Monday, August 29, 2011

Slack Tide

I’d heard of high tide and low tide before, but on our Canada trip I learned a new term—“slack tide.” It’s a time of when the water is completely still, between low and high tide.  It lasts about 20 minutes between the high and low tides, each of which lasts 6 hours.  It’s much shorter than either of the others, but just as predictable.

When I viewed the bay during slack tide, the stillness of the water made it look as if nothing was happening. It was very peaceful. As the end of the 20 minutes drew near, I could see the water begin to stir once again, indicating a turn in the tide.

This pattern reminds me of the words of Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, who says, “Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one”. 

If the tides' waves can be compared to our struggles, then the “slack tide” of my life is an enjoyable time of rest. During this time, I thank God for the peace I enjoy. 

But it’s also the calm before the storm, when the tide begins to swirl and build until it reaches high tide. In this time, I ask Him to be with me to carry me through. 

How about you?  What’s you relationship with God like in the various stages of your life?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

When The Tide Turns

I got home last week after a wonderful 7-day trip to Canada.  We went to St. John, Newbrunswick, along the Bay of Fundy and saw the reversing rapids.  This is the point where the rapids flow inward from the sea up the bay, until they turn around several hours later and begin to flow outward.  I’d never heard of such a thing, but apparently, it has to do with the phases of the moon, which affect the tide.  (I’m not a scientist, but I’ll take their word for it.)

I realized that in some ways, our lives do the same thing.  Things flow along smoothly for a time until at some point, the tide turns and we find ourselves swimming against the tide.  I watched ducks do that very thing as they rode the rapids, so to speak.  The tide carried them downstream, but when they’d floated further than they wanted, they flew back to where they’d started. Then the tide took them out again until they flew back again.  Over and over they repeated the same pattern.

It was funny to watch, but do you ever find that pattern in your own life in one area or another?    I know I do.  Whether it’s relationships with God or other people, or health, or finances, things go along smoothly until something comes up and upsets things for some time. Sometimes it feels like I’ve taken 1 step forward, 2 steps back.  Essentially I’m headed in reverse. 

The good news is that if we stay the course things will turn around for us again and we’ll be headed the direction we’d gone originally.  Perseverance will pay off and we’ll reach our goal—just like those ducks do every day. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Listening to the Spirit

The Holy Spirit is able to teach you all things. What He teaches you is truth, and not a lie. I John 2:27

It’s spring. The flowers bloom in my garden, and sweet-gum balls litter the lawn.

Each year I spend hours raking the sweet-gum balls off the lawn and tossing them in the trash. Yesterday I raked them into piles, scooped them into the dustpan, and tossed them in the trash. When I re-examined the area, I found another one, picked it up and threw it away.

The further I walked, the more I found. I was surprised at how many I’d overlooked. How could I not have seen them? I’d already gone over the area, but had missed them somehow.

I realized this mirrored my spiritual life. It’s easy for me to go about my days and overlook some of my sins. I fail to recognize them even as I evaluate my life. So I need to pray continually, and pay attention to the Holy Spirit as He reveals my sins. Then I need to abandon these, and replace them with what glorifies God.

Just as clearing my yard of sweet gum balls is a process that takes time and has to be done continually, so ridding my life of sin is an ongoing practice that I need to make time for. Both require paying attention to detail and working to get rid of what doesn’t belong. Only by looking to Him, and listening for His voice, can I hear Him convict me of my sin.

How about you?  Do you go through your days simply moving from one task to the next and checking them off your to-do list? Or, do you stop to listen to the Spirit, learn what He wants you to do, and follow through with what He reveals?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

When Life Throws Us A Curve

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

Yesterday, in an effort to encourage me, a friend e-mailed me these words to an old hymn.  As I looked at the e-mail again today, it struck me.  It’s easy (at least for me) to take things for granted when life’s going well.  But when the going gets tough, we sit up and take notice.  And we may complain, “Why, God?”  We may even get mad at Him. 

But He stays right beside us. Despite our protests, and complaints, He never leaves our side. 

Even if the situation doesn’t change, He gives us the strength to endure it.  To persevere one step at a time.  We receive His mercy as He never gives more than we can handle as we walk with Him. 

And when we surrender it all, because we realize we can do no more, He gives us His peace.  It’s ours for the taking. 

If only I could remember this as trials come up. I’ll try to remember this as I go about my day. Every day. I think it’ll  change my attitude, and how I experience the everything that comes up, even if the outcome doesn’t change.   What do you think?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Social Media Marketing

Edie Melson has just released a new book essential for both seasoned and aspiring writers, Social Media Marketing for Writers.  I bought this resource and am certain to use it now and as a reference in the future as I continue to write.

Her book covers the essentials of social media, including the reasons for using it, finding a focus for your blog and what causes a blog succeed or fail.  Step by step, she teaches us how to create and maintain a blog. 

But she doesn’t stop there.  Instead, she gives us the tools we need to increase our audience and increase our marketing by navigating Twitter, Tweetdeck, and Facebook as well as tying it all into Amazon.  Last week I had the opportunity to interview her regarding this project. 

When did you start writing?

I actually wrote my first book—long hand—in the 8th grade.  I began my formal writing career as a technical writer in the 80’s then had kids and began writing again seriously as they grew up.

What is your reason or passion for continuing to write?

I like to quote Isaac Asimov on this one.  “I write for the same reason I breathe; if I didn’t I’d die.

How did you learn about social media?  Did you take a class, read a book or just figure it out yourself?

I came into it quite by accident.  You could even say it was a sink or swim situation.  I accepted a job as a managing editor at a Christian magazine for college age men.  Everyone I worked with was young enough to be my son—and social media is the only way to reach that audience.  I had to become an expert or quit my job. 

What made you decide to write about it?

With my success came a huge sense of accomplishment.  It’s become one of my passions to show others that social networking is NOTHING to be afraid of.  If I can do it, ANYONE can!

What do you think the future of social media holds for writers?

Great question!  While I don’t think anyone can predict the future, I do think it’s exciting to think about where this trend is headed.

I think social media and writers are a match made in heaven.  Writing is all about building relationships—with readers, editors, agents, and other writers.  What better vehicle is there than social media?  It’s tailor made for writers.  After all, we communicate best through the written word.  And it gives us an unprecedented opportunity to connect with our readers. 

Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with over 16 years experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, having published over 700 articles in 2010. She also has a popular writing blog ( and is a frequent contributor to many others. In keeping up with the leading edge of all things digital Edie has become known as one of the go-to experts on Twitter, Facebook, and social media for writers wanting to learn how to plug in. Get your copy for only 99 cents on Kindle or Nook,

Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home, is one of Edie’s latest projects. This devotional book for those with family members in the military will debut in fall of 2011 with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 
Edie is a member of numerous professional writing organizations, including The Christian Pen, The Christian Writer’s View I and ACFW. She’s also an assistant copy editor for the Voices E-zine, a publication of My Book Therapy and a part of the My Book Therapy Special Teams Blog.
Married 30 years to husband, Kirk, they have raised three sons.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Walking in the Light

Psalm 27
God is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?

My dog sleeps at the side of my bed, so when I woke up in the wee hours of the morning I was still half asleep. I stepped out of bed and bam!  I hit the floor, having fallen over Oscar. Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt too badly.  But had I turned on the light first, I’d have seen him and either stepped over or around Him, avoiding my collision with the floor.

Light shows us where we are and how to get where we’re headed.  It shows us if there’s anything in our way.  If there is, God will show us how to remove them, go over them, or travel around them.  He doesn’t expect us to do it alone.  He gives us resources to use, whether it’s the Bible, people he puts in our lives to instruct and admonish us, and others to encourage us to stay the course in following His plan in our lives. But we have to make a choice.  We can either do as He tells us and eventually reach our goal.  Or we can choose to go our own way.

If we ignore His leading, we walk down a dark path. Just as I fell over Oscar, we’ll fall spiritually too and reap the consequences.  If, however, we listen to Him and heed his direction, He will protect us from harm. 

Even if trouble and temptation comes along the way, He’ll be there with us and will gives us wisdom as to how to deal with it and avoid succumbing to temptation no matter how inviting it seems. 

He promises to never allow in our lives a temptation too strong for us to overcome. (I Cor. 10:13). 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Unity in Christ

Last night I went to Refresh, an evening of praise and worship at my church.  Rather than being a night of a few people from our church gathering to sing, it was a really inspiring experience. You see, three local churches combined to lead everyone in worship.  Believers from all over the city, from different races, backgrounds, and worship styles came together to worship the Lord and Savior we all believe in. 

I was a time of unity rather than divisiveness that too often characterizes the Church as a whole.  God was the center of the evening. Who He is and what He’s done for all of us.  Instead of concentrating on what divides us, things people have created, we focused on God and what He’s done to bring us all together.   It was a great time and a wonderful reminder of what God created the Church to be.