Several years ago, I was experiencing a season of hardships. The emotional pressure in my life had escalated – facing deadline upon deadline, bad medical news, grief over my father’s death, plus the daily stress of church leadership and family responsibilities. I sat in my doctor’s office in tears. All I wanted to do was escape, and drive to the beach to spend time with God. Only by talking to God, and having Him talk to me through the Word would salve this pain.
I knew that I would be okay if I could just get to the beach and let God’s love wash over me like the waves wash over the sand. So I drove home, told my husband I would be gone for a few hours, and I grabbed my Bible, journal, and a few devotional books. I rushed to the beach, anxious to spend time with God. I read, prayed, journaled, walked, listened – and read some more. Finally, both peace and a plan came.
Today, this is still my path to peace. The Psalmist agrees. “My soul finds rest in God alone!” Find a cozy place with God today, cuddle up with the Word, and let the peace of God wash over you. God’s peace is like the waves that wash over your toes planted in the sands, so faithful to come to shore, wave after wave, God’s peace will come to your heart, verse after verse, from His Word.
One woman who had sat in a Bible-teaching church Sunday after Sunday for over 10 years told me something one day that took my breath away. She had been having an affair with her best friend’s husband! Those in her world had counseled her, confronted her in love, shown her care and compassion – everything possible to help her see the trauma she was causing two families – then one day she eloped with this man! When she arrived back in town, I saw her at one of our children’s sporting events. She was so excited. She was flitting from person to person showing her ring and wedding pictures. When she arrived in front of Bill and I, we were shocked by her flippancy, “Oh, aren’t you excited for me? I just knew it was God’s will that we marry because after the ceremony, I looked up and there was a ring around the moon!”
“A ring around the moon!” my heart screamed with sadness. Her heart had drifted so far from God’s Word that her decision-making ability had become irrational. That day has stayed with me – primarily because it wasn’t an isolated incident.
A best friend, married to a minister, told me God had led her to an Internet chat room where she encountered a man who met her emotional and sexual needs. Another woman, who had been a committed women’s leader for years, told me at a retreat, “I was praying about whether to leave my current ministry, and I saw a butterfly and thought, “Butterflies are free; I am free from this ministry calling now. I am released to fly on to something else. Something for me.”
Our world has become so feelings-based and experiential, women are hopping from one emotional high to another. Sadly, this thinking is also creeping into the church, and into church leadership.
Seeing this, I feel compelled to be in the Word daily because every day that I might lean on an experience or emotion rather than on God and His Word is one more day my heart drifts further from truth, and further from God. If I don’t gird up my mind with the truth, I will drift from the truth.
Today, we live in a society where everyone seems to think they should be in charge. The easy access to technology makes everyone feel like their unresearched opinion is as important as any expert who might have spent his or her life studying and preparing to serve and help society. We have a selfie society and a rising rate of narcissism. The vast population have crowned themselves king.
Before we can be a great leader, we must first learn to be a great follower.
I often share with my mentees the illustration of a turtle on the fence post. I ask,”If you see a turtle on the fence post what should you ask?”
Usually one will say, “How did it get there?”
“Exactly. Turtles can’t climb. I am giving you this turtle to place on your desk as a reminder of these verses:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 4:6)
Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)”
It is God who puts us in places of leadership to SERVE others as we lead them. If we fail to keep that humble attitude of kneeling before our Creator, and bending our will to God’s plan and path, then God will allow our own arrogant spirit to take its course– and likely we will be the makers of our own demise and the destruction.
One vivid Bible example is King Saul who was given a specific command by God to follow– but instead he thought his own idea was better. God wasn’t going to put up with that arrogant, “I am my own boss” attitude. He sent the prophet Samuel to speak the truth to the King:
“…Look: to obey is better than sacrifice...” (1 Samuel 15:22
“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:23 )
God soon replaced Samuel with David, “..a man after God’s own heart” as king.
I appreciate my friend, San Rima’s (and Gary McIntosh’s) book Overcoming the Darkside of Leadership because it explains that just as our leadership grows, so does our own propensity for destruction. If we fail to be humble, and address our weaknesses and try to just cover over them with an arrogant and haughty spirit, our fall off the platform will be imminent.
I, for one, need to keep that turtle on my desk as a reminder: CHOOSE HUMILITY
Want to join God’s “turtle” club?
Pam Farrel is a very “grateful-to-God” leader, and the author of 45 books that she
Jesus used words pictures to carry His message so, to follow in His example, in today’s media culture, a photo is often “worth a thousand words”. Getting a great promo shot that captures you and your brand can feel nearly impossible – especially if you have a shoestring budget.
Here are a few tips for getting that W.I.N.N.I.N.G. photo:
Wear what you LOVE- and what loves YOU: Test clothes ahead of time with simple snaps on your cell. You will soon see what colors, lines and fabrics look best on you. It is also helpful to know what mood or purpose your photos will be used for so you can plan wardrobe and setting accordingly. For images your graphic designer can easily trim around for web or graphic design, then shooting in front of a plain white back drop or green screen might be advantageous. If you need casual shots, wear casual attire. If you want to show you can function and minister in the world of high finance, leadership, business or politics, then wear clothes you would wear for those activities.
Invest in a professional image consultation. My friends Jill Swanson and Manda Hall are two fashion wonder women who have helped me grow in this area. Consultants help you look up to date, in style, and can help you discern what best reflects your style and personality. Often image consultants can give tips on make up, poses, and jewelry and clothes to bring out your best and cover your flaws. For example, I have even trained my family to take photos from higher than my face (shoot down) to make me look thinner and younger! For example, my friend Jill gave me simple advice selecting “Your best colors” – your best colors will be the color of your eyes, your hair and natural lip colors. For me, just the simple decision to wear long pearl necklaces have a slimming impact that help me be more
confident of photos taken of me.
Notice what photos of others you love: scan Pinterest, magazines and other websites. Make a file of images and ideas you love. Make note of creative uses of themes or images, like these two of my friend Linda Goldfarb. Bill and I discerned that we like photos that captured a feeling not just an image. The last shot of a family Christmas photo shot when I yelled, “dogpile daddy!” (Ken Hansen) or our son, daughter in law and kids had a “tickle fight”—or the sensitive moments of a private kiss (above) have become some of our family’s favorites(Rebecca Friedlander). Make a shot list so you can efficiently get the photos you desire and not forget a vital one.
Note the time of day (like sunset) that you might want to capture a mood. Time of day will also help avoid harsh shadows. A certain season may give the result you are hoping for, like a walk in the fall leaves, or this shot where my top matches the hillside of flowers that only bloom for 2 months each winter in our yard. Various weather options can capture a need or a unique moment. For example, the little bit of rain actually produced a fun and favorite candid I can use for retreat PR. (Carl Cramer)
Investigate photographer options. Professionals can be worth the financial investment if you need very high end mass media photos. But for most of us, a local photographer who knows you and makes you feel confident and comfortable will work for your needs. Also, often photographers who are new are might be open to free or discounted sitting fees to build their portfolio. Student photography students or amateur photographers who you have seen and loved their work might be able to catch great shots because he or she is willing to shoot longer to offer multiple choices. Some photographers might be willing to barter for one of the skills or talents you possess in exchange for photos (We have traded relationship coaching for great pictures!)
Go for the unique. Contrast high fashion against a very casual setting (like wedding clothes on the beach, or bright red against a natural wall or background); Use props that are a contrast to the setting . For example, our talented photographer, Rebecca Friendlander, encouraged us to haul an old wing back chair to the beach. We then took glamour photos sitting right IN the waves. I also grabbed a red umbrella and dress for that pop of color against a rustic sea wall cliff.
You are unique—so lighten up! No photo will be perfect because, “we are all in the PROCESS of becoming our best selves”.
Hi, Dave Fessenden here with some thoughts on writing for this Friday blog. Right now, I’m working on the sequel to my first novel (The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy), and having to remind myself of some of the things I’ve told others about writer’s block.
One thing I’ve learned about tackling a new project is this: don’t expect to succeed.
Belief is essential to writing success. Not just any belief, but belief in what God says about us. Far too many Christian writers believe what the world says about them instead of what God says about them.
Here are a few wrong beliefs that I have heard in my work as a writing coach .
1) It takes luck to succeed as a writer.I dislike the word luck. It implies chance and happenstance. To believe that luck is essential to writing success is to believe a lie. What the world calls “luck” is really hard work and perseverance.
2) Only big names make it. Another lie. All big names were once little names or no names. Succeeding as a writer depends ultimately not on one’s name but on one’s writing. Learn all you can about writing, then create a product that wows the public.
3) Success destroys writers. It’s not success that is the problem. It’s a writer’s attitude toward his success. The humble writer will understand that his success is meant to glorify God.
Now here are a few right beliefs about writing:
1) My writing is all about Jesus and not at all about me. We writers are instruments in God’s hand for the building of His Kingdom. Once we get this straight, we will have established the right foundation for our writing.
2) Excellence is not the same as perfectionism. When we strive to be perfect, we can ruin our writing. Like the painter who paints one brush stroke too many and destroys her painting’s freshness and spontaneity, so is the writer who wants her work to be perfect. Strive for excellence, not perfection.
3) Holy Spirit is guiding me as I write. This truth has been a great comfort to me in my own writing. When we trust that Holy Spirit is guiding our pens, we can rest that He will accomplish His purposes through our writing.
____________________________________________ Copyright 2014 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA. All rights reserved.
Photo Source: Google Images
____________________________________________ Dr. MaryAnn Diorio writes compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her latest release,A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING, is a story of the power of forgiveness to heal a broken family.Visit MaryAnn atwww.maryanndiorio.com.
Book Two in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.
From WaterBrook Press
As the business-savvy Sinclair sister, Ida has never wanted to settle down. Instead of love, she craves success.
But while searching for one, she just might find the other.
Ida Sinclair has joined her sisters, Kat and Nell, in the untamed mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado for one reason: to work for the infamous but undeniably successful businesswoman, Mollie O’Bryan. Ida’s sisters may be interested in making a match for their determined older sister, but Ida only wants to build her career. Under Mollie’s tutelage, Ida learns how to play the stock market and revels in her promising accomplishments. Fighting for respect in a man’s world, her ambition leaves little room for distractions. She ignores her family’s reservations about Mollie O’Bryan’s business practices, but no matter how she tries, she can’t ignore the two men pursuing her affections—Colin Wagner, the dashing lawyer, and Tucker Raines, the traveling preacher.
Ida wants a career more than anything else, so she shrugs off the suitors and pointed “suggestions” that young ladies don’t belong in business. Will it take unexpected love—or unexpected danger—for Ida to realize where her priorities truly lie?