Category Archives: Parting Words from The WORD

Parting Words From The WORD . . . The Path of Life

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

(Vonda here: I’m hard at work getting ready to head out Sunday for Asheville for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. For five days, I’ll have the joy of teaching new and experienced writers as they take seriously their call to write for Him. With critiques to do, classes to prepare for, and packing to do, my days are full to overflowing. So today I’m sharing a Parting Words from the past. It was a powerful experience for me several years ago and I hope it will encourage you today.)

I love how God speaks through His word. I had such an experience this week.

I’d been trying to make a decision for a while and continued to find myself vacillating between two equally good choices. Either path would have been good, but I struggled with which would be best for me at this time of my life.

My morning started as usual, spending some time in prayer before beginning the day’s Bible study. I asked God to open my eyes and ears and speak to me through the lesson. I grabbed my study book and flipped through the pages to the introduction for the lesson of the day.

And I smiled.

The opening scripture verse for the day was Psalm 16:11:

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

God had spoken to me through His word! Oh, I still didn’t have the answer regarding which path to choose, but at that moment I found a new confidence in His ability to direct me.

And this week, He did exactly that. Through prayer, Bible study, and listening, He gave me the answer I was searching for. Just as His word said He would.

But It made me wonder…how many other times has He wanted to lead me, but without my prayer, Bible study, and listening, I couldn’t hear.

What about you?

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your heart,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . God is Greater Than Our Fears

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

Excuses. As co-director of Christian Communicators Conference, I hear them frequently.

“God can’t use me. I have a terrible past.”

“But I’m not a speaker.”

“Who am I to tell people how to live?”

“When I get my act together, then I’ll be able to speak.”

“I don’t have enough followers.”

“I don’t have a platform.”

“I don’t have anything to talk about.”

“I’ve been a pretty good person. I don’t really have a testimony.”

“I’m scared to speak.”

How many excuses can we give? Well, how many excuses are there? The truth is, for those of us who have given our lives to the Lord and try to live for Him everyday, it doesn’t matter if we’ve been “too good” or “too bad,” there’s not a single “too” that keeps us from ministry.

If we’re honest, we’re probably too fearful. A few weeks ago, my pastor at Renovation Church, Jeremy Havelin, started a teaching series on becoming one. This is his focus because we are in the process of taking two churches and making them one. What an exciting time! It’s a joy to see our Westside building filled with families and men and women and teens and kids and babies as we love and worship our Lord together as one!

Although Pastor Jeremy is teaching on becoming one, his words that day had another application to my heart and mind: Christian Communicators Conference. We’re gearing up for the 7th Christian Communicators Conference and we know from experience that there’ll be ladies there who are fearful.

  • Fearful of speaking
  • Fearful of not measuring up to other women
  • Fearful of being transparent
  • Fearful of stepping out in faith

Pastor Jeremy’s words were perfect for these precious ladies and they’re perfect for you and me: “Know that the greater our God is, the smaller our fears become. Understand that playing it safe is risky.”

Wow. What powerful truth! We know we have a great God, don’t we? Playing it safe is risky when we realize we’re allow fear to keep us from what He has for us to do for His kingdom.

What will you do with your fear? What will I do with mine? Let’s remember how great our God is. We have no reason to fear!

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
     In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid. Psalm 56:3-4a (NIV)

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . He Precedes Your Every Test

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.
Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Vonda here: I’m thrilled to introduce my friend, Evangelist Aidan McKenzie to you. He’s a dear man of God who has suffered for years from a rare, painful muscle disease that keeps him bedridden much of the time. And yet he sees the medical professionals the Lord has placed in his life as his personal field of ministry. Every time he sends out a testimony of what the Lord is teaching him, Aidan teaches me. If you’d like to receive his encouraging writings, you can reach him at aidanmck [@] aol [dot] com.

HE PRECEDES YOUR EVERY TEST

“Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.” John 6:6

The first man said, “eight months wages . . . is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little,” in order to feed the multitudes (John 6:7). He looked at the situation and concluded that it couldn’t be done because he couldn’t see how; therefore it couldn’t, he wrongly concluded!

The second was a little bit more optimistic. He said there was a lad who had five barley loaves, and two fish, ” . . . but what is that for so many?” He too concluded it couldn’t be done. Why not? Because he couldn’t see how; therefore he wrongly concluded it couldn’t be done.

They both looked at the circumstances logically, and concluded it couldn’t  be done. They excluded Jesus Christ from the circumstance and took the place of the Almighty in their thinking! They failed to relate it to Him who was present. They believed what they saw and not Him who had done so much in their presence previously. They came to the wrong conclusion because they leaned on their own understanding, and when they–and we–do that, they–and we–exclude Him from the scenario . . . and we wrongly conclude, “It can’t be done.” Why not? Because I can’t see how, therefore it can’t be! It is living as though He is not present, able, caring, sufficient. He tested them as He does us and we must remember . . .

In your trial . . .
I may not know how, but I know Whom.

In your trial . . .
He Himself knows what He’s going to do.
That is good news, and meant to bring comfort to our mind and soul.

He precedes your every test . . . He is present in your test . . . He is pre-eminent over your test . . .

He Himself knows what He is going to do!aidan mckenzie headshot 2
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aidan McKenzie
Reconciliation Ministries INC
PO Box 4052
Greenville, SC 29608
www.proclaiminghim.com

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Parting Words From The WORD…Ministry is Hard

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

Let’s face it, sometimes ministry is hard. But how can that be the case if we’re doing what God has called us to do?

We may mistakenly think that if we’re in the middle of God’s will, doing what He has for us to do with our lives, then everything should work out smoothly.

That wasn’t the case with Jesus…and it’s not the case with us today. Jesus had no place to lay His head, few friends who stood by Him in the hard times, He suffered, bled, and died. And yet, He continued in His call.

We know that today’s suffering isn’t usually physical, as it was in the lives of Jesus, Paul, and the disciples. But it is suffering none the less.

Peter is clear that those who follow Christ will suffer.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
1 Peter 3:13-15

Our responsibility is to answer the call He has placed on our lives, and if it results in suffering or hardship or struggles of any kind, remember that we are called to suffer so that we may inherit a blessing.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Why This? Why Now?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

I know today’s scripture is one we’ve all heard hundreds of times before, but I believe the Lord must be trying to tell me something, and perhaps He wants to tell you, too.

In just the past 5 or 6 days, I’ve had similar conversations with ladies in multiple venues: Several women at two different weekend retreats where I was the speaker; on a phone call with a lady who had questions about Christian Communicators Conference; at a restaurant where I met with a precious CC sister; and in the car with a dear young lady who picked me up at the airport.

In each situation, the sister in the Lord had either gone through or was currently going through a difficult situation and–at least at one point–wasn’t sure what God was doing. In each case, there were two questions regarding the struggle:

Why this, Lord? Why now?

I couldn’t believe I had heard the repeated refrain over and over again. Not necessarily in those same words, but it had been the same basic conflict in each case: Why was this happening and why was it happening now, at this point in my life?

Why am I having this conflict in my marriage at a time when I’m growing closer to you?

Why did I go through this completely unexpected medical issue at this young age?

Why did I let that sin overtake me when I have such a precious family?

Why did that woman discourage me at a time when I feel I’m following God’s direction?

Why this? Why now?

As I kept hearing these questions and talking and praying with these ladies, one verse continued to replay itself over and over in my heart and mind. It’s one we all learned early in our walk with Christ, and yet its words ring truer to me today than ever before as this world and our culture grow further and further from God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Why this? God often uses His own blessings to draw us to Himself, whether it’s complications in our health or our children or our marriages.

Why now? Satan often uses the deepest joys of our hearts to attempt to put a distance between us and the Father.

But the good news is, the Lord is always the victor, because what Satan meant for evil, God can turn it upside down and use it for good.

I can look back on several hardships in my life that seemed to have been anything but a blessing. And yet it was those very things that God used to ultimately orchestrate His perfect will for my life and my family. If the struggle hadn’t happened, the good couldn’t have come about. It’s as simple as that.

Why this and why now?

Because it had to be. Because God wants to give us His best and bring glory to His name.

I pray His blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

Thanks for sharing!

Parting Words From The WORD…Why This? Why Now? The answer may surprise you. http://bit.ly/1T3cHCu @vondaskelton (Click to Tweet)

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Parting Words From The WORD…Open Doors

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As speakers and writers, we often struggle with promotion. And it’s no wonder. Throughout God’s Word and throughout our lives as Christians we’re challenged to humble ourselves, think of others better than ourselves, guard against pride and self-focus. (I wrote about this whole idea on a post years ago. You can read Would Jesus Network? here.)

Reality is, if we want to share our verbal and written words with the world, we must speak up, whether audibly or written. Otherwise, how will they know about our message of grace and mercy that’s available to them by calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? As Paul says:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10:13-14

How can they hear without someone telling them?

Okay, so now that we see the need, what can we do to gain more opportunity to tell others, while still holding tight to Jesus’ words and our convictions?

The first thing is in who we’re promoting. Are our words all about us, or are they about what He’s done for us? There’s a huge difference between “Let me tell you about what I can do” vs “Let me tell you about what He’s done.”

Once we have that straight and are focused on promoting what Him, it’s time to ask for open doors. Yes, we need open doors. We need opportunities to speak and write. And that, dear friends, is what we should be praying for.

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Colossians 4:3 (NIV)

Just as Paul asked for open doors to share Christ while He was in chains for the Gospel, we should pray for open doors to share Christ through our lives and ministries.

Open doors.

That’s my prayer for you…and me…today.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Whose POV Matters?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As writers, we often discuss the issue of Point of View (POV). It’s an important concept to learn if we want to grow as fiction writers.

There are several rules involved in the teaching of POV, but the main rule is, there should be only one point of view per scene. One person’s thoughts. One person’s beliefs. One person’s truth. It’s the only point of view that really matters in that scene because it’s the only view the reader needs to know.

It occurred to me one day that there’s only one point of view that really matters in life and death, too . . . and it’s critical that the reader know the POV character’s truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

“I am the only way to heaven,” Jesus is saying. Not Zen. Not peacemaking. Not reincarnation. Not keeping all the rules.

Jesus’ POV is the only truth that matters . . . because it’s the only truth there is.

Life and death depend on it.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Three Scripted Words

Jesus carrying cross Lost Seed. dot comThree Scripted Words–Which Will You Choose?

I’ve always loved drama. From the time I was a little girl, sitting in front of a black and white TV, I knew that movies and scripts could reach down inside and grab a part of the soul that few things could ever touch.

By the time I was a teenager, I knew the power of the stage, the power of scripted words. And nothing proved it better than Frank Zeffirelli’s movie, Romeo and Juliet. The story. The costumes. The music. The words. I was captivated! I must have watched it a hundred times, and yet each time, it was as if I were seeing it afresh, anew.

My heart danced the night Romeo and Juliet danced—their faces and their lives hidden behind the masks, falling into a forbidden love. A love of good and evil.

Two sides. Two families. The Capulets and the Montagues.

You know the story. Romeo and Juliet fall in love, secretly marry, and spend one night together. The next day, Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin in a battle between their families, and then must escape to save his own life. Unaware of his daughter’s marriage to Romeo, Juliet’s father decrees she will marry another man.

Juliet is afraid to reveal the truth, so she meets with the priest and together they devise a plan that will allow the couple to be together forever. It is a fail-proof plan. With the help of a sleeping potion, Juliet will feign death, and Romeo will return to the city and retrieve her from the tomb. They will escape to live their life of love together, and no one will ever know the truth. A messenger is sent to deliver the fail-proof, scripted plan to Romeo.

But before the messenger reaches him, Romeo hears the terrible news that his beloved wife has died. So he devises his own plan—to join her in death. He mounts his horse and takes off for the city. But Juliet’s messenger and Romeo pass each other in the night. The grieving husband continues toward death, unaware of the truth.

It is a fateful mistake.

Romeo arrives, locates the tomb and—thinking his true love is dead—drinks his own poison in an effort to join her. Death comes quickly and Romeo falls across his wife’s body. Moments later, Juliet awakens to find her Romeo dead. Unable to imagine life without her husband, she tries to drink from Romeo’s vial, but finds it empty. She eagerly kisses her still-warm Romeo, hoping to find poison on his lips. When she finds none, she grabs his sword and thrusts it into her own body.

Her blood drips to the ground.

I sat there in the theater, my eyes glued to the screen, my body jerking with the sobs of emotion—unable to see the images through the tears filling my eyes and streaming down my face. My heart was broken for the two lovers, the two innocents who were merely on opposite sides of a battle, a battle they hadn’t chosen.

Joint funerals unite the city. The music and visuals carry us through the pain and agony.

Two families. Two sides. Joined in grief. Good and evil, exposed in death.

A voice cries from the screen:

“All . . . are . . . punished!”

Three scripted words, spoken to bring the emotion of the story to one pivotal moment. It works. I grieve, along with the Capulets and the Montagues. I can hardly stand it.

And it’s only a movie.jesus holding cross lost seed dot com

But two thousand years ago, there was another script, another drama. Two families. Two sides. Good and evil. God and Satan.

Jesus knew the story by heart because before time began, He had sat down with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the three of Them wrote the script . . . scene by scene, line by line, word by word.

Directed by the words of the prophets, the story unfolds. The cast—often without their knowledge—follows the plan and brings the story to its pre-ordained conclusion. No actors. No lines to learn, no songs to sing. Because this time, it’s real.

And the story—although a script—is true.

But this drama wasn’t written to generate emotion; it was written to bring freedom and new life for all mankind. The only way to unite a holy God and unholy man was through the sacrifice of a perfect, sinless lamb—Jesus. He would have to die.

No sleeping potion to feign death. No escape from the Father’s decree. Sin required a blood sacrifice . . . and Jesus willingly signed up for the part. After all, He was the only One Who qualified.

His blood fell to the ground.

But the story doesn’t end there. Because from the cross, at the height of His suffering, Jesus cried the three words scripted thousands of years before:

“It . . . is . . . finished!”

Three words, spoken to bring the sin of man to one pivotal moment. It works. I grieve, along with the sinners and the saved. I can hardly stand it.

Jesus, the sinless Grace-giver, received no grace that dark and mournful day. But because of His sacrifice, we—an unholy people—are united with a holy God.

We simply choose which script, which three little words, we want to follow: “All are punished” . . . or . . . “It is finished.”

Jesus is God’s Son.

We are sinners.

We can’t be good enough to get to heaven on our own.

We need a Savior.

That Savior is Jesus.

He is the sacrifice for our sin.

He took the punishment we deserve.

It . . .  is . . . finished!

Three powerful, little words that changed eternity.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I pray God’s blessing as we celebrate our Risen Lord!

Vonda

Thanks for Sharing!

Which script will you choose? “All are punished” or “It is finished”? #Cross #Jesus #Easter (Click to Tweet)

(Images courtesy of Lost Seed)

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Write It Down

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

The life of a writer can be discouraging. We can work for years on a book, writing and praying and editing and praying and rewriting and praying and editing and praying . . .

Some days the words just won’t come. Sometimes they come quickly, only to be found unworthy. If we’re wise, those words are thrown away.

But we keep going. We work hard until we finally think it’s ready. Yes, this can take years.

Then we pray and work even more until we generate the courage to hit SEND. We’ve reached our goal!

You’d think we’d be able to take a breath now and move on to the next thing. But no. There’s no relief, because life is now in limbo as we wait for an answer. For months. Sometimes years.

I pray that this week the words are coming for you. Good words. Engaging words. Compelling, inviting words.

I pray that the response you receive is a resounding “Yes!”

But what if it’s not? What if this is a time when the words won’t come and the rejections won’t go? What if this is a time when you’re crying out to God, asking Him why He doesn’t intervene?

Don’t give up. Instead, remember these words, spoken by the God of the universe, to the prophet Habakkuk, when he questioned God’s perceived inaction:

“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it…” Habakkuk 2:2

It’s our responsibility to write it down. It’s our responsibility to make it plain.

And whether it’s published by a large traditional publisher or simply posted on our own blogs, others can read . . . and run with it.

Don’t give up. Write it down.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Thank You For the Cross, Jesus

As we approach the Easter season, my heart longs for an even closer relationship with our beloved Jesus, the One Who died for you and me.

Would you turn off the all the distractions and join me in letting the words of this song lead us to worship the Sacrificial Lamb who took our sin? Forever He is risen! He is alive! Thank you, Jesus, for the cross.

 

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When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Romans 5:6 (NLT)

Yes, we know the Lamb has overcome our sin, and because of that, we sing Hallelujah!

Vonda

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