Monday, December 21, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Be Still

I've been busy -- moving into another home, taking care of grandchildren, shopping, baking, admiring Christmas lights . . . and a long list of other tasks and privileges of the season. All the while, I've been considering what I ought to share with you here on my blog--what did God have to say to me?

"It is time to be still and listen."

That is what I will be doing a lot of in the days to come. I will contemplate the miracle of Christ and the unfathomable truth that God came into this world as a man to save His children.

As the season approaches quiet yourself before the Lord, listen and hear His voice, feel His spirit, know His love.

May His peace and His spirit fill your home this season.


I'll be back after the New Year . . . MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Believe

Signs of Christmas are everywhere and gift ideas have been tumbling through my mind. What should I get for my husband, children and grandchildren? I’ve also been thinking about the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ. What must it have been like to be Mary when she looked upon her son, God’s son? The Christ child lay in her arms only because she’d bowed her will to God. When she chose to obey did she know the sacrifices and heartache that lay before her?

We are all called to serve and I suppose our service may seem insignificant when compared to Mary’s. Nevertheless the work we do for God matters and impacts the world. When God calls us what do we think of -- Him or personal honor or self-fulfillent? Do we understand that offering our gifts often requires sacrifice, maybe even heartache?

I distinctly remember how I felt when it became clear that God had asked me to write. My first emotion was gratitude. I was overwhelmed by the privilege of serving God in this way, and I was filled with wonder that he’d chosen me.

I leapt into the new quest praising God every day for the privilege. It was a thrilling time. Words flowed onto the page and joy flowed from my heart. Then there was a book two and three and four and . . . somewhere along the way the joy became blurred by personal desires. Although I tried not to be self absorbed I’d glance at other writers who were more successful and wonder why not me? Had they worked harder? Maybe. Were they better writers? Some of them. And I asked, “Is this fair? I’ve worked hard too."

When I set out on my journey I didn’t know what would be required. We can't possibly see the whole picture when we begin an adventure. There is always the unexpected. When the excursion became more difficult than I’d anticipated and held fewer earthly rewards than I’d hoped for I lost sight of the calling.

Throughout the years, I've fought to keep my eyes on God and off of me. Although I clearly understand that man’s perspective of success differs greatly from God’s I still sometimes find myself fixated on man’s idea of the grand plan.

Writing can’t be about me. My walk with God can’t be about me. It’s all about Him. John 6:29 says, "The work of God is this; to believe in the one he has sent."

That’s my job—to believe. It’s not about my writing, marketing or book sales. My mind must remain with my Savior. I need to remember and to be thankful for his sacrifice and never forget that the greatest gift is belonging to Him. The rest will take care of itself.

So . . . dear brothers and sisters, where is your focus? Set your eyes upon The One who gave everything, and the tasks he gives shall unfold just as they should. Trust Him with everything you are and all that you do, and all will be as it should be.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- In the Shadow of the Almighty

It's been nearly thirty years since our eight month old daughter, Kristina, was admitted to the hospital, comatose and near death. Spinal meningitis was the diagnosis. I remember standing beside the hospital crib stunned, my heart breaking. Her hands were tied to the sides of the crib; tubes protruded from various places on her body, and she occasionally let out a pitiful sound that resembled a cry. Sorrow overwhelmed me.

While my husband and I kept a vigil friends came to support and pray with us. Their presence and love were the hands of God. One dear friend shared a scripture that I've never forgotten. Psalm 91:1-7 says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you."

God's Word sustained me. I clung to those verses and in the midst of darkness there was light. We didn't know if our daughter would live or die, but we felt God's presence and His peace. He was our refuge.

Kristi made it, and three years later she shared something with me that rocked me right down to my toes. She told me about a time when she was dying (and said it had been a long, long time ago). She explained that she was afraid, but then Jesus came to her and He held her on his lap and she wasn't afraid any more.

Even as an infant she fought to live. And when Jesus came to her she knew Him and found peace in the midst of her greatest struggle.

My family has faced many battles since that time. There are moments when I want to give up, believing that this time it's just too hard. And then I remember a tiny little girl who found strength in God's presence.

God will never let us down. He is always near. We can rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Grieve

Living triumphantly and grieving may seem like an odd partnership, but one cannot happen without the other.

Let's be honest, life is filled with heartaches and disappointments that leave us wounded. Mourning is part of the cure. We grieve the death of a loved one, or let loose of a dream, or face the loss of health or innocence. I've had my share of grief, and I've discovered if I don't allow myself to sorrow the ache hangs like a stone around my neck.

There are steps to grieving that we need to walk through. However, before we can begin we must give ourselves permission to mourn, even the things we think shouldn't be a big deal.

Today is one of those days. I'm grieving the loss of a dream. Nearly three years ago, my daughter and her family moved into our home. We dreamed of spending years together here on our mountaintop. A lot has happened since that time. And today, my daughter who is now a single mother is moving. My mind and heart are filled with images of the early days--the family working together, preparing the garden patch, designing and building an additional home, planning for our future. Those were good days.

Life doesn't always turn out the way we hope. When my family and I set out on this adventure God knew about today. And He knows about tomorrow.

Although my daughter and grandchildren aren't moving far away I'm sad and teary. There have been so many precious gifts to living side by side--early morning coffee chats with my daughter, grandchildren stopping in for an afternoon snack or a goodnight kiss and hug. Today, all that will change and as the boxes march out of the house next door they mark the end of a dream.

I'm certain God has a new plan for me and for my family. I'm confident that we'll be fine. Life will be good. But today and maybe tomorrow I will grieve. And even though it may seem silly, it's okay.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven."

Don't feel you must always be strong and reasonable. Sometimes crying is good and called for. And there are times when you need to rage against life. Do it and then . . . move forward and begin again. God will walk with you.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Training Ground?

I've recently been thinking about soldiers. They're in the news a lot, or at least the wars they fight are.

Soldiers go through grueling, intensive training before they're sent to the battle field. They're challenged and required to do the impossible. While training they live with deprivation, discomfort and pain. It's not fun. It's hard work. And it's necessary, for one day they will face the enemy.

If our commanders went easy on the men and women we call on to defend our country where would we be? Where would the soldiers be? They'd be in harms way . . . unprepared. It would be foolish and unjust to send our fighting men and women into battle without proper training. They know it. While they train you won't hear them complain (well not much anyway) because they understand tough conditioning is necessary to their survival and to victory.

Once on the battlefield brave men and women perform feats that take great discipline, stamina, strength and courage. They will be called on to do things they may have considered impossible. And yet, they succeed because they've been properly prepared; they're ready.

Have you ever considered yourself a soldier? We are, you know. We don't fight against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. But we do fight. God has called us into battle and like a drill sergeant he readies us.

Ephesians 6:11-17 tells us how to fight and what armor we must wear if we're to succeed. We are to gird our waists with truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, shod our feet with the gospel of peace, and take on the shield of faith. We must wear the helmet of salvation and carry the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

God prepares us by taking us through our own "boot camp". Life is a good training ground. We'll be hit with the hard stuff. We won't be comfortable. We'll be challenged to be faithful and courageous. God is wise and just. He knows what we need if we're to be victorious.

I'm thinking that the next time we face a test (training) we need to be thankful. Without proper training one day we'll step onto the battlefield unprepared. So, give thanks for the hard stuff. God is building our faith, our knowledge and our courage so we'll be ready. For the battles are coming.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Quiet Moments With God--Timing

Have you ever had an experience when something you wanted or hoped for occurred at exactly the perfect time? Something that was just what you needed when you needed it? I love those moments. I suppose some are coincidental, but there are times when I'm certain God's laid a blessing upon me.

I experienced just such a moment this morning. I've been carrying a heavy burden, unnecessarily. Finally I did what I should have done weeks ago. After church I sought out a dear friend I know to be a prayer warrior and shared my heaviness of heart with her. Less than twenty-four hours later God shone His light on the core of the problem--the reason I've remained burdened for so long. He knew exactly what I needed to hear.

While in The Word, God met with me. He loves to spend time with His children. :-)

God doesn't mince words. He was clear and to the point. I now know what I need to do. The Lord isn't going to do it for me, but His love and strength will make me able. Relying on Him opens doors for transformation.

To become who He wants us to be we must take every thought captive. Our imaginations, desires and worries can get the better of us when we allow them to rule our lives. They ensnare us and we lose sight of God--lose confidence in His perfect plan.

We can overcome and unburden ourselves by trusting the Creator, the one who placed the stars in the heavens. He is our strength. Set our minds upon Him. He will transform our lives and we will walk in freedom and confidence.

Praising God for His goodness.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Left Waiting?

Do you have someone in your life that you've been praying for, but there seems to be no change, no leaning toward the Lord? Is there a need in your life that's gone unanswered in spite of fervent prayer? Or an affliction that perseveres although you groan with the longing for release? Perhaps you've prayed for a situation for years and received no indication of change.

It's likely we've all been in this place. When prayers go unanswered, or seemingly so, it may feel as if God doesn't hear or doesn't care. Of course if we believe God's Word to be true, we know He always cares and always knows. So, what should we do when we are left waiting?

God's Word tells us to persevere, to push on, to run the race . . . to believe. In 2nd Corinthians 5:7 it says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

If we're to rely fully on God we must choose to do so. In the midst of a storm or confusion our only hope is to fix our eyes on Him. When we do, our faith is strengthened and we will be able to stand and to wait. Faith almost always requires waiting. We need to remember that God can move mountains. We can rely upon Him.

If my heart and mind are set upon the Lord then my hope is in Him. I can believe and trust. The kind of strength that brings about change comes from God not from man's fragile unsteady self reliance.

Believe. Trust in God, not in circumstances. Be strong in the Lord. He hears our cry and will not turn away from us. Never give up hope. And if God's answer is not the one we expect trust all the more. Rest in his will, for He sees the beginning and the end. And it is in His loving arms that we will find peace.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quite Moments With God -- In the Everyday

It was just an ordinary day. Nothing stupendous happened, yet precious images created will remain with me always.

Sunday means church for my husband and me. Today, our oldest daughter, her son and my three other grandchildren, plus another little girl joined us at church. During worship I found myself close to tears, grateful to be with loved ones. As we lifted our voices in worship my daughter and I looked at one another and then I felt her arm around me. Love embraced us.

After church, my husband and I, our daughter, her son, my three other grandchildren and the other precious little girl set off for home. We'd decided a hot dog roast shouldn't be exclusively a summertime event. In the chill of the November afternoon we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.

The children relished very black, kind of black and nearly raw hot dogs. And while they ate, they talked about silly things, made jokes, laughed and thought up adventures. I can still see smiling faces and eyes alight with childish joy. Innocence is never wasted.

When it was time to roast marshmallows--some youngsters carefully cooked just one at a time while others piled three on their sticks. They all decided that no matter how many they were cooking that they must be perfectly browned. They waited patiently, turning their sticks and double checking to see if the color was just right. When they deemed them perfect, the children ate the sticky sweet treat, leaving melted sweetness stuck to their lips and fingers.

After the meal the youngsters piled onto the sofa and buried themselves beneath blankets as they settled down to watch a movie. A row of smiling faces waited in anticipation for the show to begin.

It was just an ordinary day, but I have new memories of bright smiles, silly jokes, and the perfection of simplicity stored away in my memory--treasures really. Treasures to be rediscovered time and again. They will be there when everything else fades.

So, gather up real treasure . . . while you can.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Press On

The last three days I've mostly stared at the ceiling while flat on my back and under the influence of pain medication. This is not my first experience with a cranky back. Since an accident with a log truck in 1991 I've spent many days in bed when I'd rather be doing something more fun. I don't like it.

During these spells I go through a myriad of emotions--frustration, depression, anger, fear and sometimes even joy. I've been through enough episodes to know what to expect. And yet, I can't count on being gracious.

This time in the midst of my restrictive circumstances God graciously led me to some helpful verses. Philippians 3:12 - 13 says, "But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. O, dear brothers and sister, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

I've learned it does little good to sit in a puddle of self pity. And keeping my attention on my previous troubles is no better. I've got to look forward, remembering that God is not done with me yet. I have a race to run and God has given me the ability and courage to do it. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

God means to shape me into the likeness of Christ and that can't happen without obstacles to overcome. I can't learn to lean on and trust the Lord if there's nothing to trust him for.

Therefore, this week has been a struggle and it may continue to be so tomorrow and the day after, but I will press on. I will not look back, but I will keep my focus on what's in front of me. And I will continue to run the race.

We do not run alone, therefore let's do our best to run well.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie Leon

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- It's Not About Me.

Yesterday a young woman in our church shared some of her upcoming plans with the congregation. She's a beautiful and gifted young lady who has chosen to serve God above all else. She's already spent a great deal of time on the mission field and now believes God is moving her to a new location overseas. This new place will not be filled with the comforts we are accustomed to.

As she shared her heart and what God is doing in her life and around the world I felt tears begin to build. I'm in awe of her, and I'm so proud to be part of the Christian family. We are imperfect, but through the years I've witnessed a great deal of love, faith, and generosity.

As many other Christians have done, this gal is giving up a great deal -- a comfortable home here in the states, family and friends, security and safety and so much that we take for granted. She's doing it out of love for the Lord and for the people in this world who do not know him.

As I listened, personal conviction grew. I too serve God, but sometimes my desires have little to do with him or other people, but rather they are about me. My focus becomes distorted by desires for worldly things--money, possessions, time.

I have no right to complain. I serve right here in my home country, and I live in a cozy, familiar house and sit in a comfy chair where I write books and blogs, and notes to friends. I get to work on Bible studies, speeches and workshops. I love all these things and yet, there are days when I detest the duties given to me. Some days it feels too difficult.

Do you ever feel this way? It's easy to get off track, to forget to be grateful, to forget that our gifts are meant for service and that being called to serve by the creator of the universe is a privilege.

The most beautiful moments in my life are the ones when I've made a positive difference in someone else's life and in the world. We can't force good and lasting things happen. God does that. We must simply keep our eyes on Christ and off of ourselves. God will take care of the rest.

Life can't be about me. If it is, then it's not about him.

Let's make it about him.

Grace and peace to you from God.

Bonnie Leon

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Honor God's Creation

When I gaze at a mountain range in the distance I see God. I see Him in the mirrored reflection of a quiet lake. And I am awed by Him when I stand on a sandy ocean beach and gaze at waves marching toward shore. I love what He has made, for it offers me a glimpse at His greatness.

However, when I look in the mirror I often forget that the person staring back at me is also part of God's creation. More times than I'd like to admit, I undervalue this piece of his design.

We can't deny the value of God's creation nor His love for us. Psalm 139:13-17 clearly states our worth. It says, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered."

I love these verses! They remind me that God tenderly and thoughtfully created me. When I read them I know that I'm precious to Him. I can feel my Father's arms around me.

There is nothing that compares to the love of our heavenly Father. Even our love for our own children is a weak comparison. I love my parents and I'm grateful for all they've done for me. I admire them and want them to be proud of me. I wouldn't even consider dishonoring them. Why then, would I dishonor God?

It's not something I do on purpose, but every time I belittle myself I dishonor Him. I am--we are--His. We were created for His pleasure. If we appreciate our Father and all He's done for us, why don't we take better care of ourselves?

I haven't done such a great job. Self care is not one of my strengths, but is more often a source of personal sin. Physically I'm out of shape and over weight. I have no excuse. Plus I'm terrible at guarding my time. I say yes when I ought to say no, which robs me of the rest I need, and steals time I could spend with my husband and family and friends. Ultimately I have little or no time to re-energize.

In our super charged world it's difficult to set boundaries that create personal health and well-being. If we want to change course where do we begin?

I believe we start with God. Time with our Lord offers strength and direction. It helps if we have a friend to pray with us and who will hold us accountable to our goals.

Secondly, with God's help, we need to pinpoint the problem. Is there something we detest about ourselves? We believe in forgiving others; we need to forgive ourselves as well. Do we lack energy? If so, why? Is the drain physical, emotional, or spiritual? Or is it a combination of all three?

After we've sought out God, friends, even our doctor and have taken an honest look at ourselves, the next step is to face what we've found. Be honest and change what needs changing. If we don't we'll continue to get what we've always gotten.

There are some things to consider. Am I holding a grudge against myself? Do I need more sleep? Less food? Healthier food? Do I spend enough time in God's Word? Do I love others? Do I serve too much or too little? Do I allow the world's worries to steal my joy?

Each of our circumstances are unique. I cannot solve the mystery of your lack of self respect. God can.

If we seek the truth, He will reveal it.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Our Life Matters

This morning while sitting in church something my pastor said, rang out at me. He quoted a statement from J. Stafford Wright. "Man knows enough to be held responsible for whatever he does or fails to do."

We have no excuses. We know what we ought to do. There is a voice inside that speaks to us, if only we'll listen.

Our life matters, and every day is filled with opportunities. The whole idea of living a life of significance thrills me right down to my toes. We may ask, "What am I supposed to do?" Micah 6:8 gives a straight forward answer. "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Each day we face circumstances that force us to ask what should I do? God says demonstrate justice, mercy and humility. If we consistently exhibit these qualities we'll have a positive impact on those around us. And not only others, but ourselves as well.

My pastor said something else, about the Lord, that set me on fire. "He wants our life to adorn His grace." I thought, Wow! That's beautiful! That's powerful! I want that!

Even though I fall far short of perfection I know if I keep my eyes on the Lord I WILL look more and more like Him and my life will adorn His grace. Amazing! And it can happen only because God loves His children and works in their hearts.

Shall we look into His face and know Him? Only then shall we be transformed.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Make Time For Friends

Every Wednesday evening I meet with a group of women for Bible Study. I love our time together. We pray, cheer each other on, share hopes and sorrows and just plain love each other. Oh yeah, and we study the Bible. That's always a good thing to do with friends.

Throughout the years, I've been part of many different groups. I love what happens in small groups. There's always a transformation. When we first meet we're not sure of one another and we wonder what's okay to say and what's not. The next time we get together we're a little more comfortable. Bit by bit, we learn to trust and we grow more confident. Finally bonds form and friendships develop and deepen. Some last a lifetime.

We all come from different backgrounds and bring our own unique personalities and perspectives and yet we can still be comrades. Relationships offer emotional and spiritual health. God tells us we need each other. He designed us to be social beings. Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." When adversity hits it's always helpful to have a brother who loves us and can share the burden.

Today, scientific studies tell us that God has it right. People who spend time with people they love live longer healthier lives.

As we move through this world challenges undoubtedly will confront us. When those times come having a friend to stand with us makes the standing more bearable. And do you remember the last time you received joyful news? What did you want to do first? Yes--tell someone! Good news is so much better when we can share it.

I encourage you to open the doors of your life and make time for friends. Our days will be richer.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, October 26, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Wait for the Command

Many years ago, a Christian friend told me, "Bonnie, there are a lot of needs, but that doesn't mean you're supposed to fulfill them all." His wise words have always stuck with me. Yet I still struggle. I often say yes when I should say no.

This morning while reading from "My Utmost For His Highest" Oswald Chambers words struck a strong chord in me. He said, "The great controlling factor is not the needs of people, but the command of Jesus."

I thought about that for several minutes and realized that like so many others when I see a need I step in to help. What if the task isn't mine to do? Doing the work intended for someone else only makes me feel overwhelmed. Been there, done that.

I'm not saying if we walk by a person in need that we're supposed to just keep walking and ignore their plight. The story of the good Samaritan clearly tells us what we need to do. What I'm talking about are the many committees or organizations that call out for helpers or for me it may be the one more marketing idea that will boost sales of my latest book or I may hear from a budding author who needs just a little guidance . . . My list goes on.

There are a lot of needs in this world, but before we decide we're supposed to fill the ones we happen upon we need to stop and think about whether God asked us to step in. Perhaps it is meant for someone else. When we take on a responsibility intended for another we're robbing that person of a blessing.

There are consequences for doing too much. It saps our strength, steals our health and usually means that what we are doing isn't being done very well.

Our solution is to listen to and obey God. If we can learn to walk in His will, rather than our own, life will be more productive and satisfying.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- I Believe In Miracles

Friday my husband, Greg, turned sixty. We set off for Central Oregon to celebrate his birthday with our son, Paul. We had a great time--good conversation, good food and lots of laughs. Greg and Paul even managed to get in some golf.

As is often the case I spent time reflecting on life. And I realized that Greg and I met forty-one years ago. We were so young--just kids. It doesn't seem possible that through all the years, with their valleys and mountain tops, that we're still together. It hasn't been a bed of roses--unless of course you remember that there are a lot of thorns among the shrubbery. :-)

Greg and I met during the Vietnam War. He was in the navy and only a few months after our first meeting he set off for a ten and half month West-Pac cruise. We hadn't known one another long, but we were in love and already engaged to be married. While Greg was over seas I planned our wedding.

A month after he returned we were wed. It was a nice wedding with the usual stuff--a white gown and a tux, the well rehearsed vows, a sacred church filled with friends and family. However, something was missing, or I should say someone. Sadly, neither Greg nor I knew who it was. We'd left out the most important guest--Jesus Christ. We didn't know Him and so we began our journey together as husband and wife without Him.

It wasn't surprising that our first four years together were tumultuous and unhappy. The love we felt was buried by hurt, anger and bitterness . . . and in our fourth year we separated. There was so much sorrow between us that it would have been impossible to even hope for reconciliation.

God had other plans.

In a miraculous way, he drew us both to Himself and restored our love for one another. We became new, and the ugliness that resided in our hearts was replaced with love, mercy and forgiveness. We've been together ever since.

A lot of miracles happened back then, none of which we deserved. What is especially astounding to me is that we did nothing to make any of it happen. It was simply God in us, working out His power and grace. God stripped away the uglies and we loved each other.

Here we are after all these years, celebrating a sixtieth birthday. We still love each other, admire one another and pray we have a lot more years to spend together.

It's a miracle.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, October 09, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- But a Breath

In Psalm 39:4-5 David says, "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered--how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath."

As I've grown older and watched with amazement how quickly time passes, I better understand the truth of David's words. And I realize more and more how much time I spend on wasteful thoughts and projects.

While I read these verses I was struck at the wonder that surrounds me and how little time I take to enjoy all God has given me. A flood of gratitude followed. God has blessed me with abundance, and I realize that if life is just a breath I'd best make good use of my time. I need to stop and look, to take pleasure in God's gifts. I need to take time to love others. I need to remember to work well.

If life is a breath, we don't have time for squabbling. There's no time to cling to bitterness, no time for malicious thinking. How much better to meditate upon Christ and His love and sacrifice. And how much more satisfying life is when we consider the beauty of creation and the gift of love from our family and friends and our Father above. I long for time to think about the wonder of life and of the life to come.

I feel compelled to encourage you on toward good works and Godly living. While we still have time, remember what really matters and embrace the goodness and beauty God has given.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Remember Your Destination

My brother, Bruce, wrote to me this morning to tell me that a dear friend of his had died. This man had valiantly fought brain cancer for several years. Bruce told me he was at peace because of his assurance that his friend now resides in heaven.

We're all bound for heaven... or hell. There is no eternity here on earth. In the midst of living out our lives do we give much thought to where we'll one day spend our eternity? If you don't know, then I'd like to introduce you to Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our Savior. He allowed Himself to be ridiculed, beaten and then hung from a cross where He took on the sins of the world. His sacrifice assures every person who believes in Him a place in heaven. God's plan is not complicated. All we need to do is believe.

Those of us who know we're bound for heaven one day need to keep a couple of things in mind. Nothing here can be carried into heaven with us. Have you ever seen a U-haul trailer being towed behind a hearse? There's good reason why not--nothing goes with us.

Since we know that's true, why do you think we live as if possessions hold some sort of eternal value? I don't believe we live with this mind set intentionally. We just forget our final destination. None of the "stuff" we value in this world will matter. What does matter are people. Wouldn't it be better to open our hands, release our possessions and instead use our hands to embrace others?

I Corinthians 13:12-13 says, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

It's all about love. Hug someone today.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Quite Moments With God -- Seeking God

Sometimes there is so much to be done and so little time to do it. There's not enough time to be in God's presence, to be available for worship, to be used by God, or to listen to the heartache of another, or . . . Well, you get the idea.

Do you find yourself in this place, at least some of the time? We all do. In this crazy, upside down world busyness has become part of the culture. I'm sure it's not what God had in mind for the human race.

Still, almost everyone I know is busy. We work to much, worry too much, we even watch television too much. Sometimes we do too many good works. When we listen to our calling instead of God's the good works may become hay and stubble. I'm a "yes" person and find myself knee deep too often. I'm learning to listen to God's leading rather than mine, but I don't have it perfected yet. I'd appreciate your prayer support.

So, what should we be doing? Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." It seems we ought to be on our knees a lot more. If we offer our lives to the Lord first, we can rest in His leadership and provision.

SEEKING may look different for each of us. Some of us have a special time set apart for God or a special place to meet with Him. However, no matter how we, as individuals, go about our seeking we need to worship--read God's Word, pray and listen to Him. And when we listen, we need to remember that what matters is what He is saying to us, not what He says to someone else.

When we put our Father first we will see the heart of Christ.

Have you had a memorable experience while seeking God? Or do you have a special place where you meet? Or have you discovered a way that helps you draw closer to Him?

I'd love to hear from some of you. Let's encourage and uplift one another.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Be Ready

Challenges are coming our way. It's not a matter of if, but when. Are you ready? Some of what we must face will feel like we're running a gauntlet. Our personal challenges and crisis will not be the same, and they will come into our lives for diverse reasons, yet we as believers share a commonality of the battle. And we need to be ready to fight.

I can remember thinking that I had nothing to be concerned about, that when I'd face my battles God would be there. He'd give me whatever I needed. To a degree that's true, but as believers we're not without responsibility. Hebrews 5:12-14 makes it clear we're not to remain infants, living on milk, but we must mature by feeding on the solid food of God's Word.

God is with us. He loves us. He is our Father and we can trust Him to stand with us. Time, experience and study of The Word builds our relationship with The Father and we will become true comrades, linked arm in arm, ready for battle.

Ask yourself,"Do I REALLY know Him well? If not, why not?"

He offers us all we need--His presence, the Holy Spirit, His Word, His Son. Therefore, if we're not well acquainted it's our fault not His. If God seems far away take a close, honest look at your spiritual walk. You will discover the reason for the distance. I can assure you it is not God who has moved away. If you long to know God commit to discovering Him. He is waiting.

Don't be afraid. God understands that growth takes time. He will meet us where we are. I've experienced that many times. One of the most dramatic events was many years ago when my now thirty-year-old daughter was just eight months old. She contracted spinal meningitis. In a coma and with septicemia I feared she'd die. My husband and I were baby Christians with little spiritual knowledge. God understood and provided faith and close friends. They held us and prayed for us and for our daughter. I will never forget those dear ones who were mature in their faith and stood with us in our time of trouble.

Since that time I've walked through many fires with the Lord and I've matured, yet am still far from the mark of perfection. Today God expects more from me than He did all those years ago. I'm no longer a babe, nor should I be. Because of His Word, prayer, worship and experiencing the ups and downs of life I've come to know God and to trust Him more. I still struggle, but I have a history with God and know I can count on Him.

Ephesians 6:10 - 18 offers a list of weapons we all need. Hold onto them. They will not let you down.

Be strong in the Lord and be ready.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Try Something New

Friday, September 15th, my husband and I went to a local concert where we were treated to the Big Band Sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Glenn Miller was before my time. I grew up with Sonny & Cheri, Joan Baez, the Beatles, and The Mama's and the Papa's. So, you might ask, why was I at a Glenn Miller concert? Simply because my cousin's husband is one of the band members, and he provided free tickets.

Sounds shallow, but it isn't really. I'd never met Gary Meggs, a fabulous musician and family member. We've been corresponding via the internet for several years and this was my first opportunity to meet him face to face. After the concert, we had a fun chat over some good food. It was thrilling to spend time with Gary and to catch up on news of relatives who live on the other side of the country. I'm looking forward to seeing more of him and the rest of the family.

I love family, but tonight I want to talk about the concert. The auditorium was packed, mostly with senior citizens--a sharp group of people I might add. They know good music when they hear it. There was a group of older women sitting behind my husband and I. They were talking about the songs they hoped would be played. One woman said exuberantly, "If they play "In the Mood" I'm on my feet." They did and she was. :-)

As I looked around the auditorium young and old, were swaying to tunes like Moonlight Serenade. Some snuggled as they were carried back to the good old days by the chords of String of Pearls. I teared up when I a young man gently sang Danny Boy. Enthusiasm bubbled up inside as I discovered a sound that had captivated an entire generation. And when they played I Know Why I looked at my husband and fell in love all over again. I wanted to get up right then and there and dance. Dance lessons are now on my list of things I'd like to do some day--don't tell my husband. ;-)

For two hours a lot of us forgot our troubles and our aches and pains. We simply felt happy and blessed to be in that place at that time. I haven't enjoyed an evening as much for a very long time. The music was beyond fabulous! And the escape into joy . . . well priceless. I actually purchased a CD and plan to enjoy more of the Glenn Miller sound.

Most of the time we fall into blessings unintentionally. This was one of those times for me. I encourage you to try something new. You just might like it.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Know My Heart

How often have we heard the term, "be real"? More times than I can count. I suspect when people coin this phrase they're not thinking about being real for God but more likely considering being transparent with people. In my Bible reading I came across a verse where David has quite another perspective.

Psalm 129:23-24 says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." David invited God to examine him. He so loved and trusted his Lord that he completely opened himself up to God's scrutiny.

David was willing to look at who he was--no pretenses, no masks. David is often lifted up as an example of a Godly man and yet he had no shortage of sins. He slept with another man's wife, then had the man killed. In my opinion this comes under the category of odious sins. I would think it took great courage for David to look at who he really was.

David's devotion to God drove him toward transparency. He longed for unvarnished truth, but only because God had reigned in his heart.

So it should be with us, to desire God above all else and let Him shine a light on who we are. Then we can be fully and completely His. Being all His enables us to walk with confidence. God knows all there is to know. Even before we've taken a breath of sin He knows and loves us anyway.

Let us not forget that it is in brokenness of spirit and obedience that we discover our Lord and are empowered by God. Only then will we fully see the possibilities He offers.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Don't Forget To Smile

While reading scripture this morning and thinking about all my "obligations" I was struck by my serious nature. It's good to be thoughtful, even reflective. But in this daunting world I think there are too many somber, dour faces out there. If you're one of them, don't beat yourself up--we're only human.

When I saw this truth about my nature it hit me in the gut. I need to "chill", at least a bit. I need to smile more, laugh more and spend more time thinking about the wonders in this world, and the gift of life.

I think God wants us to have fun. If not, why did He give us to much to enjoy?

Philippians 4:8 says, "Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

Good advice. We need to get out of the grumpies and consider the wonders around us. If I were to make a list of things that bless my life it would begin with a husband who loves me (even after 40 years together), a caring family, grandchildren who live close and who make me laugh, every day. There's nothing that warms me more than chubby arms wrapped around my neck and a kiss from a little one who says, "I love you, grandma." On my list I'd also have to include good friends, a beautiful home set in one of the most stunning places on earth, and I must not forget that I have a Lord who loves me just as I am and who died for me so I might live.

With all these blessings, and more, how can I feel grumpy? The sad answer is ingratitude. In light of this revelation I'm mortified at my lack of thankfulness. I have lots to smile about. I'll have to make sure to include praise time in my prayer time. :-)

You might like to put your own list together--write down all the good stuff in your life. I bet there's more than you realize. And when it's written down, post it some place where you'll see it every day, then remember to be grateful.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Flowers for Crystal

Today my daughter and I took orange roses to the cemetery. Orange roses were my nineteen-year-old niece's favorite flower and orange was her favorite color. Today is the four year anniversary of her death. It feels like Crystal left us only yesterday. There is still a hole where she belongs. We miss her and long for her one of a kind smile and the great "Crystal Hugs" she used to give.

Yet, even with the pain of her absence my family and I are assured that the separation is only for a time. Crystal is in heaven. And God has promised that we will be reunited. I'm looking forward to a "Crystal Hug".

On my way to the cemetery I was thinking how different my perspective would be if I had no assurance of heaven. The tearing away of a loved one would be unendurable. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. God has made a way. He has given me hope and a future. I will see Crystal again and so many others who have already gone ahead.

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Christ gave His life for me and because of His sacrifice I am assured of heaven--there is no guessing and wondering whether or not I get the gift of eternal life. It is mine, just because I believe.

Even the prisoner who hung beside Christ on our Lord's last day on earth was promised a place in heaven. He believed and the gift was his.

To know our farewells are temporary is the greatest comfort. But I think of those who have no hope. I remember. As a young woman I met each day with the terrifying thought that one day I would die. And then a friend introduced me to Christ. And I didn't have to be afraid any longer.

There are many who live in terror. Tell them about Jesus. God opens doors and provides opportunities. Don't be afraid. Love enough to take a risk. I'm grateful my dear friend, Kathy, took a chance and told me. Now I live with hope and when I take flowers to my loved one's graves I know it is only a place for them to be remembered--they aren't there--they wait, with The King, for a grand reunion.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Surrender Yourself

Most mornings begin with Oswald Chambers and his book "My Utmost For His Highest". His thoughts have a way of touching my spirit and clearing away the cobwebs that distract me. Several days ago while reading his devotional his thoughts again carried me closer to God. I wish I were able to thank him for his ministry that has touched so many lives.

He said, "Living a full and overflowing life does not rest in bodily health, in circumstances, nor even in seeing God's work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God and in the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed." And then he added, "The first thing that will hinder this joy is the subtle irritability caused by giving too much thought to our circumstances."

The thought of having the oneness with God that Jesus did is mind boggling. Is it possible? What a glorious thought! Some day.

I long to know God, truly know Him. Christ's sacrifice opened the door to that kind of relationship, but there is something I must do--surrender. I need to offer up all of me to Him. I remember many years ago when this thought first presented itself to me. I was terrified. What if God wanted me to become a minister in Africa or something like that? The idea was just too scary. But I soon saw that no matter where it was that God called me it was the best place for me. I needed to trust Him.

It is my heart's cry to know God well, to draw so close to Him that I know His every thought, His heart, and to feel His presence in every moment. I'm not there and while tied to this earth will never be. But I press closer. It is in that closeness that I will find Him, along with true joy, peace, and contentment. He is everything.

God offers rivers of living water -- rivers that run deep, cool and powerful. Rivers that never dry up. Rivers that will always refresh and strengthen his children. All we need is to thirst and drink.

I'm commited to seek after Him, to desire His will and His love, and to push aside all other distractions. Again and again I must yield myself to Him. Join me. Shall we pray for one another and discover our God together?

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- The Greatest Gift

A few days ago a friend called. She wanted to know how I was doing--life's thrown some challenges my way recently. After I groused a bit, she asked, "Is there anything good going on?"

I felt a thud in my gut. Nothing came to mind. I couldn't think of anything. Not because there aren't good things in my life, it's just that I'd lost sight of them. My focus was on my troubles.

I am so thankful for God's grace. He soon reminded me of the abundance of blessings in my life, and a rush of thankfulness came over me. I am surrounded by love--the Father's love, that of my church and friends, and my family.

My husband, daughters, son, parents, and grandchildren fill my days with love. They share their lives with me, pray for me, forgive me, laugh with me, offer lots of hugs, and we even tell stories together, to see who can come up with the most creative tale. No matter how difficult life is we can count on one another. How could I ask for more? Love is the greatest gift another person can give. And God has given me an abundance.

No matter what storm bears down on us I can count on love to calm the tempest.

Thank you Lord!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tips For Triumphant Living -- Be Flexible

Flexibility is not one of my strengths—I always have a plan. And whenever possible I stick to it. My kids have told me many times that I need to be more spontaneous. I’m practicing—honestly.

Life throws detours at us so we all need to be flexible some of the time. When I write I always have a plot outline and character outlines. But one of the fun and exciting things about writing is the detours. I encounter characters I didn’t know existed and discover plot twists and turns I’d never dreamed of. However, being flexible is easier for me when it’s part of a fictional story rather than real life.

The last few weeks life pressed in. It threw things at me I didn’t expect and I had to force myself to “go with the flow”. I’ve been absent from my blog for a couple of weeks because I’m trying to be flexible. I had other things to do that took precedence. And although not all of them were pleasant, I've actually had fun.

So, I ask myself why I’m compelled to push on, to fulfill the plan or the obligation no matter what? I’m sure my personality as well as routines imprinted on me while growing up have a lot to do with it. But, I also believe it has to do with trusting myself more than trusting God. That sounds ludicrous, but let’s get honest with ourselves—we all do it. God has surprises for us. And I know if I’d learn to rest in Him and enjoy the unexpected life would be less stressful and a lot more fun.

So . . . I’m back. I’ve missed sharing with you. However, I did finish my book and can’t wait to get the OK from my editor so I can start shouting about it. I had family here from California and enjoyed them immensely. My sister and brother-in-law are still here, visiting from Alaska. I’ve loved quiet mornings over coffee with my sis and I’m looking forward to an afternoon of fishing, an evening watching stars and maybe even a night at the movies before she returns to her tiny hamlet in the north.

So, before we miss something that truly matters, take a deep breath and step out of the plan. It’s okay, really. God might have something special for you.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- He's Got Our Back

While reading today I came across a powerful verse. Isaiah 33:21-22 says, The Lord will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon. For the Lord is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.

As I read these verses, God's peace spilled over me. I was reminded that no matter what life throws my way the Lord will be there to stand with me.

The verse says he will be our "Mighty One". I suppose to each of us this statment brings a unique image to mind. I see a warrior who will prevail against any and all enemies. With Him there is nothing to fear.

There's more. The verse says, He will be like a wide river of protection. I love that picture. I can see myself sitting in the midst of a quiet lake where no foe can come near. It is a place of absolute peace.

Isaiah goes on to describe the Lord as the only one who can decide right from wrong—He is the judge, the lawgiver. We don't have to figure out right from wrong--He's already got it all worked out. God's Word has the answers and they are a resilient and reliable foundation.

And finally, it says He will care for us and save us. God provided a Savior who guarantees an eternal refuge for all who believe in Him. We know without a doubt that there is a place for us in heaven. What better way can a father care for His children than to offer a Savior?

With God there is no reason to fear. He offers peace. He is our foundation. And He has provided a Savior. God is generous with his gifts. We have no reason to worry. He’s got our back.

Grace & peace to you from God.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Star Gaze

A few nights ago a spectacular meteor shower was forecast. My daughters and I decided we’d stay up late to watch and include the children. As the day went on, my grandchildren’s anticipation grew. In their minds I think they envisioned a fireworks display.

As darkness fell over our country home, we double checked the best time and location for viewing and set out our chairs on the patio. Wrapped in blankets we settled down to watch the show.

It was a very dark night with brilliant stars and an occasional flash from a meteor. A light appeared just below the tree line on the ridge above us. A brilliant half moon climbed into the sky. Its light brightened the heavens and dimmed the meteor show that was just beginning. Still, we saw flares of light in the night sky. One brilliant meteor burned brightly as it shot in an arc across the heavens. After that the display was more hushed, less spectacular. There was a sense of disappointment. We’d expected more.

Sometimes life is like that—our expectations are greater than the reality. Does that mean we have cause for disappointment? Maybe. But more likely we simply need to change our mindset.

The meteor display wasn’t what we’d expected, and yet we’d been given a spectacular view of God’s handiwork. And while we sat together gazing up at the cosmos wonder and gratitude filled us. My grandchildren were full of questions about the universe and God. They talked about their adventures and their fears. We made wishes and shared hopes and dreams. We hugged, laughed, and told stories, and we felt like part of God’s creation.

It was a simple evening spent on a patio gazing at a night sky, and yet it was so much more—it was a night filled with love. God surprises us. He is love and sometimes that love spills over into our lives when we least expect it.

His gift of that precious night will go into my book of memories. And the amazing thing is I can go there and open that book whenever I wish and relive the wonder. Memory making is important--they will be there when we need them most.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Pray Big Prayers

I recently watched a movie called Faith for Potatoes. It’s based on a true story of a man, Angus Buchan, who lives in South Africa. As a young man his life was filled with struggles and hardship and his heart was full of anger and fear. One day he joined his wife in church and he heard the Word of God and believed in Jesus as Savior. Angus was transformed.

His Christian walk began like many of ours. Deep joy and hope bloomed inside even though his life remained painfully difficult. Through struggles, he learned to trust God. One night during a storm Angus’s neighbor was hit by lightening and died, but God raised up the person, gave him his life back and Angus saw that his God could do anything.

Angus became a voice for Christ. And when it looked like he would lose his farm, he prayed a "ridiculous" prayer and then he waited . . . believing.

I don’t want to give away the ending of the story, but I was struck by how puny my prayers are. God is powerful. He can do all things. And yet I live as if He is frail and faint of heart. In spite of my weak faith God still listens to my prayers and answers them. Sometimes He says yes, other times He tells me I must wait, and there are circumstances that require a no. But there is peace in relying on God's greater wisdom.

I wonder how different my life would be, how different I would be if I truly grasped how BIG God is. What might I accomplish?

I say it's time to begin praying BIG PRAYERS and trusting God to overcome impossible odds. Shall we believe together for the impossible? I say, a great big YES!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, August 07, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Trust in God's Perfect Timing

I’m weary from back-to-back trips—one to the OCW Summer Conference and the other to Washington State to see my mother. It’s a physical challenge to combine travel jaunts. And a long list of tasks waiting for me make it even more difficult. But I needed to spend time with my mother.

As it turns out she needed me too. Not five minutes after arriving at her home we were on our way to the hospital. Mom was in terrible pain. The episode felt very similar to one she’d had when blood clots had run amuck. My stepfather and I spent the afternoon and evening in the ER.

Mom had been poked and prodded, undergone numerous tests, and had been given what seemed to be large doses of morphine, although it did little to ease her suffering. We waited.

I sat beside her while monitors blinked and chimed their unsettling annotations. I prayed this was only a bump along her path of life. Yet I knew it could be the end. Mom’s eighty-four years old, and heaven may not be far off.

I was grateful to be there with her. Our hands clasped, we prayed together, then we chatted as her pain allowed. It felt good to be a comfort to her. I remembered all the times she’d sat with me—through every kind of flu and virus, through heartache and change. Now it was my time to be there for her. She told me over and over how thankful she was for my presence.

I thank God. He made sure I was with her. Although the timing for my trip seemed all wrong He knew it was perfect. And the gentle loving experience that I had with my mother in that sterile room was a gift to me and to her.

I’m glad to say, Mom’s home now. She’s feeling much better. The doctor’s don’t know what’s wrong but they’re working to figure it out. And I’m home, exhausted and wishing I could have stayed longer, but grateful for the time I had there.

For years, the miles between my mother and I have been a sorrow to me. And I’ve often wished I’d never moved away from my Washington home. My mother never complained and the years here have been rich and filled with blessings. I figure God knows best and so I thank Him for my wonderful life here in the Oregon forest. However, I’m going to visit home more often and trust that God’s timing is always perfect.

No matter where we are or what we’re doing He is with us. He knows all things. So, when we feel the prodding of the Holy Spirit we best listen. He may have something important for us to do that we have no knowledge of.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Tips for Triumphant Living -- Show Up

After spending four days at the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference, I trekked down I-5 to my home in Southern Oregon. I haven’t missed a conference since 1992. Lonnie Hull DuPont closed the conference with a stirring personal story and I set out for home with my heart full.

I love to teach and have a special affection for OCW. Members of Oregon Christian Writers were my first and long-time mentors. In the days preceding the conference, however, fear taunted me. I had committed to teaching the Advanced Critique Class, and students who had worked hard depended on me to show up. I wondered if I’d make it through.

I’ve battled physical disability and chronic pain since an auto accident in 1991 and this year I’ve had several painful flairs. I fought a voice in my head that told me I couldn’t do it, not this time. God reminded me I wouldn’t be alone. He would be there. And so I went.

The first morning, I joined five students around a table and realized that each of them had most likely faced their own fears or doubts. I can only guess at the battles they waged. Knowing the enemy wants to stop quality writing by Christian authors I expect getting there wasn’t easy. I felt a surge of pride for them—they’d made it.

With each session I was more and more impressed, not just by their quality of writing (which was excellent) but by their character. Marion was steady and thoughtful. Dan expectant, yet capable. Barbara, quiet and studied. Joel, mentally sharp and bold. And Marlene brave and determined.

I am privileged to be part of their writing journey. They are serious writers who took a risk and showed up. We learned from one another, and the time we spent together will stay with me. I pray I was a help to them—I know they were to me. I believe because of our time together we’ll become better writers. However, we were required to face our fears and insecurities, battle our demons and show up.

Life waits—don't forget to show up.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Don't Quit

Mother Teresa once said, “God didn’t call us to be successful, just faithful.”

Her words are an encouragement to me. It’s exactly what I believe . . . and yet I sometimes lose site of God’s plans because my own get in the way. Being a writer means I work a lot of hours for very little pay. This doesn’t apply to all writers, just about 98% of us. :-) And in light of Mother Teresa’s work my contribution seems insignificant.

I’m sure God doesn’t see it that way. Writing is what He asked me to do, along with a variety of other tasks. And so I persevere in an effort to be faithful to Him. I love to write, but . . . there are times the work seems endless and the compensation meager. And I lose heart.

When I’m thinking about the “work” and lack of reward it’s a dead giveaway that I’m not tuned in to God, but rather I’m thinking about me. When I set my heart on God He reassues me that He’s working in me and through me—using my efforts in His great plan. Just the idea of being included is mind boggling. I feel humbled and grateful and can barely believe that the God of the universe wants me to be part of what He’s doing. I feel swamped in His love and am honored to be counted as one of His children.

There are days, for us all, when we simply endure, push on, and obey. It is these times when God does His best work—refining us and stretching us beyond ourselves. And although we may not see the fruit of our labor it’s there. And a day will come when we stand before our Lord and we’ll see the wood, hay and stubble, but we'll also see the fruit and receive our reward.

If God calls us to something, we need to do it. The difficulty lies in believing in Him rather than in ourselves. It’s all part of growing up. Growth requires courage. Sometimes it hurts. It always requires endurance. The good stuff never comes easily.

My dear friends push on, be faithful and trust God, then wait expectantly for what He has in store for you. I’m sure it’s something spectacular.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Shipwrecked Faith

Recently while reading the first chapter of First Timothy I came across a verse I’ve read before, but this time it seemed to jump off the page, and I saw it with new eyes. I love that about God’s Word—the learning never ends.

Verses 18 & 19 in Second Timothy One say, "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith."

What does a shipwrecked faith look like? My mind carries me to a picture of a ship on a broad ocean. Dangerous rocks are spotted far off and don’t appear treacherous. The waves then carry the ship closer and the crashing thunder of breaking surf can be heard. Finally the ship is carried onto the rocks and broken by the power of the sea. The ship sinks and ends its life on the ocean floor.

Like a ship at sea, we take gradual steps toward being shipwrecked. First we’re vigilant and wary and understand that trouble lurks “out there” somewhere. But sometimes we are carried away by the folly and temptations of the world and are unknowingly dragged toward calamity. Do we pray? Do we seek God? Do we know what’s at stake? If not, we’ll suddenly be overcome by the consequences of our choices and lose our grip on faith.

The Holy Spirit directs us through our conscience. When we are pierced or stirred by our conscience we need to listen. We need to pay attention. If we ignore His voice the day will come when we’re not certain whether something is right or wrong. And we will tell ourselves it’s not a big deal—all things are relative. But they are not. God’s Word is our standard.

Living with a shipwrecked faith is torture, so perilous that Paul went on to say in verse 20 that he handed over Alexander and Hymenaeus to satan because of their blasphemy. Our unwillingness to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit will drive us into satan’s hands. He waits, salivating.

This could be a tragedy, but there is hope. Suffering often restores relationships, especially those with God. When we find ourselves in the deepest pit, God waits for us. If we are willing, He will lift us out and set us on solid ground.

So, before you decide to disregard that voice inside think about the rocky shoreline that lies in the distance. We have options and although we’re unable to live perfectly we can live lives that inspire others and please God.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Love Sacrificially

Because of my "job" I'm privileged to hear from a lot of special people. Just this week I received a note from a dear friend, Jeannie St. John Taylor. She remembered my blog about Enduring Love and had a story she wanted to include. It's one I feel compelled to post. Please read and enjoy.

The Great Man
© Jeannie St. John Taylor

Even as a young child I sensed greatness in my Uncle Eldon. I remember wondering if he used the bathroom like the rest of us; surely he was too great for something so earthy. When I questioned my mother about it, she assured me all humans had to do those things, and Uncle Eldon was human.

As I grew older and viewed him more realistically, I still saw him as a well-respected man who excelled in his profession, but I knew he wasn’t superhuman. In fact he was very human, which his final years clearly revealed. Childless and completely alone after my aunt died, he moved through the halls of his nursing home in a wheel chair and yet, amazingly, his attitude still shone with greatness.

With shaky handwriting, he’d sign his Christmas cards, “Jesus is indescribably wonderful! This might be the most wonderful Christmas season ever! The eternal, almighty, all loving Word became flesh and dwelt among us. What a mystery! What a miracle!” When he broke his hip and could no longer leave his room, he cheerfully proclaimed Jesus’ love to visitors. I never heard a single complaint when I called across the country to chat with him, all he wanted to talk about was Jesus. He told me he prayed for each of my children by name every day, and I knew he spoke truth.

So when he passed away at age ninety-one, I cried and Googled his name: Dr. Eldon R. Fuhrman. Several pages popped up – 5,640 hits in .024 seconds. Most of the sites revealed podcasts of vintage messages, one listed a New Testament commentary my uncle had written and Wikipedia said he’d been elected president of Wesley Biblical Seminary in 1977 and stepped down to teach in 1985.

But it didn’t tell why.

Yet the why of his resignation as seminary president and eventual retirement from teaching while still mentally and physically capable of doing the job he loved tells the story of his greatness.

Just a few years after my uncle resumed teaching in his late sixties, Aunt Blanche began her gradual descent into dementia. Some forms of dementia, though sad, are almost sweet. I knew one woman who sat in her wheelchair swaying from side to side humming hymns. My aunt’s dementia was of the more difficult sort. So even though my uncle still wanted to work, he retired. Aunt Blanche needed him. She was his responsibility and far more important than his job; she was the love of his life. He would be the one to care for her.

He and my aunt left their gracious Mississippi home and occupied a small apartment in an assisted living facility where meals would be prepared for them. For the next fifteen years, Uncle Eldon dedicated every waking moment to my Aunt Blanche. When she grew too ill to continue living in their apartment and had to relocate across the courtyard in the nursing home wing, he rose early every morning and walked across the courtyard to eat breakfast with her.

After feeding her oatmeal and toast he’d take her for a drive. They’d park across the street from the seminary dorm named for him where he’d pray by name for each young man living there. Afterwards, he’d take her with him to his apartment for the rest of the day, returning her to the nursing home just before curfew. The only peace my aunt knew came when Uncle Eldon held her hand; he was her security. She was his treasure.

He fed her every meal. He longed to simply be with her and comfort her; she was distraught when he had to leave for the evening. Long after anyone else saw the elderly woman as attractive, he spoke almost reverently of her. “She is so beautiful,” he once told my mom in an awe-struck voice. “sitting there with her snow white hair and pearls . . . she’s beautiful, just beautiful!” And he meant it. She passed away two Julys before he did, and he never stopped missing and loving her.

Yes, my Uncle Eldon was a great man, but not for the reason you might think. While others may have considered him a man of note because of his educational accomplishments, my uncle achieved true greatness because he loved sacrificially; he overflowed with the love of Jesus.

Thank you, Jeannie, for this beautiful story of an exceptional man.

If you'd like to read more from Jeannie St. John Taylor you might try some of her books, which I've listed below.

Grace and Peace to you from God.


Culture Proof Kids . . . Building Character in Your Children
Am I forgiving
Together Forever
Am I Praying?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Enough For Today

While in the midst of physical suffering or sorrow, we sometimes feel that even one more day is more than we can manage. When we find ourselves in that place, what should we do? There are lots of solutions, but the one that is most helpful for me is to not look at tomorrow or the many more tomorrows that stretch out before me in a line of unendurable hours.

God offers a beautiful example of how we can do one day at a time. When the Israelites escaped pharaoh and wandered into the desert God provided just enough for the day. Manna was was given in the morning and quail in the evening. When the Israelites tried to horde or save for the next day their stash turned into maggots. Yuck!

God’s example says, trust me for today. I will see to tomorrow.

Sounds simple enough and for some it may be. Me—I’m a planner. And I worry myself into a stomachache with regularity. Today, I’m going to contemplate on God’s provision for the Israelites. His Word has the power to transform my thinking. So, today I’m not thinking about tomorrow. Today is all I need to trust for. God will meet with me today, and when I get to tomorrow, He’ll be there too.

Rest in him.

Grace and peace to you from God.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Dream

Saturday mornings should be leisurely. I love to stay in my pajamas, cuddle up in my chair with a blanket and a cup of coffee and watch a movie. That kind of morning is rare and treasured. I lucked it out today and settled down to watch an old movie—October Sky. It’s the true story of Homer Hickman, the son of a Virginia coal miner, who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to send off his own rocket.

He and three of his friends set out to fulfill a dream. Homer’s father and most of the folks in town see their vision as foolishness. The boys are ridiculed and made fun of, yet they persist. They have good analytical minds, but that is only a help in carrying them toward their goal. It’s tenacity, determination and the will to stand against the tide that makes the dream attainable.

Failure follows failure as the boys work toward their dream. But each explosion or misfired rocket teaches them something that enables them to plow toward success. In the end, they did succeed. Homer received a national science award, which opened educational doors and countless opportunities. He became a NASA scientist and was part of the team that put together our U.S. Shuttle program.

I love stories like this. Life is filled with challenges, successes and failures. For some, disappointments strengthen their resolve, but others are like a house made of straw—the slightest wind blows them down.

We give up on dreams intimidated or embarrassed by the opposition. It’s been my experience and that of history’s that those who persevere will accomplish great things.

In Homer Hickman’s life there were a handful of people who cheered him on, people who believed in him when no one else would. We need to stand with each other, pray for one another, encourage and cheer each other on toward our dreams.

Scripture tells us to uplift our brethren. Just as the Holy Spirit points us always to the Savior never toward Himself, may we also be more concerned with building up others rather than ourselves. There is great joy in witnessing the success of dreams fulfilled, even those who are held by someone else.

Grace and peace to you from God.

Bonnie Leon

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Lions & SPIDERS and Bears Oh My!

Three days ago my husband and I climbed into our jeep and headed to an isolated pond in the forest. I love to fish so was thrilled to settle into a comfy chair on a dock that floated on the edge of the tree-mirrored pool. I cast out my line and waited.

The air was hot, but the trees that hugged the bank provided shade and the breeze that stirred the forest cooled my skin. Deep throated calls of bull frogs accompanied bird song. I felt as if I were being serenaded and thanked God for the special moment.

In the midst of my peace, however, something lurked. It wasn’t a bear or a cougar, although they might have been nearby. No . . . it was a spider. I was unaware of the creepy-crawly, otherwise I would have been doing my “Oh my gosh, it’s a spider dance.” I don’t like the little critters. Without my knowing it, he bit me.

My hand itched and I rubbed it against my pant leg. The itching intensified, but I tried to ignore it, thinking an especially toxic mosquito had drilled into my flesh. After a while, the hand started to ache and holding the pole became painful. Ignoring the discomfort, I remained in my peaceful state of mind.

Once back in the jeep I looked at my hand and was stunned to see something that resembled the Pillsbury Doughboy stuck to the end of my arm. By the time we made it back to the house the swelling had spread to my wrist and lower arm, and my hand was red and heated.

Upon closer examination I discovered two little fang marks left by a not so friendly spider. Eewww. The hand and arm ached, but there didn’t seem to be any other “terrible” symptoms so I decided against an emergency room trip.

As I write this my hand is beginning to look more like itself and the pain is gone. My spider encounter reminded me of 1 Peter 5:8 & 9 which says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

Even while in serene surroundings, in the midst of beauty, a lion prowls, hoping to destroy us. I know a spider bite isn’t anything like a lion bite, but while I wasn’t looking, just like a lion, that spider got me. God tells us to be aware, to be diligent, and to stand firm.

We don’t need to fear. God is on our side. So, enjoy the wonder but be prepared for lions with destruction in their hearts.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Do Not Fear

Matthew 8:23-26 says, "Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, Lord, save us! We’re going to drown! Jesus responded, Why are you afraid? You have so little faith! Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm."

This is a powerful and familiar passage.

Obviously the storm referred to here is treacherous. The disciples believe they’re about to drown. They go Jesus asking him to save them and what is he doing—sleeping. How does anyone sleep in the midst of a deadly storm?

This is a beautiful picture of absolute trust. Jesus is so closely connected with His Heavenly Father that He’s absolutely unafraid, so much so that in the face of death he's asleep. He knows not to worry. Jesus rebukes his disciples and then rebukes the storm and it obeys Him.

Unlike us, Jesus is more than human. He is God. However, we’re called upon to see Christ as our example. That’s intimidating. After all, we’re just humans. Nevertheless scripture is clear in that we are to love one another, endeavor to be stronger, more faithful, trusting and all the rest of what Christ is. So when the storms of life strike do we walk in faith or do we cower and quake?

If we're quaking, perhaps we need to remember that our heavenly Father has not lost sight of us or our circumstances. In Him there is rest even in the midst of the worst storm. Rest in Him.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Quote—Fear not that thy life shall come to an end but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Are We Prepared?

There is an annual poker run in our community every June. A poker run is a family day filled with motorcycle and ATV enthusiasts. Yesterday was the big day. My grandson had been eagerly awaiting his opportunity to leave tracks all over a nearby ranch. There’s nothing he loves to do more than ride motorcycles. However, he made a miscalculation in his little boy mind. He thought all he had to do was show up with his motorcycle. It never occurred to him that he ought to be prepared.

He failed to let his parents know that his riding boots are way too small. So instead of attacking the track with new boots he wore tennis shoes. His bike needed work so didn’t perform as expected. Plus while spending the prior two days with a friend he hadn’t considered how a sunburn and little to no sleep would affect him.

As you can imagine, the poker run didn’t turn out as he’d planned. And after injuring a toe (no boots) the day ended early for Corey. It could have been very different. However, he is only ten, so patience and a grandmotherly hug were in order.

Watching my miserably unhappy grandson got me to thinking. We do just what he did. We show up at the “game” unprepared. When the enemy attacks we’re not suited up for battle. Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us exactly how we’re to dress for enemy encounters. And yet, we fail to dress appropriately. If we intend to stand we must be clothed in God’s armor. And 2nd Timothy 4:2 says this, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

How will we stand, how will we preach the Word, how will we encourage others if we’re overworked, spiritually undernourished, and live lives that are out of focus? Like my grandson we’ll feel wretched and the game may be over earlier than we’d intended.

So, before the next big event we need to get prepared, and then run the race in such a way that our heavenly Father will be proud.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Prayer

My last entry was a heart felt and passionate letter from a woman who fears for her country. Like her, I’m deeply concerned. And although it’s imperative that we stand up for what we believe, we must first pray—for one another, for our leaders, for our president.

Prayer is something of a puzzle to me. Certainly God can do exactly as He chooses when He chooses, and yet He tells us to pray. I know that speaking to God draws me closer to Him. Obviously prayer has a lot to do with our relationship. However, there are examples in the Bible where God didn’t move until His people prayed. I am convicted by 2nd Chronicles 7:14 where He says, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” I believe this. God does not lie.

There is a word tucked inside this verse we dare not overlook. It is the word THEN. Then is an important word in scripture. It often follows the idea of, "if you—then I will". Simply wanting change isn’t enough to bring it about. God states that we must be humble, pray, seek Him and turn from our wicked ways—then He will forgive us and restore our land.

So much of God is a mystery to me. I don’t know exactly how He plans to work out His will in my life and in the lives of those I love, but I do know that His Word is true and I’d best heed what He has to say.

And so . . . I pray that I will be humble in all my ways. I pray I will seek God with a heart that longs for Him above all else. And I pray His goodness will prevail over my wickedness. And I pray that those who are called by His Name will pray for our country. God will not abandon us if we do not abandon Him.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Tips for Triumphant Living -- Stand Up

I found this letter on a friend's blog and realized I must post it. It's a bit lengthy, but is full of plain good common sense. It's time we stood up. If we don't we'll lose our country.

Here's the post from a woman in Arizona.

I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me.

Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are.

Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?
Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person.

I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course.

Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance.

Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. (Mine, too!) I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making.

We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented.

You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far.

Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations.

We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now.

We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear?

We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent?

Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Caterpillars & Butterflies

Today’s blog title is Quiet moments with God. When I think about these special times with my Lord, I usually envision a devotional time—Bible Study, prayer or worship. But that’s a narrow perspective.

All of creation is formed by the very hand of my Heavenly Father. He means for you and I to enjoy all that He has made.

A couple days ago my daughter, Sarah, and I and her three children piled into the car for an adventure. We headed for a Butterfly Park not far from our home. We found all sorts of exhibits. There was a butterfly pavilion with the winged beauties where we discovered newly laid eggs on the leaves of some of the plants. There were baby caterpillars. I’d never considered a caterpillar as being cute, but these were. There were also cocoons, but none were ready to reveal the finery hidden inside. If we want to see that miracle we’ll have to go back.

My grandchildren studied butterflies and bees, gathered special stones, and talked about the wonders of the universe as we strolled through stunning gardens. I watched and laughed as they rolled down grassy hillsides, galloped through forested trails and climbed sculptures. My daughter laid down in the sweet smelling grass and the children piled on, then decided it would be fun if grandma took pictures of them pretending to sleep or playing dead. We laughed ourselves silly.

Although it was a day filled with activities it was definitely a quiet moment with God--precious time spent with the ones I love. Memories are now tucked away in my mind to be recalled again and again. Days like these are special reminders of the treasures of life, offered up by the God of the universe and made possible only because of Him. They are gifts to be opened, enjoyed and treasured.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Treasure Hunting

I remember the first time I read Proverbs 2:1-5. It gave me a different perspective on God’s Word. It says, "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

Sounds like a treasure hunt to me. What fun! But this is no ordinary treasure hunt. Rather, we have the ability to discover the knowledge of God! Amazing! One catch—we need to search for it. And it can't be a halfhearted investigation; it must be an intense pursuit.

If a close friend we trust and admire came to our door and told us that she has absolute proof that treasure has been buried in our back yard, we’d listen wouldn’t we? We’d head straight for the shed, grab a shovel and start digging.

Why then when we’re offered an incredible treasure--the knowledge of God—do we put off reading His Word, glance at it casually, even refuse to study it? There’s treasure to be had, but evidently we don’t believe it. I can think of no other explanation. Possibly we haven’t looked at it from God's perspective.

I’m convinced that if God said it, then it’s true. Imagine what our lives could be like if we fully grasped this basic truth. We’d be rich . . . in what truly matters. We’d possess wisdom, understanding of the Lord and the knowledge of God. Life would take on a whole new tenor.

I’m going on a treasure hunt. How about you?

Grace and peace to you from God.