WHY...

Barb Enjoys
Writing at IHOP

I love God, and I love telling others about Him. That’s why I write. Well, that, and I absolutely love to create characters and story worlds.

HOW...

Barb Chooses
Writing Topics

Ideas … ideas … ideas. Someday I seriously intend to settle down and write in one genre and only one genre … if God so leads.

WHAT...

Barb Loves to
Teach & Share

Novel writing is so relevant to our walks with God. Our stories begin with wounded, flawed characters who desperately need help.

Anybody Up for a Bit of Transformation?
9/24/2016 12:32:00 AM BY Barb Haley

      Have you ever wondered what God is really like?

       Last week I started attending a weekly Bible study on the Gospel of John. As I read
       the assigned passages, a verse I’ve read zillions of times came alive. Spoke to my
       heart in a fresh way!

       Hebrews 1:3a says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact
       representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.”

       I knew this, and you probably did, too. But this time, the Holy Spirit challenged
       me to comb the Gospels in light of revealing the character of God, through the
       life of His Son Jesus, on earth.

Why is this important to me?

First, I’m curious.

Secondly, I long for a closer, more intimate relationship with God. I can know someone at a distance, but I usually end up actually just knowing about the person. Only by spending time in one’s presence do I really get to know a person.

Thirdly, the Bible instructs us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Where are we on that? Could it be a daily goal of ours to become more like Christ? SHOULD we be actively pondering this EVERY DAY?

Romans 12:2 says YES. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Not a suggestion … a command. But, transformed into what?

2 Corinthians says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Transformed into the Lord’s image. Where do we even begin?

Let me suggest that we begin with that which we spend the most time.

Glancing through some old notes in the back of my Bible the other day, I found a model I’d copied from a book I was reading. I’ll try to reproduce it below.

On this model, our time with the world and with God are just about balanced. But what if they aren’t?

 

What if our time with the world far outweighs our time with God?

     What will our lives most reflect? Our minds, our wills, and our

     emotions—our attitudes and beliefs, our behavior and words, and our

     feelings and attachment?

With which area do we spend most of our time?

 

I’m ready to begin this transformation process. Anyone with me?

Join me as I increase my time in the Word and blog about what I learn.

And … don’t make me do all the work!

Click on the blue box below the blog that says COMMENT. Dig into the Scriptures and post what YOU find about the character of God. We’ll learn from each other!

And, together, we’ll allow the Holy Spirit to brighten the light of our witness to a world, lost in darkness, which sorely needs the touch of our loving and merciful God.

 

 

Diving in the Wind
8/16/2016 12:00:01 AM BY Barb

Last night, on the Summer Olympics men’s springboard competition, the reigning world champion messed up on the first five of his six dives and barely managed to come in last to qualify for the semi finals. Imagine his humiliation and embarrassment in representing his country.

Commentators kept saying that the event was playing a mind game, with the divers trying to second guess the gusts of wind, over-compensating, and being tossed off-balance in dives they normally maneuvered with grace and skill.

That said, those divers who had routinely practiced in the winds were much more successful in their dives. They’d learned to dive from the core—not basing their moves on their arms and legs, but on their core.

As I often do, I checked my phone before I went to bed. Mail. Messages. Facebook.

And in a matter of moments, I led my heart through a frenzied path of feelings, never stopping for more than a moment to deal with any one of them. Humor, disgust, hopelessness, excitement, nostalgia, joy, sorrow, etc. Precious friends. Cultural issues. Personal trials. Political debates.

It seemed as if every cabinet door in the kitchen hung open in my mind as I switched the phone off and prepared to rest for the night. Snippets of this and that short-circuited my prayers as I tried to enter the presence of God.

And I had to wonder what all of this non-closure is actually doing to our hearts and minds. Have we become so desensitized that we read a Facebook account of a baby dying with leukemia and choose to quickly move on to a more comfortable post?

Are we, too, allowing the wind—that of social media— to determine our thoughts and emotions? Allowing our senses to dictate our actions rather than living from the core? Never finding that rest and peace in which we function successfully with God’s grace?

Philippians 4:6-7 exhorts us to be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present our requests to God. Then … the Word continues, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Can we do that? Can we start with practicing in the wind?

As we skim our social media accounts, can we take time to pray over each need? Maybe re-sensitize ourselves to the emotions being stoked within us. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts and prayers and to bring closure to our hearts and minds as we surrender each issue to God?

If we can, we will then find lasting peace in His presence. For only as we lift the needs of others to the One who can truly help, can we completely let go and rest in the knowledge that God is in control. Only then can we invite the Holy Spirit to replace our feelings with His power and grace. And only then can we best represent the mighty kingdom of God with the very core of our being. For “in Him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28.