I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life. [1 John 5:13]

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Web Slang Tutorial

I don't know about you, but I have trouble keeping up with all the slang being used regularly on the web! I found this very comprehensive list at the Writer's Relief blog. Here are just a few of the abbreviations/slang terms they list.

AAK: Alive and kicking

ADN: Any day now

AFK: Away from the keyboard

AFN: That's all for now

ASL: Age/Sex/Location

B4: Before

BBL: Be back later

BCNU: Be seeing you

B/F or BF: Boyfriend

BFF: Best friend forever

BRB: Be right back

BTW: By the way

CU or CYA: See you or see ya

DEGT: Don't even go there


Click on this link to see the rest of the list: Writer's Relief Blog.


God Approved, God Inspired

I updated my goals and current activities lists on the blog just a few minutes ago. I have mixed results on all fronts, but generally am pleased to have had any goals accomplished or in sight of being accomplished lately!

The only, I mean only, thing I want to do is write! Every moment of every day, I want to write! So I've been thinking about how I "don't have time to write" now that . . . I don't need to fill in the blank, because if you're a writer you've probably already done that with your own excuse . . . er . . . I mean reason!

Several days ago I read a quote from Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, that a fellow blogger had shared. That book was very literally life-changing for me on so many levels! And yet I am finding I need to be reminded of its contents often in order to stay on track. Warren shared that "there is exactly enough time in each day to do what GOD wants you to do."

I believe that too, so the only one I need to look to when seeking the answer to why I don't have enough time is myself! I'm not beating myself up, but rather giving myself a good switft kick in the pants. For me its about lack of self-discipline but it is also about a lack of leaning on God and seeking His guidance regularly throughout my day. I need to stop more often and seek His direction before I do (or don't do) any particular activity.

I did "tone down" a couple of my goals and plans. I'm not copping out, just being realistic. I didn't know when I created my somewhat ambitious plans that I'd be working full time in 2009! I also had no idea where God would lead me. He's got me on the next leg of my journey and I'm just winding the bend. He doesn't let us rest on our laurels much, does He!

June 14 I'll be delivering the message at a retirement home and they will be expecting a "woman of the bible" when I show up! I have been mulling over two characters and then Sunday as our pastor shared a very powerful message about Miriam (sister of Moses) and four other women in the bible, I got a couple of additional ideas! I guess I better decide on one quickly so I can write the script and rehearse it a few times!

I'll be preaching at my home church in July one Sunday when our pastor will be on vacation. The topic is "Opening Yourself To God." Appropriate topic for me, I believe. I feel honored to be asked in that our home church has several seminary students and others on the path to ordination in residence and each of them are more than competent to preach. Based on what the pastor read in my book, he felt I would be a good one to deliver that part of the series and he indicated several of the church staff concurred.

I made a presentation to Richmond Christians Who Write on "How to Set Up a Blog." I used a PowerPoint presentation and took the group through each screen as it would appear for them, in order. It went very well and I hope several of those who had previously been intimidated or uncertain about setting one up felt it was more manageable than they had originally thought.

God is presenting me with some exciting possibilities for the remainder year! Now that my book is available at amazon.com, I'm going to solicit several area book stores about carrying it in stock -- and doing a booksigning event.

I have selected some previously written articles to submit for pay and am going to work on a writing schedule that fits into my weekly schedule and still affords me to do the other routine things I really need to do daily and weekly.

How about you? Have you checked in with God lately? Are you where you thought you'd be this time last year? Do you find you have enough time each day to do exactly what God wants you to do?

"It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him" (Deuteronomy 13:4 NIV).

"I am the LORD your God; follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws" (Ezekiel 20:19 NIV).

"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you" (Jeremiah 30:2 NIV)

"I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name" (1 John 2:12 NIV).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Can't Wait For Heaven!

I've been thinking a lot lately about Jesus. I guess that's not surprising to anyone who knows I'm a Christian. Ideally, Christians do/should spend a lot of time thinking about Him!

For some reason though, I've been thinking about the divine/human aspects of Christ and how the fact that were He only one or the other, there would be no story to tell. Or the story wouldn't be nearly as powerful. Yes, Christ was both human and divine.

He was born to a human woman - God's handpicked vessel for entry into our world. I believe too that he was "more" human than divine--at least at first. By that I mean he was probably a precocious, wise and serious child, yet he was still a child - like any other child. I doubt he went through the "terrible twos" or teenage rebellion - did children 2000 years ago have the luxury of exerting their individuality or expressing it as children today seem to?

To me, His humanness is what evokes my gratitude. He had a human will. Even on the Cross, He could have called down the angels to minister to Him--more, to carry him to heaven away from the evil and sin on earth. He chose to suffer as a human man, die as a human man - a terrible, painful, gruesome death.

Jesus set aside His "God-ness" to be like you and me. Just stop and think about that with me for a moment. Have you ever heard of anything so incredible? Can you even imagine it? The creator of the universe, of time and space itself, dared to step down from heaven to walk among us as a human being. It really makes me cry when I fully grasp this truth.

The first question I am going to ask God when I get to heaven is why? Why, God? Why?
I know: he loves us, he wanted us to know how much he loves us. But it is more than that. There is a desire for an intimacy that He doesn't experience any other way, I think. It is with mankind, His most prized and beloved creation that He was willing to expose Himself, to allow Himself to be seen and felt and heard and experienced. And then, as if it were not enough, He died on a cross. And then . . . ! Then . . . ! He sent the Holy Spirit!

I don't know why I'm so filled up with awe and gratitude and wonder and deep, deep aching longing for my God--I began this post several days ago, thinking perhaps if I waited a bit I would know what has prompted this "sentimental" train of thought!

I think sometimes when we stop long enough to really think about it we begin to grasp how incredible is the mystery and truth that God not only thought of us, created us and purposed our lives, He waits for us in Heaven. I have no doubt He has guided, protected, loved and cared for
me every instant of my life upon this earth.

I can't wait to get to heaven so I can kneel at the foot of His holy throne for the rest of eternity.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More Than Many Sparrows

Writers who read this post will understand how one small thing my husband and I observed during our lunch out this afternoon has produced this post - rather longer than I had anticipated!

My husband and I rarely eat out. In fact we almost never eat out. It has become a luxury we can't really justify most of the time. Today, though, we just felt we had earned a treat and set off for a leisurely lunch at a local Mexican grill.

We sat at a table by a back window of the restaurant and in the parking lot near us was a good sized puddle of water hosting five or six sparrows enjoying the sauna-like temperature of the water. As we watched them, one sparrow hopped out and stood on the curb, bill wide open. We assumed he was squawking at another sparrow.

Sure enough another sparrow only slightly larger than the squawker landed right beside it, bill full of bread, and deposited some of the bread into the open bill of the squawking bird! My husband instantly made the comment, "even the sparrows" in reference to the scripture at the end of this post.

We watched the squacker and the other bird interact 5 or 6 more times. My husband joked that perhaps the other bird kept feeding him to make him stop squawking. He seemed to be too similar in size to the others to actually be a baby. We spent about 5 minutes watching the bathing birds and the squawker and his companion.

I know God watches over us with infinite love and care. Sometimes, when we become a bit weary He even intercedes to send us encouragement; a sign that He is control and we need not worry about our lives or the future. Our chosen lunch spot provided us the opportunity to receive God's loving reminder.

Several hours later as I prepared to make this post about "even the sparrows" I thought I should probably make a quick explanation of what the scripture refers to. So, of course, my research ended up being rather extensive and the explanation rather long. In any case, it's worth sharing and there may be readers who did not know about the significance of sparrows in biblical times.

Besides being used for healing of those with leprosy, by the time of Jesus birds were considered a "poor man's sacrifice." Those who could not afford to offer livestock or other expensive animals bought doves or sparrows outside the temple to offer the priest for a sin sacrifice. (These merchants were among the moneychangers against whom Jesus ranted!)

"The LORD said to Moses, "These are the regulations for the diseased person at the time of his ceremonial cleansing, when he is brought to the priest: The priest is to go outside the camp and examine him. If the person has been healed of his infectious skin disease, the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the one to be cleansed.

"Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot. He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. Seven times he shall sprinkle the one to be cleansed of the infectious disease and pronounce him clean. Then he is to release the live bird in the open fields"" (Leviticus 14:1-7 NIV).

The sparrow is among the most plentiful of all birds and where a blood sacrifice was needed for the cleansing of the leper, two sparrows were taken by the priest for that purpose. One was killed and its blood collected in an earthen vessel. Then the live sparrow along with cedar, scarlet and hyssop were dipped in the blood and the bird then set free. This is a beautiful picture of the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

Hyssop represents humility in a religious context. It also was used to sprinkle blood on the doorposts and lintels of the Israelites at the Passover in Egypt. Cedar wood was burned as incense in temples; the smoke may have been used as a disinfectant and the resin was used as a preservative. Scarlet in this context probably refers to a band of scarlet wood used to tie the hyssop and cedar together to form a sort of brush that was convenient for sprinkling the blood.


This is the context of these statements from Psalms, Matthew and Luke:

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies ? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God" (Luke 12:6 NIV).

"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God" Psalm 84:3 NIV).

"So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31 NIV)

We are indeed worth more than many sparrows. Jesus tells us that if God provides for and cares for the tiny sparrow - one of the most numerous among all birds - how much more will he care for us - each made in His image and likeness - designed for a unique purpose on the earth.

We are God's beloved. I thank Him today for the message He sent us through the sparrows.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

God's Wonder Woman - Pure of Heart

The latest edition of the Beatitudes for God's Wonder Woman has been pulished at Take Root and Write. This beatitude has proved to be especially challenging for me and I find the timing interesting as I am also joining in the Love Dare at Christian Women Take Root.



After you read the column, why not check out the group of about 40 of us who are reading The Love Dare from the movie Fireproof and partiticating in daily discussions about our reading.

I'll be making regular posts here to update everyone on some of the things I learn about myself as a wife AND as a child of God. It's not too late to join in. Click on this Love Dare link to learn more about it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hope Be Undismayed

I just made a blog post at Christian Women Take Root, entitled Hope Be Undismayed.

Yesterday God put on my heart that there was a deep need for hope. It seems that every day the world bombards us with reasons NOT to hope! We must always remember that the One in whom we hope is faithful!

He is the Alpha and Omega God. The God who created hope itself.

Be undismayed, my friends. Stop by the post to be uplifted and find scriptural references that may help you make it through whatever you are experiencing in your life that is eating away at your hope.

Blessings,
Mary