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Happy Birthday America!

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Happy birthday America!

My, how you’ve grown, and how I love you. But it seems like you are leaning away from The life giving Light.

“Let us, then, search the Scriptures … The Bible contains the revelation of the will of God.” – John Quincy Adams

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!  Isaiah ‭5:20-21 NKJV‬‬

By letting go of the Godly principles upon which we were founded, we trample underfoot the names and the precious blood of those who laid down their lives to secure our great country’s freedom.                                                                                                                                                                               If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan

“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.  – Noah Webster

In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.                                                                              – Noah Webster, Preface Noah Webster Dictionary, 1828

Dear Church,

We are called to be Light bearers. It is easy to say what a mess our church, country, or world is, but the responsibility of moving God’s heart on our behalf rests squarely on the shoulders of the Christian. Before we can effectively pray for our church and nation we must first get ourselves right with God. We can’t give to others what we don’t have.

Judgement, repentance, and revival begin in the Church. He is a holy, jealous, passionate God. He will not share affection with any other gods or idols in our life. He wants to be our first passion, our go-to. He is calling us to return to our first love and do the first works.

It’s the Church that has made herself right with God that will move God’s hand to bring healing and revival to our families, churches, country and world. What if we each became broken before God and repented of our sin? What if we fell on our faces and sought Him for Himself, for that personal relationship and because He is worthy- not just for what He can do for us? I believe, then, we would see what we were looking for.

Awake! Cast off sin, distraction and trivial pursuit. Let us lay our hearts, our lives before our King; re-enlist in the army of the ultimate freedom fighter, Jesus Christ, who laid down His life to free the souls of mankind from the bondage of sin.

“[The Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.”  – Andrew Jackson

If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.    II Chronicles 7:14

 

Jesus is Not a Ball & Chain

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Get_HappyDear Jay,    

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a land far away, (really), I felt like you speak of in your brave and honest prize winning essay, “Jump.” I achieved what I set out to do, and the dreams I hadn’t yet attained were within reach. I eloped at eighteen years old. Most people skip town; I skipped the country. I had a houseful of new furniture, a 1965 Mustang, a modeling career underway and my eyes set on Europe. But I awoke many nights feeling weighted down, and like the wind could blow straight through me. Frustration and confusion badgered me, for in spite of all the things I filled my life with, I felt hollow. I wondered,  what is missing, why is happy so elusive?

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.   Ecclesiastes‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.   ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Then I lost everything.

Then Everything I was looking for found me, and I wasn’t empty anymore.

This is what I discovered:

Everything the world has to offer – Jesus = 0

He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.   ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”   Luke‬ ‭9:25‬ ‭NKJV

Nothing + a relationship with Jesus = Everything I need.  

I am not perfect. Life is often fraught with trials. But Jesus is my firm foundation, a rock to stand on. He is my reference in the stormy seas of life, a safe harbor, my anchor.

Jesus is Not a Ball and Chain

Jesus is not a religious obligation to me; although I am obliged to Him. Knowing and spending time with Him is not a chore or another thing on my to do list. Serving Him, serving others is a privilege. His Word, His standards, are not cumbersome or chafing. I don’t view them as a bunch of rules of do’s and don’ts. Jesus is not a Kill Joy; but knowing Him will bring you joy. Certainly, God requires us to adhere to the standards set forth in His Word, or we will bear the natural consequences. But I know that what He has set in place is out of love and for our benefit. He is our creator and knows how we run best, and it’s in that light in which He has established His Word for us to live by. Jesus is not a ball and chain. He is my shelter.

You see, the burden is light when you are in love with Christ.

When we are lost

He is The Way

When we are broken

He is the restorer

For the sick in mind, body or soul

He is the healer

He is the light in the darkness

He is joy in the midst of sorrow

A clear sounding voice in the midst of confusion and turmoil

He is peace in the storm

He makes a way when there is none            Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Pursuing_Satisfaction

When we are empty

He is our true fulfillment

We are complete in Him.

If we miss God, we miss our purpose. Life without purpose is unfulfilling.  God gifts us with different talents and abilities, and has a plan for each of us. But he created us for the purpose of having a personal relationship with Him. I want all of Jesus and I want Him to have all of me. I want His plan for my life.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”   ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-16‬ ‭NLT‬

But we can’t say “I’ll have just a little Jesus on the side and I will run the rest of the show.” Life doesn’t work very well like that, and Jesus doesn’t work like that. It’s all or nothing. He will play second fiddle to no one, or anything in our lives. He wants to be our first love. Jesus calls you to Himself, just as you are.Yes, Jesus wants your worst.But He loves you too much to leave you that way.

Jesus said, “… I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  ‭‭John‬ ‭10:10‬ ‭NKJV

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”   ‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ 

You can know Him.  You can cast your cares, your sin, yourself, on Him. 

“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”   ‭‭John‬ ‭10:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Limbo

Limbo~ an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_LimboOxford: an uncertain situation that you cannot control and in which there is no progress or improvement

Webster: an intermediate or transitional place or state

Lord, I am all tangled up in the loose ends of my life. Where do I  start?

“Pray”

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.   ‭‭I Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I am suspended-

Like a clock pendulum.

Just waiting.

Wait-ing.

Wait-ing.

Wait-ing…

…While the Must Know Nows nip at my heels. 

“The Waiting Place…waiting for the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring…waiting for a yes or no…for the fish to bite… for wind to fly a kite…or a better break…just waiting.”  -Dr Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go!

What do I do Lord?

Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!   ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I will wait on You Lord.

But I grow weary from holding on.

I’m

    afraid  

               I

                   will

                          slip.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.”  -Dr Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go!

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.”   ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The silence is so loud.

SO – loud.

SO – loud.

SO – loud.

Speak to me, Lord! Not my will; not my version of Your will either. I want your will, God.

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. but mostly they’re darked.” -Dr Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go!  

I will trust in You, Lord.

Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to obey, Jesus.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.   ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.   Psalm 119:105 NKJV

“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.”  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭40:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jesus,

You are Jehovah Shalom. God of peace.

I will hide myself in You.

You are my refuge.

“But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”   ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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Selah.

In Step With My Father

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I remember Daddy holding my hand as we entered the gates to the botanical gardens, Wrigley’s gum, Elephant Ear pastries, Matchbox cars, him carrying me when I was hurt and scraping every speck of black pepper off my food. And bumper cars. I hated them, but I never told him, because I liked to hear him laugh- and we were together. He was pale and shaky after riding the corkscrew roller coaster. We made kites with bamboo and tissue paper. They always crashed, but that was okay. I remember driving too fast in his little ultramarine Triumph Spitfire.

You gave her the tie dye set. You get her cleaned up!” said Grandma as she pushed us outside. A bucket of soapy water, a scrub brush and our stifled laughter under the mango tree. Pinned to the clothesline, my brightly colored creation flapped happily in the breeze. I loved that hat!

He gave me a piano, like Schroeder’s in the Peanuts comic strip. I  played it as loud as I could, because I thought it would make him visit sooner.

I pretended I didn’t know him when he took me to Disney World. Fearing someone might recognize us, I walked several feet ahead, or behind, because I thought his camera bag looked like a purse. Tears coursed down my cheeks when he wouldn’t let me run off for the day with the boy I met at the resort. All the boys were afraid of my daddy.

He was a businessman. He laughingly called me his “rapacious little capitalist” for running my underground fudge business at school. I made over $1000 dollars before they caught me. We were proud of the “F” I received for my class presentation on a controversial topic. I did a good job on it; I stood for what I believed. When I ran away, he followed me.

Daddy had his problems, but he loved his children and grandchildren. Sometimes he missed the mark. We all do, some more than others. But God will use imperfect fathers, imperfect people, to guide our lives sometimes, if we let Him.

Then, one day he was gone. Just. Like. That. No warning. I didn’t know that was our last “I love you.” I wasn’t ready. But God is the one who numbers our days; He said it was time. We have a finite amount of time to love, to know, to understand and reconcile with each other. He wasn’t a perfect father. None of them are, you know? Except for one.

God is the only perfect father. He is a father to the fatherless. Jesus went to great lengths to meet us where we are. He left his throne in Heaven, donned human flesh, and died to save us from our sin, and reconcile us to Himself. He loves us in spite of ourselves. But we have to accept Him.

“Daugh-tah, come here. Child of mine. I love you so much, yuh see.” my father would say in his accent. God calls me daughter too, he calls me to himself. He wants to call you son or daughter too. God wants to do life with us. And when people fall short of our expectations, and our needs aren’t met, God is always there for us. He is our sufficiency, the difference maker. He is enough.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.   ‭‭John‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”   Romans‬ ‭8:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Father, daughter, son, is there a breach that needs mending? Will you start the journey to restoration? Just take one small step. May I suggest the first one be to pray; and the second, forgive? Maybe you won’t get where you’d like to on this side of eternity. Maybe you are only able to take those first two steps. That’s okay. Just start, and let God be God, the mender of hearts. Extend grace, like God does for us, even though we don’t deserve it. Step.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   ‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”   Matthew‬ ‭6:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”   Matthew‬ ‭18:21-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

7 x 70 – Chris August

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.   ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The Blessing – Jim Trick

Dads- your children, your wives, your country needs you. Will you step up to the plate?

“Here I am Father. Forgive me. Help me to step in Your footprints, and walk a little closer with You Jesus.”

Lead Me – Sanctus Real

Yeah, you are probably going to mess up sometimes, stumble and fall in the process. But God will pick you up. He’s like that.

Good Good Father – Chris Tomlin

         

 

Talent is a Seed

In his article, How Important Is Talent to You as a Writer?, twenty-one time New York Times bestselling author, Jerry B Jenkins, refers to himself as a journeyman, as opposed to a superstar talent in the field of writing. Wow. Okay, this means there’s hope for the rest of us aspiring writers. 

Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_dreams_accomplishments_hard_work_Talent_is_a_Seed“Regardless where you start, your work ethic will determine your success.”   -Jerry Jenkins

Worthy pursuits cost something. They often require hard work and take long term investment to reap a good return.

“Who are you as a writer, and what are you willing to invest in your dream?” -Jerry Jenkins

I am a journeyman, the least of these. I love God and I love writing. So yes, I write for the love of God. I love people too. Except for when I can’t stand them. Just kidding; I love them anyway. Even when it’s hard—help-me-Jesus. 😉 God loves us all in spite of ourselves and calls us to care for one another accordingly.

I am a member of the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and of a local writer’s group. I have a summer reading list. Sometimes I forgo other activities so I can invest time to learn the craft and write.

Talent is a seed. A seed hidden in my pocket will not take root, mature or bear fruit. It must be planted in good soil and nourished.

My neighbor and I planted the same kind of trees simultaneously. He planted three foot trees; mine were seven feet tall. But in a few months, his surpassed mine in height and vigor. When I consulted my gardener friend, Robert, he smiled and said, “Buy the $2 plant, but put it in a $20 hole.”

I am the $2 plant, but I am rooted and established in the priceless soil of the Gospel. The most important investment I will ever make in my life and my dream, is to maintain a vibrant relationship with Jesus through prayer, reading the Bible and seeking His direction. I can’t give to others what I don’t have. I can’t water the seed God has given me or the lives of others  if I fail to first draw and drink from the well. I will not have the strength to carry sustenance to others if I don’t first nourish my soul. Only then will I bear fruit and have anything to offer. Whatever I do will flourish in direct proportion to how much I invest in my relationship with God. My writing will be an outflow. God will give the increase.

Sometimes I get discouraged with my writing. It seems like a mountain I will never be able to climb. I wish everything didn’t take so long:

  • Learning,
  • Editing,
  • Being heard in this noisy world, and building a following
  • Submitting my work, and someday actually being published
  • Jesus, I just want to make you smile, and touch other lives for You

But life is a marathon, not a sprint.

“Slow and steady wins the race.”  -The Hare and the Tortoise, Aesop’s Fables

I have a responsibility to tend  the seed God has given me. Edward Bulwer-Lytton said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” I am blessed with an awesome gift. My job is to continually develop my skill, and life has a way of providing abundant opportunity and inspiration.

What seed of talent has God given you? 

Shut Up, Satan! (Overcoming Writer’s Doubt & the Voices in My Head)

I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt, hosted by Bryan Hutchinson of Positive Writer.  To Visit Bryan’s blog and read more entries in this contest click here.

Oh, the angst over writing this essay, and how I have procrastinated. Yes, life is like a steamroller lately, but reasons aren’t excuses, right? For me, writer’s doubt is an everyday wrestling of the mind and soul.

“You’re out of your league. You don’t fit,” he said.

Well, that’s exactly where I need to put myself. If I am to get better and figure out where I’m going, I need to have someone ahead of me who knows the way. Sometimes if something doesn’t fit, it needs trimming, right? Which is why I joined The Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and I follow his blog too. Yes, #JerryJenkinsIsMyMentor. I also fill my mind with the doctrine of other writers by following Positive Writer, Writer’s Digest, The Write Life and I’m a member of a local writer’s group. Jerry taught me, “Show, don’t tell.” So, here goes.

“You don’t have what it takes,” the accuser says.

Who God calls, He equips.

“Who is going to read your words? You will never get the attention, the amount of followers, you need to be published.”

For now, I will write for the one heart who is listening and needs to hear what I have to say. “God, give me a word in season for someone.”

“Who do you think you are? You are nobody. You are no Super Woman, Super Christian, mom or wife!”

You are right. But I am Jesus’ nobody, and He specializes in making nobodies into somebodies. What I am is super ordinary. I’m done with waiting for perfect. I am weak, but His strength is made perfect in weakness.

“There are others far greater than you who are qualified to speak.”

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.                           I Corinthians‬ ‭1:26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬  

So, I qualify. “God, breathe on my words; let them be like arrows, piercing hearts and infusing life and hope.”

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.   ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NLT  

“You don’t have the time. Look how far behind you are, all the other things you have to do. If you put your heart out there, and your children do foolish things, everyone will know what a failure you are. By testifying about Him, you are setting them up as targets. I will attack them.”

“Shut up Satan! I don’t write just to fill pages. I don’t write for myself. This is my legacy for my children. I write for them, to bring glory to God, and so others may know Him. I don’t negotiate with terrorists, and I am not responsible for others’ decisions. I am responsible to obey God and speak the truth.”

“This is hopeless, too hard. Just quit. You can’t attain such lofty goals.”

Jesus, give me a teachable spirit. Help me to hone the craft you have gifted me with. Excelsior! Ever higher! Ad astra per aspera. Through difficulties to the stars, to excellence. With God all things are possible.

“What if you run out of words to say? What if you have started something you can’t finish with this site of yours?”

I won’t pursue inspiration. I will pursue You, Jesus.

As the deer pants after the water brook, so my soul pants after You, oh God.   Psalm 42:1 NKJV    

rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_looking_for_inspirarion“Give me words to praise You, Lord; speak to me, so I can speak to them. Jesus, I want to shake the world, show them Your love, and who You are. But I am so small. Here’s my five loaves and two fishes, Lord.”

So, how do I overcome writer’s doubt? I pray; I listen. I obey my calling, and write myself out of it.

 (Inhale. Exhale… Post.)