ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JANICE HANNA THOMPSON is the author of over sixty books for the Christian market. She writes for Revell, Summerside and Barbour. Janice plans to spend as much of 2011 on her knees as she possibly can.
AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR
2011: What Would God Have us Do?
By Janice Thompson
Janice Hanna Thompson here. Let me start by saying “Thank you” to Tiff for having me on her blog. What a dear friend you’ve been over the years, sweet girl! (*note from Tiff - You've been an inspiration
I want to spend a few minutes conveying something the Lord has laid on my heart for 2011. I shared this teaching at our local ACFW group five weeks ago and our members gave it a hearty “Amen!” Think about the number “2” in 2011. As I consider that number, I see a picture of a believer on his/her knees, bowed in reverence.
Bowing (physically or emotionally) is an act of reverence: a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration. (We’re not revering those who can help our career along, or even the readers who buy our books. We’re not revering our stories, books ideas, or even our talents. We revere only one…God.)
Psalm 95:6 We’re taught that bowing is a natural posture for the believer: O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before Jehovah our maker.
So, what does it mean to bow the knee?
- To submit to God’s will, not our own. (Can we do this with our writing in 2011?)
- It is a sign of respect. (In many countries people kneel before a king.) It’s time to stop talking about God in such a glib way. We’ve got to be careful how we use his name or talk about him.
- Bowing the knee means we’re humbled, not looking out for our own interests, but for God’s.
- Bowing is uncomfortable. It doesn’t come naturally. It’s not like sitting on our rears on the sofa, watching TV and eating potato chips. It’s not what we do to relax. It’s what we do – in spite of bad knees and arthritic hip joints.
- When we’re bowed, we’re not trying to plan anything, manipulate anything or fix anything. (It’s hard to plot a book in a bowed position, isn’t it!)
- There’s an old worship song: We fall down, we lay our crowns (anything we hope to gain) at the feet of Jesus. The greatness of His mercy and love at the feet of Jesus. Think about the wise men, bowing before the baby Jesus, giving him gold, frankincense and myrrh. That’s the posture we need to assume when we offer our books, stories, articles, and so on. All good gifts are given from God, and we cast them back at his feet, humbled that He was even willing to use us in the first place.
Final Note on bowing in reverence: If your career feels stuck, if you’re disgruntled because you’re not seeing the results you’d hoped for, assume the posture. Don’t cry out, “why me?” Instead, cry out praises.
Think about the number “0” in 2011. When I think of this number, I see a mouth open in awe of the things God has done.
We’re keenly aware that God’s ways are above our ways. . .even with our writing. We’re so limited by our finite thinking but He has plans that FAR exceed anything we could come up with. (Think about that for a moment as it pertains to your writing!) QUESTION: Are we truly awed by the everyday things in our writing life?
When we sit to write and words actually come? When the creative spark burns into flame. We need to stand in complete and total awe that the God of the universe chooses to speak to us, (and through us), in any small way. In 2011 we must begin to acknowledge His holiness, his vastness.
Psalm 65:8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. (The only way to understand his holiness is to spend time with him in worship. Writers must first be worshipers. If you’re not a worshiper, don’t write.)
As finite mortals, powered by flesh and imagination alone, we can do NO justice to a holy God through our writing. ONLY when we come to Him, bowed in reverence, handing our pens to Him and allowing Him to write through us can we describe His beauty, can we share what we do not fully understand, can we capture his magnificence and reveal His heart to our readers. It’s the breath of the Holy Spirit, stirring the waters, like in Genesis.
And – just as we would have marveled as we watched the world being spun into existence – we must marvel at the fact that He chooses to use us! If we’re not awed by Him, our readers won’t be, either. And if we’re trying to write in our own strength, we won’t truly represent Him through our mere words, no matter how hard we try, no matter how extensive our vocabulary. How could we possibly write “the divine” if we’ve not tasted of it?
Now think about the “11” in 2011. I see a picture of a person standing with both arms extended. We are called to surrender ourselves to His will.
Psalm 141:2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Writers are worker bees. We’re blogging, marketing, networking, writing, learning, developing characters, plotting and so on. And those are all good things. But there comes a time when you’ve got to acknowledge that your strength, even on the best day, is not good enough. We serve a hands-off God, (meaning, He wants us to know that sometimes we have to let go…and let God).
Think of your toddler, running to you, arms extended. What’s your first instinct? To sweep him into your arms. Same thing with Daddy God. When you’re tired, when the stories won’t come, when you’ve lost your way, put those arms up in the air and watch Him lift you above your circumstances.
NOTE: If our plans aren’t surrendered to him, they’re just plans. If those dreams aren’t fully released into His hands, they’re just unfulfilled dreams.
CORPORATE PRAYER FOR 2011 (Please feel free to share this.)
In 2011 I submit my life and my work to a holy God, bowing before Him in reverence and casting all of my gifts, talents, and abilities at His feet. I’m prepared to be awed by the things He does in and through me (and my writing), but recognize that I must surrender so that He can take control. Lord, show me how to do what you’ve called me to do with heart bowed and hands extended. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got for me in this new year. May every bit of praise, honor and glory go to You, Lord. Amen.
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Thank you, Janice, for sharing with us today.
Guest Question: What is one way you submit your work to God, whether it be writing, keeping house, tending to your children, being at a place outside the home, or any other work? Feel free to share more than one if you have it.