transformed!

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 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. 
I Corinthians 13:12

There’s something magical about seeing your work published – and you never know when that moment of joy will come.  You stroll out to your mailbox one day, not expecting anything special; and voilà, there it is.  You rip it open and beam with joy.  After all that work, lots of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, your initial idea has been transformed, and you are face to face with your words in print.

When we first begin a new writing project we are filled with excitement and hope and promise.  We have no idea what the finished product will look like, but we eagerly rewrite, get critiques, rewrite again and again – all the while watching a transformation take place. We eventually pass it on to an editor and illustrator, where more transformation occurs.  Then eventually, it is finished.

The Shepherd’s Song was like this.  When the idea came, we did not know what the final book would look like.  We had to have faith that our work would be shaped and used by God. We got glimpses of the final book along the way.  First the printed pages.  Then the cover art.  The bound galley.  A jacket proof.  Finally face to face we held the book.

The Christian life too, is filled with ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, joys and sorrows.  Like a book, our lives are being written, edited and transformed.  We start with great excitement and hope and promise; then transformation begins.  It’s hard work, but slowly we are transformed more and more to the image of Christ.

Best of all, there is a moment coming when all the work will be done, and we will see our Savior face to face.  It is hard to imagine what such a moment will be like – the magnification of joy and awe and wonder.

Our experiences in this world teach us about God, and transform us more and more into His image. 

Amazing!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 

Galatians 6:9

Can I Write a Book? How?

421757_445458705496710_347777754_nCan I Write a Book?  How?

 We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.  Psalm 78:4

 One day when we visited a school to talk about writing we learned something from a second grader. A little guy raised his hand and said.  “I can do the stories, I just can’t do the words.”  He captured the struggle that every writer (or wannabe writer) faces.

How do you get the stories out of your head onto the paper?  How do we even have the courage to begin?  Often we write and rewrite stories over and over in our heads, but they never make it to the written page or screen.

Today at  Blogs by Christian Women we are sharing some scripture passages that were important to us over our years of writing and some of what we learned on the road to publication. read more

Here’s the link.

Betsy and Laurie

By Duffey Myers

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Day 2

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Lord, Teach Us to Pray

 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

Day 2: Who can teach us to pray?

If we want to learn, where do we go to learn?  Books? Classes? Retreats? What if these fall short? Who can teach us?

Lord, teach us to pray.

It is Jesus, praying Himself, who teaches to pray. He knows what prayer is. He learned it amid the trials and tears of His earthly life. In heaven it is still His beloved work: His life there is prayer. Nothing delights Him more than to find those whom He can take with Him into the Father’s presence, whom He can clothe with power to pray down God’s blessing on those around them, whom He can train to be His fellow-workers in the intercession by which the kingdom is to be revealed on earth.

He teaches, by giving not only thoughts of what to ask or how to ask, but by breathing within us the very spirit of prayer, by living within us as the Great Intercessor. . .  Jesus loves to teach us how to pray.

And fill me, Lord, with the confidence that with such a teacher as Thou art I shall learn to pray. In the assurance that I have as my teacher, Jesus, who is ever praying to the Father, and by His prayer rules the destinies of His Church and the world, I will not be afraid. Amen

Andrew Murray — Lord, Teach Us To Pray

(Some language updated for understanding)

We can only learn to pray by praying. I love that Andrew Murray prays for the confidence that he can learn to pray.  Who taught you to pray?

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

 

Six Ways That Gratitude Works: Part Three

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Three: Gratitude increases self-esteem.

Saying “Thank you” acknowledges that someone has done something for us.  If we acknowledge that someone has done something for us then it follows that they value us.

Every time we say “Thank you” to another person, we are admitting that we have value. And when we thank God for our blessings we become aware that He loves us.

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.  Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” Thomas Merton

Saying “Thank you” blesses us and reinforces our sense of self-esteem.  God esteems us greatly.

 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

Do you feel blessed when you say “Thank you”?

Thank you for reading this today!

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Draw Near to God: Day 30

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Day 30: Receiving His blessing

May the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth,

bless you from Zion.

Psalm 134:3

As we close our series together our individual journeys continue.  We continue our efforts to draw near to God with the full assurance that He is waiting for us and he is holding out His offer of grace. 

May it be our blessing, as the years go on, to add one grace to another, and advance upward, step by step, neither neglecting the lower after attaining the higher, nor aiming at the higher, before attaining the lower.  The first grace is faith, the last is love; first comes zeal, afterwards comes loving-kindness; first comes humiliation, then comes peace; first comes diligence, then comes resignation.  May we learn to mature all graces in us; fearing and trembling, watching and repenting, because Christ is coming; joyful, thankful, and careless of the future, because he is come.  Karl Barth

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
 The Lord make His face shine on you, 
And be gracious to you;
 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
 And give you peace. Numbers 6:22

Thank you for journeying with us these past thirty days.  May God bless you as you continue the journey.

Betsy and Laurie

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

Draw Near to God: Day 29

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Day 29:  Offering praise

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord

who minister by night in the house of the Lord.

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary

and praise the Lord.

Psalm 134:1-2

Imagine the pilgrims after the long journey to Jerusalem.  Finally they enter the city and move toward God’s house.  As we grow closer to God we cannot help but praise Him.

Glorify.  Enjoy. There are other things involved in Christian discipleship.  The Song of Ascents have shown some of them. But it is extremely important to know that one thing overrides everything else.  The main thing is not to work for the Lord; it is not suffering in the name of the Lord; it is not witnessing to the Lord; it is not teaching Sunday school for the Lord; it is not being responsible for the sake of the Lord in the community; it is not keeping the Ten Commandments; not loving your neighbor, not observing the golden rule.  “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same DIrection

My whole heart I lay on the altar of thy praise, a whole burnt offering of praise I offer thee. . .Let the flame of my love…set on fire my whole heart, let nought in me be left to myself, nought wherein I may look to myself, but may I wholly burn towards thee, wholly be on fire toward thee, wholly love thee, as though set on fire by thee.  St. Augustine

As we near the end of our 30 days of readings spend some time praising God.  He has promised that as we draw near to Him he will draw near to us.  That’s something to celebrate.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

Draw Near to God: Day 27

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Day 27: Being obedient

I will not enter my house

or go to my bed–

I will allow no sleep to my eyes,

no slumber to my eyelids,

till I find a place for the Lord,

a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.

Psalm 132: 3-5

The word obedience sounds harsh, oppressive, unpleasant. What if we could see obedience to God as a gift–as a way to draw closer and experience His love and peace?

Non-discipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand evil.  In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring–life lived on its highest plane.  Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

All God’s revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience. . . Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up. . .God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you already know.  Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Begin where you are.  Obey now.  Use what little obedience you are capable of, even if it be like a grain of mustard seed.  Begin where you are.  Live this present hour as you now sit in your seat, in utter, utter submission and openness toward God.  Thomas Kelly

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

Draw Near to God: Day 24

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Day 24: Watching and praying

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,

and in his word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord

more than watchmen wait for the morning,

more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Psalm 130: 5-6

When we pray do we really expect God to hear us and to act on our behalf?  

A watchman is an important person, but he doesn’t do very much.  The massive turning of the earth, the immense energies released by the sun—all that goes on apart from him.  He does nothing to influence or control such things; he is a watchman.  He knows the dawn is coming; there are no doubts concerning that. Eugene Peterson,  A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Watchtowers served a variety of purposes in ancient culture—as built-in defense systems in the walls of ancient cities, as built-in pastures so shepherds could protect their flocks from wild animals, and as built-in vineyards for protection from thieves.  Watchmen would climb into their watchtower, station themselves at their guard post, and scan the horizon for enemy armies or trading caravans.  The watchmen were the first to see, and they saw the farthest.  So it is with those who pray.  Intercessors are watchmen and watchwomen.  They see sooner and see farther into the spiritual realm.  Why?  Because prayer gives us a unique vantage point. Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle

Are you waiting and watching for God?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

Draw Near to God: Day 20

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Day 20: Walking with God

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,

who walk in his ways.

You will eat the fruit of your labor,

blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Psalm 128: 1-2

If we draw near to God can we stay near to God?

Abiding is all about the most important friendship of your life.  Abiding doesn’t measure how much you know about your faith or your Bible.  In abiding you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear, and respond to. . .a person.  More abiding means more God in your life, more of Him in your activities, thoughts and desires. In our Western-style rush to do and perform for God, we often falter at the task of simply enjoying His company.  Yet we were created to be dissatisfied and incomplete with less. . .The challenge of abiding is always to break through from dutiful activities to a living flourishing relationship with God.  Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine

As for me, I never lived, I was half dead, I was a rotting tree, until I reached the place where I was wholly, with utter honesty, resolved and then re-resolved that I would find God’s will and I would do that will though every fiber in me said no, and I would win the battle in my thoughts. It was as though some deep artesian well had been struck in my soul of souls and strength came forth. . .You and I shall soon blow away from our bodies.  Money, praise, poverty, opposition, these make no difference, for they will all alike be forgotten in a thousand years, but this spirit which comes to a mind set upon continuous surrender, this spirit is a timeless life.  Frank Laubach, Practicing His Presence

How do you maintain the connection with God?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

Draw Near to God: Day 19

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Day 19: Glimpsing the mystery

Sons are a heritage from the Lord

children a reward from him.

Psalm 127: 3-4

Moments along our life’s journey provide glimpses into the mystery of God.  We hold a newborn and are filled with wonder.  We sense that there is more.

Jesus leads us to understand the psalmist’s sons in terms representative of all intimate and personal relationships. He himself did not procreate children, yet by his love he made us all sons and daughters. . . Among those around us we develop sons and daughters, sisters and brothers even as our Lord did with us.   Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

If I were to name my own most profound or theological experience, without hesitation I would cite the birth of my three children. This has nothing to do with my fondness for babies as such. . .Rather, each birth was a glimpse into the mystery of Creation and Incarnation. . . It is time that, in the words of the mystic, Meister Eckhart, we attend to the new life in us.  Margaret Guenther,  Holy Listening

Tend only to the birth in you and you will find all consolation, all delight, all being and all truth.  Reject it and you reject goodness and blessing.  What comes to you in this birth brings with it pure being and blessing.  But what you seek or love outside of this birth will come to nothing, no matter what you will or where you will it.  Meister Eckhart

We begin to see that we not only have biological children but spiritual children; not only a biological birth but a spiritual birth.  Embracing these moments draws us closer to God.  

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

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