Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Our Words as Incense of Praise

In my quiet time I have been studying the incense of praise and it has revolutionized the way I think of my writing.

There are a number of instruments of praise mentioned in Scripture: trumpet, a long metal horn flared at the end, the harp, the lyre, the timbrel, the pipe, the flute, other stringed instruments and cymbals. 

Sometimes I struggle with comparing myself with other writers. God has made a variety of instruments of worship to praise Him. Just as with our writing, given as a gift to sacrifice back to Him as praise. He has created us and our gifts to be unique. Don't wish for a trumpet if you were created to be a cymbal to praise Him. 

Psalm 33:3: Sing to him a new song; 
Play skillfully and shout for joy.

Our writing is worship, pure incense offered back up to the creator of all. We want to give Him our best. Here he says "play skillfully." I felt he was using this verse to teach me personally that he desires me to grow in the gift he has given me. He has given these gifts and he helps us to grow in them by providing the resources we need to grow. We should desire to grow to "play skillfully for him" rather than out of a sense of competitiveness. It is not a race for publication, or to final in a contest BUT to bless Him.

Psalm 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

God himself gives us this work of praise. Let's always remember there is nothing to boast about in ourselves. God uses our writing to help us put our trust in God. Many times he has taught me a spiritual lesson through the life of my character. Other times he has used the process of writing itself to humble me and show me nothing is accomplished outside of Him. He puts the very songs in our mouths and the words on our pens. 

Lately, I've been struggling in a ministry God has called me to participate in. If we are not spending quantity and quality of time basking in the presence of Jesus, we cannot be vessels to pour out to others. In our writing life or anywhere else in our life.

Is your well dry? Why not sit at His feet. Use your writing gifts in other ways that please Him.

Do a word study on incense and praise. Apply what you learn to your writing life.

Write a hymn or chorus to Him. Your writing makes Jesus smile. This is a word that one of the Alley cats shared with me and it blessed me. Whose opinions are we giving the most weight to when it comes to our writing? 

Thank Him for the gift of writing. Appreciate the giver of the gift above the gift itself. Are you spending as much time praising Him as you are on your writing? 

Do you have a favorite verse that has influenced you in your writing?

Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also a reviewer for Library Journal, Christian Library Journal, and Title Trakk.


Karen Schravemade said...

Julia, I loved and needed this. Thank you. I feel like I need to read and re-read to let it truly sink into my spirit. There's so much in this that God is challenging me about.

Beth K. Vogt said...

Two verses have influenced me, Julia:
Psalm 90:17, which asks God to bless the work of our hands & Psalm 115:1, which reminds me that praise belongs to God, not to me.

So appreciate your post today.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Karen, I know what you mean. There is so much in my life that God is convicting me about and you can be assured if I write a post about it...God is convicting me big time.


Thank you so much for sharing these verses with us! Amen on remembering that all praise goes to God!

Carina Arias de M. said...

Awesome thought. This is exactly the way I see it, the way the Holy Spirit has taught me to see it. Above all, the passage that has led me to humility (and TRUST) in my writing is "Abide in me... for apart from me you can do nothing".

It's been very hard for me, first to receive the gift as a blessings and not be afraid/ashamed to show my "creations" to others (I'm naturally shy), and then to have confidence and boldness in ministering to others through my writing.

After a miraculous restoration during a sleepless night in which the Lord's voice told me in no uncertain terms I was born to be a writer and asked what I was doing with my gift, I've been writing on Facebook every single day, producing in two months more content than in the previous 10 years. What really helped was that confirmation that it wouldn't be ME doing it, but the HOLY SPIRIT in me.

I'm happy to say I'm no longer ashamed of the Gospel (I have around 80% unbelievers in my list) and I care very little about the number of likes and comments I get. I'm doing this, primarily, for God. And I just know IN TIME He will take this burnt offering and spread the perfume of the incense.
Carina from Argentina

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

My verse for writing is Isaiah 61. Beauty for Ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, God building up new cities from the ruins. Writing for me is a new dream, a promise from God to bring something new and beautiful from the broken dreams of the past.

Awesome post today!

Jeanne T said...

Julia, what a beautiful post. I am coming back to re-read this when I need that encouragement. There are a few verses that come to mind as I consider writing, but I haven't narrowed it down to one. One that comes to mind is Jeremiah 29:11 ~ "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' says the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.'"

I never intended to become a novelist, yet God gave me a story to write. It was HIS plan to give it to me and not to someone else. So, I want to write for His glory, with the hope of pointing others to HIm.

Julia said...


Oh so true for writing snd the rest of our lives. That's a passage I have to remember, too. I know what you mean, I'm an introvert also and it is HARD to come out of our comfort zone. But I'm finding like you that's when I can most minister to someone, in my own brokenness. Beautiful testimony!


Oh, I love this, God bringing new out of the broken and old. He is SO good. Love your heart for him.


My mom gave me an embroidered frame with that verse when I graduated high school. I still look at it and think about it often. I love what you shared on the women's fiction list recently about ministering to marriages. Beautiful! Blessed by your ministry.

Mary Vee said...

What a fulfilling post. I felt as though I worshipped with you.

My verse: Whatever you do in word or deed, do all to the glory of God.

Thank you Julia for a lovely post.

Julia M. Reffner said...


What a great writing verse and so appropriate! It was interesting that the timing of this post came out today, funny how the Lord works. I love the way you worship God through your writing.