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Maximizing Your Influence

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Journal, Uncategorized | 6 comments

I have to admit it, creating and maintaining my own website was not on my bucket list. My preference would be to spend my “computer time” catching up on news, communicating with friends and family, or working on writing projects. However, successful writers, agents, and publishers stress the importance of having a web presence, a platform, where we can maximize our influence.

So, almost two years ago when I was invited to become a regular contributor to a group blog, Colonial Quills http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/ I was thrilled. Most of the other writers who contribute to this site were multi-published authors and all share a common interest in our colonial past. This would give me a chance to write about topics dear to me, our incredible history and the Christian faith.  Terrific! Now I had a web presence.

In 2012, Michael S. Hyatt, the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the largest trade book publishing companies in the U.S. produced a bestseller on just this topic. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Wanting to be current, I read this excellent book about getting our message out, and getting Platform 1noticed. http://michaelhyatt.com/platform

Perusing the web and checking out many author’s blog and websites was fascinating with so much talent, creativity, and my goodness, so many published books on display. Hmm, I would certainly need to get a website as soon as my manuscript was picked up by a publisher. It didn’t take long to notice that almost all the writers that I knew, published or not, already were on the web. I needed to take the plunge and not put it off any longer

Now, two weeks after launching my website, I’ve learned so much, and like so many other things in my life, I’ve learned some important lessons the hard way. My first lesson was; after you post, ALWAYS review it again to be sure it is ALL there, no missing paragraphs, words, or letters.

In addition to reading Jesus Calling every morning, I also receive a wonderful devotional from Nicky Gumbel, the Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, the largest Anglican Church in Britain. He pioneered the Alpha Course, an evangelism ministry that I was involved with for many years. http://www.alphausa.org/Groups/1000065342/Alt_Home_page.aspx

On August 14th, the very day my website went live Nicky’s devotional was waiting for me in my inbox. Now, why would I be surprised at the timing of his message?

“Maximizing Your Influence”

(used with Nicky’s permission)

1.  Use your influence for the good of everyone   Psalm 96:1-13

2.  Use your influence to spread the good news 1 Corinthians 9:1-18

3.  Use your influence to plant good seeds Ecclesiastes 9:13-12:14

          •        Watch your words

          •        Take risks

          •        Spread your efforts

          •        Take your opportunities

I particularly appreciated his closing prayer.

“Lord, help me and help our community to make the most of every opportunity that you have given us.  Help us to fear you and keep your commandments.  Help us to use our influence for good and not for evil.  Help us to make the most of every opportunity that you have put before us.”

‘Of the making of books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.’ 

Ecclesiastes 12:12  NIV – UK

http://www.htb.org.uk/bioy

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Summer Days By The Sea ~ Part Two

Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 8 comments

Summer Days By The Sea

Many years ago during a very difficult season in my life, some kind friends offered their condo at the beach to my sons and me for a mini vacation. It was a generous gift that I’ve never forgotten, a few days that allowed us to forget our troubles for a time. What I thought would only be a change of scene, and a brief escape from the stress that had come our way, became so much more for me. Twice, under very different circumstances, I was reminded of the Lord’s presence, provision, and love for us.

 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3: 20,21

 

~   Part Two

When we returned to the condo after our stroll on the boardwalk we settled in. Later, after the boys had finally quieted down for the night, I took a cup of tea and settled on the sofa and noticed a little book on the coffee table, Parables by the Sea by Pamela Reeve. It was a thin paperback book with layered pages and lovely pictures and parables of shells, tide-pools, and waves. The message in this remarkable book touched all the hurting places in my heart. Since Parables by the Seathe book belonged to my friends who owned the condo, I couldn’t remove it. But what if the book was out of print? I searched for my notebook and pen and proceeded to copy it word for word. This little treasure was like a love note from God, acknowledging my pain, while reminding me that He was in control and still had a plan for our lives. It was an assurance that He would guide us through that journey. Months later I was able to find a copy of Parables by the Sea, that I still treasure to this day.

The Lord used our friend’s generous gift of those days at the beach to bless me in ways that they, or I, could have never imagined. He knows just what we need, and often uses faithful friends to bring it to pass. Thank You, Lord.

 

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Summer Days By The Sea

Posted by on Aug 20, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 10 comments

Summer Days By The Sea

Many years ago during a very difficult season in my life, some kind friends offered their condo at the beach to my sons and me for a mini vacation. It was a generous gift that I’ve never forgotten, a few days that allowed us to forget our troubles for a time. What I thought would only be a change of scene, and a brief escape from the stress that had come our way, became so much more. Twice, under very different circumstances, I was reminded of the Lord’s presence, provision, and love for us.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

  

~   Part One

We arrived on a warm summer afternoon and immediately made our way to walk on the beach boardwalk. On one side were the typical, some might say tacky, beach shops and the fast food establishments selling funnel cakes, salt water taffy and other equally unhealthy, but delicious fare. The beach side was an entirely different scene, God’s glorious creation of blue sky and sea, with the rhythmic and seemingly eternal waves washing up on the shore.

As we walked back to the condo we came across a sculptor working on the beach with the simplest of tools, a plastic knife and a spray bottle of water and sand, huge mounds of sand. We stood entranced by the artist, a pastor, silently demonstrating his God-given skill for a long time. His designs were the most incredible biblical scenes on several sand hills with etched Sand sculpturesScripture verses beneath. These scenes were dramatic and rather incongruous across the boardwalk from shops with racks of bikinis and boogie boards for sale. It was a stunning reminder for me that even when we are wandering through a difficult period, with all its worldly distractions, God’s plans won’t be thwarted. One can experience the powerful provision and presence of the Lord in the most unexpected places.

Come back on Thursday and learn of the second gift the Lord provided.

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