February 28, 2013

Is Love A Verb? -- Bruce Atchinson

Have you ever had to do something that broke your heart, yet you knew it was the most loving thing you could do? I've had many occasions when I faced that dilemma. One of those times was when my dearly-beloved rabbit, Gideon, suffered from a prolapsed rectum. The local vet didn't know much about rabbits so he only gave me a topical cream to rub on Gideon's bottom. As the days passed, he remained in agony. In fact, he was actually gnashing his teeth because of the pain.

On February 16, 2005, I made the decision to end his misery. I placed Gideon in a pet carrier and gave him some lettuce to eat. Then I waited for my friend from church to drive me to the clinic
Because of my love for my long-eared friend, I wept all afternoon. Gideon taught me so much about his kind as well as being such a sweet little rascal. The only comfort I felt was that my dear fur-clad lad wasn't suffering anymore.

DC Talk were right when they sang Love is a Verb. Love isn't love if no demonstrations of it take place. Of course the greatest demonstration of love was Christ's death on the cross for whosoever would give their lives to him. By dying to self, we gain eternal life. The good works we do as a result of having the Holy Spirit living in us only serve to further the love of the Lord to others.

Gideon was the inspiration for my first book, When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With bunnies. See the left side of my Bruce Atchison's Books page for details

February 27, 2013

Love Answers Prayer - by Susan Barclay

Once upon a time, a young woman fell in love. Or at least it seemed like love  - she wasn't experienced in such matters, so she may have misinterpreted the signs and symptoms. At any rate, the man she was seeing was a few years older than she and had more relationship knowledge. He said she loved him, and he should know, right?

Fast forward three years. The relationship is in tatters, the woman in emotional ruins. Who can she turn to? Not her family, and not to friends. There is only God. Only God? She hasn't been on close terms with Him in a while, but there is no one else.

She prays, eyes closed, hoping He will hear her. "It's too much to ask, but will You give me a sign? I need to know that this is really over, that he and I are through, once and for all." She pauses and bites her lip. Dare she make a specific request?

"I need to know for sure. Two signs, God, please? One, I'd like to hear 'Unanswered Prayers' on the radio sometime in the next three days. And I won't have the station on 24/7. You choose the other sign."

She waits.

She hears the song.

God sends a dream.

He is faithful. And now she knows beyond the shadow of a doubt. The human relationship is over. There is no one for her now but God. Always, first, foremost, the One she can truly trust. God loves her perfectly; He will never leave her or disappoint her.

She falls on her knees in gratitude, a new prayer on her lips.

"Thank You, God, for Your great love. Thank You that I can depend on You. Man may fail me, but You never fail. If I never marry, I will still be okay. You will be a husband to me. Thank You that Your love never fails."

Now that's a happy ending, wouldn't you agree?

For more of my writing, please visit www.susan-barclay.ca/

February 26, 2013

Love Like a Blanket - Bonnie Way

I sat in the middle of the lumpy futon that was my bed, a rough wool blanket drawn up around my shoulders.  It was early in the evening yet—the sun still shone outside the unadorned window—but already the Australian outback was cooling off and with it, the house.  Against the wall, my blue duffel bag spilled out my clothes.  In the corner, an empty wardrobe sat, left behind by the woman who had moved back to Adelaide, leaving her two roommates looking for someone to rent this room.

I had two weeks left to my job in Alice Springs, two weeks before I headed south to Adelaide myself, and I was counting down the days.  I barely saw my roommates; one was a tour guide who was often out of town, and the other was a teacher who kept to herself.  I worked at a local tourist attraction, but I was just filling in there until they found more permanent staff, and so I hadn't really made friends with any of the other staff.  I wanted to go home, but everyone at home thought I was having the adventure of my life, so I couldn't even tell them about my loneliness and homesickness.

Across my knees was spread my journal, my little pink Bible, and a copy of The Purpose-Driven Life.  I had purchased the last item in Sidney, when I began questioning exactly why I was halfway around the world from home.  Now, I was digging into the first chapters again, looking up the Scripture verses that Rick Warren referred to.  And as I did so, a new warmth crept into that cold, empty room.  Over and over again, with each verse that I flipped to, God whispered to me, "I love you.  You are My daughter.  You are precious to Me.  I created you.  I love you."

Tears began to flow down my cheeks.  Warren's words seemed to speak right to me: "You were created as a special object of God's love!  God made you so he could love you."  That was exactly what I needed to hear right then, when I was so far from family and friends.  In fact, it even made sense that I was so far from home right then.  Maybe I needed to come to place a complete loneliness before I turned to God.  Maybe He had taken me away from all the people I normally turned to so that He could draw me to Himself.

That evening still stands out in my memory; if I close my eyes, I can feel God's love wrapping around me like the rough wool blanket I huddled under.  He was there when I needed Him most.

February 25, 2013

I Corinthians 13 for Writers - Ruth L. Snyder

Though I write in the style of Phil Callaway or Janette Oke, but have not love, I am merely scrawling empty words or filling meaningless pages.

And though I have the ability to show, not tell, and understand the intricacies of grammar and know how to submit a properly formatted manuscript; and though I find an agent who is able to get my book published, and have not love, I may as well write nothing.

And though I use my writing to help a non-profit group, and though I give all the proceeds from my writing away, and have not love, I have accomplished nothing.

Love causes me to work diligently on writing projects, and to be gentle in my critiques of others' writing. Love means I'm not upset when another writer receives first place in the writing contest, but when I do win I humbly thank God for the ability He's given me, recognizing that without Him I wouldn't be writing at all.

Love doesn't put down other writers to make my writing look better, doesn't gloat over other writers' failures, isn't upset when someone suggests more editing is needed, and accepts a rejection letter as an opportunity to explore other opportunities.

Love does not change content merely to please a publisher or make more money. Love insists on sharing a difficult message with gentleness, in obedience to God.

Love keeps me writing in spite of writer's block, encourages me to hone my writing skills so that I can express myself more clearly, and directs me to continue submitting despite numerous rejections.

Love never fails. Fiction will fail. Non-fiction will not always be published. Books may someday vanish...

So let us do all our writing in the context of God's love and for His glory.

(Education information)
(Ruth's writing and family life) 
(Information for caregivers of children ages 0-5)
Follow Ruth on Twitter:www.twitter.com/@wwjdr

February 24, 2013

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not - Lynn Dove

I know it's past Valentine's Day, but as I start to see the snow melting and I know the dandelions will be sprouting up all over our acreage in the next few months, I am reminded of the game I used to play when I was a girl about picking petals off of daisies to determine whether a boy liked or did not like me.

"He loves me..." I'd pick off a petal, "He loves me not..." and I'd pick off another petal. Dependant on whether I liked the boy in question, determined what I would do when I was down to the last few pedals. Knowing I had to land on "He LOVES me", I'd accidentally (on purpose) make sure I doubled up on pedals as necessary to make sure that the last petal worked out to my favour.

Now admit it, Girls...you did that too! Yeah, it's cheating, but sometimes you just had to make sure that "fate" was in your control, not the other way around.

Fate...it's an ugly word for Christians. We never leave things to fate, we leave it up to God...or do we? Occasionally...okay, I'll fess up...repeatedly...I try to manipulate God to see things my way. If I use the flower petal analogy, I make sure the last petal I pick off benefits me, rather than the other way around. My prayers seem to be geared towards me and my wishes rather than discovering what God's will is for me. I suppose I do that out of fear. I'm just not sure He totally understands what I'm going through at any given time. I figure giving Him a little nudge in the right...I mean, MY direction, so He understands the circumstances better is totally okay.

Are you cringing yet? I want my prayers answered MY WAY. I want God to give me what I WANT. I want God to be quick about it too! I want, I WANT... How arrogant. No wonder God is slow to answer my misguided prayers, and silent when I need to hear His voice. When will I ever learn?

I attended a Women's Worship recently at my church. "Offer Up!" was a chance to join with other women to offer up our worship whole-heartedly to our Father. I knew the moment I entered the sanctuary that my heart was not right with God. I was too busy comparing myself to the other women first. Then I had difficulty with the fact that there were a few visitors from other churches who obviously worshipped in a manner I found strange. My conservative Baptist sensibilities like "spidey senses" were "tingling". I was distracted by the other ladies, even a little judgmental I'll admit. I almost thought about leaving, thinking to myself that my church was becoming far too charismatic for my liking!

Then a still soft voice whispered, "Stay." I don't know when it happened exactly, but as we lifted our voices to Worship, I knew I HAD to be there. Soon I forgot there were other women around me and all my attention was fixed exactly where it should have been all along...on Jesus. Soon I found myself on my feet, arms outstretched, eyes closed, singing my heart out to God and my heart broke wide open. I gazed at the Cross and discovered once again that HE LOVES ME !

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the "gods" I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout hearted. May all the kings of the earth praise you, O Lord, when they hear the words of your mouth. May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great. Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever - do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalm 138

February 21, 2013

Love Defined Discipleship - Sulo Moorthy

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 14:35

Recently, I witnessed something that truly portrayed the love Jesus talked about. My friend Meera and her husband Raj host a prayer meeting at their house every month. They invite an Indian pastor from out of town to give the sermon, and invite friends who could speak or understand Tamil (my native tongue) so that all could get the opportunity to sing, pray and listen to a sermon in their native tongue and enjoy the home-cooked Indian food Meera has prepared.

When my husband and I went there last month, I noticed that Meera, instead of her casual dress of long skirt and blouse, had dressed up in a lovely blue and gold silk sari and put her long black hair up in a neat bun. Only after the sermon did I learn that it was Meera and Raj's 31st wedding anniversary the next day. To celebrate the evening, the young men and women gathered at the meeting brought a chocolate frosted cake, handed the couple a lovely bouquet of red roses, sang a song dedicated to them and spoke a few words of appreciation.

Even though non-Christians are also invited to the prayer meetings , I've never seen Meera nor Raj enforcing their faith on them or debating with them on faith matters. Meera, herself being a Hindu in the past, knows too well that it's not her words, but her love in action that has the power to draw anyone towards Christ. Even though she holds a high position in her medical profession, she's one of the most humble persons I've known. Her smile and calm composure even under trying condition reflects her strong faith and perspective on life.

As I sat there and watched those 20- to 30-year-old men and women come forward and say how much Meera and Raj had blessed their lives, I wondered how a busy person like Meera who works long hours as a doctor could find the time to spend with these people whenever they needed her help.

A young woman who had a baby an year ago and a surgery a few months later, said that no sooner Meera heard about her pregnancy, she showed up at their door with home cooked food to last for two weeks. Because of Meera, the girl said, she rarely misses her mother in India. A newly married couple who had moved to US recently, nodded their head in agreement to convey how quickly Meera and Raj had won them also by their friendliness.

If any advice or help was needed to purchase a car or an expensive item, Raj was the person they approached. One girl told that once she was talked into buying a not so good car, and when Raj found out about it, he went along with her to the dealer to return the car, get her money back and saw that she drove back home fully satisfied in a better car.

The young man who spoke next said that when his parents were struggling to find work in US and put him and his sister through college, Meera and Raj were there to help them out financially as well as to give the love and support they needed during the time. Recently when  he found out that Meera was going through CT scans and other procedure to find out the cause for the pain in her back and head, he had told his mother that if Meera ever needed a kidney or a lung, he wouldn't think twice to give her one of his own. My eyes welled up when I heard the story. I don't think anyone could put a price tag on such love.

According to Christ's view in John 14:35, it is not by the bumper sticker on our cars or the "I Love Jesus" coffee mugs we carry, the words we write or our stand on certain social issues that are going to portray us as true disciples of Him. To the onlookers, they may help to some extent to reveal our identity, but on closer examination nothing could beat the real thing -- the genuine love for others.

February 20, 2013

Comma’on - Brenda J. Wood

The article said that jet fighters take off land and are stored on deck. “How peculiar,” I thought. “That doesn’t make sense.” Then I stopped to reconsider. My knowledge of such ships is limited, but I do know that they are called aircraft carriers for a reason! I revisited the sentence. “Jet fighters are able to take off, land and are stored on deck.” Aha! Now the sentence was clear. I had missed the comma!

Some of us are missing the commas in our lives, and not just in our writings. We scurry around with our Blackberry, (or raspberry or whatever fruit gizmo we own) day-timers and calendars full to the brim. We take precious little time to wonder about life’s meaning or ponder God’s purpose for us or our words. Then we ask God why we have nothing to say on paper. His answers become clear when we add some commas to our busy spaces.

Mark 6:31- He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.” For many were coming and going and they had no leisure even to rest awhile (NRSV).

Prayer: Lord, we create busy schedules and then ask you to bless them. We moan about busyness yet continually say yes to one more event, job, or occasion. Help us examine our schedule through your eyes and then, Lord, give us the courage to cross out the extras and replace them with some commas. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Brenda J Wood

February 19, 2013

Never Let Me Go - Linda Aleta Tame

The most cherished moments of my life are the ones when I sense God's presence. Moments like while talking on the phone, my husband and I gazed at the moon together, even though he was in Texas and I was in Manitoba.

Another cherished moment was during an intimate worship time at a women's conference. It was at the end of the service; the worship team was softly playing, "Draw Me Close to You." I closed my eyes, made the words my own, made the sentiments my own. I floated away to the beauty of His presence, completely immersed in His overwhelming love.

Jesus and I were dancing. At first, I could see us gliding across the dance floor, and then as though a camera lens zoomed me in, I was right there in the strength of His arms. An almost unbearable tenderness filled me as I was swept away in that moment of divine embrace. I sang the lyrics to the song "Never let me go" and "Let me know You are here," and meant them. I didn't want the dance to ever end, but the song was coming to a close. I looked at my Saviour, pleading. His amazing eyes were filled with love as He handed me a long-stemmed rose.

He said, "I'll never let you go.  I am always here."

I sunk into a chair, wanting to stay in the afterglow, but the conference was over and it was time to pack up our things and travel the seven hours back home. I shared my experience with the three women traveling with me, and when I said, "Then He gave me a rose," one woman gasped,

"Really? He gave me a rose too, during the same song!"

We rejoiced over sharing such an incredible event. We rejoiced at the confirmation that the Kingdom of God is a reality even now, and that Christ indeed loves His Bride. He draws us close to Him, He never lets us go and He's always here. Nothing separates us from Him; we are always together.

February 17, 2013

"WRITE" by Bryan Norford

Ann and I are in New Zealand visiting Heather, our daughter and family for the month of February. Apart from some warm weather—it’s still summer here—it gives us time to write and visit some of the local churches. We were invited one Sunday evening to share our testimony and why we write.

I was reminded of John’s Revelation 19:9: “Then the angel said to me ‘Write . . .’” Even this morning, my reading was Exodus 34, and I pondered verse 27: “Then the Lord said to Moses. ‘Write . . .’” It struck me that except for the faithfulness of these and other writers, we would not have a Bible.

Now, I’m sure my writings will never have the circulation of the Bible; they certainly don’t carry the same weight, and will never find that wide an audience. Originally, I just wanted to leave a legacy for my family, and perhaps a limited audience beyond that. But that doesn’t lessen the imperative: “Write.”

As the Holy Spirit impels us to sharpen and use our God given skills, we may be surprised what he leads us to write. As a personal pilgrimage, I had no interest in fiction. I considered writing the facts of my faith was a priority, and wondered why writers and readers alike were so interested in fiction.

But we began writing our childhood memories of England during World War 2. The stories were factual, but needed dramatization. This led me to think in fictional categories, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed the experience. As an experiment, I wrote a further 6,600 word short story.

This has led me to write my first novel. As much as novels are generally for entertainment, they frequently carry a message. My novel, like many others I’m sure, contains entertainment value to attract and maintain interest, but it is also a vehicle for expressing my faith.

It’s only taken me seventy-seven years to discover this. I’m sure most of you knew this all along. But writing fiction has given me a new lease on writing, new ways to view the world and proclaim the Gospel. Above all, I’m surprised by the joy it gives me!

So I hear again the imperative: “Write . . .”

February 15, 2013

The Write Love - Tracy Krauss

There is a saying that goes, "You will always find time for the things that are truly important to you."  I believe this wholeheartedly, and I've seen it play out in my own life.

Like most of you, I suffer from what I call the 'treadmill syndrome'. Sometimes it feels like I'm on a treadmill that just won't stop. I run and run and run some more and yet at the end of the day, it often feels like I didn't get anywhere. What with working full time as a high school teacher, volunteering in both my community and church, and trying to keep home and family in order, there is little time for much else.

Yet, somehow, I've managed to write fairly consistently for the past twenty five years or so. When I stop to consider how I make time for writing, I really only have one answer. I love it so much that it's really not a question of 'making time'. Somehow, because it is so important to me, I manage to do it, despite my busy schedule.

When a task is forced upon us, or when we do it out of obligation, much of the joy is lost. It becomes a 'have to' rather than a 'want to' activity. I experienced a great example of this recently. I teach Drama as a course, but I also facilitate an after school extra curricular program for teens. The 'KodiActs', as we call ourselves, (our sports teams are the Kodiaks) practice twice a week and put on two major productions a year. The club is totally voluntary on both my part and the part of the students and it is very time consuming, especially the two weeks leading up to a show. The kids who come are there because they want to be. They just love drama!

My administrator recently asked me what I thought of making the after school Drama program into a course for credit. Basically, I would get paid for all the time I put in - a definite advantage.

Then I thought about the down side... I have 30+ kids who join the 'KodiActs' each year because they love it. They want to be there and they are willing to make the commitment and sacrifice their time and energy to be part of the club. If the program suddenly became a course, I'm afraid it would open the doors to those that just want 'easy' credits. (Little do they know the hard work involved!) I'm afraid the commitment level would drop off and I would have less recourse to do anything about it. As it stands, students who join know that they have to give 100% or they won't be in the club long.

In the end it comes down to my original premise. If you love something you will make time for it, with or without outside incentives like money or credits. Sure those things are nice, but that can't be what motivates you. Passion for my students and a love of theatre keep me committed to the 'KodiActs' - not the offer of money. The same goes for my writing. Although I have had a small amount of success with my published books and plays, I am definitely not writing for the money or the fame.

Think about this before taking on another commitment. If you can't 'make time' for it then it's probably not that important to you in the first place. Learn to say 'no' guilt free and focus on the things you love instead. You might be just as busy, but the time spent will not feel like a sacrifice.

Visit my website: tracykrauss.com   OR
 check my blog 'Expression Express' - the creative process from a Christian perspective

February 13, 2013

How to Love - T.L. Wiens

Has the church forgotten how to love? I ask myself this often. If we have, then are we even Jesus Christ’s church?

In Matthew 22: 35-40, we have this familiar passage:
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him,Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

In Corinthians, we have another instruction on love.
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” ~ I Corinthians 12: 27-31, 13: 1-8

We have these last words in chapter 12: “And yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” Then we launch into I Corinthians chapter 13; the love chapter. We hear it often at weddings but this isn’t a passage about marriage. This is about our life in Christ or it should be.

As writers and Christians, does the love come through? True love—not the wishy washy, please like me, kind of love that kills. Do I truly love as Christ loves me?

February 12, 2013

On Love in Action - Lorrie Orr

She stands with her back to the kitchen sink, eating a snack after coming home from her work as a care aide at an old folks home. When introduced, she barely smiles and says little.

Her age is hard to guess. She looks younger than my 20-something daughter. But in experience, she is world weary old.

Raped at age 7 by her father. Sold into prostitution at age 9. Eight children. Eight different fathers.  Four abortions. Drug addicted. Supplied by her pimp to keep her enslaved.

What does Maria know about love? 

She doesn’t love her children – they are a constant reminder of how she has been abused by men.

After finishing a year of drug rehabilitation, Maria wondered what would happen to her next. If she went home to her father’s house, he would just return her to her pimp. What would she do with her children?

Enter Dorothy, a 60-something Canadian woman with a vision to help Mexican women. On a shoestring, much prayer, and a lot of gumption, she started up a women’s transition home where women like Maria can come and stay for one year.

As my husband and I walked through the kitchen, Dorothy asked Tim, “Do you know anything about fridges? I’ve defrosted this one and it fills with ice in a matter of days?” Tim took a look and couldn’t find anything wrong in such a short time.

“I’m teaching the women how to cook, how to make jam. We sell it in the market on Fridays.” 

“The oven isn’t working just now.”

“Here’s our sewing room. We had someone out and now we have four machines working. A hotel in Canada donated their used linens and we are remaking them into usable sets and selling them.”

 Maria lives here. With her children. With food. Warm beds. Safety.  Maria’s children knew so little. Now they no longer urinate in corners of the house. They use cutlery. They attend school.

Dorothy helped Maria find a job. She loves it.

What does Maria know about love? Love accepts. Love helps. Love is patient and kind. Love acts. 

As we left, Dorothy said, “Please pray that Maria will love her children. Please pray that Maria will know that Jesus loves her.” 

Lorrie Orr

February 10, 2013

God's Loving Dream for Me by Sharon Espeseth

God has always known me. As my creator, he says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1: 4-5 NIV)

I'm getting used to recognizing myself as a writer, but I hesitated to call myself a prophet. Recently, however, I read a column by John Connelly in Western Catholic Reporter reminding us that God has "appointed us to be a prophetic people. A people who shine the light on truth in the darkness of our times." Hmm, I thought, that does shed a different light on the matter.

There is a lot of darkness out there and Jesus pointed out the futility of lighting a lamp and putting it under a bowl. Instead we are to put our lamp on a stand, so "it gives light to everyone in the house."

God loved me from the beginning. Sometimes I need the visual of God literally knitting me together in my mother's womb. While knitting, God implanted dreams and gifts that he intended me to explore and use to his honour and glory. One of those dreams was writing.

At particular points in my life I've had glimpses of God's dream for me, but I've then let everyday distractions crowd these dreams out like weeds can crowd out flowers in my flowerbeds. Eventually, untended, the flowers in my garden become indistinguishable from the weeds. That's when it's time to do some serious weeding to get rid of those detractors, so I can once again see the dreams God has knitted into my being.

To do this I need to spend quality time with my maker. I need to be still and know that he is God. Being present, listening, sharing, respecting, honouring, adoring, praising, submitting: these are the protocol of love. In these days of independence, rights, freedom, and equality, submission is not a popular concept.

In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers reminds us that even Christ "never spoke of his right to himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to his Father." Christ provided an example of how we must attune ourselves to God's Spirit. Knowing God has created our inmost beings, would it not be wiser and more effective to give our loving heavenly father "elbow room" to work in our lives.

Pray with me: Dear Lord, like David the psalmist, may we humbly and frequently ask you to examine our ways. May we give you room to work in and through us so our lives and our writing may say what you want us to say.

February 09, 2013

Are You Coming Home? - Shirley S. Tye

When my father passed away October 11, 1994, I pleaded with God to give me a sign or somehow assure me that my father had gone to heaven. I thought he had but communication became difficult with my parents when I moved miles away and didn’t use my mother-tongue (Finnish) often. I could not express myself well enough to have a deep conversation with them and my father was a man of few words. I wasn’t sure of his relationship with Jesus.

God saw the anguish of my heart and answered me in a dream.

Shortly after the funeral, I had a dream. I walked into a large beautiful building much like the seniors’ home my father had lived in. I stopped to ask a young man who was washing the floor where my father was and he said, “Oh, he’s probably having lunch on the patio.”

I hurried down the long hallway to the cafeteria. Although it was lunch time, there were very few people. I walked out to the patio. Large flowering plants cascaded from baskets hung on the sparkling white granite walls. The patio was made of white marble and there were several white wrought iron bistro tables each with four matching chairs set far enough apart to allow for private conversation. Delicate crystal bud vases sat on the tables with pink and red roses. Surprisingly there wasn’t anyone on the patio.

Then I heard talking and laughing coming from the balcony to me right. There were people up there enjoying their lunch. I saw my father sitting at a table by the edge of the balcony. An elderly lady sat across from him. I’m not sure who she was, although in the dream I had a feeling of recognition.

My father called down to me in Finnish; “Are you coming home?”

I answered in Finnish; “Yes.”

He asked a second time in Finnish; “Are you coming home?”

Again I replied in Finnish; “Yes.”

A third time he asked in Finnish; “Are you coming home?”

The third time I answered in Finnish; “Yes, I’m coming home?”

Then I awoke. My immediate thought was that my question had been answered. But now at times I wonder if that dream actually answered my question yet I was comforted by it. I’m able to carry on without worry on the path the Lord has set before me. God comforted my soul – that’s what I really needed. Thank you, Father.

February 08, 2013

A Glimpse of Heaven -- Donna Fawcett

We're pleased to have Donna Fawcett as our Guest Blogger today on InScribe Writers Online. 

One of the greatest challenges was also one of my greatest joys.   Seven years ago my mother passed away and my faith was tested.

God allowed me to glimpse my mother in Heaven while I was in a dream. I truly believe that was a gift he had given me out of his great love for me. I held that dream close and shared it only with my husband for a few years. I just couldn't speak about it. How can one describe what we don't have here on earth?

Then God convicted me which led me to write about the experience. It was published in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider and has touched many hearts.

It changed me in two ways: I no longer fear death. I know what is coming and it's absolutely incredible. And I no longer care if people think I'm a crazy fanatic who thinks she saw heaven. I know what I know and God allowed it to build my faith in him.

© Donna Fawcett


February 07, 2013

God’s Love, God’s Gift – Ramona Heikel

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays because it spreads the idea of love throughout the nations that celebrate it. The story of St. Valentine is credited with the establishment of the special day, and that introduces an element of sacrifice in the celebration, which is the highest form of love. Even with the assault of red and pink in the stores and the subtle message that “how much you love is how much you spend”, I figure we may as well focus on love as anything else.

One of the biggest understatements in the Bible is “God is love”. It will probably take us all our lives to unpack the full meaning, and I have no doubt that the Lord takes delight is finding ways to show us the depth of his love.

About twenty years ago, something happened that showed me how much God loved me. Through these circumstances, for the first time, I felt His eyes on me, that he knew my name, and that he did this for me not because I needed it, but because he wanted to give me a gift.

My dream was to home school our children but that just didn’t work out. So my next choice was to send them to a Christian school, not just for the spiritual aspects, but also because I believed this was the best school around to give them a strong academic foundation for the rest of their education. We’d put them on the waiting list for grade one when my oldest turned five, and waited to see what would happen.

In the spring of the following year, we got a phone call to say that they had a spot for our son. Yippee! I was elated at this answer to prayer, but wasn’t sure what my husband would say. Since the boys had been born, we had pretty much lived on one salary, and it would be tough to come up with the extra chunk of money to pay for tuition. Transportation was also an issue, surprisingly. Since I was running a day home, I couldn’t drive my children to school, and the cost to bus them was almost as much as the tuition.

On top of that, my financially conservative husband had questioned the need for a Christian education, and was on a “break” in the oil business cycle, so the only income we had was my babysitting income. Yet I believed that God would direct this through his response.

For some reason, he left the decision completely up to me! This completely defied logic. It was a miracle. A first-hand miracle.

So, of course, the first thing I did was feel guilty for taking so much of God’s time praying for this miracle, even when there were people around the world who were far more desperate for God’s life-sustaining power. Then it was as if God said, “This is for you.” Tears came to my eyes then—as now—as I realized how a far-away God was touching my life. Only He knew how much this meant to me.

We registered our son for grade one, even though we had no idea how we’d pay for it. The situation was repeated each spring for the next two years, for both boys, and the result was the same, even when we were both unemployed.

I’m so happy for the benefits of their nine years in the school, but the best thing that happened from this in my own spiritual journey is that God forced me to not only face my fears, but to jump right in without a safety net. And better yet, He taught me repeatedly to turn the well-being of my children over to Him.

Such love!

Posted by Ramona

February 06, 2013

I Love My Job - Glynis Belec

  by Glynis M. Belec

I love you, God - you make me strong. Psalm 18:1
I love my job. In fact, I love both my jobs. I teach and I write. My schedule is reasonably flexible and thus it allows me to do other important things, like care for my elderly poppa bear. How blessed I am. I find strength in You, Lord. Thanks for having my back.

Joy is the serious business of Heaven. ~ C. S. Lewis

My list is long on any given day, and in the past I was bound and determined to base my joy on what I struck off the list. Oddly, I never seemed to 'arrive.' Time to base my joy on heavenly achievements rather than how much I accomplish in a day.

 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever. Isaiah 30:8 

Today I dug out my trusty leather-book cover and tucked my new planner inside, snug and intentional. I really have tried in the past to create schedules, budgets, to-do lists and the like on my computer, but there is something comforting about pen and paper and the feel and texture of handwritten words on a page. I love recording submissions in my big, green ledger that my mother gave me years ago.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.  Psalm 45:1

My decision to reduce my lengthy to-do list happened this past weekend. I sat down and realistically wrote out three major things to accomplish. I did them. I crossed them off my list. I had even done something else so I wrote that on my list and crossed it out, too. It felt jolly good. I am ready, Lord. Open the door.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Of making many books there is no end and much study is wearisome to the flesh.  Ecclesiastes 12:12b

On those days when I feel compelled to write but cannot find the time, I jot down notes for later. I find if I tell myself to remember,  invariably, I forget. This compulsion to write consumes. I sometimes chide myself and think how much easier a 9-5 job would be. But my brain does not shut down after 5. 24/7 my mind bursts with ideas. Even when I am tired my brain continues on the journey.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Proverbs 16:24

Words can be deadly weapons. I make it my goal to be honest and sincere with my words yet if I discovered somehow that I hurt someone with thoughtless inaccuracies, improper research, misguided ramblings, my soul would be saddened. Make my words sweet, Lord (for tomorrow I may have to eat them.)

  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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

I have decided to realize I am already in the middle of God's great plan and that I am not just waiting for it to happen. I do that too often. Waiting; thinking that once this is done or once that has been accomplished then God will act in my life and I will get my book published; I will have enough income to write from dusk until dawn; I will be free to work unabashedly for the Kingdom. Today I acknowledge that God is doing a good work in my life [already.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4

I love to write. I love to write short stories. I love to write short stories because I have trouble keeping my mind focused for long periods of time. I love to read. I love to read short stories. I love to read short stories from God's word because they are timeless and meaningful and a holy communication with God, the Father.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Psalms 143:10 

Somewhere I read that we need to keep in mind that there really are only two days in one week - today and tomorrow. I laughed when I heard that statement but the more I contemplate it, the more I appreciate the wisdom of those words. I surely don't want to waste my today and tomorrow by living in  yesterday. Teach me to do Your will, God. My soul yearns for the tomorrow that you will so generously bestow upon me once again.