Tag Archives: Jesus

God’s Will

Stamp Post Office

I wish God worked at the post office.  Then He would have a rotating two-tier wheel of clamps by His side.  It would hold red ink rubber stamps.  And if God worked at the post office, one of those stamps would most certainly say, God’s Will.  We could just drop our letters at Stamp Approvedthe post office and ask, “God, is this Your Will?”

Everybody talks about seeking God’s Will.   I look for God’s Will just about as hard as anyone I know.  In the first seconds of wakefulness each morning, my face smothered in the pillow, I say good morning to God.  “Please, God, let me do something for You today.  Let me know what You want.  Give me the courage to do what You ask.”

In the morning darkness, on the couch under a quiet brass lamp, I open His Word and read for daily guidance and comfort.  During the day in the car, I turn to AM radio, listening to others Prayer Corner Lampwho seek His Word.  They speak with such confidence.  They’ve found it, His Will.

“Look,” they say, “ask yourself what your mission is.  What do you hunger to do?  What are your talents?  God wouldn’t give you a mission and talents if they weren’t part of His Will.”

It’s so tempting to latch onto their advice without challenge.  I love to write.  If I could sit at the typewriter skipping breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I would scarcely feel hunger.  Wouldn’t it be great if God loved what I love!  But I know better…I think.  My thoughts call up my personal divining rod: Hitler.  He loved cruelty, killing, and war.  Does our own passion and commitment to a cause prove God’s Will?  Hitler might have thought so.

A Christian writer’s conference is a wonderful place to seek security in the love of writing.  At Typewriter Classicmy first writers conference ever, I carried one book and two articles in my bag hoping to find God’s Will in some editor’s approval. Encouragement was there.  “Keep at it,” a few told me.  So I listened eagerly for advice from the experts:  buy tapes, buy books, write proposals and query letters, write more, join editing groups, expect rejection, keep at it, hundreds of rejections mean nothing, organize, keep going, keep records, keep writing.  But above all, they intone, seek God’s Will.  Remember, God doesn’t create talent for nothing.  You can do it, get published, be a star, be a writer.  If you love it, God will, too.Stamp Approved 3

I crave their reassurance, but when does my will get relabeled God’s Will as justification for what I want?  If it’s God’s Will, why does he make me spend weeks writing and rewriting book proposals?  Couldn’t writers just send out a book proposal to God at the post office and have Him stamp it with red ink:      God’s Will or…

Forget It!

I must be God’s most rebellious servant.  God, if it’s your will, make it happen.  You’ve left too many hurting people on earth for me to dilly dally around writing query letters and book proposals.  One mile down the street, Pat lies alone in her nursing home bed, her bones poking through tightly stretched skin all covered over with painful lesions.  She is waiting for me to return this week, waiting for any bits of conversation with me as interludes in her long day, in a long week, filled with bed pans, IV’s, pain pills, and cold food.  I don’t need publishing.  I don’t need fame or money.  At least send me a sign.  Desert LightningSomething big that I won’t miss.

Lucy Swindoll understands.  She told God she wanted to do something significant with her life.  But she also begged,  “God, let me know when that moment of significance happens.  I know you, God, you value small things.  I might miss it.  Don’t let me miss it.  I might do something so small I will never realize it was significant.”

Maybe Lucy Swindoll’s radio program was my sign.  She caught me in the car on my way home from Officemax yesterday with her story of a birthday party in a hearse.   Immediately my mind turned to the unbelievable antics of her “gang of grownups” who managed to lose a long black car in the middle of the night. My giggles and laughs followed her details from one escapade to the next, until finally, she and her four friends sat, riding in the front seat of a Hearsepolice car to pick up the “lost” hearse from the police impound.  I approached the turnoff to home and tapped my foot on the accelerator, “Speed up Lucy!  I need to know how the story ends.”  But they arrived at the police station at the very same moment I had to turn the car over to my daughter for her work transportation.  Cut short, I turned off the radio, not to know whether Lucy was arrested or not.  Ah, well. “God’s got more important things on the schedule for me,” I consoled myself.

Later that night, as I relaxed on the patio, my son Justin called for a ride home.   I pulled my feet off the coffee table and tried to gather energy to meet my motherly obligation without grumbling.  Driving to meet him, I had a moment’s inspiration.  On the way back, we could buy ice cream for root beer floats.  We had never done this.  It was just the excitement we both Ice Cream Coneneeded!

Maybe God wanted ice cream.  Maybe it was He who pointed at Smitty’s grocery store, a place I never shop.  Did He nudge me, while Justin was in the store, “Turn on the radio.”  I did.  I turned to my normal Christian station 960 AM, and as usual in the evening, it was lost in static.  I thought of picking my regular country western alternative.  “No,” God nudged again.  “I’m here.  Keep looking.”

Inexplicably, for the first time in my life, I turned to the FM dial.  On the first push of the “seek” button, there was Lucy again, arriving at the police station, ready to pay $43 to pick up her Hearsehearse.  Wow!  Thanks, God.

I followed her story to the end, laughing all the way.  Her point?  She wanted God to use her and she wanted a sign.  For Lucy, it came one night at a dinner party when an American Christian Writer editor walked up to her and asked her to write.  Incredulously, she pointed out to him that she wasn’t a writer.  What would he suggest, she queried.  He asked, “What do you think you could write?”

“Well, I won’t use scripture,” she declared.

“Fine,” he agreed.

“Perfect,” she deadpanned, “a Christian writer who doesn’t use scripture.”  Now, that’s my kind of writer, I thought.  I quit listening to the radio and turned my thoughts to my own doubts.

Stamp“Is that you God?” I asked.

God is one persistent person.  Elie Weisel is a writer rejected over 20 times because the world doesn’t want to get depressed about his life.  Poor world.  But finally, one person hears God’s call and publishes Elie’s words.  His words and books based on his survival of Hitler’s concentration camps have pulled me out of my deepest depressions.  I have survived my own life because Elie wrote his story and persisted to find a publisher.

A new writer friend Marsha tells me, “Maybe somebody else will know what you mean when you write.  Maybe your words will help someone, someday.”  I think of my father-in-law, the eternal atheist.  Unexpectedly, he reads the book I wrote for my children, and he is converted for a week.  It’s the longest week of his life.  Is this a sign?

Tonight at 2:30 a.m., I wake, unable to sleep, restless, but settled.  I need to hear God.  I wander to the office and turn on the computer.  God, is that you?  I want to lie down, but I’m not tired.  The strain of listening for God shatters my peace of mind.  I seek the determination Praying Manto walk away from writing, to let it go, but a pecking insistence remains.  In the darkness, I must sit and type for one more chapter.  “God is that you?”

“Please, God, I need a sign.  There is simply too much of me in my writing for good judgment’s sake.  I have promised a year. I’ll give writing a chance, just in case that’s what you want.   A year.  I know it’s not my place to tell you what to do.  But I need a sign.  I can’t bear to leave Pat alone in bed during the day at the rest home unless I know there’s a better reason to write than Praying Hands Goldkeeping my own sanity.

“Please, God, if it is really You, use your red ink stamp.  Better yet, hit me with a brick.  I’m not a very good Christian. I need a big sign.  I don’t think I will be able to detect Your whisper.”


Return to:  CONVERSION – Looking for Signs of Land


Copyright 2013.   All Rights Reserved.

Posted also on www.JaneJimenez.com


Inkwell Feather 2I write.  I want to make GodTalk.

As a relatively new believer of only six years, I often feel stuck in the middle of two opposing worlds.  The world I left behind, my past life before Jesus, has my history, my dearest friends, and my family.  But it has almost no GodTalk.Psalm Title Board

Yes, I still get together with old friends.  And yes, they talk about ‘god.’  But he is only a speculation, a question mark, a little ‘g.’   He is the god of spirits and ghosts and angels that are fun to watch on make-believe television.   And when a click of the remote passes by the waving, prancing preachers who ‘do’ religion on television, my friends smile.  They even tell me God might really be out there, somewhere.  But that’s not GodTalk.

Bible Reading Praying HandsIn my new life born of Jesus, when I visit with my new friends, there’s plenty of GodTalk.  It’s all about finding God’s will, submitting it to the Lord, and praising the day my Savior redeemed me.  But that’s not GodTalk, either.  This is privileged communication between believers, privileged because we’ve taken the time to learn some special words, short-cut words to explain how we feel.  But the only people who can possibly understand us are other believers.Pilgrims 2

GodTalk is special.  It’s the bridge between these two worlds of my life.  It’s more than words.  It is attitude, an openness to hearing God.  It is watchfulness, the desire to see God in the simple things of the world.  It is the willingness of a heart to meet God, to really have a desire to answer him with our life when we ask Him if He’s there.

For me as a writer, most often GodTalk is the personal, lonely mental conversations I have, trying to bridge across the world of my past into the world of my future.  It’s the struggle to translate what my Christian friend is saying into non-Christian words my secular friends will accept.  Or it’s the silent mental apologies I make for my secular friends when they fail to communicate their deep spiritual longings to Christians.

Fireworks 2When I write, I am writing my GodTalk.  Essays, editorials, books – words placed one after the other on the page – how can they move my old world closer to my new world?  How often this writer’s desire feels like a slow train to China.  I dream for the words that can build a rocket.  Where’s the blast that lifts the Sunshinewords off a page and makes them live in people’s lives?

I want to write.  But Lord, give me your heart for stories that teach people to GodTalk.


Return to:  CONVERSION – Looking for Signs of Land


Copyright 2013.   All Rights Reserved.

Posted also on www.JaneJimenez.com


Praying Hands Gold


End Scroll   My Lord Jesus Christ,

I fall at the foot of your cross

And raise my eyes to fix upon yours,

Begging to draw down the power of your love and forgiveness

Offered to me without deserving.

End Scroll  Please, Lord Jesus, carry my longing

With you to the throne of Almighty God,

Holding my heart in trust

Until the day I find myself with you at last.

End Scroll  May I, Lord Jesus, with your love at the cross

As my witness to the power and mercy of God,

Accept the gift of this one day,

Glorifying you and the Almighty

With each thought and deed.

End Scroll  I beg you, Lord Jesus, to stand between me and

Every evil temptation casting a shadow on my path.

Let your brilliance light my way

So that when evening falls,

I might lay my head upon my pillow

And lay my day at your feet as my best,

In love,

End Scroll  My offering of thanksgiving I give, that you loved me enough

To go to the cross as My LightPrayer Corner Lamp

And My Salvation.


Jane Jimenez, 1998


Copyright 1998.  All Rights Reserved.

Artificial Light


Arizona MapTomorrow, in Phoenix, Arizona, it is forecast to be nearly the same temperature as today.  What does that mean?

Based on the history of weather in Phoenix, you can pretty much count on a sunny day.

Amount of Sun

How much sunshine does a city get? The % Sun number measures the percentage of time Sunshinebetween sunrise and sunset that sunshine reaches the ground. These amounts are yearly averages based on many years of weather observations.  For Phoenix…85% of our days are sunny…and partly sunny…296 of 365 days in Phoenix are lit by the sun in heaven.

Living in Phoenix, a person comes to expect sun as the normal state of life on planet earth.  We have HOT sun in the summer…and COOL sun in winter…we don’t really know what COLD is like.  COLD is impossible on a sunny day.

The sun…light…natural light from above…we take it for granted…as if it always has been, is Daisynow, and ever will be.  We forget.  Without light, life would cease to exist.

Jesus was announced as more than The Truth and The Way.  Jesus, above all, is The Light, the very source and foundation of life as we know it.  Life exists because Jesus exists.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”  [John 8:12 NRSVCE]

This claim of Christ made more sense to us in the days before Thomas Edison gave us Daisy Fieldincandescence light in all its 20-40-60-100 watt varieties…bulbs, flashlights, LEDs, and florescent tubes.  Awash in artificial man-made light, it seems inconceivable that we would need God to shine on our field of daisies.  Inconceivable…but not impossible.

God’s Light?  It requires faith, the kind of faith birthed in humility…the humility that knows Edison’s light Pilgrim Backpackmay help us see our way up to the front door…but that Edison’s light will never help us find our way through life. Edison’s light will never BE the WAY.

Living in Phoenix, Arizona, with 296 days of sunlight each year, it can take a long time for a person to understand the difference between real light and artificial light.  At least…that’s how it happened for me.

LOOKING FOR SIGNS OF LAND…for years I had been free-sailing, floating where ever the currents and storms of life might take me, grabbing the wheel whenever I wanted.  Now I knew there was a better way…a truer way…to live life…if only I could figure it out.  I was now quite certain that land existed.  But where?

In my faith journey, I finally had the Light.  But I didn’t have clarity.


If you are just joining the journey…




Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved.


Cross FiligreeSo he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.    Luke 15:3-7 [RSVCE]



As a Lutheran, I have great reason to give pause in writing.

Martin Luther set out to change Catholic practices, and he put into motion the great St. Peters Basilica 1revolution that set Christians, including me, outside the Catholic Church.

I do not want a revolution…just a small change. I do not say this lightly. As a Lutheran who is on the path to becoming Catholic, can anything good come from setting out to change even the smallest part of the Catholic Church?

St. Peters Basilica 2First of all, I need to say that change was the furthest thing from my mind. I intended to attend RCIA. I was looking forward to it. I still do.

I knew I had a lot to learn about a Church with a 2,000 year history. I still do.

Years of following the news and commentary on the New Evangelization led me to believe the Catholic Church was ready to take even a poor sinner like me, Lord have mercy. They do…but it’s just not that easy.

…the New Evangelization…in recent years it’s become the buzzword par excellence in Catholic circles. Books are being published, lectures given, conferences organized, diocesan offices created, and whole courses of study put together, all devoted to the ways and means of the New Evangelization.

This is where the challenge begins. It is hard to create a case for change without being criticalJesus Sheep 3. It is especially difficult to nail the grievances onto the door of an Internet public forum. I have no desire to follow Luther’s path. But the stakes in this discussion are high. Even one lost sheep left in the wilderness should cause us to shudder.

In a nutshell, the “New Evangelization” is about salesmanship. The idea is to move the Catholic product in the crowded lifestyle marketplace of the post-modern world.

When cardinals say the next pope has to be committed to the New Evangelization, therefore, what they mean is that he should be a pitchman, someone who can attract people to the faith.

Just as in other markets, there are different ways of doing that – some salespeople are brash and in-your-face, some much kinder and gentler. Some work the street, others work the high-end markets. The key, however, is to be always be closing.

The odd thing about “selling” Catholicism is that just when a buyer turns up, the Church tells them that their money is no good. I am speaking from personal experience. I showed up at the door, and they told me to put my wallet away.

Jesus Sheep 1Now…this is not what you think. I am not trying to retaliate. I have no desire to hurt anyone. And, yes, I have tried to address my concerns in a personal and private setting…many times. To no avail.

And while this is about me…it is about way more than that. The New Evangelization is more than a sales campaign for the Church. It is about more than wooing ex-Catholics home again. It is about laying the lost sheep on her shoulders; it is about rejoicing.

Whether the New Evangelization will work remains to be seen, but at least it seems to have the church’s finger on a real problem.

In the United States, there are now 22 million ex-Catholics, big enough to be the largest religious denomination in the country. The church drops four members for every one member it gains, and if it were not for Hispanic immigration, it would have been declining for decades. Yet the Catholic church in America also holds on to almost 70 percent of its members into adulthood, a higher retention rate than any other Christian denomination.

Those statistics suggest the problem for Catholicism isn’t so much what happens once people are actually in the church, but getting them through the door in the first place. To return to the marketing metaphors, the problem isn’t customer service but new sales.

I was a “new sale” ready to check out. And, just as I reached the clerk at the register, she turned out the light at her station, locked the cash drawer and put a sign on the counter: This Lane Closed.Jesus Sheep 2

This is not what you might think…the story of a wounded sheep with a bruised ego. Certainly, if I am honest, some part of my ego is involved. But some kind of ego is necessary to stand before the Church and suggest that she is traveling down the wrong path.

What is one to do? If I love the Church, and if I care about the lost sheep, there seems to be no other course to take.


 What’s this ‘new evangelization’ thing, anyway?  John L. Allen Jr.  Mar. 7, 2013


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 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.