Monday, June 30, 2014

Hearing God's Voice

by Karina Hudson


Hello! This is my first blog entry for Christian Writer’s Downunder and I hope that those who take a few minutes from their day to read it, will be glad they did.

It’s quite daunting to write something for an audience of writers. A similar feeling emerges when I sing in front of other singers; actually, no, it’s more like when I sang in front of a group of highly trained speech therapists! Thoughts that went through my head included things like “Are they analyzing my larynx for any signs of stress or strain? Is my vocal tract worthy of the title of voice teacher?”

Anyway… after a lot of thought over the content of this blog, I decided on this one ….. HEARING GOD’S VOICE - the how and when of God’s call on our lives.

I’ve known the Lord personally since I was 8 years old. I’m a month away from turning 42. During this time, I’ve come to know through experience that God chooses to speak to me in 4 ways:
1. His Word  2. Prayer/Meditation  3. People  4. Circumstances. I also believe that God can speak through our dreams and through His creation although the former 4 ways will be my focus today.

God’s word doesn’t give me specific instructions on matters of guidance like “Karina, write books for Christian Blended Families” or “Resign from your permanent part-time teaching position”. Wouldn’t that make life easier?  However, God will give me scriptures like “God comforts us in all our troubles so we can use that same comfort to comfort others (2 Cor.1:1-3) or “God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28) to quicken my spirit as to what HIS Spirit is doing and then invites me to get on board with His plans.

I’ve found that the study and meditation of God’s word through daily devotional time coupled with time of prayer and then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, applying His word in my life is the best way by which to live and fulfill His purposes for my life. I certainly haven’t always gotten it right, but would like to hope that the older I’m getting, the wiser I’m becoming to be more in tune with God’s call to answer His promptings without delay.

I try not to play a Russian Roulette of sorts with the Bible anymore, by offering up a popcorn (quick) prayer and then opening the Bible randomly to either expect or hope to hear His voice. Rather, I will take time just to be in His Presence, thinking of Him, waiting for Him and then open the Word. Sometimes an answer will be immediate; other times, I will need to wait and allow Him to show me His will through scripture on another occasion or through people and /or circumstances.

I don’t allow just any person to speak into my life. I have a small number of trustworthy and godly people in my world who I will ask for prayer, wisdom or advice - all of whose advice will line up with God’s word. If God is wanting to reveal His will for me at any time, He will not do so only through His Word, my prayer life and godly people but also through circumstances. This way can become quite exciting; as you seek to see God at work in the everyday, orchestrating seemingly ordinary events to help accomplish His purposes that He delights for us to partner with Him in.

A number of years ago, I believed I heard God’s voice calling me to write books targeted specifically for Christian Blended families and although I tarried in answering His call at first, God, in His everlasting love, grace and patience has continued to grow my faith and reassure me that I DID hear His voice in this direction by saying “My sheep hear my voice” (Jn. 10:3). He used scripture, my times of prayer, people and circumstances to confirm to me what He was calling me to accomplish by His strength and through His grace.

August 12, 2014 will mark the day my first book MY TWO HOUSES will be released to both the United States and Australian marketplaces. I also believe it will be a day of great rejoicing in heaven as another of God’s children has heard God’s voice and been obedient in acting on His calling.

Be assured that God can take our ordinary circumstances and with the creativity and imagination He instills into His children who are writers, can use US as tools to help others hear God’s voice as well. That IS exciting!

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecc. 9:10).

Like the eloquent C. Spurgeon has written, “Some people are foolish to think that the only way they can live for God is by becoming a minister or missionary…. Beloved, it is not the work, it is the earnestness with which it is performed”. And I would add “after hearing God’s voice and courageously answering His call.”


Find Karina on her websitekarinahudson.tateauthor.com
or her Facebook pageKarina Hudson- Author/writer




Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Power of Helping Others

In most industries, we refer to those who are doing the same kind of work that we are as our competitors. The aim is to get more attention on your own work and less attention on theirs. It appears to be the total opposite when it comes to creative arts, such as writing. It is our best interest to help our “competitors”.

A Success Story

My video had just finished uploading. I clicked the buttons to share it on several social media sites and leaned back in my chair. I had just released the latest episode of my youTube series - reviewing a book called Synchronic - 13 Tales of Time Travel. I'd lost a little momentum recently due to sickness but was now back on track.

When I checked the next morning I was surprised to see I gained over 40 views while I slept. This was about the same amount that my previous episode had gained in almost two months. I also had a record number of "likes". We're not talking big numbers here, but it was a significant difference.

Mutual Benefit and Community

Why did this particular video fare better than average? Was it particularly well-produced? Had I latched onto a topic that everyone was already talking about? No. So what was it? The book I was reviewing was an indie title, with 13 contributing authors. One of those authors, who I happened to be connected with on Twitter shared it for me. Then another of the authors shared it with all his fans on Facebook and Twitter, tagging all the other authors involved in the project.

I had helped them by giving a positive review for their book, but they had helped me by sharing my video with a bunch of book lovers who would otherwise never have seen it. We helped each other. This kind of mutually beneficial assistance is common in the indie fiction world. It works nicely. Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn calls it Social Karma. We Christians often don't like to use the 'K' word, but all she really means here is that when we help our fellow content creators, we find ourselves getting helped as well. There is a community that builds up. When we help each other, we all win.

I have found that the same helpful culture that exists in the indie fiction world also exists in the Australian Christian fiction industry. There is a wonderful community that is so welcoming of both the experienced author and the growing wannabe. I have been surprised by the help, support and encouragement I have received along my journey.

All of this reminds me of Proverbs 11:25 "A generous person will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."

What do you think?

Do you have any success stories to share? Have you ever experienced a situation where you felt like you were in competition with another author or artist?

Photo credit: prixel creative

Adam CollingsAdam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction and video blogger. He is actively working toward becoming a published author. He lives in Tasmania, Australia. Adam discusses books and movies on his youTube series Stories. You can find Adam on-line at collingszone.wordpress.com or his Google+ Profile

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spicing up Your Novel with Teamwork

by Jessica Everingham



What if I told you there was a secret to supercharging the relationships—romantic or platonic—in your novel?

Fantasy, romance, suspense, this trick applies to any genre. It raises the stakes, it gets us to invest in the characters, sucks us in and won’t let us go. What is it?

Partnership.

Doesn’t sound amazingly exciting, I know.

But think about one of the greatest fictional relationships of all time—Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. TV shows and movies based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters always feature great mysteries, action and suspense. But so do a million other stories. Even Sherlock’s genius mind, while awesome, isn’t entirely unique. So what makes these London crime-fighters so great?

They are partners. With Holmes and Watson, 1+1 does not equal 2. They are ten times better together than apart. They fill one another’s deficiencies—Sherlock needs Watson to balance him out. They are brutally honest with one another, and their teamwork while crime-fighting is exceptional. Their relationship is so strong that they can fight and no one freaks out that the friendship is over. They’re buddies for life, and they know it.

How does this help the story? For starters, it raises the stakes in a big way. If Watson dies, where does that leave Sherlock? Any threat to their lives or relationship suddenly becomes a major issue. It also gives the writers plenty of room for witty banter and other humour.

Television shows have grasped this concept particularly well. Ever watched Castle? The Mentalist?  Covert Affairs? Each of these shows has a partnership at its core, and that is the glue that holds everything else together—even if the crimes, mystery and action get far more screen time.

So, what are some great ways to boost the relationships in your book? Here’s a quick checklist:
  • Banter. Witty dialogue is a real art. Jenny B. Jones’ book, Save The Date, is a great example. So is the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  • Shared history, memories and experiences.
  • Characters knowing what the other will do or say before they do or say it. Remember George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s characters having those half-sentence conversations in the Oceans 11 trilogy?
  • Brutal honesty, even insults. It’s a special relationship when you can tell your friend exactly what you think. Sherlock and Watson are great for this, in either the Robert Downey Jr movies or Benedict Cumberbatch’s BBC version.
  • Opposite personalities fill one another’s ‘holes’, i.e. Kirk and Spock, Holmes and Watson, Jane and Lisbon (The Mentalist), Castle and Beckett (Castle), or Becky Bloomwood and Luke Brandon (Confessions of a Shopoholic).
  • Terrific teamwork. Without even speaking, the characters know when to punch, duck, and kick together to defeat the bad guys. Think Shanghai Noon or Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  • They can fight and still be friends. This goes another step beyond brutal honesty. Rarely can a relationship survive strong conflict or differing opinions; the fact that your characters can do this cements their relationship as unshakeable.
  • Emotional intimacy; the characters confide in one another and go to each other for advice, even if they are romantically involved with someone else. Annie and Auggie in Covert Affairs are a great example.
  • Self-sacrifice. This is a BIG ONE. Anytime a character sacrifices for the other it is a massive ‘awww’ moment. Even a villain, no matter how terrible, can be redeemed by a significant act of self-sacrifice. When a hero does it, it’s that much more heartwarming. Prince Charming and Snow White in Once Upon A Time are total experts at this. Also, before you have a massive sacrifice in your story, you can lead up to it by having one partner act defensive or protective of the other.
  • Trust. This is an absolute must. It’s the foundation of every partnership.

So there you have it. All the tools you need to create your own dynamic duo and inject extra humor, high personal stakes and even romance into your story.

Go dream up something awesome!


Jessica Everingham is a 22 year-old Australian blogger, journalist and aspiring author, and is about to start a new career as a course writer. She loves God, good stories and romance, and combines all those elements in her contemporary Christian romance novels. She loves to connect with fellow readers via her blog, 
www.jessicaeveringham.com, Facebook (www.facebook.com/jessicaeveringhamwriting) and Twitter (@JessEveringham).



Thursday, June 19, 2014

That Boring Chore


7 years ago, God placed my feet on an amazing path – the magnificent journey of becoming a Christian Writer. I have never looked back. Not because of the financial rewards… or rather the lack of it! Not due to the fame and prestige… or the lack of that too. Not due to any worldly benefits … can you think of any? But as all of you my fellow writers would testify – the fulfillment I receive from being a writer is huge. Enormous. Vast. Gargantuan. Mammoth. Epic. Mammoth. Collosal………………Have I said enough?

Yes, I am honoured and blessed to be called a Christian Writer. I am thrilled to be part of a creative community who are Image Bearers of our wonderful, awesome God. The benefits of being one far outweigh any negatives. And then, there are also many perks of being a writer – some which I sometimes don't even recognise. A few years ago, a publisher friend persuaded me that in order to be taken seriously as a writer, I needed a platform. She said my writer’s platform must include a weekly blog. I balked at it. Not that I didn’t like the idea of blog writing. I just didn’t like to add yet another deadline to my already busy schedule. It would be another chore to add to my To-do list each week!

After much thought and prayer however I realised that blog writing was part of the writer’s package. I knew that in order to obey God, there was no way around it. And so I surrendered to Him. In the next few weeks I got busy. I had fun creating my website, ‘Dancing in the Rain’. On the 27th of February 2012, I shared my website (and blog site) with all the world. It was a joyous day. Since then I have written blog after blog after blog. It has actually enriched me. It’s brought a new sense of purpose into my life.

A few weeks into my blog writing, a friend wrote that my blog always encouraged and inspired her. She said she looked forward to reading it every Monday. I was humbled. I was blessed. I was encouraged by her words. And a light went off in my head. From that day onwards, writing my weekly blog was not something I did because I had to. It was because I wanted to. It was a way of honouring God. And of blessing others. Having the right perception and the right attitude made all the difference.


Blog writing wasn’t just a boring chore I had to perform. Instead it became an exciting task with which I could bless God and His world. There was more. During the past few months my world was turned upside down. My church based job which I was very passionate about was whisked away from under me and I was forced to resign. As I grappled with the situation – I found myself floundering in a difficult season of grief and loss.

But guess what! I had still had one job that continued. Yes, that of writing my weekly blog. That ‘boring chore’ now became my lifeline. As I struggled with feelings of failure in my working life – it blessed me to know that there was an area where God still needed me. I was not worthless after all. My once “boring chore” became the joyful focus of each week. It brought meaning to my existence. It kept me going. It blessed me in more ways than one. And I hope blessed many others too. Thank you God. Thank you.

Are you struggling with any tedious aspects of the writing journey that you don’t enjoy? Like editing? Or marketing? Or something else? Let me assure you that the boring aspects of your writing journey may one day become something vitally important. What I've enjoyed most in my blog writing is the connection I have with others. I love hearing from readers how my blog blessed or helped them in their day to day lives. What a great thrill it is when God uses our little offerings and multiplies it for His kingdom.

He doesn’t ask that we reach perfection. Just that we strive at excellence.
He doesn’t demand impossibilities from us. Just our surrender.
He doesn’t force us to do things that are too difficult for us. He desires we obey Him.

Boring? No …wait! Let me rephrase that. Not a boring chore any longer. A joyful task that I offer the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. After all, He’s given me the privilege and honour of sharing His heart with His world. It can’t get better than that, can it? Is God calling you to something today? Do you have a list of excuses as to why you can’t do it? It may be worth your while reflecting on it as you view it through God’s eyes.


One day it may turn out to be your lifeline. And one day the world may resound with praises to our King simply because you obeyed Him.


Anusha Atukorala is passionate about God, His Kingdom, His world, all who live in it, His amazing creation and of course about WRITING. Her first book 'Enjoying the Journey' is a book of little God thoughts and life lessons about every day life. She, like her writing is a work in progress. Do pop into say G'day to her at her website 'Dancing in the Rain.'

Monday, June 16, 2014

Where Will Your Writing Take You?

Writing is a solitary pursuit—it’s you, your laptop, your thoughts and hours of tapping away to get those thoughts into a form someone may one day read.

If you believe your life has purpose and meaning, and that God will use you and your writing for a reason, where will it take you?





My journey began in teaching. I thought I would always be in a school and retire later in life, having had a fulfilling career. Mr Holland’s Opus is one of my favourite movies, and I saw myself as living out a similar life. (Except I don’t have a musical bone in my body!)

However, in 2000 I resigned my position, spent a year doing a post graduate education degree, then another few years where I wrote my first books, did some relief principal jobs, a research job and began training teachers in Cambodia.

All this seemed very bitsy, and I didn’t feel like I had left teaching completely. I was hanging onto it, but at the same time I didn’t feel like I had a ‘real’ job.

I knew quitting teaching would lead me into another season of life, but it didn’t make a lot of sense. I said to God that I would do whatever was in my hand to do.

I didn’t understand a lot of the why, but felt a compulsion to continue to write.

My husband also felt led to give up his career in the corporate world, and in 2009, took up photography professionally whilst still being a director of a company. Over the next three years he transitioned into photography full time.

We never thought we’d ever be able to work together, as over the years our careers were very separate and quite different. Now, we’ve written several photography books together, I edit articles for him, write web copy, write my own books—he does the photography for my books and we travel for several months of the year. 

Recently we spent a week in Seattle speaking to professionals in their 20’s and 30’s about life, philanthropy and work.

Sitting on a rooftop speaking to a group of shiny Seattleites, the sun sparkling off the mountains in the distance with my husband beside me was a long way from the classrooms of a high school.

If I hadn’t taken that leap in 2000, and if I hadn’t gone on to write my books, where would I be now? Still in the classroom enjoying teaching I’m sure—but sometimes God has other plans—plans we could never dream of or anticipate. 




Since the publication of my first book in 2004, writing has taken me on a journey of the soul, as well as a physical journey. God has taken me on a journey to places in the world, and in my soul, I never thought I'd reach.






Where has your writing taken you?

Elaine Fraser

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tubthumping - by Natalie McNee




I was wondering about what I should write for this blog post when the song Tubthumping (I get knocked down) by Chumbawamba came to mind. I haven’t heard this song since the 90’s so I YouTubed it to listen to the lyrics; now I know it’s not a Christian song and the use of some language is not great but I could really relate to the first part of the song which goes like this:

“We’ll be singing when we’re winning,
We’ll be singing,
I get knocked down, but I get up again,
You’re never gonna keep me down!” (Repeat last two lines x7)

Doesn’t this just sum up a writer? How many times do we get critiques, comments and rejection letters to our work which might knock us down but after overcoming the hurt (hopefully not by drinking the whiskey/vodka /larger/cider drink as stated in the song) do we get back up again and just keep going for it?! I believe writers must be the most persistent people on the planet. 

For many years we have had only a few “stars”; those big name authors from big ministries who have had their books published but I believe that is changing. God is no respector of persons so there are no “stars” in the kingdom of heaven. I believe that God is raising up armies of people all over the world armed with pen, paper and computers to get His Word and revelations out to both the saved and unsaved. The more we learn about the craft of writing the more steadfast we will become when opposition heads our way. God has already qualified us as writers and so we need to remind ourselves that if one way doesn’t work then we can try another way and continue to stand until we are victorious in breaking the opposition. 

Persistence pays off, it is a vital character trait for a writer and I have never heard of a writer becoming successful without persistence. Elisha was one of the most persistent people in the Bible, so I encourage you to read 2 Kings 2, and then get back to writing so you can start singing because you’re winning!

Image by Stuart Miles, published on 09 May 2014
Stock Image - image ID: 100259557
www.freedigitalphotos.net



Natalie is a freelance copywriter and ghostwriter servicing the Christian market. She is also the co-owner of Flowers To Remember. Natalie is also proudly a Child Advocate Network supporter with Compassion and volunteers for the Street Chaplains in her free time. To connect with her on various social networks please visit her website www.nataliemcnee.com

Monday, June 9, 2014

Musings from a PJ Day

MUSING ONE
It is a cold day here in Adelaide, most unusual but perfect weather for a PJ day given that it is a long weekend.  So yes it is now after 5pm and what I woud like to know is where did the day go?  I have actually been up since ths morning and spent time fixing a friends website, and then made a phone call to my friend.  I did propose (hahhaa) at the start of the conversation it would just be a quick 10 minutes as I still needed to go and get x, y and z done before Tuesday arrived. But you guessed it 1.5 hours later we were still talking - or should I say my friend was talking LOL!

Family and friends are to be treasured.  Life is not about achievements and goals and accumulating things, but life is about the people we meet on our life journey, the people we take into our lives, hearts and homes. Given my Type A personality I have always been rather focussed on achievements, goals and schedules. God was gracious in brining into my life a beautiful fijian man who as my husband has taught me the physical, emotional and spiritual strength that can be gained from having a PJ day!  We need to take the time to sit underneath the coconut tree as it were, instead of always being busy rowing the boat so fast that we miss the people and the scenery on the way.

MUSING TWO
My husband loves to spend his PJ days with people. Sometimes (or should I say a lot of the time) I never know who my husband is going to bring home next; I have given up count of how many people he is related to; or the names of  what seems like hundreds of neices and nephews and cousins etc  Tevita is a huge lover of people and of community.  Many times our lounge room has been full of over 20 people at midnight talking, eating and singing.  At tmes like these I am glad that our bedroom is at the other end of the house so I can grab my quiet hideaway.

God is a lover of people. God does not want to deny us dreams, goals, achievements, accomplishments, houses, land and other material things, but want He wants us to remember is that His heart beats for people: He came to seek and to save that which was lost.  He came to seek and to save the rich, the poor, the black, the white, the king, the truck driver, the unemployed etc.

We get good at the polite "how are you" but we hope like hang that person is then not going to take the next half hour of our time telling us how they do feel! We allow our lives to become so busy that we don't consiously make or allow the time to STOP AWHILE and pause for the PEOPLE that are around us - our friends, our family and those that God would have to take in to our lives - even at times if it is just for a season.

So there you have it, two of my musings from my PJ day!  Have a faith-filled week!

Love Maree xx

Ideas to Propel U | www.ideastopropelyou.com

The Virtual Hive | www.thevirtualhive.biz




Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

During my recent trip to Africa I saw many wonderful sights; amazing wild animals, beautiful scenery. I also saw images, and captured moments of time on the faces of young Africans, which will live in my mind for a very long time. Our visits to a few of the African tribes in their small villages, were not my favourite part of the trip. I felt like an intruder, an observer of those people's lives; invited to see how they live, to take pictures, to buy some of their trinkets. 'It gives them a little money they'd otherwise not have', said our guide. 'They don't mind.'

As I gazed at their faces, I sensed they minded very much, but felt obliged, even trapped into submitting themselves to this indignity out of desperation. Those of us who stood around, listening to a little of their history, their culture, their circumstances, cast long shadows over the ground of their meagre existence. I found it heart-breaking, and it was all I could do to stay. Even though my heart went out to them, all I could do was to buy a few pieces of jewellery and offer them my thanks.


Someone asked on FB if I was inspired to write a novel based on my time in Africa, but I couldn't even begin to image a story that might have a happy ending for these people. Their culture, their history, is one of subsistence. Women's lives are confined to a few metres of rocky ground where they sit and grind maize and milk into a paste which becomes their staple diet. They carry wood for the fire on their backs, water in buckets on their heads and babies in their arms. They weave grass into roofs for their mud huts, and in their left over time they make trinkets out of stone, plants and bone. Young girls looks around them and sees the wizened women they will become. Their eyes reflect the lack of hope for more.

Young boys can hope to move away from their encampment at least as far as where a little grass might be found for the family's small flock of cows, and there they will sit all day, keeping watch and protecting their animals from predators. The nearest other village or encampment is many kilometres away and one day they may walk there to find a wife for themselves; a wife they will bring back to their village, and build a mud hut for; a wife, perhaps two or three wives, who will bare them sons, so they have the means to watch over more cows. Some people suggest these people are happy enough with their lives, but their faces told me a different story. 

As I reflect on my photos and my time in Africa, I am still saddened. It's hard to see the story of many African tribes changing any time soon. But the story in their faces has changed something in me forever.

I am also left with the very poignant reminder of the truth in the saying, 'A picture paints a thousand words.'

As a novelist, I've almost found myself being jealous of authors of children's books, who can use images and photos to such advantage to tell their stories. It has made me think again how important the cover of a novel may be. An image or photo that grabs a reader, that draws a person into a story, that compels someone to pick up a book, may decide whether our stories will be read at all.

I've also been reminded of the central work of the novelist; to use words to paint pictures. To blend and weave words into paragraphs and chapters which create in the reader wonderful, beautiful, moving, tragic images, so that all of their senses are immersed in our stories.

What a challenge! What a thrill when it works! What a gift when our words transport a reader into another world, another time, another life, and what a privilege to have the opportunity to change a person's world, even for a little while, and perhaps forever.  



Carol writes historical fiction based on her ancestry in Australia.
You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website:
www.carolpreston.com.au
Or on her Amazon Author page :
www.amazon.com/author/carolpreston
or on her FB page:
www.facebook.com/writingtoreach


 






Monday, June 2, 2014

"Running With Purpose" by Gregory Morris

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)
As the Apostle Paul unpacks the imagery of “athletic competition” in this verse…several things immediately come to mind: Location, Position, Posture & Preparation.
·         LOCATION:  As a runner, ask yourself…am I even at the proper address, in the right venue, at the correct stadium…spiritually speaking? Am I embracing & walking in the purpose mandated by my birth? The inquiry of “Adam, where are you?” was not because God needed GPS to determine Adam’s locale. Rhetorical in nature…the question was to provide personal insight on Adam’s behalf concerning the spiritual “disconnect” and dysfunction brought on by his own disobedience. So, regarding “your” relationship with the Lord…are you where you should be? Are you where you need to be in this season of your life? 
·         POSITION:  Are you in the “lane” to which you’ve been assigned? It’s a futile attempt to engage God in a “point-counterpoint” verbal wrestling match in an endeavor to move from the outside lane when He’s already assigned you to the inside lane. You can have the what, why, when & how aspects of His will for your life and yet misfire on the where! Find your lane and don’t move until and/or unless God says otherwise. Identify your gift, your calling, your passion and prayerfully seek God’s direction and guidance accordingly. Bloom where you have been planted!  
·         POSTURE:  Is your “starting block” stance and your form during the race conducive to victory? Simply stated…what’s the posture of your heart? Are you pliable, flexible and receptive to instruction and correction? Are you walking in humility, surrender and obedience? Or are you like the misbehaving kid who upon being admonished by his mother to “sit down and obey”…begrudgingly did so as he mumbled, “I’m sitting down on the outside but I’m standing up on the inside”. On the other side of your obedience is the incredible blessing and favor of God you so desperately need to fulfill your “God-breathed” destiny. 
·         PREPARATION:  Have you yielded to the discipline of the process? Can you trust God “through” the process? That being said…can God trust you? The objective of the refiner’s fire is that we come out as pure gold…that others can see in us the reflection of Christ. Proverbs 27:19 says it best, “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” It’s certainly no coincidence that the words “disciple” and “discipline” originate from the same root word…”to teach, train and instruct.” Creating character in His kids...that's God's relentless pursuit. And He won't quit until it's completed. At times, you may feel unqualified, untrained, "under-gifted", unworthy or perhaps unappreciated. Yet, this is the perfect scenario for God to move and to work in your life. For the believer that's actively pursuing the heart of God, this is a season of "spiritual" circumcision!  It's a process in which there is a cutting away of distractions, baggage, weights and anything or anyone in direct competition for His undivided attention.
So don’t compromise.  Don't settle for less.  Don't opt for mediocrity.  Don't sedate yourself with the status quo.  Run to win! Run with purpose in every step!

Pastor Gregory Morris is a communicator at heart with a passion to share the Gospel via the spoken word, the written word and song. As the “pen of a ready writer”…the mandate upon his life is twofold: a) to reach a hurting, broken world by extending hope through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and b) to equip and empower born again Christians by igniting a greater thirst and hunger for God’s Word through sound, balanced teaching and preaching.