Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What kind of Pool Party are you being invited to?

By Helen Knueven

In Matthew 18:21, Peter asked, “Lord – how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Seven?” Peter was being generous, since he was taught to forgive three times.

Imagine his amazement at Jesus’ answer. Probably expecting to be commended, Jesus tells him, “Not seven, Peter, but seventy times seven.” Of course, God was not really talking about counting, but forgiving.

Do you think that God’s standard for Himself would be lower than the one that He gives to us? Will God forgive us as much as we are commanded to forgive each other?

In Hebrews 8:12 – The Word says, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities and I will remember their sins no more.” (NASB)
Another great scripture that I love I Micah 7:19: “Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths. Of the sea.” (NLT)

Many Christians are almost drowning in the sea of God’s forgetfulness. As Corrie Ten Boom said, “No Fishing.”

The Lord says that He forgives us when we ask. He throws our sins in the sea and chooses to forget them! It’s not that Jesus really has a bad memory, but He chooses to forgive and to forget.

Our sins are like evil sharks that could destroy us if we could not receive God’s great forgiveness.
But Jesus throws these sharks in the sea of His forgetfulness! How great and how unlike us He is!
You may be struggling with the same sin for a long time. But God knows your heart. When you ask Him to forgive you, He does not hesitate.

Get out of the sea of those forgiven and forgotten sins. Those sharks would like nothing better than to paralyze you and condemn you and cause you to run from God.

I’ve learned from experience that it just doesn’t work to try to pay for my sins by playing the movie in my head. Jesus paid for every one of them when He hung on the Cross. (John 3:16)

I, for one, am very happy to dwell on this subject. It clears my mind, it feeds my spirit, and energizes my heart in forgiving others when I remember the great mercy He has given me. How freeing to know that He looks at me so differently than I look at myself.

I recently heard a lady tell a friend struggling with condemnation– “If you have asked Jesus into your life, when God looks at you, He sees Jesus, not your sins.” The lady replied, “Now I’m starting to understand because when Christians are hard to work with, I try to see Jesus in them. Are you saying that God is seeing Jesus in me?”

Yes – that is what she was saying. And that is what God’s Word says about Jesus being the perfect sacrifice.

God’s love is like an ocean – free of danger, and rich in mercy. Wouldn’t you rather be there? I know I do.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

God's Gift to Write is in My DNA

By Marvin Ferguson

I thank God for the gift to write and be a published author. It's an exhilarating experience that I will never forget.

It would have been great if I were lucky enough to be a professional league baseball player, but it wasn't meant to be. Instead, my passions went into a different direction, and as a die hard Cub fan, I put the play-by-play action on the playing field and wrote three baseball stories for Junior High students to enjoy.

Like anything else worth achieving, it requires hard work. And little did I realize it then that my childhood would prepare me to write. Yes, God provides.

At twelve years of age I purchased some plastic baseball players off a cereal box. Like the Little Rascals I made a ball park out of scrap wood I found in the back of a grocery store and some green and some gray construction paper, barrowed a spinner from another game, kept score, and played baseball to my heart's content.

With a compass I drew a baseball diamond and made some dugouts up against a four-inch wall. The shape of each player intrigued me and I was able to be anybody I wanted to be—Ernie Banks, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Lou Brock, Stan Musial, and more. I gave the teams a name, created my own lineup, and even became a broadcaster in the TV booth. There wasn't anything I couldn't do, it was fun, and fueled my imagination to write latter in my adult life.

If we allow God to work in our lives, He will prepare a way. Amen! Thank you God for giving me an interest in baseball and a desire to write.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Talk is Not Cheap

By Marie Tschopp

“It is not for Kings, O Lemuel. It is not for Kings…” Proverbs 31:4 NIV

Paula Deen has an amazing story. As a divorced mother of two young boys, she started a lunchtime catering business to office workers. Because she was afraid to leave her house due to agoraphobia, her sons delivered the lunches via their bicycles. As business grew, so did Paula’s confidence. She eventually opened a restaurant and self published a cookbook. One stormy Georgia afternoon, a TV producer ducked into Paula’s restaurant to get in out of the rain. He sampled the food and bought a cookbook. And, as the cliché goes, a star was born.

Paula now hosts her own show on the Food Network. She publishes her own magazine. She sells her own line of cookware and dishes. In short, Paula Deen is an empire.

But recently, the Food Network announced it will not be renewing Ms. Deen’s contract. A former employee filed a lawsuit accusing her of racism and Paula admitted in court to using racial slurs and telling racist jokes.

Fair or not, a different standard is set for those in leadership, for the risk of loss is so much greater. Now, staff from her show, the magazine, the products, and the restaurant are at risk.

For with great privilege comes great responsibility. As Christians, we, too, are held to higher standard. We are the only Gospel some people will ever read. Our actions matter. We cannot afford to be a stumbling block that prevents someone from seeking His Kingdom.

The stakes are too high.

Heavenly Father, grant me wisdom in the way I conduct my life. May my words bring glory to You, and may my actions not cause You embarrassment in any way. When people see me, may my life reflect You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.