Forward Friday: The Thrill of Fear

It’s October. Profound observation, I know. It’s that month the box office rakes in money hand over fist thanks to scary movies. Haunted houses. Even today it’s Friday the 13th (the “scariest” day ever–I just call it my birthday ha!). Fright Nights. Fill in the blank. But even if it’s not the “Month of Fright” there’s still roller coasters, skydiving, cliff jumping, drag racing…fill in the blank. 

A few weeks ago, my friend Emily Shuff gave an encouraging devotion to us ladies about fear. She said, “Fear makes us afraid.” We all laughed and she did too because it sounds silly and obvious but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that phrase or about the things I am afraid of. We all have something or many somethings. Some are rational and some are not. Because fear isn’t always rational. I think it’s silly for my son to freak out over a picnic ant. “Just step on it! It’s not even as big as your pinky toe nail!” But I am not afraid of ants. Fire ants, maybe. 🙂 

We fear the future. We fear uncertainty. War. Mass shootings. Our loved ones dying. Us dying. People we care about being hurt, sick or leaving us. Again, fill in the blank. These fears are not thrills at all are they? And yet, many people love to be afraid. From scary rides to reading scary books or attempting scary feats. Hello, walking across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope? Just why? Why do people enjoy being afraid? 

In reading up on it, I found something a professor of communication at Purdue said. In a nutshell, he says that it’s not about truly loving to be afraid as much as it is having that sense of satisfaction that they’ve conquered something terrifying. Or even a “profound sense of relief” that it’s over. 

Thrill seekers say jumping out of planes or whatever the thrill is, is a rush. I’ve felt that before on a roller coaster. Or toilet papering someone’s house and running away without being caught by the parents! A rush. We did it! We made it!

The other day after raking out flower beds, I found a tiny salamander thingy in my bathroom. I screamed. I grabbed the Clorox wipes tub I was cleaning with and pounded that joker to nothing. Later that day there was another one on my hearth! I screamed. Raced for something stronger than a fly swatter and nailed it. Then we went to the zoo and looked at those crazy dragons my son loves. I took a picture and sent it to Emily with the caption: This is what it felt like when I was smashing that little lizard the other day!

 

It reminded me of something else she said, “When we focus on fear it magnifies.” So true! That little salamander might as well have been this big honking reptile right here. But what happened when I had overcome the fear, conquered it…I felt a rush. I had braved the lizard and came out the victor! And I won’t lie there was a lot of hollering prayer; it sounds like this:  Oh, Jesus, help me! Jesus!

Because we need His help to overcome, push through, come out on the other side of fear victorious. That rush we experience is called victory in Jesus and a testimony! How many times have you listened to youth coming back from a theme park. They’re all talking up how they rode the biggest, scariest ride. They’re testifying, ya’ll! “I even raised my hands the whole time.” Well, yeah, because an iron bar was holding you in! Jesus is our iron bar! He’s holding us in.

Don’t let fear keep you from raising your hands in praise as you go through whatever scary situation you’re in. God never lets you go.  “Be good to me, God—and now! I’ve run to you for dear life. I’m hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over. I call out to High God, the God who holds me together.” Psalm 57:1 MSG

He holds you together. You may feel afraid. But you, dear one, are never out from under his wings or slipping through his powerful arms.

Forward Challenge: Take whatever makes you afraid to God right now. Even if it seems silly or irrational. Remember, He says to cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you. Ask Him to help you overcome them, and trust Him to help you do it.

Forward Scripture: “I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” Psalm 63:8 NLT

Forward Prayer: Lord, your word tells us we do not have to be afraid. We don’t have to be paralyzed by fear. Give us your strength today to move forward. To be victorious. We are more than overcomers because you have overcome the world. You hold us securely and today we cling to you. We praise you because we know that there is no one like you. None besides you. You love us. You’re for us. And if you are for us, who can be against us? No weapon formed against us shall prosper. Whether we are battling insects or cancer…you are with us. No fear is too silly or small. You care about them all. Let us rest in that today. Let us breathe in your goodness and exhale joy and triumph in Jesus’ name.

***Name one fear that you have in the comments. I would like to pray for you and if you see other comments, please pray for each one! Let’s get through them together!

*Note* I am not in any way against theme parks, thrill-seeking activities, or suspenseful movies or books (I write them and I love showing how people can come through with hope and a testimony of God’s faithfulness after being put through the ringer…a scary ringer!) 

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Casey Herringshaw: Are You Willing to Wait?

If ever there was a young woman who inspires me, who I would model my daughter to grow up like, it would be the sweetest-ever, Casey Herringshaw. I’m honored to have her here today sharing about being a single woman in today’s life and living for God–which shines boldly and beautifully through her life. Casey, you amaze me.
Everyone, welcome Casey!
It ain’t easy being me.
(and no, not
because I’m simply gor-geous
*snicker*)
Twenty-one. Single. Not dating. Yeah.
It seems when you hit a certain age it’s expected that
you’ll date. Or at least by the time you’ve hit your twenties, you’ve had at
least one boyfriend.  The boyfriend world
has never been for me and I’ve never been on a date and really put myself “out
there” as available. It can prompt some interesting conversations from those
who are curious about why I’m still unattached.
I won’t sit and pretend it’s been an easy road to stumble
down.
Stumble being the operative
word. I’m certainly not at a hopeless age for never marrying, it can seem like
my fusses are nothing but a futile compliant tossed to the winds. But sometimes
nothing is harder than to see those who have surrounded you during your growing
up years, your classmates and friends, all tying the knot.
Since I hit my twenties I have probably seen half the young
women I grew up with get married and start the next chapter of their lives. And
every time I see the announcements on Facebook or hear about it from a friend,
the tiny part of my heart that longs to fall in love hitches. It’s not to say
I’m not thrilled for them. But it often doesn’t make it any easier to realize
they are leaving me behind.
It’s in these moments, I have to acknowledge the state of my
heart. I have to admit that I’m struggling. But then I have to admit it’s time
to move on. The only thing that comes of being obsessive or impatient is
heartache.
I have to be honest with myself in these cases and have a
sit-down with God. I can’t see my future. I don’t know where He’s taking me. I
don’t know what He still wants to teach me. All I do know, is He’s saying no right now. He’s asking me to walk by faith
and in trust. I don’t want the one thing I’d love more than anything to be the
one thing that shouldn’t happen right now because I’m not ready.
Satan uses everything around us against us if we grant him permission. Oftentimes,
it’s my siblings ragging me about “finding a man” or the pictures of those from
my graduating class in their wedding finery. The downer “it will never happen
to me” that defeats my solidarity of where God has me. In those moments, Satan
has won the hand and I’m questioning God’s sovereignty, exactly the power he wants.
It’s not always easy to be single. Especially when it feels
as though there is no light at the end of the hopeless tunnel.
But I’d rather be single, growing and loving in Christ, then
married to the man He doesn’t want for me.
It can seem easy to settle when
we’re hopeless in our present. But the present doesn’t last. Our future does.
And what we do in our present affects everything about our future. It’s praying
for wisdom. Smiling at the people that are always asking about your “love life”
and telling them: God’s got this.


Casey
Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school.
She lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town more populated with cows than
people. Taking the words and stories God has placed on her heart and
putting them on paper is one of her highest passions in life. Casey is a member
of ACFW and an assistant to the
ACFW Carol Awards. You can connect with her through her personal
blog, Writing
for Christ
 and her writing related group blog, The Writer’s Alley

*photocredit: freedigitalphotos

Susan Tuttle: Smear It Like Peanut Butter!

Susan’s Sunday morning breakfast!
These are the kinds of texts she sends.
🙂 

I can’t say enough how awesome Susan Tuttle is! That’s right. You heard me. Susan is an amazing prayer partner and writer whom I treasure. She writes a wonderful blog called Steps! And you’re nuts if you don’t head over there and follow her. Just sayin. Thank you for guest posting today, Susan!

So
I had a revelation the other day as I made my breakfast. It was early, so roll
with me here.  See, I LOVE peanut butter.
It is one of the most delicious things on this earth. If you don’t like it,
well, there’s something wrong with you, and I’ll add you to my prayer list.
Anyway,
every morning I toast an English muffin and when it pops up I spread my
creamy-goodness over it. Peanut butter has a heavenly fragrance to it. It is
unmistakable. You don’t open a jar of peanut butter and have someone ask you if
you just cut up an onion. No. You know peanut butter by its smell. Oh, and when
you spread it over your warm English muffin??? It drips into every nook and
cranny and makes every bite oh-so-delectable!
As
I made my breakfast last week I literally stopped mid-spread. I looked at my
English muffin. And then I said to God, “Know what, Lord? I want you to be just
like this peanut butter in my life. Smear yourself over me, get every nook and
cranny, until every bit of me is covered with you, and your fragrance rolls off
of me.”
Told
you it was early. Hadn’t even had my coffee yet.

But that didn’t make my words any less true of a statement.
Because
you know what I want most in my life? Him. In every particle of my being. I
want to look like Him. Smell like Him. My words to taste like Him—the words I
speak AND the words I write. Because when people interact with me, I want them
to have an encounter with the Living God.
He’s
in the business of changing lives. And as much as I love peanut butter, I love
that even more.
Susan Tuttle is a homeschooling mom of three who
is crazy about coffee, dark chocolate, and words—both reading and writing them.
Combine that love of words with her passion for leading women to a
life-changing encounter with Christ, and you’ll find her crafting Inspirational
Contemporary Romance stories laced with humor, love, and healing
transformations. When not cheering on her Ironman hubby, chasing the family dog,
or tackling complex math problems to teach her kids (yes, even the second
grader), you can catch Susan at her blog, Steps.

Tell me, are you PB
lovers too? If not, what do you pair with jelly? 

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facebook community where you
can be inspired daily with
devotions! Click “like”
in the sidebar.

Cracked Out: It Can Happen to Anyone

My husband and I
love to hold hands. We have a certain way we fit as our fingers lace together.
Walking in a parking lot, a store, even in bed while watching TV. We’re hand
holders.
Sometimes, his hands
feel overly rough, especially in the valleys of his fingers. He uses lotion
each night to smooth them.
We
have a running joke; when his hands are rough I’ll say, “You’ve been
unfaithful.”
“I have.”
We’ll laugh about
it.
But I can tell. He
can’t hide it. Not for long. It builds. Worsens.
And that is exactly
what can happen in your spiritual life. It starts when you’re in a valley. At
your lowest point. In Winter. When things seem upside down, uncertainty is your
middle name. You lay off the lotion–the Word of
God. You ignore the healing balm to heal wounds.
“From
the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds
and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment.” Isaiah
1:6
Unfaithful to
prayer.
Unfaithful to the
Word.
Unfaithful to
actions becoming a bride of Christ.
It happens over time. A slow fade–like Casting
Crowns sing about.
And sometimes, it
happens when things are wonderful. When you’re soaring over accomplishments,
when you’re ministry is growing and thriving, your family is pulling it
together, prayers are being answered in a tangible way.
You sleep in a
little later, because God’s got it all under control. You celebrate by focusing
on your goal and leaving the One who gave it to You on the coffee table, the
night stand, the kitchen counter. After all, you need to push through–push
harder–get things done so you can soar over the  next mountainous goal.
Tiny cracks form in
your skin. Barely noticeable as you make plans and plunge toward the next step
in your life–in your purpose. The one God gave you.
The cracks widen,
harden, build up. And one day you’re exhausted. Worn slap out. You’ve opened up
opportunity for the enemy to slip in with temptations you’d been guarding in
the valleys–but hey–you were on the mountain! Nothing bad happens on the mountain
tops. You can skip early morning with God alone, because He’s in what you’ve
woken up early to do. He’s given you this ministry you’re working on. That
counts, right?
It doesn’t.
Doing
something for God’s glory doesn’t
replace spending time in God’s glory.
“…the priests could not continue ministering because
of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”
2 Chronicles 5:14
Sometimes, you need to stop ministering and let His
glory fill your temple.
Dried up skin bleeds
when it’s cracked. It stings. It opens up areas of disease to seep in.
Inflammation and sickness can form before you’re even aware.
And all you needed was a daily dose of lotion to
lather on and stay smooth. Even. Healthy.
It’s not too late to
slather the lotion on. It’s not too late to ask forgiveness for putting other
things before God, for dropping the ball, for ignoring His whispers. It’s not
too late to reorganize, reprioritize, and hit the start button again.
“If
we confess our sins, He is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1
John 1:9
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot
deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
How are you at taking care of spiritual cracks? And what’s your favorite lotion? I’m a fan of Vaseline’s Cocoa Butter.

Come by our facebook
community and let’s
chat! 


*photocredit: freedigitalphotos

Patty Wysong: As Beautiful as Hephzibah

Today, I’m honored to host the amazing, Patty Wysong who is sharing about beauty. Thank you, Patty for being here today!

As women, we have a natural bent for beauty. We love it and long for it. As Christian women we are very aware of the two kinds of beauty–physical beauty and inner beauty. How many times have we seen a beautiful woman and admired her beauty—until she took off her sunglasses or opened her mouth? And other times we’ve met a woman whose inner beauty shined so brightly that it far surpassed her outer beauty. 

Those women made an impression on us and we remembered their inner beauty much longer than their lack of physical beauty.

What makes a woman beautiful even when her hair is snarly and she’s wearing a plaid polyester pantsuit? A heart that’s full of her Savior and Lord. A heart that’s glowing for God. A heart that’s overflowing with praise. 

The Bible tells us what is beautiful:

Praise is becoming to the upright. ~Psalm 33:1b
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
~Psalm 147:1

Praise! It’s something everyone can do. It’s a matter of making the choice to praise rather than complain. Praising God takes our eyes off ourselves and puts them on the One we are praising. Self-absorbed people are not happy people, they’re miserable. God-absorbed people are able to praise even when life stinks. It gives them a measure of joy even during the unhappy times.

We work hard at beauty–our own beauty and the beauty that surrounds us, whether it’s our home or work place. But do we put as much time and thought and effort into our inner beauty? Sometimes that inner beauty is as simple as choosing to praise God—whether we feel like it or not. That praise shines through us and God rejoices.

And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so your God will rejoice over you. ~Isaiah 62:5b

God rejoices in us, His bride, and He has a special name for us: Hephzibah. It’s found in Isaiah 62:4. But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” and the margin note says Hephzibah. My baby name book agrees with the margin note, too. Proverbs assures us that a good name Proverbs 22:1 is more desirable than great wealth. “My delight is in her.” Sounds to me like a pretty cool name to be called! Hephzibah. It has quite a ring to it.

Let’s be sure to beautify our lives with praise for our great God so we can live up to the name He has given us.


Hephzibah

My delight is in her.

Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. ~Psalm 22:3



Since Patty quit running from God’s call on
her life and surrendered her pen to Him, she’s been happy. Life is never dull
as she juggles being a wife, a homeschooling mom of five, a Bible study
facilitator, an online blogging class teacher, a blog designer, a website
manager, and a writer. As long as she’s obeying God’s leading, she figures that
sanity is a novelty and not a necessity. Patty clings to the promise that God
will enable her to do what He asks of her, otherwise you would find her living
with the scaredy cats at the Funny Farm and not just occasionally visiting.

She would love to visit with you online on her blog, Patterings, Facebook, and Twitter.

Name one thing you find 
beautiful in a woman?

I’m hosting at
Living By Grace and
I’d love for you to come by
and chat!

Patience’s Perfect Work

 “My brethren, count it all joy when
you fall into various trials, knowing
that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect
work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1: 2-4.

 I read this over the weekend and verse 3 and 4
stood out. “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But
let patience have it’s perfect work…”
The
tests have come. Some days it seems like more than I can handle (seems is the
key word). I’ve held on to faith in what I know is true. But have I been
letting patience have its perfect work? Am I truly being changed? I’m still pondering that one.
What
about you? 
What does this verse mean to you?

*Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos

Why Your Dream Hasn’t Come True…Yet

 

 

Joseph. One of my
favorite people in the Bible. I taught on him last week in class. I can never
make it through without crying.

 
God gave Joseph a
dream. A big dream. Most times, when God gives us a dream it’ll be bigger than
us so we don’t get the glory.
 
But Joseph was only
17. He was immature, bratty, spoiled, and a tattle tale. He wasn’t ready for his
dream.
 
And that’s why God
allowed tough circumstances to enter his life. He was sold by his brothers and
taken to Egypt as a slave. He was purchased by the captain of the guard. Yet,
Joseph was successful in everything because the Lord was with him. Even in tough
times, Joseph clung to his faith. He abided in God. When the master’s wife came
at him day after day, he refused until he had to literally run lest he sinned against God.
 
Doing the right thing landed him
in prison.
 
Joseph let himself get comfortable. Hey, the Captain’s house wasn’t home, but it wasn’t the pit his
brothers had tossed him in and it could be worse. He had freedom to come and go.
He had his master’s household under his authority. No more iron neck collars or
fetters.
 
But God didn’t allow
him to go into captivity to be comfortable as a slave.
He still had a dream to
fulfill. So He took him out of his comfort zone and placed Joseph in another
set of grim circumstances.
 
In prison, Joseph
was a success. God was with him. And he was given all authority over everyone
there. He’d been faithful with little. Now, he was faithful over a little more.
 
He matured. Life
wasn’t about him alone anymore. He’d taken an interest in others. That’s how he
could tell something was wrong with the baker and the butler. He was becoming
more of the man God knew he was to be. He was getting closer to his dream.
 
And then the Pharaoh
had a dream. Joseph interpreted it. And he became ruler over much. Over the
nation of Egypt in fact. He was 30.
 
When his brothers
came and bowed down to him, fulfilling the dream he had. He was at least 37.
 
Dreams take time. Your dreams aren’t even all about you. God was working behind the scenes, not only for Joseph–to bless him, but for His people He’d made covenant with. A famine was coming and God was making plans to take care of them. He was working on uniting a dysfunctional family. His brothers hated him. His father favored him over the rest. And He was working on showing a nation, who considered Pharaoh a god amongst the other 1000 gods they worship, His glory. Giving them a chance to see a true living God. 

Yes, dreams take time.

 
 God needs time to mold us into what we need to be in
order to handle them when they come true.
 
 Joseph understood this when he said, “For
God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Genesis
41:52
 
It’s in the
disastrous times, tough times, frightening times, uncertain times, painful
times, lonely times that God can cut off the things in our lives that don’t
belong and produce a fruit (a beneficial, wonderful product) that will last.
It’s in those times if we abide in Christ, we will become more Christ-like.
 
I’m sure Joseph
questioned his circumstances. But at the end of the day, I think he may have
said exactly what this song says he did. I love this video clip from Joseph,
King of Dreams
. It’s a favorite movie of mine. Take a minute and let the words
seep into your heart.
 
And remember when you wonder and ask, “Why?”
 
You God, know better
than I. 


Have you found that God is near in the tough times?  Why or why not?

 
*The Name that Sailboat contest is still going on! Enter for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks or Amazon card (winner choice). Just head over to my facebook page! 

Come by our facebook page
and chat about abiding in
the tough times!

 

#1 Key to Succeeding at Great Things

 

 

Everyone wants to
succeed and do great things. We’re wired to for it. Remember those commercials
about drugs. “No one said they wanted to grow up to be a junkie.” I
would agree with that.

 
Last week, I taught
on Daniel. A wonderful model for us to live lives of worship, praise, and
prayer. A boy taken captive from his homeland. Full of uncertainty. Possible
doubt about where God was in the circumstances that he found himself in, and
surely some fear and anxiety. That’s a lot of miles to walk to Babylon with
nothing but your mind to keep you company. I know what my mind does when I’m in
uncertain times or feel imprisoned.
 
But Daniel held fast
to his faith, even when others directly targeted it. He didn’t compromise, not
when offered the king’s food that was offered to false gods and not when an
unchangeable decree went out that he couldn’t pray or petition any god or man,
but the king, for thirty days. That’s what sealed him in the lion’s den.
 
Instead he prayed.
He lived a lifestyle of worship. Everything he did was offered to God. And when
we live of worship, we’ll excel. But even that’s not the #1 thing you need to
know.
 
Daniel was faithful
with little things. He was made ruler over much. (Matthew 25:21) God gave him
abilities and gifts, and he used them for God’s glory. But even that isn’t the
#1 thing you need to know. And don’t think Daniel was perfect.
 
Daniel wasn’t a
perfect man.
“While I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sins…” Daniel 9:20 But he honored God with
whatever was put before him. His job. His responsibilities. Even his friends
and his people. “…confessing my sins and the sins of my people, and
presenting my supplications before the LORD my God…”
 
So what is the #1
thing we need to know to be successful and to actually accomplish all of those
wildly big dreams God plants in our heart?
 
How did Daniel start
out? A scholar? Rich beyond our imagination? Was he famous with a huge
platform, an outstanding twitter tribe, and facebook following? Did he have a
few books under his belt that he self-published first? Did he put an amazing
YouTube out that went viral?
 
He started out in
captivity. He started out far away from what he’d ever known. He started out
half-naked (vulnerable). He started out walking…one step after another…in the
heat.
 
Daniel worshipped,
praised God (even in the uncertain times when he could have grown bitter and
cold), he prayed every day–3 times a day looking out toward home,  with the window open, he studied the word (in
scroll form but had he not, he wouldn’t have realized a prophecy was about to
be fulfilled), he interceded for others, he asked God for some things (probably
to get them out of captivity). And he never took for granted the favor God gave
him with those who could have made life difficult–the gatekeepers, if you
will, to his life or death.
 
Daniel, over the
course of his years, learned something that we all need to learn. When the
enemy lies to us, plants seeds of doubt in our mind, taunts us with roars of
fear, brings us face to face with uncertainty, tries to cut our knees out from
under us…all things he did to Daniel…he discovered this:
 
“The
people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
Daniel 11:32
 
That’s it. That’s
all.
 
Should we study and
learn? Should we be knowledgeable about the things we want to accomplish? Yes.
Am I telling you not to go to college or get your Master’s Degree, or read
craft books, or to practice at what it is you want to do? No.
 
“Study and be
eager…correctly analyzing and accurately dividing rightly  handling and skillfully teaching) the Word of
Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 God expects us to learn, grow, mature and be
knowledgeable about many things. We have a partnership. “Carry out”
that lets us know, He’s not going to do it all. “know their God” that
takes effort. We have to actually spend time with Him to know Him!
 
What I am saying is it really is about Who you know. The #1 thing you need to know is Daniel 11:32.
 
How does this verse change 
the way you may feel about
success and doing great things?

Glory Due Your Name

Glorious God, you
are holy, mighty, beautiful. There is no name besides Yours that can save us.
You do wonderful works, so many we cannot count them; we do not even know them
all.

We sing praises to
your name. We lift your name up and stand in awe of who You are. You, our rock,
shelter, strong tower. Our safe place–under the shadow of Your Wings we find
rest. In Your presence, we become changed.
The thoughts you
think about us are so many they can’t be numbered and all are good. There is
not one that is less than stellar. It’s beyond our imagination but we humbly
accept Your gifts of grace and mercy.
When we are
unfaithful, Lord, You are still faithful. Your call is irrevocable. Your
covenant everlasting. Our hope–secured.
“Give unto the
LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
Psalm 29:2
What
is one thing you can give God glory for today? 

Come by our facebook
community and chat
about giving God glory!

The Best Writing Comes from a Prison Cell

It’s a quiet
morning, I’m sipping my coffee from the mug given to me by my friend, DonnaPyle. And while I’m having my morning brew, I’m working through her  newest study,
The God of All Comfort.

This day’s lesson
was about how losers are better givers.
It’s such a great study as it uses real life stories from various people Donna
interviewed for each section of study.
This verse jumped
out to me: 
“Those things were important to me, but now I
think they are worth nothing because of Christ. Not only those things, but
I think that all things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him, I have lost all those things, and
now I know they are worthless trash. This allows me to have Christ and to
belong to him. Now I am right with God, not because I followed the law, but
because I believed in Christ. God uses my faith to make me right with
him.” Philippians 3:7-9 (NCV)
Now, I’ve read it
before. But this morning it stopped me in my tracks.
I’m not what you would consider a materialistic
person. I’m not a fan of shopping. I don’t care if I have designer
clothes. I only know some of the names because characters in my manuscripts
wear them. I don’t try to keep up with Jones’. I laugh behind the backs of
those who do. (That’ s probably wrong.)
I do like nice
things. I like my house to feel warm and inviting. But what I do whine about
most, is writing space. “Lord, I can’t wait for us to move because I know
you’ll provide me with a room of my own. A place where I can study, pray, and
write without interruptions from people or the TV.”
Right now, I have a
nice desk and sweet office chair in the corner of my bedroom. I have my dry
erase board and bulletin board tacked up. But I share my bedroom with my
husband and that’s where he likes to watch TV. It’s where he gets ready for
work. I’ve become accustomed to ear buds, but sometimes, it irritates me that
he’s there. Isn’t that selfish? It is. You can agree.
As I read this verse
this morning, it struck me that Paul penned his
best work and spent some of his most intimate time with the Lord in shared
prison cells with little to no lighting. And it’s possible he had crummy
eye sight. He wrote in chains. Seated on hard, cold, rock. No cushiony chair.
No heating pad for a bad back–and most of the time he was bruised, beaten and
bloody. Always interrupted by other prisoners and guards. Nothing to tune them
out. And he wouldn’t have wanted to, as it would have been a missed opportunity
to share Christ Jesus with them.
No
physical comfort.
But he was content. He was doing what he loved. And it didn’t
matter where he did it. As long as he had two hands and something to write with
and on, he had peace.
Paul didn’t have a
laptop, iPad, or iPhone that helped him with his social media efforts. He
didn’t have scrolls at his finger tips to reference what he was talking about.
He knew it from memory.
Having those things
are a blessing. Blessings that should humble our
hearts and be used to glorify Him. Blessings that can go at any minute
through theft, fire, or small children with wandering hands. Or adults with
butter fingers (not the candy).
Jesus stays. He
can’t be stolen away, burned off, cracked, broken, or lost. And truly, He’s the
greatest reward. He offers gifts that last.
I had a wonderful
wake-up call this morning. A refocus. And if God decides to bless me with a
home office all to myself, I won’t say no. But I’ll see it for what it is. A
blessing. Not a necessity.
Come by our women’s
facebook community and chat!
I’m hosting!

What about you? Do you need a nudge every once in
awhile to bring you back into focus on what is a need and what is an added
blessing?

Donna Pyle’s
newest study

**photo credit freedigitalphotos