January 16, 2018

This Year Spread Out! Think Big! by Nina Faye Morey


“Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.”

~ Isaiah 54:2 (MSG)


The dawn of each new year always seems like an ideal time to initiate change in our lives. A time to clear ground, to enlarge the canvas of our lives, and to spread out and think big! This requires a willingness to loose whatever is constraining us from reaching our goals and give ourselves the freedom to break fresh ground; plant new seeds; nourish them; and let them take root, grow, and be fruitful. With that in mind, here are some of the goals I have set for myself in 2018:

Become More Firmly Grounded in My Faith

My number one goal for the new year is to grow spiritually and strengthen my relationship with the Lord. This will mean clearing the way to spend more time with Him in contemplation and prayer and in reading His Word so that His love will dwell more deeply in my heart and ground me more firmly in my faith. His indwelling love is the soil in which my heart and soul are rooted and the sunshine in which my spirit flourishes and grows (Ephesians 3:17-19).




Become More Fruitful in My Writing

My second goal is to become more fruitful in my Christian writing. The Holy Spirit doesn’t want me to be afraid to share my gift of writing or to shy away from this work of ministry. If I remain faithful and obedient, He promises to help me uproot that snarled undergrowth of thoughts and feelings that strangle my creativity and threaten my fruitfulness. He will grant me the strength, courage, and self-discipline to reach out and turn even the coldest of hearts and darkest of souls towards the warmth and light of Christ (2 Timothy 1:7).

As FellowScript’s Editor, Spread Out—Think Big!

Thirdly, as FellowScript’s editor, my goal is to spread out—to think big! I hope to enlarge the circle of FellowScript’s tent by continuing to break new ground and cultivate new talent to expand our magazine’s scope and readership. As a member of InScribe’s Executive, I share their objectives of involving more youth and increasing our membership. Therefore, I plan to soon introduce a new YA Scribes Write page to FellowScript to encourage more young Christian writers to contribute to our magazine.




Deepen My Commitment to Exercise

My fourth goal is to expend more of my energy on physical exercise. Just as it is beneficial to stretch and strengthen ourselves mentally and spiritually, it is equally important physically. As the decades fly by with increasing speed, I’ve discovered that my fitness has steadily decreased. My joints are stiffer and my muscles less flexible. My body has grown weary fighting the Battle of the Bulge and sometimes—well—just plain weary! It is not only through caring for ourselves mentally and spiritually that we honour God, but also by caring for ourselves physically (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Spread My Wings and Explore My World

Finally, I want to spread my wings and explore more of this wonderful world. The first phase of fulfilling this goal is to explore as much as I can of our scenic country. If everything works out as planned, I will be taking a motorcoach tour from Winnipeg to Niagara Falls this spring. The favourite part of my travels isn’t visiting cities or man-made sites, but exploring the natural world God created. Being out in nature always makes me feel closer to my Creator (Romans 1:20).

What new ground will you break, what good seeds will you sow, and what fresh fruit will you produce this year?



Photo Credits: © Nina Faye Morey

January 15, 2018

Great Expectations for 2018 - Tracy Krauss

Many people choose a 'word' for the year to help keep them on track or provide inspiration. Yesterday you may have read about Ruth Snyder's word 'TRUST' or Karma Pratt's word "INTENTION". I also like to choose a word each year. In the past I've chosen such words or phrases as, ACCOUNTABILITY, PURPOSE, and JUST WRITE. 

This year I feel God has led me to the word EXPECTATION. I like how it fits so well with the month's theme for this blog. On January 1, the question was asked, "How is God speaking to you about your faith and writing? How are you anticipating God’s presence? How does He want you to step forward in faith?"

For me, all of these questions can be summed up in the word EXPECTATION. Psalm 62:5 says, "My soul, wait thou upon God; for my EXPECTATION is from Him." (KJV)

Expectation is, at its core, the act of anticipation. God has birthed in me many expectations for my family, my spiritual growth, and my writing - and I'm expecting Him to deliver! Although this may sound selfish at first glance, it's really about having faith - believing God's promises even when I don't see their fulfillment. It's about trusting God with the timing and the outcome, and intentionally surrendering each area of my life to God. Perhaps you've heard the saying, "God said it, i believe it, that settles it." I think this sums up what the word 'expectation' means to me. 

I am expecting God to speak to me through His Word. I am expecting Him to lead me, despite any bumps along the way. I am expecting my children to make good life choices and wayward loved ones to be saved. And certainly not the least, I am expecting to succeed in my writing this year.

2017 was a rough year for me in many respects, but through various trials, God has been teaching me about the importance of letting Him be in charge. The groundwork was laid and like Joshua, I sense God's call to move forward in 2018 with confidence. I believe He has great things in store for me and for InScribe as an organization. That is my expectation! Let's advance into the promised land and claim our inheritance this year. 



 Tracy Krauss writes from her home in northern BC. For more about the year of EXPECTATION, visit her blog: http;//tracykrauss.com/blog

January 14, 2018

Trust: My Key Word for 2018 - Ruth L. Snyder





I'm a planner, a list maker, a goal setter, and an achiever. For as long as I can remember, I sat down before a new year started to create my plan for the coming year. That didn't happen this year. I did start praying about goals early in December, but I had no peace about setting any.  A few days before January, I woke up knowing my assignment for this year is to TRUST (Proverbs 3:5, 6). God is encouraging me to wait, to be still, to trust Him. Instead of making a list and praying, I am praying and asking God for His list - each day.

I'm a bit of a control freak. In my mind I know that God is trustworthy . . . but (can you hear all my excuses NOT to trust Him???) How is it I think I know better than the all-powerful God who created the universe?


I have to admit that I'm more relaxed than I thought I would be without a plan. It is freeing to be able to say, "Sorry, I am not taking on any new opportunities right now."

God continues to bring people and opportunities across my path:
  •  I'm listening more intentionally to my family and spending time with them.
  • A couple friends and I are meeting and doing some fun things together. God laid this on my heart as a result of the book, 10 Secrets to Living Smart, Savvy, & Strong by Pam Farrel (for women 40 and over).
  • In my devotions, I'm being challenged and encouraged through Power Praying by David Chotka and The Lifegiving Home Experience by Sally & Sarah Clarkson. 
  • Writing projects receive attention as God directs.
What is God teaching you? I'd love to hear about it.


January 13, 2018

Theme Bible Verses for Inspirational Writers - Wendy L. Macdonald



Theme Bible verses for inspirational writers can help us remember why we're writing. I—or rather—the Holy Spirit - chose a theme verse for me that fits in with what I believe He's been speaking to me about my faith and writing for 2018. You’re invited to try and guess which verse it is before I list it at the end of this post.

The nudge to focus more on this verse started when I watched a YouTube video by Nabeel Qureshi, a well-known speaker who is also a former Muslim. It was his final vlog because cancer cut his life short even though he battled it as bravely as he could. But he had peace because he left the final outcome to God; he knew cancer was a dust bunny God could easily sweep out of his body.

His final words were about love:
  • He stressed love as being the greatest thing. 
  • He didn’t want us—the body of Christ—to lose sight of it or forget it.
So when a good friend told me she was battling cancer. My heart turned to stone and dropped to the lowest level of hope when she also mentioned how hugely the odds were stacked against her.
I figured if God allowed someone even younger than us to die of cancer, who was I to believe and ask Him to save my friend from this despicable foe?

Real faith chooses to believe. 

So I asked for healing for her. And the more I prayed, the more my heart lightened and the more my hope grew.

What is faith if I don’t exercise it? 
What is faith if it doesn’t ask for good things for others, even impossible things? 
Faith hopes, believes, and therefore asks. 

Because real faith goes to work; it doesn’t call in sick.

My friend did beat the first round of cancer; against the odds, those nasty dust bunnies were blown to bits. And we all rejoiced because God said yes that time. She is now battling a second round of cancer that showed up in another part of her body, and prayers are once again being sent to the One who is more than able to demolish the delinquent cells.

 We know He can, and we hope He will.

Now back to my verse of the year:
It’s no surprise that God would point out a verse related to the very thing I’ve been secretly and not-so-secretly complaining about. If I’m going to whine about a lack of love in the world, then I should be part of the solution. I should fill more of my writing with it.

This oft missing ingredient is the same thing I saw shining in the face of my sweet friend so many years ago when she expressed her faith through it; she prayed for me privately, invited me to her house Bible study, and then invited me to her church because of it—because of love.

Love.

As I go into 2018, I want to write words penned with unconditional love.

The world needs more of love’s ink spilled across pages of books, magazines, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and face to face too. I’m going to share this message through doors that are already open and knock on doors I believe He’s asking me to brave.

Because:

The only thing that matters is faith
 expressing itself through love. 
Galatians 5:6 NIV


What’s your favorite verse right now? I’m nosy-to-know. 

January 11, 2018

New Year's Questions and Goals - Carol Harrison



As each year draws to a close, I take time to pause and reflect on what my life journey has been like during the past twelve months. Then I take time to look ahead into the new year full of possibilities to fill the days and weeks to come. Although I do not make New Year's resolutions, I like to prayerfully set some goals for writing as well as other areas of my life.

Several weeks before Christmas 2017 our pastor preached from the book of Haggai. He ended the message with several questions for each of us to consider and pray diligently about, as he challenged us to apply the prophet's words to our own lives. The questions fit with my reflections and the theme of this month's blog posts about goals, faith and listening to God's direction in my life.

The questions made me take time to think, to repent and to ask God to help me move forward. I share them with you as you begin a new year seeking to follow the Lord's leading.

1. What is God calling me to do before the Lord returns? I know that God has commanded each of his followers to go into all the world and spread the good news of the gospel, teaching people, making disciples and living a life that lets others know they have been with Jesus. But what should that look like in my life and in yours for God has uniquely gifted each of us. As writers we can write the story of what God has and is doing.

2. Have you started a project - or more than one- but not finished it? Oh how this question pricked my conscience for I have put several things on hold, becoming a master of procrastination, able to justify how the time is not right to move ahead. God had stern words for his people who thought the time to work on rebuilding the temple was not right even while they found time to build and beautify their own houses. God's words were to go and do not stay stuck in a rut. I have felt God leading me to share some stories from my life about how God has worked in amazing ways. God has shown me through scriptures and with words of encouragement, from others, that it is time to write them down. I started. I got permission from several other people to include their stories as well. I stopped working on it with excuses of busyness, of family who needed care, and mostly because I found other things to work on - good things but not necessarily what God wanted done at that time. The more this question caused me to be truthful with myself and with God, I realized I had fallen prey to Satan's tactic of instilling fear which then began to hold me captive.

3. Am I discouraged in any way? A resounding yes sounded from the depths of my heart and mind. Yet most people never imagine how discouraged I feel since I answer their questions with the standard, "I'm fine." and hide behind a mask of pretending life is all good. Confidence drains as fear increases with each dart of the enemy. The negative questions of "What makes you think you should write these stories or anything for that matter?" and "Who do you think you are?" echo in my mind even when I try and paste a smile on my face.

I realized that as I honestly answered these questions that fear, procrastination, discouragement and a lack of confidence were never God's choice for me. As I read the Scriptures and listened to the sermon I needed to simply give everything to God and remember His words to the children of Israel and to each of us today, to be strong and remember that He is with us.

I also feel strongly that these questions should be relegated to a year end reflection or a time of setting new goals. Instead I think they warrant revisiting, in a quiet time with God, repeatedly to make sure my goals continue to be in line with His priorities. I pray that I will have a heart to do God's will, believe His promises and trust that the words he gives will encourage others, open a dialogue and help them know that Jesus is the Way to God.

Now I need to go and write some stories that show, through events in my life and in others, that the God of the Bible is still God today.




Carol is passionate about mentoring people of all ages and abilities to help them find their voice,  reach their fullest potential, and to be encouraged to find a glimmer of hope. She makes her home in Saskatoon, SK. She can be reached at carol@carolscorner.ca