It’s said that no matter how long the road, the walk down
that road starts with one step. My first step was on 12/2/1995: "This is the beginning of my “I
wanna teach” journal…a place to collect thoughts, analogies, themes, and
inspirations on possible preaching subjects."
Then a little more than a month later, I realized the road was
not a freeway:
With technology today we are blessed to have instant access to words of encouragement that will lift our spirits. Many talented writers have blogs, websites, and Facebook pages where they share what God has placed on their hearts. Each one has a unique way of weaving a tapestry of hope with their words.
Starting today, I'm going to set aside each Monday to share a theme from the wealth of words I am blessed to read. When you click on the links below, a new window will open where you can read (and respond to) the author's message.
Over the past few
weeks I’ve shared some of the content from Intentional
Fitness: Working Out Your Salvation so Others Can See Jesus. Today I’d like
to introduce my fabulous cover girl Lucy, created by my fabulous niece Katlan.
has a little bit of attitude, likes to have fun, and has lots of class and
style. Most of all, she loves Jesus.
is her trademark “Hi, pleased to meet you” pose. As I write books, she’ll be
sporting a variety of different looks to help illustrate what the book is
speaking of illustration, her creator, Katlan Graziano, has always enjoyed
drawing, and the challenge of creating and illustrating characters. Lucy is not her first published
character. Among others she has created
is a messy pig named Greg who taught children about manners. Katlan recently graduated from JMU, and is
looking forward to future illustration opportunities.
we first started talking about cover ideas for this and future books, it was
Katlan’s idea to create a central character who could be on all the books. Here's Lucy on her debut cover, and a short excerpt from the back of the
my dear friends . . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and
trembling . . .” Philippians 2:12 (NIV). We know how to work out our problems,
work the kinks out of our backs, and work out at the gym, but we’re not exactly
sure how to work out our salvation. Is this
working out of salvation anything like other work-outs with which we are
familiar? Will this work-out take discipline, denial, and diet? Will this
work-out require intentional effort, possibly even a daily commitment?
answers are yes, yes, and yes.
I’m so excited and humbled
to see how God is bringing everything together for the re-release of my first
book. Katlan and I are in the final review stages now, so the book should be ready
for release by the first week of September.
I don’t know what He
has planned for this book or for any others, I just know I need to write them
and put them in His hands. I am so blessed when my fingers are on the keyboard
and words are pouring out! Our God is amazing in how He creates us, and then
gives us gifts and talents that bring Him glory and fill us with such joy.
Happy Fitness Friday! Give someone you love a BIG hug today, and be
thankful God brought them into your life!
WEEK: The original idea behind the book,
and the top 10 suggested uses for the book.
CHALLENGE: What gift or talent has the
Lord given you that brings Him glory and blesses your socks off? Are you spending your talent, or hiding it under a bushel?
God longs to see you shine brightly with His joy in a world that so desperately needs
When working out at the
gym, it’s not uncommon to have someone review all of the equipment with us and
help us determine which equipment will bring the most benefit. For eating
right, we may consult books and other avenues that can help us know which food will
be best. In both cases, we are looking to an expert who has experience and can
guide us along.
Spiritually, in addition to
the Bible, we have the Holy Spirit—the Counselor, Helper, and Guide—as our
expert. We need to learn more about how to hear His voice and allow Him to rule
our lives. I’ve already mentioned the first step to knowing His voice, which is
reading the Bible so that we can know God and what He says about us. The next
step is getting things out of the way that interfere with His voice.
Have you ever made up your mind to
start an exercise program?
You join the gym and the staff leads
you on a tour of the exciting new world of shiny equipment that will transform
your body in just a few short months. Your eyes light up and you set your mind
saying, “This time it will work. I will come to the gym. I will
make the time.” For the first few weeks, all is going well. You are motivated
to make your schedule work, and nothing stands in your way.
Then it starts to get a little old—same
time, same routine, same equipment. What was once shiny and new becomes bothersome
and mundane. Concurrently, the busyness of life sets in. Kids need rides to
soccer practice, help with their homework. And well, they need to eat.
I feel like a 2-year old on the last leg of a 3-hour car trip
to Grandma’s, asking every 5 minutes if we’re “there yet”.For me, “there” is tomorrow:the day when I am no longer on my fast and can
eat anything I want.
Of course, I really want to eat it NOW.
But I won’t.This
close to the finish line, I can’t quit the race.(Even though I really want to!)
on the food you can’t have, but on
how thankful you are for the awesome results of the past 3 weeks and all the
Lord has revealed to you.”