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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge is when you think you know. Wisdom is when you know you don’t … Lean on the One who knows it all.

You remember those days when you thought you knew it all? I think I hit that stage around my early twenties … I think (it’s been a while now). I read a lot of non-fiction and pondered the meaning of life and was taken by the idea that everything is relative, someone’s opinion and there really wasn’t one answer to any question. That was my way of reconciling the fact that none of what I read agreed.

But then came the reality that no matter what all of our opinions are, or whether or not they are the same, there are real truths out there. We don’t have to agree on how the earth was created to know that it was created in a very specific, sequential way. It occurred how it occurred no matter how we think it happened. That is a Big-T Truth.

This takes me to my saying above about Knowledge and Wisdom. We can seek to know all the available facts about a subject, but chances are, some will be missing. That’s where the Holy Spirit plays a deep and powerful role. Relying on the Wisdom of our God, rather than our limited information, is the wisest action we can ever take. But one needs to realize first that he or she is limited in order to do so. We can’t be filled with the Holy Spirit until we first empty ourselves of our own arrogance.

See what the Bible says. Isaiah 29:14b. 1Corinthians 1:27

Thursday, June 16, 2011

To Whom Much is Given ...

To whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48)
     I try to remember this verse every time I enter my not-so-well-kept townhome … especially when I’m coming from my sister’s beautiful house on the water. Okay, at least not much is expected there.
     This really dawned on me the day I visited another homeschooling mom some years ago, and sat in the new addition to her very lovely home. Obviously her husband’s work allows her to not have to be employed “outside the home” (though she works very hard homeschooling her four children) and additionally affords a large abode. Not a common occurrence in the Baltimore-Washington area. I walked in, and true to my sinful nature, felt a twinge of envy. But the still, small voice, which resonates forcefully from the Holy Spirit, spoke to me in those moments. I knew this woman opened her house on a regular basis, both for women’s Bible Study as well as youth activities for her church, living the verse above.
     God blessed her with these gifts and she uses them for His Glory. I would not have. Oh, don’t think me selfish. My gifting is NOT hospitality. Being a … not-so-tidy person, my home is just not that hospitable. Might just turn off the nice Christian folk if I did invite them in. So God knew what he was doing when he gave me my digs. And I thank Him for that. That’s not to say I wouldn’t open my home if necessary … and was called to do so. Just sayin’ I get why He didn’t bless me in this way.
     So my plan is to partner with one of these Nice-Home people (my sister with the house on the water) to do the work He DID call me to—teaching. She is ready and willing to open her home for His Work, but not prepared to instruct. I need to fulfill the expectation He has placed on me. And I don’t have to clean my house to do it either. How blessed can you get?!!!
     So ask yourself, where has God blessed you … and are you using it for Him?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Joints and Ligaments

Ephesians 4:11-16 is one of a few verses which inspired this website. It speaks of how God equips us each differently to work together as a whole. Today, I’d like to focus on what ties it all together: ligaments.
Remember the old song, The head bone’s connected to the … ? Sure ya do. This is how children learn their body parts, parts so crucial in moving around and working, but no mention of the part that binds them. Poor ligaments. No respect!
But check out what the Bible says about joints and ligaments. Colossians 2:19 tells us joints and ligaments join us to the Head (Christ) allowing us to be nourished and knit together as a Body and growing us with the increase that is from God. Ephesians goes on to explain that this connection is what makes us effective in sharing the work. You ever hear the saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts?” That’s because of ligaments.
Why am I blathering on and on about soft tissue? It’s because of the ligaments in my life. The people who, when I need help, if they aren’t the ones to give it to me, they’re the ones to point me to who can. They’re resource people, information disseminators, and team organizers. They often put together groups of people, then wonder whether or not they have a function in it. Well, yeah!!! That is their function, thank goodness. Imagine our bodies without joints or ligaments. A pile of bones and organs, wrapped in skin. A mound of flesh on the floor. Gross! That’s what the Body of Christ would look like without Its ligaments. But certainly not what our Father in heaven designed.
So I just wanted to give a shout out to the ligaments in my life. Thank you. And a special thanks to the lady who inspired me to write this particular blog on this particular day. Carrie Fancett Pagels. The ligament of our ACFW Midatlantic Writer’s group ;o).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This Years ACFW Writer's Conference

     It’s been amazing to see God work in my life this past year as I delve into a new journey of writing. When I ventured to take the first step, I did what I always do to acquire info—I Googled. I can’t remember the actual words I typed into the little box under the colorful search-engine name, but I will never forget the result: American Christian Fiction Writers (http://www.acfw.com/). And if there really are organizations living the Body of Christ, this is one of them.
     ACFW is an organization dedicated to promoting Christian Fiction through the skill of its authors, educating them in the market, and serving as an advocate in the traditional publishing industry. Actually, that’s kinda their Mission Statement. Its membership enjoys the privilege of involvement in a regular writer’s email loop (with real, published Christian authors), online courses, critique groups, awards, and of course, the annual Conference. Lots of people using their gifts to help each other out. And because they are using these varied gifts to further God’s Kingdom, it truly works as a Body of Christ.
     This year, their annual conference will be held in St. Louis, Missouri from September 22 to September 25, and I am actually going! Woohoo! I am thrilled beyond words … even with all my wonderful ACFW writer’s training.
     This conference will be a wonderful opportunity for anyone stepping into the realm of Christian Fiction authorship. First off, you get lots of great training, from the Early Bird session on “The Moral Premise,” by Stanley Williams, PhD., to in depth continuing education sessions on topics such as “The Hero’s Path.” I have signed up for two sessions with one of my favorite authors, Jenny B. Jones! Coo-ell! And I just found out, I will be hosting one of them. Double cool!
     Additionally, the ACFW Conference (http://www.acfw.com/conference) offers meetings with mentors, agents and editors as part of the registration fee and a writer can sign up for a paid critique of his or her current work-in-progress (WIP). And if that wasn’t enough, there’s more. An attendee not only has the opportunity to hob-nob with real-life, published Christian authors, agents and editors during sessions and meals, this conference includes several opportunities for worship! How many other professional organizations give you that? Praise God!
     So if you have found that your gifting is leaning toward writing, but you may need other members of the Body of Christ to lend a hand (or foot … or whatever), take a look at this great organization and consider going to the conference. If you do, look me up. I’ll be the one wearing the … oh well … not really sure yet. But my name, Connie Almony (that’s alimony without the “i”), will be on my name tag. Hope to see you there.