Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christ is All We Have


Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have. ~Corrie ten Boom

Do you wonder?  Or, are you wandering the malls in search of Christmas treasures?

Is it a silent night?  Or, are you staying up late, frantically ordering those last-minute gifts on-line?  Preparing the Christmas cards?  Wrapping up those presents to ship to family residing afar?

Are you planning holiday menus as Christmas music blares?  Trying out new recipes all for that joy-to-the-world gathering of family and friends?

Are you feeling frazzled, worn, defeated, even jaded before that first cup of morning coffee?

Do you, in this hectic state, know the perfect gift for that perfect someone?  Or, are you desperately seeking it?

Stop!

Be still!

Know He is God.

Know He is large and in charge.

His message for this season of celebration is not how much you, or I, can spend and lavish upon others, but how much He has spent and lavished upon us.  A Savior, wrapped in swaddling clothes, cradled in a lowly manger, born to set us free from sin and death, once and forever.  What greater gift has been, or ever will be, given?

Do you wonder?

"While we were still sinners . . ."

I wonder.

I wonder, and am amazed by God's unending, omnipresent, unconditional love for us.

Our Christmas gifts, our decorations, our celebrations are shallow and meaningless unless we take the words of Corrie ten Boom to heart:  . . . Christ is ALL we have.

Presents don't count.

Love does.

Only love counts.

Only love endures.

Christ's love . . .


~

How will you choose to celebrate God's greatest gift to you and me, the coming of Christ Jesus into the world?

Prayer:  Most loving Father, as we mark this season of Advent, let us remember daily that Your Son, Jesus, is truly all we have.  He is all that matters.  May we love others as He commanded and spread the joy of Your kingdom to those who live in a darkened and hopeless world, devoid of the light of Your Word.  May we be that light for You here on earth that others may know the great sacrifice our Lord made on Calvary because of love.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Meditations of My Heart will be on hiatus until the New Year.  I pray that each and every one of you has a most merry and blessed Christmas!


Friday, December 5, 2014

My God Will Hear Me


Micah 7:7
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

It is August of this year.  I am willingly chained to my computer, determined to churn out two more novels for my next book series, Adventures in The Glade, while putting the final editing touches on Book One entitled Revenge!  If I wish for the first novel to be available before Christmas, I have my work cut out for me.

I'm not three weeks into the process when I realize I can't possibly complete Books Two and Three before I must submit Book One to the publisher.  I suffer angst over this decision.  You see, The Glade Series was originally written as one coherent novel; I knew its comings and goings inside and out.  Breaking it into three separate books was a win-win both for my publisher and me.

But this?  It's one big, hairy, messy leap of faith.  And, I'll be the first to admit it - I'm scared.

That's where God steps in.

I'm staring at a computer screen filled with words and filling up with more when I hear in my heart:  Do not be afraid.  Revenge! is the closest in time to the writing of your first series,  Trust in honing it and submitting it on schedule.  The rest will follow, for I am with you.

It isn't often I hear the Lord audibly speaking to me, but when I do, I know I have no choice but to act.  And act, I do!  I refocus all my energy on Book One, meticulously paying attention to every detail and taking notes regarding what the future novels should tell.  The more I work at it, the more confident I feel in the final product.  I'm actually reveling in this new level of trust I've placed in God.

A trust He first placed in me.

At long last, and hopefully in time for Christmas sales, the manuscript is off to my publisher.  Back and forth we go with edits, bio, dedication, acknowledgements, cover shot . . . Will we reach the deadline in a timely fashion?  Oh, I'm so praying for this!  I don't hear God's affirmation in these prayers, but I definitely feel His comforting presence.

That's enough.

We can't make delivery by Black Friday.  That's okay.  There is the upcoming Christmas Bazaar at my church, Kennesaw United Methodist, on December 7th.  As many in the congregation have purchased The Glade Series and are anxious for the sequel, this is when I watch in hope for the Lord to come through.  I wait for God, my Savior, to hear my prayer . . .

Oh!  How He does!!!




Revenge! arrives mid-afternoon on the Thursday before my sales event at church.  There are no words to describe the thrill of holding the published work in my hands.  I pray, silently and fervently, that the words I've written will touch the lives of others for God's kingdom.

For it is not for my own glory that I write.  It's for His.

And in this season of Advent, when waiting upon the Lord is our practice and praise, I am humbled by this early Christmas gift from Him.

I chose to trust.

He chose to answer.

I am blessed.

And I am thankful beyond measure.


~

Have there been times in your life when God has answered your prayers in ways you could never had imagined?

Prayer:  Father, You have given us so many gifts to share with this world, gifts which can help those who are hurting or lost to know of Your grace, love and salvation.  May we be empowered by You, each and every day, to use our gifts to reach out to others that Your Kingdom may become a living and vibrant reality in this world.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

At the time of this posting, my latest novel is not yet available on Amazon, but should be in the next day or two.  To check on this, simply go to Amazon (books) and type my name, Martha Orlando.  Thanks and blessings!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Let Us Remember . . .


Psalm 77:11
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

Call us Mr. and Mrs. Scrooge, but for the last two Christmases, my husband, Danny, and I have neglected to put up a tree.  Sure, we faithfully hang Advent calendars, place the Nativity scene in its usual corner and the Advent wreath on the table, hang up the stockings, and display our two garlands of greenery:  one adorns our mantelpiece; the other is suspended from the ceiling between the dining area and the kitchen.  (The latter, unfortunately, has gone missing from our Christmas stash in the garage.  We are at a loss as to what has become of it, so resign ourselves to its absence.)

But, no tree.  Because, we reason, as our children are grown and don't particularly care about one, and our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, is too young to appreciate or remember a Christmas tree, why go to all that trouble?  This year, though, as Virginia turned four last July, we know she will be so excited about the sparkly lights and decorations, we actually can't wait to put it up!

As we celebrated Thanksgiving with family the Saturday before, we plan to have Virginia over Thanksgiving Day so she can help decorate the Christmas tree.  I purposely select ornaments which haven't adorned our tree in forever, but which are unbreakable, for Virginia to place on the lower limbs which are easily within her reach.  She does a great job!












She is so proud of herself!

I notice when Virginia finishes her task, her eyes are darting around the rest of the living room, taking in all the Christmas displays.  As she heads for the kitchen where her Papa is fixing a mini-Thanksgiving lunch, Virginia stops dead in her tracks.  She points to the ceiling where last year's garland should be hanging.

"Where's that one?"  Virginia asks.  Danny and I are dumbfounded!  That was a year ago!  She was only three!  How does she possibly remember that?

Still reeling with the shock of Virginia's amazing memory, we explain why the garland isn't there and assure her we will continue looking for it.  And, in that brief moment, it dawns on me.  Had we taken the time to put up the Christmas tree last year, Virginia would have appreciated and recalled it so much more than we realized.

And, that memory would be indelibly burned in her mind's eye . . .

~

What is your earliest childhood memory?

Prayer:  Father, let us remember your deeds and your miracles of long ago.  Seal them not just in our minds, but in our hearts.  As we traverse this season of Advent, may we reflect both upon the birth of Your Son, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, and upon Your promise that He will come again in glory.  In Jesus' precious name, we pray.  Amen.

The Truth Will Set You Free

John 8:32 You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Peter is the disciple with whom I most readily relate.  Impetuou...