Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Writing Tips From Jesus: Two

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Writing Tips From Jesus: Take Off Your Outer Garment

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer garment, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  John 13: 3-4

Take off your outer garment.  But we don’t like exposure. A writer’s ego is fragile.

There is a poet who hides her beautiful poetry under her bed in a box. Another writer burns her journals. A friend of ours will not tell his story because his sisters would not approve.

After publishing The Lord of the Rings Tolkien said, “I have exposed my heart to be shot at.”  And there are those that would take target practice on our hearts.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. compared a critical reviewer to “a knight in armor beating up on a hot fudge sundae.” And there are those knights in armor waiting.

We are all protective of ourselves.  Writers can’t be. We “take off our outer garment” and serve by being vulnerable. When we write, we show ourselves and connect with others by being transparent, allowing others to see inside of us. It’s risky. 

There is a cost to the exposure that writing brings.

Knowing that God has all things under control makes us brave. We make a choice to be “shot at” and “beat up” and we expose our thoughts anyway. We let go of fear and use our one wonderful life for His Glory.

How did Jesus do it?  How do you do it?

Betsy and Laurie  http://www.WritingSisters.com

 

Writing Tips From Jesus: One

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But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. John 8:6

On this earth nothing we write will last. All is temporary, even the old classics are fading as new writers rise up.  In a thousand years or even a hundred who will be remembered?

 In the Bible God wrote twice.  Once with his finger reaching down to give the law on two stone tablets.  Then again as Jesus wrote with finger, this time scribbling in the sand.

When Jesus wrote men were ready to stone a woman for adultery.  Jesus made a space in time.  He slowed down the action as he scribbled and the men were changed. No one knows what he wrote.

It’s the idea that art is something unexpected and creative and creates a space in time where we can hear God.  Michael Card.

 Perhaps no one will remember our words, but if we can create a space for God though our writing our readers can be changed eternally. God can speak into that space and time.

What is your goal as a writer? Bestseller list? Fame? Few attain those goals and the satisfaction is temporary. What if we could shift our focus and write from the perspective of eternity. The best writing creates a space in a reader’s mind and heart for God to enter.

A blog, a tweet, a story written for our children, a devotional message in the church newsletter, a lesson prepared for a small group. All writing is important and at the same time all writing is just scribbling in the sand. 

Some are called to be prophetic goads, and some giants may hammer in firmly embedded nails. But the rest of us can aspire, with no tinge of shame, to scribbling in the sand.  Philip Yancey

What do you think?

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Write With Power

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What power there is in the pen. The power to allow a reader to step into a world of our creating and experience truth, love, revelation, joy.  Or with stories we can take a reader to a place of fear, hate, abuse. Our creator God has made us in His image to create. It’s up to us how we will wield that power. 

  • Light or darkness
  • Love or hate
  • Building up or tearing down

“A farmer went out to sow some seeds . . .”  Jesus begins a story that is layered with meaning but simple.  The reader, even years after the telling, has room to move around in the story.  Jesus loves the reader.

“A man had two sons . . .”  Jesus begins again and our hearts are drawn into the narrative, listening and experiencing, not manipulated and controlled. In humility Jesus creates the world of a story and gives it to us. 

In the best writing the author is invisible. The reader enjoys the story without awareness of the writer’s agenda. The author’s intent and focus as been on the reader, not on himself. 

As writers, storytellers, mothers, fathers, teachers we use words every day. The most powerful words are spoken or written in love and humility.

How will you use your words today?

Betsy and Laurie

 

Love Came Down: Two

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The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6

A picture of God’s love from Mike Mason’s The Gospel According to Job:

“Love is not bait for the gospel; love is the gospel. Love is not a means towards some end; love is means and end together. . . In the Kingdom of God nothing moves, nothing happens, without love. In churches many things happen because of human goals, programs, bureaucratic necessity, idealism, private fantasy, or neurosis. But it is not so with God. God has no plan, no program, no agenda except love. That is why He had no other recourse but to send us His only Son Jesus Christ, who on the one hand loved God His Father with a perfect love, and who on the other hand loved mankind no less. These were the two hands that were stretched wide on Calvary. . .This is the dreadful, fearsome love of God, the love that will never let us go.”  Mike Mason

Experience God’s love this Christmas. 

In a town of David, not so near to spring,
At the heart of love, there came a lovely thing.
Straw Against the Chill, Bob Franke

Hearing the Whispers of God: Three

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Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of God. Ralph Waldo Emerson

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16

In contemporary society our Adversary majors in these things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in “muchness” and “manyness” he will rest satisfied. . .

 In the midst of an exceedingly busy ministry Jesus made a habit of withdrawing to “a lonely place apart.” He did this not just to be away from people, but so he could be with God. What did Jesus do time after time in those deserted hills? He sought out his heavenly Father; he listened to him. And he beckons us to do the same. Richard Foster, The Celebration of Discipline

Can we take time to get away to a lonely place? Why is it so difficult?

The Shepherd knows you by name.

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The Lord is my Shepherd.  Psalm 23:1

Beautiful words by Max Lucado:  

When I see a flock of sheep I see exactly that, a flock.  A rabble of wool.  A herd of hooves.  I don’t see a sheep.  I see sheep.  All alike.  None different.  That’s what I see.  But not so with the shepherd.  To him every sheep is different.  Every face is special.  Every face has a story.  And every sheep has a name. . .  The shepherd knows his sheep. He calls them by name.

When we see a crowd, we see exactly that, a crowd.  Filling a stadium or flooding a mall.  When we see a crowd, we see people, not persons, but people.  A herd of humans.  A flock of faces.  That’s what we see.

But not so with the Shepherd.  To him every face is different.  Every face has a story.  Every face is a child.  Every child has a name. . .  The Shepherd knows you.  He knows your name.      -Max Lucado, Experiencing the Heart of Jesus

God knows your name.  How comforting!

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Day 1

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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 1: How do we pray?

The idea of prayer brings up so many questions. How can we connect with God?  How can we be taught by Him?  How can we experience God’s power? Maybe it all starts with prayer.  But how?  We are sharing some insights from Andrew Murray this month. 

“The disciples had been with Christ, and seen Him pray. They had learned to understand something of the connection between His wondrous life in public, and His secret life of prayer. They had learned to believe in Him as a Master in the art of prayer—none could pray like Him. And so they came to Him with the request, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ And in after years they would have told us that there were few things more wonderful or blessed that He taught them than His lessons on prayer.”

Blessed Lord! who ever lives to pray, You can teach me too to pray, me to live ever to pray. In this You love to make me share Your glory in heaven, that I should pray without ceasing, and ever stand as a priest in the presence of my God.  Amen

Andrew Murray–Lord, Teach Us To Pray

(Some language updated)

Can prayer be learned? How did you learn to pray?

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part Five

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Sarah Young writes in her book, Jesus Calling, as if Jesus was speaking to us:

Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby.  I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind.  I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable. That was a dark night for Me, even though angels lit up the sky proclaiming, “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.

When you sit quietly with Me, the process I went through is reversed in your experience.  As you identify with Me, heaven’s vistas open up before you—granting you glimpses of My Glory.  I became poor so that you might become rich.

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

The Word became flesh.  Amazing to think what God gave the world on that night.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.  2 Corinthians 8:9

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. . . Part Four

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

We love these words from C.S. Lewis:

The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation.  They say that God became Man.  Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. . . .

In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity . . . down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature He has created.

But He goes down to come up again and bring the ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.  C.S. Lewis

Stooping in order to lift.  That’s pretty amazing.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part Three

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Frederick Buechner reflects on the Word made flesh in The Faces of Jesus:

The man on the cross was a man of flesh, but he was also the WORD made flesh, as John writes it in the great prologue to his Gospel, the Word that ‘became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.’ The Creator himself comes to dwell within his own creation, the Eternal within the temporal, the Invulnerable within the wound.

It is as if Shakespeare could somehow have entered the world of Hamlet, say, the dramatist descending from the infinite dimensions of reality into the dimensionlessness of his own drama, becoming a character in his own plot although he well knows the tragic denouement and submitting himself to all its limitations so that he can burst them asunder when the time comes and lead a tremendous exeunt by which his whole dramatis personae will become true persons at last.

Frederick Buechner, The Faces of Jesus

We love this idea.  God entering the world is like a playwright entering his own play. Even knowing the outcome and the pain He would suffer, God came to live among us.  Beautiful.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

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