Friday, November 30, 2012

The Beggar and Me


Matthew 25:37-40 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' "

The picture on the left is one of me several years ago when I was "locked up" to raise money for  the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Last night I had to run an unexpected errand to pick up a plastic tub to hold water for our outdoor feral cats. I was in a hurry and wanted to get home where I could finish editing a Christmas story in progress. After purchasing my item, I headed home. Evening traffic had begun to accumulate causing backups on the main road.

I sat at a stoplight and from the corner of my eye, watched a man holding a sign that said "Hungry. Please help. Anything appreciated. God bless." I tried not to meet his eyes and anxiously waited for the light to turn green so I could move on. I didn't want to give the man money for I knew it would probably go to alcohol or even worse. But when the light turned and I moved on, something happened.

God spoke to me loud and clear. It was one of those moments when I knew I had to be still and know He was God.

I turned my car around, heedless of the long wait in heavy traffic, drove to the closest fast food restaurant and purchased a combo meal. Then I drove back to where that man had been. I saw him walking toward me, his gait slow and heavy. Although it was cold, he wore only a light jacket. A rather large cross on a heavy chain hung upon a t-shirt. His face was beard stubbled (white), and he appeard to be in his late fifties. I stopped the car and rolled down the window.

When I held out the bag of food and the drink, his face broke into a smile. He said, "Oh, how wonderful. Thank you." Then he sat the food on the ground and said, "Wait!"

He fumbled inside his jacket and said, "I write Christian poetry. I want you to have this, but I want you to have the best copies." He pulled out two shabby copies of poems and handed them to me. "God bless you," I said. He responded, "He has." He made the sign of the cross and I moved on.

Whether the food was what he truly needed or not, I don't know. I only know that I was blessed in the giving.

What do you do when you see someone who is begging? Do you meet their eyes? Do you wonder what their story is? Do you look at them the way Jesus would?

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Cure for Insomnia

There are times when all I do is think about "what happens next" in my manuscript. Being a pantser, there is no plotting or outlining before the writing begins. The beginning and ending are clear, but the middle is written "by the seat of my pants."

Scenes will roll by quickly and can suddenly come to a screeching halt. That's the time more "thinking" or "mind plotting" happens. It can consume every waking minute, and even when my eyes are closed in the dark, when sleep should take me away, ideas flow. Tossing and turning, trying to clear my mind...useless.  Talk about a bad case of insomnia!

The only thing that helps, when counting sheep doesn't, is to get out of bed and read the Bible. God's words bring me comfort and rest. Only then, can I crawl between the sheets and find the slumber needed.

Is there anything that keeps you awake at night?

Are there favorite scripture verses that bring you comfort?

Psalm 55:6-7 So I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Take Time to Rest

Matthew 14:13 "When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place."

It is okay to withdraw to a quiet place to renew your spirit when life weighs heavily on your shoulders. Jesus did.

Let's face it. We all have bad days. Especially writers. The words aren't flowing, the ideas have dried up, and we begin to worry that we'll never be able to write another book, story, or article.

Exhaustion doesn't have to be just physical. It can also be mental. During these times, we need to withdraw to a solitary place. Take a walk. Take a nap. Watch a movie. Read a book. Sometimes all we need is a break to come back with a fresh outlook.

Matthew 3:18 "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen."

Jesus walked. I imagine He used this time to talk to His Father. To take deep cleansing breaths of fresh air. To exercise.

A short walk outdoors, or on a treadmill, can do wonders for clearing the cobwebs from our brains.

After Jesus returned from his solitary place on the lake, He returned to business.

Matthew 14:13-14 "When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Climbing Brick Walls

Read Psalm 77

The life of a writer is not for the weak. Since making the decision to share the words which God lays on my heart, I've been tempted so many times to give up. Especially when I run into the proverbial brick wall. Climbing over that wall seems impossible as well as breaking through. I'm not that strong.

I have a dear friend who battled breast cancer and survived only to have it return several years later. She could have given up, but she didn't. Even faced with a brick wall much thicker and taller than any I've run into, she persevered with faith and a positive outlook. She was strong enough to do the battle and break through that wall with Christ by her side.

On days when I feel like giving up, I only need to think of her to realize how petty are my fears. I alone may not be strong enough, but I can do all things through Christ. He gives me the strength to climb brick walls. I only need to seek Him.

Nehemiah 1:11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Tattered Bible

We're all writers, but the greatest Book ever written, the bestseller of all time, is the Bible. I was reminded of that again the other day when I held my grandfather's Bible. The edges of the cover are tattered with age. My grandfather was born April 17, 1890 and died in 1931. He lived 41 years and 5 days according to this Bible. His middle inital was E. I don’t know what it stood for, though I can assume it might have been Eugene since that was the name he gave his son from a previous marriage. Grandfather died when my mother was only six years old and her mother, Mable Eleanor Taylor died at the age of 24 years and 4 months when my mother was only five years old. My heritage for mother’s side of the family is buried in a small graveyard in Illinois. She was adopted and her only contact was with her half-brother who died at an early age as well. My mother is also gone on to her forever home.
But holding this Bible, I feel connected to my past. I wish I had known my grandfather. I don’t even have a picture of him. He held this Bible though, and probably read from it in church. The church might have been one room with wooden pews, much like the one depicted in Little House on the Prairie. So today I wanted to read from this Red Letter, Self-Pronouncing Edition for my daily devotion. The verses are Luke 12:22-32. In my grandfather’s Bible this is from the book of St. Luke. I think the words are beautiful.
And he said unto his disciples, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Dear Heavenly Father, I give thanks today for all your many blessings. Thank you for this tattered Bible. Thank you for the names penned within by my ancestors. And thank you for the sacrifice of Your Beloved Son so that I might one day be abe to see my grandfather in my forever home. Amen.