Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What It Means to Pray

My experiment worked!

All last week…and this week…I started my morning prayers by requesting of the Lord that His name be glorified here on earth as it is in heaven.

And my morning prayer time instantly became a time of worship and praise!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes my morning prayers do not come easily.
I am distracted especially since I pray in my classroom before my day begins.
I start off with good intentions, but then my mind wanders to papers that need to be graded, emails that need to be answered, and assignments that need to be written.


I remember one Bible teacher told me years ago how she would enter into her closet with every intention of praying to Jesus, but then she would see her shoes needed arranging, clothes needed to be hung, and before she knew it, her entire closet had been cleaned out and organized!

That’s how we humans are: easily distracted.

Other times, our prayers are too self-centered and not focused on praising God. I know I fall into this trap often.

I start off with the desire to lift others up in prayer, but then the prayer becomes all about me and my concerns.

That’s why understanding HOW to pray is most important.

Dr. R.C. Sproul writes about this in his Tabletalk magazine:

“Understanding how to pray is the best way to address these difficulties. God has not left us without guidance. Jesus himself gave us the Lord’s Prayer…” (November 2012, p 54).

Yes!  God is so good to us in that He did not leave us without a way to communicate with Him.

That is why I wanted to begin each of my prayers with a request that His very name be sanctified…set apart as holy…and glorified by every living thing on earth because He alone is worthy of our worship and adoration.

The Lord did not disappoint! 

I immediately felt a sense of His presence and peace while the Holy Spirit laid concerns on my heart that I, in turn,  laid at His feet.

Praise God!

Psalm 54:6-

I will bring a gift
and offer a sacrifice
to you, LORD.
I will praise your name
because you are good.

So, if your prayer time has been suffering lately due to many of life’s distractions, take the time to read the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 54 or any of the fantastic prayers found throughout the Bible to teach you how to focus your prayer time on the Lord.

Lift up His name as holy! Focus on worshiping the Lord first and foremost.

I promise you, your prayer life will take on a whole new meaning and your life will be forever changed!

After all, isn't that what prayer time is all about?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dream A Little Dream...

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
 he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” 

Ever had one of those days?  I seem to have more and more of those days lately.

I honestly feel the Lord is trying to tell me something. 

And just when I think I've reached my limit...the Lord reveals something wonderful to me and makes me smile. 

He's just that kind of a Savior!

Most of you know I am a writer. My first book, The Dragon Forest, was released last year. I have worked hard to market my own book since my publisher is a smaller publishing house. 

I have sold copies of my book at speaking engagements, writing workshops, and even at the ACFW Writers Conference this year. 

God is so good. 

Advancing Toward the Dream

Today I found out my publisher, OakTara Publishing, wants to contract me this week for The Dragon Forest books 2 & 3.  And they are interested in a fourth book I am writing. 

Yay! I'm advancing confidently in the direction of my dreams!   

Again, God is so good. 

But for me, the biggest treat this week so far came unexpectedly. You see, I was up in my classroom feeling pretty low. It's been a rough week and I wanted to be still for a moment. Then, someone came to get me in order for me to help out at the pick-up line. "Sure," I said. I always try to help out when I can. 

Then, when I got to the pick-up area, I saw a little girl in line reading my book. She was on the last chapter. She smiled at me because she knows I am the author...and I smiled a grateful smile at her. 

I turned and saw yet another girl reading my book! And earlier in the day, I saw two more students reading my book. 

Suddenly, I understood what the Lord was trying to tell me. 

He's just that kind of a Savior. He gives us our dreams.  Thanks, Lord. 

Because of word-of-mouth marketing and a Dragon Forest art contest we are holding at the school where I teach, more kids are interested in my book. 

It's the little things that matter. 

Endeavor to Live

You may be a writer thinking that you have to have that perfect critique partner with contacts in the publishing world in order to make it...attend that HUGE writers conference in the big city...or sign with  a top literary agent...and have a big time publisher knocking at your door.

All those things are nice. 

But all those things aren't necessary. What you need most of all is good writing and a good story. 

Frankly, I spent a lot of money to attend the ACFW conference this year and wasn't all that impressed. I felt out of place since my genre isn't very popular in Christian Fiction. I had a hard time meeting people and networking. To me, a smaller conference would have been a better fit. 

And a literary agent is nice, but just because you sign with one doesn't guarantee a sale to a publisher. I know writers who have agents and are still hoping for that contract.

My advice?  

Keep working at your writing!  Read about the craft, attend conferences, and keep writing no matter what. 

Keep dreaming that dream!

Work hard at each scene. Send out your query letters and don't quit even if the rejections come in. 

That's what I did and I am writing my fifth book with an interested literary agent wanting to see it when I'm finished.  

Because that's how God works!  He is that kind of Savior. 

He is involved in even the smallest aspects of our lives. He gave you your story and your talent. Use it to glorify Him and you'll never go wrong. 

I am sending the first $1,000 in book sales from The Dragon Forest to a missionary in India working with the locals to set up sewing centers that help families earn money. The Gospel message is preached in those centers daily. God is using my little book to further His message of hope to the world. 

God gave me my story...so I am giving back to Him. 

You know, just when I thought my week was going to be awful...I see my book in the hands of a child. The book edges are bent and tattered because many students have read it. A most beautiful sight to any author!

I was wrong again. 

God is good. 

God is kind. 

He's that kind of a Savior.

Keep writing! Keep advancing confidently toward your dream...endeavor to live that life you've imagined...and never quit dreaming. 

Your turn:  What does the Thoreau quote mean to you? How has God revealed Himself to you this week?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hallowed Be Thy Name

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name..."
Matthew 6:7

Have you ever prayed for God's name to be glorified here on earth?

My husband and son are in the middle of watching the "Holiness of God" video series by R.C. Sproul.  One night, as I watched the video with them, Dr. Sproul spoke about the holiness of God's name.

As I watched and listened to his teaching, I was convicted of something in particular. 

Dr. Sproul reminded his audience that Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God's name would be worshiped as "holy".

Boy, was I convicted. 

I don't think I have ever asked the Lord God in prayer for His name to be glorified here on earth as it is in heaven. 

Yet that is how Jesus told us to pray. 

Holy, Holy, Holy

So, how do they glorify God's name in heaven?

Revelation 4:7-8

"And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,  
who was and is and is to come!”"

That's pretty amazing. 

Jesus, God Himself in the flesh, told His disciples to ask that God's name be hallowed...glorified, found holy...here on earth as the start to all prayer. 


I was taught years ago to follow the A.C.T.S. method of prayer as a way of remembering to worship the Lord first and foremost when praying to Him. 


C-confession of sin


S-supplication or requests

As Christians, how often do we truly pray that God's name be glorified here on earth? 

How often do we go into prayer immediately asking for healing, material things, comfort, etc., when we know we should be asking that God's very name is lifted up by His children and set apart as holy?

Convicting, isn't it?

I know many of us out there have real requests. I have friends whose loved ones are sick with cancer, other friends who are recovering from surgery, and still others who need employment.

These are real life concerns and requests.

But, as children of God, shouldn't we be more concerned with whether or not God's name is set apart from all other names on earth as HOLY? 

I know this week I am going to try and make my prayer time more about Him and not about Him meeting my needs.

He deserves the honor. 

He deserves the worship.

He deserves the adoration and praise.

I have a feeling that by the end of the week, my prayer time will be changed forever.

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven."


Your turn:  How often do you include worship as part of your prayer time?


Friday, October 19, 2012

The Closeness of the Infinite

It may seem strange to think of the closeness of the Infinite. 

What comes to your mind when you think of Infinity?

 This week I thought a lot about how close God is to His children. I felt His presence all around me. I sit at my desk each morning alone in my classroom surrounded things to do: 

 Grade papers 
 Straighten a messy room 
 File papers 
 Plan lessons
 Answer emails 
 Listen to messages
Make copies

 ...yet in the midst of it all, I heard that voice asking me to stop, read His word, and pray.

 Special Revelation 

Sometimes I immediately obey, while other times I say, "In a minute..." 

 And eventually, when I do sit down and open His word, He shows me something wonderful about Himself that leaves me in awe.

 That's how His word is. Amazing and awesome. 

 General Revelation reveals many things about God: 

 His power and creativity. 
 His beauty and artistry 

 But it is through Special Revelation that we learn about who God is and just how close He is to His children. 

The One Revealed 

 Oswald Chambers once wrote, "We do not worship the book, but the One whom the book reveals." 

 Praise God indeed. 

 I am so grateful that God chose to reveal Himself through the written word! 

Oh how I love to read it even when it convicts me of my sins, as painful as that may be.

I am comforted. I am challenged. But I never walk away unchanged. 

That's how the Infinite connects with the finite....

 I am so grateful that the Infinite chose to be known, chose to be near, chose to meet me in my classroom all week, and chose to be my Savior. 

I cherish the closeness of the Infinite. I pray you do too. 

Deuteronomy 4:29
"But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Your turn: How has God drawn near to you this week?

 Blessings, Ruth

Thursday, October 11, 2012

25 Random Things About Me...

I've been blogging now for almost a year. I started out blogging about spiritual things, writing tips I have learned, and about almost anything really!  I have learned a lot about blogging this past year. 

Recently, my friend, Gabrielle Meyer blogged a list of 25 random things people may not know about her. I thought it was a fun idea, so here's my list!

1. I am an Arizona Native. That's rare these days!  I grew up in Phoenix and attended Cholla Elementary school and Cortez High School. Go Colts!

2. I was born in a car. Yep...in a car! My dad delivered me. He and mom were on their way to the hospital when my mom told him to pull over. Right there on the 7th ave & Jefferson bridge in downtown Phoenix, I was born. Way to go mom and dad! 

3. I am the youngest of four. I was very spoiled. Still am. Heh. 

4. I married my high school sweetheart...well, almost. We went to prom together, but didn't get serious until after high school. We've been together since 1985. We were married in 1988. Next year is the BIG 25th anniversary!!

5. I am a professional artist. I love drawing and painting, but drawing is my favorite. I wish I had more time to create art. Someday...

6. I am also a published author. Yay! My first book, The Dragon Forest, was released in 2011. The sequel is almost done...almost!

7. I have run 2 marathons and am training for my third. One thing I have learned about marathons, is that the training part is probably worse than the actual run. But it's worth it in the end. I feel accomplished!

8. We have lived in North Carolina when Scott was in the Marine Corps. This was back in 1989-1991. A beautiful state, I long to move back there and retire. I miss the change of seasons and the beach. 

9. My mom's mother was born in Mexico. I have never been to Mexico before! I probably should visit. 

10. I have visited Paris, France; Budapest, Hungary; Krakow, Poland; and Lucenec, Slovakia. All wonderful countries. I hope to visit Italy soon. I love to travel and hope to travel through Europe someday with the hubby. 

11. I have seen Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. Quite the experience. Life changing. 

12. I have been on 2 mission trips to Lucenec, Slovakia. Both trips have been life changing as well. So much fun to visit Slovakian friends and meet the children there at English Camp. God is doing wonderful work there. 

13. I have visited 14 states in the USA. I hope one day we can travel and see ALL 50 states. 

14. I worked as a bailiff for Superior Court Judge Michael O'Melia. That was such a fun time!! I worked with wonderful people and saw some interesting criminal court cases including a death penalty case where I sat about 4 feet away from a mass murderer. Scary stuff. 

15. I have one son. He's the best! I am bless to be called his mom. We wanted more children, but the Lord said, "No."  So I have learned to be content. I do pray for many grandkids, though!

16. I am a BIG STAR WARS fan!!! I am a geek, yes I know.  I saw the 1977 film 26 times in the movie theatre when I was 10 yrs old. Woo hoo!! 

17. I love old movies!! I love old musicals best. I think Singing in the Rain is my all time favorite. I love Sound of Music, Grease, Doris Day movies, Gone With the Wind, Bad and the Beautiful, Jezebel...all the old ones!

18. I love to write. I think I write because I have so many stories in my head just wanting to come out. I know writers aren't supposed to switch genres, but I have so many stories that do not align with just ONE genre, that I can't stick within the almighty rules of writing...sorry, Chip MacGregor!

19. I am teaching myself to play piano. I hope to have time, someday, to take lessons. There's so many songs I want to play!

20. I am old fashioned and a traditionalist at heart. I think I probably should have been born in the 1930's and lived through the 40's. But the Gilded Age is my favorite historical period as far as architecture and American history. I love reading about the Vanderbilt's and even visited the Biltmore Estate built during the Gilded Age. 

The Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

21. I love to read non-fiction even though I write fiction. Go figure!  I love to read autobiographies, history books, biographies, theological books, and Bible study books. One day I hope to write some non-fiction since it's my first love. Lord willing!

22. I am a teacher. Right now I teach writing to middle grade kids. I hope to someday teach art, but that's up to the Lord. Since I love to write, it's fitting for me to be a writing teacher right now. I love being with my target audience. They are the best!

23. I love Mexican food the best, but Chinese food is a close second. I love to cook, but wish I had more time to indulge in it!

24. I love teaching God's Word. I pray that one day I will be able to return to prison ministry and teach God's Word to the inmates. I was able to participate in prison ministry 12 years ago and miss it. Something to pray about!

25. I am a Child of God saved by His grace and not by my works. I thank the Lord everyday that He chose me, sanctified me, and uses me. My walk with the Lord hasn't been a perfect one. I walked away from Him for 3 years when I was in college. But it took my living in the dark to appreciate the Light. I am thankful that He has given me a strong faith that I hope to pass on to my son. The Lord proves Himself to me everyday and I praise His name for giving me the life I have. 

Well, that's me in a nutshell!  Please tell me some interesting fun facts about you!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cling to the Supernatural

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

The Things of the Earth

Have you ever put all your trust in the natural?

You know what I mean, the things you see everyday? The routines, the schedules, the people...the natural things of this earth? 

Well, you are not alone. 

So did Simon Peter. 

On Sunday, our pastor went over Luke 5:1-11.

This is the part of Jesus' ministry when He calls Simon to be one of His disciples. 

I love this story because of all the people in the Bible, I relate most to Simon Peter. 

Sea of Galilee

The Natural

Simon is asked by Jesus to go back out into the Sea of Galilee and cast his nets into the deep part of the water. 

And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Simon responded by reminding Jesus that he and his fellow fishermen had been out all night fishing, as was the custom, and yet they caught nothing.

They had put their trust in the everyday schedule and routines. They put their trust in the natural...in what they saw everyday with their eyes. 

But because he respected the authority of the very words of Jesus, he obeyed and out to the lake they went. 

The Supernatural

And that's when Jesus showed them the Supernatural. 

 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

How did Simon react to what he saw?

As so many had reacted before him...with fear and trembling. 

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken...

The Amplified Bible states that the Greek words used for "astonished" mean "amazed, gripped in bewilderment...allied to terror."  Yes, TERROR at the sight of the Supernatural power of The One.

When confronted with the Power of God, Simon was stricken with his own guilt and confessed his sins immediately. Imagine him cowering in terror over in the corner of the boat trying to get away from The Holiness of God. 

How does Jesus respond?

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

Instantly, Simon and his partners, James and John, forgot the things of the world...the routines, the schedules, the boat, the fish, the nets, the money, the natural...and forsook all that they had to follow Him. 

Opened Eyes

Simon and the others left behind all they had ever known their entire lives. 

They walked away from the natural to follow the Supernatural. 

They let go of what they knew to follow the Unknown. 

...And their lives would never be the same again. 

Simon once relied on sight, then he learned to rely on faith. 

As I read through the verses this morning, I was struck by the message Jesus was speaking to me. 

"Do you still rely on the known?" He asked me.  "Do you still cling to the natural things of this world? The routines, the schedules, the boat, the net...

Are you ready to let go and trust in God fully? Are you ready to trust in the unknown?"

I prayed and asked God to forgive me for clinging to the things I know all too well. I asked Him to forgive me for not trusting. 

I prayed for faith and strength to cling to the Supernatural...the things of God...

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

For that's what it means to be His disciple. 

Your turn:  Are you clinging to the natural things of this world? What can you forsake in order to cling to the Supernatural?