Do you have ideas on what to write, but you’re not sure about it? Surely you don’t want to go forward, blind-folded. Here’s an encouraging message for you that will give direction in your writing.
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Are You Led by the Spirit in Your Writing?
SHELLEY: Are you ready to be led by the Holy Spirit in your writing? Hi, my name is Shelley Hitz, and this is my husband CJ, and we are here today to share with you a Godly Gain Segment. This is where we talk about keeping Christ at the center of our writing, our business and of our lives.
Today CJ is going to share about something that he has really been studying and thinking about, and this is the topic of being led by the Holy Spirit.
CJ: Thanks Shelley. Lately I’ve been in God’s word and I keep seeing a theme coming through regarding prayer. It’s specifically just looking at Jesus’ life, and of course, the Apostle Paul. Even in the Old Testament the prophets were led by the Spirit.
So I just wanted to share a little bit of what God’s put in my heart. This is something you can think about as you endeavor to write something about God.
I think so often we get these ideas, these notions that we can set out and do something without consulting God.
If you’re like me you might have a great plan, and you set out to do it. Then you realize that you didn’t consult God. It was something done out of your flesh and you’re left with a whole lot of wreckage behind you. You’re basically running forward at a fast rate, blind.
I heard an illustration recently about people in South America that would be going down the Amazon River. It has all kinds of peril around every corner, and it would be like having your family on board, but you’re blindfolded, and you’re just heading down this rushing, raging river without any direction whatsoever. You do not know what’s going to be around the corner.
I think so often we do that in our writing, or anything we’re seeking to do. You might even compare it to going full speed down the mountain, with corners and sharp curves, and you’re blindfolded, with your family on board with you.
So often we’re making these kinds of decisions. I’ve made some horrible decisions in our marriage and unfortunately Shelley gets carried along with that; she suffers the consequences as well.
I want to encourage you to really seek God in prayer. Be led by the Spirit before you actually endeavor to write, and during the writing process. Otherwise, we get frustrated, and we wonder why things are not going the way they should be.
Yes, there is a real enemy out there pushing back against the things that God wants to use us in. But I think many times we bring in more trouble to ourselves because we don’t consult God ahead of time. We just rush out and hope that God will approve of our plan.
SHELLEY: I think a lot of authors, when you get an inspiration, an idea for your book, and you just go for it, straight ahead.
This has happened to me. I get an idea, I know it’s inspired from God, and then I just go straight ahead.
On the Strenght Finders 2.0 test I’m an Activator Achiever, so I am a doer, and I tend to just dive in. Sometimes I forget to continue to consult God along the way. So I loved that illustration that CJ shared about going down the Amazon, or going down a mountain road, blindfolded.
CJ: I want to share a few things from scripture with you. If you have your Bible with you or are at the computer and can look it up on Bible Gateway go for it.
I’m going to start off in Mark chapter 1. I’m not reading the whole thing, but I will be pointing out some things that involved Jesus at the beginning of his ministry. You may recall in Mark 1:12-13 Jesus was led by the Spirit out in the desert, into the wilderness, and he’s going to be tempted there for 40 days. In other gospels it mentions he fasted the whole time.
So he was willing to be led by the Spirit into that desolate space to undergo some temptation and some trial in order to strengthen himself for ministry.
That’s the first thing I want to point out. If you look at verse 14 it says that Jesus, after coming out of that 40 days, one of the first things he did was preach in Galilee. If you look at verses 16 to 20, he actually picked his Disciples.
I want to point out a couple things here. There were a couple of huge things that would follow what Jesus did out in the desert. He had a huge decision to make regarding who were going to follow him as his closest disciples in his three years of ministry around Israel.
Those are huge things; preaching and picking his disciples. In verses 21 to 27, Jesus cast out an evil spirit. If you go further down to 29 to 34, He healed lots of people, including Peter’s mother-in-law, which drove people to him. This had to be tiring.
Anybody who has ever done ministry, whatever it is, knows that it could be tiring.
SHELLEY: It is.
CJ: Because God is using you and power is going out of you, virtue is going out of you, as it happened with Jesus. If you remember the lady that touched the hem of his garment and Jesus felt power, in one translation it’s virtue that went out of him.
When we’re doing things for God afterward it can be tiring. It can be exhausting. Keep that in mind.
Now when you look at Mark 1:35 it says, “Before daybreak, the next morning…”
Jesus has been healing people, he’s been up late. People just keep coming to him in the evening. Why did they come to him in the evening?
They wanted to wait until the end of the Sabbath so that they could come to him whenever they were free to do so.
So it says, “Before daybreak, the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.”
I want you to take note of that. Jesus always wanted to steal away, slip away, and be with his father. He knew the power of connecting to his eternal father, his power source. Now, Jesus was God, Jesus was God in the flesh, Emmanuel. If Jesus needed to recharge, if he needed to get away, being God in flesh, how about us? How much more, do we need to break away as we endeavor to do anything for him?
So those are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Verse 37 Peter, along with a few disciples, finally found Jesus in that isolated place. What does Peter say? He says, “Everyone is looking for you.”
You can almost hear sort of a guilt trip coming from Peter. It was like telling Jesus
“What are you doing? Why are you here, there’s lots of people back there.”
You can almost just sense this guilt that Peter is laying on him.
What does Jesus say right after that in verse 38 and 39? Jesus isn’t worried.
“No, we must move on to other towns. Other people need to hear this message as well. I’m not going to lose any sleep over not going to back to all those people and the crowds that are moving in to come and see me.”
He was relaxed as he was with his Father. He had spent some good time with His Father in that isolated place. He lost sleep to do so.
How much more do we, His disciples and followers who are completely made of flesh, need to seek him fervently?
SHELLEY. I want to add to that. I posted this morning about setting healthy boundaries.
When we’re led by the Spirit, sometimes it means that we have to set boundaries and not always do everything that other people ask of us.
People have demands that they want us to do. Sometimes, in order to do what God has called us to do and be led by the Spirit, in order to live out our gifts, we have to use that two letter word.
SHELLEY: You have to sometimes say no!
Jesus didn’t say, “Ok, let’s go back, let me go back and finish what everyone wants me to do. Let me go back and heal.”
He had his eyes fixed on the father, and he was obedient to what the father’s plan was, not what everyone else’s plan was for him. I think that’s really a great point.
CJ: So moving on, here is another little emphasis of how Jesus operated and the example for us, as we endeavor to write stuff.
Jesus grasped the whole thing regarding prayer and connecting with his father. John 5, we start off with verse 19.
“I tell you the truth; the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”
Look at that example by Jesus. He is Emmanuel, God in the flesh, yet he’s saying “I need my Father, I’ve got to connect, I need to know his direction for my life and what he wants to do.
In verse 30 of John chapter 5 He simply said, “I can do nothing on my own.”
How many of us are of trying to do things on our own?
We’ve just celebrated our independence on July 4th. 240 years ago we broke away from England, and to date, we have been celebrating this day as our Independence Day.
Unfortunately, we’ve carried that same concept of independence into our walks with the Lord. We’re not dependent on Him.
It takes some effort to seek Him, and get on our knees in prayer. It takes some laboring, some loss of sleep, and sometimes some loss of meals if we really want to have our passion grown and let the Lord be our food.
So, Jesus says, “I can do nothing on my own.” If Jesus is proclaiming this, how much more should you and I when we want to do something for the Lord that lasts, and fruitful?
Imagine what God can do for you if you are seeking Him fervently with every ounce of your heart in prayer.
SHELLEY: I just got really, really excited when you were saying that.
I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this. It’s easy to just pray in the morning and have my time and then go through the day.
Sometimes authors come to me and just tell me that they are stuck, having a writer’s block and that “it’s not working.”
I just got this picture, when you were saying, “I do nothing apart from my father.”
If we’re really plugged in, boom, that light just comes on. You will then realize that it’s working!
If you feel “unplugged” with something; your writing, marketing, and some part of your business and you feel like this is just not working, ask yourself these questions;
- Are you plugged in?
- Are you asking for God’s wisdom?
- Are you following his lead in your life?
When you are plugged into him He brings things to you.
I have a book project I’m working on right now, Broken Crayons Still Color, but I was stuck on that. Then, I realized that I haven’t really been praying about this and I haven’t asked people to pray.
I asked people to pray, I started praying, CJ started praying, and all of the sudden—it’s not a coincidence—God started sending me the things I need. He started sending me the resources, and I’m learning the things I need to learn, because I’m doing things I’ve never done before for this book. It’s like the pieces are falling into place.
What was not working is now flowing.
So, if you’re feeling frustrated, and stuck, I encourage you to think about that.
CJ: Good illustration, excellent. Just going to that power source and being plugged in.
I just want to share a couple other scriptures with you. One is Romans 8:14. Paul is writing here.
It says “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
So do you want to be a child of God and seek your daddy? Shortly after that Paul talked about crying out to God and uses the word Abba, the Jewish term for daddy.
Do we come to sit on our daddy’s lap and get His instruction for the day? Or, are we running around in circles, not getting a whole lot done, and life is just slowly draining out of us? Are we like a chicken with its head cut off and running around in circle, accomplishing nothing, until life is drained out of it?
Another scripture here is in 2 Peter 1:20-21. This is written by Peter, the guy who might have laid a guilt trip on Jesus, asking “Where are you? People are waiting back there for you?”
Now Peter, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, is writing and ministering and preaching, and he’s learned a few things since then. And here he says;
“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
Think about it. These prophets, Isaiah, Ezekiel and other prophets from Old Testament, were writing down prophecies. But they weren’t writing stuff on their own initiative, they were waiting upon the Lord.
“What next Lord? What do you want me to write next? What do you want your people to hear? What you do want them to read? What do you want for future generations?” These are the questions of these prophets.
Think about this now. This is the power of what you can do in your writing. Imagine future generations reading your stuff and being impacted because it came straight from the heart of God and didn’t come from your own initiative. You were waiting upon the Lord, and as you did that, Boom! God gave you some things to write down.
It’s incredible, it’s such a good feeling when that happens because you’re being obedient and you’re sharing stuff that’s going to last into eternity. Isn’t that what you want?
SHELLEY: I remember, I don’t know who it was, it might have been Beth Moore or another author, saying they were actually praying as they wrote the book. They were praying that the Holy Spirit would infuse the words of their book so much that each person who picked up that book to read it would be impacted in the exact way that they needed through the Holy Spirit.
You can be praying as you write those words; that every person is impacted exactly the way that God intends, and exactly the way that they need it in that moment that they are reading your book.
CJ: You bet, and I just want to share one last verse that comes from 1 John. Again, he is another disciple of Jesus who, as most of the others, died a martyr’s death. So check this out, 1 John 2:17;
“The world and it’s desires pass away. But whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
That’s serious business. Are you doing your own thing or are you doing God’s will?
If you’re doing your own thing, just as it says there, “the world and it’s desires pass away.” If we’re just sharing our own stuff that comes from our flesh, it will probably not have a whole lot of impact, at least eternal impact.
So I want to encourage you to seek the Lord, fervently, on your knees crying out to him. You can ask for these things.
- Lord, what do you want?
- What do you want to do?
- Where are you moving?
- How are you moving?
- What do you want to say today?
- What do you want me to write today?
What does God want you to say to this generation, and future generations?
I’ll just close with one more quote, and I’m sure Shelley is planning to pray; we’re not going to talk about prayer without closing in prayer.
One of the things that the Lord stirred in my heart, these are some urgent times we’re living in. God doesn’t have time for me to just to be doing my own thing without listening to him.
This is urgent stuff, and so God’s been dealing with me.
I just want to confess, I’ve been very prayerless at times in my life. I have been very self-sufficient and I just want to say that it’s during those times that I’m the least fruitful in my life. I just felt empty.
When we were in Belize for two years, I remember God put something on my heart. We ended up putting together a banner; we’ve got a whole bunch of sheets 8 1/2 X 11 and taping them together. The banner says “Prayer is the Proof that we’re relying on God.”
Simple as that, prayer is the proof, right? Show me what your knees look like, if I was just to use a cliche there.
Are they worn out? Are my knees worn out as we’re seeking the Lord? Have we been before him for minutes, hours or however long it takes before you get word from the Lord? The Lord wants to give you that.
SHELLEY. We just also want to encourage you to consider joining our free Facebook Group at GodlyGain.com. It’s for Christian Authors and Entrepreneurs, and it’s just a safe place to have support and receive prayer as well.
We just really have a heart to help authors, and not just Christian book authors, but authors who are Christians. We want to really keep our eyes focused on Him. That is our heart.
We don’t do it perfectly, but it’s our heart, and we love to be able to connect with each other.
Let’s go ahead and pray over each one of you and over your writing. Let’s pray and ask God to do a mighty work. These are urgent times, and these are times when so much craziness is going on. There’s so much that we don’t understand, but God wants to use us, and the gifts that He’s given us in his way and His timing.
“God I just pray right now for every single person watching, listening, or reading. I pray that you would anoint their writing through your Holy Spirit. I pray that you would remove any self-sufficiency, any self-lead activities. Lord, I pray that you would remove any writer’s block, any frustration in Jesus’ name.
Lord, I pray that you would give each of us exactly what we are to write. I pray that if we are to write a project that we’ve been putting off, like the project I’ve been putting off and I feel so strongly I need to finish it, you would equip them, you would give them exactly what they need to finish that project. If there is a project that someone is putting off because it feels to hard, it feels to difficult, it just feels like there is so much opposition, I just pray that you would empower them.
Open our ears to hear you, and help us to turn off technology and take breaks occasionally so that we can hear your still, small voice. I just pray that we would have that heart Lord. We can’t do anything apart from you, but when we abide in you we will bear much fruit. It’s not might, it’s not maybe. We will bear much fruit, because it’s a promise from your word.
I thank you so much for everything you’re birthing through each author that’s listening, and we pray your blessings on them, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
SHELLEY: Thank you so much for joining us.
CJ: Thanks guys.
SHELLEY: We’re planning on doing more of these Godly Gain sessions. We just love to be used by God and to be encouragers, and we know that we’re on the journey with you. We’re in the trenches with you, and we love you guys. So, thank you for being here, and we’ll see you again on the next Godly Gain segment.
CJ: God bless.
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