Sunday, April 12, 2009

Risen Indeed!

“He’s risen indeed!” we joyfully would reply to our Mother’s energetic “Christ is risen!”on Easter morning. Years later, we still use the same greeting every Easter Sunday.

A greeting like no other, it rings clear joy.

When our children were young, we arranged baskets with pastel papered chocolates, candy, and a stuffed toy for them to find when they awoke. Between the baskets we placed a standing cross made from twigs tied together. It was a keeper from a table decoration at church, and I hoped it made a visual link to the real meaning behind the gifts.

Chocolate bunnies, hidden eggs, new shoes, and special family gatherings all helped make Easter special. But the joyful reality of Christ’s resurrection in my life first came as I observed my mother live like she personally knew this risen Jesus. I watched her listen for His voice in the Bible, heard her pray, and saw how, despite being a single mom, she constantly helped others. As they say, learning to trust Jesus is often “caught not taught,” and I too learned to love my Savior and Friend.

It is not mere tradition that I celebrate. When one tough hard boiled egg wins the egg war, or children's eyes sparkle with discoveries, the joy I feel has deeper roots. When I sing triumphantly “Up from the grave He arose,” or hear a young teen’s solo about a life touched by the risen Christ, the reality of the resurrection resonates deep within. I nod gratefully. Yes. My Savior is alive. I am proof.

Our grown children called this morning. “Christ is risen!” they declared. We vigorously responded, “He is risen indeed!”

For Your Consideration

What engages your heart on Resurrection Sunday?

How does Christ make a difference in your life regardless of your circumstances?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And Then Some

I recently attended the American Christian Writers Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Doc Hensley, Chip MacGregor, and Linda Wade were excellent, their instructions settling deep. I absorbed more from this conference than others because I had been practicing the little I knew. Now I find myself on a new step and have a better view of the landscape. Nevertheless I know I have a tall ladder to climb before I can comfortably call myself a writer.

So like life, isn’t it? Whatever craft you are learning, you have to start on the bottom rung. If you look too high and measure yourself by the stars, you might as well slip down the ladder. But… if you look up, appreciate their accomplishments, THEN look back at what it takes to step up to the next rung, it can spur you to practice new skills to excel. I have to remind myself: don’t give up!

When I was a consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics, I learned this motivational saying: “A big gun is just a little gun that keeps on shooting.” Another gem that spurred me to excel in sales was the fact that most people give up just before they have a breakthrough. The phrase was “and then some.” If you were willing to make new sales calls “and then some,” if you served your customer “and then some,” you chose to function a notch above most others. So if I practice writing, submit articles, keep my own deadlines “and then some,” I will be able to develop this fledgling gift to God’s glory.

Can my currently underdeveloped writing glorify God? Most certainly … if I stretch for excellence and my heart is taken with the Most High, not my product. If my focus is on the living Word who creates and sustains, if my desire is to write, speak, and live to His glory, He promises me I’ll have those desires! You will too.

For Consideration

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart”(Psalm 37:4 NIV).

Are you working on a new goal? How can you focus on excellence while keeping your underdeveloped performance in God’s perspective?

Meditate on Hebrews 12:1-3