Midweek Morsel: A Scripture Prayer Asking God to Act

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Throughout our world and within our nation we see atrocities committed, we see the need for justice. The wicked need to be stopped, need to pay for their horrific deeds. Peace-loving, law-abiding people need someone to act in their behalf.

Also around the world and within our nation—and within our very own lives—we see hardship, grief, and pain. We’ve been forced to shoulder burdens that feel too heavy to carry anymore. We need someone to act in our behalf.

Here is a scripture prayer that we can pray in times like these. When justice or relief is needed, let’s cry these words to God:

“O LORD, you have seen this, be not silent.” Psalm 35:22a

*Do you have a burden the rest of us can help you shoulder through prayer?

*Flickr photo by spaceamoeba, Creative Commons License

Say No to Say Yes

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Raise your hand if you have trouble saying no when asked to do something. If your hand shot up, don’t feel bad—I’m willing to bet many others did, too.

Most of us struggle to say no for several reasons. We don’t want to disappoint others or not do our part to meet a need. We may fear that someone will think less of us—we want to fit in or be accepted. Sometimes we just flat feel obligated for one reason or another. Saying no feels like such a negative response so we say yes instead, even when it’s not a good thing for us or for our families.

But what if we began to see saying no as a positive thing? Just think about it. When we say no to a request or an offer, we’re actually saying yes to other priorities or responsibilities in our lives.

That’s right—sometimes we need to say no to say yes. When I say no to extra activities or responsibilities right now, I’m saying yes to the writing life God has led me to. Or when I say no to certain ministries or meetings at church, I’m saying yes to the areas where I’m currently serving. And when I say no to some opportunities for socializing, I’m saying yes to time with my husband or to setting aside time where we’re not constantly pushing. Sometimes we need to say no to build margins in our lives.

Let’s think for a moment about the things we’re saying yes to right now. Are these the things we truly want as priorities or obligations in our lives at this point? If something is amiss, what should we do about it?

It may be time to say no to certain things so we can say a wholehearted yes to others. True, saying no may make us feel uncomfortable temporarily, but when that happens, let’s just remember that we are in fact saying yes. Yes to the right things for us today.

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14

*What have you said no to this year in order to say yes?

*Flickr photo by cheerfulmonk, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Loveliness Found

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Have you looked for loveliness this week? If you read my previous post about ways to spark your creativity, you may have tried the tip about going outside and exposing yourself to the beauty found in God’s creation. If so, I bet you found loveliness along the way.

I love Carleton Everett Knox’s verse about finding loveliness and would like to share it with you today. May it further inspire your quest for fresh creativity as well as all things lovely!

“I found loveliness today, down along life’s broad highway—
Saw its beauty in the trees, heard it whisper in the breeze . . . .
Beauty within pastures green, next in clouds of silvery sheen,
Golden glow at break of day, joy in children at their play,
Scented odor of wild rose; peace I found where violet grows—
All along life’s broad highway I found loveliness today.”

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1

*Where have you found loveliness lately?

*My photo

Spark Your Creativity

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September—in all of its back-to-business glory—lends itself to fresh creativity. We’ve all put summer escapes behind us and are busy diving in to regular routines and new challenges. The very nature of the season re-energizes us. And fresh energy many times sparks creativity.

Some may think creativity is beyond them, but that’s just not the case. Since scripture tells us that we are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27) and since we know that God is the Master Creator, we must believe that creativity sounds its drumbeat within each of us. True, the drumbeat will be different in intensity and rhythm from person to person, but we all have God-given creative potential.

So what are some practical ways we can we spark our creativity and fan that flame that’s within us? At one of our Fellowship of Christian Writers group meetings this summer, our president, Elece Hollis, presented a program of tips on being more creative in our writing. I’m sure these tips will spark creativity in other areas, too, though, so with Elece’s permission, I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you. Why not give them a try!

1) Read, read, read—books outside your interest, books on your craft, books for other ages (like children’s story books), the Bible, etc.

2) Allow curiosity to be your indulgence—stop and look at interesting things, take a different route, ask questions, look it up, etc.

3) Use all five senses to observe the world in your own backyard—notice details that you would normally miss, focus on increasing your sensory perception, etc.

4) Try new things—taste new foods, take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, do things you were once afraid to do, etc.

5) Go see art—visit an art museum on every trip you take, view art collections online, visit all art museums in your locale, find other local art, etc.

6) Try some hands-on creating—cooking, gardening, sewing, woodworking, pottery making, crafting, painting, drawing, photography, etc.

7) Get outside and enjoy nature and expose yourself to beauty—revitalize through fresh air and taking a walk, treat your senses to the wonder and beauty of God’s creation.

8) Change your environment—travel, see life through another person’s eyes, try writing (or other work) in a different place (the park, a café, a bookstore, a garden), redecorate your home or office, etc.

9) Schedule some time off every week—don’t make plans until the last minute, maybe walk or just sit and relax, be refreshed by unscheduled minutes.

This summer I’ve been lucky enough to live out several of these tips. I traveled to places I’ve never been before, visited an art museum, and enjoyed nature in a national park, a botanical gardens, and a zoo. And I got to enjoy my hobby of photography while doing it all—and yes, these experiences sparked my creativity!

Join me, won’t you, and try some of Elece’s creativity tips over the next few months. Let’s allow the sparks to fly! (Thanks, Elece, for all the tips!)

“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Psalm 33:3

*What are some other ways to spark creativity?

*Photo by my husband Don

Midweek Morsel: Praise God When All Looks Lost

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What can we do when all looks lost, when the outlook for a situation can only be described as bleak? What do we do with our thoughts and feelings? What action can we take?

Many responses are possible, but let’s look at one example from God’s Word. Consider this portion of the prophet Habakkuk’s prayer in Habakkuk 3:17-19:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

When all looks lost, let’s praise God and rejoice in him in the midst of it. He will be our strength, he will enable us to go on the heights.

*How has God helped you when all seemed lost?

*My photo