November 29, 2008

Neglect Not The Body

"For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself."
- 1 Corinthians 11:29

I receive several quotes and scriptures daily via email. When this one landed this morning, I sort of skimmed over it. I've heard this scripture used many times, most often during communion services. Just as I hit the delete button to trash the email with this verse, though, I received a bit of insight...I believe, from God.

This scripture is most commonly used to depict the importance of a sober spirit before one takes communion. Often, we are admonished to take stock of ourselves and consider whether or not there is anything inside us that should not be, lest we take communion and be guilty of taking it in vain. However, I think there is another meaning to this scripture that we have overlooked, one that has nothing to do with eating and drinking in the physical sense.

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV) states, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." Every one of us play a unique role in forming the body of Christ. Some are fingers, some are the neck, some the nose. But together, as a whole, we collectively form His body. When one of us is hurting or struggling, the entire body should feel that illness as well.

The trouble is, today lends itself to a fast-pace, in-your-face lifestyle. We get in such a big hurry that we often overlook hurting parts of the body. We assume someone else will reach out. We neglect the pained and sore members, leaving them to fend for themselves.

According to 1 Corinthians 11:29, when we continue to live and go about our lives like nothing is wrong, when we know fully well that there are those around us who need support and love, we are bringing judgement upon ourselves.

This scripture also applies to those who are too busy to fellowship with the body of Christ as well. Hebrews 10:25 (Amplified) says, "Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching." If you are too busy working (or playing) to attend regular services, you are placing your soul in great danger. We all need each other. As the time of rapture nears, we need to encourage each other and lift each other in the spirit, so that we can all be ready to hear Him say, "Welcome, my faithful child."

November 27, 2008

A Sip of Inspiration




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November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- Marcel Proust

Happy Thanksgiving During a time of year when the pace of life increases, remember to take a few moments to express your gratitude towards the ones you love. Rather than focus on people who might create negative feelings or emotions, spend time with the ones who love you and nourish your heart, mind, and spirit.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2008

A Cough That Won't Quit

I've been fighting a horrible cough all week. Monday started out okay. Tuesday I thought I felt better. I actually felt well enough to sit down and complete all my class work for this week. My goal was to do that so I'd have the rest of the week to focus on my research paper. Only, I've been so sick since Tuesday that I can barely sit up straight, let alone research and prepare notes and an outline for a paper. Bleh. :(

So yeah. I have very little research done so far. I'm coughing my head off. I'm sore all over from coughing. I'm miserable. I hope and pray this passes soon!

November 19, 2008

When "Stuff" Happens

I've been fighting some sort of nasty crud since the weekend. While I'm feeling better than I did a few days ago, I still have a horrible cough. Someone gave me a tip this morning (rub Vicks vapor rub on soles of feet, then wear socks) so I decided to make a quick run to the store. About half-way there, an 18-wheeler flung a rock into my windshield. It didn't bust a hold all the way through, but it shattered on the inside and shards of glass flew all over my dash.

It caught me off-guard and scared me. And of course, made me a bit nervous. Nothing like this has ever happened to me. I called my husband and he (like the hero he is) came to my rescue to help.

Now, almost two hours later, I'm back at home and thinking about the incident. And I'm feeling very proud of myself. Normally, when something this major happens, I totally lose it. I cry, worry, and throw one of my God-must-not-love-me-anymore fits. But I didn't do that this morning. I remained calm and held my composure, despite my nervousness.

"Stuff" will always happen. Our reaction is what is so important. Often times, we are tested with "stuff" because God wants to see how we will react, or if we've learned anything from the last similar test. I've failed this simple test for years. But I think I finally just passed it this morning with flying colors! :)

When stuff happens, don't lose it--turn to God!

November 18, 2008

Bearing Fruit

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
- John 15:4 (NIV)

fruit Have you ever attempted to do something that you knew in your heart wasn't right? You probably struggled against the grain, trying to prove to yourself and everyone else that you could do it. But in the end, you relinquished your hold and let go of the thing you held on to for so long, ending up empty-handed.

When we step outside the will of God, we usually end up that way: empty, barren, fruitless. Ironically, we also usually stand around, scratching our head, wondering why the end result is so poor.

The scary thing is, when God tells us to do something and we refuse, walk away, and follow after our own lusts, He can pluck us from the vine. Matthew (chapter 21) gives us an example of Jesus cursing a fruitless fig tree. He was hungry and noticed a fig tree, but the tree bore no fruit, and was only filled with leaves. When Jesus told the tree it would never bear fruit again, the tree immediately withered and died.

I don't want to be like that fruitless fig tree. I want to bear sweet, healthy, hearty fruit for Jesus. But the only way I can do that is if I stay in Him. I have to stay in the body of Christ. I must seek after God's will and be willing to be an obedient servant when He instructs me.

November 17, 2008

Cup of Hope now available in paperback!

fc2_tn I took the plunge last week and decided to self-publish Cup of Hope, Reflections from my heart. It is available in paperback and e-book formats through Lulu. Here's a brief excerpt:

"The word of God is our bread of life. I have learned the times I feel weakest are when I’ve neglected my daily prayer and bible study. Just as we need nourishment for our physical bodies, we also need nourishment for our spirit. Not only does the bible feed our souls, but it is our roadmap, our guidebook that shows us the way to walk. It provides direction when we don’t know if we should turn left or right. It gives us power to..."

Click here to order your copy

P.S. If you enjoy purchase this book and enjoy reading it, please consider taking a few minutes to rate and review Cup of Hope on Lulu.com. Or come back and leave your review in the comments here. Thanks!

November 15, 2008

Take Inventory

771865_witing When was the last time you took inventory of your life? Do you ever reflect on the past, to determine if you're getting anywhere? Is your life moving forward, or are you still stuck in the same crevice you were in three years ago?

This morning I pulled out a couple of my older backup discs, in search of a particular file. I ended up spending over an hour digging through old writing files. I am amazed by what I found.

You know, all too often, I don't give myself enough credit. I've always felt less than best, but the truth is, I have a God-given talent. I'm not being boastful, because I have plenty room for improvement. But truthfully, I have not given myself enough credit for my work in the last few years.

During my file-digging excursion this morning, I also uncovered quite a few folders containing stories I started, but never finished. There was always some other freelance opportunity to sidetrack me from my ultimate goal of writing a book. For whatever reason, I always chose to drop my own heart-writing for financial security from writing for others. Not good.

As I sit here this morning, I'm kind of astounded by and ashamed at myself. I'm astounded that God would choose to give me such a blessed gift of writing. Yet, at the same time, I'm ashamed because I'm realizing I haven't always used this talent wisely.

Taking inventory is never an easy thing to do. It's difficult to look at myself and take honest stock in my actions. But I know it's a good thing. When I get real with myself, I can shake away the dirt and dust that's marred my vision and reach out to God for direction and guidance, seeing His vision more clearly.

November 14, 2008

NANO No-Go

As much as I'd rather not "out" myself here, I have to admit that I've slacked on my NANO novel...again. I haven't written a word since last weekend. I've been working on assignments for my Ethics class, among other things.

I'm not giving up on my book, but I just might not get in the entire 50,000 words by the end of the month. I'll try to make a big push this weekend to add to my word count. We'll see what happens!

November 13, 2008

Finding the Good

This past week has been a struggle for me. When I find myself in this spot, I have to be even more diligent in forcing myself to find the good in everything, because it's just easier to see the bad. Then I received an email newsletter yesterday that provided me with just the boost I needed.

All too often, when we're down in the slumps, we just stay there. We focus on all the stuff going on around us that looks bad. We talk about them. We live, breathe, and eat them. Eventually, we're consumed by them because we choose not to find our way out of that mental state. At least, that's what usually happens.

I'm trying very hard to step out of that state. I don't want to grow pessimistic with age. I don't want to become jaded by life. Stuff happens to everyone. Truth is, there are a lot more people in this world that are much worse off than I.

I want to revel in my mountain peaks. When times are rough, I want to look up and remind myself of all the times in between that were fun or good or happy. Those times--the good times--are the safety net underneath me when I'm down. They're the angel wings that will lift me up in the valley and protect me to the next mountain peak.

If you're struggling with something today and you feel like there's nothing good in your life at this time, stop and think about the last time something wonderful happened to you. Remind yourself of all the blessings you've received to date. I'm betting the good will outweigh the bad.

November 09, 2008

Square Pegs Don't Fit In Round Holes

masked words I've had a very long weekend of sickness in my house. Since I completed my assignments earlier in the week, I decided this was the perfect opportunity for me to catch up on some reading.

Lately I've been trying to break out of the box and broaden my horizons. During my last few trips to the public library, I've chosen books I normally would have passed. I still have my personal boundaries of what I will and won't read, but aside from those stipulations, I've been breaking out of the typical genres I read.

Writers can learn a lot from reading other writers. You pick up on things like characterization, showing vs. telling, and POV tactics. It's kind of fun to read something different because I've been learning a lot.

Among my choices this weekend was a novel that is categorized as an inspirational romance. I assumed this meant that the book would have a solid story with a Christian theme intertwined. What I found was a big surprise and a bit of a letdown.

Just a few pages into the first chapter, I immediately began feeling uncomfortable. While the writing itself was good, the language and imagery borderline on seductive and sensual. I'm no prude by any means, but when I pick up a book with the expectation that I'll be reading an inspirational (Christian) romance and feel like I've stepped into an erotic tale, it disturbs me. The further I read, the more sensual the writing became.

I stopped mid-way into the second chapter. Frankly, I can't honestly say if I'll even finish reading the book. I'm puzzled. Did the publisher/editor think more copies would sell if the writing contained more sexual tension? Does the author believe this is inspirational romance? Why doesn't the publisher/editor place this writer in a more appropriate category line? Do Christian writers today think it's acceptable to write and publish "Christian romance" novels that are filled with sexually charged scenes?

I'm well-read a large variety of genres. Some I don't care for, others I enjoy more. The point I'm trying to make here is that when a person buys a book, based on a specific category the book is placed in, that reader should be able to open the book and read with confidence, knowing that s/he won't be blushing and squirming in their seat five pages into the book.

If you read or write inspirational romance for the Christian market, what are your thoughts on this? I personally believe square pegs don't--and shouldn't--fit into round holes.

November 06, 2008

Comic Relief from Sonic Drive-In

I absolutely love Sonic's commercials. They're unique and hilarious and I hope Sonic keeps them coming! This is one of my favorites, but they're all funny. Hope this provides you with some comic relief today. I know I needed a good laugh. :)

November 02, 2008

Incompatible Plans

"We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it."
- Proverbs 16:9 (The Message)

I've increased my personal prayers lately, with regards to God's will for my life. So many times, I am led astray by my own desires and dreams. To be honest, I'm tired of stepping outside His will, just to follow after my own.

I can look back over my 32 years on this earth and give you specific instances when I made the wrong choice or decision about something and stepped outside the will of God. Those times brought heartache and pain. Eventually, I reached a breaking point, which inevitably returned me to the foot of the cross, where I found grace, forgiveness, and mercy yet again.

I'm tired of doing this over and over again. I want to believe I've learned my lesson, but honestly, I'm not sure I have.

This human nature causes me to want certain things. Those things aren't always what is best for me. I can't see the future, but God can. He knows right now what will happen in months and years to come. Steps I take today that are not ordained by Him could lead me down a path of destruction. But only God knows this. And that is why I have to turn to Him and inquire of His will before I ever make a decision.

Far too often, our plans are not compatible with God's plans for our lives. We usually struggle with this, too, because the plans God has for us are usually so far beyond our comprehension that we can't understand why He won't allow us to have what we want right now. We can't see the good things that will come, if we hold to His hand and trust in Him to lead the way.

I want God to guide me. I want my words to be His. I want my thoughts to be guided by Him. I want to go where He wants me to go, and do what He wants me to do. I don't want to worry anymore about what others might think of me. God is the only One who matters. He is the only One I need to please and serve.

November 01, 2008

NANO - Day 1

I've officially made it through the first day of NANO 2008. I wrote a little over 1,200 words today. I wanted to write a little bit more than that on my first day, but this is a decent start. I'm happy with it. I have a pretty good outline so I think I should be able to get through this book this month.