A Command to Be Very

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This post first appeared at Inscribe Writers Online

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn it from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Joshua 1:7

The Lord not only told Joshua to be courageous, but very courageous. I wonder if the Lord added the emphasis of an adverb before the adjective “courageous” because of Joshua’s extreme circumstances? His new job was to lead two million people into a new land and conquer it. Even though Joshua had grown to be a strong leader from assisting Moses for many years, I can imagine he may have felt extremely challenged for this upcoming new adventure!

But Joshua did not hesitate, did not measure the pros and cons, or run to his friends for advise. Instead, he ordered and directed the people to ready themselves for their journey to cross the Jordan, to the land the Lord was giving to them. While directing their next steps, Joshua reminded the people of Moses commands and the Lord’s promises, and the people obeyed their leader knowing they were also being faithful to God’s plan. And they too, encouraged Joshua to “be strong and courageous!” (v.18)

When facing new challenges, I can be very hesitant to take the next step. I want to be very sure so the outcome will be successful, on my terms. I can measure my success by my circle of influence expanding, or my finances increasing, or by the amount of ‘likes’ I’m receiving. Yet, unlike the worldly definition of success, success in God’s eyes is for us to be strong and very courageous through obeying and following His word. It’s being faithful to His plan for our lives. He directs us when we turn toward Him. And then we can rest in His promise that we will be successful wherever we go.

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Lord, thank You for always being with me and directing my way. Even though my situations can get tough, and challenging, I know you are with me. May I always keep my eyes on You, may I always turn to You, for when I do life with You, I will be successful in Your eyes wherever I go. Amen

And may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Where might God be saying to you ‘be very courageous and strong?

 

Something different–End of month ramblings

Linda Stoll’s blog post this week encouraged to link-up with our end-of-the month post. I’ve never done an end-of-the-month post–until now. So, something different for you–my February ramblings–and as casual as a pair of well-worn pyjama pants.

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“I think you’re over-thinking it.”

“I can see the wheels turning in your head.”

Those were a couple of comments this February from my cross-country ski instructors as I tried to remember to keep my head up, bend knees, keep an athletic stance, shoulders ahead of knees, leap, weight on balls of feet, engage poles…all while singing in my mind ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ to develop a rhythmic cadence on the tracks.

“You’re an Alpine skier, aren’t you?” said one instructor when I was the only one in the class who couldn’t do a snow plow stop midway down a hill. I just skied right past him.

Yes, I have done a lot of Alpine skiing, so thought cross-country would be easy…

Very humbling, learning a new skill.

 

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What I read this month:

  1. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. You can read my review on Goodreads. And please become my friend!
  2. Puddin’ by Julie Murphy.  Teen/YA fiction is a genre I like to read as much as possible maybe due to having 35,000 words written toward a teen novel myself.
  3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont A classic non-fiction for writers that I dive into from time to time but have yet to read fully

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Our bible study is completing Spiritual Warfare: Overcoming the Enemy by Kay Arthur, David & BJ Lawson. These no-homework Precept Ministries Studies are designed to be 40 minutes, however when you get a group of women together, even 2 hours does not seem enough! I’m blessed to have these ladies in my home every Tuesday evening.

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And just some cuteness for you…

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I have these cute owl cards from The Creative Market . Every Monday, Creative Market sends me an email with six free designs I can choose to download. If you’re looking for graphic images, fonts, or paper designs, I’d recommend signing up for their Free Goods.

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What I want to finish in March:

  1. Scrivener for DUMMIES. I’ve had this book since last summer. I do have a couple of unfinished novels in Scrivener, however just guessed how to use the software. I want to learn how I’m suppose to use it (which I’m sure will be much more effective than I am now).
  2. Adobe Photoshop CC. It is the 2017 edition! Only skimmed chapters thus far, relevant to projects I was working on.
  3. Finish editing my three creative non-fiction essays that are my contributions for my writer’s group publication: The Hope Box. Stay tuned for it’s release targeted late 2019 (in time for Christmas). 
  4. Finish my Etsy Shop with my Journals and Digital Photography for purchase.

I could list my other dozen projects & what-I-want-to-learn items, however this year is about finishing. So shall stick with the above 4 for this month–and stay realistic and focused. 

(A blog reader was surprised to read I was a 7 on the Ennegram. I wrestle with saying no to a new project when working on another because I might miss out on something! Just thinking of only staying with the four items above makes my stomach tense! Sevens are known to “misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined.” Yup!)

My reward for finishing? Well, another want-to-learn-item of course! Adobe Illustrator. I’d love to learn how to draw those cute owls…

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Ending with some Canada for you.  These shots were taken summer of 2008 when traveling the province of Nova Scotia.

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What are you up to?

 

What I learned this week

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When reaching the end of  Mary Geisen’s Blog post this week, I found my eyes drawing upward to find her following words:

“Your journey is richer when you accept the breathtaking views as well as the limited perspective…” Mary Geisen – Mountaintop Vistas or Valley Floors

I paralleled her words with the art of photography. For, although a landscape photo gives a breathtaking view, a limited focal point of a macro (close-up) photo reveals a richness in the fine details.

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As a Type Seven on The Ennegram I’m apt to be scattered and miss the details, my mind  wandering out of the present. It’s constant work for me to stay focused, so I use tools such as lists in my day timer to help complete tasks, and leaving my phone at home or in the car when socializing.

Just moments ago a work colleague pointed out I wrote the wrong first name on an order.

And the brain chatter starts. “What is wrong with me?”

This week my eldest sister corrected me on my pronunciation of “pseudonym” and reminded me I tend to mispronounce other words as well.

What is wrong with me?

And on the same day I mixed up Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock.

What is wrong with me? Not smart enough…well-read enough…out-going enough…

However, being on the other side of 50 years, I have learned how to zoom out of the chatter quicker and into the larger perspective that all of us have our strengths, weaknesses, and all of us have places to grow, learn.

I may always be better at the spelling of words than a speaker, although I will keep working on learning the fine, rich details of pronunciation.

I may always have to look deeper into the details before commenting on literary authors and classic movies. Or take the chance to comment, and learn from my mistakes.

Regardless, that mind chatter–what is wrong with me–is like a cloud appearing in a breathtaking landscape. It will evaporate and disappear.

For the truth is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

“We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvellously who we were born to be.”
― Anne Lamott

(And just in-case you may not know, Edgar Allen Poe wrote Tell Tale Heart, and Alfred Hitchcock directed the 1960’s film, Psycho)

Recommended reading-Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

Discover the marvellous you through daily journaling prompts in Breathing Spaces-a 21 day journal of rest, reflection, and renewal

Linking up with Soaring With Him

 

A Wednesday Wintery Walk

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

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Life is full of twists and turns but, like a nature hike, the view around the curve can leave us breathless.

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Where are your eyes looking to today?

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I’m traveling for work presently, and will be back next week. If not already, I hope we can connect too, on Instagram at Lynn J Simpson and Inspiring Hope In You

Love,

Lynn

A Word Teaching

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Just prior to the Christmas season, I was blessed to be taught a bible study method by Bonnie Gray, author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. As a thank you, Bonnie offered a live online bible study course for the women that had contributed to her publication platform. I first discovered Bonnie through her blog and always appreciated her kind, encouraging comments regarding my own writing and photography.

Over those few evenings when Bonnie Zoomed with us from her living room in California, I learned she attended bible college, taught bible study methods for many years, and once even led a singles ministry.  I also learned how to deeply seek the meanings of scripture and what God is saying to me through His words. And it’s changed me, in a very good way, on how I now approach my bible reading.

During our time together, she had us in Mark 6:45-52 as we observed, interpreted, and applied His word. She guided us in the understanding why it is in the interpretation of God’s word where most of our time is to be spent. She showed us how use the tools within https://www.biblestudytools.com/ and https://biblehub.com/

I was sad to see it end, and hope that one day Bonnie will offer a ‘train the trainer’ course so I can dive deeper into this bible study method and teach others!

But I digress…

What I really want to share is what I began to see when I read the following lines. And how just two lines in scripture rerouted my course, taking me ‘home.’

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Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. Mark 6:52

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed in the boat with them, and the wind died down. Mark 6:51

In the passage, it struck me how “immediately” is repeated, and that word ‘made’?–well it shouted out at me. Jesus made his disciples get into the boat, made them leave the party early so to speak. See, Jesus had just done the impossible. He fed 5,000 people with five loafs of bread and two fish. Five thousand people had just witnessed the miracle of Jesus! I can imagine the excitement of the disciples. Now….now…surely there were enough believers to make Jesus their king, right there and then!

But Jesus led the disciples away and made them get into the boat. I wonder if they objected? I can imagine Peter trailing behind Jesus as they walked away from the crowd, muttering to himself, and then standing in the boat as it sailed away from shore, shaking his head in wonderment as Jesus dismissed the crowd on land. The circumstances seemed to be exactly right for what he wanted to achieve, however Jesus was calling him back to the boat to travel to Bethsaida, where he, and the disciples Andrew, Philip and John had called home.

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Jesus knew it wasn’t His time yet to be crowned. And He knew His crown was not ever to be a crown made of gold and silver. Instead it was to be a crown of thorns He’d bear as He hung on a cross, fulfilling His Father’s purpose for eternal salvation.

As I studied this scripture, I began to see myself at the boat, defiant and resisting Jesus. “But I know what is best! Yes, I’m tired, hungry, and overwhelmed by the crowd, but I can’t step away from the party. Look what I’ve started! How can I just walk away?”

And Jesus’ gaze is gentle as he tells me, “I’m making you go across the waters, to a place you’ll know as home.”

“Trust Me.”

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I can imagine my body swaying slightly as the boat sails me away, over the waves, as I watch Jesus on land take care of the crowd, dismissing them.

Jesus is taking care of the details as I sail where He wants me to go.

So, as January 2019 comes to a close, my ‘goal’ book still stays closed, as I make my way to shore not sure what will come next. And whenever the wind feels against me, and the waves rough underneath me, He’s shown me through His word that I am “to take courage”, and “don’t be afraid.”

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All I need to do is let Him in, let Him teach me, and still me with His presence.

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What has God’s word taught you lately?

Linking up today with Soaring With Him Ministries

 

A Pathway to Goals & a little bit more

 

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path. Psalm 119:

Hello Readers!

I’ve been quiet here. But do plan to be back writing faithfully in a few weeks!

In the meantime this is what’s been going on…

Have you ever experienced that moment when your GPS voice says “recalculating?” That moment of hesitation, waiting for the new (correct/another) direction ? Since just before Christmas, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a recalculating moment.

Below is a quote from a post I wrote entitled A Pathway to Goals

“And I felt a God nudge to let go of all I understood and how I thought things should go–a God nudge to turn and prepare my heart for Him in the wilderness where He provides comfort, hope, and renewal.” You can read the entire post at Inscribe Writers Online

And have you ever commented on another blog and got an ah ha moment?

Below is my comment to The One Word That Almost Wasn’t

 “I think I can understand too, your hesitation in not ‘doing’ as the world is always influencing us to do this, that, get better, take a course, join this program, read this devotional etc and then you’ll be a success, okay….everything will fall away if you stop. 🙂 When I think about a time of pruning, I also see a branch lifting up to receive the sunshine after being buried under a weight of extra…”

My branches are heavy and it’s a time to let go although I’m not sure all that I am to lessen…

A final note for now:

The entire life of Jesus isn’t the story of somebody climbing up the ladder; it’s a picture of someone coming down-a series of demotions. The problem with spending our lives climbing up the ladder is that we will go right past Jesus, for He’s coming down. John Ortberg

Then Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

May He quench your thirst today.

Love, Lynn

 

Be Strong in the Lord-Ruth L. Snyder

This HOPE week of Advent, I have the pleasure of hosting author Ruth L. Snyder who I know through the nation-wide group, Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship. And she has a very special invitation for us!   

Be Strong in the LORD By Ruth L. Snyder

 “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

—Psalm 37:3-6

I started my morning with prayer and Scripture reading. My heart was especially burdened for our family. I prayed for God’s protection and was quiet before God. My heart was filled with peace when my devotional time was finished. Less than an hour later, my husband and I were embroiled in a heated disagreement regarding our children. The longer we talked, the more we disagreed. I retreated to my piano to play hymns and reflect. Why couldn’t we resolve this situation? Kendall and I both want the best for our children, but sometimes we disagree about what this looks like. We are learning to use tools like John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House (https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/).

Life on earth is full of challenges and problems. Sometimes we get totally overwhelmed. Cancer. Addiction. Family issues. War. Abuse. God is the only one who is big enough, wise enough, to have the solutions. We need to choose to be strong in HIM. He will give us the victory, if we trust him and not ourselves.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the phrase, “be strong,” comes from a root word that means to enable, empower, strengthen, or be made strong. Remember the apostle, Paul? We may see him as a spiritual giant, but he claims that God’s strength is best displayed in our areas of weakness.

When we feel strong, we don’t rely on God the way we should. In fact, when we have the ability to do things well, we often boast and become proud. When we realize we are weak, God is able to work through us to display his love and power to those around us (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Here are some examples from Scripture:

  • God enabled Samson to defeat Israel’s enemies, but when Samson chose to disobey God, he was captured (Judges 14-16).
  • God chose Saul to be King. When Samuel took a while to show up, Saul took things into his own hands. Then he disobeyed by not destroying all of the enemy, and God took the kingdom from his son and gave it to a lowly shepherd boy, David (I Samuel 9, 13, 15).

Think About It

Have you experienced God’s power in your daily living? What difference is it making in your life? Journal your thoughts, or respond in another way that is meaningful to you.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that you are all-powerful. Help me to remember that without you I am vulnerable and weak.  As I walk through this day, lead me. Help me to be sensitive to your voice and obedient to your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ruth would like to invite you to join a FREE 10-Day devotional challenge. You will receive 10 free devotionals and access to a private Facebook group to discuss the devotionals, apply them to your life, and pray.

https://equipped.lpages.co/equipped-10-day-devotional-challenge/

 

Ruth L. Snyder is the author of Equipped: Ephesians 6 Devotionals to Empower and Make You Victorious in Everyday Struggles. And TODAY the Kindle version is FREE! (Wednesday, December 4). For my friends outside of Canada, you can click HERE to purchase.

Ruth resides near Glendon, Alberta, along with her husband and five children. Ruth enjoys writing articles, devotionals, short stories, and Christian fiction. Ruth is Past President of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.
http://ruthlsnyder.com
www.facebook.com/ruthlsnyder
www.twitter.com/wwjdr

 

Words richer than Gold

(feature photo © Lynn J Simpson -Emerald Lake, Yukon)

Imagine.

You are climbing 1200 steps chipped in the ice of a 30 degree mountain slope. You hold onto a rope strung along the way. You carry 70 pounds of supplies on your back. It’s -40 F. And once you reach the summit, and drop your supplies, you slide down the mountain to gather another 70 pounds of supplies and climb those stairs again, and again…ten more times. And when you have all your supplies at the top of the summit, you pack them on your back and travel another 500 miles by foot, and then by boat through river rapids between canyon walls 100 feet high.

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Miles Canyon, Whitehorse, Yukon (photo © Lynn J Simpson)

You persevere. You persevere in hopes that you will strike it rich, strike gold, once you reach your destination.

This was the travels of the 30 to 40K stampeders who chose the Chilkoot Trail route at Dyea, Alaska on their way to the Klondike in northern Yukon, the winter of 1897-1898. As I researched the Klondike Gold Rush, the topic of my final writing assignment for my current writing course, I began to understand what hardships these stampeders endured for ‘riches’ that were not even guaranteed! Out of the 100,000 stampeders, only up to 40,000 actually made it to the Klondike, and only 4,000 found gold, and just a few hundred actually got rich.

And I began to ponder: How often have a sought for ‘riches’ in this life rather than persevered in seeking out His treasures that are a sure thing? When have I given up, or turned away when hardship has hit instead of continuing, knowing He never lets go of the rope no matter if I can’t see the next step in front of me?

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Yukon Railway at Carcross, Yukon (photo © Lynn J Simpson)

Proverbs tells 2:1-8 tells us:

My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
 turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
 indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
 He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
 for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

 

Did you know the word ‘silver’ shows up 402 times in the bible?  In other words, there is an abundance of silver to be found in God’s word! He instructs us to seek His wisdom that leads to success, guards, shields, and protects us.

And thankfully, to find the knowledge of God, we don’t have to summit a mountain in -40 F! Instead, we can faithfully study His word for insight and understanding.

Where are you searching for wisdom?

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Timothy 6:11-12

SoaringWithHim  &  HolleyGerth

You can find out more about my Christian Life Coaching Services at Inspiring Hope In You. Coaching is a gentle approach to uncover your obstacles and find your steps to create the changes you desire.

 

My Neighbours

I’m posting  this on the day my neighbours to the south, the United States, are celebrating their Thanksgiving holiday. Ours, in Canada, was October 14th and why the different date than the USA? Well, it ‘is complicated’ –words that titled an article on the subject in a national magazine.

There is no doubt that Canada and the USA have their differences. We have CFL and they have NFL for one, with differences such as a three downs in our game compared to their four! And I have friends who follow both leagues.

That’s the blessing of having neighbours who do different than we do, maybe even follow different rules. I’m not going to get political here. Instead point to what God’s word says about who we all are, and how we are to be.

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? Malachi 2:10

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14

So Happy Thanksgiving my brothers and sisters across my country border! And thank you for all the experiences I have had in your country–from the awe-striking sunset of  Maui, to the metropolitan of New York,  to the white-knuckling rides at Universal Studios, Florida, and so much more…and more to come.

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A Small Argument

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Often I’ll hear those big leaders talk about starting small. But my argument to that?

Small is just as impactful as big. Nothing is small. All acts of obedience are big.

Start small. And maybe small is your call. And that’s big too.

A small group leader of  2 is as impactful as a speaker who grows to 100,000 ‘s in audience. If your serving is mentoring one, serving for one, doing one thing…it’s BIG.

May you never think you HAVE to grow your audience, your social media following, your social influence….to be impactful.

May you never think you need to BE more to be impactful

Instead may you know that you make a difference no matter a measurement.

“You make a difference no matter a measurement.”

Maybe those big, influential leaders could eliminate the phrase to “start small” to start a shift towards authenticity rather than popularity in this culture blown up with media influence to be more popular with the masses. And for some, that popularity has included selling out through stealing words, pictures, ideas…deceit and lies unfortunately.

Let’s remember….

Small is just as impactful as big. Nothing is small. All acts of obedience are big.

“All acts of obedience are big.” 

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Maybe it’s time to talk about starting big by showing up.

How would you end the following sentence?

Maybe it’s time to ……

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

Want to read more inspiring content? Check out at #TellHisStory & Let’s Have Coffee

 

Lynn J Simpson, Certified Professional Life Coach at Inspiring Hope in You