Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HUGE! An Encore


Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

As crazy and unpredictable as this year has been, I cannot presume to dismiss nor discredit my word for the year, the one God led me to before 2016 breathed its last.  The word?  HUGE!

And huge, it has been, in both good and not so good ways for me and my loved ones.

Absolutely.  Positively.  Huge!

It's how God works, isn't it?  He doesn't do anything half-heartedly.  If it is His will and His purpose, you can bet your bottom dollar those will rain down upon you with the reality of The Flood.

Nothing.  Stops.  Him.

So even though I've taken breaks from blogging in the past, they've never lasted more than a week.  This is different.  And it's huge for me.

I've God's decided I need an extended breather.  Not to sit around doing nothing, mind you, but to do something quite specific.  And what might that be, you ask?  In a nutshell:


  • Re-read all six of my novels.
  • Note story lines that beg for further development.
  • Listen for the direction God is telling me to go.
  • Pray for His wisdom and guidance every step of the way.
So yes, my friends, that's precisely what I will be doing in earnest over the next several weeks.  Please understand this is no overnight decision.  Thoughts of embarking upon this task have surfaced frequently in the past two months.  Combine it with numerous friends (you know who you are!) clamoring for a new Glade Series novel, and I simply have no choice but to heed the call.

Will a new novel emerge?  Yes, if it is God's will.

And if it is, indeed, His will, I expect the outcome to be nothing short of HUGE!

So I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding these last weeks in August.  My plan is to resume blogging after Labor Day, but is it God's?  I suppose I'll just have to wait and see . . . 

Love and blessings to you all!




Friday, August 18, 2017

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.  Impetuous, out-spoken, faith-filled, loyal to a fault, he is the first to recognize Jesus for who He really is:  The Messiah.  Yet still, just as I am and you are, Peter is a sinner in need of a Savior.


  • Peter loses his focus upon Jesus, and begins to sink in the sea the Lord bade him walk on.
  • Peter doesn't understand the miracle of the transfiguration, and tries fumblingly, and desperately, to contain the entire event in the limited realm of human understanding.
  • Peter denies knowing Jesus at the very time when his Lord needs him most.  In bitterness and regret, he weeps.
  • Peter forgets, in the aftermath of the horrific crucifixion, Jesus' promise that the Son of Man will rise from the dead.
Peter fails.  He falls.  And all of us, from time to time in our lives, have done the same.  We detest being faced with our shortcomings, don't we?  We refuse to share the truths of our inadequacies with others because we are ashamed of them, fearful that confessing our sins will make us unlovable in their eyes.  In cowardice, we hide behind a veneer of what we hope is perceived perfection.

But Peter, the one Jesus proclaims as the rock upon which the church will stand, parades his dirty laundry for all to see.  He holds nothing back.  The story of his denial of Jesus is one of the few accounts contained in all four Gospels.  That alone speaks volumes.

Peter, warts and all, does not withhold the truth about himself because he recognizes The Truth, which must be told.  Because he allows the transparency of his transgressions to be recorded so liberally in the New Testament, we can find hope in and take inspiration from his willingness to confess his shortcomings, that we might also come to salvation in Christ Jesus by confessing our own.

~

I listen attentively to President Trump's statements denouncing the violence which occurs in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend.  The media refuse to accept his remarks as honest ones.  They hound him for further clarification.  Even when Trump gives more precise details, outlining the truth that there are two sides involved in this tragic clash, the media refuses to accept it.  Instead, their reports emerge as scathingly derisive of the president, as if they never heard a word he uttered.

They lie.

Now, you may not be a supporter of President Trump.  You may have opposed him during the election.  But this is the reality:  We are all Americans and he is our president.  A man who gave up the privileged life of a billionaire to serve his country.

A sinner in need of a Savior.

A man who is not reluctant to state that we are all created by God, no matter what our skin color or status in life.

A man who is not afraid to ask God to bless this nation, which he routinely does.

A man who seeks the truth, the facts, and is not afraid to share them with the American people in spite of the opposition.

And the opposition, which routinely spins truth into lies, is not going away any time soon.

I think Peter understood that concept all too well as he carried out his mission to spread the Good News of Christ Jesus.  He, too, was accused of telling lies.

But he stuck with the Truth.  The Truth, which still today, sets us free.

Amen!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

His Light Has Dawned


Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness, a light has dawned.

John 12:46
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes me should stay in darkness.

It was a dark and stormy night . . . to quote the immortal words of Snoopy.

I have just finished reading a blog about the importance of slowing life's pace, and am smack-dab in the middle of leaving a comment.  Danny is watching a show on Netflix where a crucial part of the plot is the power alarmingly going off the grid.

As if on cue, our own lights go out!!!  We are plunged into darkness as the rain continues to relentlessly pummel our deck, our skylights, and the sides of our house.  It takes a few seconds for our eyes to adjust to the gloom before we dare make a move for the flashlights stored in our bedroom.  Once these are in hand, Danny goes downstairs to our laundry room to fetch our battery-powered camping lantern.  What a life saver that is!

Immediately, life is slowed.  To a crawl.  No lights.  No television.  No computers.  No air-conditioning.  And all that food in the fridge?  Well, if the power isn't restored in a reasonable amount of time, we can chalk the contents up as a loss.

And there's the rub - we have no idea how long it will take for the electricity to be up and running.  As we prepare for bed, I find myself thanking God that we even have power to lose.  So many people living in the world have no knowledge of such a luxury.  And too many of us who use electricity daily take it for granted.

I am deep in sleep when I sense a change in our room.  My eyes fly open only to blink fiercely as brilliant light pours over me.  The power is back on!  And because it was off when we went to bed, it didn't dawn on us to turn of the lights before turning in.  I'm groggy as I fumble for the light switches and stumble back to bed in the shadowy room.  But I can rest assured - the light is with us.  We do not have to remain in darkness.


~

In the midst of our dark and stormy nights, those tempest-tossed times when we've all but lost sight of safety's shore, let us call upon Jesus to light our way.  He will go before us, shining His unquenchable, eternal light to guide us.  To comfort us.  To give us peace.

And we can rejoice!  For we no longer live in the land of deep darkness.  Upon us, Jesus' light has dawned!

Alleluia and amen!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Will You Take a 3-Minute Retreat?


Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

My fellow blogger and friend, Jean Wise, is always offering amazing resources to enhance our prayer life, and showing us unique ways of entering God's presence with calmness, awareness, and hearts filled with praise and thanksgiving.  In one of her most recent posts at Healthy Spirituality, Jean recommends this site:  3-Minute Retreats.

I am immediately intrigued, yet at the same time, doubtful.  How can I possibly explore a retreat with God in the brief space of three minutes and get anything out of it?  On the surface, it doesn't seem either possible or probable.

Until I try it.

One visit to this site, and I'm hooked!  I sign up to receive this daily inspiration and reflection in my inbox, right then and there.

And I've yet to regret the move God has me make.

I am more than well aware that our lives are busy, hectic, and bustling with expectations, activities and obligations.  For many, time for oneself is an elusive, somewhere-over-the-rainbow scenario.

But what about time with God?

Isn't that worth a 3-minute investment?

Isn't it, when we come right down to it, worth a life-time investment?

The time we spend in communing with God comes back to us ten-fold.  Yes, dear readers, it does!

Maybe, at this point in your Christian walk, you are feeling dejected, deprived, unworthy, or just plain tuckered out.  You do for family selflessly, yet rarely receive thanks.  You are the dependable one on the job, but the boss never acknowledges you.  You volunteer for church positions, yet you feel you are only a spectator as your unique gifts and insights go unnoticed.

You.  Need.  Rest!!!

Take three minutes.

Just take them.

Tell God how much you love Him.

Thank Him for loving you.

Revel and rejoice in His Word.

Make the 3-Minute Retreats your reentry into an enriched life with our Father, who longs to spend time with you.

Even if it is only for three minutes.

Spend time with Him.

Find rest.

Be blessed.

Amen!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Eyes Wide Open


John 9:25
He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I see!"

I'm aware before I go for my yearly eye exam with Dr. H. that the cataract in my left eye is getting worse.  I'm simply not seeing with my contacts the way I used to.  It's not what I want, not in the least, but it is happening all the same.  Dr. H. has always been up front with me that I, not he, will know when it's time to schedule the surgery to correct my vision.  So after I tell him I'm no longer comfortable driving in the dark as the oncoming headlights and even street lights cast a sinister glare, he has two words:

"It's time."

>Sigh<

Okay, folks, I'm a bit lot fearful of this inevitable procedure.  Even though my dear nephew, a seasoned eye doctor, has assured me that he would rather have someone perform cataract surgery on him than sit in the dentist chair any day, I'm not convinced.

Not yet.

And when the new contacts Dr. H. orders for me come in?  Wow!  Just wow!  I didn't realize until I put them in how blind I am, how much I am missing.  The world is crystal clear, the colors alive and vibrant, my depth perception improved in ways I never could have imagined.  Hey!  If the contacts work this well, why not put off the removal of the real nemesis?  I mean, how much worse can it possibly get?

My husband, Danny, provides a shot of reality.  "How much worse do you really want this to get until you do something about it and fix the problem for good?"

He's right.

>Sigh<

But I can't help but be apprehensive downright scared.  What if something goes wrong?  Then what do I do?  How can I live my life of writing/reading?  What about mobility?  How can I know for sure everything will turn out okay?

And I am reminded:  The blind man whom Jesus heals doesn't know, when confronted by the Pharisees, if Jesus is a sinner, but he chooses to trust the Lord anyway, declaring what he does know for sure.

I was blind, but now I see.

His sight is restored; his faith renewed.

And he has learned, with eyes wide open in gratitude, to place his life and future in the hands of Jesus.

I know I need to do the same.

How about you?

Amen.

Friday, August 4, 2017

To Play Gladly


2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

While having our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, staying with us last weekend is the very definition of fun, it is also a whirlwind of activity for all of us.  Yes, she has her quiet moments as in playing with Legos,


but Virginia is an active child as you can tell by these phone photos I snap on our Saturday morning visit to Catch Air, an indoor playground she adores.







You can see how hot and sweaty she is in this photo as she enjoys an ice cream treat.

Does this wear her out?  Hardly!  Once home, she wants to romp in the yard, beat me at checkers (twice!), paint, draw, watch some cartoons, eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and (more) ice cream, climb on the sofa, help me make cookies, jump on our bed (little monkey!), explore more Legos, and all the while, talking our ears off!  By the time I'm ready to tuck Virginia into bed, I'm ready for bed, too!


We are in the process of fixing up a bedroom for her.

When Sunday rolls around, Virginia goes to church with me and loves every moment of Sunday school.  We return home, have lunch, and then I announce to her I'll have to take her to her house shortly.  She is crestfallen.  "But Gammie, if I'd known you were going to take me home so early, I would have stayed with you in big church instead of going to Sunday school."

Yes, my heart is breaking.  I am so tempted to change my mind, and to let her Daddy come pick her up later in the afternoon.  But I know she is starting back to school on Tuesday, and the weekends are the only time she really gets to spend time with her Dad.  When I explain all this to Virginia, she perks right up.  "Maybe Daddy will play just with me and not my sisters when I get home."

"I'm sure he'll take the time to do that, honey," I assure her.

Once I get Virginia safely home and depart for my own, not without a countless exchange of hugs and kisses before I go, I realize how much I've missed the peace and quiet I've grown so accustomed to.  The silence of the house is palpable, almost as if it is a sound in and of itself.  My eyes are immediately drawn to my prayer corner.  Oh, how behind I am in reading Scriptures this weekend!

As worn out as I am, that is exactly what I do.  And in the calm of the moment, God's Word envelopes me.  Revives me.  Secures and cements my life in the present moment.

Moments spent in leisurely attentiveness to what He would have me hear.

And I am convicted.

In ignoring my daily routine of Bible study while Virginia is visiting, I miss out on the opportunity to model for her what it means to be still and know He is God.  I could have, should have, and will in the future, explain to her how vital this time is for her Gammie, because this is how the Lord so often speaks to me.

And how He will speak to her in the years to come.

Long ago, I give Virginia a beginner's Bible.  I think it's high time I surprise her with one more suited to her age now.  One she can bring with her when she visits so we can explore the Word together.

Virginia needs to know the Lord God for herself.

And believe her Abba, her Heavenly Daddy, will gladly play just with her.

Amen

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Are You Listening?


John 10:14-16
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.  They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

On her most recent weekend visit, granddaughter, Virginia Rose, decides she wants to explore the drawers of Legos stored in our garage since my husband, Danny's, boys outgrew them.  The purpose of these drawers is to keep the Lego pieces organized by color, people, animals, and other accessories.  Virginia wants to take it one (or two) steps further, sorting even more conscientiously.


We love watching as she rummages through each bin, rejoicing in her discoveries, and placing her finds in various groups.  After all, isn't that what children are taught at home and in school?  How to identify items that are alike and those that are different?



It soon becomes evident, though, that there are objects that don't quite qualify into any obvious classifications.


As I look at these non-Lego items Virginia has relegated to one group, I can't help but think of the Island of Misfit Toys in the movie Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Toys whose only desire is to be loved and cherished by a child, but their flaws and shortcomings prevent them from finding such fulfillment.

Set aside, a jumbled array of flotsam and jetsam, they are not seen as fit to keep company with the real Legos.

But what Virginia does once she's amassed each group surprises us.  She places them in separate, dedicated baggies, ready to be returned to their respective bins, but now with the distinction of being special.

Chosen.

Even those deemed "Non-Lego" receive a bag to call their own.

Virginia doesn't want to leave anyone out in the cold.

And, thankfully, neither does Jesus.

Maybe today, you are feeling like a misfit in God's kingdom.  Thinking you're not good enough, faithful enough, strong enough, worthy enough to ever enter into God's elite sheep pen.

But Jesus tells us a different story.  A marvelous story.  One replete and overflowing with love and grace and mercy.

I have sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.

Friend, that is you.  And that is me.

Jesus is calling us, on no merit of our own, to be part of one flock, guarded by one shepherd.

Are you listening to His voice?


Amen!

He's Waiting for You

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. This week has been a hectic one for me.  I babysit the grands three di...