Spiritual warfare is as real as the sunlight and rain. Sometimes spiritual war appears through the unknowing actions of others. Sometimes spiritual warfare is in our own minds, bodies or attitudes. Just like Satan’s temptation of Adam and Even in the garden, spiritual war is designed to take our eyes off God’s promises and blessings, and put our focus on our own desires, lusts or ambitions or fears.
Nothing blocks our lines of communication with God like our own stubborn heart and selfish attitudes. God’s love for us never changes. We don’t earn his grace or attention by the quantity or volume of our prayers. Yet when we hold onto our will ahead of God’s, we stand in the way of God’s ability to answer our prayers. Our own will is at the heart of our hearts when we are displaying the works of the flesh, such as sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambition, acts of rage.
Many of us know Jer. 29.11. I have a mug on my desk imprinted with: “I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope, and a future.” (NIV)
Sometimes I claim this promise like it’s a magic charm, meant to ward off any bad days, or personal difficulty. But that’s not the message of this scripture. Take a minute and read Jer. 29.1-14 in context. God wrote this word through the prophet Jeremiah when:
Our street evangelism ministry was failing. For the third week, no one showed up for the weekend outreach, and in the dim glow of the streetlights, I asked God to continue his work. A few months later, Jeff and I had dinner. The next summer we started praying for Lansing, MI. once a week in his basement. Eight months later, after training and consulting our pastors, we walked into the porn stores and dark, sweaty bars in downtown Lansing, MI on a blustery February Friday evening. We introduced ourselves to our new congregation.
Finding Strength through God’s Eternal Perspective
WHEN A CASSEROLE OR A GREETING CARD ISN’T ENOUGH.
Grief is one of life’s toughest challenges. During such times it is difficult to know where to turn. Yet in the midst of your deepest despair, God reveals Himself and His promises for a better tomorrow. The NIV Hope in the Mourning Bible works to bring a peaceful sense—in the midst of the coldest winter—that spring will one day come again. The collection of devotions and prayers warmly offer inspiration and hope based in God’s Word and his promises to those who have lost loved ones. This Bible emphasizes the love and hope that your Lord has for you even during your darkest days.
Features* Complete text of the NIV, the world’s most popular modern-English Bible* Daily devotions written for and by those who have experienced the loss of a loved one or who are helping a loved one through extended terminal illness* A prayer appendix featuring 52 prayers based on the book of Psalms* Short reflections and song lyrics for meditation * Resources list containing information for those seeking additional help.
I wrote 9 or 10 devotional meditations for this bible, published by Zondervan in Fall 2013. These meditations are designed to come alongside those who are awash on the turbulent sea of grief to help them find their bearings again, and rekindle their hope in God’s mercy and love.
(This is part two in a series on the importance of editors for today’s authors from editor Susan Malone)
So where does that leave you, the writer in need of a manuscript editor? Adrift in a sea of editors and editing services, that’s where. This has been a consistent thread in many of the writing forums I visit, and almost everybody out there is, well, confused. So let’s sift through what’s out there and then see what fits your needs.
All writers need good editors. Even successfully published authors need “outside eyes” to help perfect their work (and many more understand this than do unpublished folks). Once upon a time, a writer would work with her editor at a publishing house to make the book the best it could be, and to further the author’s career as a writer. Well, Dorothy, that was before the tornado blew through town.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the bible, and every verse extols the power, stability, enduring nature and endless authority of God’s word. God’s word is a lamp, by it we avoid sin, it teaches us wisdom, and sets our feet on a straight path. All of these truths are found in Ps 119. If you haven’t read this song lately, I encourage you to build your faith by reading King David’s trust, reliance and dependence on God’s word.
This weekend, I was reading some words from A.W. Tozer. A preacher in the middle of 20th century America. Tozer’s faith and ministry was founded on the same anchor – God’s Word. In an article on the power and surety of God’s word, Tozer said:
Jesus’ last words gave Christians the Great Commission, a command to build disciples in all nations. Disciple building is a process, not an event, and too often Christ followers focus on events. Preaching is part of the process, as is baptism, church membership and reading the Bible. However, unless these lessons become part of a changed life, the discipling process remains incomplete. Teena’s book lays out steps to start and grow a successful small group ministry, which is often the essential key for changing decision makers and church attenders into disciples. (T. Stewart, 2007, Beacon Hill of Kansas City)
Tim is an experienced small group leader and spiritual mentor. His contributions to Successful Small Groups grow from personal experience, and 20 years of discipling ministry.
I met Wanda Maxey three years ago in a small writing group. Timid and quiet, Wanda wanted to tell her private story to the world. She believed that God had taught her about his beautiful love and grace, even though her personal history was filled potholes of alcoholism and abuse. Wanda’s story includes an alcoholic father, and a similar man that she settled for when she got married. Zig Ziglar once said that people often prefer a known hell to an unknown heaven, and his wisdom is woven around the reasons Wanda chose her partner.
Wanda was married to a man like her abusive, alcoholic father for thirty-two years. It took a violent confrontation one night at the point of a gun to bring her to her senses. Her story, in the book Love and Abuse on 40 Acres, tells how she justified the emotional twists and turns until she finally found the courage and freedom in Christ to surrender to him and stand up for herself. Her book is available on Amazon in a print edition, or on Kindle.
I am blessed to see how Wanda has grown personally as the result of taking the risk to tell her story. She is genuine, transparent and honestly confronts her decisions that shaped her life. Today, Wanda is writing and speaking about her personal journey. You can find out more and contact Wanda via http://wandasmaxey.com/.