My Husband Loves My Latest Post

My husband loves my latest post. I am so happy to hear that. He loves the rhymes, especially the part about “Mike”! Now that’s the kind of review I can always go for! Soon I think I will start writing more again.

To me this goes to show that, contrary to some writing advice, what friends and family say about a writer’s work DOES matter. When my husband likes my work, it means the world to me!

If you’ve ever done any writing – with the idea of being published – then you will quickly come to realize that writing can’t be done in a vacuum. Every writer needs support from someone, preferably those closest to them. Even non-writers need support. We like to feel like we are heard. So when someone shares an idea with you, even if it’s off the wall, taking the time to listen and encourage them can work wonders.

True, that doesn’t translate into automatic success. But it can encourage a person not to give up, that with excellent coaching and perseverance the battle can be won. If you want to do well as an author, then share your work with someone. Put it out there. See what works.

If you keep going, you will get somewhere. But don’t forget to pray, because God is our greatest source of encouragement. Jesus said in John chapter 15 that “Without Me, you can do nothing.” He also told his followers to love one another, and encouragement is a form of love.

Readers feel free to weigh in. When your spouse (or other family member) believes in your writing, does it or does it not inspire you to persevere?

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Through the Roof: Taking the Limits off Your Faith

Four men ripped apart someone’s roof one time and in so doing helped to take the limits off his faith (see the story in Matthew chapter 9). The paralyzed man’s malady had placed many limits upon him. He could not elbow away the people who crowded him out. The only way his friends could help him was by lowering him through the roof to see Jesus.

That’s because the house had limits as to how many it could hold. The crowd also had limits as to how much room it could make for the man and his friends.

Imagine seeing a body everywhere you turn,  blocking your view of the only one you really wish to see. But as Jesus once explained, all it takes is a mustard seed of faith to move a mountain – or, in this case, a crowd. And what happened did move them – not to tears but to cheers.

A mustard seed of brilliant inspiration enabled the paralyzed man to get his miracle. Such wisdom comes from looking up because it descends from God, the source of all true faith. But, like any other seed, it doesn’t do you any good unless you plant it. To plant that seed, these four friends really had to STRETCH their faith – all the way up to the roof and back.

What a ruckus they must have made as they tore off the tiles! The owner must have frowned as they tore his roof apart. But the paralyzed man’s friends were willing to go the distance to stretch their seed of faith into a tree – the sort that pushes past all barriers in order to bear much fruit.

Sometimes that’s what we have to do too. We may not have to tear apart a literal roof, but we may need to dismantle old mindsets (strong man-made opinions). Otherwise they may prevent God’s Word from sinking into our heads and producing faith inside our hearts.

For “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17).

The shoots that spring from one faith seed require air to breathe. That air equates to a spiritual atmosphere, for the air of heaven is what causes faith to flourish. Earthly ways of thinking tend to bog faith down, however. That’s because faith springs from truth (for if  we know something is God’s will then we know we will receive it – I John 5:14-15). But carnal thinking rests on lies: lies we believe about God, ourselves, and others.

We must strip away those lies like tiles on a roof, that faith might be extended through us from the top on down. Lies such as, “God can only help me so much,” and “I’ll only get so far with God,” evaporate like mist when we lay the paralyzed man at Jesus’ feet.

Jesus told the man to be of good cheer because his sins were forgiven. In so doing, He pinpointed the root of the man’s problem: the feeling that he must be worthy in order to be healed.

Apparently this guy had been feeling condemned, which naturally would make it very hard for him to receive healing. But as Romans 8:1 states, There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. If Jesus (through His forgiveness) sets you free from sin, then you are free indeed (John 8:36).

Jesus freely forgave the man and told him to rise up and walk. It was clearly a gift of God’s grace because the man did not deserve it. But he received it through faith – in this case, other people’s faith. That’s because they took the limits off their own faith and in so doing took the limits off of his.

Faith’s Journey: From Seed to Shoot to Fruit

I. From Seed to Shoot to Fruit

Faith starts out as a seed that stretches to become a shoot.

That shoot is destined to eventually develop fruit.

 

Along the way faith learns to speak. It shall not remain mute,

Provided it receives good care and doesn’t “get the boot.”

 

Sometimes when Jesus puts a seed of faith in someone’s hand,

That person sees hard ground and simply cannot understand

 

How best to help that seed grow up into a miracle.

Faith is a substance which contains amazing potential

 

But if you wrap it up in rags of your own righteousness

Then you will surely find yourself engulfed by fierce distress.

 

For, like a buried talent, that poor seed of faith can’t grow

Through your own sin-stained toil. You must let God help you sow

 

The faith that works through love, made possible through his shed blood,

A perfect sacrifice for sin. Receive the cleansing flood!

 

Remember: Those who grew their talents did it through a trade,

Replacing their despair with joy for which their Savior paid.

 

His grace given so freely is the soil that will nourish.

Through the power of His Spirit, He enables faith to flourish.

II. Faith Produces Fruit Through Love

“For verily I say unto you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Miracles are a fruit of faith, but faith starts as a seed. The important thing here, however, isn’t the seed itself. It’s the  soil in which the seed is planted.

“But that (seed, of faith) on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” – Luke 8:15

So then, must we strain to bring forth fruit?

“Faith . . . works by love.” – Galatians 5:6

“God is love.” – I John 4:8

“Love (charity). . . believes all things. . .” – I Corinthians 13:1-7

“I (Jesus) am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.”

“Looking to Jesus,  the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2

“You shall know them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

 

 

 

 

Digging Wells that Demolish Writers’ Blocks

Digging wells is important, I have discovered, for dispensing living water that refreshes thirsty souls. When I first received the prophecy concerning God’s Word pouring out of me, I experienced a flood of inspiration. It bubbled up in the form of poems, skits, humor, stories, and profound Biblical insights. Drops of truth few others had dug up shone like gems inside my mind. I couldn’t wait to share them.

Then the Philistines came along and sought to plug the writing wells I dug by faith, while I following in the footsteps of Abraham, the man of faith. The Philistines, fathers of giants, used destructive criticism to dump dirt on the golden nuggets that sprang forth from my well. I had barely started digging but they wanted me to stop. Their intimidation tactics made me want to give up.

“After all, why write something nobody cares about?” they whispered in my ears.

“What if no one reads this novel you’ve been working on for years?”

“This isn’t right. You’re too obsessed. This work consumes you.”

“It’s an idol, not a gift.”

Their taunts, though true, hit my ears like clashing gongs. Forget the “diamonds  in the rough” I had unearthed. All they chose to feast their eyes on was the mess. As I listened to their digs, my pile of unpolished gems turned into a mountain of a writer’s block: huge, overwhelming, and impenetrable. With that as my focus, I’d never get anything to drink!

Let’s face it: Digging wells isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to move that writer’s block – because sometimes you have to move more mud out of the way to reach the water. Besides, that mud is packed with gems of inspiration. The more you dig, the more you’ll find.

For example, the first few gems you unearth may contain bits of dialogue. Later on, you may see some characters take take shape. Moreover, despite the fact  that  digging wells can be a years-long process, you’ll eventually hit water – but only if you keep digging.

Inspired by the story in Genesis 26:15-22