In the Writing Services part of my business, I have edited several small works of poetry over the years. In the past couple of months, however, I have had the honor to edit, format, and help publish an entire collection of more than 60 poems. The book will be out next week. It is called Bruised and Smoldering. The title is weighty, as are the sentiments expressed through the author’s words.
Because of the depth of emotion found between the covers, I suggested the author write an introduction that gives a glimpse into his heart for dealing with despair. Here is a snippet from that introduction:
“If you resonate with the pain, sorrow, and depression of spirit in any of these poems, then please also resonate with the hope, promises, and Christ’s glorious grace. Seek His face in your affliction. God’s omnipresence doesn’t only span the topography of natural geography, but can also be sighted on mountaintops and in deep valleys of our soul’s experience. He is with us in heights of holy bliss and with us when we’re under severe affliction.
No poem should serve to encourage you to remain in affliction, rather to fly out on wings of faith, but not without first allowing affliction to do its work. Sorrow over sin does a work in us which very few graces can provide. So, lets not ask God to just pull us out of all affliction, but to teach what ought to be learned therein, then jubilantly look at the past sorrow and present victory with divine joy.”
Isn’t that beautiful? The thought of affliction doing a work within us is not something we often consider. Yet, wouldn’t that be exactly why God allows affliction? To build our souls in ways that easy living just can’t do.
Look for Bruised and Smoldering to appear on Amazon and through Barnes and Noble.com over the next week. It is one I plan to tuck away on my shelf.
Have a blessed weekend!
I recently was a bystander to a conversation about religious beliefs. It was said that, “It doesn’t matter exactly what you believe, but you should have faith in something.”
If you are reading this I want you to know: it matters what you believe! It matters more than any single other thing matters. For truth to be truth, all other things must be false. I can’t decide that one thing is true, and you decide that another thing is true, and both of us are correct.
Christianity holds the belief to be true that Jesus Christ was crucified, He was buried, and on the third day after his death, He rose from the dead. It holds the belief that Jesus is God’s ONLY Son, and He came to earth born of a virgin. It holds the belief that Jesus lived a perfect life while here on earth and willingly died on that cross in order to take the punishment for sin that mankind could not take for itself. By putting Himself in the Devil’s hands for that moment, He freed all who would believe in Him from the Devil’s grasp forever.
If you call yourself to be a Christian, that means you trust that Jesus did this for YOU. If that trust doesn’t change the way you live your life; if that trust doesn’t make you overflow with such gratitude that you WANT to live your life differently; if that trust doesn’t give you an ache and desire to grow more like Jesus, then you may not truly be saved from eternal hell. Accepting Jesus should compel you to live differently because you understand just what you are saved from. Your life is not your own. And if you believe that it is, and if you believe that God wants you to do whatever you have to in order to be happy, and if you believe that you DESERVE anything, then you don’t get it. And if those words make you angry–then you don’t get it. If you think you can be a Christian who “walks on the wild side” and you think that is OK, then you don’t get it. If someone can look at how you live, listen to the way you talk, and see the things you do and not know that you love Christ, then you might not be saved.
Please don’t take this lightly. It matters what you believe. Your eternity depends on it. And although your good deeds on earth are not what save you, if your belief in Christ hasn’t changed your desire to be less like the world and more like Him, then your belief may be in the wrong thing. Don’t wait until you die to find out you were wrong. Then it will be too late.
The tomb is empty. He is risen. He loves you and He wants you to start loving Him.
Last year I decided I wanted to save my $$ and get those super big letters to use in decorating my classroom. As English Language Arts is my thing, I decided I wanted to get READ and WRITE. Hobby Lobby has the big paper box letters on sale this week, so I picked them up. As a fan of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes genius, I decided to give it a try to cover my letters in Calvin & Hobbes comic strips. I am thrilled with how it came out!
1. Supplies: Letters, Mod Podge (for paper on paper), brush, tempera or acrylic paint, exact-o knife, comics
2. I painted the edges of the letters first. I used an orange color because many Calvin & Hobbes comics have Hobbes in them, and I thought the orange would go nicely with the tiger orange of Hobbes. 🙂
3. I pulled the color comics out of the book and trimmed the white border from around the page edges. I laid them face down on my table.
4. Using my brush, I brushed the Mod Podge all across the face of my letter. Then I placed the letter face down on top of the spread out comics.
5. I left it face down for an hour, then turned it over and added Mod Podge under any places where the comics overlapped.
6. I let it sit overnight. Then, I turned it over and used the Exact-o knife to trim around the letter, cutting away the extra paper.
7. I repainted any orange areas that needed it and covered the entire front surface with a layer of the Mod Podge. I love, love, love them!If you make any big awesome letters, share them with me, I’d love to see them!
I came across this lil image from a teacher whose student listed the Ten Commandments as he remembered them. I love it. I would happily do the nae nae with this kid any time. Then we’ll play outside before we punch Hitler on our way to the bank. And we’ll do it while being kind.
The things we say we value and the things we actually truly value are not always congruent. I can say I value a healthy lifestyle, but if I regularly eat foods that are unhealthy, if I drink things that have no health value, and if I find excuses not to exercise, then really, what I say has no meaning at all.
Integrity is a great word. It means you are whole and undivided in thought, words, and actions. THE CHALLENGE: Over the next week I am going to make a list of the ten things I would say, right now, that I truly value. Over the next couple of weeks I am going to pay attention to my actual behaviors and see if what I do on a daily basis has integrity with my stated values. I am hopeful that this will bring to light areas where what I say and what I do don’t line up.
If anyone wants to join me in this Integrity Challenge I’d love to hear from you. What ten things do you value? Does your day reflect them?
People disappoint us. People say mean things.
People are short-sighted. People are selfish.
Sometimes you want to cross your arms and shrink into yourself.
Closing off from others is a protective measure, especially when you’ve been hurt.
Let Jesus be the squeaky-shoes in your heart.
When you want to be mad, let His voice squeak words of love.
He wants you to see the person who’s wronged you as He does.
As someone who needs a squeak of love in their own heart.
It’s hard to stay mad when you’re wearing squeaky shoes. Those are true words!
It’s hard to stay mad when you listen to Jesus. Those are true words, too!
Enjoy this cute video from Metacafe.
The word God has given to me to keep in the forefront of my mind as we begin 2016 is the word CHOOSE.
Joshua 24:15 reads: “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”
Moment by moment we make choices.
We choose whether to work hard or slack off.
We choose if we will be faithful or disloyal.
We choose whether to speak up or shut up.
We choose whether to be really kind or really mean.
We choose what our bodies do, what our lips say, what our eyes see, what our ears hear.
We choose whether we count ourselves among God’s children.
We choose whether to be on God’s team or to pit ourselves against Him.
I tell my kids nearly every day as they head off to school, “Make good choices.” This year, I am reminded that I, too, must make good choices. I choose every day whom I will serve. I commit this year to be found faithful more often and to choose loyalty to the One who died for me.
That’s my word and verse for this year. If God has given you a word or verse, I’d love to hear it.