The Gospel Message

person-371015_1280“In the West, the predominate message is God’s grace and love. It was certainly God’s love that motivated His sending Jesus to rescue humanity. However, it was His death and resurrection that accomplished this mission. The resurrection, therefore, was the overwhelming theme in the preaching of the apostles, not the love of God. In no way am I trying to show what marginalize this great love or grace–I’m just trying to show what message caused the church to emerge against all odds in the midst of a hostile Roman empire and a resistant religious system. If we want the results the early church had, we must preach the message they preached.” ~ Rice Broocks, Man, Myth, Messiah, pg. 114

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Books and Business and Other Things I’ve Been Up To

Why hello there!!

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The big reveal: It’s me and my ruffle scarf creation. 🙂

It has  been six months since I’ve written on the blog. Six months!! I can’t believe it has been that long! I’ve had to take a hiatus from blogging to work on my other projects. I launched my craft business in December and since then I’ve been crocheting like a madwoman. Haha!! I’m just totally obsessed with yarn! Also, I’ve been working on setting up a website for the business along with getting all the legal junk squared away for my life coaching business.

During all this I became part of another book launch back in…oh, gosh! When was it? April or March. Another great experience! I was selected to help Leanna Tankersley with launching her now released book, Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s Been Hiding.

Ladies, if you don’t read anything else this year, read this book!! I will write a review soon so you can get a sneak peek!

The other thing keeping me busy is physical therapy. I think I might’ve mentioned before, but if not, I’ll explain. I get headaches and some awful headaches that stick around for days. Usually, about three days and it goes away, thanks to God’s mercy! I had a vertebrae in my neck, two to be exact, that were crooked. It would cause me severe pain if I moved my head around in any direction too much. All I had to do to keep away the headaches was to keep my head straight. (Right. Like that’s easy to do.) By the mercy and grace of God, the vertebrae straightened out but now my problem is with the muscles that got so used to the vertebrae being crooked so that it conformed to the deformity.  I have been to three different chiropractors over the last decade and they were only able to relieve the pain for a short while. So, I decided to try physical therapy. It has been a tremendous help, but only if I stick with going.  All through February I went for my sessions, sometimes twice a week, and then I ended the sessions because I felt better.

A few months went by and the headaches came back again. Once I had a headache for three days, I decided that was enough; time to schedule another appointment with the physical therapist. Through half of June and most of July, I went every week to therapy. This time around was a bit more of a struggle. The pain seemed to get worse before it got better. But then one night, I slept on my back with my head turned most of the night. I woke up with no pain, whereas, in times past if I did that, I would wake up with a headache. Praise God! So I ended my therapy sessions and I continue doing the exercises the therapists taught me. It’s been over a week now and the headaches have returned already. Ugh. I’ve had three days this week where my neck hurt and caused a headache.

With therapy sessions over, I’ve been trying to focus more on preparing to launch my life coaching business. So much to do  and so much to learn!!! So yeah!! It’s been an incredibly busy year.

I’m seeking the Lord’s guidance with the businesses and all He has for me, and praying for help to keep myself on track so I can continue writing. Did I mention I’m in the process of launching a website for my craft business? Did I mention it’s been a busy year? 🙂

I don’t know what the future holds, but I expect God to do great things. As far as this blog is  concerned, I plan on keeping up with it for the next few months and then just seeing how things go once I get my website up and running.

To my readers, I apologize for the long hiatus and for not giving a heads up to the long hiatus. I really didn’t plan on the hiatus, to be honest. Thanks to all those who have been reading and hopefully, waiting for the next blog post.

Blessings!

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photo credits: Greg Rakozy

Goal-Setting Newbie

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The New Year always inspires us. We feel optimistic. We set resolutions and start believing the best is yet to come.

 

I am one of those people that tried setting resolutions every New Year but always seemed to fail to reach them. My solution to this problem? Give up. Stop making resolutions because they don’t seem to work for me.

 

However, last year I tried something different and by the end of the year I looked back and saw how I made progress. What did I do different other than writing down resolutions? I actually cut out pictures representing my goals and put them on something I could see…a poster board.

 

Granted, the poster board was not put in a place where it was easily seen. I tried to find a good spot for it but I could only manage to prop it up behind my cedar chest where it would fold down. So, yeah. Not a good spot if I want to just turn my head and see it.

 

Despite the bad location, the images of what I pasted to the board burned into my memory, and somehow, that helped me focus on my goals. I guess it makes sense for me that it helped since my learning style is mostly visual. In other words, I learn best by what I see rather than in what I hear. So, I’m happy to report that a majority of what I pasted on my vision board I fulfilled by the end of 2015!

 

Now, onto 2016…

 

For 2016, I wrote down some goals that I will paste onto a new poster board and prop up somewhere, if not once again, behind my cedar chest. *sigh* I need to organize my office and find some space. Not much space to be had in a eight by twelve in a half feet room, but surely I can find some. Note to self: Write down goal for 2016 to organize office.

 

Here are my goals for this year:

  • Start life coaching.
  • Research small business management
  • Organize office
    • Remove cedar chest and place in the shed.
    • Arrange filing cabinets
    • Get a new desk that is functional for my needs.
    • Sell old desk.
  • Start Pinterest board for craft business
  • Get a Bible reading plan that I can use
  • Grow closer to Jesus
  • Make reading goals for this year and put in a journal.

 

I might add to this later, but for now, this is what will get pasted onto a poster board.

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The key goal on my list is growing closer to Jesus. A related goal also important that I need to put on my list, now that I’m thinking of it, is growing the important relationships with others in my life. Intimacy with Jesus and intimacy with others is the key to a fulfilling life. I have the tendency to focus too much on tasks and forget relationships until I start feeling lonely and then I’m reminded, “Oh yeah! I am a human being in need of relationships.” Duh. How silly of me to forget!

 

Through all this planning, I pray for the Lord to lead me. I pray that He will be glorified through everything I do. My struggle in all this planning is remembering that it is for His glory not mine. I need to remember that every success comes from Him. When I give into the temptation to make accomplishing my goals my priority or success my priority, I fail. When I make success my goal, I begin to feel frustrated and restless. I feel the weight of my world on my shoulders. But when I let go of pursuing success and make glorifying the Lord my ultimate goal, the burden is lighter. My frustration disappears. After all, the Lord is the one in complete control. He is the one that gives the ability to create wealth and makes success possible (1 Chronicles 29:12). I like what Gary Wilkerson said in the newsletter dated January 4th, for World Challenge,

“The only plans that will succeed are the plans God gives you.”

Seek first the kingdom of God, right?

 

At the end of this year, may I look back and see that I kept my eyes on Him, remembered that relationships are more important than tasks, and give Him all the glory!

 

Uh oh! Just thought of another one: Set budget goals for each month.

 

“Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him.” Romans 15:13a

Got any goals for this year you want to share? Please do!

Lessons in the Power of Prayer

 

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Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

 

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12:14

“Many a believer has read these with joy and hope, and in deep earnestness of soul has attempted to plead them for his own need, and has come out disappointed. The simple reason was that he separated the promise from its context.

The Lord gave the wonderful promise of the free use of His Name with the Father in conjunction with doing His works. The disciple who lives only for Jesus’ work and Kingdom, for His will and honor, will be given the power to appropriate the promise. Anyone grasping the promise only when he wants something very special for himself will be disappointed, because he is making Jesus the servant of his own comfort. But whoever wants to pray effective prayer of faith because he needs it for the work of the Master will learn it, because he has made himself the servant of his Lord’s interests. Prayer not only teaches and strengthens one for work, work teaches and strengthens one for prayer.”  ~ Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, pg. 143

I read this passage this morning. Powerful stuff, eh?! I hope this encourages you all to pray and work for His glory as it has me! May we then see His power at work within us and through us!

2015 in review

I am grateful to everyone out there in WordPress Land who have read and shared their thoughts on In the Potter’s Hands! 2015 was a great year. Tough, but great. The Lord has blessed and I am blessed by all of you out there who are sharing the work God has started in you!

Blessings for the new year!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

QUOTE (T.S. Eliot)

Great quote!

A DEVOTED LIFE

T.S. Eliot“So long…as we consider finance, industry, trade, agriculture merely as competing interests to be reconciled from time to time as best they may, so long as we consider “education” as a good in itself of which everyone has a right to the utmost, without any ideal of the good life for society or for the individual, we shall move from one uneasy compromise to another. To the quick and simple organization of society for ends which, being only material and worldly, must be as ephemeral as worldly success, there is only one alternative. As political philosophy derives its sanction from ethics, and ethics from the truth of religion, it is only by returning to the eternal source of truth that we can hope for any social organization which will not, to its ultimate destruction, ignore some essential aspect of reality. The term “democracy,” as I have said again and again…

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The Year in Rearview

A month ago, I was cutting out pictures and words for my 2015 goals collage to paste onto my poster board. I swear it was a month ago.

 

My, the speed of which this year has flown!

 

This time, last year the Lord spoke to me about 2015 being the year of new beginnings. It has definitely been that, but not in a way I thought it would.

We all dream of accomplishing big goals before the New Year. We envision glorious victories in the New Year that somehow will make an impact in our world. Little do we think of the battles we must fight first to get to the victory. As if the victory comes with no battle. Or we think the battle will be a piece of cake. Never do we envision the struggle that causes us to stumble or fall to our knees, weary from the fight.

Milestones reached. Victories won.

All without the battle.

That was my vision.

My goal that I cut out and glued onto a poster board for a reminder was to be a writer and a life coach. I glued a bunch of other goals too. I glued images of a house, a laptop, and a filing cabinet. There’s a lady running on pavement to symbolize my goal to exercise. Words such as “Organized”, “Board of Christian Life Coaching” are also glued randomly in position across the board.

I entered 2015 with high hopes. I reached my first goal in February by joining a gym and went rather faithfully every week until summertime when I spent more time outside taking walks at the lake. Good start to the New Year, eh? Only nine more goals to check off my list!

I don’t know what happened. Somewhere along the way the battles emerged. Sleep problems increased because colon problems increased. Self-doubt crept into my mind. I kept moving forward. I kept placing one foot in front of the other, but then my forehead found a wall. I kept trying to push through the wall, but the wall didn’t budge. Not even a tiny bit! So I stood and stared at the wall.

I prayed and cried out to God for help. For wisdom. For anything!

Soldiers learn to scale walls. Why can’t I scale this one?

I heard this whisper in my ear, “Not through my effort, but by God’s grace.”

I felt like I’m being sung to sleep. Lulled to rest from my tireless, fruitless efforts and allow God to do His work. To surprise me with His grace that is for those who can’t help themselves. A gift I can’t receive by effort but only by faith.

Didn’t God do His best work when Adam was asleep? Just sayin’. 🙂

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Zec. 4:6

So I give into sleep. I give into rest.

As I look back on this year through my rearview mirror, I see it has indeed been a year of new beginnings. Not only new beginnings but small beginnings. Small efforts that seem insignificant. You can’t get any smaller than sleeping. I’ve felt like a sleepwalker this year. I did what only I could do as I slept and walked. And then I lay myself down. I took naps, as many as possible, even though I wanted to do so much more.

The wall is breaking apart now. I see it.

I launched a craft business last month. No sale yet to speak of, but it’s launched.

After months of trying to come up with a name for my life coaching practice, a name came to me just last week.

For a couple of years, I’ve had a new filing cabinet on my list of things to get for my home office but never found one at the right time to meet my pocketbook. Now, through no effort of mine, I have two filing cabinets coming my way free of charge.

New beginnings. Small beginnings.

Now, I lay me down to sleep. I rest from my work; the Lord will keep all things that concern me. I leave the outcome in His capable hands. (Bet you thought I was trying to rhyme, didn’t ya?)

He is faithful. I know this and I keep reminding my anxious heart.

I will rest and one day I will wake to see the glory of God and marvel at His wondrous work.

Do you need to rest? Jesus asks,

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythm of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitted on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message