"And Peter answered him (Jesus) and said, 'Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.' And he said, 'Come.' And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous (rough or stormy), he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, 'Lord, save me.' And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, 'O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?' And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased." Matthew 14:28-32.
I've been thinking about storms lately. Storms in the Bible often refer to the troubles and trials that come into our lives. Sometimes it seems like our entire life is just filled with one storm after another whether it's in the form of sickness, financial troubles, depression, or anything else that causes anxiety during our time here on earth.
Now you may think, how does this relate to the passage above? It is a beautiful picture of what we need to strive to do during the hard times that come our way.
Like Peter, we all tend to look around at our circumstances. And what does that accomplish? When Peter looked "around" on the circumstances, all he saw was the wind and storm. He focused on that and it caused great fear in him. So much so that he began to sink! Is that how we feel? Do we get afraid when we look at our circumstances and don't know how they'll turn out? Does it seem like that deep, paralyzing fear of the future is causing you to sink into despair?
Friends, we don't have to fear. I know it's easier said than done, but we can overcome fear if we just let this passage teach us a valuable lesson.
So Peter had already been walking out on the sea to Jesus. What was the difference? What made him not sink then? One key aspect: He was looking at Jesus. He wasn't focused on the wind and the storm raging around him. He had his gaze fixed on Jesus.
We need to focus on Jesus during the storms and trials of our own lives. When we look on Him and see all that He can do and remember what He has done for us already, the circumstances seem to melt away and become dim. Our fear dissipates. The winds die down and cease altogether.
And then we realize, it was only through Him that we made it through the storm unharmed and changed for the better.
End of the month writing update: As of yesterday, I have started my first draft of "Their Hope" a 30 chapter love story set in Wildwood, NJ. I've hit roughly 3,750 words and I'm on track to take down another 2,500 before the weekend. I'm so excited to share this particular story with you! :)
What it's about: An unexpected friendship, a broken heart, and a storm all threaten to inundate a nurse. Can she find an Anchor for her heart?
(If anyone would like to see the book trailer I created, shoot me a comment below and I'll get it to you!)
Coming soon! :)
I'm back! (A day late but who'll notice?) :P
As a writer, ideas fill my head, combined with all of the other thoughts that most of us probably think during the day. So I thought it would be fun to tell you some of the ways I get ideas for my stories! Inspiration is really endless and there are ideas everywhere, if only you have the eyes and ears to see and hear them. ;)
1. Real life events
Graduations, marriages, having children, birthdays, holidays, no matter what the event is there are always seeds of ideas we can find there. You can draw from funny experiences that happened during these events or any snippets of a conversation you happen to hear. For instance, at my one cousin's graduation party in 2015, I was helping another one of my cousins make icing for the cupcakes early that morning. We measured out the powdered sugar and put it in the mixer. Then it happened. Poof! I accidentally turned the mixer on way too high a speed and powdered sugar flew all over us! I used that as a funny incident in a story I wrote recently.
Reading the newspaper or watching the news is another way to get some inspiration for themes or things that the characters might actually go through. Any news stories, and especially tragic or life changing are ones that can spark the imagination. I'm fascinated with tragic stories like the Titanic, the Holocaust, both World Wars, and more recently, 9/11. Someday, Lord willing, I'd like to write with some of these settings as the background for the characters.
While doing research for my upcoming novel, I stumbled on two events that happened during 2015. A hurricane and an American cargo ship that went missing during the time of the hurricane. That inspired me to incorporate those events into the story line. We'll see how it goes!
Quite often during times of Bible reading, a certain verse or theme sticks out among others in the different passages I read. Or it's something the Lord has been teaching me or laying on my heart. That inspires a spiritual element I can add into the character's background or story line. The thing that drives them to do what they do. I love this kind of inspiration the best. And really the Lord is the One who gives me all these ideas for different stories. I can't take the credit for that. :)
4. Random things
I have a great example for this one. When we were on vacation back in December, we stayed at a large resort in Florida. Naturally, we took the elevator to get from our room down to the beach and back again. One morning we saw a note posted in the elevator. It went something like this: "To the cute tennis playing girl on the 22nd floor. I held open the door for you but I didn't catch your name. Text me." He put his number there, too! That may very well be used in one of my future stories! ;) We weren't on the 22nd floor, by the way. Ha ha!
I hope you enjoyed seeing all the different ways I get ideas and inspiration for my stories. If any of you writers have any other sources for inspiration, let me know in the comments! :)
P.S. You can't forget songs! Song lyrics get my attention, too. They can spark story lines, themes, or questions for the story.
by Grace Livingston Hill
Hey there! I thought I'd offer you my first book recommendation this week. I read this fairly recently and it was something that spoke to me.
If you're looking for a light and gentle romance with some scripture and lessons learned throughout, then I highly recommend you read this one! It's a sweet story about two sisters and their family after they've fallen under hard times. One of the sisters in particular is changed through the course of the book and also gains some wisdom from different friends she meets along her journey.
One of the topics was: what are we living for? And it gave this verse that really got me thinking about my own life as well. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)
That's all for now!
Comment down below with books you've read recently that really made you stop and think about different aspects of your life as well as the books that touched your heart with a spiritual message.
Picture above: Laura wrote out the verse in calligraphy for me and it's currently on my bookshelf.
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Isaiah 41:10
Isn't that a comforting verse? It's my favorite verse and one I go to frequently. I wanted to share it with you today during this season where fear seems to be all around us.
According to an article I read, "fear not" appears 74 times in scripture and "be not afraid" appears 29 times, so there's definitely a point to be made. As Christians, we shouldn't live in fear. Why? Look at the verse above again and note the phrase 'for I am with thee.' It's because God is with us. He will fight our battles for us like he promised in Exodus 14:14.
Instead of being afraid, trust in Him. Trust that He is in control of the situation we're facing in America today. And choose to be like the prophet Isaiah who said, "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. . ." (Isaiah 12:2) and like King David: "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psalm 56:3)
What are some of your favorite go-to verses when you're battling with fear? What other passages have encouraged you throughout this pandemic?