Prayer

As a new year begins, a thought to essentials seems appropriate. Prayer is essential for a zillion reasons.

Getting direction from God is the most obvious reason to pray, but probably also the most overlooked. By that I mean that many of us tell Him what we’re thinking, engaged in, worried about. Then we walk away without slowing to hear His responses.

But it can be worse. Throughout my life I have so often galloped into a good thing. When it came to me that I should have talked it over with God, I looked over my shoulder and said, “What do you think, God?” I have only recently realized that makes me guilty of the same thing as Satan. Wanting to be God. Darn it! And yet, because of His love for me and His grace, He longsuffered my ignorant self-interest. I wouldn’t say I’m real good at going to Him first yet, but at least I know I should and do sometimes. That’s the definition of success — heading in the right direction.

Another thing about prayer is that when we pray together, the sharing of each other’s concerns glues us together like nothing else. If the church wants unity, prayer is the answer.

God loves us beyond our understanding. He wants us to turn to Him, always. Any time of the day or night, anyplace. He wants to accept us as we are and give us a secure, purposeful, valuable relationship with Him. A relationship is hard to maintain if you don’t talk.

And finally, Jesus prayed and He taught us to pray, encouraged us. His life bought us freedom — doesn’t seem like much to ask in return. Have a great 2019.

silhouette image of person praying

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Advertisements

Life

How’s that for a broad subject? Perhaps a little narrowing is in order.

The older I get the more I think I don’t know anything about anything.  Now there’s the topic.

grayscale photography of person using phone

This is not me, but it could be.

I’m a writer, at least most days. Sometimes I get published, and sometimes I don’t. Am I still a writer when I don’t? Should I just smile and wash the dishes instead?  And since the Bible says what pleases God is when we love each other, care for widows, orphans, immigrants, and so on; are slow to anger, etc., does writing – or any other occupation – even matter? Maybe I should just smile and feed an orphan. I don’t know. My mentor, Ethel Herr, who now looks at Jesus face-to-face, said our books can reach love, acceptance, etc. to a whole lot more people than our small circles of influence. So if I glue my face to my computer and knuckle down, what happens to the hubs, the kids, the friends? Ecclesiastes even says the writing of books is endless.

Maybe it’s about balance. Except, my days can blow up in a phone call. Sometimes the writing bite is huge, and sometimes the relationship bite is huge. Wait, am I starting to see something here?

Or how about truth and grace? I used to think telling the truth could hurt the people I love or cause them to get real angry. So I didn’t bother with telling it, thinking I was giving them grace. I guess I have learned one thing. Grace isn’t grace without truth, and truth isn’t truth without grace. Only, now I have to figure out how to tell the truth in grace, and I don’t even think I’m capable of figuring that out. Wretched woman that I am.

Maybe what’s really going on is that my plans aren’t God’s plans, and my understanding of life, or any part thereof, is way smaller than God’s understanding. What to do? What if I consider interruptions, not interruptions, but redirecting from on high? But wait, am I just making excuses? What if when I don’t have a clue what to do, I ask God? What if He doesn’t answer? Reminds me of when the grownups used to say, “We’ll see.”

Okay, here I go again. I used to come up with great ideas and go into implementation phase before checking in with Him. I’d look over my shoulder, having left Him in the dust, and say something like, “What do you think, God?” He put up with that for a lot of years. Over time, I found myself confused and exhausted a lot. What’s the verse, “Come to Me, you who are weary,” etc.?  I finally noticed the “Come to Me” part of the verse. Take it from an old broad, it’s much better to check in first, get your marching orders, and then strike out.  If there are no marching orders, stay put. That’s easy. Writing this conclusion at Christmastime seems supremely appropriate, now that I think about it. Merry Christmas, every one!

Fear and Rogue Wave

construction destruction power steel

Do you think God wants us to be afraid?

I don’t think He has a problem with the respect kind of fear that I had for my dad, and have for God. That fear is synonymous with respect, and doesn’t want to displease them,  so it cleans up my act. I think God’s OK with that. There’s the fear that happens when someone walks suddenly in front of my moving car, and I hit the brakes. I think God sees the need for that fear. There may be others in this camp. If you think of some, chime in please.

On the other hand, there’s another kind of fear that keeps me from living life to the fullest. That fear comes from the experience of consequences.

For example, a loved one expects that I read between the lines of what they say. I don’t, or I misinterpret, and the outcome is that I experience their rage. Now my relationship with that person is one of fear, especially if it is a power down relationship, like a boss/employee or parent/child.

Or I make the mistake of taking my eyes off my child, and in that instant an abductor makes off with my baby. How do I deal with the fear born in that moment? Does God have anything to do with it? This is the question I’ve addressed in my recently complete novel, Rogue Wave. If this line of thought intrigues you, please comment.

Wait, if this line of thought intrigues you, and you’ll leave your email address, I’ll send you the first three chapters of Rogue Wave. If you’d start a conversation with me, I promise to hold up my end.

 

Autumn

nature red forest leaves

The winds come up and the air cools. Little puffy clouds skip across the sky. Leaves fade from green to yellow to orange to red. Daylight shrinks.

My thoughts turn to pumpkins on the front porch, Indian corn on the coffee table and crunching leaves down the sidewalk. The action of summer slows to the last harvest. Apples are crisp and juicy. And my heart inhales.

If winter is dead, autumn is the sadness before the death. Why are it’s colors so happy, so warm? Is it because our Heavenly Father knew we would need the gold, amber and crimson to warm our chilly fingers and toes? Or is it His promise that spring will come again? Or maybe it’s His promise that death isn’t sad, but a new beginning.

 

Grace and Truth

I like the concept of blending grace and truth. Favour you can’t do anything to receive, it just is — and the reality at the bottom of everything. I like it, but I’m not sure I’m very good at it, or maybe I should say I’m not sure I even understand how to keep them both at work. I think I may lean hard toward grace, and let truth go begging. That’s probably because I shrink back from assuming I know the truth sometimes, and I shrink back from the possibility of it hurting someone’s feelings other times.

girl and woman sitting on brown rock

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Sooo, I also suspect that my novels may be developing a pattern of exploring concepts I’m not quite sure about when I start them. The last one played around with fear. Whew! That sounded like an oxymoron if I ever heard one. The next one is going to dabble in grace and truth.

Now, if you’ve read this far, I’d like to ask a favor. What do you think about grace and truth? Do you have insights or experiences that have clarified the whole thing for you? If so, please share them in the comments.  I’d love to hear them, and thank you very much.