The Road Less Traveled: Why Do You Write?

by Diana Flegal

DianaFlegal

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”   Robert Frost

It is important for writers to ask themselves why they are writing, to have a personal mission statement. Going against the established way of doing things can get you labeled as rebellious when in fact your just different. In Christian circles, it can be tough to map out your own path, and walk in your unique giftings. 

I have a propensity to think outside the box and therefore am drawn to those that do so as well. As an agent, I tend to like authors that do not write to the market.  Their stories are compelling, interesting and written well. But they are different.

In a recent post discussing digital changes in the publishing industry  David Stearman wrote in response: “I’ll have to admit that I’ve been exposed to some low quality writing since the advent of the eBook. But I’ve also been exposed to some really great stuff that might not have made print in the fear (of financial loss) ridden world of traditional publishing. There’s more opportunity out there for all levels of authors now, and hopefully, as in the past, the cream will eventually rise to the top of the bucket.”

I am grateful for the small presses that have contracted and published these authors. But in todays drenched market, it is challenging for these authors to find their readers and their sales can be discouraging. We repeat our teacher and mentor Michael Hyatt’s words: ‘writing may be queen, but platform is king’.  (especially true for nonfiction authors) and our efforts intensify to up our social media stats and we find and share articles of those unknown writers who have ‘made it big’ to encourage one another. Yet low sales numbers have many authors asking if it is time to throw in the towel.

This is when we need to remember God’s mathematics and our mission statement.

Luke 15:3-7 ESV/ So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 15:8-10 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

In God’s economy, it is all about the one.

And that one then often multiplies when they tell another.

Ask yourself why you are writing.  For fame? Fortune? Influence?

Or are you writing because you are a writer and that is what you have to do.

Writers write.

Writers with a smaller platform can still find their readers online. Consider blogging and offering your chapters in downloadable content in installments.  Be willing to start small. Write articles for online magazines. Is there not a magazine in your genre? Start one.

PERSONAL REQUEST: If you have a desire to lead others to Christ (a worthy goal) please write nonfiction or devotionals. Do not weigh your fiction down with preaching. Great fiction is story that takes us on journeys, makes us ponder, celebrate or provides us a great escape. Very few can skillfully write fiction that contains compelling spiritual content.

But write for that ONE. Chances are you’ll be read by many more.

Stay encouraged. Hone your skills and write on!

Diana

 

Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers:

Image 1

 

Advertisements

Image

Finding Hope

Our worlds narrow. As we focus on the now around us, on our limits and our needs, it’s hard to look past them to see the more that graces us, just out of reach.

The news threatens us with joblessness, with homelessness, with the falling dollar and the possibility of war. Politicians sit in their cushy chairs and make promises, but the reality of their world barely touches ours.

We forget to look outside. We forget to take walks or just sit, listening to the bird sounds, to crickets at night, to the call of a loon, the hoot of an owl. We forget to stand in a drizzle and let it wash down our hair and over our face. We forget to let the sunrise welcome the day or the sunset ease us into night. Our surroundings pale because we’ve stared at them so long: at the grind of job or home or health. The people sitting across from us at the table—or missing from that table—no longer offer what we need. Their blandness equals ours because we’ve forgotten to look beyond the fear and the hurt and the sameness.

If we live in the city, we forget that there are stars in that night sky, not just city lights. But even the city holds wonders: the subway street musician blowing his horn, the smile of the vendor when we bother to look and offer one of our own, the bustle of humanity with stories so different from ours. We forget to sit and sip and watch, because there’s always that worry, that need to hurry. We forget to listen to someone else’s heart—not just a lover’s.

I spoke with my daughter this morning. Her first baby is due in a few months, and she has the normal fears of impending motherhood. So many of her friends experienced post-partum depression. Will she?

Depression happens. Deep, debilitating depression needs more help than merely an attitude change. Don’t think I take that lightly. I’ve known depression, and I’ve known of those captured by it to the point of suicide. But for most of us, we can recognize the state and consider our focus.

I grew up in the sixties when we were just coming out of the Jack Kerouac “beat” era and becoming flower-children. We wrote and spoke a lot about self, especially in the art world I frequented. Self-actualization. Self-awareness. Self-self-self. It’s very easy to get caught up in that: we want it all. We deserve it all. We can and should be able to control it all.

And then something happens, and we discover we can’t. Someone gets sick. Someone loses a job. Someone fails. Someone leaves. And we want to know why, how, what? Even if the bad doesn’t happen (and, honey, if it hasn’t happened to you, well, I’m thrilled for you), we can still lose sight of the bigger, glorious world. The one in which our Creator beckons with that sunrise, that fish plopping, that bird singing, that wrinkled smile on the subway flutist.

Let’s try to look at the horizon a few times every day. To take that walk and let the endorphins do their work. To look around and see past our tiny little world to the one that offers hope. And let’s reach out. If you’re not the one hurting, maybe someone around you is. If you hurt, someone around you wants to listen. And if they don’t, I will.

No matter what happens. In time of sickness and pain. In time of loss and loneliness. In time of war and disaster. There is hope. There is joy. We just have to look up.

–Normandie

You can find out more about Normadie’s novels on her web page at: http://www.normandiefischer.com/, and if you’d like to communicate with her, there’s a contact link on her site for just that.

Also check out Normandie’s upcoming releases Becalmed and Sailing out of Darkness on her Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/Normandie-Fischer/e/B00BSIF2NI.

Image

Also, if you’d like to check out my own releases–Hummingbird, Renaissance, and others, they can be found on my Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/David-Stearman/e/B008EKIOZG

Image

To Find Success, Learn to Embrace the Meantime

 screen-shot-2013-03-05-at-6-10-27-am

I came from a broken family who only knew broken ways. I felt adrift and couldn’t seem to find direction. Everything I did was always to please others, yet it left me empty and even more lost. I saw others being happy, successful, but every day felt like just more pain. I was terrified of making mistakes, paralyzed by the thought I might “fail” or be a “failure.” That’s one of the reasons I blog so much on changing our relationship with failure. If we don’t, we can never see success.

screen-shot-2013-03-05-at-6-12-56-am

Anyway, in college, I ran across a book that changed something very important in my belief system. My roommate was watching Oprah and she was interviewing Iyanla Vanzant and talking about her first book In the Meantime. When I read the book, a large part of what was wrong became instantly clear. I was always either looking back—at my missteps, wrong choices, dumb moves, or even romanticizing the past—or I was looking to the future. I could be happy when…

Once I finished my degree, life would be different…

Once I landed a good job, life would be better…

Once, I had X, did Y, learned Z, THEN it would all be perfect.

What I was forgetting was the largest part of what we experience…the meantime. The meantime has a purpose. It changes us, grows us, prepares us for our futures. When we set about to become successful writers, we are sowing seeds of something great. Years later, Joyce Meyers took Iyanla’s teachings to the next level for me. She taught me that:

There is seed, time and harvest.

More accurately, there is seed…TIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMME, MORE TIIIIIIIMMMMEEE, PROBABLY EVEN MORE TIMMMMMMMEEEE, then harvest. (Repeat)

screen-shot-2013-03-05-at-6-15-36-am

Joyce helped me understand that patience is more than the ability to wait; it’s how we act while we wait.We have to learn to get good at the waiting. We need to make use of the waiting. That’s part of why I write so many lessons about the character we need to be successful. The world is full of shooting stars, people who rise to the top, but who lack the character and strength of will to remain there. We can use the meantime to grow as people and professionals so that when fortune finally favors us, we have staying power.

The meantime has a purpose, but it’s usually longer than we’d like it to be. It’s the part the movies puts into a montage. It’s where the newbie and mentor finally are on the same page and we see the protagonist running in the snow, punching bags, or studying all night. It’s about three minutes long and has nifty music, and man, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just do the tough part of this journey in a montage?

*sings * I need a montage, a MONTAGE!

We all want to reach the mountain top , but nothing grows there. We will spend most of our lives in the valley on our way to the next mountain and the next. Once you finish your first book, then you need to edit, to publish. Then there is the next book and the next. Mountain after mountain with valley in between.

But the valley is where we grow. Valley is meantime. Make your meantime count. Learn, make friends, forge relationships. Instead of fixating on sales numbers of your book, let it go. Write more. Read about the craft. Take craft classes and write more books. Meantime is everything and if we don’t learn to enjoy it, we miss out on the largest part of life.

Do you struggle with your meantime? Is it hard waiting? I know I am still growing in that area for sure! Have you become good at waiting? Do you find joy in your meantime? How? Tell us about it!

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of March I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

You can enter Kristen’s contest by clicking here and leaving a comment on Kristen’s excellent blog: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/to-find-success-learn-to-embrace-the-meantime/

BTW–This blog post is an outreach of David Stearman Ministries. Please feel free to check out David’s latest adventure novel, Hummingbird, by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/Hummingbird-ebook/dp/B008QMSBW8 

HummingbirdCoverArt--800x500net

 

Pola Muzyka

Guest Post by the author of Escape from Hezbollah, Pola Muzyyka

9780981783314_p0_v1_s260x420

Depression is a stronghold that Christians and pre-Christians alike struggle with on a regular basis. Receiving Christ does not automatically remove depression from our lives. Christ gives us the strength to endure during our vulnerable times.

Depression is on the rise because of the economy. Many have lost homes, jobs, and even their health. Seasonal Affective Disorder mostly prevalent in winter, can prevent us from getting proper elements from the sun, outdoor exercise, and fresh air. This can also cause a physiological depression.

When depression sets in people self medicate, withdraw, or rebel in different ways — some rebellion contributes to the rise in criminal activity. Criminal activity increases victimization. Victims feel helpless and this also causes depression.

Security in our world today is no longer completely possible. Extreme weather patterns can even cause pain. How can we know what tomorrow will bring? Depression can set in at first as hopelessness, anger, pain, or a feeling of defeat. Once depression takes hold it can attack our bodies and even our lives. One of the enemy’s greatest weapons of mass destruction is depression.

Biblical tips to overcome depression:

1. Remember that you’re not alone in this battle. If you’ve received Christ, Jesus is there with you. Reach out to him. If you haven’t received Christ yet, follow the steps in Free from the Stronghold of Lies.

Philippians 4:6-7 Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. 7Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.

2. Speak with someone you trust who can pray with you and give you good Biblical advice.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two people are better than one because together they have a good reward for their hard work.

Matthew 18:19-21 “I can guarantee again that if two of you agree on anything here on earth, my Father in heaven will accept it. 20Where two or three have come together in my name, I am there among them.”

3. Trust God to see you through. Gratitude for what God has given you and hopeful expectation of what He will give you can increase endorphins, which decreases depression.

John 10:10 A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I came so that my sheep will have life and so that they will have everything they need.

4. Don’t dwell on your problems. That won’t solve anything. Keep your thoughts focused on the things God has done for you and on the good things in your life.

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.9Practice what you’ve learned and received from me, what you heard and saw me do. Then the God who gives this peace will be with you.

5. Be pro-active. Move forward with positive actions. These good things you do will clear some of the reasons for your depression.

James 2:18 Another person might say, “You have faith, but I do good things.” Show me your faith apart from the good things you do. I will show you my faith by the good things I do.

6. Recognize and pray about the situations that cause you pain and anger before they turn into depression. Remember we are fighting to overcome a stronghold, not each other or even the situation.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Of course we are human, but we don’t fight like humans. 4The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God. With them we destroy people’s defenses, that is, their arguments 5and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.

Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of your bitterness, hot tempers, anger, loud quarreling, cursing, and hatred.

Written by Christian author, Pola Muzyka.

You can purchase Pola’s novel Escape From Hezbollah and my novel Hummingbird from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers.

Blessings to you!

David

Image 1

February 18, 2013

*Genesis 13:14– The Lord said to Abram after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are–northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you…

Abraham was in a fix: here his nephew Lot had quarreled with him over landowner’s rights, who should get which part of the property, and to keep peace, he’d given him the best of the land.

Now he was discouraged. He’d traveled far in hopes receiving this property from God, and now half of it belonged to someone else. But The Lord chose just that moment to draw Abraham aside, encouraging him to get his eyes off the current situation and back onto God’s original promise. “Lift up your eyes,” He said, “and look from the place where you now are.”

It’s natural to look down; to focus on our current, negative situation. It’s super-natural to lift your eyes beyond your problem to God’s word.

God then told Abraham: all the land which you see, I give to you, communicating that if Abraham would dare to envision himself receiving all God had promised, even in the face of contradictory evidence, he’d ultimately experience the fullness of God’s blessing. Nothing in this world, no quarrelsome human being, or even a devil from Hell, can circumvent the good things God has sworn to give His children.

History records that Abraham did indeed inherit all the land. So let me encourage you to imitate his faith today. Lift up your eyes from the place where you now are.  For if you’ll focus your vision on God’s promise, everything you see will be given you.

Today’s Prayer: Father, I choose this day to lift my eyes from the place where I now am. Instead, I’ll focus on the blessings you’ve promised in your word. I expect to receive those blessings, each and every one, and thank you in advance for giving them to me.

 

*This devotional is from David’s 30-day devotional Encouraging Word, Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore and other fine retailers.

Image 1

 

Image

The first question that needs to be asked about writing Christian fiction is, Who is the writer’s audience? Most Christian writers write for the Christian market, and the publishers in CBA (the acronym for publishers in that market) buy and solicit novels they hope will sell, based on the sales records and buyers’ demographics—which consist mostly of white, American females in their thirties with a high school education only, small children at home, and not extremely traveled or “worldy” in the more general sense of the word. These readers who are targeted by the CBA booksellers and publishers have very narrow tastes, and for an author to want to sell in that market, they have to tailor their novels to fit. Which, to reiterate, provides a very limited canvas on which to create.

What is meant by “effective”? If the goal of author/agent/editor/publisher is to sell books to entertain believers, then an author who writes such a book that sells well is “effectively” accomplishing the goals aimed for.

But there is another group of writers who want to be effective in a different way, and I am one of them. I don’t write for fun. I don’t write to entertain other Christians. I feel a pressing calling from God to reach out to the lost in the world, to those who have no hope and do not know a plan of salvation has been executed on their behalf and is being offered to them. I look at my writing as 100% ministry, and my efforts and prayers are all directed toward those ends. I take the views of authors like Flannery O’Conner and Madeline L’Engle who felt strongly that their writing should honestly and even painfully reflect the true state of the human condition, of sin, and all its ugliness without censoring. I was told pointedly by a senior editor at one of the largest CBA publishing houses that a Christian should never write for unbelievers. She should only write for Christians, and hope that some believer, for example, at her work would pass on the book to a non-Christian. Shock aside, I completely disagreed with her. I feel that, if this is truly the view of CBA overall, it shows the intent of this collective publishing endeavor is way off, and missing the heart of God. And to me, that paints a very sad picture indeed.

Censoring is a big thing in CBA because the typical CBA reader does not want to look at the down and dirty condition of humanity. She wants a clean, sweet, entertaining read that will upbuild her and make her happy. Not make her face life as it really is, and make her think deeply and outside the “safe cocoon” of the Christian life. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, but I feel the writers who work hard in their ministry to reach the lost through their fiction, to be effective, need to do what author Tim Downs suggests—to woo the world back to God. To plant seeds and let God water them, for this isn’t a time of harvest but a time of planting and watering. Gone are the days of pounding people over the head with the Bible and decrying their sin and telling them to “repent for the end is near.”

Yes, we know we have a responsibility to preach the kingdom before the end comes, but it has been proven over time that “wooing” readers by sharing an honest worldview, as did writers like O’Connor and L’Engle, draws people to God more than preaching at them. And sadly, I have read way too many Christian novels that made me cringe and that I found appalling in their blatant preachiness that often not just bordered on but crossed the line into harsh judgment and abject scare tactics and manipulation. Those types of books offend me, so I can only imagine how much they would offend someone who does not know God or the Bible. I wasn’t raised in the church; I was raised a Jewish atheist, and so understand why God is using me to write the kinds of novels I write. I know what it’s like to be preached at and to be offended by certain phrasing and terms. It took me years before I could even say the name Jesus without a bad taste in my mouth, and it’s sad so many Christians (who were raised “in the church”) have no sensibilities at all toward those who come from such a different worldview and upbringing. We are to be “all things to all people” according to the apostle Paul in order to “win” others to Christ, and pushing our agenda in our fiction to force Christianity on others is not in line with his wise admonition.

Many Christians in CBA publishing would disagree with me, and are offended by my remarks and reactions to so many books in CBA. I feel hard-hitting, preachy books not only do a disservice to God, they turn people away from him and, in effect, serve the purposes of the Enemy, who wants nothing more than to chase people away from their Creator. Authors of those books will say they are not writing for nonbelievers. Yet, what are they thinking will happen when a nonbeliever picks up their book—purposely or incidentally—and reads it? If that novel subsequently turns them further from God because of its offensive presentation, even though it is hailed by Christians as a great read, what are we to think? I’ll leave that to you to decide. I don’t blame many nonbeliever critics of Christian fiction at all, and well, I would invite them to read my novels, and those of other Christian writers who share my view. The greatest joys I have had as a published author are the comments from readers, who are not Christian, telling me how moved they were when they read my books and how the topic of religion and faith was so nicely handled and did not offend, so much so it got them thinking. That’s why I write, and to me, that’s evidence of effectiveness of the best kind.

http://www.cslakin.com

C. S. Lakin writes novels in numerous genres, focusing mostly on contemporary psychological mysteries and allegorical fantasy. Her novel Someone to Blame (contemporary fiction) won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel competition 2009 (published October 2010). Lakin’s Gates of Heaven fantasy series for adults (AMG-Living Ink Publishers) features original full-length fairy tales in traditional style. Already in print are the first books in the series, The Wolf of Tebron and The Map across Time, with five more to follow. In addition to her mysteries and fantasy series, she has also written the first book in a Young Adult sci-fi adventure series: Time Sniffers, slated to be published. Her contemporary mystery Innocent Little Crimes made the top one hundred finalists in the 2009 Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest, earning her a Publisher’s Weekly review which stated her book was “a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through.”

Lakin currently works as a freelance copyeditor and writing mentor, specializing in helping authors prepare their books for publication. She is a member of The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), CEN (Christian Editor Network), CAN (Christian Authors Network—regular blogger), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), and two regional writers’ groups. She edits for individuals, small publishing companies, and literary agents, and teaches workshops and does critiques at writers’ conferences, and occasionally guest blogs on writing sites.

She recently completed Intended for Harm, a contemporary take-off on the biblical story of Jacob and Joseph and is developing a swashbuckling dog memoir in the style of Moby Dick entitled A Dog after God’s Own Heart. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her husband Lee, a gigantic lab named Coaltrane, and three persnickety cats.

GPS

January 30, 2013

Mark 1:17a–Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me.”

GPS programs are everywhere these days, on our phones, in dedicated handheld units, and even built into our cars. But we don’t always follow their directions to a T. Sometimes we turn off the programmed path hit a Starbucks, fill up with gas, or grab some lunch.

Fortunately, the unit doesn’t blow a circuit when we deviate from the prescribed course. It doesn’t scream, “Now you’ve done it; you’ve ruined everything! You’ll never find Disneyland now!” No the device simply says, “Rerouting…” and then, based on your current location, offers newly-computed directions to your destination.

And that’s the way it is when we’re following the Lord. Yes, sometimes we fail, make mistakes, or miss the mark, and yet God doesn’t scream back at us, “Look what you’ve done! Now you’ll never see your dreams come true!

No, He just starts rerouting…

You may have ignored God’s directions in the past, but if you’ll turn to Him now, He’ll get you right back on track. Follow His instructions, because He’s already at work, computing the quickest route to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

Today’s Prayer: Heavenly Father, I’ve messed up. Some of my choices weren’t the best, and now I can’t see my way out of this tangled maze. Will you lead me Lord? I promise to follow you closely, for only you know the way from where I am to where I want to be. 

MEW Tiny

*The message above is from David’s new 30-day devotional “More Encouraging Words,” available along with his other ebooks on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the iBookstore, and other fine online retailers.

 

 

God’s OS

January 18, 2013

John 1: 16, 17–And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

*If you’ve ever owned a Mac, an iPod, or an iPhone, you know that OS stands for operating system, and that the OS is the software that bridges the gap between the user and his device. Now I know this sounds a little geeky, but please bear with me while I make my point: I’ve been using computers for quite some time, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years at the keyboard, it’s that computers operate according to a simple action/reaction principle: you do this, and the box does that. Period. There’s no wriggle room when it comes to ones and zeros. 

 God’s Operating System doesn’t work like that. Thank Heaven. Because if it did, we’d all be in a world of hurt. But we aren’t  thanks to a little sub-file located deep within the program. I call it Grace, and it’s there to insure that Action A doesn’t always produce Result B. The operative principle here is that we don’t always get what we deserve. Because of Jesus. Because of grace.

Have you goofed up? Sinned again, as the Scripture so convictingly describes it? Then repent, confess it to God, and move on. And be grateful for His mercies, which, by the way, are new every morning. Then walk away rebooted and restored. You’re forgiven, so get over it. Go and sin no more. But do remember to thank God that He’s not some huge computer in the sky. He’s a real, living, Person, whose mercies never fail.

*From David’s new 30-day devotional “Encouraging Word,” available along with his other books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, and other fine online retailers.

Image

Winter’s End

December 21, 2012

Song of Solomon 2:11-12–For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Proverbs 4:18–But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that grows brighter and brighter to the perfect day.

Winter. Not my favorite season. Sure, sometimes it snows and everything looks beautiful. Even the air is exhilarating. But here in the Southern US, most winter days are just cold and gray.

But before long the Earth tilts, tipping us closer to the sun. The days grow longer, the flowers appear, the songbirds return, and soon we’re reveling in spring’s warm embrace. This change is inevitable. The natural forces God set in motion at Creation cannot be prevented or circumvented.

And your life will get better, too, for God promises so in the Bible. The spiritual forces He set in motion by way of His word are irresistible. By placing your faith in these promises, you align yourself with the Power that drives the seasons. Yes, the God who created the universe declares that your life will get better and better until the Perfect Day.*

Your friend and partner in world harvest,

David

FB Cover 2

*The message above is an excerpt from my new devotional Encouraging Word, which along with my novel Hummingbird and other devotionals is now available for all e-readers on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine online retailers.

 

 

Avoiding The Flinch

October 1, 2012

I grew up in the country, learning to shoot a rifle at an early age. I also learned that outdoor sports, when responsibly undertaken, have the potential for teaching important life-lessons to kids. One such lesson I call “Fighting the Flinch.”

A high-powered rifle makes a loud noise, accompanied by a nudge to the shoulder, often referred to as the “kick.” This combination of crack and push tempts the marksman to flinch as he pulls the trigger, drawing him off target at just the wrong moment, and causing the shot to go wild.  

Many believers make the same mistake when facing problems. Their fear drives them to expect negative experiences. They apply for loans anticipating rejection. They visit the doctor expecting negative results. They live on edge of angst, waiting for the next catastrophe to occur. This is the believer’s version of The Flinch, causing the Christian to lose faith-focus when he needs to stay on target.  

The rifleman overcomes The Flinch by keeping his eyes open throughout the sequence of aiming and firing. For some reason, forcing his eyes to remain on target overcomes the urge to cringe. The Christian keeps himself in faith by focusing on the promise of God.  

Expecting the worst won’t help you receive the best. Use your force of will to expect blessings instead of problems. Keep your eyes on God’s word; for he is not a man that He should lie, neither is He a son of man that he should change His mind. Has he spoken, and will He not do it, or has He promised and will He not make it good?

When faced with a challenge, choose to expect the best. Keep your eyes on His promise and He’ll make it a reality in your life.