Complete

complete_lean2

What comes to your mind when you think about the word complete?

Here’s the dictionary definition:

     – having all parts or elements

– lacking nothing

     – whole; entire; full

– finished; ended; concluded

having all the required or customary characteristics, skills, or the like

     – consummate; perfect in kind or quality

There’s more, but I think you get the picture. Complete means complete. You cannot be more complete than complete. What is complete has no further need for correction or it wouldn’t be complete.

Colossians 2:9-10 says this:

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (NKJV)

Stop. Read that again. And let it blow your mind a little.

You. Are. Complete. In. Him.

Him is Jesus Christ. You are the son or daughter of the Father. And you are hidden in God with Christ. Because you’re in that place with Him, there is no condemnation, no fear, no threat – you are in Him and He is in you.

The second you accept the monumental gift of salvation He offers to every single human being, you are complete.

Let that settle in your brain today.

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Listen

Fire

This is not our house, but our neighbour’s. It is the aftermath of what could have been a complete disaster for the family living there.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning to the sound of crackling, which seemed odd, given the usual silence of our area at that hour. I got out of bed and looked out the window to see flames leaping from the deck of our neighbour’s house, and I had to keep the panic at bay in order to call 911. Everything is so dry around here right now and the forest fire situation is dire. We live on the side of a mountain in the midst of a forest and, well, my imagination kind of flew out of control.

My superhero husband jumped up, got dressed, and ran over to the burning house to make sure the occupants were safely out. They were asleep and hadn’t yet noticed the fire. My superhero then grabbed a garden hose and proceeded to douse the flames, most of which were under control by the time the fire trucks arrived. A firefighter told my husband that had another five minutes passed before the dealing with those flames, the entire house would have been engulfed.

While this post is bragging on my quick-thinking/acting husband, I also want to brag on God.

He’s the one who woke me up.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been meditating on how to better hear God’s voice – to listen and know that I am hearing the voice of His Spirit. There is no doubt in my mind that He spoke in the early hours of this morning, and He was counting on me to listen.

Our Father is the real hero in this story. He saw what was happening and because He has a plan for the family whose house was on fire, He needed His people to get out of bed and do what needed to be done.

What does He need you to do?

Listen. He’ll tell you.

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Words Have Power

Words

Writers are well aware that words have power. Choosing exactly the right words for any given sentence can be a painstaking exercise because you want your reader to experience the scene just like you do.

But the power of words reaches to even the furthest corners of our existence.

This morning, I read Matthew 5:21-22. Here’s what it says:

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” (The Message)

Strong words.

Think about the sixth commandment, which very clearly states, “You shall not murder.” For the vast majority, this is clear enough and we get that God did not intend for this to be a suggestion or a guideline. It’s a command. Period.

But not only does this “written in stone” law prohibit the actual deed of murder, it extends to thoughts and words, to unrighteous anger and destructive insults. Calling another person stupid expresses contempt for their mind, and saying that they are a fool attacks their character. The above passage in Matthew indicates that the speaker of such words is on the brink of hellfire.

Yet, how thoughtlessly we fling words around, giving little attention to their destructive nature, their power, and their ability to kill. The consequences not only do damage to the one(s) to which we refer, but to our own eternal life.

Lord, help us to choose the right words – words that pour life and love and encouragement into the lives of the people around us.

 

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Flip A Coin

Flipping

Who are you, really? Are you who you say you are? Do your actions reflect the person you think you are, or someone completely different?

Let’s flip a coin and find out.

One side of the coin is your belief system, which is what you think and say you believe. The other side of the coin is what you actually believe and how you live it. They should be the same, right?

Wrong.

For most of us, those two sides of the coin are often very different and we don’t even see it. Is it any wonder that we get confused?

The word believe means to have confidence or faith in the truth, to be certain of something and have no doubt. John 1:20 says this:

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”

We think we believe all the promises of God. We even say we believe those promises. But do we act like it?

Next time you pull out a coin, consider which side is the real you.

 

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Undisturbed

Undisturbed

Last week at Bible study, our group talked about the scripture found in Isaiah 26:3 which says,

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Most of us have heard or read that particular verse many times and it never fails to provide a measure of comfort. But if we dig a little deeper, there is more to this seemingly simple sentence.

I wondered about the word peace so I looked it up in the dictionary and found these descriptions: a state of tranquillity; freedom from disturbance or agitation; freedom from internal commotion; quietness of mind; calmness; to be reconciled and live in harmony; silence to a troubled soul. Then I read that the term perfect peace in this passage is the same as the Hebrew word shalom, which encompasses health, happiness, and well-being. Cool.

I also discovered that the word mind, in this case, also has a Hebrew connotation meaning creative imagination. I perked up quite a bit when I saw that.

But what does all of this have to do with a writer, you ask? Oh my, where do I begin!

I think it’s a given that writers have overactive imaginations, and if you are anything like me, that imagination will work hard to keep you distracted from your daily must-dos and your nightly must-sleeps. It has to be put on a leash (sometimes a very short one) and trained to stay under control so that you can focus on the task at hand, whether that be writing or anything else.

That’s where the verse I quoted above comes in.

Perfect peace comes from keeping my mind – my creative imagination – fixed on Jesus, because that place of quiet in Him is where the words flow and the stories rise. It is the place where I am . . . undisturbed.

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Influence

Influence

Influence is a powerful thing. Especially for a writer.

I would have to say that every character, every conversation, and every plot line I’ve ever written has been influenced in some way by a book I’ve read or a person I’ve met. I could almost say that my stories are a collection of snippets from my life.

I remember once, many years ago, my mother read something I wrote and asked me if I felt as rejected and unloved as the teenager in my story. At the time, I was quite upset that she would even ask me that question because nothing could be further from the truth. I did, however, have friends who were in that situation. And I had created a fictional character with pieces of the people and circumstances I knew.

Influence.

We write from our life experiences. Good or bad. Happy or sad. We write with the deep emotions that come from our joys, hurts, anger, and peace. We write about what and who we love, about what keeps us enthralled, and about what makes us feel alive. All of those things, regardless of the source, will in some way find their way to the pages we write.

Kept in the proper context, influence can be a mighty tool in the hands of a writer.

Use it wisely.

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The 2:00 am Inspiration

Clock

I am not one of those people who falls asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I can remember, even as a small child, lying awake in my bed long after everyone else in the house had waltzed merrily on their way to Dreamland. My imagination could roam uninterrupted and it was wonderful.

As I got older, however, those late night wide-awakers weren’t as welcome. School, work, marriage, motherhood and life in general didn’t tend to tolerate sleeping until noon or afternoon nap times. I will admit, however, that there may have been the occasional power down in the office cafeteria during lunch hour. Those were not the inspiration years.

But now with a bit of so-called retirement under my belt, the ideas and imaginations have returned in great abundance. They were never actually gone – just waiting to come out at night when I am trying to sleep, of course.

So, being a results oriented person, I decided to take advantage of that late night wide-awakedness and be productive. I made up a silly game. I lie there in the dark and go through the alphabet, thinking of the most bizarre and unusual adjectives that begin with each letter. I don’t write them down and by morning I’ve forgotten the words I chose, but when I sit down to write I’m amazed at how many of those words come to mind. Especially those that begin with letters A – G. I’m usually asleep after that.

I am also amazed at the inspiration a single word can provide. That tough plot point becomes clear, a piece of dialogue opens up, a character finds an answer . . . all because of a crazy game I play when I’m falling asleep.

Don’t underestimate 2:00 am.

And maybe tonight I’ll start at the letter H.

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