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TruthNotes

Timeless truth in a changing world

The Secret to Success

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It’s been said that writing is a lonely pursuit, and yet, in the end, it couldn’t be done without a lot of team effort. There’s a reason most books have a long list of people in the acknowledgments section at the back. Publishing a book is complicated. Writing the manuscript is the easy part. Okay, maybe not easy, per se, but enjoyable at least. I love writing the story, arranging the plot like pieces of a puzzle to reveal the finished picture. It’s challenging and time-consuming, but I enjoy it. Once that’s done, you might think I’m pretty much finished. And you would be wrong. Finishing the manuscript is only the first step in a very long process, and can only be accomplished with the help of many others along the way.

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When Jesus Passes You By

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There’s a somewhat peculiar note in the story of Jesus walking on the water (Mark 6:45-52). Jesus saw that His disciples were “making headway painfully, for the wind was against them,” so He went to them “walking on the sea.” Then comes this rather curious note: “[Jesus] meant to pass by them” (v. 48). Why? Couldn’t He see the dire predicament they were in?

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Sweet Words

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By all accounts, yesterday was a completely sub-par day. Work was…meh. My toddler had been fighting a cold for a couple of days. My wife had picked up said cold the previous night and was drained of energy. We were hosting a guest at the house who—you guessed it—was also sick. I had just returned from picking up my toddler from a not-so-good day at her daycare, and I still had to finish up my own work day. Then I had to address and work on some other business matters. Oh, and I had to make dinner, too. Yeah.

Our evening wound up being what my wife and I have coined a “Jekyll and Hyde” night. One minute was all smiles, giggles, and happiness. The next was a complete 180° turn filled with fussiness, crying, attention-craving, and meltdowns. So it was up to me and my five-month-old son to take care of our lovely ladies and house guest. While it wasn’t the most difficult situation, neither was it altogether easygoing. But we managed and got through it. Our toddler was put to bed at her normal time, and the rest of us were able to take a few minutes to decompress and relax before hitting the proverbial hay ourselves.

Then 10:15 pm came. Toddler was awake, wailing, and needing another dose of medicine. And then it happened. In the midst of her crying, I heard that sweet word: “Daddy.” My heart both broke and melted at the same time. Just over two hours ago I wanted nothing more than a break from adulting and parenting. But now, in her time of need and distress, all of that went out the window. Nothing else mattered. She wanted and needed me. And I was more than happy to do whatever I needed to do to help her.

As I sat and cuddled with her after getting her calmed down, I thought of how hearing my child’s voice crying out to me compares to how our heavenly Father feels and responds when any of us, His children, cry out to Him. It doesn’t matter how or why we call to Him. It could be a simple thank you. Or a request for something we want or need. Or an utterly desperate plea for help in a moment of our deepest distress. No matter the case, our Father loves to hear us call His name, and He, like all parents, will do anything to help His children.

My mind then turned to the book of Psalms, and how many of the Psalms are written in a state of need and distress. A couple of verses I found particularly apropos were:

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. – Psalm 18:3, 6

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. – Psalm 116:1-2

It’s comforting to read verses like this, and to know that there are many others throughout the Bible that talk about God listening to and answering us when we call to Him. He truly is our loving Father. And now as a father myself, I am coming to understand more fully how and why He loves us so unconditionally and will always be here for us. It doesn’t matter what we have done, what sort of a day we’ve had, how long it’s been since we last reached out to Him, or even how we seek comfort in Him. Nothing else matters to Him. He knows that we need Him. And He is more than happy to do whatever He needs to help us.

 

(Special thanks to guest author Anthony Hessler for the post!)

Off to a Bad Start

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The morning started off as any other. That is, badly. The kids were whiny. They didn’t want what I’d made for breakfast. Complaining abounded. They were being mean and insulting one another. I was irritated and prone to snap at them. It was not a great start to the day, and I certainly didn’t want to continue into the rest of the day with these attitudes. Something had to change, but I didn’t quite know how to go about that.

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Three Types of Editing You Need (Even if You Aren’t an Author)

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One of the more tedious parts of being a writer is the editing phase. When you proudly send off a manuscript and get it back with over 1,000 suggestions, it’s pretty discouraging. But once you get the nerve to start looking at those suggestions, you find that most of them make sense and do indeed improve the flow of the story. You make the changes, knowing that the story is better as a result. But in the vast majority of cases, one round of edits isn’t enough. Most writers go through at least three rounds of edits before they reach a final manuscript. So once you’ve sent back the revised manuscript implementing the suggested changes, know that you aren’t done. You can expect to receive yet another marked-up manuscript. And another…

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The Diagnosis That Saved My Husband’s Life

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It’s been something of a crazy week. My husband came home early in the week with chills/fever/aches, and I immediately quarantined him to our room, certain he had the flu. It’s been going around our town, to the extent that they cancelled school for two days because 20% of the school district was out sick. But it soon became apparent that my husband had something other than the flu. After a few days of worsening health, he went to the hospital, where they determined he had MRSA, a bad staph infection. They got him on strong antibiotics to fight the infection, because his body can’t fight it on its own. One medical worker told him if he hadn’t sought medical help, he likely would have been dead in three more days. It’s that serious. You don’t want to mess around. Continue reading “The Diagnosis That Saved My Husband’s Life”

Basking in the Son

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Jesus’ transfiguration must have been an impressive sight. His face “shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2), and his clothes became “as bright as a flash of lightning” (Luke 9:29), “dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them” (Mark 9:3). The disciples weren’t even seeing Jesus in all His glory, because no sinful human can do that and live, but they saw Him in a more glorified state than anyone else had. It’s interesting that Moses was there, because He was another person who had not only seen God’s glory, but also been “transfigured,” in a sense. When He came down Mount Sinai after being in God’s presence, his face was radiant as well, similar to the way Jesus’ face shone on the Mount of Transfiguration. But it might surprise you to learn that you are in the process of being transfigured as well.

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Tried and Found Wanting

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Looking at my friend’s list of goals for the week, I started to feel rather unambitious. She and I are accountability partners, so we check in every week to report progress and set new goals. It’s a lovely arrangement, but last week she sent me her list that included seven items, many of them multi-faceted. My list had all of two things on it, both related to writing. I told her my goals looked completely lame in comparison, and she laughed and said, “I was thinking my goals were lame! You’re writing a book, and all I’m doing is finding people to fix stuff around our house!” Then she reminded me of a saying someone had once told her: “To compare is to despair.”

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You’ve Got Mail

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If you’re wondering about the sequel to Grace Alone, I have good news for you! I’m on the second round of edits for Faith Alone already! For the latest updates, sign up for my monthly newsletter. February’s edition includes a contest for a chance to win an Amazon gift card, details on how you can obtain an advanced copy of Faith Alone, and more! Sign up today!

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