Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Prayer for Lent

With Lent starting tomorrow (Ash Wednesday), I want to offer the following way to pray for others. I'm also going to pray this for myself, so that during this period I can grow in understanding, wisdom, and the ability to act as God would want.  Here are the verses from Colossians 1:9-10, in The Living Bible translation, which somehow brings them to life for me:

"So ever since we first heard about you we have kept on praying and asking God to help you understand what he wants you to do; asking him to make you wise about spiritual things; and asking that the way you live will always please the Lord and honor him, so that you will always be doing good, kind things for others, while all the time you are learning to know God better and better."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Workers for the Harvest

In Matthew 9:36-38 we see Jesus teaching and healing. "And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn't know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. 'The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,' he told his disciples. 'So pray to the one in the charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields'" (The Living Bible).

There is so much suffering and need in the world today, that obedience to this command of Jesus seems essential.  We have to ask God for more people with a heart and the abilities to help others. Each day I intend to pray as Jesus commanded, "Lord, please send workers to the harvest."
Then, whether we are the ones called or not, we need to support those out in the field.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

When God's "No" is the Right Answer

Writers hate rejection. Well, everyone does, but sometimes we writers think we feel it especially hard.

I've developed some projects I thought were fully ready for publication, only to get a polite refusal or even the dreaded black hole of non-response:  "If you don't hear back in three months..."

And yet, with both of these projects, "No" was the right answer. Recently I've been getting great ideas for revision, and I'm actually enjoying the process. I may never earn a "yes", but I'm getting the pleasure of finding new ideas and new energy.  I've become grateful for the "no's" because I wouldn't want to publish anything better than my best work.

I don't even want to admit the "no's" from God that stopped me from making mistakes much bigger than a mediocre publication. I don't want to talk about them, but I'm grateful to God.

When has "no" been the right answer for you?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine's Day


I know that Valentine's Day can be tough if relationships are painful. But I had to put up this vintage card, found while doing family history research. The message inside reads, "My crop of hearts is extra fine, I've picked one big and true, To send to-day as a valentine, Just right, my dear, for you."
A handwritten message on the back reads, "Great Sacrifice to give This Beautiful Valentine and don't forget the onions."
Onions? I may have some odd people in my family tree. Smile.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

God is at work everywhere

When I find the violence and suffering of the world overwhelming, I remember that God is at work everywhere. Somewhere on this day, maybe in this hour, parents are welcoming their newborn baby, medicine is being delivered to a place with no permanent hospital, a homeless person is finding shelter, an adult who has never been able to read is sitting down with a tutor, and a patient is healing from a difficult surgery. In some spot on this globe a family is reconciling, someone is making a sacrificial gift to help another person, a prayer warrior is praying, and a troubled spirit is opening to faith. God's beautiful, loving power is at work throughout the world, and we can always hope in God's mercy and grace.

Monday, February 6, 2017

I remember reading that Agatha Christie found it easiest to produce her mysteries set in England when she was traveling abroad, and she wrote best about Egypt from her home in England. The settings came alive most vividly in her memory and imagination. So, since I'm working on a writing project set in the summer, maybe February in Ohio will spur my imagination. But it always helps to remember gardens. This photo is from the garden of the Bradford House in Washington, PA.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Encouragement

Whenever I am disheartened by the violence, suffering and discord of these days, I find comfort in these words from Paul in Philippians 4:8-9:  "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."
I've often heard verse 8 quoted about maintaining a healthy and productive thought life. But I am also inspired by verse 9, that tells us to put our beliefs into action.There is affirming, loving work being done -- and waiting to be done. We must not be discouraged when God is active throughout the world to bring healing and justice to the world he loves.