“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

Saturday, March 16, 2013

More Practice, Better Writing

I'm thirty thousand words into writing on two different book projects.  This morning I skimmed through the first chapter of my first book and discovered how much my writing has improved since I began.  Of course, I knew I'll be going over it and editing once I've done the first draft.  But it was funny to see what I'd written just a month ago and compare it to what I wrote yesterday.  The flow of my sentences and the words I chose have improved greatly. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what I think a year from now.  If I keep my pace of a thousand words a day I should be much improved by then.  I hope I don't look back and think, "What kind of hack wrote this mess?" 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Know Your Works

To each of the seven churches in Revelation Jesus says, "I know your works."  To those he corrects he says they must repent and do the works they did at the first.  The sign of their repentance is see in their works.

Verses like these used to make me feel like I have to try harder.  Since I'm judged by my works it must be up to me to make sure I'm doing the works I'm supposed to be doing.  And if I'm doing the wrong works I need to "just stop it!" and get my butt in gear to do the right things I should be doing.  So living for Jesus was a lot of Shoulds I put on my shoulders and carried around.

But the Spirit has been working to get my mind right--"and I mean right" (insert southern accent).  My friend, Sheri, tells people, "Don't should on yourself."  My good intentions and attempts at good works never turn out so well.  It's only by resting in the Spirit that I can produce any kind of good fruit.

Jesus said, "Be connected to me like a grape branch is connected to the vine."  The purpose of our connection is to make fruit.  Now the branch doesn't fret and strain to make fruit.  As long as it's connected to the vine the fruit just comes.  In fact, thinking that a vine can make fruit happen by itself is silly.

So when I read stuff about "working the works of righteousness" I remind myself that I'm not the one who produces righteousness in my life.  My righteousness comes from Jesus and flows to me as I keep in step with the Holy Spirit.   My struggle isn't to do good works but rather to press in to Him and keep my connection strong.  I pull my life from Jesus and the fruit will come naturally.  I don't have to strain and struggle to pop out a grape. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Being In the Spirit

Reading Relation one this morning.  Got to wondering what John means about "being in the Spirit".  I know Paul talked about being with one of the churches in spirit when they worship.  Paul's comments sound like more than just "concern from afar".  It's like he's able to see what's going on in the church.

St. Theresa of Avila writes about similar experiences with the Lord---being draw out of her body and seeing other places. So this got me thinking and wondering what being "in the Spirit" was all about. 

What strikes me about John's comment in Revelation is that he says it as if it's the most normal thing in the world. It's almost like he expects everyone to automatically know what he's talking about.  Kind of like we say, "I was on the phone when the doorbell rang."

I think it's time to start learning what the Holy Spirit is all about.  I'm called to walk by the Spirit.  And I think I'm just beginning to understand a little bit of how to do this.  Being "in the Spirit" sounds like a different experience all together. 

So much to learn.