Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful for His Gifts

It’s good to be back writing my column again. I am blessed to have such wonderful writing friends (Connie Johnston and Nanette Friend) who are willing to take over so I can focus time on other pressing items, such as the publicity and marketing of this new book.

When I first started writing almost twenty years ago, many book publishers could afford to hire their own publicists to set up interviews and arrange book signings for their authors, allowing writers more time to, well…write. But these days, unless you are a well-known and widely published author, most publishers don’t have it in their budget to promote your book. So, it is up to the author to see that those who could benefit from reading what they have written are made aware of it. The downside is—publicity is very time-consuming. Along with that, after months (or even years) of writing about your subject, you’re more than ready to move on to something else. But, you now have to stay excited about your book.

Thankfully, for me, it is easy to stay passionate about ministering to those behind bars. If you are a regular reader of this column you know God has given me a desire for prison ministry. It is a passion that has only increased over time, not diminished. I have been so blessed this past year to get even closer to some local jail ministry board members who share this passion, as we tirelessly worked together on many of the stories in the devotional book, Stories of Faith and Courage from Prison. And I’ve also been privileged to meet many dedicated people from around the country who diligently reach out to the incarcerated, spurring me on to keep laboring over this huge project.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knew just what I needed and when I needed it. And, He longs to do a similar work in your life, too. No, not necessarily writing a book, but there is some unique gift that He has placed inside of each one of us. There is something that He has made each of us passionate about. When we sincerely seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal to us what our gifts are, coupled with a true longing to serve others (instead of our focus being on making a name for ourself or becoming rich), I believe God is more than happy to reveal those gifts to us. He sits up and takes notice when our heart matches His. Nothing in life is more fulfilling than discovering who we are in the body of Christ, and then using our God-given gifts and talents to build up and bless others, thereby glorifying God in the process.

As we've entered into this time of thanks, followed by a hectic time of gift giving, I urge you to get alone with our Heavenly Father and seek Him with all your heart. You are special to Him and He has big plans for your life. Give Him thanks for the many blessings you have, including the unique way that He knit you together in your mother’s womb. Become determined to discover your gifts and to stay focused on living your life for His glory…for He alone is worthy to be praised.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34).



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