Posts Tagged ‘God’
When I was visiting an elementary school, a teacher taught me a secret. We were looking out over a crowd of two hundred wiggling second graders. “If you want to get their attention,” she said, “whisper.” I discovered that when I raised my voice they only got louder, but when I lowered my voice to a whisper they settled down and quieted themselves to hear my words.
Stories often come as whispers. To hear them we must quiet ourselves. Something about getting quiet goes against our nature. It difficult to find a place where there is no noise. To begin to listen, take a walk. We first hear the sounds of the street – sirens, cars, but if we listen more we hear the birds. We are surprised how many birds we hear and how varied their calls. Then we hear the rustling in the grass and trees. We notice small birds nesting in the trees or squirrels twitching their tails. Finally we hear own breath and our own heart beat. In this quiet place words come.
For me, a long five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day. . . It is in these times I seem to get recharged. . . When I walk grimly and calisthenically, just to get exercise and get it over with, to get my walk out of the way, then I find I have not been re-charged with imagination. . . But if when I walk I look at the sky or the lake or the tiny, infinitesimally delicate, bare, young trees, or where-ever I want to look, and my neck and jaw are loose and I feel happy and say to myself with my imagination, “I am free,” and “There is nothing to worry about,” I find that then thoughts begin to come to me in their quiet way. — Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write
My day always goes better when I start with a walk. My writing flows better after I quiet myself and listen for the whispers.
Catch the whispers today.
Happy Writing, Writing Sisters
A great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12
You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink. ~G.K. Chesterton
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His Love endures forever.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labour is holy. Out of this trust I live.
Trees – An excerpt from “Wanderings” by Herman Hesse
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“How easy it is for there to be a fly in the ointment of even my most lofty spiritual experience! So often it is the small, petty annoyances that ruin my repose.” Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
It’s often the small things that are my undoing. I know to gather my strength and to pray for life’s large challenges but what about the petty annoyances that come every day, every hour and even every minute?
Phillip Keller wrote about the 23rd Psalm from a shepherd’s perspective. Particularly interesting to me was the act of “anointing with oil”. The shepherd would anoint the sheep’s head with oil for protection against annoying and dangerous gnats and flies.
Only the strictest attention to the behavior of the sheep can forestall the difficulties of “fly time”. At the very first sign of flies among the flock he will apply an antidote to their heads. I always preferred to use a homemade remedy composed of linseed oil sulfur, and tar, which was smeared over the sheep’s nose and head as a protection against nose flies.
Once the oil had been applied to the sheep’s head, there was an immediate change in behavior. Gone was the aggravation, gone the frenzy, gone the irritability, and the restlessness.
This, to me, is the exact picture of irritations in my own life. How easy it is for there to be a fly in the ointment of even my most lofty spiritual experience! So often it is the small, petty annoyances that ruin my repose.
Just as with the sheep, there must be a continuous and renewed application of oil to forestall the “flies” in my life; there must be a continuous anointing of God’s gracious Spirit to counteract the ever-present aggravations of personality conflicts. Phillip Keller
Keller adds a prayer that he prays when he encounters irritations:
“O Lord, I can’t cope with these petty, annoying, peevish problems. Please apply the oil of your Spirit to my mind. Both at the conscious and subconscious levels of my thought life enable me to act and react just as you would.”
I’m starting my day with this prayer.
Happy Writing, Writing Sisters
You anoint my head with oil. Psalm 23:5
“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”
— Beatrix Potter
Starting a new book is so exciting. Don’t know quite where it will go but it’s on its way.
Laurie and Betsy
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“Those who kill giants have stories to tell. They have seen God at work. They know what God can do. They are utterly convinced that God is able. And for this reason they are dangerous.” Mark Crumpler
Sharing the best of our reading this week: Words about the power of story from Mark Crumpler at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA
But David stepped into the valley that day armed with something that no one there could see, certainly not Goliath and not even Saul. It was not weapon that could be held in the hand or placed on the head or draped over the body.
Perhaps David’s most formidable weapons that day were stories and memories: stories and memories of God’s help, God’s deliverance, God’s presence in trouble, God’s power in the face of threat. David had lived this. David had seen this. And it made him confident. These stories had made a giant killer of a shepherd boy.
This is no mere belief in God. When it’s time to face a giant it simply will not do to say “I believe in God.” Killing giants requires more than the kind of agreeable mental assent we often label as ‘belief.’ Those who kill giants have stories to tell. They have seen God at work. They know what God can do. They are utterly convinced that God is able. And for this reason they are dangerous.
So what stories do you tell? When and how have you seen God unmistakably at work in your life? When have you known his presence as close to you as your own breath? When have you sensed his peace taking up residence deep in your chest? Be specific – and remember. Tell yourself and others this story. Rehearse it. It will make you dangerous today against whatever you face.
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done” (Psalm 143:3-5).
Mark Crumpler from his series: Alive With God
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 I first begin a new writing project I am filled with excitement and hope and promise. I have no idea what the finished product will look like, but I eagerly rewrite, get critiques, rewrite again and again – all the while watching a transformation take place. I eventually pass it on to an editor and illustrator, where more transformation occurs. Then eventually, it is finished.
When I think of my Christian life with its ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, joys and sorrows, I realize that I, too, am being transformed. I start with great excitement and hope and promise; then transformation begins. It’s hard work, but slowly I am 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 I will see my Savior face to face. It is hard to imagine what such a moment will be like – the magnification of joy and awe and wonder. We read about, talk about, learn about, and even talk to Jesus, but seeing Him face to face … oh my, what a day that will be!
Tolkien (Photo credit: proyectolkien)
“I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at.” ~Tolkien on the pending publication of Lord of the Rings
“I am not made for perilous quests,” cried Frodo. “I wish I had never seen the Ring! Why did it have to come to me? Why was I chosen?”
“Such questions cannot be answered, “said Gandalf. “You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not possess; not for any power or wisdom, at any rate. But you have been chosen and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.”
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Plenty of good scraps are as important in making a book as in the making of a quilt.
I often think of my books as scrapbooks of my life, because I put in them all the neat things that I see and read and hear. I sometimes wonder what people who don’t write do with all their good stuff.
Betsy Byars – The Moon and I
Growing up we made our own clothes. There was nothing like choosing the fabric, pinning the pattern and cutting out the pieces. Best of all were the scraps. We had a big cardboard box, the scrap box, filled with the leftovers, the cut-away parts. From the scraps we made doll clothes, dog costumes or quilts. Gingham prints or velvet, cottons or silk. Nothing was wasted.
As a writer I take the pieces of my life and use those scraps to create my stories. In God’s economy nothing is wasted. The hard times and good times, funny events and heartbreak, victories and defeats all can be used to make something beautiful. This is true in the stories that I create as a writer and in my own personal story of life. It’s all about how we use the scraps.
What’s in your scrap box?
I’m making something out of my scraps today, how about you?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.
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The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11