January 27, 2022

Intentional Wanderings by Lorilee Guenter


 Each year, when we put up a new calendar, we are bombarded with tips on goal setting, and on the value (or lack thereof) of resolutions. Each year, there is great discussion about taking the opportunity to evaluate where we have been and decide where we are going. I often find myself resisting this tug of our culture. I don't set goals and I don't like resolutions. However, I also do not want to wander through life aimlessly. Thankfully I don't have to.

God is always leading. He does not wait for a date on the calendar. He does not wait for us to put together a perfect plan because He already has. Sometimes He reveals His plan one step at a time, sometimes many steps. Sometimes we understand what He is asking, sometimes we don't until later. Always He promises He will be with us. Throughout Scripture we read "Do not be afraid for I am with you." In Ephesians 2, we are told He has prepared works in advance for us. As I meditate on this, I find myself more and more disenchanted with the whole new year, new you messaging. 

Sometime during the past fall, the word intentional started showing up in conversation, in reading and then in random ways throughout my day. I started to contemplate this word in relation to my activities and in relation to God's leading in my life. I found myself thinking about why I say yes or no to questions and opportunities. I found the tension surrounding goals disappeared when I ceased trying to set a plan and instead looked to take intentional action and leave intentional space letting God set the plan and the rhythm.

This winter, in addition to the word intentional, I find I am meditating on and mulling over the theme of do not be afraid for I am with you. God tells His people at various times: I am with you. I am going ahead of you. I will show you. I am going to prepare a place. The theme of God with us is woven throughout His story and ours. I do not know what the next step is. I do know that God is already working out the details. When I pause long enough to listen to His guidance and take intentional action, but not so long as to let fear interfere, I will see the journey unfold in God's timing and it probably will be unlike what I would have planned. 

January 25, 2022

The Rock by Sharon Heagy



 

 

 

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace;

the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,

in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.”

Isaiah 32:17&18

 

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”

1Corinthians 14:33

 

 

            A good number of years ago, I asked an artist friend of mine to create a painting for my folks. It was done on the surface of a rock and the artist used the contours as part of the scene. It’s quite extraordinary, at least to me. The painting depicts my parent’s cabin at Betula Lake in beautiful Whiteshell Provincial Park Manitoba. On the back of the piece I asked her to inscribe verse 18 from the scripture above. “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.”

In bygone days the cabin was a sanctuary. The only place I could truly relax, where I could sleep so deeply and so well and wake rested. 

It was while I was considering this month’s theme, in quiet reflection, that I recalled the painting and searched the Bible for the passage of scripture it referenced. When I read themGod began speaking to my heart, calling me to be less anxious and distressed.

Though I am not plagued by anxiety as some are, I find lately I am on edge and prone to head that direction more quickly than I am to taking a step back and viewing the situation for what it is, often a mole hill and seldom a mountain in the grand scheme of things. He has called me to find righteousness which is only found in Christ. Spending time with him, not necessarily doing, or reading or journaling, just ‘being’. There I will find the ‘fruit of righteousness,’ which is ‘peace’ and ‘the effect of righteousness’ which is ‘quietness and confidence.’ And not just for a moment but the scripture says ‘forever.’ He is the Way to stop the theft of my peace. A reminder that “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

In both writing and life there is a call for me to be at peace and also a call for order in my world. Though the verse from 1Corinthians is speaking of worship in its context, it is true that God is not a God of disorder in anything. One has but to look on creation and it is obvious. The placement of the galaxies, of stars, of planet Earth in relation to our star, the sun. The incredible way nature sustains itself without our help, only God’s. When I feed the birds it is for my enjoyment, not because God needs my help. It all amazes me and leaves me gobsmacked or maybe more aptly ‘God-smacked.’

He has created everything around me and every provision is from Him. From my family to my house, to my chair, to my time. And I am talking about what we may consider the menial stuff. The closets, the cupboards, the spaces filled with the shoving of stuff to be dealt with later. I need to take care of it. To give every area order but only after I ask Him to help me and guide me so it is done right, in ways I may never have considered.

Everything He asks of me will restore peace if I surrender sit to Him and do it His way. My writing will improve and I will be more productive, my life will improve and it may seem that time has increased. The focus will be on Him for His purposes and more will be accomplished, more of what’s important anyway. This is what I believe the Lord has shown me and is telling me. Now I must decide to trust and obey, to step out in faith and do what is required. My heart and my spirit are saying, buckle up – 2022 could be a wild ride. Praise God. 

 

 

Below are pictures of the rock which I was able to bring home after my parents passed away. 










January 24, 2022

Rooted and Grounded ~ Valerie Ronald

 

Snug in my house during a fierce west coast storm, I listened to the howl of gale force winds and watched torrential rain lashing the windows. The grove of tall fir trees near my house bore the brunt of the storm, branches whipping and trunks swaying, the occasional limb breaking with a sharp crack then dropping to the ground. If one of those huge trees should be uprooted and fall on my house, it would cause much damage. But that was a remote possibility because I had walked around the base of the trees often and knew they were firmly rooted and grounded in the soil. It would take more than a big storm to topple those well-established trees.

As I seek God’s personal invitation to me for 2022, concerning direction for my spiritual and writing life, the phrase “rooted and grounded” keeps coming to the forefront of my mind, accompanied by the picture of those stalwart fir trees standing firm through a storm.

The apostle Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus passionately expresses his desire for them to be rooted and grounded in love.  "...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith˗˗that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ” (Eph.3:17-19 ESV) 

The word know jumps off the page when I read this verse.

To be rooted and grounded solidly in God’s love and all that it encompasses, I need to know Him intimately. I need to search Him out, the way tree roots search for nutrients in the soil. The deeper I grow into the soil of His love, the stronger I can stand when storms hit. The more firmly I am rooted and grounded in God’s character and who I am in Him, the more I will flourish and bear fruit.

So how do I do it? How do I send roots down where my spirit can be nurtured and strengthened? How does doing so influence my writing? The growth of a tree is a result of what goes on beneath the soil. In my spiritual growth Jesus Christ Himself is the soil, rich with nourishment and strength found in His Word. The more I absorb His truths and teachings, the more I will grow. 

 

 “Your spiritual roots go deeply into His life as you are continually infused with strength, encouraged in every way. For you are established in the faith you have absorbed and enriched by your devotion to him!” (Col. 2:7 Passion Translation)


Lately one of the ways I am reading my bible is as a storybook, from beginning to end, as much or as little as I want, getting a sense of the overarching story line, characters, settings and plot. This new and refreshing view opens up insights I’ve missed before. I still practice more traditional study as well, however I find my mind returning often to the exciting drama of God’s story as a narrative. Discovering new ways of taking in the nourishment of God’s Word keeps my spiritual growth fresh, revealing different facets of God’s love and character. Reading scripture this way is also sparking inspiration for writing.

Did you know that the visible roots which grow from the base of a tree trunk are called heart roots? They are primary roots which grow multiple secondary roots in search of water and nutrients. Heart roots in my life with God could be defined as spiritual disciplines. A consistent devotional and prayer time, in-depth study of the scriptures in a group or individually, belonging to a church family that is bible-based, worship-focused and servant-hearted˗˗these disciplines provide food for spiritual growth.

Most healthy trees produce some type of fruit, berries, nuts, or seeds. I see my writing as a fruit originating from my spiritual life. When my spirit is dry and I’m not actively sending down roots seeking out spiritual nourishment, my writing life suffers a drought as well. They are intrinsically linked. My intimacy with God determines the impact of my writing life.

This year God is inviting me to become more deeply rooted and grounded in His love, to know this love that surpasses knowledge. If I can grow like a strong, healthy tree, I will bear fruit to help nurture those whose roots are shallow and whose spirits need nourishment.

“Love is the soil in which our life must have its roots; and it is the rock upon which our faith must ever rest.” ~ W. Graham Scroggie 

 


More of Valerie's work can be read on her blog:

https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com/

 




January 23, 2022

The Lone Tree by Joylene M Bailey

 

Photo by jplenio of Pixabay

What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?
Martin Luther


~~~~~

There is a tree on Highway 4 just north of Swift Current, Saskatchewan that locals call The Lone Tree. It was planted as part of a windbreak in the early 1900's by a bachelor Norwegian homesteader named Knut Mjolid. When it came time to sell the property, a gentleman's agreement was made between Knut and the new owners that if ever they were to take down the windbreak, they would leave at least one tree. That gentleman's agreement was honoured and thus, to this day we have The Lone Tree.

I think of that tree off and on, and wonder at its survival. Standing alone by a moderately quiet highway, unsheltered, braving bone-dry summers, or biting winter winds and everything in between, it has fulfilled its purpose for over 100 years. It has planted its roots deep and raises its limbs to the sky.

I'm told it is tradition to honk your horn when you drive past The Lone Tree. Other than those honks and the odd photographer wandering nearby, the tree spends most of its time being faithful to its calling, with no one watching but God.

~~~~~ 

Faithfulness is not doing something right once but doing something right over and over and over and over.
Joyce Meyer

~~~~~

These past two years have been hard. After the initial shock we thought, okay we can do this for a few weeks. But then the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years, and the world got incomprehensibly chaotic.

People are weary. I see it in the irritable words spoken by customarily kind people. I see it in the inability to handle seemingly simple setbacks. I see it in panic, fearfulness, mistrust, and impatience. There is a palpable rising level of anxiety in the world generally. More and more prayer requests flood my inbox, making even the privilege of prayer heavy.

And what can I do? What can I do?

I think of The Lone Tree, doing nothing other than to be faithful to its calling.

It is not my job to heal every heart (or even one heart). It is not my job to fix the wrongs in the world. It is my job to be faithful. To carry on; to put one foot in front of the other; to look for opportunities to share love and kindness; to write one word after another after another; to sit in that chair in my study and do the work. 

And to remember that He is faithful. 

Always.

~~~~~  

photo by Hans of pixabay

~~~~~ 

Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's faithful love we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
Lamentations 3:21-23

~~~~~ 


Joy has driven by The Lone Tree on several occasions, when visiting relatives in the Swift Current area and when traveling to Briercrest Bible College (when it was still Briercrest Bible Institute). She writes from Edmonton, where she lives with her soon-to-be-retired Cowboy. Find her Joy-infused view of the world at Scraps of Joy.

January 22, 2022

A Time for Compassion by Alan Anderson

 


Sometimes I use my writing energy as more of a ramble than anything else. This post seems to be one of these times. A comment from someone in 2021 startled me and caused me to step back to ask myself a question. My question is, “Whatever became of compassion?


 

 

Compassion, Missing in Action

 

This past year reminded me to not let my compassion die. A few months ago, I commented on a Facebook discussion where people were chatting about other people they didn’t agree with. My comment focused on the need to extend compassion to people one might not agree with. A reply to my comment dismissed the need for compassion. I was informed. “There are people who don’t deserve compassion.” The comment caused my heart to weep.

 

 

“There are people who don’t deserve compassion.” Really? I admit I have thought this way. Not too long ago, I allowed my human frailty to dictate to me. I cried out to God in prayer my anger, my dislike, for a particular political leader. My wife reminded me of the need for compassion and I listened to her. My compassion seemed missing in action. I now pray for this politician in a more sensitive manner.

 


I pray for myself as well for God to have compassion and mercy on me. I don’t mean to be selfish. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

 


 

Compassion is how Jesus lived.

 

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”—Matthew 9: 36 (NIV)

                                                          

       “Jesus wept.”—John 11:35

 

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

—John 11:36

 

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it”—Luke 19:41

 

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” –Isaiah 53: 3

     

 

A Collective Compassion

 

When I think of compassion, other words settle in beside me. Words like tenderness, empathy, pity, kindness, love, and mercy come alongside me and remind me compassion is more than a word. I love the word compassion. I love compassion in action even more. Compassion is love in action and lives in us, as Jesus does.

 

 

As Christians, we must hang on to our compassion despite the divisions people create among themselves. Jesus lived as One full of compassion. He wept and experienced sorrow. People noticed His compassionate love for others.

 

 

The day in which we live is a day for a life of collective action on part of God’s people. When we consider the emotional upheaval over these past two years, compassion is needed even more. We can do this. Compassion is our nature.

 

 

Personally, there is a lot for me to learn about compassion. How about you, dear friends? What might you teach me about compassion? I look forward to learning from you.

 

 


 

Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018. Alan has written articles for FellowScript Magazine. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015.

 


January 20, 2022

Four Words for 2022 - Gloria Guest


 This year I feel that God had given me four words for the journey through 2022:


 Light,

 Mountain,

 Forgiveness, 

Redemption, 


There is a lot packed into those four words; 


I loved the word, ‘light’ as it suggests that some darkness, which I have known for too long, will dissipate. I have spent a lot of time in my past working on some very hard areas in my life and so the promise of the word, ‘light’ feels rewarding and welcome to me. I can’t wait to find out what God wants to show me in the light. One area of light that recently revealed itself in my writing life came in the way of some inspiration as to who I could ask to illustrate a small booklet, about a poem I wrote about Saskatchewan. It’s long been on my mind; and there she was, illuminated in my mind as the perfect person. Personally, God revealed to me some words that were spoken to me regarding friendship that I needed to break off of my life. I’m looking forward to God shining His light on new friendships this year.


Psalm 18:28 “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”


On the other hand, I shrank from the word, ‘mountain.’ It sounded grueling and like more hard work coming my way. I’m sure that there probably is. Yet I have climbed mountains before in my life and was never alone. God has always been there. He’s taught me already that it’s one step at a time. Perhaps that is why He led me to buy a life journal to keep me motivated along the way. It’s definitely part of my ‘climbing kit’ and I’ll be looking for other tools as well, with the comfort that comes straight from His word, the best there is.

 

Ps 121:1-2 “I life up my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”


The word, ‘forgiveness’ also seems daunting; yet I wasn’t surprised as God had already been leading me to learn more about what true forgiveness is and isn’t. Forgiveness has been hard for me. Great hurt can produce great pain and great resentment. These things aren’t as easily dealt with as many Christians would have us believe. But through some trauma healing, I find myself at a better place to consider how forgiveness can be a bigger part of my daily life. I look forward to moving forward in life without the baggage of unforgiveness weighing me down.

 

Luke 23: 34 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”


The last word, ‘redemption,’ came to me through a quiz I took, through Hallmark cards online. I answered a few personal questions about where I was at in my emotional and spiritual life and that is the word it gave me for 2022. I found it intriguing. I still haven’t looked it up definition-wise, but I do know that it is about being bought back; being forgiven and renewed; both of which. I think this word might end up proving the most rewarding and exciting of my year.


Lamentations 3:57-58 “You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear. You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”


What direction will God lead me in my personal and writing life as I unpack those four words He has given me? I just know that in the next months that God wants to lead me into the light; He has a mountain for me to climb, (which will include that tough word, forgiveness) but not alone. I’ll be with Him in the climbing and maybe by the end of the year there will even be a glorious summit, where I will meet that beautiful word, ‘redemption.’




Gloria Guest lives in Caron, Sk. where she writes and blogs. She is a past reporter/columnist and has published a few other personal pieces, with a work in progress. She also takes editing classes from Simon Fraser University, working towards an Editing Certificate.


January 19, 2022

Sit Still While I Tell You Something: Guest Post by Sheri Hathaway

 


A new year has begun. We see many comments about resolutions, plans made, and other action words focused forward on the future. Goals are good, but I’m here to say don’t overlook the present moment. It’s beautiful outside, the weather is quiet, and God has given us this day to enjoy. No, that’s wrong — he’s given us this moment. 

My pastor is teaching a class on prayer, the current lesson being the practice of “breath prayer”. For example, on your in-breath, think “The Lord is my shepherd” and on your out-breath, think “I shall not want”. Five minutes might be the duration, but length of time is variable. The purpose is to refresh and maintain your awareness of God’s close presence to you. 




I have gained much by sitting still in prayer. It’s been while in prayer that solutions to life’s problems came to mind or new writing topics entered my head. I may or may not have asked God for help with those issues. I simply pray the usual points on my prayer list and while praying, I concentrate in two directions, aware of ideas that run in the back of my mind while praying my requests upfront. It takes practice, but I think of it as keeping my mind open to thoughts while in conversation with someone, as a parent listens for a child to call while talking to another adult. 

It may seem like these thoughts arise from nowhere, but I believe God gives them while he has my attention. I don’t mean to diminish the gravity of the petitions I make in prayer, rather to describe blessings received while in service to God. Prayer is a multifaceted practice, full of graces in many aspects. I haven’t practiced breath prayer. My time with God is early mornings, but I think I’ll start in quiet moments anytime as a way of refocussing on God near me while listening for messages he wants to give me.



Join Sheri Hathaway on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (@sherismusing) as she divides her time between writing and watercolour painting, enjoying life on both the Canadian prairies and the West Coast. 


January 18, 2022

Fly Away - Sheila Webster


 

Did you ever get surprised by something you wrote? I have…especially lately.  A small personal unusual collaboration opened more doors without me trying. It literally has exploded and I never know where the next opportunity will come from.


It all began by admiring a local artist for their creativity and voice in a music video they had shared. I knew them slightly so I complimented them on it.


For a long time, I had wanted one of my poems turned into a rap song (believe it or not). After some thought and prayer, I got brave and asked if she would look at a poem. 


She agreed! Kendal connected with my poem about domestic violence and before long she had some basic beats, not rap but very catchy.


Kendal thought it was possible to record at a studio for a reasonable price and the rest is history, right down to the day I wanted it launched.


It seemed like a far-fetched dream, like a fantasy.  Now, however, after a month it seems like it has always existed and its audience and presence continue to grow.


Last night Kendal and I were asked to do a closed group hour-long Facebook live. We were to talk about our passion for the subject, the genesis of the poem, and our collaboration.


We come from different lifestyles and spiritual paths but our paths crossed and connected in a surreal way to bring awareness and hope to the issue of domestic violence.


I’m grateful that I stepped out in faith and courage that there was a bigger plan for a piece of my writing that is raw and vulnerable.


I'm grateful for the ability, seeing the opportunity, stepping into a dark space, and bringing some light and hope.


It’s all I ever wanted any of my writing to do. Shine a little bit in dark places.


Thank you, Kendal, Cindy, and Ben for making a dream come true while I blinked. You can hear the song by clicking on "Fly Away" below.


Fly Away (Jasmine's Song)

Co-written by Kendal and Sheila Webster

Sheila often writes on napkins, texts to friends and sometimes notebooks. (Not so much computers etc. as they are in a constant state of not working.) She is passionate about true vulnerability that transforms through any medium and for many causes.



January 16, 2022

Just Imagine - Lorrie Orr

 


You can't see anyone else in the dinghy - just me. My husband snapped this photo while we were in the Octopus Islands off Vancouver Island. Living on a small boat for two weeks sometimes has us both craving a bit of solitude. Going for a paddle in the dinghy provides that. My mind drifts along with the waves and the current, and meanders along an endless variety of topics. 

Being in the natural world of creation is where I often feel closest to God, and this day I had a particularly strong sense of his presence, so much so that I could almost see Jesus sitting in the dinghy in front of me, wearing blue jeans, with bare feet. We conversed a little, but mostly it was a time of silent companionship as I rowed along the shore admiring the rock formations, the shadowed forest, and the play of light on the water. A monarch butterfly fluttered among the trees, bright orange against shaded green, and I sensed Jesus' smile at my delight. 

Using my imagination deepens my spiritual life, my connection to God, and I have begun practicing this deliberately. When I say the Lord's Prayer "let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven", I take the time to think and imagine how it would really look to see and experience God's will in various situations. Then, I am moved to act towards seeing God's kingdom come on earth.

When I imagine myself in the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15), I imagine sorting through my belongings, casting this and that aside in a frantic effort to find what I really need at the moment - that coin. I sense the woman's desperation at the loss, her deliberate efforts to find it, and finally, her intense joy and the compelling desire to share her find with her friends. I am then moved to reflect on what is of such great importance to me. What is it that I have searched for, and found, and must share with my friends and neighbours?

Just imagine.

I'll leave you with a few quotations on imagination that I have been pondering recently.

"The Christian imagination plays a great role in the spiritual development of the soul." (St. John of the Cross)

"The life of faith is less about gathering information than it is about expanding imagination...Only in our imagination can we begin to contain even the smallest expression of the bigness of God..." (Erwin Raphael McManus, The Artisan Soul, p 100-101)

"There is something mysterious and perhaps more than moral about the power and call of imagination." (G. K. Chesterton)



Lorrie Orr writes from southern Vancouver Island where she spends time with her husband boating and hiking.  She delights in spending time with her five grandchildren and introducing them to God's amazing creation.


January 15, 2022

Open Doors in 2022 - Tracy Krauss


Like many of you, I like to choose a word or phrase each year to give me focus. This year "Open Doors" was emblazoned on my heart as I prayed about my direction and writing in 2022.

Colossians 4: 3 says, “… pray for us, too, that God would open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…” (NIV)

I like the idea of open doors, especially after there has been so much “closure” these past couple of years. It is time for things to open up, both metaphorically speaking and in reality. 

In terms of my writing, I am praying that God would open just the right doors for me in 2022. I want His message to be heard and one way to spread the good news is through my writing. That might mean previously unopened doors need to be unlocked or new doors tried, especially in marketing and promotion. However, I don't plan to barge in or knock any doors down. Jesus holds the key, so I want to let Him enter first. 

The other side of this metaphor is that I also need to keep the doors of my life open to Jesus. There is no shutting Him out. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." Revelation 3: 20

Another thing that comes to mind when I think about "open doors" is welcome and acceptance, which is a reciprocal concept. I feel positive about the coming year and expect good things. I also know I need to be welcoming and accepting of others and perhaps of new ideas. I've pared down a lot of my external obligations, so I am expecting to have more time and freedom to do both of these things. 

I'm open to whatever God has in store for me this coming year and look forward to stepping over the threshold of many open doors. 


Tracy Krauss
writes from her home in Tumbler Ridge, BC. She is the former president of InScribe and has many books and plays in print. Visit her website for more: https://tracykrauss.com




January 13, 2022

Two Words Chose Me by Wendy L. Macdonald

 


During the last half-decade, I’ve felt prompted to choose a word for each year. This year, two words chose me. Before I share them, there are some things I want to give thanks for first.


I’m thankful for InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. It has blessed me with opportunities to read the writing of other Christian Canadians and share my writing via this blog. The writing challenges Glynis Belec so generously serves up to inspirational writers across our lovely country is another thing I’m grateful for. Plus, it was through Glynis I learned about HopeStreamRadio and got the opportunity to produce podcasts for them. 


The InScribe contests also provided feedback I’m grateful for. Critiques by fellow InScribers helped me better understand my writing strengths and weaknesses. Both are equally important to know. Writers need to focus on continuing to do what works while working on the areas that don’t work so well—yet.  


Tracy and Sandi are two other people in InScribe I’m especially thankful for. They’re gracious, hardworking, and godly. They have welcomed my presence here with patient instruction. They’ve also given me the permission and freedom to try new things that I believe God is leading us to do. (I’m not a huge fan of change. So, aside from the potential schedule shuffle, I don’t anticipate anything else new here in 2022.)  


And now for the unveiling of my two words for the New Year that have been placed in my heart and mind: Brave and serve. God knew it was time for me to be brave and branch out and serve. Not a ton of service. Not a ton of busyness. But a still-small-voice calling me to give back some of what I’ve dined on for almost ten years of writing online.


I need braveness to have the courage it takes to serve others. The last time I volunteered for something public, the main thing that saved my sanity was a sermon. In it, the pastor I had at the time reminded us that our way of doing something was better than someone else’s way of not doing something.  Honestly, I love staying secluded in my writing room. But easy living doesn’t grow good writing. 


Good prose needs exposure to real life in order to grow. 


So, here it goes. I’m putting on brave and stepping into servant shoes for the Christ in me that’s inviting me to reach out and enrich others. (By the way, thank you for proving once again that it’s better to give than to receive. You’ve all been so kind to me in your email correspondences since I began volunteering to help with the behind-the-scenes duties for this website.)    


I’m nosy-to-know if you have a word or two for 2022?


"...'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35 NKJV


New Year’s Blessings ~ Wendy Mac


Wendy L. Macdonald is an inspirational blogger and podcaster who loves to photograph nature on Vancouver Island. Her byline is: “My faith is not shallow because I’ve been rescued from the deep.” Her main website is where she enjoys interacting with readers.


January 11, 2022

Invited to Rest & Be Encouraged by Carol Harrison



 

This prompt, about sharing how God invites me to share my days and year with Him, excited me when I first read it. I usually take time at the end of a year to reflect back on how God has worked in my life in various areas and then ponder where He is leading me for the upcoming year. Sometimes there is a word or a verse to claim and yet as 2021 ended with its challenges and triumphs, I found myself in a desert place which continued into the new year.

To be honest I’m feeling tired, discouraged, and struggling with focusing on the next day or week let alone figuring out where God is leading for an entire year. Deep down I realize feelings can be fickle. But even knowing that doesn’t stop them from puffing themselves up to the utmost importance and pushing facts to the side. They bring with them lies which make me feel like an imposter, a fraud, and a failure at times.

2022 has begun and I need to focus on the facts. God never changes. He is the same today as He was in the past and will continue to be in the future. His promises are sure and trustworthy. He doesn’t lie. This changes my thinking towards reflecting on the past year and looking ahead. I wait to hear the invitation God offers for right now in my life and writing.

The word God gave me last year turned out to be a phrase, connect with compassion. He also challenged me to be a good steward of the gifts He bestowed on me and write. Despite the tough times, the challenges, and changes in plans, words flowed and pieces of my writing and books were published. Most importantly, God used them to touch people.

Despite the productivity and encouragement I received, I felt like I had landed on a merry-go-round spinning out of control. Connecting became more difficult. I didn’t like the lack of compassion I saw in the world around me. My focus swirled with the wild ride and I lost sight of the promise of God that He never leaves me or forsakes me. My focus turned inward instead of to the One in control of all things, including me. I needed to get off that merry-go-round and refocus.


As I contemplate what God’s invitation for this coming year should look like, I long to shut out the cacophony of busyness and let go of the distractions. God invites me to come to the well of His unfailing love and mercy. I have a picture in my mind me by a tiny stream, a trickle really, longing to plunge into the depths of life-giving water. I follow one step at a
time until the trickle grows bigger and leads to an unending supply – God’s supply - of refreshing water. I don’t have to remain in the desert. He invites me to come and find rest in Him.

In Isaiah 49:8-13 I read about the Lord's plan for the restoration of Israel. Several verses jumped out at me during this time when the darkness of discouragement, the busyness of life, and the lies of Satan threaten to swallow me and I know God has other plans than for me to dwell in the desert. 

Isaiah 49: 10 “They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. “

And in verse 13 I read, “Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”

Last year's phrase was connect with compassion and this year the God of all compassion invites me to come and find rest in His promises. He longs to encourage me while I continue to be a good steward of the gifts He has given. 

 

Carol Harrison writes from the heart about real-life and promises from God's Word. She longs to share the glimpses of joy and glimmers of hope with others along the journey. You can find her through her em