Happy New Year to everyone!
Prompt: As you look ahead to your writing/publishing goals for the year, what is a new challenge or risk you want to take in your faith and career? How do you hope to hone your craft, expand your sphere of influence, s.t.r.e.t.c.h.?
The year is fresh, like a newly paved road before us. As I write this blog, my Christmas and New Year’s season is still filled with family and friends. I haven’t thought through all my writing goals for 2016 yet—I plan to take a few days in early January for a writing retreat—to pray and ask God for insight and wisdom.
However, at this point I know I want to tackle these major challenges.
· A new action plan is the first challenge. My writing has developed a lot over the last year, and I need a new plan. I’ll look over what I accomplished in 2015, what didn’t get finished (and why). From there I’ll continue with developing an action plan.
· Write Nonfiction in November is another challenge I’ll pursue. I tried it for the first time this last year and it challenged me to focus on just the one project.
· Using social media more. In the last few years I’ve focused mostly on developing my writing skills. I’ll look at my long range goals for publishing, and what I can do now. Elaine Ingalls Hogg’s article, “A Timeline for a Successful Book Launch” in our 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers is a valuable resource.
How Gideon’s story can challenge us
This morning I was preparing a Bible study on the life of Gideon (Judges 6-8). I was surprised at how well his story dovetailed with taking on new challenges, and so I share some of my notes with you.
God took Gideon from being a fearful man to one filled with the Holy Spirit. In the beginning, he didn’t know God very well, and fighting against the Midianites seemed impossible. But by the time he faced his enemies, God had given him encouragement, miracles to develop his faith, and strategies to win.
“(God) calls us to step beyond our capabilities and attempt the impossible, trusting in His all-surpassing strength. If He has called us, He will enable us.” ~ Lloyd John Ogilvie
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. ~ Albert Einstein
“There are two great words—claim God’s fullness…Dare to act in faith, stepping out in the assurance that you have just what you have claimed. ~ FB Meyer
Our adequacy “is gained solely as the Spirit fills us and uses our resources for His plan and will.” ~ Bryan Norford
Scripture provides us with confidence and encouragement. Read and ponder God’s promises as we step into new challenges this year.
1 Thessalonians 5:24: “The One who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
Judges 6:14: “Go in the strength you have…Am I not sending you?”
Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
2 Corinthians 3:5: “Our qualification comes from God.”
2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wastelands.”
Questions For reflection:
· Meditate over the question Jesus asked: “What do you want Me to do for you?”
· In what ways do you want God to empower you? Often these are the points at which the Holy Spirit is pressing you to go beyond your capabilities.
· What would you attempt if you were sure the Holy Spirit would fill you and enable you?
· What new steps of faith will you take? What will you risk?
· Be alert to any unique strategies and life lessons God will give you as you proceed.