John 11:21

Jesus and Grief: Thoughts on John 11

John 11 shows us that God understands our grief. Jesus knew Lazarus was going to die. He waited, and then he went to visit his friends, Mary and Martha.

Martha expresses her shock and anger, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (vs. 21)

Jesus does not rebuke her. Instead he answers her questions and reminds Martha who he is.

Martha responds in faith – “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (vs. 27)

Martha leaves and tells Mary that Jesus is there.

Mary repeats what Martha said, but is much more emotional – she falls at Jesus’ feet.

When Jesus sees her weeping, and many of her friends weeping as well, “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” (vs. 33) He asks where Lazarus has been placed, and Jesus weeps (vs. 35).

I find it astonishing that Jesus weeps. He is the Almighty God who can do anything. He already knows that God the Father will raise Lazarus from the dead.

But still He weeps. And then He goes to the tomb where Lazarus is buried and calls him back from the dead.

I don’t know what you’re experiencing today, but God does. He not only sees your tears, but He also weeps with you. Tell him what’s on your heart, and trust Him to walk with you through your grief.

At times, Jesus gives us the desires of our hearts. At other times, there is silence. But no matter what, God is there.

If there is something you would like prayer for today, please share your request below. Remember:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19,20 (NIV)

I shared a companion post today on A Beautiful Life, about how my daughter’s popped balloon reminded me of appropriate ways to deal with grief.

 


Summary – Booked by Josh Turner

As a self-published author, one of the topics that interests me is how people market their products. Last week I received a free copy of Josh Turner’s, Booked to preview. Inside the book there are links to a companion video series the reader can access free of charge.

Josh starts off the book by reminding us, “In order to get your next client, you must first get your next lead.”

  1. Position yourself in front of your prospects.
  2. Convert a percentage of these prospects into leads and appointments.
  3. Turn at least one of them into a client.

Josh admits most people already know this information, but he claims the problem is people don’t spend enough time on steps one and two in order to be successful at step three.

After the introduction, Josh shares the story of how his father built up a remodelling business, which was successful for many years, bringing in up to $1 million. However, the business eventually shut down because of a lack of clients. Josh joined a construction company, which did about $5 million in revenue, but in 2008, that company also shut down because the income didn’t cover the expenses.

Josh discounts all the training programs that claim they have “the golden ticket to a life of passive income where you sit on the beach and magically make money all day.”

“The #1 thing that prevents business owners from achieving growth is ‘the cash flow roller coaster.'”

Josh says the answer is to  have a system that “attracts your ideal clients, and works them through a process that culminates with them booking a time to speak with you.”

Booked quote

“Booked is a 5-step process that helps you quickly position yourself as an expert in your industry, directly connect you with an unlimited supply of prospects, and work them through processes that will generate a predictable number of leads and appointments.”

Obviously this process takes time to set up and maintain. Josh states that people who are willing to invest 30-60 minutes five days a week will find his system successful. Here is the process in a nutshell:

  1. Laying the foundation (Identifying your ideal prospect, where to find him/her, what matters to him/her)
  2. Establishing a leadership platform on Facebook or LinkedIn
  3. Building a database of prospects
  4. Developing a personalized messaging campaign with a request for a phone call follow-up
  5. Using e-mail strategies

Click here for more information from Josh Turner and his Booked system.

I appreciate Josh Turner’s reminders that this system requires work. Obviously he is hoping to engage readers and have them purchase his system.

Have you tried the booked system or something similar? How effective did you find it?


Stepping into 2016

I don’t know about you, but for me 2015 was one of the most difficult years I’ve had. There are issues I’m still working through which I can’t comment on, but in December my future was looking too dark for my comfort. I’m thankful that a few things happened in December to turn things around.

*I was able to get some extra sleep

*Some understanding friends helped me have fun and relax

*I spent a few days reading my Bible, reading some books, praying, and thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2016 

*I worked through some exercises in the workbook which accompanies The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

*Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy offered members Plan it Day: The World is Waiting, a helpful series of videos and worksheets

As a result, I was able to step into 2016 with a renewed perspective. 

My key word for 2016 is HOPE!

2016 Hope

Some of my goals this year:

*Memorize & meditate on verses from Ephesians (I have a group of friends who have agreed to cheer me on and hold me accountable in this area.)

*Be more mindful of what I’m eating and why (I’ve been reading Women, Food, and Desire by Alexandra Jamieson. Although I don’t agree with her worldview, I’m finding a lot of helpful information to help me conquer my bad eating habits.)

*Exercise at least 2x/week (I have a treadmill to use.)

*De clutter our house (I’m trying out DeClutter 365: Daily 15 Minute Missions )

*Write, record, publish, and market a book with imbedded MP3s on Hope (This project has been on my mind for months. Stay tuned for more details.)

As you step into 2016, what are your goals or aspirations? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.


What is in your hand?

This blog has been silent for a while. I’ve been taking time to be still before God and ask Him what direction He wants to me take in my writing/blog/business. I don’t know about you, but I’m more like Martha than Mary. I’d rather be busy doing than be sitting still listening.

I’ve been thinking about things that I’m passionate about, things that energize me, things that are fun for me to do. These include:

  • Taking pictures
  • Creating graphics
  • Encouraging/mentoring people
  • Hearing how God is at work in people’s lives

For some people, social media is a waste of time, frustrating, confusing. That’s definitely not the case for me. Looking at the points I mentioned above, that makes sense – pictures and interaction with people are key on social media. In the new year, I will be sharing more. 

Melanie Fischer, one of my InScribe friends, wrote a great post about The Power of One. That reminded me of the poem above which was given to me when I worked as a school board trustee. 

What are you passionate about? What energizes you? What is fun for you? Are you participating, helping, practicing, being kind, working, inspiring, enriching, serving, growing, acting, and being good for something? 

 


Author Profile – Janet Sketchley

Today I’m happy to welcome Janet Sketchley, a fellow Canadian author, to my blog:

Janet Sketchley lives in Atlantic Canada, where she writes Christian suspense novels and blogs about faith and books. She loves Jesus and her family, and enjoys reading, worship music, and tea. You can find Janet online at janetsketchley.ca, and fans of Christian suspense are invited to join her writing journey through her monthly newsletter: bit.ly/JanetSketchleyNews.

Tell us about your upbringing and early memories.

I grew up in a Christian home, sheltered by loving parents. We lived in the city but spent weekends in the country, where my brother and I were free to roam and explore. I loved to read, and started writing some truly awful fiction in my school years. None of those projects made it very far.

Describe what led you to accept God’s gift of salvation. How old were you?

Sunday School was part of my life from a young age. I always believed in God, but as a child it was a pretty superstitious faith in some ways. You know, giving God all the details in a prayer request, because otherwise He might not “get it right.” Still, I knew He was my source of help. For me the growth has been learning what it means to follow Jesus as Lord of my life as well as Saviour, and discovering more about His character.

When did you first become interested in writing?

Playing at writing as a child, and enjoying teacher-assigned short stories in school, showed me I was interested, but university papers and then marriage and a job put it out of my mind. As an at-home mom with a toddler, I joined a local writers’ group and dabbled in some life-experience type essays. Then a fiction idea sprouted and I started writing just to get it out of my head. Novels have been my passion ever since.

How would you define a successful writer?

There are different aspects to that, including, one would hope, some level of earning more than one spends. No matter how many people read our work, or what our bank accounts look like, I think what marks genuine success is this: are we true to our calling as Christians and as individuals? Are we speaking with integrity and love from the heart, with thoughts informed by our faith, with a desire to serve other people rather than to push anything on them? Whether we’re writing news articles, technical pieces, poetry, fiction, songs, notes to shut-ins… the list is endless. Are we using the gifts God has given us in the way He’s leading? In the end, will we hear His “Well done”?

What advice would you give a beginning writer?

Make this one more facet of your life with Christ. Write prayerfully, and cultivate an enjoyment of the process. Don’t be in a hurry to “arrive,” whatever that means for you at this moment. You have talent and interest, but we all need to learn the craft as well. Be diligent, persevere, and grow toward excellence because what you’re writing is for the Lord. Give Him your best. 

Tell us about your current work in progress.

I’ve just completed book 3 in my Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense series, Without Proof, which releases November 10. (NOTE: the Kindle edition is on SALE now until the release on November 10th. Pre-purchase your copy from Amazon and it will be sent to your Kindle on the 10th!) It’s the story of an artist’s assistant who lost her fiancé two years ago in a plane crash – and who now suspects that crash was sabotage. Her questions find no proof – only warnings and threats.  

How has being a Christian impacted your life path?

It’s shaped the friendships I’ve made, and it definitely shapes what I write. I don’t know if it’s affected career choices or anything like that, but it must have, behind the scenes, because I know God has been shepherding me. What being a Christian has done is keep me from wrecking my life. Faith, prayer, and surrender to the Lord’s care and authority have kept me stable (mostly!) through big and small times of stress. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without that, and I thank God I haven’t had to find out.

What epitaph would you like on your tombstone?

“She loved Jesus.”

7 Essential Habits Cover

Janet has two pieces published in 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers:

Writer. Ready. Pen. and The Writer’s Newsletter: Do you Need One?

Purchase your copy of 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers at  myBook.to/ChristianWriters1Please remember to leave a review after you’ve read the book 🙂


Harvest Haiku

This morning I received this invitation from my friend, Lisa Evola, who moderates the blog, A Beautiful Life:

I’d like to invite each of you to write a harvest haiku.
In case you don’t know what a Haiku is, it is a japanese poem that follows  this structure: 1st line – 5 syllables, 2nd line – 7 syllables, 3rd line – 5 syllables : and creates a word picture.  I wrote two in response to a post on the Steve Laube Agency blog. Create one too. I’ve posted them on my personal page, and would love it if you could leave them in the comment section of my personal blog.  You can see mine here: http://lisaevola.com/2015/10/23/harvest-haiku-too/
I decided to participate, so I wrote a Haiku and then added it to a picture I recently took during harvest here in Alberta.
 
I encourage you to join in the fun and let me know where you shared your Harvest Haiku

 


Author Profile – Tracy Krauss

Today I welcome my friend and fellow author, Tracy Krauss, to my blog.

Tracy Krauss writes contemporary Christian romance with a twist of suspense and a touch of humor. Her books strike a chord with those looking for a hard hitting yet thought provoking read – no sugar added. Her work has won multiple awards and has been on Amazon’s bestsellers’ lists. She also writes stage plays tailored to a high school audience, and has contributed to several anthologies, devotional books, and one illustrated children’s book. Tracy has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and teaches secondary school Art, Drama and English – all things she is passionate about. She and her husband have lived in five provinces and territories including many remote and unique places in Canada’s far north. They have four grown children and now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests. For more information visit her website at http://www.tracykrauss.com“Fiction on the edge – without crossing the line”

Q: Tell us about your upbringing and early memories.

A: I am the youngest of five and was raised in small town Saskatchewan. My mom was a teacher and my dad was an ‘entrepreneur’ – in other words, he had lots of different jobs and we moved from house to house about 15 times before I left home. I think it made me adaptable. I loved drawing from an early age and could usually be found with a pencil and paper.

 

Q: Describe what led you to accept God’s gift of salvation. How old were you?

A: I made a decision for Christ the year I turned twenty, but previous to that, my mom had become a Christian and relentlessly prayed for all of us. I had some knowledge about the Bible because she had read to us as children and I also went to youth group in my Grade 12 year because there was a boy that I liked that went. J It wasn’t until I was in University and involved in the party scene that I accepted Christ. It was an unlikely looking biker who witnessed to me. He had just accepted Christ and even though he still smoked and probably did other things, as a baby believer he took witnessing seriously. His testimony, combined with my mother’s witness, finally got through to me.

 

Q: When did you first become interested in writing?

A: I wrote my first play in Grade Four and I always did well in composition at school. My English 12 teacher encouraged me to go to a writing camp one summer but I didn’t go. I was more interested in the visual arts as an outlet. It was after I had my first child that I started clacking away at the typewriter when she was down for her nap. I was hooked. Thirty years later, I’m still at it.

 

Q: How would you define a successful writer?

A: I try to measure success in the impact I have on people’s lives. Obviously, money would be nice, as would sales numbers, but the best feeling for me is when I find out one of my books resonated with another person.  

 

Q: What advice would you give a beginning writer?

A: Never give up. Keep on writing, keep on learning, keep on growing.

 

Q: Tell us about your current work in progress.

A: It’s a sequel to Wind Over Marshdale set in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It follows the life of Thomas Lone Wolf’s niece Tanzi, whom we meet in a previous novella, Lone Wolf. She is determined to rise above the rough circumstances of her childhood, but is dealing with an alcoholic mother, a rebellious teenaged sister, the injustice of her brother’s wrongful incarceration, and an unexpected romantic interest in a man she isn’t sure she can trust.

 

Q: How has being a Christian impacted your life path?

A: It’s been everything. I honestly can’t imagine my life without Christ. I sometimes wonder how people manage otherwise.

 

Q: What epitaph would you like on your tombstone?

A: Dancing with Jesus.

7 Essential Habits Cover

Tracy is one of 28 contributing authors to 7 Essential Habits of Christian Authors. You can purchase your own copy at http://mybook.to/ChristianWriters1.

What question would you like to ask Tracy?


A Voice for the Voiceless

I’m angry. It brings out the “Mama Bear” in me when I hear stories like the one I heard yesterday (names changed).

Belinda has a son who has special needs. She did what she was told and enrolled him in a local school when he was five. He didn’t learn to read that year, or the year after, or the next . . . at eleven years of age he still could not read. Her son received some help at school. She trusted the school to do what was best…until she received a phone call from the school telling her that her son was no longer welcome in the school because “he is a sexual pervert.”

Belinda asked some questions and discovered her eleven-year-old son was given a spy game to play on an iPad belonging to the school. Her son accepted the game and played it without supervision – not for half an hour, but for a whole day. One of the first levels of the game instructed him to take pictures of people he was spying on. He did what he was told and took pictures. Lots of pictures. Of both boys and girls. Parents of the girls found out he was taking pictures of their daughters and complained. That’s when Belinda received the phone call.

Belinda was unable to resolve the situation with her local school, so she contacted a different school and asked to enrol her son. The “new” school contacted the previous school and was informed, “the child is a sexual pervert.” The “new” school refused to enrol Belinda’s son based on the information provided by the previous school. Belinda decided her only option was to homeschool her son. He had been in school for six years and could not read, so she figured she couldn’t do any worse. Then, she discovered the local school had reported her to Child & Family Services. Now she is not only juggling the challenges of parenting and homeschooling a child who has special needs, but she is also spending countless hours defending her ability to care for her son.

Why didn’t the local school provide adequate support for Belinda’s son? Why does a school choose to turn a student away because of a label, without researching the background? Why is it that a parent with a child who has special needs is often taken advantage of because he or she doesn’t understand how “the system” works?

We can do better, Alberta!