Monday, September 22, 2014

A Love Moment

            I held my daughter close on my lap, as I watched my husband hold his white haired Dad’s hand, while he sat beside his hospital bed having a heartfelt conversation.
           
My husband spoke loud and clear. His Dad answered slowly, and yes, he did believe that Jesus Christ died for his sins.

            “That’s the best gift you could ever give me, Dad,” my husband smiled.

            In response, his Dad brought their two clasped hands to his face, and gave my husband’s hand a long kiss.

            Tears rolled from my eyes. I felt honored to be a witness of this interaction of love between a Dad and his son.

            Then to add to the moment, a few seconds later, he brought their hands up to his face again, and kissed his son’s hand once more.

            So precious…

            It was possibly one of their final moments together, and it was filled with love, and a guarantee they would see each other once again in heaven.

            No goodbyes…rather a, “I’ll see you there when it’s my turn.”

             All because…God gave us His Son, Jesus, who is the greatest gift ever given to those who believe in Him.


            John 3:16-19New International Version (NIV)

 

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 

Hebrews 10 New International Version (NIV)

Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

10 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
    I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a]
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”[b]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”[c]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
All because...God loves! 



Monday, September 15, 2014

To Fellow Writers...Mostly

I recently read an article, by an author, who wrote about his experience of marketing his book. It was such a discouraging article. He made it sound nearly impossible to get ahead financially in the writing field.

Believe me, I know it's hard work to make a dime as a writer, unless you get a wonderful break, but I also know, writing, writing, writing, and writing some more, gets work out to the public and soon results will be seen.

Last school year, while volunteering in the Art Discovery program, I read a story that really encouraged me to keep going with my writing career, no matter what.

Artists - Renoir and Monet's story. Talk about two men who didn't give up no matter what came their way.

I think about their story when I am feeling discouraged about my writing career. It is inspiring. So I wanted to share this story with fellow writers - especially, and anyone else who is stepping out in their creativity or working on a new business.

Back in their day, if a person desired to become successful as an artist, they would submit samples of their paintings to the "Official" Great Salon, in Paris. There, official "art experts," could either make or break your artistic career by accepting or refusing your work. In the 1800's acceptance by this salon was almost the only way to make it as an artist.

Many artist were refused by them.

Renoir and Monet were included in the group of the refused.

The prior sentence alone should be encouraging to anyone struggling...considering, how famous and valuable their work is right now. If you ever get a refusal from a publisher, don't let it get you down.. send your work to another one...right away.

In 1863, the Salon des Refuses, in Paris began showing the work of artist who had been refused by the "Official" Salon. Claude Monet, a friend and painting companion of Renoir's, exhibited a painting in the Salon des Refuses. It was called Impression; Sunrise. His painting was criticized for being just an impression, or an unfinished picture.

He was criticized at the Salon where those who had been previously refused showed their work.

Though this was meant as an insult, from that, his group of painting friends formed a group called the Impressionist.

I was absolutely tickled by this information. How easy, would it have been, for them to give up? Who would blame them. Instead, a new group of artist formed.

When constructive criticism or rejections come at a person it can be hard to deal with. Doubt may start clouding the mind of a very talented person.

One time I let someone read one of my projects I was in the middle of working on. The person handed it back to me stating, "Short sentences are a sign of ignorance." I took my work back, with my heart down to my feet, even though I had received many, many compliments on this piece of work prior to her reading it.

I started to struggle with writing my stories. I began to use semi-colons to make my sentences longer. And then one day, one of my writing partners brought up the fact that I used semi-colons alot, and that I needed to finish my sentences and use a period. I told her why I used semi-colons.

She smiled and kindly said, "Actually, short sentences is a sign of intelligence. If you can say what you need to say in few words, that is intelligent."

I took that in and started writing freely again.

Another thing about Renoir - he was raised in a poor family, in a three room home. One of the rooms his father used for his tailor shop by day, turned into young Renoir's bedroom at night. Renoir would sleep on a wooden bench in the studio at night and have to be sure to have his slippers nearby, so in the morning he didn't step on any straight pins lying on the floor.

Renoir started drawing at school all over his workbooks. One day, Renoir got a hold of some of his dad's tailor chalk and drew pictures on the floor. His parents weren't very happy about this since they were poor, chalk cost money, and it was used for his dad's work.

When his parents took a closer look at what their son had drawn, they noticed their son had talent. And somehow, they put money together to get him some pencils and paper, Renoir was soon drawing portraits of everyone.

At thirteen he left school for his first job, painting pictures on porcelain in a porcelain factory. After the painters were replaced by machines, he did various other jobs, until at nineteen he earned enough money to go to art school.

Renoir learned a lot at art school, but always experimented with better ways to paint. He made a lot of friends at school, and through discussing new ideas about art with his friends, they decided there should be a new way to paint. In a few years these young artist changed painting ideas all over the world.

He didn't sell many paintings though, he was very poor for a long time. It took awhile for him to win customers, but it finally happened for him, and at the age of forty, he finally had enough money to marry.

Fame happened for Renoir, along with illness. He had arthritis which crippled his hands, but he kept on painting. Young artist came to his home to learn and to be inspired.

It wasn't an easy road for him, before and after his success story, but he kept going, and did not give up.

And now...he is still famous...and his paintings are worth a lot of money.

Do you believe you are truly doing what you are to do right now?

Are you struggling?

Are things not going quite as you planned?

If you are doing something, you believe with all of your heart you are to do...don't give up...keep going through the hard times.

Keep perservering.

On a more contemporary note...the author of the book The Help worked and worked on her book for five years. She was refused over and over again. Her friends and family told her to give up, let it go...she didn't, even to the point of sneaking off to a hotel on the weekends to work on her book. Look where her book is now, and a movie was made out of the book.

Be prepared for the good times.

Keep writing. Keep sending your work out. Keep marketing.

Don't give up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Are You A Purah?

Wow! After a super fun and busy summer, I am actually sitting at my desk with my fingers on the keys of my computer working on writing something for my blog!

When I did have free time to write I spent it working on a new Sister Blue Thread Christmas book. I also wrote up a few blog-posts, but I didn't put them up,

I mean, I honestly started to wonder, what are the simple words written on this blog going to matter in the grand scheme of things?

Now, in saying that, I'm not trying to get some feel good comments about my blog. No, I truthfully asked that...once again.

Does it matter? Are people hearing what God can do in their lives through my own life experiences? Does it really help someone when I put myself in a vulnerable position and reveal things in my life? Does anyone see a bigger picture of God and how they can have a relationship with Him?

Then one night, a few weeks ago, I just happen to run into a friend, that I haven't seen for awhile, who inquired about my blog. She mentioned how she would pass it on to a friend, and that friend wondered about my blog.

And then I had a few other friends mention this blog...

Well, this past year I participated in a study on Gideon by Priscilla Schirer.

Gideon is in the book of Judges. God came to Gideon and clearly told him of an assignment he had for him to do and he even told him how it would turn out. Gideon, who was a small, weak man, was going to lead an army against the Israelite's enemy and Gideon's army was going to win.

Well, Gideon needed God to confirm it to him a few times before he believed it was a God assignment just for him.

God faithfully confirmed this assignment for him.

As the story goes, you can clearly see that God knew what Gideon needed in order for him to go ahead and do what God wanted him to do.

God didn't reprimand him. He just answered Gideon the way Gideon needed to be answered.

The story moves on, until it's time for the attack...shortly before the attack God took away pretty much most of Gideon's army, leaving him with 300 men against a humongous amount of men in the enemies camp.


Before the attack began, God let Gideon know he would still win the war, even with the small army. Then God said something I think was really cool...if Gideon was afraid, God told him to take his friend named Purah down to the enemies camp and listen to what was being said among their group of men.

Gideon and Purah followed God's direction. They were able to overhear two guys from the enemy’s army talking about a dream one of them had had. The dream was about Gideon!!... and how he was going to wipe them out.

Awesome!

Once again, Gideon had confirmation that God was going to let his army win. Not only that, he had a witness with him to confirm it.

Purah.

I smiled when I imagined Purah there with Gideon overhearing the enemies conversation. And Gideon turning to his friend Purah, who probably nodded, or smiled at him that yes, he had heard the conversation. Purah may have even smacked him on the back in excitement, who knows, but he was there to confirm for Gideon that yes, they were still going to win the war.

I continued to smile imagining Gideon walking back to camp, filled with confidence in what he was to do, and his friend Purah, saying yes, this is exactly what you are to do.

I smile because, I can see the faces of my own friends and family, who are like Purah's to me when I get discouraged and wonder, is this really how I should spend my time?

And they look at me with a smile, a nod, and say words of affirmation.

They spend their time praying for me. They spend their time talking to me. They confirm that yes, this is what I am to do.

Throughout the Bible we read and study about Moses, Joseph, David, Solomon, Paul, etc...great heroes of the Bible.

In school we study about war heroes, Presidents, and athletes, We read and hear about the stars in movies. The athletes who win awards. The head of big businesses. Those who make billions. Those who "made it".

And we strive to do the best, and to be the best.

But we rarely study about the people who are like Purah's. And rarely do we strive to be someone like Purah, the one who stands there with the nod of the head, or to say the "yes" for what someone else is to do.

I am so blessed to have lots of Purah like people in my life and I honestly don't know how I would be able to do what I do without them. They are the ones who encourage me, support me, pray for me, and remind me of what I'm called to do when I am doubting.

Purah people are important. And if you are someone who is a Purah, you need to know that through your work of encouragement, and all of the other things you invest in a person’s life, things get done.

Thank you with all of my heart to all the Purah's in my life.

After nods of their heads, encouraging words, and prayers...Today, as summer is turning into fall, I sit at my computer and write.