The Way of Love

In times of pain or anger, the enemy sometimes finds a crack to slip through. He infects me with a virus of unpleasant thoughts and emotions I fight to purge.  I have to remind myself, usually more than once, of the wisdom of silence (Proverbs 17:28, Proverbs 29:11).  During those moments, I cling to the Word of God, resisting the urge to say or do anything that might hurt another (Ephesians 4:26).

“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.  Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalms 30:5

My emotions dissipate in the Light of the Word and, each time, the Lord reminds me that grace and forgiveness grow from love, not equity.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant of rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Be careful not to focus on only one side of the story.   It is easy to read this verse when we are hurt or angry and see what love is not, where others have fallen short.  But in doing so, we risk stumbling over our own resentment.

God continually works in our lives.  He does not stop and neither should we.  Every day, every moment is another chance to do better, to love the way He loves us.

“If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3

Today will pass away and tomorrow will bring new opportunities.

Thank you, Lord, for the wisdom and instruction of your Word.

Divine Failure

I thank God for my failures.   Each has changed me in some way.   Yes, the experience can be challenging, even painful.  But, ever so often, it becomes clear it was necessary and, yes, a blessing.

I received a professional critique of my first manuscript at the Minnesota Writer’s Workshop back in February.  In short, the idea was good, but the execution was not.  I had created more problems than I had solved with my initial revisions.

Why was that a good thing?   I had sensed a deeper problem in the first draft, but my lack of experience made it difficult to pinpoint. The problem evaded me at every turn.

As I dug into the notes from the critique, it became apparent that the problems went beyond the surface.  There were underlying structural issues within the novel.  It forced me to put the manuscript aside and approach it anew.

Doing a third rewrite was daunting.  But in the end, it transformed the storyline in amazing ways.

I have an opportunity to pitch the revised manuscript at an upcoming conference.  My days for the next month will be filled with editing, critiques, one-sheets, proposals, and prayers, lots of prayers.

I know God is with me, and this is the path He set for me, but that doesn’t guarantee success or an easy road.  Sometimes it’s just about the journey, the ways it changes you and the people around you.

Thank you, Lord, for my failures and hardships and for being with me every step of the way.

A View From the Mill City Museum

Minneapolis, MN

The Washburn A Mill was state-of-the-art when it opened its doors in the 1880s. In 1965, the building closed, its facilities deemed obsolete. Then a fire nearly destroyed it in the 1990s but from those ashes rose the Mill City Museum. Wounds healed, walls fortified with loving care. Today, the mill proudly displays its scars, sharing its story with crowds of visitors so they might see beyond the broken exterior.

Whose Approval Are You Seeking?

The following came up as the verse of the day on the YouVersion Bible app.  After a long trip away from home, adapting to other’s daily rhythms and experiencing different cultures, it struck a chord with me.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:10

Manners and cultural expectations are taught from birth, some more explicitly defined than others.  It seems the purpose is to make friends and win favor.  However, not everyone follows the same set of rules.  Misunderstandings and problems do occur.  Bad days happen.  So which rules should we learn and follow?  Whose approval are we seeking: man’s or God’s?

In 1 Corinthians chapter 9, Paul talks about surrendering his rights and being all things to all people to save some.  Notice, in verse 19 below, he uses the word servant to describe his side of the relationship.  The word servant here means he respectfully humbled himself.  His point is not about bowing down, being fake, or people pleasing to make friends and win favor.  It is about respectfully learning and adapting to the rules of different cultures in hopes of reaching non-believers with the gospel, all while remaining faithful to Christ.

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.  To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.”  1 Corinthians 9:19-20″

A word of caution.  There is a danger in forming relationships with non-believers, and it lies in their influence over us.  It is easy to be lulled into temptation when enjoying the company of a friend and it is our fault if we succumb to it.  The Bible warns us about such dangers.  Should we avoid relationships with non-believers?  No, for then how could we share the gospel with them.   Instead, we must be vigilant about spending time in God’s word and seeking His will through prayer to guard against being lured away by our own sin nature.   We must also examine what motivates our choices and ask ourselves, “Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?”

I must confess, Paul makes it sound so easy and, for some, it may be.  But for me, adapting to different rules and expectations is a struggle unto itself.   I am sure there have been opportunities to share the gospel that I let slide by me.  But I can’t dwell on my failures.  I must seek forgiveness and keep moving forward.

God Bless,
K.A. Cummins
“For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

Wattpad Punk Out Contest Honorable Mention

Did you know Wattpad has an ambassador profile for the steampunk genre?  The new profile went live in August of 2016!  You can check out the ambassador profile here: Wattpunk.

In March, I wrote and submitted a short story, Rocket City, to their Sky Sharks contest and it received Honorable Mentions.  The contest was small, but the feedback my story received meant the world to me.  In fact, I have been so encouraged by it that I plan to expand Rocket City into a novella (maybe even into a full-length novel).

Thank you, Lord, for leading me down this path!

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