Monday, July 9, 2012


In previous posts I’ve shared how each week God gives me a recurring theme—a topic that He wants me to write about. He usually gives me at least three separate nudges and then I pray about it to make sure. This week the topic has been exceptionally clear and exciting. On Monday, after taking a several day sabbatical from writing my latest book, I received the first nudge. I had been praying about what my next writing project should be, and also about our finances. I opened a devotional book and my eyes went straight to a specific paragraph—the words seared my soul: When we make a point of putting others before ourselves, God will bless us. Now, like most of us, I know the Bible says to do that. But this time it was as if God was saying, Something is coming up where you need to remember this. That night while preparing for bed I had a Christian talk show on the television. My ears perked up when I heard an author talk about the theme of his book: “When we are interested in others, helping them to meet their needs and achieve their goals, our own needs will be met. God will bless us and doors will be open to us that were previously shut.” Again, my ears perked up and my soul was seared. The next day I met a man for coffee who is a successful businessman. This man, like me, has a heart for prison ministry and also has a few moving stories in my upcoming book. Not long into our conversation he said he had a powerful life story and asked if he could share it with me. It took an hour. At least three times in that hour God spoke to my heart to stay quiet and listen. (For those of you who know me, you know what a struggle that can be for me!) Then, when he finished, he said that God had been nudging him to get his story written into a book. I had to agree. He liked my writing style and—would I consider writing his book? I had several writing projects that I longed to get to after dedicating so much time to the prison devotional book. I really wanted…. Put others first. “Yes,” I heard myself say to this man. “Let me get with my agent and see what she says, but yes, I would love to help you.” I had tremendous peace and even joy after agreeing to help him achieve his goal. To confirm the decision, my agent really liked the idea, too. But that was not all. Two days later I received an email from another person whose short version of their story is also in my prisoner devotional book. He asked if I would help him get his full story into a finished manuscript. He would send me the chapters and I would edit them. Again I heard, prefer others before yourself. I love how God takes a basic Christian concept and makes it powerful and personal to us. And I also love how creatively He answers our prayers when we seek Him. Often His answers are something we had never considered (when I prayed over how to increase our income.) The joy and peace I have from helping some brothers in the Lord to achieve their dreams is hard to describe. And when these dreams involve glorifying God and pointing others to Him, it makes it all the more worthwhile. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10). In His Grace Alone, Connie
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