Tuesday, March 25, 2014
In our work and lives as Christian poets, writers, and other communicators for Christ, these Bible verses will help us to focus our prayers, words, and writings on healing the current miffs and ancient rifts in the Family of God.
First, let’s take Jesus at His word:
Matthew 5:9: Blessed are you who make peace, for you shall be called the children of God!
Matthew 18:19: Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you.
John 10:16: I have other sheep who are not in this sheepfold, and I must bring them in too. They will listen to My voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
John 13:35: And in this way, everyone will know you are My disciples - by the love you show one another.
John 15:12: This is what I command you: Love one another in the same way I have loved you.
Then, in the New Testament letters, the Apostles and early Christian writers gave us these words of encouragement, explanation, and exhortation.
Romans 12:5: In Christ’s body, we are like many parts, who all belong to each other.
1 Corinthians 1:10: I appeal to you all, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and allow no dissensions among you, so you may be united in the same mind and purpose.
11 Corinthians 12:20: For I’m afraid that, when I come, I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my reaction! I’m afraid I will find you quarreling, jealous, angry, selfish, back-biting, gossipy, arrogant, and disorderly.
Galatians 3:28: No longer are you to distinguish yourself as a Jew or as a Gentile, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman, for you are all now one in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:14: For Christ Himself is our peace! Through His own Body, He made both Jews and Gentiles into one body when He broke down every barrier that divides us.
Ephesians 4:3: Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, bound together with peace.
Ephesians 4:13: Keep on until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we become mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full standard of Christ.
Philippians 1:27: Let your conversations be becoming to the gospel of Christ, so that whether together or not, others will hear how you stand fast in one spirit with one mind working together for the faith of the gospel.
11 Timothy 2:23-25: Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments or debates that only cause fights and dissension. Those who work for the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, and patient. Gently instruct those who oppose you. Perhaps God will change their hearts, and they will learn the truth.
1 Peter 3:8: And, finally, be of one mind and spirit – empathetic, compassionate, and courteous, not returning ill will for ill will or insult for insult but instead blessing one another that you may inherit God’s blessing.
As we focus on each of those verses in our lives, writings, and love for the Family of God, we can be assured of the power of Christ in the church Body of Christ. And, oh, what a world of difference that will make!
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, ecumenical Christian poet, writing consultant, and author of the Christian Writers’ Guide e-book and the poetry book Living in the Nature Poem
[Note: The Thompson Chain Reference Bible highlighted the verses selected for this theme, and the Bible Gateway website provided many translations to compare for the above prayer-a-phrases. May God continue to bless their good work and ours.]
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
When BookSneeze announced Clout by Jenni Catron, I wondered if this new book from Thomas Nelson might offer options to embolden Christian poets and writers and give us a clearer view of the impact our ministries can have through the written word. Usually, I review only new editions of the Bible and traditionally published books of poetry by poets whose work I've followed for years, but the subtitle “Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence” piqued my interest and hinted of the help we need to recognize and utilize the Holy Spirit power we have in Jesus Christ. So I requested a review copy to see if the book might speak to our needs as individuals and, ultimately, to the needs of the church.
Concern for those needs began the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook as a way to bring together people from all cultures, countries, and denominations in mutual love of God the Father and belief in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and our Savior. Although we have highly diverse backgrounds and personalities, the Holy Spirit works in each of us as we welcome the Lord into our writing lives – not to pump up ourselves or hawk our products beyond sharing our personal good news, but as individual cells and persons ready to build up the Body of Christ and spread The Good News around the world.
We can, you know. But how do we go about this?
Reading Jenni Catron’s personable book, I like routes she recommends. First, we can address the “Clout Killers” as she did in Part One before proceeding to “Clout Cultivators.”
What does this mean?
As the Introduction says: “Clout is the influence that God has given to you and to no one else…. You have a specific purpose, a calling, that only you are qualified to fulfill.”
Some things just get in our way! But, with “Discovery Steps” to exercise us, the book wisely suggests how to work toward shaping up:
Stop comparing ourselves to others.
Be aware of the impact of jealousy.
Accept God’s provisions.
Identify our insecurities.
Purge out pride.
Throw ourselves on the mercy of God, letting the Lord control the outcome.
Getting our bodies spiritually healthy will surely affect our effectiveness as we help to heal and up-build the Body of Christ. As the author suggests in “Part Two: The 4 Clout Cultivators” –
Discover your identity in God.
Define your mission.
Determine your passion.
And then get ready to unleash your clout as an individual, a powerful poet, an outstanding writer, and a vital "body cell” – a truly needed part of the Body of Christ.
©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer
Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, hardback
Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, Kindle Edition