In or Out?

a2z the letter “n”

IN sounds like “N” so go with it.

I’ve had a rough few months in the writing game and spent some time talking with author Staci Stallings. I told her I was afraid. She responded with, “You’re like Peter.” After listening to her I asked her to write a post about fear and Peter. Read it once, then read it again. Staci has shared a lot of wisdom through this piece.

In or Out?

If you’re a Christian, you’ve surely heard the story of Peter out there in the boat on the wind and waves.  Then out from the waves there comes a figure–walking.  At first Peter and his friends think it’s a ghost, and they freak out.

Through the wind, they hear a voice call out:  “Don’t be afraid!”

Okay.  I’m a scaredy cat.  Truly and honestly. In fact, me and fear go way back.  So I can tell you if a ghost came toward me, walking on the water, and said, “Don’t be afraid!” I would probably veer toward afraid even more!

But Peter didn’t.

Why?

Because Peter knew that voice.  It was the voice he had heard many, many times.  It was the voice of his best friend, Jesus Christ.

Have you ever heard that voice?  Maybe it was a whisper in your heart.  Maybe it was someone talking about a dream that’s been on your heart, but you’ve not really listened because it seemed so very unattainable.

Then out there from the waves, the voice calls to you, and you think you recognize it just like Peter did.  So Peter tested the voice (ever done that?).  “Lord, if it is You, tell me to get out of the boat.”

And Jesus says, “Come.”

Come.

Oh, it sounds so simple! Right?

At our church we’ve done this scene in VBS a couple of times, and when Peter starts to get out of the boat, the other disciples FREAK OUT!  “Peter! What are you doing?! You’ll drown!  Don’t Peter! NO! Don’t go!”

Have you ever been there?  Wanting to strike out and follow what God’s put on your heart with your family and your friends trying everything and every way they know how to talk you out of it?  In fact, maybe you are even good at talking yourself out of things.

“Well, I don’t have the money.”  “Well, what will other people think?”  “Well, it probably won’t even work.”

You know Nike’s slogan…  Just Do It?

Clearly you are not alone in this indecision because that campaign slogan is one of the most successful in all of advertising.

Peter made the decision.  Just do it.  Just get out of the boat.  Listen to Jesus. Don’t listen to all these people who are not Jesus.

And now we come to the pivotal moment that trips so many of us up… getting out of the boat.

I’m sure the first touch of his tooties on that water made Peter seriously question his own sanity.  “Wow! Is that water cold!  Maybe this isn’t a good idea.  Maybe being in the boat would be better.  At least there, I’m safe.”

Have you ever been there?  Half in, half out?  Have you ever wanted to get out of that boat so badly you could feel your heart dragging you, and yet…

And yet…

Here is a spiritual nugget of wisdom.  The most dangerous moment of all for Peter was being half-in, half-out of that boat.  With the wind and waves picking the boat up and dropping it, he very likely nearly capsized the whole thing.

What happens a lot is, we as Christians get to this moment and freeze.  Our decision become indecision. Our faith becomes doubt.  And we stop, clinging there.  Half-in, half-out.

I want to encourage you today not to stay there.  Do not let analysis-paralysis set in because it’s a cancer that kills dreams.  Your dreams.  And God’s dreams for you.

Listen to the voice. Make the decision.  Breathe and realize that yes, there are going to be challenges.  This will not solve everything.  But if it’s on your heart to do, God is the One Who put it there.  If you believe through the wind and waves, the fear and the doubt, that this really is Jesus calling you out of that boat, then it’s time to Just Do It!

Take a breath.  Make the decision.  And get out of the boat.

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_18853347_hands-and-foot-hangig-from-the-boat.html'>arocas / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Don’t stay in that most dangerous moment any longer than you absolutely have to because it truly can and will drown your dreams and you just as surely as staying in the boat will.

The boat will not save you.  Clinging to the boat with one foot in, one foot out will not save you.  The only way to truly be saved, to be truly free, is to be out dancing on the water with Jesus.  He’s calling to you.  He’s waiting for you.  What are you waiting for?

In or out?  Which will it be?

 

Copyright, Staci Stallings, 2013

Love to be inspired? A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, #1 Best Selling Christian author, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!

Check out Staci’s

“To Protect & Serve”

Now just 99 Cents!

It’s also blog hop day! Check out these other blogs.



Christian Humor–yes we have some

SAY WHAT?

a2z: H is for Humor

Please oh please do not use these lines–funny as they are–especially the numbers reference. I do think they might be good for a character I’m working on. Watch and tell me your favorite in the comments below.

Christian Pickup Lines from T Sam Pierce on Vimeo.

It’s also National Celiac Awareness Day, check out my friend Jodi Stewart’s blog today on the Top Ten Reasons to Eat at a Dedicated Gluten Free Restaurant.

 

Hover over photo to pin!

Christian Funny1

It’s blog hop day!

a2z


 

Do Christians Doubt

 

a2z: D is for Doubt

Are you someone who sees a new opportunity and instantly feels this could happen? No doubt for you, nothing but smiles, rainbows and dare I write it? Yes, unicorns.

Is your faith so strong that you have no doubt that everything will turn out fine?

That is not me. I have fallen into the big hole of doubt. I won’t even look at it. When a question comes up that suggests a good outcome I run because I think it’s not possible.

woman holding question mark

“Be merciful to those who doubt.” Jude 22 Click to tweet.

I’m not sure when this switch happened. I used to cling to the verse, “Everything is possible through Christ.”

I still belive that verse, it’s just that I doubt it will work out for me.

Now, don’t be sending me off for antidepressants or to seem my favorite therapist Marty Lintvedt (co-author of We’re not Blended We’re Pureed) I’m fine, really I am.

My doubt turns to fear–did you all know it does that? My fear is about the world we live in. Is it going to implode next week? Will the taxes in Illinois cause us to lose everything? I’m probably wrong, but I’ll be close enough–small businesses like ours pays 44% in taxes right now, that doesn’t include our personal taxes.

The world around me is changing so fast between terror attacks and out of control government I think surely the end of the world is in a few days, so I doubt I’ll get that next book written or the fridge cleaned out. (Yeah probably hoping for that last one a little too much.)

Then I look back at history and realize as far back as Genesis it looked like the world was done for and what happened? God saved us, over and over again until the only thing he could do was send his Son. And that’s what it’s really about, waiting for Him to return and take me home.

So doubt go away and please don’t return another day.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

Is doubt an issue for you?

Do you think it’s okay for Christians to doubt? Please tell.

Yay! It’s blog hop day. Check out these amazing blogs and see what these authors come up with for the letter D.

a2z


Do you Know about Christian eBooks Today?

Founders of Christian eBooks Today.com

Welcome, Jim & Karen.  
Can you tell us what Christian eBooks Today.com is all about?
Jim:  Christian eBooks Today.com is a website that is for fans of Christian fiction and nonfiction.  It is a safe place to browse and learn more about great Christian eBooks without worrying about coming across any racy or explicit content.
Why did you start Christian eBooks Today.com?
Karen:  In August, Jim joined the ranks of the unemployed, so I asked him what he thought about helping me launch a site for Christian readers.  It took some convincing, but he finally agreed to do it.
Jim:  Hey!  It didn’t really take much convincing.  I like the idea of being self-employed.
Karen:  Anyway, I’ve been an avid reader of Christian fiction since I was a young girl.  But, over the past few years as I started publishing books, I noticed that it was getting harder and harder to browse for Christian eBooks online without coming across some pretty embarrassing and racy covers.  I just wanted to find a good clean Christian romance book and find new authors, so the idea for Christian eBooks Today was born.
On your Vision and Mission page on the website, you mention edgy Christian fiction.  Can you tell us more about this?
Karen:  Sure.  Over the past few years or even a decade, the Christian fiction market has been changing.  Authors are writing more true-to-life characters that get thrown into some pretty tough circumstances, such as rape, abuse, abandonment, etc.  In fact, some of my novels fall into that category.
Some readers don’t like the trend, while others prefer it.  We wanted to mention that we accept those types of books on our site so readers are not surprised if they come across such books.
So, your site includes Christian nonfiction too?
Jim:  Yes.  We include a variety of nonfiction genres, too.  Bible studies, devotionals, self-help, Christian living and much more.  We’ve heard from several nonfiction Christian authors that many sites exclude their books.  We really want Christian eBooks Today to be a place where readers can find any type of Christian eBooks.
Who runs the site, I mean really?
[Karen glances at Jim and giggles.]
Jim:  We joke around.  I’m the chief operations officer and Karen is the CEO.  She has the vision and then I do all the hard work to make it happen.
Karen:  [elbows Jim]  I do some of the hard work, like marketing and writing content.
Jim:  Okay, okay.  I’ll give you that.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Karen:  Yes.  We have a feature on our website under the “For Readers” menu called “Reader’s Choice”.  This is where readers can fill out a form telling us about great Christian eBooks that they’ve read.  Each week, we will select one submission to appear on our website.  Then, once a month we will randomly choose a winner from all of the submissions (even if they don’t get featured).  The winner receives a $25 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  Readers can submit as many eBooks as they want.
Wow, that sounds great!  So, where can we see this new website?
Jim:  Visit ChristianEBooksToday.com.  You can also follow us on Twitter (@cebtoday), Facebook, or Google+.  Check our site daily for our list of free fiction and free nonfiction ebooks.
Karen:  Remember to sign up for our newsletter too.  Just click on the envelope icon in the upper right corner of our site.  Each week we email readers a summary of our key weekly features including: guest blog posts, great reads, author of the week, and the reader’s choice selection for the week.
Thank you so much for hosting us!