Friday, November 25, 2016

THANKFUL HEARTS | EXPRESSING OUR GRATITUDE



"I will praise God’s
name in song and glorify him
with thanksgiving."

(Psalm 69:30)








Each Thanksgiving my family has the tradition of sharing thoughts on what we're thankful for. Yet I have to wonder, are there more practical/beneficial ways to express our gratitude to God?

Matthew 25:40 says, "
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

So then, when we bless others, we bless God.

I started brainstorming ideas of how we can
show God our gratitude instead of just telling Him. {Show verses tell. Sounds like something a good writer is trained to do.}  =)

Soon I'd compiled a list of ways we can express our gratitude to God by touching the lives of others. Here's my top 20 picks!

 1) Spend some quality one-on-one time with your spouse.
 2) Hug your children.
 3) Send a Thinking of You card to someone on your heart.
 4) Share a meal with someone who can't or isn't able to return the favor.
 5) Pray with someone who's hurting.
 6) Offer to take a shut-in on an outing.
 7) Give to a worthy charity.
 8) Be someone's hands or feet.
 9) Send a care package to a missionary or military person.
10) Invite someone who has no place to go to your Thanksgiving gathering.
11) Volunteer.
12) Smile at a stranger.
13) Lend a helping hand to someone who's struggling.
14) Visit someone in a nursing home or assisted living.
15) Be a listening ear to someone.
16) Reach out to someone who's lost a loved one.
17) Share the gift of laughter.
18) Help someone in need.
19) Show forgiveness toward someone who has hurt you.
20) Tell someone thank you!

Do you have an idea to add to my list? I'd love to hear it!



Read more of Cynthia’s writing at:
                         https://twitter.com/cynthiaroemer


Friday, November 18, 2016

OUR WEAKNESS | CHRIST'S STRENGTH


"That is why, for Christ’s sake,
I delight in weaknesses,

in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.

For when I am weak,
then I am strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:10)





My least favorite part of this time of year isn't the holiday bustle, the cold chill in the air, or the threat of slick roads. Instead, it's the myriad of germs that seem to find their way into my system repeatedly over the span of fall and winter months.

My work as a school library aide lends to numerous opportunities to pick up nasty illnesses that continually ripple through classrooms and students...and onto their books! Sickness is not only inconvenient and disruptive to our routines, but also weakens our bodies and sets us on edge.

Yet there's an up-side, even to illness. When we're sick, our bodies crave rest. We're forced to slow our pace, allowing more time to dwell on our spiritual health...if we choose to do so. Often our schedules are so crammed and hurried, it takes something such as an illness or accident to still our minds and humble our hearts.

2 Corinthians tells us that it's when we are weak, that we are strong. When we're well, and things are running smoothly, we often lose sight of God's interaction in our lives. But when we're weakened by sickness or injury, we rely more heavily on the Lord's strength to carry us through. 

John 15:5 reminds us that "without Christ we can do nothing"...at least nothing of any eternal value. It's in our weakened state that we realize our dependence on the Father. Next time you're bitten by a bug or find yourself holed up due to a health issue or injury, why not put that time to good use by spending a little more one-on-One time with the Lord, and allow Him to heal you both body and soul?

When has God spoken deeply into your heart? I'd love to have you share your experience.



 Read more of Cynthia’s writing at: http://puttingonthenew.com/author/cynthiaroemer/

View Cynthia's full website at: http://cynthiaroemer.weebly.com/


                             https://twitter.com/cynthiaroemer

Friday, November 11, 2016

TRUSTING WHEN GOD SAYS NO TO OUR PRAYERS



"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you
and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope
and a future."
(Jeremiah 29:11)




Does God only answer select prayers? Or does He answer all of our prayers?

Last year, my family diligently prayed for my cousin's 17 year-old son, who was fighting brain cancer, and a 59 year-old man in our church struggling with liver cancer. Both put up gallant fights, and there were moments of encouragement along the way. Yet both recently lost their battles, to the bereavement of many. Despite all our prayers, and the multitude of prayers of others, God chose to take them home to be with Him. Why? We may never know.

Yet our church also prayed for a five-year-old boy with brain cancer and for a man deathly sick with meningitis, and both were amazingly healed. Again, we may wonder, how does God determine who lives and who dies?

It's then we must recognize God's sovereignty. It isn't for us to understand His ways. We have only this promise to cling to: "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Does the Lord answer all of our prayers? Yes. I believe He does. But not always with a Yes. At times, He asks us to WAIT on His timing. Perhaps you're a writer like me, who has yet to be published and growing discouraged. Or maybe you're facing a difficult decision in your life and in need of guidance. Yet God remains silent. Don't lose heart. The Lord hasn't forgotten you. He's simply teaching you to trust.

Other times, God may answer No. None of us likes to be deprived of our hopes and dreams for ourselves or our loved ones. Some grow bitter and blame God for their hardships, wondering why, if He loves them, He would allow tragedy or pain. As humans, that's often our mistake. We blame God for the evils of an imperfect universe. When sin entered the world, our relationship with God was severed, allowing death, disease, tragedy, and hardships to forever be a part of our world.

God has a master plan for our lives, yet one we often can't decipher. We may never know the reason why He answers our prayers as He does. But we have the assurance that He loved us enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die for us. Our job is to trust Him and continually seek His will for our lives.

Has God answered your prayers in a surprising way? I'd love to hear your story.

Read more of Cynthia’s writing at: http://puttingonthenew.com/author/cynthiaroemer/

View Cynthia's full website at: http://cynthiaroemer.weebly.com/

                             https://twitter.com/cynthiaroemer

Thursday, November 3, 2016

HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR WRITING IDENTITY? by Guest Blogger Jan Cline


Today Jan Cline shares insights from her writing journey. I hope you are as blessed.
Like many writers, I struggle to find my place in this crazy writing and publishing world. Starting out, I had no idea how big a world it was, or that I had jumped into a vast sea of aspiring writers just like me.
Then I caught sight of the big fish – the multi-published, best-selling, popular published authors. I even got to know many of them when I founded and directed a writer’s conference for several years - some of the most talented, enjoyable people I’ve ever met. I found myself on the edge of their circle and thought I was where I belonged. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I could really be a part of that identity as a traditionally published author.
Didn’t happen.
My heart’s desire is to be a novelist. I started late in life, so I worked hard, studied the craft, networked, did social media, and attended conferences. I did everything I knew to do, everything I was advised to do.
But I lost my writing identity. I lost touch with most of the inner circle I hoped to join. So I decided to self-publish. It was a long difficult process and did not produce the Indie-published author identity I thought it might.
I was back to square one. Where is my writing identity?
Ted Dekker in his book The Forgotten Way explains that we will never find our true peace and happiness until we know who we are and who our Father is. When we know all of that with our whole heart and mind, we will be secure in an identity that no one can take away, not even our self.
I must write in the light of my true identity, not for any other reason but to please the One who placed in me the desire to write. He has already decided if I will ever be traditionally published, or who my friends in the business will be or not be. I just need to do what is before me by His design, leaving the rest to Him. I have to align myself with His agenda.
Have you forgotten your writing identity? Your true identity? What has been the one thing that you strive to accomplish in your self-made identity?
May you find the forgotten way.
Blessings, Jan


Jan Cline is an author and speaker from the Pacific Northwest. She also teaches at writers groups and conferences. She is the mother of 3 and the grandmother of 7. Her debut historical novel released in March 2016, Emancipated Heart.