Is Worldly or Heavenly Wisdom The Inspiration For Your Writing?



When I began writing I did it with the selfish ambition of wondering how much money I might be able to obtain. Realistically I knew I’d never be a Jerry Jenkins or Beth Moore, but I harbored some envy toward what they’ve accomplished. I thought it would be wonderful to have at least a couple books do well or have magazines want my short stories.

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”    James 3:14-16

I needed an attitude adjustment. After a few years of struggling with rejections and not being satisfied with my writing God changed everything. The light bulb came on and I understood what God wanted me to write. My whole thought process switched gears. I began writing devotionals.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; the peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”     James 3:17

What a change came over me! I began experiencing satisfaction with what I wrote and the writing process became joyful. Also, doors opened for my writing. I started a blog. Then I was asked to do the devotional every Thursday for The Writing Show. I had a devotional published in Halo Magazine, my church requested five devotionals for a prayer guide, and I was invited to be the speaker at a woman’s retreat held at my former church.

I received no monetary rewards from any of these opportunities, but I gained so much more. Writing is fun. But, most importantly, I’m reaching people with the Word of God as evidenced by new followers almost weekly on Twitter and Linked In. I set up an author page on facebook (Devotions by Lorraine) and I’m beginning to get followers there as well. I’ve even had Satanists write comments which opened up new doors to witness by responding back to them.

When we listen to God’s leading the wisdom we receive is pure and sincere. From it good fruits grow. All envy and selfish ambition fly out the window. We are able to focus on our writing because we know God is in control and His way is best.

Examine your writing life. Are you enjoying what you’re doing? Is the wisdom you’re following from earth or from heaven? There is a big difference between the two.

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Worry, Worry, Worry – What Good Does It Do?

Lake MI 1In two years I will be the age to retire with “full” Social Security. The problem is the amount of money I’ll be getting is around half what I’m bringing home now through work. I will be able to add about $200 from my 403b each month, but that still is not the take-home pay I’m used to.

I worry about needing to down-size. I worry about how much rent will I be able to afford. On top of that add on insurance premiums, utilities, groceries, etc. It is getting more difficult for me to deal with yard work and snow shoveling so I need to go someplace where someone else does those things.  But will I have enough money to make the move?  Will I have to still work at least part-time to make ends meet?

Worry, Worry,Worry

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”    Philippians 4:6-7

The Apostle Paul is telling us we are not to worry. Instead we are to bring those worries to God. What does worrying get us anyway?

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”    Matthew 6:27   (words spoken by Jesus)

Worrying gives us nothing but stress, headaches, and ulcers. None of us need those things.

What we need to do is put those worries into God’s hands. Then we should concentrate on what we can do today. None of us have a clue what will happen tomorrow or in two years. For me that means I can work on decreasing my bills and spending, and I can start weeding through my stuff, getting rid of what I don’t need or haven’t used in years. One day at a time.

What is causing you anxiety? Have you brought it to God? Begin with Him, then do what you can each day trusting that He will give you peace regarding the rest.

Worry and anxiety vs Peace from God.  What sounds right to you?

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When Was The Last Time You Were Hit Between The Eyes By God?

blue_contact_by_claimyourself-d7sdd8qAs Christian writers we were called by God to spread His Word and values through our writing. This is an enormous task. I don’t know about you but there are many days I just don’t feel like writing. I know I should be writing. That’s what God expects me to do, however at times I don’t want to. Either I’m lazy (or rebellious) or I can’t think of a single things to write about.

During those episodes I need an attitude adjustment. I need someone to kick me in the pants and say, “Snap out of it!” There is a verse that did that for me today:

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”    Romans 12:11

Pow! God hit me right between the eyes with this verse. I looked up alternative words for zeal and fervor – “enthusiasm, fire, intensity, passion, devotion, eagerness”. Those two little words – zeal and fervor – pack a wallop.

Now that God has re-awakened the passion in me to write I need to try my hardest not to let it diminish again. Also, I don’t want writing to become a chore, something I have to do. I want to feel the zeal and fervor so writing is something I want to do. I need to be open to God’s leading as to what I should write. Then I must do it.

Being hit between the eyes by God is only the beginning. The support of other Christian writers is also so important in this process. Being a member of a writers’ group and attending writers’ conferences are needed to help us stay on the path God has laid out for us. Other writers can assist in keeping the zeal and fervor alive.

We all need an attitude adjustment from time to time. Has God hit you between the eyes recently? Please share your experience whether it was with your writing or something else in your life. I’d love to hear from you.

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Is God Ridiculously Out of Reach?



Look at this photo. The mailboxes at the lower level are within reach. They can be used for what they were made for – the sending and receiving of mail. The higher mailbox is just crazy. Even tho’ it, too, was made so people could send and receive mail it is so ridiculously out of reach no one can make contact with it.

Does that higher mailbox remind you of God? Does He seem ridiculously out of reach to you?

In Old Testament and at the beginning of New Testament times that’s the way most of the people thought. God was out of reach to them. Only special people such as the priests could reach God. The people had to depend on the sacrifices performed at the Temple by the High Priest and hope that was sufficient to please the almighty God. In the Temple there was a curtain separating the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, from the rest of the Temple. Only the High Priest could enter that area and he did it only once a year. God was this awesome being beyond the reach of ordinary people.

Then something happened. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. Jesus lived and communicated with the ordinary people. He grew up like all the other children. He learned how to be a carpenter. Then, at the age of 30, He began preaching the love of God. He told the people how God is within reach, that they don’t have to rely on the priests to pray for them. They can pray to God themselves and He will listen. Jesus taught that God was the heavenly Father who cared for His children and wanted a relationship with them.

This teaching culminated in the event which took place at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. AND THE CURTAIN OF THE TEMPLE WAS TORN IN TWO.”    Luke 23:44-45

Symbolically the barrier which separated the people from God was destroyed. Through Jesus the way was opened for the common people to reach God. They could know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. They could pray and bring their confessions directly to Him.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”   John 14:6-7

Jesus has shown us God. Jesus is God, the second part of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is not unreachable. He is with you everyday just waiting for you to reach out to Him.

It doesn’t matter what kind of life you’ve lived up to this point. All that matters is that now is a turning point for you. Reach out to God through the name of Jesus. In turn, God will grab hold of you and not let go. You can have a personal relationship with God.

Is today the day you realize that God is not beyond your reach?

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Is This Your Time To Respond To God’s Opportunities?

3roses“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”    Esther 4:14

These words were spoken to Esther by her Uncle Mordecai. Esther was a Jew who became queen of the Persian King. The king was persuaded by an adviser to kill the Jews, not knowing his queen was Jewish. Mordecai felt that because of her royal position she should approach the king to try and save the Jews. Esther does this even though she knows she could be killed. Because of her action many Jews were saved. Esther was put in the royal palace by God for this purpose. She was in the best position to stop the slaughter.

Look at your life. You were put in your family, your job, your location, or in some other situation for a reason. You may not realize it now, but God is having or will have you in the exact place He wants you to be to make a difference in someone’s life. What God wants you to do may seen insignificant to you or it might be something big like what Esther had to do. It doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is that you follow God’s calling for you. The impact of what you do now may not be realized until later in time or you may see the result immediately.

God has a plan to use you and He’s setting up the scenario. Just like all the circumstances in Esther’s life led her to be in a high position in the palace at the exact moment she could help her people the most, God has put His plan in motion for you. You may be where you are, what you are, by divine appointment.

Your job is to become aware of your part in the plan. You might figure it out or God could put someone in your path who will help you see the plan, as Mordecai did for Esther. Either way you are where God wants you to be and He will want to use you for some purpose – great or small.

Becomes close to God. Pray for His guidance. Hear His calling. Then you will be ready for your action when “such a time as this” comes to you. God brings opportunities. You have to decide if you will do it or not.

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The Time Is Now. Are You Ashamed of the Gospel?

4-5-15 new cross at church“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”    Romans 1:16

The Apostle Paul said these words and he put them into practice. He spoke publicly of grace and salvation through Jesus Christ in towns full of pagan worshipers. Many times he was persecuted for what he said, but that never stopped him. Even while a prisoner in Rome, near the end of his life, he openly spoke of his belief in the saving power of grace.

Look at our country today. I am seeing too many signs of the devil winning battles. There are millions of Christians in the United States. Where are they? We should be shouting about Jesus Christ and standing up against the evil which appears to be taking over. Yet, we are not even whispering about Christ’s power and might, His love and mercy.

Are we shamed of the gospel? It sure looks that way. Christians seem to be cowering in the corner instead of standing on the mountaintop. Growing up in the 50’s Christianity was the norm. We went to church. We prayed in school. We memorized Scripture. God was prominent in our daily lives. What changed?

Christians became complaisant, too easy-going. We’ve lost the gumption to speak out. Our founding fathers fought and died to make the USA a country founded on Christian values. Now those values are being turned inside out and Christians are just sitting back and letting it happen.

Why is this country falling apart? Because we’ve turned away from God. The US was a powerful nation. Other countries looked to us for stability and might. Not anymore. Sept. 11 should have been a wake-up call. It was for a short time. However, the momentum wore off and faith in God faded again into the background.

Are we, as Christians, going to continue to be ashamed of the gospel, sitting comfortably in our chairs doing nothing, or are we going to stand up for the gospel as Paul did?

One way to be heard is through the elections of our government officials. This country needs men and women in office who are strong Christians and are not afraid to fight for Christian values. For over 200 years the United States was known as a Christian nation and it can be again.

Can you think of ways, either big or small, where you can stand for Jesus Christ? I’d love to hear about them. Now is the time for Christians to unite and be heard. Then we can say, along with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.”

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What Is The Primary Reward For Writing?

IM000729.JPG“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord, as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”    Colossians 3:23-24

When I was hit with the passion to write the first thing that popped into my head was, “I wonder if I can make some money doing this?”  I never thought of making a career out of writing. I just wanted to have a little supplemental income for when I retire from my full-time job. (And that still may happen someday, but it’s no longer the main reason I keep writing).

I’ve had a devotional published in a magazine and I wrote five devotionals for a prayer guide at my church. I have this blog and my facebook page (Devotions By Lorraine) which goes out to Twitter, LinkedIn and godinterest (the Christian version of pinterest). None of these have resulted in a monetary payment. Yet I have found that if I ever receive money for my writing that would be an added bonus. The primary reward I’m receiving now is the number of people I’m reaching for God and the joy I get from writing.

It’s exciting each time I post something to get a notification that somebody new is following me on one of the social media sites. I receive comments occasionally from people I don’t know telling me that what I wrote touched them in some way. A couple times I received comments from Satanists which opened a door for further evangelism.

When I write I am writing with all my heart. I know now, which I didn’t know when I began this journey, that God is using me as a messenger. It is very humbling to know that God chose me to do this. As long as I remember that, I will remember I am serving Him and not writing for material gain.

If you are filled with the passion to be a Christian writer know that God chose you to do what you’re doing. He hand-picked you to reach a particular group of people based on what you feel led to write about.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with getting paid for our writing. I’m saying don’t let money be the reason you write. Write to the glory of God, serving Him in whatever direction He leads you. Keep that focus and you will receive rewards from the Lord you never dreamed of.

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Senior Citizens, Take Notice!

1412505368lfqxaIn the Old Testament we learn about Caleb. At the age of 40 he was one of the twelve spies who entered the Promised Land to scope it out. Upon their return only Caleb and Joshua said the Israelites could take over the land as long as they had faith that God would help them drive out the inhabitants. The Israelites chose to listen to the other ten spies who said there was no way they could take over the land.

Forty-five years later Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of the original group to enter the Promised Land. Once the people were conquered the lands were divided among the Israelites. Caleb wanted the hill country, the land of the Anakites (giants). He said that with the Lord helping him he’ll drive out the Anakites. And at age 85 he did just that.

Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Through the story of Caleb and the verse in Isaiah we are being told that no matter what our age we can face the challenges before us as long as we rely on God’s help. We retire from our professions, but we should not retire from doing work for God’s kingdom. When we enter our “golden years” there is a lot we can still do. If we are writers, keep writing. If we are still driving we can help take others to medical appointments or shopping. There are many volunteer opportunities for retired people. If nothing else we can be prayer warriors.

Old age should not be an excuse to stop fulfilling a role in God’s work. Are you retired or near retirement? Have you thought about what you will do in your later years? With God’s help you can continue to face challenges and overcome them. With the Lord by your side you can forge ahead as an important part of His plan for The Kingdom.

As long as you are breathing God has work for you to do. He will sustain you. Is your faith in God strong enough to face the challenges of continuing to work for Him no matter how old you become?

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05-09-13 4What is silence and do we give ourselves the opportunity to truly experience it?

According to a Thesaurus other words for silence are: calm, dead air, hush, lull, muteness, quiet, speechlessness, stillness.

I like to sit quietly, emptying my mind of any concerns, responsibilities, thoughts. I just listen. The Basset Hound lying on the couch, cuddled up to me, gently breathing as she sleeps. The ticking of the clock across the room. Birds chirping outside with an occasional car driving by.

I stare out the window watching trees sway in the breeze. The neighborhood is peaceful. I sip my morning coffee, soaking in the tranquility of the moment. No TV. No cell phone. No social media. Just silence.

Sometimes as I’m surrounded by silence I pray. What an excellent time to be close to God. Then I remember the verse from Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” I talk to Him, sometimes with eyes open staring out the window, sometimes with closed eyes. God feels so near in the silence.

Why don’t we allow ourselves these times of silence more often? Our lives become so busy we forget to be still. We think we have to keep moving because we have so much that needs to be done. I’m just as guilty of this as everyone else. I rarely take the time at home for silence. As I’m writing this I’m at my daughter’s home, dog sitting, while she and her family are away for a few days. I have time to do nothing, but sit quietly. There’s no household chores to be done. I don’t have to rush off to work. No responsibilities except to take care of a loving Basset Hound.

Quiet times are rejuvenating. Our bodies and minds need this down time even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Can’t we find just 10 minutes a day to be by ourselves and clear our minds of everything except God? Just those few precious moments of emptying our minds of all anxiety and focusing on God can do wonders for our stress levels. Sometimes spend it speaking to Him. Other times just listen and let Him speak.

Silence. We all need times of silence for our physical and emotional well-being. MAKE TIME TO BE SILENT.

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In A slump

file0001051260198Those of you who follow this blog probably noticed I have not posted anything for three weeks. I was sick for one week and didn’t feel like doing anything. The other two weeks I have not felt like writing. I am in a slump.

I enjoy writing the devotionals, but lately I feel I am just writing the same thing over and over. A few weeks ago I wrote a short story (which I will have my writers’ group critique soon). I had fun writing it, however, since then there’s been nothing. I want to write. I don’t know what to write.

I have been praying about it. I think I want to continue trying my hand at short stories for a while, but I feel guilty not writing the devotionals. I’ve been asking God for some direction. My gut is telling me to pursue the new and different avenue. I am in a slump.

Am I letting God down if I stop writing devotionals for now? I don’t want to write them just for the sake of writing them. If my heart is not in it at this time I don’t want to put out mediocre work. Doing that would not be glorifying God.

I am writing in my journal everyday, but even that is showing the negative feelings I’ve been having lately. I am in a slump. I want out of this slump. I know I will be rejuvenated when I attend a couple writers’ conferences in the fall, but I don’t want to wait that long. In the meantime, I will continue asking for God’s leading. I also need to open my eyes to become more aware of topic ideas that are probably screaming out to me, but I’m not seeing them.

I know there are other writers out there who have gone through a slump. I would love to hear what you did to get out of it. Any comments/suggestions will be welcomed.

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