September 19, 2021

No more ordinary By Vickie Stam

At the time it just seemed like an ordinary thing to do - you reach a stage in your life that everyone refers to as retirement. We had no idea what that would look like. Only a few days into this phase my husband, Tony, became instinctively aware that being a farmer was in-fact his life. "If this is retirement, it sucks!" He said.

The memory of that moment is still vivid. The look on his face was shrouded with doubt. Should I have retired? We felt a relief when the last of our pigs went off to market and yet an unexpected moment of grief had closed in on him. 

We washed and cleaned the barn. It was spic and span!We looked around with pride at all that we had accomplished and we felt free. But the very next day we realized that our lives were anything but ordinary. The routine we were comfortable with was gone. No more early morning. No more set times. No more would Tony have to listen to me singing, "It's Just Another Manic Monday." 

Monday mornings started at 4:00 am. Hogs needed to be loaded on a transport for market. The chance that everyone of them would willingly board the truck was  wishful thinking. The times that we struggled, we remained calm. We worked well together. 

Retiring unveiled a number of new directions in our lives with many forks in the road. More than we imagined. We moved a few times trying to find our desired location, searching for a place that would bring us closer to our church and volunteer commitments. We even experienced one of our closest friends abruptly remark, "can't you people ever get settled?" At first his words stung. But we knew that we didn't have to settle. God gave us many opportunities along the way. He opened doors for mission work and other volunteer opportunities. We don't have to stay in one spot. 

We have the ability to travel, a longing to help people and we enjoy working together. We have no regrets about the decisions we have made over the past six years. There's a great big world out there! We don't always know what we'll do today, tomorrow or even next year. Our ordinary routine no longer exists. 

Tony and I find joy in the things that our friends might not. That's what makes people different or even - extraordinary. Who knows we might even move again. We're always open to possibilities, challenges and new beginnings. 

September 15, 2021

Pray the Word - A Mighty Weapon! by Tracy Krauss

Just the other day I was feeling discouraged because of the climate of dissension that has overtaken our lives. Frankly, I am appalled when I see people--even Christians--arguing over topics that in my view are not eternal. For some reason, normally caring and reasonable folks feel justified in using hurtful words and behaviour, emboldened by a societal shift that mistakes rudeness for boldness. Then I turned to Isaiah and read, "You shall be called the repairer of the breach; the restorer of streets to dwell in." (Isaiah 58: 12) 

I remembered that we, as believers should be bridging the gap, not making the divide wider. I am reminded of the adage--although dated--WWJD? We need this reminder now more than ever. 

Which isn't really the point of my post, but a good illustration nonetheless. When I don't know how to pray or even what to pray, I go to the Word. Paul's letters, the Psalms, the book of Isaiah... these are great places to start when the heavy burden to pray feels like more than I can bear. 

God has equipped us with many tools, especially when it comes to defeating the enemy of our souls. I am heartened every time I think about the fact that the devil MUST flee when we wield our spiritual weapons. Prayer is among them, as is using scripture, and when we combine the two, extraordinary things happen!

Tracy Krauss lives in Northern BC. She is serving out her term as InScribe's President. Visit her website: https://tracykruss.com for more.

September 14, 2021

September Mid-Month Moments by Connie Inglis

 Mid-Month Moments


Last week I began reading 1 Corinthians as part of my morning quiet time and today I read the opening verses of Chapter 3: "Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?"

It reminded me of something I've recently learned (but should have figured out a few years ago) about growing tomato plants in planters.

Last year, my tomato plants started out strong and green and beautiful. But when they began producing fruit, they started to slowly dry up. I thought that perhaps my deck was too hot and that I wasn't watering them enough. So I watered them more. It didn't help. My neighbour suggested maybe it was from over-watering so I cut back. They still didn't revive. It's not like they completely died, they just weren't thriving and they stopped producing fruit.

This year, the same thing started to occur toward the end of July. Thankfully, this time, my sister (a true gardener with a garden and a greenhouse) told me it was because the plants needed fertilizer--and not just any fertilizer, but the blend specifically for tomatoes. The next day I went and bought fertilizer and gave my tomato plants what they were needing all along. I say that because, within a few days, the leaves began turning a dark, rich green again. As well, new growth happened and little yellow flowers bloomed signaling future fruit..

So, what was the problem? I was giving the plants only water (or, as the text says, milk) and not giving them the nutrients they needed--the solid food, as it were.

Unfortunately, Paul couldn't even offer solid food to the Corinthian believers. They weren't ready for it. It had nothing to do with their physical age but their spiritual age. They were still babies. And how did he know this? He knew because they were still quarreling amongst each other, acting jealously, and doing a lot of comparing and choosing sides. What a sad commentary on the believers in the Corinthian church. I'm not like that!

But wait, as soon as I compare myself with them and put them down, I'm just like those believers in 1 Corinthians 3. I am boasting in my own wisdom and not keeping my eyes on Jesus and His wisdom. I'm slipping back into drinking only milk and not eating solid food.

Oh, how easy it is to stop seeking God's truth and His wisdom and thus just coast along. God's Word says that if I live like that, I will not grow or produce any fruit. I will be a seedling that never grows up.

This month, the Scripture I'm praying for the individual members of InScribe is James 3:13-18. I don't believe it's coincidental that these verses are talking about seeking God's wisdom and not worldly "wisdom." Today especially I was reminded again of how much I need God's wisdom. Specifically verses 17 & 18 state: "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."

As well, verse speaks about living a life of "humility that comes from wisdom." If we are eating God's "solid food"--if we're digging into His Word and seeking to become more like His Son Jesus Christ--then humility will become a part of who we are. It's not something we will see in ourselves either--it's a character trait that others will see in us. It's like me looking at the tomato plants and seeing health and growth and fruit.

My prayer for us this week is that we will desire "solid food." That we will seek to know and become more like Jesus Christ and the wisdom He offers in that. Because then, we will sow peace. May we sow peace. And may the result be a harvest of righteousness.

In peace,
Connie

August 23, 2018

Mid-Month Moments are past devotionals written by Connie Inglis that she shared each week when she was InScribe's spiritual advisor. (Originally called 'Mid-Week Moments') They are shared from her archives with permission in the middle of each month. 

September 13, 2021

Powerful Prayer by Wendy L. Macdonald




 Recently, I had an over-the-moon answer to prayer. It prompted one of the most intense praise and worship happy dances I’ve ever done. Save for when I got married, for when God healed me of eating disorders, and when He opened my barren womb, I haven’t been so excited about an answered prayer as I was about this one. But before I share the answer with you, I want to talk about powerful prayer.

What makes one prayer more powerful than another?

I believe a three-strand prayer is irresistible to God

When we weave passion, purpose, and petition together, our hope isn’t easily broken. If our passion is to please and glorify God, if our heart is focused on His purpose being fulfilled in our life, and if our petitions are humbly submitted with the understanding He will open and close doors according to what’s best, we can’t lose. We will have peace whatever happens because we’ll believe and rest in the serenity of His wisdom being played out in His answers to our prayers.

I’m lousy at guessing what God’s up to. So lousy. I waded through the slough of infertility for a dozen years of tears. A few months after I told God, “I choose to trust You,” I got pregnant again and didn’t miscarry that time.

I’m not saying the three-strand prayer is a formula for getting what we prayed for. I’m saying it’s a win-win petition that brings us peace while we wait. When we submit our passions and desires for His purposes, He is able to do amazing things because we walked in obedience and relinquished our will to God. It’s wise and fruitful to exchange our will for His will. And because we chose to trust, we’re nestled against God’s chest and are comforted immeasurably if we find out our prayer wasn’t answered in the way we had hoped.

God knows best.

He sees into the future and knows what we need to be fruitful and blessed.

Now for my exciting answer to prayer: In my June InScribe post, I asked for prayer: “I covet a prayer or two as I attempt to complete my proposal on time. I’m almost done. Thank you from the bottom of this writer’s heart.”

I did complete my proposal on time. Oh my, it wasn’t easy. But I believe in the project. Although I’d had the idea for several years, my passion for it hadn’t waned. My problem is: I’m not a leader. I’m a follower. I adore being led by a person of integrity. This is why I haven’t attempted self-publishing. I wanted a literary agent who believed in me—who leadeth me. I craved to have someone choose me because I’ve never been good at choosing friends, never mind a “business partner.” My best friends are the ones who chose me. They are the forever friends God blessed me with.

And that’s what happened with my book proposal. I entered it in the book hook contest, and although it was shortlisted but didn’t win the final round, it did win me a contract for representation. On August 20th, I discovered it won the attention of a godly and talented literary agent who also happens to be an award-winning author. I’m so pleased and blessed to be represented by now Cynthia Ruchti of Books & Such literary agency. I’m over the stars grateful God answers powerful prayers. 

Now I need to keep praying I complete the project in the way God and my agent desire it to be done. I also need to grow my platform and newsletter subscriber list to an impressive-to-publishers level. My work has only just begun. But you know who. God

The following Bible verse was the one my husband and I put on our wedding invitations for August 19, 1983. (It seems appropriate to share it here too.):   

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NIV

I’m nosy-to-know what you’ve noticed to be the most powerful way for you to pray?

Blessings ~ Wendy Mac       

 PS If you enjoyed my from-the-heart inspiration, please consider subscribing to my monthly email newsletter here: Wendy’s Newsletter.  

September 11, 2021

All That I Need by Carol Harrison




 I woke singing the old hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness published in 1923 with words written by Thomas Obadiah Chisholm. The words of the chorus, "all I have needed, thy hand hath provided, great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me." continued to echo through my mind all morning. All I have needed, but not necessarily all I want, comes from God because of His faithfulness and mercy. I checked out the verse that inspired this song in Lamentations 3:22 & 23. "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." 

I kept wondering how this fits with the blog post on the tool of prayer. Yet over and over God kept reminding me that prayer is conversation with God. Talking to him, presenting our needs and listening for his answers. 

There are times when my prayers are rushed sentences throughout the busyness of the day. At times they seem vague like thoughts directed to God. Satan, the father of lies and the enemy of our souls, whispers loudly, "See you're just a fraud. What a failure. You can't even watch and wait in deep and earnest prayer as you rush about."

So many times I start to pray at night and fall asleep. I try and spend time in prayer and interruptions happen and appointments must be kept. There are many times when words fail me and I don't know what to pray. Possibly because I don't know the entire situation or am overwhelmed by life events, the number of writing ideas bouncing through my mind, or my own feelings of inadequacy to articulate the praise God deserves. 

Then I read in the Bible how even the disciples couldn't stay awake and pray with Jesus on the night he was betrayed. At a time of need, a time when their lives would change dramatically and without total understanding until much later, they fell asleep. Not just once either. My human frailty is not mine alone. 

Yet the Holy Spirit takes my jumbled thought prayers and presents them before the throne of God who answers in ways I never expected. He sends affirmations to combat discouragement from unexpected places. Not maybe as quickly as I think it should be, for in our familiarity with instant communication, instant access to news, and even instant items to warm and eat, I find my self wanting microwave quick answers.

I've used the phrase, as many others have, that God answers prayer in His way, with His timing, and for His glory. It trips lightly off the tongue and yet there is so much truth in it for God knows my true needs far better than I do. He also sees the entire picture of what He desires me to learn and what He has in store for me to do. He only asks for my trust and obedience. 

In Philippians 4:6 it says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." The presenting my requests about major life situations comes the easiest. At times I forget about the "in every situation" portion. Nothing is too small to take to God. Nothing is too big. Each idea, each project on the to-do list, and each life situation should be brought before God and not worried over. 

The other part of this verse that often escapes my attention, at least at first, is that little phrase, 'with thanksgiving'. It is like God is asking me, "Can you trust me enough to thank me for supplying this need even before I reveal the answer?" Being thankful isn't a suggestion. It has nothing to do with the situation, although fantastic answers or great situations bring gratitude to our lips quickly. It is simply about thanking God for His great faithfulness and mercies that are new each day. 

As I stared at the blank page trying to figure out what to write for this blog post or any other piece of writing, I need to begin by being still and relying on God. Even when those times of prayer feel rushed or done in bits and pieces, I know I can't do life on my own or writing either. Sometimes the ideas translate into words quickly and flow on to the page. At other times, like this month's post, the blank page mocks me and I wonder if God had other plans for my time. Yet deep down I know that God's timing is perfect and doesn't always match mine. Patience is key. 

1 Thessalonians 5:24 tells me this about God. "The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it."

Prayer is so much more than taking a grocery list of requests to God and demanding immediate answers the way I want them. It includes time to praise God in word and song. It includes giving thanks and waiting in expectation to see what He will do. In Romans 4:21 Paul talks about how Abraham "was fully convinced that God was able to do what He promised."

When Satan tempts me to doubt God's faithfulness and days when my prayers are done in bits and pieces of scrambled thought and requests during the course of the day, I need to be still and trust God so that I remain fully convinced He will do amazing things. He only asks for my availability and my obedience to follow Him through every aspect of my life including the writing.

I also need to pause and reflect on how God has answered prayers in the past, how He provided words to write or what to say when I am speaking so others will be encouraged and pointed to Jesus. Some answers are huge and easy to remember. Others, like timely affirmations from unexpected places, need to be pulled into remembrance. Then I can rejoice over God's faithfulness. He meets all my needs and He never changes. 

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20,21

Carol Harrison, B.Ed. from Saskatoon, SK Canada is an inspirational speaker, published author, and storyteller. She has a passion for sharing stories from real-life experiences and God’s Word to help others find a glimmer of hope and a glimpse of joy. https://www.carolscorner.ca