Saturday, October 31, 2015

Maggie Speaks Out: Being Light

The ever-amazing Maggie the Wonder Dog is guest blogging again today. In case you haven't met her, she's a six-year old Shih Tzu who can dance like a ballerina, sneak like a spy, and herd cows like a border collie. She's the best!

Can you believe it? My mama let me write two days in a row. "Don't get used to it," she told me, so we better enjoy it while we can.  Maybe, if you leave a lot of nice comments and tell all your friends, she might let me write again soon, instead of making me wait for months and months and months.

Yesterday, I told you about forgiving and forgetting. If you haven't read it, you really should. I don't mean to be critical, but I've noticed that humans need a little help in this area. (okay, a lot.) 

Today, I want to talk about keeping my eye closed. That has worried my mama and Mr. Sam half to death this week. Every time I take Mr. Sam for a walk, he comes back and tells my mama, "She's still keeping her eye closed." My mama is just as bad. When I'm looking around to see what's happening and be sure no more guinea pigs are getting in our house, my mama says, "Oh, poor Maggie, you have your eye closed again." 

What is wrong with closing your eye?

When the sun shines in my eye, it hurts. Okay? If I close my eye, it doesn't hurt and I can stay in the sunshine. I think it's a great solution. 

Am I supposed to stay in the dark? I might be there forever, considering how long this pesty eye is taking to get well. 

No, sir. I like staying in the light, even if it's less comfortable than in the dark. 

I've noticed some humans are a little too fond of the dark. 

My mama says, "Nothing good happens after ten o'clock." She's in the "early to bed and early to rise club". I think it's a dumb club. I like to sleep when I'm tired. I don't care about that early stuff. My mama wears me out making me get up before the sun every day. That's why I have to take so many naps. You might want to talk to her about that. She gets up too early. I don't care if the early bird gets the worm. Who wants worms anyway?

There is nothing good about dark, except sleeping, which is very good. 

Anyway, there is too much sneaking around in the dark and too much carrying dark around in hearts. I've noticed that about humans. When Jesus takes you from the darkness into the light, He does not mean for you to carry the darkness around with you. What's up with that? Didn't you want out of the darkness? 

Jesus said we are supposed to be the light of the world, not the dark of the world. 

If we hang on to the world's darkness, it messes up our light and confuses the people in the darkness. They think, "I can just stay here in the darkness and be the same as those silly people in the light." That is not a good thing, and Jesus does not like it. 

You may be saying, "Oh, I don't have dark in me. I belong to Jesus." Yeah, right. Sin is darkness. If you are living, you have sin. Everybody has sin, but you don't have to hang on to it like a prize. 

Sin is not a prize. Well, maybe the booby prize, and who wants that? Not wonder dogs.

If you have sin, you are supposed to ask Jesus to help you and He will. That's what I did when I got my supposed guinea pig sister. I did not like her even a little bit, but my mama said she was here to stay. I could not be nice about it, so I asked Jesus to help me and He did. He turned that poohing guinea pig into a little sister and she is very nice. She poohs outside like me now, too. He had to help her with that and I thank Him that He did.

Well, I still have not told you what I tried to tell you yesterday, so I'm gonna have to write again tomorrow, if  I can sneak it past my mama. It's time for eye medicine now. Yuck.

Here's the wonder dog lesson of the day.

Be light.

That's the short lesson. Maybe I should've said, "Let Jesus get rid of your darkness," but "be light" is easier to remember. If you are hanging on to some of that darkness, you should let Jesus help you get rid of it, because He will. Then you can show all the people in the darkness how nice it is to just be light. And that's one of the reasons I am closing my hurt eye. So I can just be in the light.

The end. By Maggie the Wonder Dog

PS - This is very important. Don't forget to ask my mama if I can write some more. Thanks.

The end again, Maggie.

Hey, my Mama has a new e-book. You should send it to all your friends for a little surprise. I love surprises. (I prefer jerky surprises, but books are good, too.) Here's the link to The Clay Papers, available as an e-book for personal use or to send as a gift for only 99 cents. 

In case you missed any of the past week's posts, here are the links:  Knowing the GoalRemembering My Way, and Maggie The Wonder Dog and the Hurt EyeMaggie: Avoiding the LightMaggie: Sister Love and the Body of Christ, and Maggie: Forgiving and Forgetting.

The most read post of the past week: Remembering My Way.

#MaggietheWonderDog #lightoftheworld #JesusChrist #sin #holiness

Maggie the Wonder Dog: Confession

I am Maggie the Wonder Dog. In case you don't know, I am an eleven pound Shih Tzu. I live on a farm and my job is, of course, to be a wonder, doing many things that no one would expect me to do. Like dancing in a circle, sneaking like a spy, and herding cows.  Yep!  I can do it all.  Well, I can do it almost all.  This business of having a baby sister... Now that's one thing I just can't quite do.  Ok.  I don't seem to be able to do it at all.

My mama told me confession is good for the soul and that I should confess what I have done.  I don't really want to do that confessing stuff.  Do you know what I mean?  Really, I got in enough trouble already.  I don't much want to worry about my soul, too!  Anyway, if it helps me get out of trouble, I'm all for it, so here goes.

You probably know that my mama went to run errands one day.  When she goes to run errands, she always brings me back a treat.  Usually, the treat is jerky.  I LOVE jerky!  On this terrible day, my mama brought me something that she called a surprise.  It was a surprise all right! It was a furry THING that kinda looked like a guinea pig at first.  It squeaked a lot and would pooh in the floor.  I did not like it one little bit.  My mama kept saying it was my adopted baby sister, but I could not believe it.

Finally, my friend Lou told me to sniff the coming-out part, I did, and found out it really was a dog. It's not much of a dog, though.  It is bigger than it used to be, and it looks just like a gremlin now.  You would not believe how pesty this Gremlin-dog is!  She just about drives me crazy.  She has learned about sniffing the coming-out part, and she wants to sniff constantly.  Really, once should be enough! She hops a lot, too.  I don't know why she doesn't walk, but she really likes hopping.  Hey, maybe she's really a bunny!  I like bunnies!  Well, she can't be a bunny, because I don't like her at all, and I would if she were a bunny.  Oh well.  All this hopping is a problem, because she wants to hop on me, too!  Boing! Boing! Boing!  Hopping all the time! 

Friday night, I was sharing Lou's food, just like I always do, and Mamie was trying to sneak some. Maybe she thought she was sneaking like a spy, but we could all see her.  I am the only one around here who sneaks like a spy!  Anyway, I barked at her and she would not quit.  That food bowl was not big enough for Lou and me and the Gremlin-dog, too.  I barked again and started to growl just a little.  She would not quit.  My mama says that is how puppies are, but I say they should learn.  Finally, I had barked and growled, and she wouldn't quit, so I started growling for real.  I was so frustrated that I chased her off the porch and pinned her down.  I was sick to death of her!  OK, I was growling and trying to bite her. My mama came flying in between us and grabbed her up, and a kinda bad thing happened.  I really, really didn't mean to do this, but I accidentally bit my mama.  Well, it was just a little bite, but it was still bad.  I confess it was not a nice thing to do.  My mama thought I was trying to kill my baby sister. I didn't really have killing on my mind, but I did have MAD and SICK TO DEATH on my mind!

 I tried to say I was sorry, but my mama wasn't interested in sorry.  She said, "Maggie.  I have had enough.  You may think you are the Alpha around here, but you are not.  I am the boss.  You are not, and you are going to have to do things my way."  She wasn't smiling when she said that.  Then she said something terrible.  She said, "Maggie, you are not acting like a Wonder Dog at all.  There are about to be some changes around here and you are going to find out who is boss."  My mama makes me sit on a pillow on the floor instead of in her lap and I have to sleep in the kitchen now.  She says I was too spoiled.  I like being spoiled.  I do not like sleeping in the kitchen, not one little bit.

This has not worked out like I expected at all. I thought I might run that dumb Gremlin-dog off, but it looks like I'm the one that's losing.  That dog is here to stay.  Her name is Mamie. That 's what my mama said I should say. She says she's tired of my not-nice names for Mamie.  OK.  Mamie.  Mamie. Mamie.  So there!

I confess it.  Mama said I had to confess and I am.  I haven't been nice to Mamie. I haven't liked Mamie.  In fact, I've been mean to Mamie.  The crazy thing, though, is that I'm the one that has lost out.  Being mean has only hurt me.  My mama is really big on this loving your enemies and being kind when you don't feel like it business.  She says that you don't get blessings for being mean.  You get blessings for loving and being kind.  I didn't believe her, but it looks like she was right. Again.

Mamie seems like an enemy to me, and it sure has been hard to be nice to her, but I'm trying.  Mama is making me.  The funny thing is that it's easier to be nice today than it was yesterday.  Mama says it will be even easier tomorrow.  You know, what else?  My mama has helped me a lot.  When Mamie is being pesty, she moves her quick before I get really angry.  She says that's what God does for her. When she doesn't want to do right, He helps her do it anyway!  That's a pretty good deal she has with God, don't you think? It's why she's helping me, and I'm really glad she is!

Well, Wonder Dogs have to give a Wonder Dog Lesson of the Day, and here's mine:

 There are no blessings for being mean.    
It's better to do things God's way.
If you need help, God will give it.  
Just ask Him. He's really nice that way.

The end.  By Maggie the Wonder Dog.

Sister of Mamie the Apprentice Wonder Puppy.
I can't believe I just wrote that!  Oh well...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Maggie Speaks Out: Forgiving and Forgetting

Maggie the Wonder Dog is guest blogging today. In case you haven't met her, she's a six-year old Shih Tzu who can dance like a ballerina, sneak like a spy, and herd cows like a border collie. She's the best!

My mama has talked about my hurt eye all week and she hasn't let me tell you one single thing. She hogs the writing, but that's okay. It's her favorite. My favorite is sleeping in the sunshine. Today, though, it's my turn. Hooray!

Chasing possums is my favorite, too, but it upsets Mama. She says they might bite and give me a disease. I have had enough disease with my eye, so no possum-chasing for me any time soon. No, sir.

Mama has worried constantly about how my eye got hurt, but I told her, "Do not worry about that any more. Forget about it and let the past be the past." She said humans have a really hard time about forgetting. I knew that already. Don't people know about getting over stuff?

Here's a little hint. If you want the past to stay in the past, leave it there and quit talking about it

That's what dogs do. If you mess up and don't give us a treat when we want it, we just forgive you and love you anyway. Even if you are mean to us, we still forgive you. We still love you. 

You should check with Jesus about this, but my Mama told me He said, "Forgive." He did not say, "Talk about it all the time until everyone around you goes insane from hearing you gripe and complain." 

(My mama said I had to apologize for that. She wasn't griping and complaining. She was planning how to prevent another eye injury. Yeah, right.)

If my sister hurt my eye, and I'm not saying she did, I'm supposed to forgive her. I don't think humans know about that word, but it means to "deliver unconditionally." If I deliver my sister, if she hurt my eye (and I'm not saying she did), I will not have any conditions on setting her free from me being mad about my eye. I will just set her free and let her go from my anger. I will not keep worrying and saying, "You hurt me. Don't you do it again." That won't help anything. 

Anyway, I meant to tell you about why I keep my eye closed. That is a lesson you need to learn, too. I will tell you tomorrow. If my mama will let me write again. 

It's time for my eye salve, which is really slimy and kinda yucky. Have you tried to see through eye ointment before? It is not easy. 

Before I get my eye slimed, I want to give you the Wonder Dog Lesson of the Day:

Get over it.

(Wonder Dogs like short lessons so we can remember it. When you forgive, you're supposed to forgive and get over it, too. Quit talking about it. Quit thinking about it. Just get over it. That's what Jesus did for you, so you should do it, too. If you're having trouble with this, do what Wonder Dogs do. We ask Jesus to help us, and He does.)

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 nasb

That's all for today, but don't forget. Let the past stay in the past. Even if the past caused a big hole in your eye. 

Worrying about why won't close the hole in your eye. 

Hey, that's a little rhyme. Time for eye slime. (There's another rhyme.) See you tomorrow. Maybe.
In case you missed any of the past week's posts, here are the links:  I Shook His Hand OnceKnowing the GoalRemembering My Way, and Maggie The Wonder Dog and the Hurt Eye, Maggie: Avoiding the Light, and Maggie: Sister Love and the Body of Christ.

The most read post of the past week: Remembering My Way.

Here's the link to The Clay Papers, available as an e-book for personal use or to send as a gift for only 99 cents. 
#forgiveandforget #MaggietheWonderDog #JesusChrist #letitgo

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maggie the Wonder Dog: Sister Love and the Body of Christ

Maggie the Wonder Dog has had a hard week. In case you've missed the other stories in this series (all of which are true), Maggie is my 6-year old Shih Tzu. She sustained a severe corneal abrasion a few days ago and has had a hard time of it. Severe photophobia has kept her in the darkest spot in my house. Eye pain has prevented her from running and playing as much as usual. Lest you think she's languished all week, she's played some every day, but it's been clear that she hasn't felt good.

The veterinarian and I assumed her injury was from our ramble in the woods last week, but yesterday I saw something that caused me to reconsider. Mamie the Apprentice Wonder Puppy, Maggie's adopted sister, was trying to get Maggie to play. As she often does, she patted Maggie in the face trying to get her attention. 

This time, however, it wasn't a gentle pat. It was a whack. Actually, Mamie scraped down Maggie's face with her paw, beginning just above her eye. When I saw it, the size and shape of Maggie's wound replayed in my mind and I thought, "That was no blackberry thorn." I'm not accusing Mamie, but the whack and scrape from yesterday could easily explain the wound.

When I saw her trying to get Maggie to play, a thought flashed into my mind. 

The army of God is the only army that routinely shoots its wounded.

It's a shocking thought, isn't it? If our nation's soldiers shot their comrades when they were injured, there would be court martials and 24-hour CNN coverage of Congressional hearings. It would be a scandal. We'd be horrified.

When one of our comrades in the faith, one of our brothers and sisters, is wounded because of sin (their own or someone else's), it is, sadly, not uncommon for the rest of us to make their situation a matter of "prayer request distribution" (AKA gossip). When the body of Christ fuels the fires of negative public opinion, we can and do cause greater harm to our family members, the body of Christ. We, in effect, shoot our wounded. 

When we criticize and point our fingers at those whose behavior offends us, we can (and do) drive them away from the body of Christ intended to uphold them and help them grow as disciples. 

(There is a process for helping one who is weak, but it does not involve a critical and judgmental spirit.)

We cannot teach and condemn at the same time. We cannot love and slash with our words simultaneously.

I write those words and realize that I am not completely innocent, either, and it grieves me. 

Why do we wound each other? Because we do not love as we ought.

Even worse than injuring our fellow believers, our failure to love grieves our Lord, who taught us how to love by His example at the cross.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35 nasb


This love for one another in the body of Christ is not optional

Love is not a choice. It's a requirement.

 Let us, then, love one another as Christ loved us. Unconditional, unbounded, unending love.

In so doing, we will show the world the inescapable, most desirable love of God and, just maybe, draw the lonely, love-starved world in which we live to the One who is Love.

The most read post of the past week: Remembering My Way.

Here's the link to The Clay Papers, available as an e-book for personal use or to send as a gift for only 99 cents. 
#loveoneanother #disciple #JesusChrist #bodyofChrist

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Maggie the Wonder Dog and the Hurt Eye: Avoiding the Light

For those of you who missed yesterday's post, Maggie the Wonder Dog somehow injured her eye and has a severe corneal abrasion. (The link to that story is at the end of this post)

She's been a trooper, but corneal abrasions hurt. Bright light is especially painful, so she's chosen the room with the dimmest light this week.  

As we've avoided the light to make her eye more comfortable, I've been reminded that, as believers, we are the light of the world. We can present that light as a burning bright laser beam, akin to a flashlight in the face, or as the warm and welcoming glow of a candle. 

Those with the wounds of sin are often like Maggie, avoiding the light because of the pain it can bring. When we, as believers, present the light of Christ in a harsh, hard way, that too-bright light can be so painful it drives those in need of Christ's love farther away. When presented in a warm glow, however, the light of Christ can welcome and draw those in darkness to Him.

What kind of light emanates from your life? Does it draw people closer to Jesus or push them away because of the harshness of the glare? 

Let's be sure we, the light of the world, are emitting The Light that, when lifted high will draw others to Christ.
In case you missed any of the past week's posts, here are the links:  The Blessing of ProtectionBecoming a Writer: Cover RevealI Shook His Hand OnceKnowing the Goal, Remembering My Way, and Maggie The Wonder Dog and the Hurt Eye.

The most read post of the past week: Remembering My Way.

Here's the link to The Clay Papers, available as an e-book for personal use or to send as a gift for only 99 cents. 
#light #eyepain #lightofhteworld #JesusChrist

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Maggie The Wonder Dog and the Hurt Eye

Maggie the Wonder Dog, in case you don't know, is my six year old Shih Tzu and older sibling to Mamie the Apprentice Wonder Puppy. She is sassy and funny and smart. She can do the usual dog tricks, but she can also herd cattle, dance like a ballerina, and sneak like a spy. She is a terrific dog.

On Thursday, the Wonder Dogs and I went for a long ramble in the woods. They crawled through blackberry brambles, jumped through tall grass, and raced through pastures with abandon. They both had great fun, and finished off the jaunt with a swim in the lake, which required baths for both dogs.
They were exhausted after the fun. Somewhere in the midst of the rambling, Maggie injured her eye, but it didn't slow her down. She kept playing.

Late Friday afternoon, I noticed there was some drainage from Maggie's left eye. Over the weekend, it worsened and, by Sunday I could see slough and a scrape, even without an otoscope. 

We were at the vet's office early yesterday. The staining confirmed what we could see with the naked eye. Maggie has a large corneal abrasion. 

In case you don't know, the cornea is the clear outer covering of the eye. When a scratch of the cornea occurs, it causes severe pain, especially with bright light, and blurred vision. If severe enough, it can cause scarring of the cornea and permanent vision loss. Maggie's is severe. 

Maggie's only symptom has been eye drainage. She hasn't rubbed at her eye or refused to go outside into the light or stopped playing. She hasn't been grumpy. Maggie has been the same old Maggie. No matter what.

Has her eye injury been painful? Certainly. Has the light hurt her eye? No doubt.

Maggie has persevered through her pain and suffering without changing her behavior or attitude at all. She's simply trusted me to take care of her problem.

I should do as well with my own struggles. Scriptures tells us God will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deut. 31:7) He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) He knows our suffering. (Isaiah 53:3-12) He provides exactly what we need. (Phil. 4:19) We can trust Him. (Prov. 3:5)

When we encounter painful circumstances, suffering of any kind, He knows. He cares. He will make a way through. Even better, He will walk through it with us. We are not alone in our suffering.

No matter how difficult the circumstance or how uncertain the situation, we can depend on our Lord to help us through. There's no need (albeit a big temptation) to grumble and complain. 

Eric Stites wrote a hymn in 1876, Trusting Jesus. The words sum up our response to difficulty better than I ever could.

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Oh, that we might live with the faith that simply trusts Him, no matter how stormy our way. No grumbling. No complaining. Today, if our way is clear, let us sing. If our path is drear, let us pray. If in danger, let us call on Jesus. No matter what, let's trust Him. Wholeheartedly, trust with abandon. 


The most read post of the past week: The Blessing Disguised as a Coincidence.

Here's the link to The Clay Papers, available as an e-book for personal use or to send as a gift for only 99 cents. 
#trustingJesus #faith #disciple #MaggietheWonderDog #suffering

Monday, October 26, 2015

Remembering My Way

For more than a decade, my friend and I have met in the prayer room during the Sunday School hour to pray. Over that time, we've shared our concerns, our fears, our struggles - not just about ourselves, but also about the world around us. We've prayed each other through some tough spots. We still do. 

Yesterday was one of those "tough spots" for me. 

The last few weeks have been hard. Jamie's hospitalization and death. Sam's grief. My rewrites. My son's search (albeit brief) for a new job. On and on. Like Martha (Mary's sister), I've been "worried and bothered about many things." (Luke 10:41)

I've soldiered on, trudging through whatever needed to be done, seeking direction, doing what I thought was right, looking for joy in the midst of the struggle. I've waited for God to fulfill His promises. I've done what needed to be done, and tried to be cheerful and optimistic through it all. There's been a fair share of grief, a fair share of hard, but I've only given in to tears once. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I couldn't find my way.

Yesterday, I couldn't remember what promises I was waiting for God to fulfill. I couldn't remember if I had clear direction from God or not. I wanted an out-loud voice to speak from the heavens and say, "Leanna, this is my will." 

Did God tell me to do this writing adventure or did I make it up on my own? It was a critical question and one for which the answer could easily determine the rest of my life. I needed to be sure.

Yesterday, I wondered if the steps I've taken were God-ordained or not, and I despaired of knowing.

I was overwhelmed by uncertainty. 

Maybe you've felt like that before, too. It's the point of breaking, when God's will is more important than my will. Where His direction is all that matters.

I don't mind a hard time. I don't mind sacrifice. I don't mind it, if God has called me to it. What I feared the most was that I had called myself to it.

We prayed. I wept. I begged. "Show me the plan. Give me clarity."

I wasn't going to worship service. I was taking my fear and worry and tears home, where I could struggle in private. People might see my tear-streaked face and ask what was wrong. How could I tell someone that doubt, fatigue, and fear had overwhelmed me? I felt like a baby. I was acting like a baby. 

I went to worship service anyway. 

The sermon was from Exodus and I assumed it would be a wasted hour. I was so wrong.

When I turned the page of my Bible to Exodus 18, I saw it and nearly laughed out loud. In September of 2001, I had marked a passage and put a star by it. It was God's call on my life in a nutshell. Oh yeah, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I already know the plan. I already had clarity. I just needed to hang on to it.

Suddenly, my vision returned. My hope was restored. Everything made sense. My blog. My fiction. My little stories. 

I'm not off the path. 

I'm on the road less taken. It's a lonely, rugged path, but I am not alone. 

I love this place in my life, and sometimes I don't. This particular place is hard, but God is here, and that knowledge gives me peace. I don't have to know where this road leads, because He does. I don't have to know the complete plan, because He does.

My job is to take one step at a time, and keep taking those steps until He leads me home.

Yesterday, I wrote about it, but failed to catch the truth I'd written. Jesus' journey wasn't about the tasks He performed along the way. It was about eternity, and only the cross accomplished that. My journey, and yours, is more about eternity than about the jobs we perform, the tasks we accomplish along the way. 

My job as a disciple, and yours, is to follow my Master and allow the journey to change me into the kind of follower He intended me to be. It's not always an easy journey. It's not always a comfortable journey. But it's good. There's peace here, and joy.

The struggle is sometimes messy, confusing, and hard, and that's okay. Knowing we are in the midst of God's will makes all the difference, so if you're struggling, take those struggles to the One who knows the plan and holds you in His loving hands. He's more than willing to give you the help (and direction) you need.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 nasb 

The most read post of the past week: The New Normal.

Here's the link to The Clay Papers, available as an e-book for personal use or to send as a gift for only 99 cents. 
photo courtesy of

#journey #disciple #JesusChrist #followHim

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Knowing The Goal and Moving Toward It

A writer friend of mine shared a new writing technique she'd learn to help her press toward her goal of more words. Basically this technique, described by Henry McLaughlin, involved one-hour "Writing Blasts". You set a timer, sit down at your computer, and start writing as fast as you can for one hour. Get up and walk around for ten or fifteen minutes, then blast away again. The idea is to get three blasts done in the morning. 

McLaughlin has a second goal, of 500 words per scene, with an alert set to chime when he reaches that goal. In essence, he has two goals that run simultaneously. He is constantly pressing toward the goal. 

I'm currently doing a rewrite of my entire first manuscript. That sounds worse than it is, of course. I'm tightening the writing and changing some scenes in order to tell them from a different character's point of view. It's made my story much better and I'm thrilled by the improvement, but it's hard work.

The total words in my original manuscript:92,612
Total words in my rewrite (so far): 26,808

Yes. I have a long way to go. I've completed most of the "worst" part, but there are some sections that still need to be rewritten. This is hard, but it's worth it. I'm keeping my goal in sight, which is to be finished before Thanksgiving. I have 28 days to make it happen. (I don't usually write on Sundays.) With 65,804 words left to rewrite, I need to fly through 2,350 words a day. Some days, I'll likely do more. Some days, I'll likely do less. 

One critical step is required to reach the end. Keep the goal in sight. 

That's what Jesus did. Some Pharisees came up to Jesus and said, "You need to get out of here, because Herod wants to kill you." Jesus said, "Go tell that fox I'll be healing people and casting out demons for two more days and, on the third day, I'll reach my goal." (Leanna Paraphrase)

Jesus wasn't worried about Herod's plans because He had the end in sight. He was steadily moving toward it. In three days, Herod's plans and Jesus' plans would line up and God's ultimate goal of redemption would be achieved.

"The third day I reach My goal." (Luke 13:32 nasb)

Healing the sick wasn't Jesus' goal. Casting out demons wasn't Jesus' goal. His goal was the Cross, and He never stopped moving toward it until that fateful day when the goal was fulfilled. Redemption was complete.

The Apostle Paul wrote of the only goal in his life. "One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14 nasb)

We, too, have goals in life, some probably more admirable than others. If we are to please God, however, we need a goal that mirrors that of Christ. Our citizenship is in heaven and we must strive to be more like the One who purchased that eternal citizenship. This lofty goal will only be met by transformation of our hearts and our lives by the Power of the Holy Spirit in us. 

It seems unusual to have a goal that we, ourselves, cannot accomplish. We can only allow the accomplishing. To achieve our goal, then, we must humble ourselves and allow God to change us as He desires. 

We aren't who we should be. We don't love as we should, or work as we should, or give as we should, but we can be more. We can love more, work more, give more. We can be more like Christ, if we will allow it. So let's allow it. Let's invite God's Spirit to do more in us than we can imagine, to transform us so that all who see us will know that they have glimpsed the Christ in us because of the work He's done.

Come, Holy Spirit, and do your work in us. Change us, transform us. Make us more like Christ. More giving. More loving. More humble. More grace. More like You.


The most read post of the past week: The New Normal.

Here's the link to The Clay Papers, available as an e-book for personal use or to send as a gift for only 99 cents. 
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