anonymous asked:

oh hi I know anon praise weirds you out but just wanted to tell you i've been reading through your fic on ao3 tonight and i just wish i was half as good a writer as you are

Hi!

Anon praise doesn’t weird me out! Did I say that? If I did it was in a moment of weakness! I love praise! I live off it! SEND ME ALL THE PRAISE!

But more than that I love that you’re reading through my fic tonight and that you’re enjoying it! At least i hope you are!

And thank you! If i may, I can tell you my secret.

Write a lot. Even if you don’t post everything you write, even if you don’t finish, just keep writing. Writing drabbles and ficlets for prompts really helps. You’ll find the thing you like writing most, and your style and people will respond.

 Connect with an author you like who writes good fic and ask tem to read your work and make suggestions. This is especially helpful when you’re first starting out. And it’s a great way to make friends.

When I first started writing fic, I sucked so hard. But that was a long time ago and a gazillion words since. You’ll get there anon. You just have to keep swimming.

Jesus, What a Beautiful Name - original print from The Worship Project.

What do you do when it’s freezing cold outside, and the rain is pouring down? Have sweet meals with friends, drink quality coffee, and listen to Christmas music! It’s been such a wonderfully lazy Sunday today. My afternoon was spent with one of my favorite holiday worship albums - “Jesus Christmas” by Hillsong.

I know that today’s lyrics aren’t strictly a Christmas song, but I’m coming to realise more and more that so many songs of worship could double as Christmas songs if we just played them seasonally. “Jesus What A Beautiful Name” is one of my all-time favorite songs of worship. It was written by a then-fifteen-year-old Tanya Riches during her time at Hillsong.

It’s a simple song of adoration and celebration of Jesus; of all that He’s done for us. It also features many different names of God, which I love - how beautiful to be reminded of all the different facets of God.

As we begin this last week of advent, and we look forward with anticipation to the day of His birth, I pray that you behold Him anew; that you see Him face-to-face. If you already know this song, sing along to the lyrics and marvel at His loving kindness. If you’ve never heard this song, I encourage you to find it (Spotify and YouTube) and behold the beauty of His precious name afresh.

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You Make Me Brave.

This song is just so good. I’ve been listening to it on repeat today - it’s easily one of my all-time favorites from @bethelmusic . I won’t say much - I want these amazing lyrics to speak for themselves - @amandalindseycook you say it best, ya little genius 😻⚡️😻⚡️

“I stand before You now. The greatness of your renown. I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you, King of Heaven, in humility, I bow. As Your love, in wave after wave, crashes over me, crashes over me. For You are for us, You are not against us. Champion of Heaven, You made a way for all to enter in. I have heard You calling my name. I have heard the song of love that You sing. So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore, into Your grace, Your grace. You make me brave, You make me brave. You call me out beyond the shore into the waves. You make me brave, You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the love that made a way. You make me brave, You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the promises you made.”

I pray that His bravery and courage would sweep over you right now, and fill you with all the power and strength to face whatever you’re going through. He is faithfully mighty in battle, and besides - He’s already won!

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Amazing Grace - original print from The Worship Project.

Just like that, I’ve completed my 10-day visual hymnal mini-project! I couldn’t leave out the most widely celebrated and loved hymn of all time.

I’ve deliberately made today’s artwork quite different from my usual style. I want this image to speak where words fail. I want you to feel the weight of such amazing, beautiful grace, as Jesus walked to calvary alone.

He gave His life, rejected, beaten, and alone.

Grace is extended to us through this prolific act of sacrificial love. I pray that you would encounter amazing grace; that you would feel His love wrap around you, meeting you right where you are.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that Grace appear, The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far, and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun. We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, Than when we’ve first begun.”

The Visual Hymnal #10

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Which Books of the Bible Do I Start First?

shadytyrone asked:

For someone brand new to the faith, what is a good chapter of the Bible to start reading?


Hey dear friend, great question. I think it really depends on your learning style, but I can recommend a few ideas:

- The Book of John is almost always the best place to start. It has a ton of theology and shows specifically what Jesus came to do on the earth. It elaborates on seven miracles by Jesus in ascending order of power (starting with turning water into wine, ending with Jesus raising someone from the dead), and suddenly Jesus gets a hit contract on him because he’s considered too powerful. Jesus gives a few sermons before he dies, sort of like “last words,” and there’s a detailed account of Jesus’s activity after he jumps out of the grave. I also like the Book of Mark, as it’s the “action gospel” and moves very quickly through Jesus’s life, like a Robert Ludlum novel.

- Paul’s letters are extremely important. I would start with possibly Philippians (about joy and unity, written from one of Paul’s prison bids), and then Ephesians (about how Jesus saves us when we could not save ourselves). You might find stuff that sounds archaic or weird (some of his views on women or slaves will initially sound off-putting), but there’s a broader context for those statements, especially since he’s writing in the first century. I’d recommend also reading Colossians and Galatians, then Romans, which was supposed to be his final will and explanation of Christianity.

- Proverbs is all wisdom. It’s timeless. It has 31 chapters and could be done a chapter a day to fill out a month. Some of the Proverbs will reach right through your lungs and shake you up.

- Psalms is a lengthy book, but it contains the spectrum of every single possible human emotion, with every kind of interaction with God. The magnum opus of Psalms is chapter 119, which is the longest book of the Bible and seems intimidating, but it’s wonderful and worth the effort.

- The story of David is incredible (1 and 2 Samuel and the first two chapters of 1 Kings). I’ve taught on David more than any other Old Testament character. He’s endlessly fascinating and his life is the stuff of glorious, epic, Game-of-Thrones-level narrative. David goes from unknown nobody to overnight celebrity to completely scumbag royalty to a redeemed sickly old man. It’s a breathtaking ride, both maddening and heartbreaking. I’m certain that David suffered from depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and he doubted God constantly. I guess I get mad at David while reading him because I see him in me, and I so badly want David to be redeemed, as if I would be redeemed, too.

- You could always start from the beginning at Genesis. The first book of the Bible, to be truthful, is pretty difficult to finish. There are alarming parts that won’t mesh with our twenty-first century sensibilities, like genocide and incest and sexual abuse and polygamy and selling kids into slavery. But Genesis is exactly that very story: about the frustrating efforts of a selfish humanity trying to be their own god and exploiting people for the approval that they once had in Him. It’s that simple (and complicated). Over and over, Genesis shows how depraved and awful we can really be, especially when we have zero unchecked authority. When you see it that way, you can see how patient that God really was when you know what He was dealing with. It seems He’s a little “wrath-crazy” in the Old Testament, but in my opinion, God was holding back way more than He should have. Genesis is essentially a case study of humanity’s very worst versus God’s very best.

- For a bit of “advanced reading,” try the Book of James. It has 54 imperative commands within 108 verses, and is essentially all marching orders once you become a Christian. This will grab you by the guts and won’t let go. For more of that, also hit up 1 John, another relentless book of truth and conviction.

- I have to give a shout-out to Ruth and Hosea. Ruth is the sweetest love story in the Bible, almost a romantic comedy, and Hosea is the most tragic, much more of a grand opera. Both are equally important in conveying God’s heart in the tides of human nature, and how much we really need a true love in the fluctuating ricochet of life.

J.S.