Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guest: Confessions of Conflict Coward

 
 

Conflict. Practically a four letter word. When it hits, I wanta run for the Smokies, to a nice secluded cabin and begin life as a hermit. I consider myself a strong person who, with God’s divine power and protection, has survived many challenges. I’ve hauled hay bales to the top of the barn loft, flung 100 pound feed sacks, roofed a porch, built a deck, dug a fish pond, laid tile, and hung ceiling grid in Honduras. I use most power tools, drill, saws, sander, power stapler, and my personal favorite, the impact driver. I can speak to hundreds of people and can corral a large group of children in sixty seconds. But when someone says, “Let’s schedule a conference,” I turn to a bowl of quivering jelly.

But, I’m in good company. Elijah headed for the hills when Jezebel threatened his life, though God’s mighty spirit rested on him. He was the vessel of many of God’s amazing miracles. And he ran. Literally.

As Elijah fled, God sent angels with food and strength to fuel a 40 day journey to Mt. Sinai. What a comfort for a conflict coward like me. When Elijah arrived, God simply asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then God showed his might before speaking in comfort and direction in a still, small voice. Wow.

Are you attempting to survive conflict? Are you torn down and exhausted with sleepless nights trying to figure it all out? There’s good news. God knows our weaknesses and He’s there to carry you through any difficult situation. Listen to the still, small voice. Listen.
 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6 (NIV)
 
 
Zanne Davis
 
 
 

About the Author:

 
Zanne Davis teaches 2nd and 3rd grade and writes Christian Romance in her spare time.  She’s married to a wonderful husband, has  two  incredible grown kids, and two rays of sunshine, commonly called grandbabies. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Do You Do?

 
© Foto.fritz |
 
 
When You Are Mad…...At God
 
Physical calamity, financial distress, emotional turmoil… You turn to the Father and are met with…nothing. A small fire ignites in the recesses of your soul. You continue to pray and silence is still your answer. The flames grow. As the many petitions fall on deaf ears, your wounded spirit begins to flounder under the battering of the inferno. You cry out in bitter rage, “God! Why have you forsaken me?”
Have you ever experienced the devastation of unanswered prayer?
Luke 11:9 (NKJV) "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” 
Does God hear my prayers? Does He care? Why do the answers not come? Why do the doors not open?
These questions are in my mind on a daily basis. Jesus promised that I may ask and the answers will be given and that I should seek and I will find the way and I can knock and all will be open but for some reason, it just does not seem to work so well for me. 
I am still waiting for answers, still waiting for healing, still waiting…
Matthew 21:21-22 (NKJV) “So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
All right, now I am really mad.  I pray with complete faith, knowing the Lord has the ability to diagnose and heal.  Silence is my answer.  All I want is to know what is going on, Lord!  Worry and Frustration are sore bedfellows.
Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV) “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—“
Okay, that one hurt. Are you saying I have to persevere in my prayer life too? Sheesh! Just move the mountain, already! I know you can do it. I do not have the patience to do this anymore! Oops, is that Your point, God?
 
Matthew 6:34 (NKJV) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
I understand now. Worry and Frustration can find someone else to harass. Thank you, dear Jesus, You always know what to say. Please forgive me for my temper tantrum, Father. Whether the answers come today, next year or years from now, I will continue to pray, knowing You are in control.
 
In Christ,
Renee


Thursday, January 17, 2013

One More Day

 
 
The buzzer sounds and I reach for the alarm clock. Pain shoots down my arm. With a low moan, I struggle to turn the thing off and flop back over, cradling my arm to my side. My shoulder grinds with every movement and tears flood my eyes. Just one more day.
The physical battle through the work day leaves me weary and I arrive at home to land in my comfy chair. Spikes and tingles spread through my fingertips as my back relaxes against the soft cushion. A jackhammer feels like it’s keeping time under my shoulder blade. I close my eyes and thank the Lord for getting me through the day.
I guess the Lord has a lesson for me to learn through this whole ordeal. Modern medicine can’t magically cure this ailment. The doctors don’t know when it will go away or why it happened in the first place. All they know is that it will fix itself, maybe…in it’s own good time. Until then, I’m the one-armed pharmacist/writer.
The Lord is good. He’s my fortress. In Him, I can do all things, so this ol’ shoulder won’t beat me down. I’ll keep working, and writing. And when the tears come, I’ll let Him wipe them away.
Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.”
Are you struggling? Don’t do it alone. He wants to help. Will you let Him today?
In Christ,
 Renee


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Return to Me

 
 
Psalm 10:17-18 “LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.”
     I watch the news each night and find myself in tears at the atrocities I see. The television is littered with stories that used to be a once in a lifetime occasion. Now, they’re a dime a dozen. Or are they? Let’s just say, it’s amazing what the information age did for the media business.
     My soul aches with the stories of unimaginable horror. Death, destruction… I search for the Lord but He’s so hard to find. I catch a glimpse here and there. Hope blossoms then another story dashes it once again.
     I ask myself, “Is it too late for us? Is there any hope?”
Zechariah 1:3-4 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: Return to Me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached’, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds. But they did not hear nor heed Me, says the LORD.”
     Oh, Lord, are You listening? Do You hear me calling?
Isaiah 59:1 “Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.”
     My heart rejoices because I know He’s my Savior and no matter the circumstance, He’ll nurse me through the day. His shoulder bears many tears but in the end, the Lord wipes them all away.
     Do you know my Jesus today?
     In Christ,
     Renee


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pen to the Page: An Author's Examination

 
 
 
Not an exam! I didn’t write this book for someone to pull it apart, did I?
Those words filled my mind the first time I entered a contest. I felt like I was about to sit in the dentist’s chair but I’d just finished the first draft of my manuscript and was at a loss at what to do next. So, I entered it into a writing contest and quickly discovered the world of words.
Needless to say, I didn’t win first prize but I learned the value of a critique. Three writers judged my work. They offered advice and remarked on areas of weakness and strength. Some were easier to read than others but all served their purpose, to make me a better writer.
The key to any critique or contest is your spirit. How will you accept their words? Will you perceive them as an attack or pearls of wisdom? Will they crush your hopes or strengthen your determination? It’s up to you.
After examining the suggestions in their entirety, I edited the manuscript. An addition here, slice there, and change of POVs all over the place! Then a talented author critiqued the new draft and even offered some line edits out of the goodness of her heart! (Thank you, April, you’re an angel in disguise.) Some gentle guidance and smooth direction led this fledgling writer into a third draft.
And a critique group. If you’re a writer, you need one. And an edit group and a writing group… It’s called accountability. If someone doesn’t hold you accountable, who will? You? Try it for awhile and see what happens. Didn’t work too well for me.
I will admit to not tackling both edit and writing groups at the same time. I just don’t have enough time available for that. Right now, my goal is to get my first manuscript edited and remain faithful to my critique group. Those priorities will switch soon then I’ll continue writing my current WIP (work-in-progress).
My third draft turned into a fourth, then a fifth and so on. The book has morphed but the plot is the same. Some characters are slightly different but overall, they’re still who they started out to be. I’ve grown as a writer and so has my novel. It’s an amazing transformation.
So, remember, if you’ve finished or almost finished that first draft and you don’t know where to go from here. Enter a contest or have someone check it out for you. Open your mind to what they may have to say.
After all, even a published writer was unpublished once.
 
Psalm 68:11  “The Lord gave the word; Great was the company of those who proclaimed it”
 
In Christ,
Renee