Two BIG Days!
1. APRIL 17
THE FALL will be FREE on Amazon Kindle April 17 through April 21. Please tell everyone you know. Twitter, Facebook, email, Reddit, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, etc. THE FALL is Top Rated and topped 3 Amazon bestseller lists--OT/Hebrew, Science/Religion, & SciFi/Fantasy.
2. MAY 1
One Night With a Rock Star Launch on Amazon Kindle! Finally letting this baby out of the bag. Available May 1! Only 4.99.
Again, Gab about this EVERYWHERE!
BTW, the SHARE button is right below this article. ;-)
Chana is a wife, mom of four and author of TWO novels (first time to get to say that! :) Her first novel, THE FALL (Rapha Chronicles #1) hit #1 on Amazon's OT/Hebrew list and Top 10 in two other categories. Just to confuse things, Chana is a genre jumper, launching into the Young Adult/Contemporary love story category with her new release, One Night With a Rock Star. Read the first chapter Here.
Her daydreams were easy. Real life? That gets complicated.
I was struggling this morning—again—with the call God has put on my life and writing compared to the paltry-seeming effectiveness of my daily efforts.
My hubby, as usual, was very supportive; praying, rubbing my back, letting me vent, etc. As he was praying, God brought to mind Abraham and the promise that “I will make of you a mighty nation.” Now this was absolutely a promise from God but when days, weeks, months and even many years passed with no sign of that promise coming to pass, Abraham and Sarah had doubts. Big doubts. There was no human way that promise was ever going to happen and I’m sure the promise, such a wonderful word from God, began to feel more like a curse.
I can so relate to this. The hope and promise of my heart far outstrips what is humanly possible—no matter what fancy publicity campaign is applied. Yet the promise lives—even though there are days it seems to crush me into the ground as the need for real revival continues to grow and my feeble efforts to not give up seem almost supernaturally ineffective—as one author so eloquently put it lately, “just pissing in the wind.”
But my ineffectiveness does not mean the promise has failed. It simply means that my part in the deal is to not give up. When I signed my name to the other part of that spiritual covenant, my promise back to God was to stand and believe—perhaps for many frustrating years as the promise unfolds in God’s perfect timing—not to make sure it happens in human power (that won’t work btw) and then get in league with Satan by either beating myself over the head with guilt or wondering, “Did God really say…?”
It’s a matter of faithfulness. It’s my job to keep tilling the soil, fighting the weeds, and making sure my source of strength is coming through the true vine. The supernatural part, the actual growth and effectiveness God promised, is His job.
Galatians 3:3 hits this issue straight on: “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (NIV)
But I also like the “hit between the eyes” method of The Message:
“Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren't smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it?”
But there’s loving freedom in that. We are not called to do God’s part. We are called to agree with God’s promise and stand in faith when the doubts and fears come at us in tsunami proportions.
Chana is a wife, mom-of-four and author who brakes for old barns, homemade chocolate anything and Pride & Prejudice anytime. Look for her next novel, One Night With a Rock Star, coming to Amazon Kindle May 1, 2013.
"Daydreams she can handle. Real life? That gets complicated."
I love the work of Dr. Lee A. Simpson, a local preacher. Here's another insight I got from his teachings.
In another one of those three-minutes-that-change-everything moments on Sunday, my new favorite preacher threw this little challenge at me:
"When you say you are over something or that you believe something... Satan will always come with the test that says, 'Are you really?'"
I used to hear people say that God tested us as in, God wants to know if we are GOOD ENOUGH to gain Heaven, so He will test us to see. There was a time I believed this. Then I learned about God's great and all-encompassing love for me, and that showed me that there is no test to see if I'm worthy of His love. I'm not, and He doesn't require me to be.
However, we do feel tested, so how to explain that?
I like this way to explain it. You see, I don't know about you, but I can say a lot of things. I can say I believe a lot of things, but sometimes when push comes to shove, I don't ACT on what I say or what I believe. It sounds good in theory, but wow, is it hard in person!
Take forgiveness. I can say, "I've forgiven this person," and maybe I really believe I have. But then that person's name comes up in conversation, and this horrible feeling rises in me. I realize maybe I haven't really forgiven them, or I haven't totally forgiven them. Sometimes we can get down on ourselves at that point and think it's impossible so what's the point? That's what Satan would have us believe. To him, that's the point of him testing us--to get us to give up.
But what is the point of God LETTING Satan test us? Wouldn't it be better if when we say "we believe" that God then shielded us from all tests? (I know for me, I'd sure prefer that!)
However, I think that God allows the tests to show us those points where we're still weak, where we still need healing, where we need a little more understanding of how to bring and be His love in the situation. God doesn't allow the tests to give Himself cause for condemning us. If He did, why would He have sent Jesus to take our place? No. God allows the tests to let us see for ourselves where we are--not in theory but in reality.
For example, let's say that I have learned to put a situation in God's hands. So I'm going to a meeting, and I pray beforehand, "God, I put this meeting in Your hands." Great.
Now let's say that the meeting goes very well, but when it's over, the company decides not to go with my plan. That's a test. It's Satan's test, and what he wants me to do is go, "UGH! I put this in God's hands, and it didn't work out. God hates me! I do not trust God anymore..."
God, however, has allowed the test, and if I am willing to understand and learn that His Love is in everything, my disappointment may just be able to teach me something wonderful from this seeming "failure."
In the above example (drawn actually from my own life), I came away angry at first. I had put the meeting into God's hands, why did it not work out the way I wanted it to?
Ah. And then I stopped. I suddenly saw something I hadn't before.
Yes, I put the meeting in God's hands, but I had failed to put the OUTCOME in God's hands as well. In other words, "God, take this meeting and make it turn out the way I want." Oops. Yeah. I had kind of missed that one.
And the further truth is that when I learned that lesson, it freed me from placing my own expectations and judgments on the situations. Now, I go, I let God do it through me, and whatever happens, I know it is HIS best plan. (Talk about FREEDOM!)
The truth is that without Satan asking, "Are you really putting this in God's hands?" I would never have seen my error.
So those tests that Satan sends your way that seem so horrible at the time can be used by God--not so He can condemn you, but so that He can teach you to draw just a bit closer into His Love and trusting Him.
What test have you had that tested your belief or if you really would do what you said you would do?
See that as a gift... for it truly is.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2008
Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side. She is a #1 Best Selling Christian author and the founder of both Grace & Faith Author Connection and CrossReads--a site where Christian readers and authors can connect.
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