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Archive for December, 2013

This is part of an ongoing series of devotionals for writers posted on Tuesdays. I skipped last week because of Christmas. I hope yours was wonderful.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This is the time of year when everyone is making resolutions crossing the gamut from diet to improving one’s mind. Every resolution starts out with 100% commitment, but only 12% of resolutions come to fruition.

I do not normally make New Year’s resolutions and this year will be no different. I prefer goals instead of resolutions. Goals are more attainable. Resolutions seem more amorphous. It is all semantics.

As Ecclesiastes 3 points out, all things have a season. Each turning year marks a new season in our lives. Whether you make a resolution this year or not you can choose to walk into 2014 and make it a different, better season.

Spend more time listening to God. Choose to love others. Choose to forgive. Choose to listen rather than speak. Choose to dance.

Choose a better season.

For you: If you make a New Year’s resolution, make it small with measurable goals. For example, I want to do one kind thing for someone else each week or I want to pray for another person every day or I will choose to be thankful for a different blessing each day.

For your characters: If your character made a New Year’s resolution, what would it be and why? What does this desire say about them and their priorities? What will they do if they fail? What will they do if they succeed?

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I’m Batman

There has been a rash of sickness at our house. We have all been trading a sinus infection around like baseball trading cards. Wash was the last one to be sick.

I indulge the boys more than normal when they are sick so I let Wash stay in his Batman shirt for three days. It could have been more, but honestly, I lost count.

He slept, ate, and even left the house multiple times with that shirt on. No, I did not wash it in between wearings. Yes, I took my sick child out of the house.

On Sunday, he wanted to wear it to church, so I told him he could wear it under his dress shirt.

Me: You can wear this shirt over your Batman shirt. It’s your secret identity.

Wash: I’m Batman.

Me, buttoning up his shirt: Don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.

Wash: I’m going to tell everyone my secret identity. I’m Batman.

Me: I think you’re missing the point.

Once at church, he unbuttoned his shirt to show everyone.

I’m Batman.

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This is part of an ongoing series of devotionals for writers posted on Tuesdays.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-14

Some things in our life do not make sense until time has passed. Some events, even though significant, do not fully reveal their meaning until much later.

God’s only Son was born and He sent angels to a cold field full of sheep and lowly shepherds. He could have sent the host of angels to the palaces in the region to declare his intentions: This child will change the world. He will rule, but not as people expect. He will rule with service and love, not with power and wealth.

But God did not send his declaration to the important people. He sent his declaration to the people who needed to hear it and who were open to the message.

Shepherds seem an unlikely audience until you consider that Jesus became The Shepherd. He gathers his flock to Himself. He claims them and protects them from a world of wolves. When we know the whole story, the humble audience makes much more sense.

For You:

Is there an incident in your past which only made sense after time had past? Did that time in your life prepare you for something you are doing now?

For your characters:

Choose an incident from your character’s past. Do they fully understand the meaning and impact this event has on their current situation? Can you help them through this growth during the course of your plot?

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Do Not Be Silent

(This is the third in a series of devotionals for writers which was originally created for a writer’s retreat I hosted.)

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor me. – Psalm 50:14-15

When we call on God in our trouble, God rescues us and redeems our trials. He rescues us in the way that only He can. When we have gone through the fire, we come out refined and then another work begins, the work of telling our tale.

Our thankfulness is a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord. Telling others of all the ways God has moved in our lives is a sacrifice which honors Him and the work He has done in us and it shows others what His love looks like in the life of a believer.

One of the blessings of our trials is the way we use what we have learned for God in service to Him and others. Do not be silent. Be glad and proclaim the wonders He has wrought in your life.

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all They wonders. I will be glad and exult in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High. -Psalm 9:1-2.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.–Hebrews 13:15-16

For You:
For what are you thankful? Think beyond the normal list and dig deep. Do you share this thankfulness with others? Why or why not?

For your characters:
For what are your characters thankful? What does this reveal about their hearts? Does their list change as their story progresses?

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Trouble Redeemed

(This is the second in a series of devotionals for writers which was originally created for a writer’s retreat I hosted.)

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12

As believers we are not assured an easy life, free of troubles. We live in a fallen world and we will face trouble, but how we face them and what we learn from God as we walk through the storms in our life make the difference. When we persevere under trial and draw near to God amidst the storm, He refines us into a better version of ourselves. Just as He redeemed us through Christ, He continues to redeem our trials so we can grow to be more like the Son who saved us.

When we allow the Lord to refine us, He blesses us in ways we never would have imagined. In the middle of his pain, Job could only see the disaster his life has become. He had no notion that God would turn his sorrow into joy and wealth.

And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold… And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning… – Job 42:10, 12

When we focus on our own troubles and lose sight of the Lord, we forget that our path is not about what is happening now but the destination and reward before us, the crown of life which we receive at the end of our journey to Him.

For you:
How has the Lord redeemed a trial in your life? What were the unexpected blessings of your trial? If you are currently facing trouble, do you need to refocus on Him?

For your characters: 
How do the conflicts in your WIP refine and redeem your characters? How does each character’s personality affect how they struggle and grow through the conflict? What do they learn about themselves at the end of their journey? What do they learn about God?

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