If I haven’t expressed this before, I want you to know that I am willing to share any and everything I know about writing. I’m not an expert. Far from it. But I am determined to share. I won’t waste much of your time here. So, let me get to the point.
Today, I shared my writing journey with a friend of mine. As I did so, she said to me, “Donna, what you need to do is look up power words. I always had a list of power words I used when writing.”
Power words. Power words? Is there such a thing? Yes! (and that’s an emphatic “YES!”)
I found a website that lists power words used to evoke all kinds of emotions. Don’t believe they work? Listen to CNN. This news channel evokes fear in us all day long and to do so they use these same “power” words over and over and over again.
Here’s the website: http://boostblogtraffic.com/power-words/
This is only one of many many websites. Search the internet and find your favorite one and use it. Be wise and crafty. Use them where needed; at the right time. Don’t overuse them. Power words without a substantive and well-written novel won’t get you very far.
Good luck to each of you. Please return the favor. If you have tips you can share with me and others, please do so. And don’t fail to go to my main menu and look at Writing Tips Nos. 1 – 5.
Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Poet, Novelist
II Kings 22:14-20; 23:4-15, 19-20
II Chronicles 34:3-7, 22-28
(400 Years of History)
NIV Version of the Bible
Within the pages of II Kings and II Chronicles is a story of a rich child-king raised in an ungodly home. He is not only an eyewitness to sin, he is also surrounded by an idolatrous nation.
When faced with becoming king at the tender age of eight years old, he had every right to suck his thumb, squat in a corner, and hide from those much older than he. With his childish mind, he could have beheaded any number of servants who disagreed with his whimsical ideas.
Yet, in the eighth year of his reign, he sought God Almighty and discovered that he and his people had not been living according to God’s commands. In his twelfth year, he began to make a change. (II Chronicles 34:1-3)
It not only disturbed Josiah to discover he and Israel waddled in sin, he ripped his clothes when he heard that his people would be taken captive because of their adulterous behavior toward the Holy One.
When was the last time you considered the consequences of your sin? It takes a humble person to admit wrong. To spend time examining how far-reaching your sin can be is mind-boggling and may leave you in despair.
There are so many lessons embedded in the story of Josiah, that the only way I know how to tackle each one is to go through the story in chronological order as it is written.
In each line of this series, we will discover how closely related Josiah’s life is to our own. We will make note of the many lessons learned from his life and from the life of his forefathers. Together, we will discover that our past should not keep us from a better future. Matter of fact, because of our past we should indeed become better people—a holy people; a people as intimately connected to God as a marriage.
This study, however, won’t mean much to you if you don’t read the scriptures noted above. But if you’ll indulge in the reading, God will change how you look at His relationship with you. For he is indeed a God who . . .
“. . . plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
A Child Who Would Be King
II Kings 22:1-2
As you go through your daily life, who have you influenced?
I don’t know about you, but I’d be offended if my son recognized his grandmother as mother. To me that would be a blantant disregard of my existence and I’d have a few harsh words to express my disdain for his lack of respect. After all, I brought him into the world. How dare he ignore me and regard my mother as his mother. Humph!
That’s exactly how God described Josiah’s faithfulness. Josiah was like his father, David. Not like his father, Amon. If you’ve read the books of II Kings and II Chronicles, you understand why.
King Amon, like many kings before and after him, infested the nation with evil. There were signs of their sin everywhere. Asherah poles. Idol worshippers. Human sacrifices. You name it. Israel wreaked with sin. So much so that God promised to send them into captivity.
King Amon failed to see how his self-centeredness not only pulled him away from God, but it also destroyed his people.
Left unchecked, sin breeds sin. If you’re not accountable to anyone, chances are you’re headed for disaster. And what’s amazing about the disaster about to befall you is that it doesn’t feel disasterous at first. You ease into it. It feels comfortable for a time. Along the way, you persuade others to follow you. And if you didn’t persuade them verbally, then you’ve convinced them by your example. If left alone too long, you can’t or won’t turn back. And not only are you in danger of destruction, but those who follow you are also close to death.
Our sin carries far more weight than we expect.
Coming from an ungodly home explains your past, but it doesn’t control your future. Your past has taught you the wrongs of this life and what to avoid. But more importantly, you have the freedom to make different choices. No matter what your circumstances.
All of us want to impact the world in some profound way. Maybe you want to write an inspirational book that turns the world on its heels. Maybe you want to put an end to hunger. Or maybe you want to become President of the United States and return governing to the people. Whatever you set out to do, your impact will be felt along the way. Perhaps your impact won’t be on the scale of a presidential candidate, or that of a pop rock star. Your influence might come in small doses. Like the time you spent two hours on the phone talking a stranger out of killing himself. Or by bringing a woman who has come to church for the first time in months a bouquet of roses. Or inviting a struggling mother of three to your home for dinner. Or doling out food from your freezer to a family in need. No matter how large or how small your impact, you will indeed leave behind a trail to be followed by others.
The question is this: Will it be a godly trail? Or will it be a trail of destruction?
Make a list of ways you have influenced others today.
Holy Father, please correct me and hold me accountable for all I do and say. Please forgive me. Wash me clean. Dwell in me and use me as an instrument to spread your word. Help me to recommit my life to you . . . to put no other gods before you. That I remain one with you in body and in spirit.
PostScript: We are the body of Christ.
“. . . The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us from the dead also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” (I Corinthians 6:13-20)
1Portions of this lesson come from my inspirational series entitled “Impact – A Series That Explores How We Affect Each Other.” This series is expected to be published in 2016. This, however, will be the only posting from my book. Lesson 2 will not be posted here as suggested by the text.
I can’t begin to explain how many times I’ve made promises I couldn’t keep. At one point in my life, promises were so frequent that I knew before I finished my oaths that I wouldn’t succeed in keeping them. It’s awkward to have a friend, loved one, fellow christian shun you because you’ve failed them. Again. You’re embarrassed when you come face-to-face with those you’ve made promises to. Your eyes meet for a moment, but the pain and anger behind their eyes linger long after you part.
You find it hard to sleep at night. You kick the dog, yell at the children, burn your dinner, leave work assignments incomplete, irritate your spouse. All because of your guilt. It eats away at you. Apologies burn the edges of your lips, but you can’t find the courage to expose your wrong. How many times will you trick yourself into believing there’s no way people you’ve wronged will remember what you had promised to do? But deep in your gut you know they remember. You can see it in their eyes. You can feel it as they come ever nearer to you.
What are you to do?
God made a promise to Abraham. The promise didn’t depend on Israel’s faithfulness. God made an oath and kept it. When things got way out of hand, God punished Israel and made them wander in the desert for 40 years. Later, when they continued to disobey him, he had other nations enslave them. He constantly reminded them that he is the Lord God (Deuteronomy 4:32-40) and that they should keep his commandments. But not once did he ever say he’d renege on his promise. They would inherit the land just as he promised even if it was a generation or two later.
Too often you and I can’t see past our next 24 hours before we’re bombarded with the what ifs of this life. We stack one task after another onto our plate and refuse to use our common sense to say “no” when we can’t do any more. What if the musician doesn’t show up for the school play? Ever thought about going a capella? The kids know the words to the song. They’ve sung it a thousand times.
Some of us are just—can I be blunt here?—lazy. We hide behind our hurt and refuse to do anything for anyone. We’ve been wronged. And we can’t get over it. Someone somewhere made a promise and didn’t keep it.
Others use godly ministries as a springboard to success—to build our resumes so we can prove worthy. Our interchange with one another is driven by this self-inflicted pressure. This pressure determines our way of speech, our out-of-character friendliness, our dismissive behavior toward those of lesser stature. We want to look important; to out-do the next fellow; to be known as the one people seek for advice, leadership, love, and benevolence.
The god in your life has become an earthly tabernacle of greed; a self-serving ministry.
To get rid of this stigmatism that you’ve created for yourself, you continue to take on more and more work that you can’t possibly fulfill.
I would suggest you delegate the work to others, but even that becomes part of your power-hungry struggle to feel important. Bossing others around is the perfect fuel for your self-serving ministry, don’t you think?
What are you to do?
It’s time for you to stand still and recall each and every infraction made against your brother. You might ask: “Won’t this overwhelm me?” Of course it will. But you’ll also begin to experience some of the pain others feel over your inability to keep your word.
I promise . . .
How many promises have you broken?
Trust is the most sacred thing among men. Long ago, to seal a transaction, all two men had to do was shake hands. Try doing that today?
People trust and respect those who keep their word. People will give their last meal, last coat to those who keep their word.
A promise is all Jesus had before he made the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus relinquished ALL control and trusted God to raise him from the dead. And God kept his promise. After being enslaved for many years, the prophets reminded Israel what they must do to gain God’s favor. Without hesitation, they knew God would keep his word. How did they know? They remembered how God gave birth to a nation out of a nation (Deuteronomy 4) and brought them to a land flowing with milk and honey. They remembered the ten plagues; the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. They remembered . . .
Today when cancer comes out of a doctor’s mouth, we hold tight to God’s promises:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” (Revelation 21:1-7)
And we hold on to these promises whether we remain in this life or not.
When a man and woman marry, they made a promise to stay together until death separates them. When either party breaks this vow, there is a brokenness beyond words that forever hovers over them. And so it is with those with whom you’ve made promises.
I promise . . .
I promise . . .
Tell me again how many promises you have broken?
When you promise to buy your child a uniform, save money for her college education, take him to a baseball game, or attend her school function, you are exposing who you really are. If you keep your word, you gain favor and respect from your child. If you don’t, the trust is broken. Perhaps forever. Before long, not only can’t your child depend on you, your employer can’t depend on you either. Neither can your spouse, your family, or your neighbors.
Then the walls of your self-serving ministry collapse. You are left wondering who is to blame.
If only I hadn’t made all those promises . . .
I promise to never make another promise again.
But didn’t you just break the very promise you vowed not to make.
Seems hopeless doesn’t it?
If you’ll stand still for a moment and go through all the broken promises, how do you think you’ll feel? Can you possibly feel any worse than the person with whom you made the promise? No. But you can come close. No one feels good after going back on his word. Though it’s unfortunate, everybody loses. No one is left untouched.
The promiser is ashame.
The person to whom the promise was made is angry.
Those that witness the guilt and hurt lose trust.
Children learn to look at this despicable sin as normal.
And so the cycle continues.
To heal, you must end this sinful cycle and “confess your sins one to another” (James 5:16), no matter how embarrassing it may be. Apologies are like salve for the wounds. People need to hear your apologies and feel your sincerety. However, be mindful to not confuse excuses with apologies. Excuses and explanations only get you into deeper trouble. Besides, can you really explain away a broken promise? Rather, apologize by simply saying “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I did not do what I committed to do for you and I apologize.”
Your next step is to slow down and analyze what you are physically capable of doing. That takes guts! And honesty! At times, you’ll cringe at what little you can do. There’s only so many hours in a day. And you only have two arms. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with stopping in the middle of a conversation and giving the request some thought before you commit. Remember my words: “A moment of thought can avert potential shame.”
Always be in prayer, about everything.
If you’ve been overwhelmed with too many commitments, ask God for relief. The moment someone comes up to you, or calls you on the phone and says they’ve given someone else the job, don’t become bitter or angry because you wanted the job for yourself. Know that it’s an answer to your prayer and glorify God all the more.
To God be the glory! Amen!
Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Author, Poet
I find this entire episode very interesting and thought-provoking.
Leigh Anne “That Nice Woman Sandra Bullock Played In The Blind Side” Tuohy recently posted the following picture and caption on her Facebook and Instagram accounts:
“We see what we want! It’s the gospel truth! These two were literally huddled over in a corner table nose to nose and the person with me said “I bet they are up to no good” well you know me… I walked over, told them to scoot over. After 10 seconds of dead silence I said so whats happening at this table? I get nothing.. I then explained it was my store and they should spill it… They showed me their phones and they were texting friends trying to scrape up $3.00 each for the high school basketball game! Well they left with smiles, money for popcorn and bus fare. We have to STOP judging people and assuming and pigeon holing people!…
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