SO … I have a new writing project this year. It wasn’t something I set out to do, but I’m happy that the project found me.
Isn’t that how life goes sometimes? I didn’t originally plan to write a book a few years ago when I started playing around with a story in the same way that a girl might play house.
What happened this time is that my church, Ovid Community, is featuring a devotion a day for 2018 about facing our fears on its Facebook page, Ovid Community Church (https://www.facebook.com/groups/45792486945/). Anyone can join the public group.
Daily through the year, you’ll see a short piece from a rotation of writers who pen devotions, including our Senior Pastor Keith Wooden.
Back in February, Keith asked me to write one. I’ve written press releases, speeches, eulogies, news and feature articles, columns, blog posts, essays, freelance magazine articles, contributed to one book, and, wrote two of my own. But I had never written a designated devotion.
Then I remembered something surprising that happened to me last year during Bible Study Fellowship. A member of our discussion group whom I admired and who shared numerous insights with the group, one day looked me in the eye and told me if I wrote a book about my life's God stories, she would read it.
Something about her comment prompted me to start compiling my own personal God stories, moments when He showed up in special ways in my ordinary life. These were longer than devotions, but similar in style. Because the Bible is the living Word of God, it has something to say about everything we humans go through. I found scriptures that related to my circumstances.
Then I shared these essays with my classmate. I didn’t even quite know why. Now I think God was preparing me for a go at writing devotions.
SO … back to this February. When Keith asked for one, I penned a short, devotional-style piece about how God worked when Sam was a baby and facing open-heart surgery.
I told Keith that the story was actually two parts, because I also wanted to share the unique way God comforted me leading up to Sam’s second open-heart surgery at age 19.
I think I may have even written a third, thinking that I was somehow doing extra credit, when Keith wrote back to say my regular day would now be Wednesdays.
Gulp! Looking ahead, that’s a lot of devotions. Would I have enough content? Maybe not me, certainly, but God never runs out of material. Immediately to mind came the Israelites who spent 40 years in the desert.
Each and every day, God sent them fresh manna to eat. They couldn’t hoard it, couldn’t scrape a bit up and tuck it away. No, they had to depend on God to provide it anew day by day. And of course, He did (along with plenty of quail. That’s a great story in itself. Look it up).
So I’m depending on the Lord to walk with me through these devotionals and open to my eyes to how He works and walks with me daily in life’s everyday circumstances, and in those unusual ones that get our attention in special and sometimes quite difficult ways.
This is a fascinating journey taking special notice and putting into words the way He works in, well, everything! And seeing how He has scripture that applies to us all as we walk and stumble, mumble and bumble, as well as renew and rejoice our way through this life.
If you’d like to read my Wednesday devotionals, either hit me up and I’ll add you to the Facebook page, or go on the page yourself. I hope you will enjoy not just my insights but those of other writers from our congregation.
To me, a devotional is simply sharing what God has shown you about your faith in a practical way. That’s it.
In the past couple of days, I’ve thought about developing a program on devotional writing. Some tips, some ideas, some sharing and everyone leaves with his or her own written devotional. What do you think? Wouldn't it be fun to have everyone share their devotion with a small group?
Meanwhile, here are a couple of mine, along with the dates they appeared on the Ovid page.
My thanks to Keith for inviting me to take this journey. And ultimately, to the Lord for His Presence in my everyday life.
A ROYAL INVITATION by Donna Cronk
Note: This ran May 16, a few days before the royal wedding.
Just imagine that some time ago, you received a personal invitation to attend the royal wedding of Prince Henry and Meghan Markle in England.
You knew that it was the invitation of a lifetime, so you bought a beautiful new outfit, thought of how wonderful it would be surrounded by the special guests, and view the royal couple up close. Oh, the wedding feast would be amazing, you knew.
So you flew to England and showed up at the appointed time to enter the wedding venue. But once you got to the gate, even with your invite in hand, when the gatekeeper checked the master list, your name was missing.
There must be a mistake! You had been invited! You were ready to enter that gate and take part in the festivities!
But there was no mistake. The gatekeeper said the problem was simple: “You never responded to the invite. You are not on the list. You cannot enter.”
This picture, inspired by a story told by Bible Study Fellowship Teaching Leader, Jodie Pyle, is one of what we will experience if we fail to respond to Jesus’ invitation to believe in and follow Him.
Jesus Christ offers each of us an invitation to the royal wedding of the Bridegroom (Jesus) and His Church (the bride). We’re on the invitation list. We’re invited. But it’s not enough to be invited and just show up at the gate. We must respond on this side of eternity.
Have you returned your RSVP to the invitation for eternal life sent to you from the Prince of Peace?
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” – John 10:9 (NIV)
FEAR OF INHERITED DISEASE by Donna Cronk
Note: This one appeared on June 6.
Both my parents had Alzheimer’s disease and lived with it for many years. The disease stole their minds, their dignity, their roles as parents and grandparents. I’ve often thought that it’s probably in my future.
Many of us likely have similar concerns because we don’t look far in our ancestry to find death. The particular diagnostic dread varies from the usual roster of cancer, heart disease and stroke to rarer diseases and tragic accidents.
Since there is no cure for Alzheimer’s – or for death -- I have no desire to submit to tests that estimate my chances of getting this disease. If statistics were that I would likely get it, I’d be inclined to spend my time worrying over dying rather than enjoying living. Besides that, something else could take me long before the Alzheimer’s!
Both my parents had more than 75 healthy, good years before the disease hit them. The Bible says it’s appointed each person once to die. Why is it a news flash that we’re all going to die of something?
Before that happens, we must make sure we know where we’ll go once we do. Now is the time to make sure of our eternal security. Praise God for making a way. Have you trusted Him with not only your life, but your death?
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV): “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.