Thursday, January 31, 2013
These are then posted on the tab at the right titled, PRAYING NAMES.
If you don't find the name of someone you know, please leave me a comment. I will research the meaning of the name and post a prayer for that person in a future month.
I pray you will be blessed by these prayers.
Heavenly Father, I pray that Daelen will live the meaning of his name. I pray that his life will be filled with soft meadows and streams of clear water. I pray that he will be a place of rest and refuge for others and that He will find you there. Amen.
Dominic: belonging to God
Heavenly Father, I pray that Dominic will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will know throughout his life that he belongs to you, that he is your child and that you love him more than he can understand. Let him be secure in that understanding. Amen.
Eunice: good victory
Heavenly Father, I pray that Eunice will live the meaning of her name. I pray that every trial in her life will result in victory through you and that she will understand that all things accomplished by and through your power are good. Amen.
Marianne: bitter grace
Heavenly Father, I pray that Marianne will live the meaning of her name. I pray that in all trials, crises and difficult situations in her life, that Marianne will be able to see past the bitterness and turn to you, receiving your grace and letting it pass through her to others. Amen.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
One month is nearly over. A whole, brand new, fresh year is already almost 1/12th completed. Sometimes I think I’m more overwhelmed at the speed of time in the early part of the year than at its end. Because a whole year sounds like plenty of time when it’s just beginning, doesn’t it?
This realization makes me stop and think again about what I want to accomplish this year—my goals, resolutions and focus. Am I still moving forward toward their realization?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the time you have given us here on Earth. Please help us make the best use of it. Please direct our attention and focus on what you desire for our lives. Please help us keep moving forward. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you still moving forward on what you’d like to accomplish this year? Have those priorities changed any?
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This post is based on the theme of the Christian Writers blog chain, "forward." Please check out the links to the right and see what my friends have to say about this topic.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Ouch! Why did you just whack me upside the head, Jesus?
Have you ever been reading your morning devotional or Bible and you felt as if Jesus was getting your attention in a forceful way?
It happened to me—again—this morning.
I haven’t read Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest daily devotional for several years, preferring instead to begin my day softly with Sarah Young’s gentle Jesus Calling.
But hubby coincidentally "found" our copies of Utmost on December 31 in a box where they had been securely packed away. Just in time to begin the book on day one, page 1 of the New Year.
Several people in our life group had been reading Utmost for more than a year and it seemed as if God might have something to tell us (again) through the words of Chambers’ devotionals.
This morning’s devotional hit me that way. The topic was "waiting on God; waiting for His clear direction; waiting instead of rushing forward with your own plans on how to do His will."
But it was a little phrase down in the last paragraph of today’s devotional that made me ponder my own faith.
"Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples." (emphasis mine)
That took me back to a sermon from 2 years ago where the pastor said that most Christians dislike reading the Book of Revelation because they only want to hear about the "happy Jesus."
Yes, Jesus is charming. Yes, Jesus is happy. But he’s definitely more.
Our Jesus is powerful enough to control the raging storm. Our Jesus exhibits righteous wrath enough to cause a riot at the Temple. Our Jesus is strong and fearless enough to face horrifying torture and death. Our Jesus is God incarnate. Let’s face it—God is not always "charming" from a human definition.
The whacking upside the head part of today’s devotional was this: If my Jesus is only charming, then how easily will I deny him when what He does, how he wants me to act, how he expects me to believe, is not "charming"?
Will I be Peter before the crucifixion, waiting for the chickens to cackle? Or will I respond to Jesus like Peter did after the resurrection when the charming has been enhanced with the power, sacrifice and true understanding of discipleship?
That’s following the true Jesus. It’s the hard part of faith. But, let’s face it, the fact that Jesus wants us to come and follow him, even when it’s hard, because he will be there holding us safe as we travel—that’s the true charm of Jesus.
NOTE: I wrote this earlier this month to post today. For anyone who is also reading My Utmost for His Highest, the devotional was for January 4. Check it out.
PRAYER: Jesus, you are charming. And we love that about you. But we know that there is so much power and strength in your character. We love that about you also and cling to your power and strength. Please help us claim it for our own. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? What character of Jesus do you love that may not be "charming" to others?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Today's bible reading included Psalm 25:7:
Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord.
That, of course, reminded me of Psalm 103:12
…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
In fact, the Bible is filled with verses that proclaim our forgiveness from sin, when we repent and turn away from our past sins.
When we turn away and face forward, who is there before us? Jesus. Always.
Why then do we so often return to the past; relive our mistakes; hold on to our sins? They only build up our shame and guilt. They only make us feel unworthy of the grace and mercy God freely gives. They only remind us that we have not yet truly taken ownership of that forgiveness. They reinforce a sense that we are not truly worthy.
But of course we are not worthy. That’s the point of grace.
It may be our natural human nature to return to our past and nurture our regrets. But God is SUPER natural and His power includes the power to leave our past behind and move forward in His power.
We often hear that when we forgive others the pain will no longer eat at our souls. When God forgives us, He does just that. Our sins—how we have hurt Him—no longer eat at His soul.
But in our human relationships, sometimes I wonder if it’s easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves the pain we’ve caused others and God. Why is it so easy to keep hold of the pain of understanding how we grieved others and God?
Some days I recall sins with a sense that I committed them in another life. And truly, it was in another life, having since been reborn in Christ.
The temptation is to pull those sins out from their box where Jesus buried them and give those sins new life, too. To feel the guilt; relive the moment; hold fast to the shame. That is when we must rely on the power of Jesus. He pulls US out of the grave. He gives US new life. But as for our sins—they remain buried to Him and should remain buried to us as well.
The theme of the Christian Writers this month is "forward." It has given me a new focus for today, in light of this morning’s bible reading: to turn away from my past—again—and again every day if I need to—and face forward to Jesus.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your forgiveness and the new life you give us through Jesus. You know how we sometimes struggle with our past. Please remind us that our past is past to you because we have turned away from our sins and have turned forward to walk with you. Please always keep our focus on you, reminding us that our old life has been replaced forever with our new life in you. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU: Is there a scripture that speaks loudly to you about the power of repentance to turn away from past sin?
Thursday, January 17, 2013
And they all require courage.
In fact, "courage" is my focus word for 2013. I tend to feel like a wimp most of the time. And when it comes to writing, I’m especially so. I’m passionate about what I write. I think I’m a good writer—sometimes even "great." I work hard to write quality stories, books and articles.
And then, like Frodo Baggins, I work hard to keep them secret; keep them (and me) safe. From publicity. From review. From criticism.
Which is a really silly thing to do. Since I write for my words and ideas to be read by others.
So for 2013, all of my goals—SMARTER GOALS—will be seen, reviewed, worked on—through the lens of courage. Because even though I’m afraid—especially because I’m afraid, I’ll do them anyway.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you know our fears and you know our dreams. Please work in our hearts and minds to give us courage to work toward accomplishing our dreams. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? What dream will you work toward this year? Do you need courage or encouragement?
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
2013 begins a concerted effort to encourage other Christian writers. I start today with an interview of my friend, Chris Vonada. You will recognize him as a monthly guest blogger, who has been sharing the 10 + 1 Building Blocks of relationships. He currently has two books published with Amazon, Common Ground…Geology Happens! and Believe…And You Say?
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
God is big and I am little. Still, God has given me this one amazing life. And He wants me to do something with it; to not live a small life.
Over the past year, people, circumstances and scripture have led me to the understanding that—presently—I do everything I can in order to assure that I’m living a small life.
In the name of "humility," I hide my light under a bushel. I write stories and books for people to read but then secret them inside my computer files where no one can find them.
This year, our Christian Writers blog group is starting 2013’s theme with "forward." The theme touched my heart as one more pointer to move boldly outward and onward—away from the safe confines of a small writing life.
This bold forward movement in 2013 will include self-publishing. My first self-published book, Wielding the Sword of God, will be an expansion of my free induction bible study booklet available on the tab above. This book will be available in electronic Kindle format at first, for free if Amazon will allow; for pennies if Amazon will not. But it will be available as a help for folks who desire a place to start their study of scripture.
Gulp. I’ve now made myself accountable to you.
Other self-published projects will include a bible study based on the Book of Esther. Call Me Esther: How God Sees His Women of Faith, will be available first in electronic format and later in paperback. I hope to have several other nearly completed faith-based books available by the end of the year in print format.
Bold? It is for me. Praise God, He’s got me moving forward…
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for our lives and for your direction in them. Please guide us and help us make the most of the precious gifts of time and talent you have given us. Please show us how to use them for your glory. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? What area of your life requires boldness? How can you move forward this year?
This post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. Our theme for January is "forward." Please click on the links to the right to see what my friends have to say about this theme.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Every month has a birthstone. The birthstone for the month of January is the garnet. And it reminds me of Jesus.
The term "garnet" refers to a family of minerals. The garnet family contains gemstones that appear in every color except blue. The difference is what they are called and what extra minerals they contain. For example, within the mineral family of "garnet" are tsavorites (green), hessonite (orange, brown and pink), and rhodolite (purplish red). When we picture a garnet, however, most of us think of the deep blood red stone.
Blood red. The color of Jesus’ blood shed for us. A forever reminder of His sacrifice for us.
In gemstone symbolism, the garnet signifies eternal friendship and trust. Such as is found in Jesus, our eternal friend in whom we can place our trust.
Just like there are star sapphires, there are also star garnets. The "stars" are produced by a sphere of tiny rods composed of titanium dioxide. These rods reflect light back out of the garnet and appear to our eye as a 4 or 6-rayed star that moves across the face of the gemstone. Star garnets are only found in India and Idaho.
Star? With our celebration of Christmas still fresh in our hearts, it would be nice to have a star garnet to always light the way to Jesus.
The garnet is known for its luminosity and high refractive quality. Because of those qualities, early travelers carried garnets, which they believed lit up the night and protected a person from evil. Many extra biblical sources suggest that Noah used a lantern made from garnet to help him see through the storms while on the ark.
Evidently, the garnet reminded Noah of Jesus, too.
Happy birthday to everyone born in January—especially my super husband Jim, whose birthday is TODAY!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for placing reminders in this world of who you are. Please open our eyes to see you in everything today. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you own a garnet?
Today I'm cross posting with my friend, Chris Vonada. Please visit him often at www.ChrisVonada.com.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Many people make New Year’s resolutions—personal habits they want to change, adopt or abolish. Others set out goals for what they’d like to accomplish—lose weight, write a book, take a trip to Bora Bora. Others like to select a focus for the year—health, family, growth.
Whatever you want to call it, however you want to approach it, now is the time to start.
We’ll be discussing resolutions, goals and focus for 2013 later this month here on From Carol’s Quill. Why not join the fun? Start thinking or continue to think about what 2013 might look like for you. One thing you can do is reread last year’s post about setting SMARTER goals.
I’ll give you a heads’ up on one of mine. I have a resolution to focus this year on the goal of finishing up several books in process and addressing publication. To give myself more time for book writing, I’m switching to a T/TH blogging schedule.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me last year. See you every T/TH in 2013 right here.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for this brand new year. Please help us focus on you more this year and lead us in ways that will glorify you and further your plan and purpose for our lives. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you thinking about what you’d like to do in 2013?