Saturday, January 24, 2015

All in God's Plan

January first I began to read the Once A-Day Bible. I've read these read-through-the-whole-Bibles before and decided to embark on it again.

I'm convinced because God has made His Word living and active, that is why I always get something more from reading it.

Currently, I'm reading about Joseph. What a story! This guy endured the scorn and jealousy of his brothers. They went so far as to hitch him up with a slave-trader. He's hauled off to Egypt. And, just when you think he's received justification, some rejected woman gets Joseph thrown into prison.

Now, I can confess here that I would have been bitter and probably sulked. But, what does Joseph do? He continues to do his best job and follow God. Then when it looks like he might have a way out, Pharoah's servant forgets to mention him.

A while later, it finally dawns on the servant that he forgot to mention good ol' Joseph who he met in prison. Joseph is brought out and after a good bath, interprets a dream for the ruler. Now he rises to an even higher rank in power than before.

When faced once again with those brothers who sold him, he rises above the norm. he doesn't make them pay for what they did to him. In his status, he could have thrown them in jail or had them killed. But, he ends up telling those brothers, who end up shaking in their boots at recognizing him finally, that what they meant for harm, God meant for good.

What a perspective! He could look back on the trials and struggles and recognize God's hand. It was all in God's plan.

So, when I feel like I'm spinning my wheels or being treated unfairly, I need to keep true to God's leading. Even though what I'm experiencing right now might be the pits, God brings people out of pits and uses them mightily.

How about you? Have you seen this "Joseph perspective" work in your life?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My Word for 2015 - REVIVAL

Revival - make or become fresh or strong again. Renew, reinvigorate, rejuvenate.

This is the second year I've adopted a word instead of a list of resolutions for the new year.

The word revival can be applied in many areas of my life. I believe that a spiritual revival would be foremost.

Psalms 51:10-12
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (NIV)

My relationship with the Lord can always be strengthened. And, my commitment to His Word can be rejuvenated.

I can get into a rut and just go through the motions, losing that intimacy to truly experience the joy of my salvation.

Thus, the first application of my one word for 2015 is to freshen and strengthen the areas of my spiritual life.

How about you? Have you chosen a guide word for 2015? Or, have you established goals? Did you include your spiritual life? How?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

Thank you, Sharon McGregor, for nominating me for this Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

Picture

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
3. Answer 10 questions you've been sent.
4. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.

Here are the questions I was sent and my answers:

If you could go back in your life and change one decision you made, what would it be? 
I believe I would not put off my writing. I would have gotten serious about writing earlier than I did.

What is the most intriguing book you have ever read?
Being a reviewer of Christian fiction, I could make a big list here. However, even though many may say it is a cop-out answer, I would have to pick the Bible. Those 66 books have everything from romance, to battle scenes, to betrayal. In addition to that, the Bible is especially intriguing because it is living and active and supreme truth. What other book can you turn to for answers for anything you are facing? What other book comes complete with a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to interpret it just for you and your situation?

If you could pick one word to describe yourself, what would it be? 
Determined. My husband would agree with this and probably add the word impatient to it.

If you could time travel, what period of history would you choose and why?
My mother always said I was born in the wrong time because I read books and listened to music and watched movies from the past. I think I would like to visit the pioneer days as read about in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Those women were of strong stock and steadfast faith. I think we're missing that kind of legacy these days.

Did you have a role model growing up and if so, what effect did he/she have on your life?
My parents were my role models. My mother showed me what it was like to be loyal in your work and have a good work ethic. My dad showed me that you could pursue your dream to become what you wanted to become and uphold the utmost integrity while doing it. I believe that their examples enabled me to pursue my dream of becoming a Christian author.

If you could plan a dream vacation, one that may seem out of reach, where would you go?
I have honestly always had a fascination with visiting Alaska. I would love to visit a dog sled ranch and ride on a sled. And of course, I would research so I could write about it.

If you could choose any profession to follow, what would it be?
My dream would be to write full-time and do some speaking in conjunction with that.

Pick a card, any card - greeting card that is. What is your favorite holiday?
I would have to say that Christmas is my favorite holiday. I enjoy the time off and the time with family. I love the time spent remembering times gone by with my family too.

What is your favorite pet?
Though we do not own a pet now, in the past we have had dogs, birds, and even a rabbit. My favorite is still a dog for the way they are all yours, totally devoted.

What one thing would you like to see happen in 2015?
I pray that I stay more attuned to God's leading and I touch more people with my writing.

Now for my nominees and their questions.
Susan Tuttle, Deborah Picurrelli, Gail Pallotta, Eileen Rife, Zoe McCarthy, Carol Round, Julie Arduini, Bonnie Leon, and Jennifer Hallmark

1. What is something you would count as a "success" from this past year?
2. Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
3. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
4. If you could have a week to retreat, where would you go and what would you do?
5. Looking back on this year, what are five things you are especially thankful for?
6. What is one lesson you feel you learned this past year?
7. If there were no limits, what is one goal you would like to achieve this year?
8. What is one Bible verse that is special to you and why?
9. Do you make New Year's resolutions? Why or why not?
10. Do you set goals for yourself in your spiritual life? Give an example.

Thanks again to Sharon for nominating me.

I pray we all follow God's leading in this New Year and be blown away by what He does through us to reach a world for Christ and encourage our fellow believers.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Heirlooms

Recently, I heard this song again. I considered its meaning.

Heirloom means something passed down from generation to generation.

When we haul out the boxes of Christmas decorations, we often remember stories about certain ornaments. And Christmas always brings up memories of past holidays spent together as family. Those discussions often lead to stories of those who have gone on to Heaven. I like to relate these stories of ancestors to the younger generation so they will understand the rich heritage they have to carry on.

Those stories and relics aren't just interesting tidbits to entertain but a legacy to maintain laid down by hard-working and sacrificing loved ones.

The same is true of the story of Jesus. It can be told and enjoyed as a good story but it is so much more. Is this all that we live for and all we are hoping to be?

Listen closely to the words of this song. I hope that the story of Jesus as well as the memories from my ancestors are more than just heirlooms.


Heirlooms by Amy Grant


Here's a special cookbook I was included in that contains not only recipes but memories of family.

Memories Cookbook





Thursday, December 11, 2014

From the Throne Room to the Common

As I listened to my hubby/pastor read Luke Two again, I was struck with the humility and love of a God who leaves perfection and comes to anything but perfection.

"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

How much more common could you get? A young couple traveling from a small town, finding no place to stay, ending up in a stable. Jesus' first crib was a manger. We see pictures and our eyes have become so used to the images, we forget what we're really seeing. God in human form was born on the floor of a barn used for animals. Some scraps of cloth were fashioned into a blanket and He was laid in a wooden trough used to feed animals.

Think about this from a different perspective. Jesus had left the very throne room of Heaven. A place we can't fathom but know is glorious from John's account in Revelation. This is a place with no pain, no tears, no death, no sin. This is a place where things that we hold so precious like gold and gems are used for building and road making materials.

I believe we can't begin to fathom the love required to leave Glory and descend into a dirty world. But, that is the love God has for us.

But, then again, the intelligence behind God making Jesus a man who walked and talked among the people. We can never say that we have a Savior who doesn't understand where we're coming from. He was here. He lived it.

Even further - Jesus returned to Heaven to prepare a place for us to come to that marvelous place. Without His blood to save us, we wouldn't have entrance. But, we have the hope of Glory because He gave it up for a time.

Pause just a moment this season and consider the love God had when He came to earth. Yes, I can easily see the love Jesus showed on the cross. He wrote it in red, his blood. But, I believe He showed this extreme love even before He died for our sins. He was already showing his deep love for us when He left the splendor of Heaven and came to earth.

He left Heaven for you! That's love.

Merry Christmas.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

If we own the gospel, we owe the gospel

Wednesday night my hubby/pastor showed this message from the new International Mission Board President, David Platt. I was brought to tears by the reality and urgency of his words. I was also reminded that so many of the things that we devote our time to will be worthless in the end. And, often the things we deem important are just preferences and mean nothing to the Kingdom of God. Please take the time to view this. If you feel moved to do so, come back here and comment.

Watch David Platt's message here.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Anointing

I've been deep into the research for my latest contracted book for Prism Book Group called Love Does Not Dishonor. When I say deep into the research, I really mean it. The storyline requires that I know something about inherited diseases as well as Amish rumspringa. Now that's a mix!

As I waded through a huge database for inherited diseases, God led me to exactly what I needed. Stay with me here. With the amount of diseases that I had to read through, God had to lead me to the exact two that I needed. I could just feel His Spirit's nudging as I've discussed on this blog before.

Sunday I experienced another nudge. I felt God telling me to pray for an anointing on the words and message of this book. Now, I didn't really even know what that would mean so I looked up anoint in my Bible dictionary.

Anoint - The purpose of sacred anointing was to dedicate the thing or person to God. The oil symbolized the Holy Spirit, empowering them for a particular work in the service of God.

When I read that definition, I could see why I might want to pray for anointing on my story. That act would be one of dedicating those words to God and empowering the message to accomplish what God has planned in the reader.

Consider these verses about anointing:

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
1 John 2:20, 27
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth."
"As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit - just as it has taught you, remain in him."

As a Christian I've been anointed with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit in me not only marks me as one of God's children, but it works within me to teach me.

So in accordance with this, I ask God to anoint my words that they may accomplish what is set forth for them to accomplish. My part is to remain in Christ and pay attention to the Spirit's teaching.

Do you have something that God wants to accomplish through you? Have you "anointed" it? Are you paying close attention to the Spirit's instructions?