Category Archives: Christianity

Big Accomplishments—Little Ripples

 

 

 

footer-scroll

I‘m a published author! Yes, that’s a big accomplishment, but really, it just made little ripples on the surface of the water.FiftyDaysToSunrise-02-kindle

Even our big deal accomplishments are but small ripples in God’s world.

Sure, I wanted to string a banner on my front porch: “It’s a book! 1 lb. 2 oz.!” But the misty eyes didn’t come till someone, and then someone else, told me they were blessed by the story. Continue reading Big Accomplishments—Little Ripples

“Love and Respect”

Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinkin’ 
What a grand world this would be 
If the men were all transported 
Far beyond the Northern Sea! 

Then Reuben comes back with his rebuttal to Rachel. And round and round they go. Truly–where they’ll stop nobody knows!

This children’s song has been around since 1871, training us in the war of the sexes. I learned it in grade school and sang it with great fervor. Continue reading “Love and Respect”

We Are God’s Artwork, His Artists

A friend gave me the book, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman.

The term art is painted with broad strokes. Freeman’s scripture-based premise is that we are God’s image-bearers, his artwork, and as such, it’s our task, our privilege, our terror, to find and live the individual artistry God has placed in each of us for His glory and the benefit of others. Everyone—even Dorothy, “the meek and small,” as she describes herself to Oz, The Great and Terrible—is God’s artist. Continue reading We Are God’s Artwork, His Artists

A Child-Like Heart

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

A little child is—jDSCF1003oyful, guileless, trusting, dependent, eager, forgiving, curious, fascinated, playful, fearless, innocent, loving.

Are those the qualities required to receive the kingdom of God?

But what if joy, innocence, and all the rest, are wrenched from the toddler by thoughtless, self-centered parents?

Some of my psychotherapy clients are wary of relationships, don’t feel much self-worth, and are afraid God won’t pay them any more attention than their parents did.

So what does Jesus mean when He says to receive His kingdom “like a little child?” We adults can’t just set aside the weight of life: can’t cut out the thoughts and feelings burned in our brains that make love and trust a challenge.

Picture a child reaching up to Mommy or Daddy.

We were all born with that innate need to be picked up and held. Then picture some big, I mean really big, hands reaching down to pick you up—fulfilling your need.

I’m no biblical scholar, but it seems to me Jesus is saying simply, “Reach up to me. Come.”

O come, little children, O come one and all,
To Bethlehem haste, to the manger so small,
God’s son for a gift has been sent you this night
To be your redeemer, your joy and delight.

from the Christmas carol, “O Come, Little Children”

Defeated or Devotional

The semifinalist list for Operation First Novel 2013, a writing contest sponsored by The Christian Writers Guild, came out this week. I was not on the list.

After the hot flush of disappointment and disbelief subsided, (I wanted it so badly!), my next thought was, “OK, Lord, now what?”

It’s no good pouting—that’s not going to get my novel published—so I might as well learn from this experience and move on.

I’m galvanized to action. There are agents to query, another Christian writers organization to join, another contest to enter. More revisions.

This rejection comes at just the time when my Facebook page has taken a turn that’s amazed me. Like Henry Blackaby says, “Look what God is doing and join Him.” There are women joining who live in “closed countries.” That’s thrilling!

So is this contest rejection a defeat?

NO!

It’s a devotional.

From the beginning I’ve said, if God is in this writing endeavor, it will be what He wants it to be. But that also means I have to learn the lessons He sets before me and not mess it up. He can, after all, find other vessels to use.

Two scriptures light my path right now, both given to me by friends.

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose. Psalm 20:4

A bruised reed he will not break… Isaiah 42:3

Oh, I cling to the idea of being granted my heart’s desire, but I know that doesn’t mean getting what I want. The more I align my heart’s desire with His heart’s desire, the closer I’ll come to fulfilling my purpose for Him.

And this bruise to my ego and my desires is really nothing in the scheme of things. The Isaiah verse was poured like balm over me by a family friend who prayed my family through the deepest of deep hurts. The Lord will not break me. Or you.

Would you like to share scripture verses that have encouraged you when you stood on the cliff of disappointment?

Hopes and Dreams

Time to take stock. I launched this blog in June 2012, and my Facebook personal page and community page, Full Pitcher Christian Women, on Christmas Day 2012. What have I learned? Why do it?

I have a big dream—to reach Christian women around the globe with messages of insight and encouragement. I have no illusions that my efforts are unique or special—there are thousands of sites such as mine—but I always did like singing in a choir.

What I’ve learned:

  • You readers are shy with Likes, Comments, and Shares. I get that in this crazy cyber age of assaults on our privacy. However, let me give you what assurances I can. Before I approve a comment on my blog I edit out last names unless you tell me you want traffic to your blog or url, so there isn’t a cyber trail to you that I’m aware of. On Facebook my understanding is that if you lock down your privacy settings, no one can get past your FB front door, even if they see your name on a Comment. Please correct me if I’m wrong. So, if you’re comfortable, Like, Comment, and Share away.
  • You like photos. So do I. Feel free to share and plaster my copyrighted photos all over the place in any free application.
  • You like short articles or snippets. This seems especially true on Facebook where the News Feed goes by so fast and there’s so much to read. And, the universal lament, so little time.
  • You really are friends. I admit to being a cyber grinch at heart, skeptical of cyber relationships. But I’ve learned they are what they are, and they are something of value. That’s YOU.
  • Some of you readers are men. That’s great too. Though Full Pitcher Christian Women is intended for women, men are welcome to have a look. After all, it’s not a bad thing to have men learn more about our thoughts, our hearts, our needs. My blog is more gender neutral and guy-friendly.

Why do this social media thing?

  • It’s a ministry to you. Plain and simple: if you don’t benefit from it, there’s no point. Any feedback you have for me on what works, what doesn’t work, would be appreciated. If you want to keep it private, Message me.
  • It exercises my writing muscles. This is the part for me—writers write, and social media is a great platform for writing.  I’ve written a novel for Christian women that I’ll be letting you know about in the next few months, as soon as I find out how it fared in this year’s contest at The Christian Writers Guild.

You’ll notice that “you” appears many times in these taking-stock thoughts. You are why I do this. You are the key to spreading the word. So thank YOU.

“There’s No Place Like Home”

How do the ruby slippers relate to God? Follow this yellow brick road with me, and you’ll see.

ruby slippers on the yellow brick road“There’s no place like home.”

For years I’ve said that if I clicked my ruby slippers, I’d end up in the Highlands of Scotland. To me that’s meant that I absolutely love it there—feel at home—long to be there.

Home is where the heart is. One of those trite, but true sayings.

We think of our heart as the seat or expression of our emotions. Really, our heart is what we think, since thinking drives our behavior. Our emotions are then a byproduct of thinking and behavior. In other words, our heart is what we think, where we put our attention.

When you think of home, do you think of a place, people—where you live? The Bible makes numerous references to “home” as a person’s dwelling place.

Here’s another definition of home as a noun: a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.

But the definition I like best is of  “to home in on”: return by instinct to its territory after leaving it, move or be aimed toward (a target or destination) with great accuracy, focus attention on.ruby slippers

Now we’re getting to God. When my attention is off of God, when my mind wanders in the world, takes the wrong turn on the yellow brick road—I’m lost—homesick. I don’t care what it is that pulls me away, I’m still pulled away. Not home.

To be at home with God I picture being in Mary’s place, sitting at Jesus’s feet. When Martha complains to the Lord about her sister, Jesus responds: “Martha, Martha,” (or insert your own name) the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41,42) Mary is focussing her attention on Jesus.

photoThese are my ruby slippers. My granddaughter gave them to me for Christmas. I squealed with delight when I opened her gift. But I have to keep the slippers in my closet because one of my cats likes to kick-fight with them, and I’m afraid the slippers will lose. Every time I look at my ruby slippers I think of Home. “There’s no place like home.”

Worshipping the Lord, paying attention to Him, thinking about Him, aiming toward Him. That’s Home.

Thoughts While Reading “Knowing God”

Unknown

“WOW” isn’t quite articulate enough, so let me try and put some thoughts on screen about my reactions while reading this classic by J.I. Packer.

I just finished chapters seven and eight: “God Unchanging” and “The Majesty of God”.

“God Unchanging” addresses the dismaying disconnect many of us experience when reading the Bible.

“But as we read, we get more and more puzzled. Though fascinated, we are not being fed. Our reading is not helping us; it leaves us bewildered and, if truth be told, somewhat depressed.…

“What is our trouble? Well, basically it is this. Our Bible reading takes us into what, for us, itsquite a new world—namely, the Near Eastern world as it was thousands of years ago…

“It is all intensely interesting, but it all seems very far away. It belongs to that world, not to this world.…

“But how can this sense of remoteness from the biblical experience of God be overcome?…

“The link is God himself.”

With scripture references, Packer explains the unchanging nature of God.

  • God’s life does not change.
  • God’s character does not change.
  • God’s truth does not change.
  • God’s ways do not change.
  • God’s purposes do not change.
  • God’s Son does not change.

Then Packer concludes the chapter with a challenge, to me anyway:

“If our God is the same as the God of New Testament believers, how can we justify ourselves in resting content with an experience of communion with him, and a level of Christian conduct, that falls so far below theirs? If God is the same, this is not an issue that any of us can evade.”

Mouth agape, I turned the page to “The Majesty of God.”

Today the emphasis seems to be on the personal relationship with God. Packer and others point out that this view tends to limit God: make him small, make him seem too human.

I forget sometimes how majestic God is. He’s majesty personified. He is Majesty. Greatness. Unlimited.

Packer references God’s rebukes to us in scripture—essentially, “Don’t you understand who I am? Don’t you know the truth?”

“The rebuke is well deserved by many of us. How slow we are to believe in God as God, sovereign, all-seeing and almighty! How little we make of the majesty of our Lord and Savior Christ! The need for us is to ‘wait upon the LORD’ in meditations on his majesty, till we find our strength renewed through the writing of these things upon our hearts.”

Majesty unchanging, limitless.  This great hymn from my Lutheran childhood comes to mind.

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish but nought changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
‘Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.