What Qualifies Us?

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What can we do in ourselves to become worthy? What work can we do to justify His love and favor? What is it that makes us deserving of our call, gifts and talents?

There is only one thing that can ever give us worth, favor, love and make us sure of our callings-surrendering to Jesus. we have to throw up our hands and say, “Lord, It’s not in me alone, I can’t do it. All my righteousness is just dirty rags. All my attempts, in my own strength, is just wood, hay and stubble. I need you.”

He alone makes us right with God. He alone gives us worth. Because He first loved up. Because He created us with a plan for our future, our calling is sure. It’s His plan, His finished work, His redemption, that makes us successful in our calling. He doesn’t make mistakes-ever. If He called you-He’ll equip you and you are the right person for the job.

It seems, more and more, as we draw closer to the final curtain, that there are two mindsets. One is that as long as we look like a Christian and talk like a Christian, we can “play church” without any kind of real commitment to Christ. Without investing in our relationship with Him, fellow believers or those who need our help. The other mind set seems to be a lack of security in our calling. A belief that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough, etc. to do what God asks or to fulfill our call. Time is too short for either of these ungodly thoughts.

We have to stop playing games. We need to do what God has called His church to do. Use those gifts and talents to further His kingdom. We need to admit our need for Him and the authority He has given us. It’s time to recognize that it isn’t anything we can do that qualifies us. It is Him. Period. It is His love, strength, forgiveness, and redemption. He made us worthy. Our worth is in Him.

God sees us as worthy because of the work of Jesus. God looks at us with love and pride. Then He looks at those who don’t know Him with love and compassion. He longs for them-those lost sheep. Our jobs are to stop looking at ourselves, negatively or too highly, and look at them. See their need for a savior. If we are so caught up in our own inadequacies and failings, we won’t ever step out and help those that are lost and dying. If we look on them with contempt, we won’t reach out, we will leave them in the dark and never bring them into the light.

No, my flesh is not worthy. But my spirit is His and my souls is being redeemed. If God can use murderers, adulterers, harlots, stubborn-uneducated fisherman, tax-collectors, liars and even a donkey, He can (and will) use me. If I let Him. No more excuses! This isn’t a “dress rehearsal”, this is the real deal. Get your focus off yourself and fix your eyes on Jesus. He’ll bypass your faults and our greatest so-called-strengths, and He’ll use us to save a lost and dying world. Pretty awesome isn’t it?

Book Review for “The In-Between: Embarrassing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing” Non-Fiction

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I try to read at least one non-fiction book per month along with my fiction. Sometimes they end up being informational, but dry. This one is not. It’s a good read as Jeff’s writing style is that of a true storyteller. This book is full of true life stories, his own and some short stories of others. The book invites us to look at the waiting times in our lives in a different light. I found it very though provoking and encouraging. I recommend it for everyone, especially young adults fresh out of high school or college. I am giving it a strong 5 stars and will be reading more from this author.

http://www.amazon.com/Between-Embracing-Tension-Between-ebook/dp/B00BUOMM8S/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1379346545

Seasons of Life

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I am about halfway through a good book. I love to read, fiction mostly, but I make sure I read at least one non-fiction a month. When I started to do the internet thing to promote myself as a writer, I stumbled upon a writer, Jeff Goins. He was full of good writing advice and encouragement. I downloaded several of his free “Manifesto’s” and liked his style. So when he offered his latest non-fiction book as a pre-order I jumped at the chance. I just now got around to reading it. The title is “The In-Between-Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing.” The book is great and it isn’t just about writing. Everyone should read it, especially those just out of college. It has me thinking.

My husband and I are (hopefully) coming up on an early retirement. We’ve worked hard for years. His first job at 13 and mine at 15. We have dairy-farmed together, made shake blokes, and logged, separately we have managed book stores, worked in factories, deli’s, taught school, worked in daycares, a hospital and remodeled 13 homes, just to name a few. My husband works harder than most men I know. He has worked most of that time with the results of a broken back at age 17, which resulted in crushed and missing vertebrae, as well as several fused. In the last 6 years he has had to surgeries due to a work related injury, one on his neck and one on his shoulder. He still works, hard, sometimes 60 hours a week in a factory. So we are looking forward to retirement. He’s a few years from 60 and I’ll be 50 next year, in today’s workforce that would be an early retirement.

Two years ago we took a trip to Georgia in February (our coldest month). We came back with a plan to sell our home and move south. We listed the house and started surfing the net for houses and business in the area, talked about it and got excited. Then a friend of mine who said she hated for us to move said, “Couldn’t you buy a house there for the winter and still stay here the rest of the year?” My reply, “Short of a miracle, we could never afford two houses.” But she got me thinking… (Thanks Sara). My husband for years joked around about selling everything and living in a camper, traveling like a gypsy. I always grouched and crabbed and reminded him how much I moved around as a kid, not to mention the 14 housed we have lived in since our marriage (which included several states). But after my conversation with my friend, and with some modifications, it wasn’t sounding so bad.

Now we are still showing our house, believing God is working in this less than perfect housing market. We still surf the net, but now we are looking at diesel motor homes with a slide out, a bedroom and a bathroom. We have family in Kentucky, and Tennessee, a daughter in Arkansas, a son 200 miles away (in Wisconsin), a daughter a few blocks away who can’t wait to get to someplace warmer, and our parents and siblings are in Washington state. We just got back from a 16 day trip to Washington to visit our parents and siblings. We hope to travel so that we can spend time with them all, and to see the parts of the U.S. that we haven’t so far in our travels.

So what does all of this have to do with Jeff’s book? We have been looking forward impatiently to retirement so much, that we have neglected the good things in our waiting time. My husband’s job is getting harder on his body, the sub zero temps and the long winters aren’t fun anymore. We miss our far away families in a way that we didn’t when we had kids at home. So “The In-Between” has reminded me of the importance of enjoying where you are now. Not that I’d completely forgotten, I just have been spending more time daydreaming about my future than looking for the blessings in my now. Jeff says in his book, “Maybe, I thought, God is less concerned with exactly what I am doing and more concerned with who I am becoming.” I have only recently started writing and have had some discouragements in the amount of sales. We are coming up on another winter and want to be out of here. But God has a plan. He wants us to continue to grow and stretch, and that happens just as much, if not more, in the waiting times, than in the active times.

When God’s chosen people were taken captive by Babylon, God told them it would be 70 years before He would begin to bring them back to Jerusalem. Now that is waiting. He also told them to build houses, take wives, and plant vineyards. He knew that they needed to be productive and provided for during their waiting time (Jeremiah). So are you waiting for something, a spouse, a great job, a vocation, calling or ministry? Are you impatient and spend more time in the future than in the now? Take Jeff’s advice and embrace the waiting. You’ll be blessed and way less stressed.

By the way, if you want to check out Jeff’s blog, here is the link.
http://goinswriter.com/build-popular-blog/