What I Can’t Do by Joanne Sher

I love today’s post by fellow Living By Grace hostess Joanne Sher because she does ALOT!  She maintains a personal blog at An Open Book, blogs daily at FaithWriters’ Blog, posts monthly at Jewels of Encouragement,  the Midwestern group blog The Barn Door, and Internet Cafe’ Devotions  and contributes to the Faithwriters’ Writing Challenge. She also does a great deal of editing and collaborates with me on a tween devotional project, and writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. Reading about her plethora of projects, one would think she’s a super-writer, capable of penning manuscripts in her sleep. So, when she talks about what she can’t do, I listen!

What I Can’t Do

By Joanne Sher

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV

Christ is the one who strengthens me for my tasks. It is His power that allows me to accomplish great things for Him. Without Him, I can do nothing.

Then why can’t I, for instance, fly? Heal my husband physically? Travel at warp speed? Find gas for less than $2 a gallon? Write an exceptional, bestselling book in 24 hours? (Or even one month?)

Because God has not strengthened me for those particular tasks.

If I go out on my own and decide what I will accomplish this year – or this month, or this day – I may or may not succeed. Because God does not strengthen me for what I want. He strengthens me for what He wants.

You see, “all things” can be a bit misleading. It is only through Christ that I will be empowered – and He will not strengthen me for any old task. It is only those things that are in His will where He will work in my life this way.

So, perhaps, if you are not achieving “all things,” it is because He has not strengthened you for the task.

And if He has not strengthened you, you probably need to re-examine your goals, and your direction. Perhaps you are reaching for the wrong things. Maybe you can’t do it (whatever “it” may be) because you aren’t supposed to; because Christ wants to put His strength in you for another, more God-honoring task.

And who wants to work without His strength?

Joanne Sher was raised in Southern California but now lives in West Michigan with her wonderful husband Marc, and their two kids – Andrew is 10 and Annika is 7. She was raised in the Jewish faith, but has since become a follower of Christ.

She’s had assorted stories published in a handful of magazines and a few Christian writing anthologies. She’s currently working on a non-fiction book about God’s workings through her husband’s health issues. Tentatively titled Ailing Body, Nourished Soul, the first chapter received honorable mention in Fathwriters.com’s Page Turner First Chapter contest. At the moment, it is being considered by a literary agent.Her other work in progress is Handmaiden To A Princess, a Biblical fiction book set during the time of King Saul and centered around twins, one Princess Michal’s handmaiden and the other a servant to Prince Jonathan. It’s still in the writing stage.
Visit her website to find out more about her and her writing.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

When Facebook first launched, articles saturated the web warning us of the dangers of internet relationships. Would society become more isolated? More selfish? Shallower? Would having a computer to hide behind teach us to create barriers or could the safe and constant access to others actually have a positive effect? Like most tools, the values of social networking depends on the user, but for me, a writer who spends countless hours each day shut inside my office, Facebook has provided a much needed window to the outside world. It’s allowed me to stay in contact with distant friends and has deepened many relationships I hold dear. Facebook has become a wonderful, vibrant, interactive community. What better place to launch a Christ-centered devo-group?

Living by Grace is a Facebook faith community where believers, seekers, and inquiring minds can pop in and out for a snippet of truth and a friendly chat. Each week, five other authors and I will post links to inspiring, challenging, or thought provoking articles which will serve as discussion launchers. It’s a time to connect and be renewed and we invite you to join us.

Living by Grace (LBG) co-host and inspirational fiction writer, Patty Wysong is excited to see how God will use our faith-based community. “For over a year I’ve had the idea of an online Bible study group in my mind and heart,” Patty says, “and Living by Grace is better than I’d hoped. Isn’t that just like God?! FB is a bit like the modern day well. It’s where people worldwide go to hang out and visit with friends.”

 

LBG co-host and inspy author Jessica R. Patch is looking forward to increased relationship building.  “I’d love to see it become a place of sisterhood,” Jessica says. “A place, like Cheers, when you walk in you’re welcome and everyone knows your name. You’re important. You matter and you feel that way when you settle in. Okay, not the best analogy, but hey, you should feel more welcome at a devotional online community than a bar!”

 

LBG co-host, isnpy and devo author Maria Morgan expects our new faith community to create an atmosphere conducive to personal growth. “What an opportunity to see my own faith grow as I study God’s Word and rely on the still, small voice of the Lord to guide my writing,” Maria says. “And I look forward to being challenged by the posts of the other devotional writers. It’s a true honor to be part of a team of godly women who are seeking to make 2 Peter 3:18 a reality: But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Co-host, faith and fiction writer, Joanne Sher, is a people-addict (in a good way). She’s looking forward to the faith-based interaction. “It’s easy to connect with folks on Facebook,” Joanne says. “You can have real conversations, and get to know others: their gifts, their needs. I’d love LBG to be a go-to place for folks looking to draw the Lord more into their lives—where we can examine our lives in connection to His Word, and learn from one another.”

Co-host, former missionary, and Bible-study-teacher extraordinaire, Lynda Schultz is looking forward to the opportunity to be stimulated challenged. “I want to meet new people who share my passion and rejoice in the journey they have taken to get to this “sweet spot” in their lives.”

 

Personally, I’m looking forward to getting to know some of my readers on a more personal level. I believe God’s love is exponential—the more you give it, the more you receive it. And I believe He never intended for us to go it alone. In fact, like a great grandparent who takes pleasure in seeing his children come together at family reunions, I believe God receives great joy when His children unite. And if God’s doing it, I want to be in it.

We hope you’ll join us Monday through Saturday for some great, Christ-centered posts and relationship building chats. Stop by today to meet me and my co-hosts, share your thoughts with us, maybe ask a question or two.

Who we are:

Patty Wysong is an ordinary girl living the good life, the life God gave her. A home executive with over 20 years of experience, she homeschools three of her five children, but don’t let that fool you. Much of her time is spent working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You’ll also find her drinking kool aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life. http://www.pattywysong.com/

Joanne Sher is a Jew by birth, a Christian by rebirth, and a writer by gift. A native Southern Californian, she now lives happily in West Michigan with her husband and two school-aged children. She is a blogger and writer, of both true-life stories and fiction, attempting to ride God’s grace over rough roads. http://www.joannesher.com

Jessica R. Patch grew up in southern Illinois before attending Central Bible College, where she majored in Missions and Bible. She is devoted to her local church, having served as a Biblical Studies teacher, Women’s Ministry leader, Regional Women’s Representative, and volunteer co-pastor with her husband of the Young Adult Ministry. She’s taught workshops and frequently spoken to Women’s ministry groups. Her heart is to help women step out into deeper waters of intimacy with Jesus Christ. http://jessicarpatch.blogspot.com/

Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational/devotional writer, whose passion is to share the truths of God’s Word with today’s generation. She is a regular contributor to Around About Cumming, and Cumming Patch. You can visit her on the web Mondays and Wednesdays for a life lesson you can relate to. Maria resides in Georgia with her husband, Steve, daughter, Riley, their 2 dogs and 1 cat. http://www.mariaimorgan.blogspot.com

 

Lynda Schultz is a “never-married.” She has served in church ministry as Director of Christian Education in several Canadian churches. For the past thirty years or so, she has been a missionary with a Canadian Baptist mission and has served in Colombia and Venezuela, as well as on home staff. She is currently Director of Christian Education/Spiritual Formation in Timmins, Ontario and still works part-time with the mission in the area of communications. Lou Lou Belle and Abby are her Venezuelan cats who have returned to Canada with her. She likes reading, writing, but definitely not arithmetic, as well as cooking and plants. http://web.mac.com/lyndalee1,
http://lyndasgrainsofsand.blogspot.com and http://web.me.com/lyndalee1/Northern_Breezes

Although you already know me…

I write for Christ to the World Ministries, the Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters. I love seeing people experience the life-changing love of Christ. I believes no sin is too sinful for forgiveness, no heart to dark to be cleansed, no wound too deep for healing, when placed in pierced hands of Christ and I pray daily that my writing provides a glimpse of God’s all-consuming love.

Anything Hiding Behind Camouflage? Guest Post by Joanne Sher

Today’s post, written by my devo-writing partner and dear friend, Joanne Sher, challenges us to search deep in our hearts, past the superficial, laying all of us at the cleansing alter of Christ. Make sure to stop by her blog to leave an encouraging word and show your support.

Anything Hiding Behind Camouflage by Joanne Sher

We’re coming up to that time of year when it’s a good idea to watch yourself when you’re out in the woods–especially if you’re Bambi.

Firearm Deer Hunting Season will be starting in just a few months here in Michigan, and those hunters could be anywhere.

I’m not a hunter, as much as that may (or may not) surprise you. Nobody in my or my husband’s immediate family is either (that I know of, anyway). I don’t know that I quite get the fascination that folks have with heading out with their gun and shooting animals.

But camouflage I get (and if you’re curious, I JUST learned how to spell that word!). If you’re gonna be out among wildlife, you definitely do NOT want to be noticed. I’m not sure how smart deer are, but if I’d seen some strange two-legged creature walking through the forest with a stick and my deer friend suddenly fell to the ground beside me, I’d want to avoid those “two-legged creatures” from then on.

But if you are camouflaged (like this… um… handsome guy to the left, for example), the prey have no reason to fear–or at least they don’t think they do. The deer will put their guard down, and before they know it: bang bang, fall down, venison jerky.

This reminds me of the sin in our lives. Sometimes, it’s pretty obvious, and all we have to do is run the other way to avoid it.

But that isn’t always the case.

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

Satan, and sin, is often difficult to distinguish from the day-to-day stuff we do, and even the things that are glorifying to God. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still wrong. Doing too much of a good thing can also be sin.

So, when things look fine, don’t let your guard down. Sin is out there, disguised as fun or “not so bad” or something else equally harmless-looking. Watch for the camouflage.

Joanne Sher is a Jew by birth, a Christian by rebirth, and a writer by gift. A native Southern Californian, she now lives happily in West Michigan with her husbad and two school-aged children.

Her first book, still seeking a home, explores God’s preparation, protection and provision through her husband’s serious health issues. She is also working on a biblical fiction set during King Saul’s reign and centered around the handmaiden of Saul’s daughter Michal.

She is also a blogger, not only at her own site,but at the FaithWriters blog, where she posts daily. She also posts monthly at Jewels of Encouragement, The Barn Door, and Internet Cafe Devotions.

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