Planted By God to Display His Glory -Isaiah 61:3

BELIEVE!

I hit the rewind button on my life this week, to take a look at where I started on my writing journey seven years ago. I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged and confused lately, wondering if God wants me to write more, or focus on something else and write less.

To write or not to write…Is that really the question? What is it about words that continue to want to pour out of my thoughts, a stream without banks, flowing to a destination as vast as the sea? Why write when your words only become diluted and lost?

Because…

“The word carries such power…That flavor in your work, unlike anything they’ve ever tasted, some of them didn’t know what tasting was until you showed them. You awoke their mouths, gave them a taste for something and created a desire they will never forget as long as they live.” –Mick Silva

A new friend of mine is just starting her own writing journey. It’s easy for me to serve up Mick’s encouragement on a silver platter for her. Harder for me to put it on a paper plate in front of myself.

How about you? God gives each one of us a ministry that can be rewarding one minute and an uphill challenge the next. It’s easy to feel like we are a small fish in a big pond and wonder if anything we are doing is making a difference. Sometimes we see how God touches others through our service, but most often we do not.

It’s in those times I feel like I am losing the battle to believe in what God is calling me to do. Yet I know it’s precisely the time that God is forging in me a stronger faith than I dare to believe I could possess.

God gave my new writer friend one word for 2011: BELIEVE.

Precisely the title of the first devotion I took to my first writing conference, where I met my first editor, who hired me to write my first article. It’s where I started on this writing journey. It’s where a pastor who read the article said,

“It made me feel something, and that’s hard to do. I rarely feel anything when I read articles.”

He tasted something. He was a pastor and he tasted something in my writing! It encouraged me even more than the first job offer.

I needed some encouragement this week, so I hit REWIND to read that first article again. So I can taste it. And savor the message God wants me to receive.

Here is it, served up to me on a cardboard plate with a hot dog and my baseball hat…

 

October 2004

BELIEVE

“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]” Philippians 4:13 (AMP)

I have a confession to make. Friday I bought a silver necklace that says “Believe” with a pretty green stone on the B. You may have guessed I was motivated to buy it to make the statement that “I’m believing God!” But I need to confess to you that my motives weren’t entirely pure…I had another motivation to “Believe” this week…Forgive me, but I come from a long line of die-hard Red Sox baseball fans, and this last week was our week to “Believe!”

For those of you who are not die-hard Red Sox baseball fans (are there any out there?), let me recap for you what took place this last week in baseball history. At the beginning of last week the Red Sox were behind in the championship series 0-3. There was no chance for them to come back and win four games in a row to win the championship and go on to the World Series. No chance—no other team in the history of baseball had ever done it. Then they won a game, and then two, and signs appeared all over the stadium that said “Believe!” It was not possible, the commentators kept saying—no team had ever done it! But die-hard Red Sox fans kept waving those signs and choosing to believe.

By Tuesday of this last week my faith was being challenged. And not just my faith in the Red Sox. God began to use the experience to talk to me about my faith in general…about how easy it was to give up when the odds were against me…how I could line up all the reasons why I couldn’t do “all things through Christ” …and how often I have given in to the insecurities and fears that overwhelm me on the brink of every breakthrough.

Until the Red Sox won the second game I really had only a mustard seed of faith. But on Tuesday, I made a choice to believe it was possible for the Red Sox to win. And yes, I prayed for it! I remembered scripture tells us that we “can” ask anything. So I did. I prayed that God could use this kind of story to get out a message of true faith—that He would give the Christians on the team a platform to share their faith and help spread the true message of “believe” wherever He wanted.

Maybe it sounds a bit strange and not very refined of me to pray for such a thing. I felt like I was just God’s kid asking for something from an honest heart and with a sincere desire for my Dad to get some recognition and glory. If you watched Boston’s victory in the seventh and last game of the American League Championship Series, you know that He did. When Curt Schilling, the Red Sox pitcher for the game, was asked on national television how he managed to pitch so well against multiple challenges, psychological as well as physical (he performed despite a painful ankle injury), he gave God all the credit and all the glory. He basically said, it was all God. It was God who empowered him. My husband can tell you that I jumped out of my chair praising God when I saw that. Yay God! He won the victory! I can believe! And not just for them, but for me!

You may know the rest of the story—the Red Sox did come back and make baseball history. To date (Sunday as I write this), they have also won game one of the World Series. Regardless of whether you are a baseball fan, let’s face it, we all love a comeback story. We are inspired ourselves when others overcome all obstacles and gain the victory. We realize we can believe for the impossible–because all things are possible with God!

By faith…Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab. All on God’s winning team. In my imagination I picture they had angels (not the Anaheim Angels!) all around them, cheering them on and waving signs that said, “Believe!”

I’m going to be wearing my necklace this week. I am choosing to believe against all odds…both for the Red Sox and for myself. The Red Sox may end up in the baseball Hall of Fame—but I want to be like the overcomers in the Bible’s “Hall of Faith.” No wall too high, no mortal weakness too great for the strength of Christ to empower me to be ready for and equal to any challenge!

Praise God that no matter what our personal faith challenges are right now, we are always a member of God’s winning team! And, “we can do all things through Christ!”

I’m waving a sign for you! It says “BELIEVE!”

Thanks for believing with me today.

       -Linda

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