Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Celebrating Daybreak!


Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Daybreak is author, Beckie Lindsey's, third novel in her brilliant Beauties From Ashes series.  Not familiar with the first two books?  Please read my previous reviews of Secrets here and Uninvited here.

In Daybreak, the four main characters, Krystal, Mackenzie, Tammi, and Sadie, once again are mired in the spiritual battle of their lives.  The demons, who know their secrets from the past, try mightily to drag them deeper into despair and hopelessness, while the Angels of Light defend and protect them as their relationships with Jesus are becoming more solid and real.

When Krystal's life-long friendship with Bryce takes a romantic turn, she is confronted by a decision that will change her life forever, no matter which path she chooses.  Her friends, along with Bryce, rally to her side, giving her the support and encouragement she so desperately needs, even as the battles continue to rage in their own lives.

Beckie is no coward when it comes to exploring the tough issues facing so many teenagers today:  Bulimia; childhood sexual abuse; depression; suicidal thoughts, and now, with Krystal, an unwanted pregnancy.  Beckie's engaging, descriptive writing style propels the plot along seamlessly, as the story weaves between the earthly and spiritual realms.  As I've noted before, Beckie has such a heart for young people, and that is reflected in the depth and breadth of the memorable characters she has created.

True confession:  I was invited to proofread/edit Daybreak, and had to pinch myself repeatedly to remember I needed to slow down in my reading in order to fulfill my job in a worthy manner.  The story held my attention riveted from beginning to end; yes, it is that enthralling!

With Christmas right around the corner, I do hope you will order all three novels in Beauties From Ashes as the perfect gift for that special teen in your life, or as a gift just for you!  I predict that Beckie's stories will sweep you off your feet from the first paragraph to the last.

And I hope, if you're not already subscribed to Beckie's blog, God in Real Life . . . Also Coffee, that you'll pay her a visit, and sign up today!

Happy reading, everyone!

Amen!  

Beckie Lindsey is a wife and mother of three adult children, and proud grandmother of recently-arrived Luke.  She is thoroughly content with a piece of dark chocolate, a cup of coffee, a great book, and her beloved cats.  She loves to encourage others to not only know the truths of the Bible, but to experience them personally and practically in everyday life.  Beckie is the editor of SoCal Christian Voice, an author and blogger.  
 Beckie's novels are available on Amazon.  All you need to do is type in her name, and voila!

You can connect with her on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.


Friday, November 8, 2019

Encouragers Wanted! Apply Within.


1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore, encourage one another, and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

When I begin writing Meditations of My Heart many moons ago, I could in no way imagine how many fellow Christian bloggers I would meet along this remarkable journey.  These friends have lifted my spirits, inspired my thoughts and increased my faith by leaps and bounds.  As I hope and pray that my words here offer encouragement to you as you walk with the Lord, my blogging brothers and sisters always provide encouraging words in their posts, which I'm honored to read.

One vital way we can acknowledge each other as bloggers who make a difference in our lives, is by taking time to leave some love in the comment section.  I can't begin to tell you all how dear your comments are to me!  That you would take the time to not only read my posts, but also to share your thoughts with me, is the epitome of encouragement.

But what would happen if you love a particular post, try to pen a comment, assume it has "taken," only to discover it never shows up?  Wouldn't that frustrate you no end?

Well, that's exactly what has happened to my friend, Floyd, whose blog, But for the Grace of God . . . There Go I, is one of my top tier favorites.  Several months ago, Floyd lets me know, via email, that his comments are not appearing on my blog.  It's a mystery we try to noodle out together, though I know I'm not much of a help.

Long story short, Floyd thinks he has the matter resolved.  He begins leaving comments once again.  But when he decides to go back through my posts to check for my responses, he is flabbergasted and appalled to find out that none of his comments are there!

And this is where Floyd and I need your help.  Do any of you have an idea of what could be causing this communication breakdown?  He uses Wordpress, and I use Blogger, but that, in and of itself, shouldn't cause the difficulty as many of my followers use the former, and have no difficulty in leaving a comment.

If you think you have a solution, or can steer us in the right direction, I ask you to leave detailed info in the comment section.  Floyd can't respond, but he can access them to see if anything offered helps resolve the issue we are facing.

Fellow bloggers and friends, we need your encouragement more than ever!  Praying that some dear soul among you will have an answer.

God bless you all, and please visit Floyd's marvelous blog at the link I shared above.  And don't forget to leave some love!

Amen!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Sabotaged Sabbath!


Ecclesiastes 11:9
You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.

Even in my shower Sunday morning, I have misgivings.  I'm not sure we can make it to the 9:45 service on time, no matter how much we hurry.  And to know me is to know how much I detest rushing!  Being retired, I believe, has a component of in-the-moment-laid-back-ness that is as contagious as the common cold.

Oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, is staying with us, and she isn't so easy to rouse up early either.  Then comes an unanticipated text from her mother, Sarah:  "John just got called into work.  He really needs to be there.  Can he bring Savannah and Alexandra over after he drops me for my lunch shift at O'Charley's?"

Okay, that settles it.  Sabbath is officially sabotaged!  We must prepare for an unexpected, and anything but restful, Sunday instead.  "Of course, we can help," I message back.

I turn to Virginia.  "Looks like you're going to have to put up with your sisters much sooner than you thought."

"What do you mean, Gammie?"

"Daddy will be dropping them off shortly so he can go to work.  Will you help me out with them if I need you to?"

"Sure," she says, though I know she'd much prefer playing with her tablet, on which she is currently creating animated shorts.  I have yet to figure out how Virginia does it, but in lieu of reading an actual book, I know her imagination is being fully engaged by this activity.  In light of this, I am so grateful for her confirmation of assistance.

Husband, Danny, and I know just how rambunctious and energetic our youngest grands can be, so we steel our nerves, preparing for the worst, especially because neither of their parents will be here.  Our calm Sunday, we fear, is about to devolve into calamitous confusion.  And when Savannah and Alexandra first arrive, full of more energy than the law allows, we're catapulted into an all-hands-on-deck adventure.  Virginia assesses the situation flawlessly:  "So, Gammie, now I see why you don't want all three of us here together.  It's so much work!"

I can't help but laugh.  Yes, it is "work," but it turns into an incredible experience for all of us.









Papa fixes tater tots and fruit for lunch, we play in the back yard, toys are unearthed from the closet, and finally, when Savannah and Alexandra grow weary, we turn on the television for some episodes of Sponge Bob.  Previously, because of their raucous behavior, they have been forbidden to sit on our new living room sofa and love seat because they wanted to climb and jump.  This time, they sit quietly, like the ladies they are destined to become.

Not only that, when we ask if they would like a box drink or another serving of apple, the response is, "Yes, please," followed by, "Thank you."  Oh, my!  What an incredible job my daughter and her husband are doing in raising these beautiful girls!

They are young and learning, but most of all, they are happy in their youth, relishing every moment in the moment, a lesson that all of us can, and should, learn.  My prayer for all of them is that God would be their guide when they follow the ways of their hearts.

And for us, what we thought would be a sabotaged Sabbath, becomes a blessing!

Amen!


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Known By Name


Psalm 9:10
Those who know Your name trust in You, for You Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.


I am the farmer, tilling soil
Reaping in God's time
I am the miner, coal-face
Black with sooty rime
I am the fisherman at dusk
Hauling catch to shore
I am the local baker, maker
Treats supreme, galore
I am a seamstress, patient
Designs unique, my own
I am construction worker who
Makes a house a home
I am, and We the People, know
With whom we stake our claim
Deplorables, and worse, we're called
By Him, we're known by name

Amen

My friends, I'm going to be taking the rest of this week off as I have to travel back to my Mom's home to help her with some new hearing aids.  Yes, I will have my Chrome Book with me, so will be able to correspond with you as needed, but will not be posting anew until a week from today.  Know I keep you all in my prayers, and would appreciate yours for safe travels, and for Mom's continued health.
Love and blessings!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Back Stabbed!


2 Corinthians 12:7b-9
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I awaken this past Monday to be greeted by a debilitating pain I've never experienced in my lower back, specifically on my left side.  While my husband, Danny, struggles with back issues from time to time (he's in the throws of one now), this is a new and entirely unwelcome irritant to my body.  It lends a whole new meaning to the words "back stabbed."

I run through the gamut of questions.  What did I do to bring this on?  Is it caused by not getting enough physical activity during the previous week?  Too much time spent in the car, driving to Mom's and back?  Sleeping in the wrong position?

The questions soon become irrelevant as the persistent ache forces me to run for the medicine cabinet for relief.  Two Tylenol, and thirty minutes later, I'm able to somewhat tend to household chores without whining or grimacing.  But by the afternoon, that morning dosage has worn thin.  Motrin and a heating pad are the next remedies of choice.

By the time I retire for the evening, I am feeling better.  I do rest peacefully and comfortably.  But in the morning?  Here we go again!

Motrin to start this time around.  Otherwise, the dishwasher won't get emptied, the birds won't get fed, the bed won't get made, the laundry will languish, and I will wear a grumpy expression for the remainder of the day.

But with this unexpected mess come some unexpected blessings.

I'm forced to slow down.  Measured steps and thoughtful movements have me living more in the moment, mindful of the present in a heightened way.

I'm humbled.  There's nothing like pain to remind you that your body is NOT what it was 20 years ago.  For someone like me, who frequents the gym, and thinks other peoples bodies will wear out, but not mine, this is a true eye-opener.

I'm thankful.  Not for the "thorn," but for God, whose walking this path with me.  I can lean on His strength, knowing His power will be made perfect in me in spite of my imperfections.

I'm reminded.  God's grace is, and always will be, sufficient for me.

I'm praying (more than usual).  Yes, I do pray for God's healing power to work wonders.  But I remember to also pray that His will, not mine, be done.

And I would sure appreciate your prayers at this time, my friends, and for Danny, who has opted to go to our chiropractor for much needed relief.  Who knows?  I may be next!

Additionally, if you are in need of special prayers for you or a loved one, please leave those in the comments' section.  I will most definitely read and respond to each of you.

Most importantly, I will pray!

Amen!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Nobody's Perfect


Matthew 5:48
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

(Susie Fairchild's conversation with Anna as they are planning to prepare chicken and dumplings - Excerpt from Children in the Garden.)

"Do you really think they'll like how I've made them?"  Anna asked with a hint of uncertainty in her voice.
"Of course, they will, dear," Mrs. Fairchild assured her.  "We have time for a little more practice, and I will help you do them perfectly."
"Mom says no one is perfect," Anna said, "so how can I do something perfectly?"
Susie smiled inwardly at the inherent knowledge of the young.  It never ceased to amaze her that the words spoken with such innocence could always cause her to review her own shortcomings.
She said to Anna, "All right, dear, maybe not perfect, but as close to it as one can get, how's that?"
"Okay," she replied and skipped gaily back to the kitchen.

A few weeks ago, granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I are having a conversation about her fourth-grade classmates.  "I have lots of friends, Gammie," she states, "but there are some girls who go around telling everybody they're perfect."

"Really?  What do say to them?"

"I tell them that nobody's perfect," Virginia answers.  "And you know what they say?"

"No, what?"

"But I'm perfect!"  Virginia shakes her head in exasperation.  "They just don't understand humankind."

I have to agree wholeheartedly, and not without my own inward smile at Virginia's precocious observation.  We are all flawed.  We all make mistakes.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ~Romans 3:23

And if we were perfect, why would any of us have need of a Savior?

So, what does Jesus actually mean when He tells us to "be perfect?"

As Pastor Alex explains in a recent sermon, becoming perfect is a sanctification process which lasts all of our days.  It is God's labor of love working within us.

But there is a catch.  God cannot do His work of perfecting us unless we submit entirely to His will.  If we surrender to Him, though, He will be faithful to mold and shape us into a true reflection of Christ Jesus.

That's what I want my "perfect" to look like.

How about you?

Amen!

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Watering Can


Psalm 72:6
May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.


Funny, isn't it?
The things we cling to, keep
And those we toss away?
I keep watering can
Precious gift from Dad
With memories of witness
Untold usefulness
Not curtailed by time
Or space, or place, or death
To water earth with grace
A prophetic moment
Dad's smile, his laughter
In the here and now

Amen.

Celebrating Daybreak!

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of t...