Just a couple days ago I chose this verse as my theme verse for 2009. Persevering is such a struggle, especially when things are going slowly. But the summit is in sight!
for more Word Filled Wednesday
Be of good cheer. Do not think of to-day's failures, but of success that may come to-morrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will have a joy in overcoming obstacles—a delight in climbing rugged paths which you would perhaps never know if you did not sometimes slip backward, if the road were always smooth and pleasant. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.Pressing on.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12I am in the midst of several projects right now, and some of them feel like they will never come to an end. Yet, if I persevere, they will, slowly, but surely.
There are no birds that live in as much solitude as eagles, for they never fly in flocks. Rarely can even two eagles be seen together. And a life that is dedicated to God knows divine fellowship, no matter how many human friendships have had to be forfeited along the way.Walking alone with Him. Human friendships forfeited. Solitude. These concepts came to bite me as I read in the early morning hours. Especially that middle one.
God seeks "eagle people," for no one ever comes into the full realization of the best things of God in his spiritual life without learning to walk alone with Him. (Streams in the Desert, L. B. Cowman, December 20)
May we allow God to isolate us, but I do not mean the isolation of a monastery. It is in the experience of isolation that the Lord develops an independence of life and of faith so that the soul no longer depends on the continual help, prayers, faith, and care of others. The assistance and inspiration from others are necessary, and they have a place in a Christian's development, but at times they can actually become a hindrance to a person's faith and welfare. (Streams in The Desert, December 20. Emphasis mine)Am I so dependent on my friends that I am not leaning on Jesus? Do I feel like my prayers to my Lord are not enough, that I have to get my sisters in Christ to pray along for them to be effective? Am I using my friends as a crutch to avoid being alone with the One who knows my every fault and my every sin?
Friends and family are certainly important, perhaps more than ever this time of year, and in times as these. But they can't be the most important.God may not be asking me, or you for that matter, to sacrifice dear friends to be closer to Him, to have that "divine fellowship" that might require it. But He might be--if not now, at some later date.
So...congratulations to...But the real reason I'm doing this post (yeah - my winners have known their prizes since yesterday) is to share the 10-day quiet time plans I've been given. I know that at least some of you are looking for some Bible reading/devotional time material, and BOTH of these entries would do you quite well. I'm quite excited for Monday, when I will start working through Catrina's plan for me. Patty's is wonderful too - but I'll start with Catrina's, since it's the one I'll actually be using to finish out the year (and possibly into January too!)
Catrina Bradley, who will receive It Happened by Design, an anthology of God-incidences that has one story of mine in it.
and to Patty Wysong, who will receive The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing and Publishing by Leonard G. and Catherine Stanford Goss (which should come in handy to her as she works on her first novel).
I wrote this story for a Christmas story contest last year, hosted by Heart of God International. It actually took first place in 2007. I pray it blesses you.
Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Fridays, hosted this week by Rhonda at Beach Reads. Be sure to stop by her blog and find links to more great fiction. Don't be afraid to post your own fiction on your blog and link up at the bottom of her post. Everyone is welcome!
Some of my favorite foods are found during the holiday season, though, for the most part, I'm not the one making them. We do the whole potluck Christmas/Thanksgiving thing, and I usually take some little side. Holiday celebrations are an hour and a half drive away, so elaborate meals are easier to leave for others who live closer.
Welcome to this week's edition of Holidays at the Cafe'. Today is the Holiday Recipe Bazaar--eat up!
That's pretty basic, I know, but wouldn't you say that's the Gospel in a nutshell? If I can understand that, I've pretty much got the concept.
That changed last week. Christ's attitude took my breath away.The book of Philippians is one of my all-time favorite epistles. I've probably read it more times than any other book of the New Testament. All this to say, I am confident that I have read the third verse of the second chapter numerous times. I even have it memorized.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.(NIV)Wonderful words of advice, and so hard to follow. We are so geared to put ourselves first. I have found that this is especially hard to do for people who are "below us" - in stature, in class, in anything. Yet, this is what God wants His children to do.
Because that is what He did when He came to earth, when He suffered despite being sinless, when He died on the cross.That's what humility is, right? Esteeming others higher than ourselves. Putting others' needs ahead of our own. And Christ is our model for humility. He put His deity aside to be "lowered to our level," and to take our sin upon Himself. Why? Because He loves us. How? By putting our needs before His. By putting a higher priority on our sin than His sinlessness.
The God of the universe, the One who created Us, the Great I Am, the Lord of Hosts, Who spoke the world into existence, esteemed His creations--esteemed me--more than Himself.Doesn't that blow your mind? He put my needs ahead of His own. He threw off His deity for a speck of dust. He considered me "better than" Him.
I wrote this story two years ago for a Christmas story contest. It was pretty interesting to look over it again and find how much my writing has improved since I wrote it. I made several changes/improvements for Friday Fiction, but it is still generally the same story. Hope you enjoy it, and that it helps you get in the mood for this season (if you aren't there already!)
Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Fridays, hosted this week at Shirley's blog, Sunny Glade. Be sure to stop by there to read more great fiction--and feel free to post fiction on your blog and then link to Mr. Linky at the bottom of her post. All are welcome!
Whatever possessed me to offer to host Christmas Eve?Ashley picked up the toys and put them back in their bins. She sighed. I wish Mom was still around. Her mother had always hosted this celebration, but with her untimely death in June, it seemed it was now her responsibility. None of her siblings had homes big enough to hold everyone, so she had offered hers.
These gifts came from my heart, regardless of how much I spent on them. Baby Jesus received precious, expensive, valuable gifts, but he smiled at a song, which cost nothing.She finished up her wrapping and headed for the kitchen. The rest of the family was bringing much of the food. Her only responsibility was the pies. As she worked, she sighed.
Don't forget to glaze the pecans, and to toss in a pinch of love.Ashley laughed. Only her mother would write something like that. When she'd made the pie last year, mom had come over and whispered to her the "error" in her pie-making ways. Ashley hadn't taken it very well, wallowing in self-pity when she found out--for a few minutes, anyway. Mom must have dug out the recipe at some point when she was visiting before she passed away and scribbled the note on the card.
Tour of Homes, where we all get to show off our holiday decorations. Be sure to stop by this week's post to see the others' beautiful decorations.I love the look of Christmas. Though we don't do a whole lot in the Sher house (and absolutely nothing on the outside of it!), we always have those little touches that help us remember it is that special season.
However, conflict often finds me. And right now, I'm in the middle of one. Probably not a huge one, but a conflict nonetheless. And it isn't with another person. It's with me.You see, I'm a Christmas card sender. I love to do it, and I love getting them (email me if you want my snail mail address LOL). This year, I have a list of just over 50 people I'm sending to. My husband and I picked out the perfect photo of the kids (can you look at those faces and disagree?), had them put on one of those lovely photo Christmas cards, and added our own "Christ-filled" greeting. We then ordered them, and they sit in my house as we speak waiting to be addressed, signed, stamped, and stuck in the mail.
It feels like conflict. And I don't like conflict--especially with family. Remember?So, what should I do? Do I buy a handful of Hanukkah cards? Do I find some generic "Happy Holidays" cards to send them, and perhaps a few of my "unreligious" friends? Or do I suck up and send them our Christmas cards, which wishes them "blessings as we celebrate the Word becoming flesh?"
Not an easy decision, of that I am certain.I have gone through this each year since we got saved, but this is the first year we have put something so blatantly "Christian" directly on our family card. In the past, we've just gotten prints of a family picture and stuck them in cards we bought - and we always had a few generic holiday (or occasionally Hanukkah) cards for those members of my family. This year, the picture is printed directly on the card.
What should I do next year?Heavenly Father, help me to discern the difference between avoiding conflict to my and/or Your detriment and being understanding and respectful of others' beliefs, especially at this time of year. I want to spread the true message of Christmas to many, especially those who don't accept Christ. Give me guidance in how to reach out the the lost this holiday season in ways that will be effective for Your Kingdom, no matter how much conflict I may need to engage in. In the precious Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
Well, that didn't happen.I think it is generally fair to say that, six months and 100 posts later (that's about a post every day and a half!! yikes!), An Open Book has lasted. And it has absolutely blessed me, and I hope many of you. Being a blogger has been a true blessing--from my amazing new "bloggy friends," to encouragement on my book progress, to exhortation.
That's where you come in.To qualify for my giveaway, you need to share a ten-day Bible/quiet time plan for me to use during the last days of December--or any time of year. You can either create it yourself or you can share something you've done or heard of in the past. It does not have to be Christmas-themed, but there are a few requirements, which I have listed below.
Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Fridays, hosted this week at Yvonne's Blog, My Back Door. Be sure to stop back over there for more great fiction! Read what is there, or post your own story on your blog and put a link in the Mr. Linky gadget that can be found there.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7Oh - and p.s. - I'm having ANOTHER giveaway coming up, to celebrate my 100th post (this one happens to be my 98th - so QUITE soon). This one will be a bit more involved on your part than the Cafe' one. I'm only giving you one hint: think a week and a half of quiet time.
I wrote this almost a year and a half ago for the Faithwriters Writing Challenge - we were to write something suitable for children. It did VERY well in the challenge, and was actually the one that "boosted me" to the Masters level there (for those of you unfamiliar, that means it was my third top ten entry). This story is very dear to my heart, and I have fallen in love with my characters. I'm convinced there's another "Flitter story" inside me, and I have vowed at some point (we still on for February, Peejers? hmmmmm??) to polish this up real nice (have started, but this is the "original" version) and attempt to get it published. I also thought it was appropriate for this time of year. Hope you enjoy it!
Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Fridays, hosted this week at Pod Tales and Ponderings. Be sure to stop by there and read more great fiction!
Welcome to my contribution to week two of Celebrating Holidays at the Cafe. I am enjoying using these weekly blogs to get me in the mood for this wonderful season, and to help me put my focus where it should be. Today's topic, quite appropriately, is A Day of Gratitude. I pray my post, and those from other wonderful bloggers, blesses you.Oh, where to start...
I am grateful for Annika: my beautiful, loving, silly, wonderful, birthday-celebrating daughter.I also have an incredibly energetic and fun-loving seven-year-old who celebrated another kind of birth-day this week. On Tuesday, November 25, 2008 (his grandmother's birthday, by the way!), he grasped the concept that he was a sinner and that only Jesus could save and forgive him. And he asked for that forgiveness. What a wonderful feeling to know that my son in flesh is also my "brother" in Christ.
I am grateful for Andrew: my enthusiastic, energetic, loving, silly, newly-saved son.I certainly can't neglect the amazing man God gave me (before I even found Him!) almost fifteen years ago. Marc is an incredible man, who acts just like a Christian husband should when he has as scatterbrained and flighty and stubborn wife as he does. He loves our children with thought and action, and knows how to make me feel like a queen. He encourages and exhorts me, and loves me in a way that truly makes me feel cherished. His sense of humor, his steadfastness, and his vulnerability are just what I need. He truly completes me. (And he can sure be a goofball!) Despite the struggles we have gone through, or perhaps because of them, our marriage has stayed strong, and is such a huge blessing to me.
Over the past several years, a very special group of folks have "come along" who have inspired, encouraged, and taught me so much. I'm struggling with how to categorize them. I've met them in so many places. Through my church, and the one I attended previously. Through Faithwriters. Through blogging. Through other activities I am sure are escaping me. These people are more than just names (or screennames). They are dear friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. They--you--love me and encourage me to grow in my God and Savior. I could list names, but I know I'd forget someone (and make an entirely too long post), so just know you are so appreciated.
I am grateful for Marc, my loving, strong, supportive, encouraging, silly, wonderful husband.
I am grateful for my brothers and sisters in Christ (that means you especially, jewely sisters!), who have blessed me in so many ways, on so many occasions, through Christ's love in them.How can I post about gratitude without expressing thanks for the One who made me, who saved me, and who gave me everything I have? Without the Lord, and His Amazing Son, Jesus Christ, none of this would happen. He has given me all the things above, and so much more. Every one of His gifts is good, and He has poured them on me lavishly. Our gratitude and thankfulness must be not only for the things we have, but, especially, for the One who granted them to us.
I am grateful for the Creator of the Universe, my Savior, Protector, Messiah, Great Physician, Lover of my Soul and so much more: Jesus Christ.I will be spending much of Thanksgiving day with my husband's side of the family. We'll be spending the night, then having a birthday celebration for Annika and Marc's mom on Friday. It should be a good time with family and food. Praying your day is full of Thanksgiving, today and every other day.
Most who know me know I am a very goal-oriented person (in fact, I already shared my goal wrap-up for 2016 and my new ones for 2017 on this...