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Getting Away From it is Good

Sometimes it’s a good thing to put a project away for a while. It’s helpful to get our mind onto other things. Then, in a few weeks or months we can come back and look at the writing with fresh eyes. We can see whether it captivates us or leaves us bored. We can spot the mistakes we couldn’t see before, and we can let our mind pursue new ideas.

I do this from time to time. I will be working on a book or article, and I’ll just put it away for a while. Then, when I come back I can read it as if someone else wrote it. I may have thought of several things I needed to add, or I may have decided to turn the story in another direction. I have yet to see a time when fresh eyes were a bad thing.


Writer’s Block? Forget it!

There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page and not knowing what to write in order to fill it. Or, knowing what to write but being paralyzed with the fear that it won’t be any good. Who cares? Just fill the page and fix it later. I love being able to sit back and read what I’ve wrote, even if I have to edit. It’s so much better than facing that blank page and having to fill it. So just fill it, and then worrying about the rest later.

Don’t know what to write? Just start writing random thoughts, or begin that new book or article idea. If you don’t like it, you can delete it. But if you do like it, you can edit and rewrite until it’s a masterpiece.

What are you waiting for?

Getting Back in the Saddle Again!

Scheduling is always hard. I find that our little farm keeps me quite busy. But I love writing and have committed to spending time at it every day like I used to. I really missed those times and want that again.

So, now to find a balance between the farm and my writing. I already get up early so that I have some quiet time in the morning before the onslaught of the day. It’s just a matter of a little schedule rearranging, right?

Anyway, I have the sequel to my first apocalyptic novel, Unprepared, to work on. Along with that, I have two other fiction novels started. I’d also love to tackle another non-fiction book. Where to start, where to start!

My Apologies!

Wow! I hadn’t realized that it had been four years since I wrote a blog here. I guess I just got caught up in life and forgot. My bad.

Anyway, I am back, and very happily back at that. My writing took a backseat for a while as I finished up my doctorate and continued to work as an independent consultant.

I retired last year and have been getting my farm up and running. It’s been interesting, going from independent consultant to resident farmer. But it’s been fun and I’ve learned a ton, not only about farming but about myself.

But now my writing is taking front and center again as I get more and more organized. I love to write, and it beckons me. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it (though I’d like them to!). What matters is that the characters are alive to me. And the story matters to me.

So then, stay tuned!

When God is Not Enough

There was a time when I was really searching. I had been a Christian for a long time, but had really backslidden. I was so lost. I remember crying out one night to God, saying that I wanted so desperately to turn to Him, but He just wasn’t enough. I believe that as soon as those words came out of my mouth things started to change.

I look back now and realize that what I really wanted from God was all His good blessings and none of the commitment that went with it. Along with that, I wanted to choose my own way and do my own thing. I wanted to control my life, but I wanted to be just enough of a Christian that I would make it into heaven. At that point I didn’t care if I lived in the little shanty on the wrong side of the tracks in heaven. Just getting in at that point was enough. I wanted my cake and to eat it, too.

What happened to change all that? I finally realized that while I was in control of my life, my life was a shambles. Everything was a mess, and I was a mess. I’d gotten what I wanted, which was to be in control. But it turns out I am a lousy manager.

After I had made this statement, things remained as they were for a while longer. It wasn’t until I finally hit bottom that I woke up. I realized that the life I’d been living was not what I wanted after all. It was filled with stress and anger and sadness and desperation. My life was a jumbled up mess of stress and frustration. I was alienating everyone around me, and destroying everything I had ever worked for.

It turned out in the end that “I” was not enough. When I finally surrendered to God I handed him a disaster of a life. And He took it with love. He filled me with a peace and a joy I never knew I could have. He showed me that living life His way was a million times better than living my way. Letting Him have control took away all the stress and frustration I had been trying to deal with before.

I now understand that God is more than enough. He is so much more than enough that we can’t even begin to appropriate all the blessings He has out there. It is as if there is a pile of treasure and we start loading up our pockets. But our pockets get full and we can’t hold anymore. But the pile is just a huge as it was before. And that pile is always waiting for us. Whenever we are ready, God has showers of blessings, of peace and love and comfort, safety, provision, righteousness, satisfaction, understanding, encouragement, enrichment, unity, faith, guidance, boldness, wisdom. The list could go on and on. He’ll handle all our true needs and will open our minds to knowing all that we need to know in order to grow closer to Him.

I have learned that growing closer to Him is the most important thing there ever will be. God is not a sugar daddy up in the sky who passes out candy to whoever asks for it. He looks past my “felt” needs for wealth or power, and takes care of the real ones, like salvation and healing. A sugar daddy will continue to pass out the candy. But soon you’ll have a tummy ache and cavities. The candy is what I thought I needed, and of course, God would never be enough for that. Everyday I would have a new list of “felt” needs. And when God did not fill them I would be dissatisfied. What God has done is open my eyes to the futility of the “felt” needs. He has shown me my true need, and then showed me that I can find help for my need only in Him.

When You’re Going It Alone, You Really Are On Your Own

Many people reject the Bible and Christianity, including all the beliefs and morality that Jesus laid down. They would rather be in control of their own lives and decide their own fates. That is their choice. But what does that mean?

It means that when things go well, people get to take credit for it. If they get a job promotion they can claim that it was their own doing. If they find themselves able to take that great vacation or are able to make that big purchase, they can say that they did it themselves. Great marriage? Their doing. Children? All them. New home? Big savings account? Great car? It is all their doing.

But when things go badly, they also have to take credit for that. Lost that job? Their fault. No money in the bank? That’s their fault, too. Divorced? Children hate them? Foreclosed on their home? All their fault.

The thing is, most people are happy to take the credit when things go well, but not when things don’t.   That’s when the finger pointing starts. “I lost that job because so and so was a real jerk” or “because my boss didn’t understand me” or “because they are downsizing.” It is never the person’s fault. A divorce is always the spouse’s fault and the foreclosure is the economy’s fault, or the bank’s fault, or the spouse’s fault. If the children are acting out then it’s their friend’s fault, or the spouse’s fault, etc… Very few people are willing to own up to their mistakes, even when it is glaringly obvious to everyone else.

The other problem with ‘going it alone’ (as many who reject Christianity do) is that they really are on their own. When they find themselves in an untenable situation they have no one to turn to. Certainly they could reach out to another human for help, but all humans suffer from the same set of weaknesses. Some are stronger in some areas than others, but no one has it all together. So, if a person is experiencing uncontrollable anger over something, where do they go? If they find themselves treated unfairly, who do they turn to? If they’ve been robbed, or if someone has cheated to get ahead at work, or has cut them off on the road, or butted in line at the store, what do they do? They can bottle it all up inside, or gripe and complain to others. But that doesn’t solve anything. They run the risk of becoming known as a grumbler, or having someone share their confidences. No, humans are generally not trustworthy.

For those who have rejected Christianity, the next time you find yourself in a place where you have an emotion that is eating away at you, such as anger, betrayal, frustration or bitterness, consider that God is always there to turn to. He knows and understands. He will listen without judgment. He cares and is waiting to help you, just as soon as you are willing to let Him. Humans will always fail us, but the Bible teaches us that Jesus is that friend that sticks closer than a brother. He will never leave or forsake us. Everyone else may flee, but He promises to stick with you through thick and thin. He gave His very life that you could be free.

If you want to experience that freedom, feel free to contact me for more information.

To Know Him

Most Christians have read Philippians 2:5-8: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” From this verse we understand that Jesus left heaven and came to earth to be like us in every way. Jesus actually gave up being God for a time to come to earth and be like us.

Now the above by itself is enough.  It is a sacrifice we can’t begin to fathom. But there is more. When Jesus left heaven to become one of us, He gave up a constant, intimate and loving fellowship with the other members of the Trinity. It was surely a sacrifice to give up being God, but to give up that fellowship and become a solitary fellow, separated from the Father for the first time ever, well, that had to be harder. He’d never been alone before. And for 30+ years He lived in a human body, cut off from the Father except through prayer.

I always wondered how Jesus could spend an entire night in prayer. But now I understand. Jesus longed to get back into that intimate bond that He’d had before. Prayer was the closest thing He had. It’s like a husband and wife who spend all the time together, just enjoying each other’s company, getting to know each other’s nuances and emotions, etc… Suddenly one of them is ripped away for a while. You can see how they would want to be on the phone every minute talking to each other, or writing letters or just thinking about each other, longing for the day when they will be together again.

This is what prayer should be like for us. We should be growing such a deep bond with our Heavenly Father that when life’s activities “rip” us away for a while, we long to get back into that intimate bond. Prayer should not just be shooting requests at God. Of course those requests need to be made. Bur prayer should be so much more than that. How about prayer being just spending time with God, even if you don’t talk? How about browsing through the Bible and commenting here and there, listening, sharing your feelings, asking questions, waiting, praising and just enjoying?

I confess that up till now my prayer life has not been like this. But I really want it to be. God has so much more for me than I have been willing to take. But as I deepen my commitment to be like Jesus in every way my prayer life needs to deepen as well. And because of what Jesus did for me I can have that same relationship with the Father. The Trinity is not some closed group that I’m not allowed into. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are opening their arms wide to invite me in. I can go as deep as I am able to handle.

The Bible is our window into God’s personality. It is there that we find the reasons to love and worship Him. As we read and come to know God and all His nuances, we can sink into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Like Jesus we can long to be with Him every moment.