Posted in Verses I am Glad I have Read

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: Not Just Words

It may be one of the most confusing episodes in a long line of confusing episodes as Israel treks through the desert for more than 40 years, anticipating the fulfillment of the promise of a land overflowing with milk and honey.

Moses, weary of leading, has spent those 40 years in constant communication with a mighty God, with THE mighty God. Unlike almost anyone else in the history of mankind, Moses has conversed with GOD ALMIGHTY as close to face-to-face as a mortal being can get. He’s even come down from one of these conversations glowing in the face so that he has to cover himself to avoid freaking everyone else out.

But even Moses can make a mistake.

Near Moab, the people get grumpy–again. Is anyone surprised? They beg for water, whine that in Egypt they were never thirsty. God tells Moses exactly what to do to provide the needed water for the Israelites. But Moses, being human, gets angry with the people, striking the stone to bring forth water instead of speaking to it as God had commanded him to do.

God never changes. His constant character is underscored in what happens next. Being merciful, He doesn’t discount everything good that Moses has done for Him in the past by striking Moses dead for disobeying Him. But, He also doesn’t overlook Moses change of plan. As punishment for failing to follow His orders, God tells Moses that the prophet will not indeed enter the land of promise he’s spent the last forty years wandering in the desert trying to lead a stubborn people toward home.

I find this episode in Numbers most chilling every time I read it. It reminds me how easily I can take for granted God’s merciful and forgiving character. If Moses, who saw God face-to-face, could fail to live up to God’s complete and clear instructions, what does a simple girl from West Texas stand a chance in accomplishing?

Of all the verses I will ever read, those that concentrate on God’s grace as exhibited through the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood for my sins will always be the most important, especially on those dark nights when all my sins swirl around my mind like a heavy cloak threatening to suffocate me. Only because of that mercy can I go forward with the challenges of each new day, knowing that forgiveness is real, that someday I will join my Savior in heaven, the ultimate Promised Land.

In my pile of notes that I keep stocked away in my old desk drawer, I found a list today that I’m sure I copied from somewhere. I don’t have the original reference, but it’s too good not to share. When it comes to trying to figure out what God would say to me, I too often come up with my own solutions, just as Moses hit the rock in his anger instead of speaking to it, especially when I forget to remember what the Bible actually has to say about anything that might be bothering me.

So, here’s a list of what my feelings, like anger, might say inside my brain instead of what God’s voice would really say if I would just take the time to listen for His true Word, as revealed to me through scriptures.

WHAT FEELINGS SAY:

  • You deserve it.
  • Just one more.
  • You only live once.
  • Did God really say __________?
  • What can it hurt?
  • Today, or for once, it’s going to be all about you.
  • She/he started it, and you must finish it.
  • Nobody loves you.
  • You are too weak to control yourself.
  • If it feels good, do it.
  • The end justifies the means.
  • You are worthless.
  • You can just ask God to forgive you after.
  • If you do this, you will feel so much better.
  • Revenge is sweet.
  • Do whatever it takes to get what you want.
  • Second place is just first loser.
  • You feel so bad, you’re gonna die.
  • Being alone is the worst thing in the world.
  • God can never forgive you.
  • You’re not good enough for God.

Paul offers a different approach for our minds than giving in to the impulses of feelings. In his letter to the Philippians, he admonishes them,

Finally, brothers, 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 into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (4:8-9)

The prophet Jeremiah says, “Blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit” (17:7-8).

Faith in God involves a daily commitment to communicate with Him through prayer and through time in His Word, building each for our own purpose a set of verses we are glad we have read, those holy words that will keep us on the straight and narrow path that pleases a loving, patient God.

Looking for your own list of verses you are glad you have read? One of the easiest places to begin your search is the book of Psalms, a collection of many writers openly communicating with a loving God. The poems are raw and real, painful and uplifting. They beseech God for mercy, lament the tragedy of the human condition, rant against the seeming unfairness of a fallen world, praise God for His glory and giving nature.

Here are two of my favorite Psalm verses to get you started:

The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? (27:1) For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may last for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (30:5).

May rejoicing in the morning be part of your life in the trying days ahead, no matter what challenges you may be facing. I hope my verses I am glad I have read have helped you find or remember some of the wonderful benefits of spending time in the Word of our most Holy God.

It sure makes more sense than beating a rock, even if you are as smart and wonderful as Moses.

In Christ,
Ramona

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Posted in Christianity

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: The “Price” of Worship

Practice thankfulness on the easy days, and you’ll be ready to be thankful even on your darkest days.

. . . For today, the LORD will appear to you. I will be treated as holy by those who approach Me. (Leviticus 9:4, 10:3)

In my copy of the amplified Bible, whenever I see the word lord spelled out in all-caps, I try to take a moment to remind myself that the Hebrew word being translated means LORD in ways my finite mind may never fully imagine. Translators explain it best as equating to the phrase GOD ALMIGHTY. The word, capitalized so that it stands out from the other text surrounding it, reminds us that GOD is awesome, perfect, omnipotent, more than.

Too often, I think we take for granted the ease with which we access our LORD. Because Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice, becoming our High Priest and opening the way into the Holy of Holies for all who believe in Him, we only need call out to the LORD and know that GOD ALMIGHTY is with us.

But this easy access wasn’t always the case. Reading through Leviticus this week, with its detailed instructions on how to make sacrifices to God, my poet’s mind filled with images of slaughter and blood. Animals without blemish cut into pieces, the choicest cuts rising in smoke to heaven, the tendrils of all that killing and slicing became a pleasing aroma to God because it all signified the desire of His people to do whatever it took to come into fellowship with Him.

I have never slaughtered an animal. I have enough trouble sometimes handling the comparatively pristine meat in its cellophane package, the liquid red juices sending a pungent odor to my nostrils. So, I can only imagine how messy Aaron’s job of slaughtering animals for sacrifice must have been. I can almost picture him after a long day in the tabernacle, his fine tunic, his skin, his hair, all splattered in blood, everything on him and around him heavily scented with the smell of burning wood and flesh.

How ironic it seems that cleansing people from sin should require such messy business. After a long day at the tabernacle, Aaron’s knuckles, the cuticles around his nails, the space between his nail and his flesh, the curves of his earlobes, the creases around his eyes, every surface on his exposed body would be caked in blood. I can imagine his skin rubbed raw from the scrubbing it would take to clean up after cleansing all day.

When I seek God, how grateful I am that I don’t require a hose down after! Still, because my worship, my ability to come into the presence of GOD ALMIGHTY, does not require a human go-between or the perpetual shedding of blood, I can too easily take advantage of this easy access. I can approach God without the reverence the moment deserves. Also, I too often don’t  take advantage of my ease of access to the LORD, failing to thank Him as often as I should or forgetting to call out to Him for help, instead trying to solve my problems all by myself.

But more important than letting my imagination fill with the filthiness of a process that represented cleansing to the Jewish people is remembering that what God wanted most from the Hebrews was the first of their goods as well as their best. The value He placed on His requirements for sacrifice emphasized the value God places on worship and fellowship with Him.

I heard a preacher many years ago state this obvious, but often overlooked lesson this way: If God wanted so much from those who would worship Him before He sent His only Son to die for all sins once and for all, how much more do we think He might want now that that ultimate sacrifice has been made?

God wants to be first in my life. He wants me to give Him the first of my energy, not what’s left over after a long day of work and driving and taking care of family. He longs for me to come to Him with the best version of myself, with my full attention and wholeheartedness.

Thankfully, God takes whatever of me I give. When I fail to offer my best, God still listens. The person I harm when I don’t give God my first and best is myself because God stands ready to provide the fullness of fellowship with Him at all times and in all ways as long as I do my part.

The next time you go to God in worship and prayer, take a moment to remember how Christ’s sacrifice simplified your access to the LORD. Your thankfulness will only enrich your experience and please God.

In Christ,
Ramona

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Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: You Gotta Serve Somebody

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 6:22-23)

Autonomy is so ingrained in the American psyche, it is practically sacred. We want to believe that we are free to make the choices in our life, free to make true whatever grand dream or scheme we might conjure. We want to know that rags to riches stories are not only possible but reality.

But autonomy is a lie.

In the song, You Gotta Serve Somebody, Bob Dylan explains it this way, “it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna Serve somebody.” The words point out an ultimate truth. No matter your pursuit, you will always be accountable to someone or something bigger than you, something that requires you to bend your will in one way or another in order to achieve your ultimate goal.

The lyrics of the song give several examples of the illusion of power. You might be someone’s heir, you might like to sleep on silk, you might be a congressman, you might like to gamble, you might like to dance. In each instance, no desire can be fulfilled without ultimately making concessions to appease the person or powers that help make your desire possible.

At the furthest extent of this truth that we serve somebody is the reality that we humans too easily fall into the trap of letting the things we desire rule over us. I am a Diet Coke addict. If you don’t see me with a Route 44 in my hand, something is seriously wrong with my day. I use the drink to help me cope with my ever-present anxiety. (And yes, I know the caffeine is only fueling it.) Too often, I am a slave to my Diet Coke needs. I have to get in the car and drive to Sonic or Whataburger when I would rather be doing other things, but I need my drink more.

What Paul writes to the Romans applies just as much to me. I would be so much more at peace if I aligned my desires with those things that are of God. When I focus on the things of this world, like fine dining or acquiring wealth or movie stars, I unwittingly give myself over to the service of the Evil One, who uses these desires to distract me from the love God longs to give.

God’s love differs from the world’s view of love. In this world, people want to think love means letting everyone do whatever feels “right” in the moment. With this view of love, a God who calls us to a standard of goodness and morality doesn’t click. But God’s love calls us to believe in something bigger than we are, so much bigger that we have no way to comprehend its vastness.

God’s love, the love Jesus offered while He was on earth, the love that healed and showed compassion and empathy to cheaters and tax collectors, requires us to submit to God’s will at the same time its grace takes away the condemnation we deserve when we sin.

Unless you actually give serving God a try in your life, it may be hard to understand how God’s love means sticking it out with a spouse when you think you’re in love with somebody else, how God really loves you even when His law, His morality means you can’t do some of the things your heart tells you you desire most. The world may try to tell you God made you that way. Perhaps He did. I can’t keep my mind from responding with anxiety to everyday situations, even though worry goes against God’s admonishment to trust in Him each day. But, I can continually strive to submit to Jesus’ way of facing challenges rather than giving in to my anxiousness.

Because I can proceed in life knowing I will not be condemned, I can trust in Jesus’ love for me to help me live a life in submission to God’s will, which is where true peace exists.

I heard someone say recently that grace, like life, isn’t fair. It’s on offer to anyone who is willing to accept its gift, no matter their past. Aren’t we grateful for this unfairness?

Serving Jesus isn’t the popular thing to do, but it sure beats anything the devil has to offer. I’m picking Jesus. Whom will you serve?

In Christ,
Ramona

Posted in Verses I am Glad I have Read

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: God Whispers

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. (1 Kings 19: 11-13)

In a world where messages are so plentiful that most of us resort to extreme measures in order to gain any attention, it’s paramount to realize that God, the most powerful and omnipotent Voice in the universe, doesn’t speak to us in the loud, booming tower of fire of which He is able, but rather in the gentle, kind whisper that is capable of shooting straight to the core of every wounded soul.

Reflecting on these verses from Elijah’s story this week, I am struck with three, key things we can do to help us ignore the thunder and avalanches of the world’s messages and concentrate instead on God’s whispers: SLOW DOWN; BE STILL; BE QUIET.

SLOW DOWN

The most obvious way to make room for God’s gentle whispers in your life is to slow down the incoming messages that threaten to drown Him out every day. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have to walk around with our cell phones as an extension of our arms. Moments standing in line might be spent practicing deep breathing instead of catching up on the latest posts on Facebook or Drudge. If the television must be streaming in the evening, why not the spa channel, nature sounds or classical instrumentals instead of news, dramas or reality TV?

My “bestest” friend and I are always trying to point out to each other the times when God is plunking tiny pebbles on our heads, trying to save us from a boulder before His message gets across to us. But, if I am so busy working, ferrying kids around town, running errands, squeezing in exercise and meeting social obligations, how can I be aware enough to notice that pebbles are plopping down?

The first step to hearing our God’s whispers is making sure there is enough space in your mind and schedule to notice the slightest wisp of information that can be overshadowed by the world’s more colorful, abrasive ramblings.

BE STILL

Slowing down is just the first step toward an even more important requirement when you want an honest, strong relationship with God. We must find time in each day to just be still in His awesome presence.

Perhaps this stillness differs between believers. For me, stillness with God is five, deep breaths of the clean, early Spring air on a sunny afternoon that just feels right, thanking Him for the moment, for the experience of being human and surrounded by a peaceful reminder of His master creation.

Being still is also my morning habit of praying to help me focus my actions for the day, of studying His Word and devotionals by others that give me different perspectives on the depth and breadth of the Bible and its application to my life.

Mainly, being still is taking the time to stop everything else and just focus on God, whether that be a prayer of gratitude, singing a hymn or just sitting comfortably in a chair with nothing else going on around me. This is a lifetime habit that must be cultivated, even if we have to set an alarm on one of our many electronic gadgets to remind us it’s time for stillness.  Otherwise, I’m convinced, the world will always scream louder than God whispers.

BE QUIET

But being still isn’t exactly enough. Too many times, sitting in half-lotus position with soothing sounds reverberating softly in the background, my mind refuses to concentrate on nothing but my breath going in and out of my lungs. Too quickly, it flits back and forth between worries, to-do lists and a thousand other things I need to accomplish or think I should do. How can I hear God whisper if I’m busy talking to myself?

Quieting the mind is another lifetime practice to perfect. But it begins by at least working to place our minds on the one, true God as we sit in stillness. We can thank Him for everything, including troubles because these take us closer to God, talk to Him about our troubles, bring the troubles of others before Him and ask Him the deepest, darkest questions of our hearts. When our minds are focused on God in this way, we can take the time to make our mind as quiet as possible to listen.

Listening is another skill we all need practice improving. Listening keeps us from making judgments about others, putting ourselves down, gossiping, or otherwise saying things that might break Jesus’ heart. When we concentrate on listening instead of being heard, we are open to understanding the messages in God’s Word and in the communications we have with others. Only by listening will we ever truly hear what God tries to tell us.

 

God coming in a whisper also reminds me that I have to be patient with my questions. I have to realize that sometimes His answers have been lost in the whirlwind of noise that constitutes a modern life.

I also have to ask myself why a God so mighty in power restrains Himself to a whisper. It’s a lesson I can apply to my relationships with other people, this knowing that words softly spoken can have more power than the force of a mighty wind.

This week, attend to how many opportunities you seize to hear God’s whispers and also how many opportunities inadvertently slip through your fingers.  After all, pebbles are much less painful than boulders.

In Christ,
Ramona

 

Posted in Verses I am Glad I have Read

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: Learn To Fish

Give a man to fish, the saying goes, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

When Jesus came to earth as man, He not only gave us the ultimate fish, His gift of saving grace, but He also spent the bulk of His ministry teaching His disciples and followers how to fish.

After almost five decades on this planet, I am convinced it will take me a lifetime to learn how to live according to Jesus’ simple truth: love God first and foremost and love everyone else with the same fervor with which you love yourself. The truth of the gospel is as simple and as complicated as living each day in humble acknowledgment that God is in control and by continually acting out one’s faith through love.

How can something so simple on the surface be so difficult to achieve in practice? I don’t know. Every day, I worry when I should say, God, I entrust myself to Your mercy. I indulge in self-pity and judgment of others and myself when I should be asking the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts. I let pride guide my actions instead of bending my knee to the will of the Almighty.

And all of that before I even finish breakfast.

But examples of living in ways that will bear fruit abound when you study the life and ministry of Jesus. He challenged judgmental people, trying to take on the role of God by passing sentence on a sinner, to cast the first stone at the adulteress, refusing to condemn her and admonishing her to go forward and sin no more. He prayed often, with His whole being, so passionately in the Garden of Gethsemane that His tears leaked blood.  He gave generously of His time and energy, preaching and healing past endurance, never discriminating or seeing Himself as better than anyone else. He never gave in to temptations, not even when He’d been in the desert for 40 days without sustenance.

Learning to fish in a spiritual sense is learning to make the most of the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised before His crucifixion:

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you. (John 14:16 -17 AMP)

Paul expounds on the outward signs that show a life lived by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He tells us the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). These characteristics are not separate, not fruits, but one, all-encompassing embodiment of a life lived as much as lead. The Amplified Bible version of these verses explains it this way:

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. (Galatians 5:22-25)

Not only does God’s word provide us with food for our spiritual lives, just as Jesus more than once filled Peter’s nets full to bursting with a live catch, it also provides the instructions for living each day in a way to bring about the most abundant harvest. Looking closely at the fruit of the Spirit, I think about how much better my life can be if I work to make the Holy Spirit the central focus of everything I do.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In my daily planner app, I have long since assigned these qualities to different days of the week as a gentle reminder of where my focus should be. In the end, if I fail to learn how to live according to the Spirit in me, why did I bother inviting the Spirit in to begin with?

In Christ,
Ramona

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Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: Hope

In the sweet by and by, the old hymn choruses, we shall meet on that beautiful shore. The lyrics to this beloved expression of faith reflect the struggle between meeting life’s challenges and believing in our heavenly resting place:

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
and by faith we can see it afar;
for the Father waits over the way
to prepare us a dwelling place there.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
the melodious songs of the blest;
and our spirits shall sorrow no more,
not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

Too often, the challenges of day-to-day living can leave us feeling soul-tired. Just when we think we have one problem solved, three more crop up out of nowhere. Wanting silence, instead we are constantly bombarded by information from our cell phones, radios, computers and televisions, conflicting information that promises clarity but only increases our confusion.

When so many problems surround us, it can be easy to lose sight of the one, true Light that guides us toward peace. But making God the center of our lives is exactly the key to holding on to the only thing that can keep us going when things are toughest–hope.

Isaiah tells us the reason why hoping in God is so important: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”  (Isaiah 40:31). 

I need reminders about hope. These days, when I am sometimes tempted to ask God why my race isn’t done, when I feel so tired from life’s challenges and losses that I find it almost impossible to see any good reason to keep pushing to follow my faith, the promise of hope keeps me pushing forward anyway.

Hope involves what is most important to me, which is fulfilling the purposes God put me on this planet to do: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).  God knew me before I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye. He knew what He had planned for me, and He knew exactly how I would please and disappoint Him as I go through this life. When I least feel like getting out of bed in the morning, the knowledge that God giving me another morning to wake up to means He still has work for me to do is sometimes the only reason I push back the covers and rise.

Hope also helps me when I am most down, when life is at its darkest. Losing my mother to perhaps the most terrible disease on the planet has brought me dark days indeed, but through it all, I tried to give myself hope by reminding myself of one of my favorite verses of all, this one thanks to Paul:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Remembering this verse helps me look for the positive things, the little moments of joy amidst the sorrow, the sharing of my tough times that I have forced myself to do to try to bring some help to others from the lessons I have learned and am still learning.

Hope is also central to the core message of God’s love for us, a love expressed through the sacrifice of Jesus so that all who believe may find that sweet shore where praise for the Creator will flow from all lips. Making sure that all the people I know somehow learn that message of hope from my actions and words oddly increases my own hope in our eternal resting place, that sweet by and by:

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!” —Lamentations 3:22-24

In Christ,
Ramona

 

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Exciting News and Other Adventures

I didn’t want to place this post directly in my Verses series, even though I promise to offer a favorite verse or two in the course of this post, because I want to let you know that I’ve published a new novel!

A Love of Her Own is a story that began as my project for 2017’s National Novel Writing Month. I valiantly, or vainly, posted a first draft segment of the novel I was writing during that November’s challenge to share with you, my blog post readers.

2017 was part of the three-year stretch where life got serious and overwhelmingly challenging. As I wrote on that first draft, my mother battled ALS, and my family worked together to make her comfortable and try to enjoy each other as much as we could, treasuring small moments and counting as victories everyday things most of us take for granted. More than once, I wondered aloud why I had so stupidly committed to writing a novel in the midst of the chaos that was my life. I was juggling work, spending time at my family home nine hours away from my husband, and taking business trips out of town to boot.

Once I finished the initial project, the novel sat in the ether as my world continued to spiral. Eventually, I returned to the first draft to begin editing it, wincing at the lazy language and inadequate development that marked my first attempts at this story. After three additional edits, this novel is finally something I’m proud to offer as a finished piece of work for your assessment. You can find out more about the story here.

But, I promised a verse or two, verses I am glad that I’ve read, especially when it comes to continuing to pursue this dream I have of writing, even when I have to make time for this dream outside of a life already full of obligations. My earnest prayer is that I write because this is the gift God has given me to share with others and NOT because I seek my own glory:

There are different kinds of gifts, Paul tells the Corinthians, but the same Spirit distributes them.There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Sometimes, though, I get discouraged. I certainly don’t break any land-speed records selling novels. I don’t have thousands of followers or glowing reviews. Maybe God has a different gift in mind for me to be utilizing for His glory. Then again, maybe God’s idea of utilizing my writing is a different picture than the one I envision:

It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority (Acts 1:7).  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day (2 Peter 3:8). And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

Most days, I work hard to trust that, if I do my part, God will use my efforts in the way that He sees fit:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:10-11).

In the end, if I help even one person with the words God gives me to write, isn’t that really worth all my effort? And besides, as hard as writing truly is, I enjoy finding the right word and not its second cousin. I love telling a good story that hopefully makes people think without telling them what to think.

I hope you too find joy in practicing the talents God has given you to help bring glory to our awesome Savior. If we never lose sight of the source of those talents, we should stay on track with using those talents for the purpose for which they were intended.

To God Be The Glory.

Thank you for taking the time to read these words of mine, whether you like my blog posts or my novels. I hope you find them useful in your own walk with Jesus.

In Christ,
Ramona