WF: Drops in the Ocean

Today I had a real conversation with the Lord, one of those were you hear his voice immediately, not spiritually but audible. I had not turned the radio in my car in weeks. I was so consumed by my thoughts that any noise bothered me. Today I decided that I wanted to turn it on. As I’m driving the music is playing in the background. I’m not listening.

worryIn my conversation with the Lord I was telling him that apparently I was feeling lonely. I say apparently because I didn’t recognize it until without thinking I told someone that I was carrying my burdens alone. I was also telling the Lord about something that I need, but not sure how to go about it.  I said that maybe I shouldn’t push forward and settle for something less in the meantime because maybe I’m not ready for the actual blessing I’m praying for.

I started bringing out all those areas where I struggle and that maybe I need to wait for me to be better before things can happen for me. As I’m talking I caught a breather. You know how it is when you can’t get a word in a conversation and when that person takes a breather you finally jump in. That’s what the Lord did with me today.

When I took that breather, in that moment of silence this song started to play. The very first verse says, “I want you as you are not as you ought to be” I kept quiet and started listening. I knew immediately that God was speaking to my heart.  I had never heard this song before but it was the answer to every part of my conversation withocean God.

How many times we believe the lies of the world and the lies of the enemy? We can’t be what we want to be. God can makes us into what we are called to be, but to be that, he just wants us to come to him just as we are. So much love…so much love.

So enjoy this Worship Friday with me. I hope it speaks to you, like it spoke to me.

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WF: Hold My Heart

This song reminds me of many times where we lose faith and question God about his timing. The times in my life where I’ve been in those situations I have to say in hindsight that God was always right. I mean we know he always is, but when we want something to happen or to stop happening we want movement now.

In those darkest places we think God is not listening. We think that there’s something that we need to do to make things happen. We beg, plead and bargain. After the storm we see that God was never late and that his apparent silence had a very valuable reason.

But while we’re in the storm, just like the song says, we need for him to comfort us, to hold us in his hand. We need for him to help us in our disbelief and soothe our impatience. This is a cry out to the loving Father who has promised that through this moments he will carry us through.

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Is this you today? Let us pray for you. You can indicate your prayer request in the comments or send them privately to therisingmuse at gmail dot com

It’s a pleasure to worship with you.

Happy Worship Friday! (WF)

Five Foods

WordPress has these daily prompts that help bloggers come up with topics to blog about. Sometimes they fit my audience and I use their prompts, sometimes I don’t. One of the prompts for last week was: “You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?” 

To me that’s a one sentence answer: Steak, shrimp, pico de gallo, fried plantains and something to wash it up. But it got me thinking on this verse where Jesus said :”It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4

What are the five spiritual foods that we need, not only on a deserted island, but every day of our lives?

  • PrayerprayerIn order to fill our lives with the presence of the Lord we need to pray. Think about any relationship in your life. If you don’t talk to that person, you don’t get to know them, you don’t get to spend time with them. Prayer is the way to communicate with God.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
It’s obvious that God wanted us to pray.
  • Read the Word of God– To live under God’s will we need to know exactly how to live this gift of live that we biblewere given. I hear people all the time saying that they don’t know what God wants from them. Here’s the thing, God gave us a manual on how he sees things, expects things. In this book he portraits who he is, how he feels about us and what live he wants for us to live and how to do it. The book is called The Bible.

 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture given by inspiration of God, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness  

Joshua 1:8 – This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success

  • WorshipworshipWhen we worship the Lord we place ourselves in his presence. We were created for worship. I don’t know about you, but nothing fills my heart of joy and peace like entering in a place of worship with the Lord.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23-24

  • Fellowhip– God didn’t create us to be an island. There’s a lot of us and it is for us to fellowship with one fellowship another. We are to love each other, encourage each other, pray for each other and help each other. By this I’m not talking about acts of charity, I’m talking about everyday life. Yes, the insane obnoxious coworker/neighbor, the teenager with an attitude, the messy spouse, the rude client/customer service person and the prideful acquaintance.

John 17:23  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may knowthat you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

  • Love-loveThe two most important commandments we have to comply with are related to love. First, love God our Lord with ALL our hearts and then love others as we love ourselves. Everything is born out of love. Practicing love everyday in everything we do will nourish our lives.

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

I leave you with this banquet. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until then,

Be blessed.

Come Forth!

I was thinking about how we get complacent in our walk with Christ. It is very easy to live in the routine of Christian Living. You get up, if you are well disciplined you do your prayers and start your daily routine.

Once the day ends once again you do your daily prayers and you go to bed. Some come home tired and stay like zombies watching television for hours until they pass out or they drag themselves to bed and don’t even remember to reflect on the challenges and blessings of the day.

Once a week you go to church, and you pray that the preacher is not too inspired otherwise it’s going to take more time than usual. God forbid there’s a guest speaker, they usually talk even longer.

Have you lost your passion? Have you moved away from your first love, from Jesus?

Why do we lose that passion? We can blame it on many things; the routine, the extra work that your boss has put on your plate, the unruly children, that person at the church who annoys the ever living out of you. If you take a step back, aren’t those just excuses?

God woke you up today and gave you 24 hours out of love. What are you going to do with that time? Wasn’t the whole point of being “saved” and born again to get rid of religion and have a relationship with God?  What areas of your life are dead?

As I was thinking about this, I remember the scriptures regarding Lazarus’s resurrection.

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.[a] And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth! (John 11:40-43)

Who or what is your Lazarus? What is keeping you from being once again on fire for the love of Christ? It’s time to remove the stone, believe in the One that God sent and come forth!

Until then, be blessed

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In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

God’s My Salesman

By Suzanne D. Williams

I’m going to give you the best key to successful marketing you will ever read. It’s so simple, and yet we as Christian authors fail to use it to our advantage. Because we do have an advantage. We have something that enables us to spread word of our writing, draw in readers, and push our books to great success.

Prayer.

Let me ask you a question. Have you prayed over your book? Now, I’m not talking a “please, God, please” prayer. I’m talking the fervent prayer of a righteous man, a prayer based on faith in God’s ability, willingness, and power to help you. (Jas 5:16) I’m talking a bold in-your-face prayer. (Heb 10:19)

“Wait,” you say, “can I pray that?”

Absolutely, you can. First, God said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Mt 7:7) He told you to ask, and he promised answers in the asking. (v8) However, He was specific about how to ask. He said, “Ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (Jas 1:6)

How do you do that? You find a Scripture and apply it to your situation. God has promised success and prosperity in numerous places in the Bible. Joshua 1:8 promises “good success” to the man who mediates (or spends time in) the Word. In 3 John 1:2, we find God wants us to prosper “above all things.” But I especially like the story of Joshua in Genesis 39:3. The Bible says of Joshua’s success, “And that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.”

That’s pretty amazing!

“But, I’m not Joshua,” you say. No, you’re not. You’re greater even than he was. You’re a child of Almighty God, washed in the blood of the Lamb, who sacrificed Himself to save you.

Salvation is all inclusive. It’s more than just your soul. It’s your job, your finances, your health, your children, even your dog. And also your books. God didn’t do a half work, but completed what He came here to do. In light of that, how can you not claim His promises over your writing? If He gave you the story, if you obeyed Him in writing it, then He will bring it to success.

Yet in all things we do, we often put Him last. We strive on our own, using social media, blog articles, and any other manner of getting the word out there and our books into the hands of the readers, forgetting all the while our greatest weapon is to let God do the promotion. He said we can have “exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Eph 3:20) So we should take Him at His word, stand, and having done all to stand, keep standing. (Eph 6:13-14)

Of course, along the way, there’ll be naysayers, those who don’t appreciate our work, or come against it in some fashion. I’ve seen this quite a bit with one of my stories in particular, and to be truthful, I struggled with that. I kept asking God why. And He showed me that I need to stop worrying about why and instead, once again, turn back to what He said in His Word.

Jesus gave us the answer in Matthew 5:44. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Ah, blessing the enemy. I admit, this is the hardest thing to do, but it is also the most important because it has a two-fold effect. First, it removes the pressure from you. The devil can no longer hold whatever the negative situation is over your head as a threat. I mean, why bother you with it when it doesn’t bother you at all? Second, if every time something similar crops up, the person causing the trouble gets blessed instead, that’s not to the devil’s benefit.

“But I lost money.”

“But he hurt my reputation.”

“But my ratings went down.”

But Romans 12:20-21 says, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Overcome evil with good and sew your prayers, and sometimes your books and your money, into the life of someone who needs it. Give them a blessing and move on. Then raise your hands to heaven, and thank God for your success, and let Him do His part. He is, after all, the best marketer there is.

Suzanne-640_thumb.jpgSuzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.

 

To learn more about what she’s doing visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/ or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor.

Careful when praying for light

We all have heard that we should be careful what we ask for because we might get it and it may not be what we have in mind. I’m a nosy person. Friends and family struggle with surprising me because with a minimal clue I am able to figure it out. But I’ve learned that with God things are a little bit different.

Sometimes when someone lies to us or we are in conflict about something, that we can tell that we do not have all the necessary information, we may ask God to reveal to us what’s hidden, but are we ready to handle what will come out?

The Word of God says in 1 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)  Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”

I’ve included this verse in many of my prayers and when things were opened and revealed I was either devastated or astounded by those things that were unknown to me. Now I’m not advocating to stay ignorant. God wants us to walk in truth, wisdom, and freedom.

What I decided to do was to add a little extra to that prayer. Instead of just asking the Lord to reveal what is hidden from me, I’ve also asked him to prepare my heart for those things that may hurt. I ask him to give me wisdom on how to react to the findings and for the peace to deal with it all.

There has never been a time when I’ve asked for revelation of the truth when God has not responded almost immediately, but now I prepare my spirit and my heart for whatever the revelation is.

Do you have an experience where a revelation caught you unprepared and changed your life? I would love to hear it.

Stayed prayed up and be blessed.

Talking about revelations, stay tuned for my new release on December 1st and find out what the letters from Amelia reveal to our main character Daisy Adair.

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21 Ways to Celebrate Gratitude

Idea #15: Thank a Co-worker For Doing Their Job Well

Guest post by Shelley Hitz

Thanksgiving season is soon approaching and this year, I encourage you to take the opportunity to celebrate gratitude. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, take a moment (or two) to celebrate gratitude.

Don’t forget to check out the free book giveaway below.

 

Idea #15:Thank someone at work for doing their job well. If you are still in school or college, thank one of our teachers that has made an impact in your life.

See all 21 ways to celebrate gratitude this Thanksgiving at Shelley’s website: http://www.bodyandsoulpublishing.com/21-ways-to-celebrate-gratitude-during-thanksgiving-this-holiday-season/

Free Gratitude Resource:

On November 14, 15 and 16th, 2012 you can download a FREE Kindle copy of the book, “21 Stories of Gratitude: The Power of Living Life With a Grateful Heart.”

Get your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009YWM3WI

Book Description:

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Are you living life to the fullest? Or are you merely surviving from day to day?

One way to live life to the fullest is to live each day with a grateful heart. In this book, we share 21 stories of gratitude to give you encouragement and hope in your own journey. Gratitude is possible! Even though many times we cannot change our circumstances, we can change the way we see them. We can ask God to empower us to change our thoughts.

Our prayer for you is that you find encouragement within these pages. And we pray that you will ask God for His strength to renew your mind with His truth and the hope He offers each one of us every day. It is only through Christ renewing our minds that we can truly live each day with a grateful heart.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

Other Gratitude Resources:

· 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge: Take the 21 days of gratitude challenge to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. You can do this by yourself or as a family.

· 21 Prayers of Gratitude: Read a prayer of gratitude for 21 days to focus your heart on God and all He has given us.

About the Author:

clip_image003Shelley Hitz has been writing and publishing books since 2008. She is also the author of the website, FindYourTrueBeauty.com, that reaches thousands of girls each month around the world. Her openness and vulnerability as she shares her own story of hope and healing will inspire and encourage you.

Shelley has been ministering to teens since 1998 alongside her husband, CJ. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements.

You can find more about Shelley at www.ShelleyHitz.com or invite her to speak at your event here: www.ChristianSpeakers.tv