Seven Reminders For Developing Staying Power

Seven Reminders For Developing Staying Power

Christians today need what I call “staying power.” I define staying power as the ability and action of continuing in your walk with Jesus Christ for your lifetime.

The need for staying power exists for the average Christian. The need exists for the man or woman in full-time ministry, and yes, even for the Christian writer.

Staying power helps you continue is your daily walk with Jesus. Staying power helps you to finish the article or book where it doesn’t end up in a drawer or as a forgotten file on your computer’s hard drive. It allows you to keep submitting and writing despite the rejections or poor sales.

Here are seven reminders that will help you develop staying power. 

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

Reminder #1 – I Must Remember That God Loves Me

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1 ESV

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV

Remember

    • Our performance does not give us our worth.
    • God’s grace gives us the power to start over.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37 ESV

Reminder #2 – I Must Maintain a Clear Conscience

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” –  2 Corinthians 4:2 ESV

Remember

    • I must have and maintain my integrity.
    • I must have and maintain my character.

Reminder #3 – I Must Have The Right Motivation

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” – 2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV

Remember

    • Our ego will only take us so far
    • We proclaim Christ Jesus.

Reminder #4 – I Must Accept My Limitations

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV

Remember

    • We must pace ourselves.
    • We must do our part to maintain our health.

Reminder #5 – I Must Love Other People

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15 ESV

Remember

    • It’s God’s love that extends His grace to His glory.
    • As God loves me unconditionally, I need to love others.

Reminder #6 –  I Must Take Time to Recharge

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

Remember

    • Our inner self is being renewed day by day.
    • Recharging helps us to not lose heart.

 

Reminder #7 – I Must Keep My Eye On The Goal

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Remember

    • You cannot produce if you do not face the problems and keep on keeping on to the goal.
    • Our problems won’t last forever. Remember, God’s faithfulness that you experienced when you had past problems. He’s still here and still faithful.

Photo Source: Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

One Great Way to Prepare For The New Year

One Great Way to Prepare For The New Year

Two Things Are Critical

As you embark on the journey in the year 2020, two things you do are critical.

  1. The CHOICES you make.
  2. The ACTIONS you take.

One – Choices You Need To Make Everyday

1. Choose to get excited about each new day.

Psalm 118:24 English Standard Version (ESV), “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

      • Each day is a gift from God.
      • Make a daily choice to rejoice.
      • Get yourself fired up for having another day of life and be glad.

2. Choose to be thankful.

Colossians 3:15 (ESV), “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

      • Allow God’s peace both into your heart and to rule your heart.
      • It’s hard, if not impossible, to be thankful and miserable at the same time. Choose to be thankful.
      • Thank God daily for your daily bread.

3. Choose to be positive.

Philippians 4:13 (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

      • Don’t say, “Good Lord, it’s morning” but say “Good morning, Lord.”
      • Make sure you get up on the right side of the bed.
      • As the late Zig Ziglar used to say, “Get rid of your ‘stinking thinking.’”

4. Choose victory over defeat.

1 John 5:4 (ESV), “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

      • Remember the words of the old hymn, “Faith is the victory.”
      • Never forget it is the Lord who goes with you to battle the daily enemies and challenges. (see – Deuteronomy 20:4)
      • God gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. (see – 1 Corinthians 15:57)

5. Choose to live above the level of mediocrity.

Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

      • We are to work heartily.
      • Our work honors God.
      • Remember, in any endeavor of labor, our work honor’s God.

6. Choose to put the other person first.

 Philippians 2:3 (ESV), “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

      • The late Christian motivational speaker, writer, and Bible teacher Zig Ziglar (a Baptist deacon and member of my church) said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

7. Choose to have hope.

Job 13:15a (ESV), “ Though he slay me, I will hope in him (God);”

8. Choose to keep on keeping on.

      • I had an Associate Pastor named John West that frequently admonished all to “keep on keeping on.” He would say, “Keep trying; keep doing what you are doing. Keep doing your best; never give up and keep on keeping on.”
      • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967, “You don’t get to the Promised Land without going through the Wilderness. You don’t get there without crossing over hills and mountains, but if you keep on keeping on, you can’t help but reach it.”

Two – Choose to take ACTION by accepting Christ as Savior.

The only way we can really have a winning 2020 is to know Christ as Savior. Do you know Him as your personal Savior and Lord? Here is how to be sure.

Man’s Problem: Romans 3:23 (ESV), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Man’s Penalty: Romans 6:23 (ESV), “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s Provision: John 3:16 (ESV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s Promise: Romans 10:9 (ESV), “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

To accept Christ as Savior – A Prayer of Salvation: “Lord Jesus, I confess to you I am a sinner. I believe that you died for my sins and that God raised you from the dead. I ask you to forgive me for my sin right now. Thank you for saving me and for giving me eternal life. In your name, I pray. Amen.”

I originally wrote this last section in 1988 as an article titled “Our Need and God’s Provision” using the KJV as the Bible reference. It was published in “Motivators for Sunday School Leaders” by the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway Christian Resources).


Photo Source: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Seven Biblical Principles on How to Hang On

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Seven Biblical Principles on How to Hang On

Is life getting you down? Do you feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Here are seven Biblical principles on how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Principle One: Remember God Loves You

  • Don’t lose heart! – Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. — 2 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)
  • I am what I am – But by the grace of God I am what I am, … — 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
  • It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are! – Remember our performance does not give us our worth.
  • God’s grace gives us the power to start over. – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. — Romans 8:37

Principle Two: Keep a Clear Conscience

  • Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
  • We must have integrity.
  • We must have character.

Principle Three: It’s Not All About You

  • For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. — 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)
  • Your ego will only take you so far.

Principle Four: You Cannot Do It All

  • But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
  • We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, Love, Love

  • All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)
  • Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. — Psalm 136:26 
  • The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. — Zephaniah 3:17
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16

Principle Six: Learn to Refresh, Renew,  and Revive

  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. — 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)

Principle Seven: Keep Your Eyes on the Goal

  • For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

Remember — You’re less likely to create if you don’t face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Writer’s Life: The Personal Nature of a Rejection

Click on picture to read rejection email.

You’ve heard it all before … never take a rejection personally … send out that manuscript (poem, story) to another market and keep on keeping on when you get the rejection.

We’re constantly told by day job co-workers, family and friends that less than one percent of all writers “make-it”. “Make it” is defined as being able to quit the day job and live on the earning from their writing.

You know the stories. You’ve heard the tales. You could share all the negative garbage well-meaning others have dumped on you.

It’s hard not to take the rejection personal. I received two rejections this week. One was especially hard to accept. The magazine had sent me an initial email back in January saying they liked the short story enough they were referring it to a “review committee”. I wish they had never told me it was going to the review committee. That got my hopes up just to be shot down two months later.

I chuckled a little when the rejection email arrived. I had this bizarro version of Sally Field’s second academy award best actress acceptance speech come to mind. I could see myself with tears streaming down my face screaming “you hate me, you really hate me”.

I knew they were illiterate and didn’t recognize good speculative fiction … then I was honest to myself … it didn’t meet their current needs. I knew what I had to do. I would rework it, pray over it and ship it out to ambush the next unsuspecting editor.

The editors have a heck of a job, don’t they. I would hate to read all the wanna be writer fiction they get.

What am I trying to say? Hang in there. In the last week I sent the first five chapters to a publisher who only agreed to read them because one of her authors recommend me to her. This is either a kind, courtesy read by the editor/publisher or a massive example of good luck or providence on my part.

On the flip side, I am looking for some computer contract work to help pay the bills. I have two writing conferences I want to attend later this year. I need a sale or two, a contract with a nice advance, or some contract work to get the needed conference money. One of the conferences is near my home in Dallas, Texas this September. It is the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference.

Even if you’ve heard it before I want to remind you — don’t give up your passion for writing. I was told in a  college senior level creative writing English class that it takes about 10,000 hours to master a craft. That’s true for playing the guitar, piano, writing poetry, or writing the next great novel. If one works 40 hours a week for the 52 weeks in a year that’s only 2080 hours. 10,000 = 5 years+ of full-time work.

So, get to writing … and master your craft. I’m still working at it. As an editor told me back in the 1980s … you’re not the best writer, but you write saleable copy, write to specification, and meet deadlines. It’s writers like you that will ultimately succeed. I’m still trying … and I’ll make it.