Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Cherish the Moments

A few days ago, a friend of mine said, "It's never as good as you expect." I asked her what she meant and she explained that things(holiday celebrations) weren't what she'd imagined and she couldn't help but be disappointed.

We all have expectations about special celebrations or holidays. Christmas is the one we pin our highest hopes. When it's not as perfect as we'd imagined we're deflated and disappointment.

When we allow our imaginations freedom to roam, movies run through our minds and we almost believe life can be perfect. Of course that's not true, but it doesn't change our hope for perfection. Instead, we need to watch for moments of "perfection".

During the Christmas holidays we imagine carolers (in perfect key), games full of fun, well mannered children and families who never disagree. There will be a stunning tree and the house will be in perfect order. Instead, there are crowded streets and crowded stores, dirty diapers and sick children. Our lives are more about finding the perfect gift instead of the greatest gift--our Lord. Celebrations are dismantled.

Nevertheless, in the midst of the chaos there are precious moments--the joy on a child's face (like when our great neice, Laila, meets a dog named Tex), a hug from a loved one, a card with a heartwarming message, or the laughter of a child.

If we look closely, we'll see the true gifts of the season. They flit by in a moment, but they can warm our hearts and minds for a lifetime. Enjoy every one of them.

Grace and peace to you. And a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Don't Bury Your Treasures

A couple of weeks ago I watched my dog, Bentley, bury two of his bones. These were his treasures, and yet he buried them. I chuckled as I watched him use his stubby nose to carefully push the dirt into place, just so. Finally, satisfied that his treasures were safe, he trotted away.

I thought, how silly. What good would his bones do him buried beneath the dirt? He could no longer chew on them or throw them into the air and chase after them. They were no longer a pleasure to him.

God shares his wisdom with us through ordinary events of life. My dog and his bones were a lesson for me and I hope for you.

Do we bury our treasures--Use our good china only for special occasions? Or do we save our favorite clothes for important outings? What about spiritual gifts of encouragement, serving or teaching? Do we keep them to ourselves? Or natural gifts like music or art? Do we hide them from others and keep them for our eyes and ears only?

Treasures are to be enjoyed and shared. I'm reminded of the parable in Matthew 25 about the man who entrusted money to his servants. Two of the servants put the money to good use, but one decided to play it safe, and he dug a hole and buried the money. He was afraid and did nothing with what his master had given him.

Just like that man we are given much--possessions, spiritual gifts, and natural talents. These can and should be used to the glory of God. Is there something preventing us from giving back to Him? Are we afraid? Is it possible we're unable to grasp how much God has done for us and lack gratitude?

I've suffered from these shortcomings. The days when I refuse to share God's gifts life is dry and empty. He wants more for you and I. Giving of ourselves always has praiseworthy returns. Enjoy what God has supplied and offer money, gifts and talents back to the Kingdom. The experience creates a well of joy. Let us light up the Kingdom of glory so others can see The King.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, December 13, 2010


Christmas is only twelve days away. The malls and stores are crowded with harried shoppers, who seem to have forgotten what the season is all about--Love, Joy, Peace--Christ.

I was reading in 2nd Peter this morning in chapter one vs 19. and these words leaped out at me, The words of the prophets are like a lamp shining in a dark place. I thought about believers who are in the midst of the shopping crowds. Are we a light in a dark world?

In recent years I've had great fun shining a bit of light of my own -- at my local Walmart or Fred Meyer or Costco. I love to look people in the eye, smile and tell them "Merry Christmas". Always . . . always I receive a smile and a Merry Christmas in return. Sometimes there is a look of pleasant surprise or the recognition of one Christian to another. And often I've watched the person move on, their step a little lighter.

So, my challenge to you this week is to reach out and be a light. Share the joy that is Christmas with others. I'd love to hear what you did and what the response was. There are lots of ways to shine a light into the darkness--be creative and have fun.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Hope In Christ

This morning I awoke feeling tired of the battle. I sought out God. I needed to feel His presence, His comfort. And I needed to listen to Him, not to me. A picture of trees in bloom fillled my mind, and I knew that spring is coming. And then I heard that quiet voice, I know so well, saying, "Hope in Me."

When we despair or are filled with fear or temptation where do we go? Where do we place our trust? In our government? Our job? Our church? Or our own strength? None of these or the hundreds of other places we go for aid or even salvation are steady. They cannot be trusted. There is only one who will never lead us astray, who will always provide for our needs, who will hold us up under the greatest sorrow -- Our Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength."

Rest in His capable, compassionate and reliable arms. And no matter what terrible place you may find yourself, remember there is HOPE . . . always hope . . . in Him, the creator of all things.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, December 03, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Be Ready To Suffer

Suffer? I don't like that word or the experience. However, it is part of the real world we live in. Some of us rale at it or we ask why, again and again. Sometimes I gripe--loudly. What we need to do is see our sufferings as opportunities.

1 Peter 4:1 says, "So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too."

How do you feel when you read that? My first reaction is--Nope. Not me. Suffering is meant for someone else. Or I figure I can learn what I need without experiencing the really hard stuff. Thinking like that means I need an attitude adjustment. Scripture says, we're to have the same attitude as Christ. How do we do that? He suffered in ways we can't even understand. The question we should ask is, are we willing? Will we do what God asks --at any cost?

We need to look that question straight in the eye and decide--Christ's way or mine?

God can do amazing work through broken hearts and broken bodies. Take His hand, listen to His voice and follow Him. He will not let you down.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, November 29, 2010


Our lives are filled with delightful moments and events. Some of my favorites are tender kisses from my husband, fresh falling snow, time to gaze at a clear night sky glittering with stars and the thrill of a spring storm and a long list of other goodies. My favorite delight is time spent with loved ones.

This morning, my daughter Kristina strolled over to my place and we had a long chat. We talked about all kinds of things--silly stuff, plans for Christmas, and even life-changing decisions that need to be made. When she first showed up, I battled over whether to visit or to stick to my plan and get to work. In the end, time with my daughter won out and I gave myself over to the pleasure.

When my children were young, my office had a sofa and if my kids wanted to plop down on it to take a break from their busy schedules of play so they could visit, I'd made a commitment to always stop and listen. They were a higher priority than my job. They usually didn't stay long. I think they just needed to be reminded that I was there and that they mattered. Soon they'd be off after some new form of entertainment. Now many years later, I think back to those interruptions and I'm so thankful for the delight they brought into my life.

My children are still showing up, but not as often. When they do, however, it is still a delight. And just as in those early days, my work shouts for attention. But for me the priorities are more clouded. What matters most--work of family? My children are grown up. Do they need me "right now"? Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes it's no. But time together is still as important as ever, maybe more so.

If that's true, why does the question about how to spend my time feel less defined? I'm not sure, except that when my children were young, although I worked, I was still a full time mom. Now, my grown children have their own lives and I have mine. I sometimes have to make the hard decision to work instead of chat. But whenever possible I choose family over work, even if that means working late into the evening (like tonight). I'm not willing to give up the treat of connecting with the ones I love. They are gifts from God.

There is a thing called balance and I believe in it. I'm still searching for "perfect" balance, athough I'm certain I'll never find it. What I do know is that I can't get back treasured moments I've lost. However, work will always be here, the sink will have more dishes tomorrow, dust will reappear and there is always a book to be completed.

Have you let the delights of life go by because the voice of work and responsibilty shouted loudly? Don't listen too closely to that voice, just enough to draw near to balance.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Take time.

Remember who you are in Christ.

Give thanks.

Enjoy family and friends.

And for those of you who dare to venture out -- Have fun on Black Friday.

See you after the holiday!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Courage

I'm still overwhelmed by what happened today and don't really know where to begin. I pray that I can communicate the exquisite experience in a way that helps you to taste its essence along with me.

I spent the afternoon at a "hat" party. I don't suppose that sounds spectacular at all, but this was a very special hat party. It was held for a dear friend of mine-- Deena. I'm several years older than Deena and I've known her since she was a young, young woman. Today, Deena is fighting cancer. Her sister decided to throw a party to encourage Deena and remind her how much she is loved. And there were beautiful hats and scarves too. Deena is rapidly losing her hair from chemo treatments.

It was a precious afternoon, one I will never forget. As with most parties there were decorations, food and cake and the room was filled with the chatter of friends and family. But there were also deep emotions roaming among us--love, joy, laughter, sorrow, fear, hope and courage. It was like being at a banquet where one was invited to feast on the best of life.

I suppose you might wonder how fear and sorrow can be the best. They provide a reflection--without them how would we ever recognize the rest of life's goodness. So . . . for me the time was rich with God's presence and His love.

I watched Deena, feeling such admiration for her. She most certainly must be afraid; she is human. Still, she looked lovely and strong. I could see weariness in her eyes (after all battling for one's life requires a great deal of energy). What stood out from the depths of her dark brown eyes and the set of her jaw was courage and determination.

The party closed with a hair cut. Deena decided to cut her gorgeous dark hair down to about an inch of length. There are practical reasons for this; it will be less to deal with as she loses it. But I believe it was also Deena's way of standing up to the cancer--to look at it straight on and say "I choose how I'm going to fight. I'll do it my way."

She plans to win. I'm cheering her on.

Life is finite, none of us will live on this earth forever. But while we are here how much better it is to find the strength inside and the courage to live full out. So ask yourself, "What is it you were called to be, or called to do, or called to love or . . ." There is so much to be done, so much to taste. Do it. Now. While you can.

Be courageous!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Be Careful What You Ask For

Temptation, frustration and discontent are part of being human. The television shouts at us, hoping to convince us we can't live without the latest gadget, or the stories streaming across the airwaves do their best to convince us that the troubles of life are easily and quickly resolved. We want perfection from ourselves or our friends and family. We want to be smarter or prettier or healthier. And we go to God with our list of wishes.

Beware, for we have only 20/20 vision at best. But God sees it all. And yet, we often believe we know best, and when God doesn't immediately answer our prayers, we ask again. We may even demand. There are times that He gives us what we demand, even though He knows our desires are not best. Sometimes that's the only way we learn.

In 1 Samuel 8 the people wanted a King, even though it wasn't what God wanted. Through the prophet, Samuel, God reminded the Israelites what it meant to have a king. Their sons would be called to fight wars, their daughters would be forced to cook and bake and make perfumes for the king and his officials. And the king would take a tenth of their grain and the rest of their harvest . . . and a long list of other requisitions. Life lived under the leadership of an earthly king would be unsettled and harsh. But the people persisted. So, God gave them what they wanted--King Saul. In the end they paid a heavy price.

I have my list of wants. Some of them line up with God's plans for me, but there are other desires that aren't part of His will for me. Still, it is a battle to release them. Again and again I must remind myself, "Not my will, but thine."

Some of the tough stuff I live with puzzles me. I don't like it and I ask, "Why?" God's answers gently, "Trust me."

And so I pray and relinquish my desires. The more I seek His face, the more His voice drowns out the world's and my own. And sometimes I am rewarded by exquisite moments when peace rushes in and carries me above the stridency of the world.

God knows best and when we settle into His will we find a quiet place of peace and contentment. If only I could abide there always.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- God To The Rescue

We get ourselves into some of the worst situations. When we step into trouble, we don't usually intend to jump into a mess. Making wrong choices because of earthly desires can get us lodged between a rock and a hard place--the consequences of rebellion. Being stuck is usually painful, and getting out can be agonizing.

I've been in such a place, more than once. I've purposely made choices I knew God wouldn't approve of, but have gone ahead anyway . . . because I just had to have it(whatever it was at the time). I'm watching someone whom I care about deeply go through such a place right now. My heart aches as I witness the agony. But I find comfort in knowing that God knows it all. There's no situation, no heartache or joy He doesn't know about. And when we're in a tough spot He's there to rescue us. But . . . we've got to reach out and take hold of His hand.

While I was in prayer this morning I came across Psalm 91:14, which says, "The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name." I love it when God takes me to a passage that goes straight to my heart. Oh, how I love Him!

Although God will rescue us, recovery is not always easy or without complications. But what is our choice? We can count on being overrun by trouble when we refuse God's outstretched hand. Still, we sometimes clap our hands over our ears and our hearts and refuse to listen. The consequences? God lets us have our way.

Why do we desire our will over His? I don't have all the answers but I know we're just human, fallen people. Sometimes our hearts are full of Him and love for others and then there are times when we're more like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum. We want what we want when we want it. We don't have God's perfect vision, or know His precise plan, but that doesn't change the fact that He has one. If only we'd remember and trust.

Sadly, when we refuse to listen and turn away from God suffering can be the result of our rebellion. It can be acute. And the rescue is not necessarily easy. Letting go of what we cling to can be excruciating. And we think--If only I had listened in the first place.

But all is not lost. God will set us on solid ground where we can experience His best and learn to walk a path that produces joy, contentment and an abundance of fruit.

I love fruit--don't you?

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Crave the Lord

This morning while reading 1 Peter 2:2-3 I was reminded of a time when I was a newborn babe. The scripture says, "Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness.

In those early days of my salvation, I craved more and more of the Lord. I wanted everything He had for me. I remember staying up until the wee hours of the morning reading scriptures over the phone with my dear friend, Kathy who had helped lead me to Christ. We exalted His name as we read, discovering treasure in the truth of God's Word. We'd had a taste of God's goodness and we wanted more.

How long has it been since you felt like that? Has going to church become a ritual or maybe you don't go at all. Has His Word become stale? Or do you read it at all? Is your prayer time distracted, or maybe you don't pray at all. And you wonder how it is that you've wandered so far from the joy of Christ. Go to the heart of Christ--there lies our nourishment.

I've lived in dry places, wondering where my Lord had gone. The truth is, He hadn't moved. It was me who had walked away from Him.

As I visualize a new born babe he has two great needs--the comfort of his mother's arms and the nourishment she can provide. There is nothing else in his world to distract him from his passion. This is who God tells us to be.

As we mature as Christians, too often that longing fades and our urgent desire for the things of God is lost.

If we crave Him above all else we will live in the middle of his will--resting in His arms and seeking Him only.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Enjoy Life's Gifts

Touching the Clouds, my most recent book, has received some very good reviews. I love good reviews, they make me smile. I received one that is especially meaningful, written by Sarah Varland. She loved the book, but I think the reason her review meant so much to me was because she's an Alaskan. As I read, I felt as if I'd been given a gift.

I encourage everyone to accept gifts that come your way. After all, accepting or declining the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ means the difference between eternity with God or without Him.

The gift of Sarah's review does not contain the same significance, but it made my day. I want to share it with you.

Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon
Reviewed by Sarah Varland

"This book is a breathtaking adventure that
will help you escape from everyday life."
Touching the Clouds, the first in Bonnie Leon’s Alaskan
Skies series, captivated my attention from the beginning. It’s
set in the nineteen thirties, and Kate Evans is a pilot,
running from a past that haunts her and a fiancé who wants
her to be a predicable, domestic woman. She flies from her
home in Oregon to Alaska, determined to prove herself and
atone for her past mistakes.

But in this time of economic depression, jobs are scarce—
especially for women who are from “outside” of Alaska, and
especially for pilots. Kate finally convinces someone to give
her a job, but must work the mundane mail runs before
she’s given any passengers. Even though she knows new
pilots to any airfield have to prove they know their stuff, she
also knows that she’s under closer scrutiny than the average
newcomer because she’s a woman. And her rough-aroundthe-
edges male coworkers aren’t going to let her forget it.
While Kate is in Alaska, she meets a variety of interesting
characters out in the bush and small villages, including Paul
Anderson, a handsome man with a dark secret, and with the
help of her new friends, faces head-on the harsh challenges
that life in Alaska presents.

The characters in this book were real, three dimensional
people with struggles, fears, and passions. The dialogue
between them was realistic and each character had a
unique voice that added depth to the story. I enjoyed seeing
them grow and watching as relationships developed
between several different characters.

I’m from Alaska, and reading a book set in Alaska is sort of
like ordering salmon at a restaurant for me. I hesitate to take
the risk, being a snob about all things Alaska, because
either it’s going to be amazing and make me long for the
Land of the Midnight Sun, which is the more desirable, less
likely option, or it’s going to be poorly done. Bonnie Leon’s
story is set in the real Alaska. Her descriptions are perfect—
exactly what readers would see if they really were to fly
above Alaska and study its rugged landscape. I felt like I
was there with Kate and the other characters in this story,
shivering in the brisk Alaskan air and marveling at the
beauty of the Chugach mountains.

This book is a breathtaking adventure that will help you
escape from everyday life into Kate and Paul’s world, a
dangerous, beautiful place known as The Last Frontier.

You can find Sarah Varland at

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Number 81

Last Saturday, I had such a great time watching my oldest grandson, Corey, play football. He's eleven and weighs in at seventy-two pounds--the littlest guy on the team.

He plays center for offense and on defense he plays right tackle. It's hard to imagine, a boy his size taking the position of defensive lineman, but all seventy-two pounds of this boy are a lean, mean, fighting machine. I watched again and again as he punched his way through #81, and then did his best to bring down whoever had the ball. Corey's small but courageous and determined. Number 81 was twice Corey's size, but that didn't deter my grandson. He had a job to do and a goal, and he went after it.

While I watched I got to thinking about David and how he went up against a giant Phillistine warrior called Goliath. David was a boy, but he knew what needed to be done and had confidence that he could do it. When others tried to deter him, he didn't back down. He explained how his experience protecting sheep with club and sling had prepared him to fight and that he was certain God would protect him. King Saul was convinced and gave him a chance to bring down the giant.

When the soldiers tried to convince David to wear heavy armor, he refused. He knew how to fight this battle. God had rescued him from the claws of the bear and the lion and he would rescue him from the Phllistine and so he refused to wear the armor. Instead of sword and spear he picked up five smooth stones and went out to meet the Phillistine.

He was confident, prepared and trusted his protector. He said to Goliath, "You come to me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven's Armies--the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you and I will kill you and cut off your head."

Talk about confidence. He had no doubt that God would destroy the enemy. And so, with his sling and a stone, he brought down Goliath. He did what most would consider impossible.

I love this story. What a beautiful picture of how to do battle. While David watched over the sheep did he know he was destined for greatness? I doubt it. Did he understand that every battle was part of the preparation for his future? Probably not. In the same way, the battles we face today prepare us for tomorrow. Let us do our best to keep a Godly perspective on our present circumstances and remember that God knows where we're headed and what we need in order to be prepared.

Trust God. Be ready for battle. And stand up to your Goliath's. If we will do this, then just as David did we will display the power of God. It is a privilege to honor him before those who watch to see if God is who He says He is.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- You May Be The Only Bible People Ever Read

Have you ever considered that you are a walking, talking Bible? That you may be the only Bible a person will ever read? If that's true, ask yourself this question -- "What will people learn from me?" Will they see Christ?

I've heard people say, "I knew there was something special about so-and-so. And I wanted what they had. Their spirit or their love or their peace is what drew me to Christ."

I want to be that kind of person. I know better than to ask perfection of myself. It's just not possible. But if I'm truly walking with the Lord the way I walk can impact others and hopefully create a seeking heart in them. On the other hand, if I'm quick to anger or the language that comes out of my mouth dishonors God, or if I have a heart that is hardened by bitterness I'm a disgrace to God and it would be better that no one knows I'm a believer.

Don't be too hard on yourself, we are just human, after all. There is help for us, though--God's Word, the Holy Spirit and God Himself.

Romans 12 is filled with words of encouragement, guidance and wisdom. It's a road map, so to speak, to living for the Lord. The opening verses are powerful. "And so, dear brothers and sisters. I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

In a nutshell here is the rest of the chapter. What a beautiful thing the church, which is us, is meant to be.

Do not think yourself as better than others.
We belong to each other.
Use the gifts God has given you to serve one another.
Hate what is wrong.
Hold tightly to what is good.
Love each other with genuine affection.
Honor each other.
Never be lazy, but serve the Lord with enthusiasm.
Rejoice in confident hope.
Be patient in trouble and keep praying.
Help one another.
Bless those who persecute you--pray for them.
Weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with each other.
Never pay back evil with more evil.

We can be a light that leads others to the truth.

Next time you want to snipe at someone, stop and think about what kind of Bible you really want to be.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Ready For The Trials?

The past three months, I've felt as if I've been overtaken by affliction. For many years, physical difficulties have been part of my life. The difference this time is that my pain has been more intense, and I've been "benched", so to speak. I like my independence and to be honest, this stinks. But as I've moved through these difficult months a thought has resonated through my mind--Crisis always reveals a persons true character.

In this training ground, I haven't always liked what I've seen. If I were to give myself a grade for character in the midst of these difficult days I'd have to give myself a B-, which isn't really reliable since grading on character, especially one's own, can be very subjective. I do know I have a lot of growing to do when it comes to trusting God.

Being in God's training ground is part of our Christian experience, part of our maturing in Christ. The toughtest challenges often produce the greatest growth so we need to be grateful for trials. I definitely need work in this area.

When I consider the life of an athlete, they work hard to perfect their bodies and their abilities. As a test approaches they intensify their training. The work becomes grueling, but on the day of the race they're grateful they worked hard. Our own races approach and today is for training.

Let's be ready. Trials will come. Some of them will require super human strength

So, how do we train? First, remember if we can't do the small stuff, we won't be prepared for the big stuff.

We begin with God--He is the source of wisdom, knowledge, courage and strength. He is our foundation, and if we're not standing on Him the ground beneath us will be unstable. When our world trembles, we'll stumble and fall, and quiver in fear. Keep trusting Him and take heart. God is merciful. He understands our imperfectons and when we fall He will lift us up and set us on our feet again.

Growing in the Lord is a private thing. Accept His gift of love and return it. Spend time with your Lord. Get to know Him. He longs to spend time with you.

Our journeys are taken one step at a time. So walk. Worship. Grow strong. And be ready.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Trust In What He Allows

I find it interesting that my last blog was about our being focused on The Shepeherd and to follow Him, trusting that He will never let us down. The day following that blog I became one of the lost sheep.

On Thursday of last week my therapist added a couple of new exercises. They didn't seem too bad at the time, but the following morning my back told me otherwise. It screamed at me first thing and I found myself, once again, stuck in bed rotating from ice to heat and taking my medications as often as allowed. I was an unhappy and hopeless sheep. I cried a lot that day and wondered if I'd ever really be a whole person again. My eyes were not on the shepherd.

It's startling and troubling how quickly adversity dragged me away from The Shepherd. There is wonder in it, however. My Lord hadn't left me. He was still with me and He longed for me to reach out to Him, to rest in Him and in His plan. Even in the midst of trouble I can rejoice. Psalm 31:7 says, "I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles and you care about the anguish of my soul." He cares . . . always.

I'm better and I'm moving forward once again. I'm doing my exercises, only more carefully now. I will see my therapist tomorrow and we'll make adjustments in my therapy plan, but I will continue to work toward health and strength. As much as I dislike it, the truth is adversity makes me stronger. But in the midst of trouble I must remember to remain close to my Lord, keep my eyes on Him and off the hardship.

I pray that next time I'm up against it, and I will be, that I will not lose sight of The Shepherd who watches over me and to trust in what He allows.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Follow The Shepherd

Psalm 23 is a familiar verse to most of us. What a beautiful picture of our Lord--Our Shepherd. A shepherd looks after and cares for his flock.

This morning while reading I was touched by the picture of a shepherd who tenderly watches over and is even called to lay down his life for his sheep. Sheep are not known for their intelligence. They can be stubborn and sometimes wander away from the flock. And when the shepherd comes to their rescue they're not necessarily grateful.

I'm part of The Shepherd's flock, with all the same weaknesses as my fellow sheep. I'm grateful for the loving shepherd who watches over me. I trust Him to watch, to lead, to protect and to provide peace, rest, and strength.

What would happen if I were to wander off and lose sight of my shepherd? Most certainly destruction. There are beasts waiting to pounce and storms with the power to destroy. I dare not take my eyes off The Shepeherd. He is my haven of safety.

If we follow Him we'll never become lost. Keep our eyes on the One who cares beyond comprehension and we'll rest in green meadows.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- There Is No Such Thing As Ordinary

Throughout the years, I've shared a speech about gifts. Not the kind you expect, all tied up with beautiful wrapping paper and bows, but the kind that come in plain or even unattractive packages. Yesterday reminded me of those kinds of gifts.

For those of you who follow my blogs you know I've spent the last couple of months homebound, healing from a back injury. I've so wanted to get out and be "normal" and yesterday was my chance. I attended church (yay!)and then went into town to do some grocery shopping. Since I've been laid up, my husband has been trying to keep the shelves stocked with necessities, but we were woefully low on basic day-to-day items.

After church, which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way, my husband drove us to town. Our grandson, Corey, in the back seat chattered about plans that he has for our small farm. He made me smile all the way to town.

Once in the store I rode on a cart (that was a milestone)and instructed Corey which grocery items to get off the shelves. He loves to help. He placed them in the cart while my husband pushed, ran after forgotten items and paid the bill. My two boys loaded the groceries into the car.

It was a pretty ordinary day --NOT! It was a mermorable day! You might wonder why, when nothng particularly spectacular happened. Well, that's the secret--all kinds of spectacular things did happen.

First off the world seemed bright and interesting--I haven't seen it in eight weeks so I noticed all the greenery, interesting people and loved the feel of the breeze and smell of evergreen scented air. And my grandson gave me a bazillion hugs and "I love you's". I REALLY liked that. He chattered away, talking about life and smiling all the while. It felt as if I were hanging out in the sunshine. My husband was kind, patient and helpful. More than once I felt his touch on my shoulder or arm, just a reminder that he cares. And when his eyes met mine they held extra tenderness.. I felt cherished. There's nothing ordinary about that.

Feeling loved is definitely not ordinary. It's extraordinary.

When was the last time you made an ordinary day special for someone you love? Do it soon, you'll love it and so will that dear person whose part of your life.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Encourage One Another

Today, I just want to take a few moments to say, "Thank you." Thanks to all of you who have called or sent cards or notes via facebook or email. I'm still working my way back to health and it's not been easy. I've been told to expect a long journey but I'm moving forward. Hearing from you has made it easier. Every well-wish or prayer has brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart.

And through the years I've heard from so many of you, thanking me for a book or a story or just a line in a book that uplifted you in some way. Hearing from you brightens my life.

When we suffer, often we feel alone. It's wonderful to be reminded that we're not. And so much of a writer's life is spent alone. Hearing from readers brightens my life.

So, thank you and lets remember to take a few moments to uplift one another by praying for each other and offering a touch of love.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Yield

I have a stubborn nature. It's caused me trouble over the years, but walking with the Lord for thirty-six years, has dimished some of my willfulness. I am grateful.

Sometimes to bring about change a sharp edge is required and pain follows a necessary reprimand. And then there are times when I feel like pliable clay in a potter's hands. I love those times when change comes gently.

However, change is not always pleasant as is demonstrated in Jeremiah 18:5-6 But the jar he (speaking of the potter) was working on did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message. O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand."

I definitely do not like the crushing part of this verse, but oh how I love the starting over part. A new beginning that is carried out by God Himself.Knowing that one is molded by the master we can trust the results. We can become just who God longs for us to be.

Sometimes we fight against helping hands that mold and shape us. In my book, "Touching the Clouds" my hero, Paul tries to save a raven whose leg is broken. The bird fights him, beating the air and struggling to escape Paul's gentle hands. All the bird knows is that he wants freedom, which means he must escape. He has no inkling that his present situation is dire and that without the help of one who cares he will die. And so he fights. That's just like us. We want what we want, when we want it, the way we want it and we have no vision or understanding of the possibilities available through the transforming hands of the Lord. And so we fight.

God has so much more for us. And, yes, sometimes we must be crushed. I've been crushed and I don't like it, but transformation and a new beginning follows. And although while living in this world I will remain imperfect The Potter will continue to renew me.

Rest in the Potters hands. His touch is like no other. Be ready to be molded. Be expectant about who you will become. It may take a good deal of molding, but the pot created will be new and better and it will reflect the Father's glory.

Praise Him for loving us enough to mold us.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tips for Triumphant Living -- We've Got To Begin

Have you ever had what you thought was a good idea, some sort of outreach, or task or something that would just plain bless someone else? Maybe you've felt God had called you to something, but were too afraid to give it a try. I have. And too often I've ignored Holy Spirt nudges, thinking there's not enough money, or I'm not skilled enough or it's just a silly idea anyway. How many great opportunities have we passed by because we were counting only upon ourselves to pull it off?

As a body, we have an incredible number of gifts and talents, creative minds full of great ideas and a sense of purpose. And yet, we ignore them, thinking they are not enough. Well, they're not. And if we allow our self-securities to rule us we'll live a life of regret. We don't need to depend upon ourselves. There is God--remember--the One who created the universe.

There is a German Proverb, which says, "Begin to weave and God will provide the thread."

Keeping that in mind, all we have to do is begin, believe in The One and step out in faith. God will provide all we need. What's on your mind today? What idea, or project or task? Who do you know who needs help or just a hug or a kind word? Maybe you have a REALLY big task you think God's calling you to. Is it too big for Him?

Just remember, "Weave and God will provide the thread."

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, September 06, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Living Water

As many of you know I've been facing a challenge in recent weeks. But as is always true, God wastes nothing. I've drawn closer to Him and I'm learning a lot. I've got the questions and He's got the answers.

Today in my reading, once again, Oswald Chambers words ministered to me. Throughout my life I've faced a good deal of obstacles, but there is one particularly unruly affliction that persists in getting in my way. Again and again I've come up against it and today when I read that rivers of living waters will flow from me to bless others I longed to be an unobstructed river.

Mr. Chambers said, "A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers." And my mind cried -- I want to be that river! How do I overcome this barrier? The answer came quickly. "Keep paying attention to the Source (of the living water) and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it." My vote--remove it. God still does miracles.

Mr. Chambers went on to say, "Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty." I must confess my eyes have been firmly planted on the trial. And no good has come from staring at it. I've gained only fear. I know better, but just like you I'm not always wise or courageous. And in this I've been especially foolish, for I know that my source of deliverance is reliable and powerful. First John 4:4 says, "the Spirit that lives in you is greater than the spirit that lives in the world." Amen!

Believe. Cast away fear. We are filled with the Spirit of the Living God! We can be free-flowing rivers of blessing.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Sometimes we need someone with skin.

Years ago, when my sister was going through a life threatening illness and a tremendous personal trial, she spent hours in prayer and in God's Word. She recorded her thoughts in a journal. When she shared them with me I was amazed at the Holy Spirit power and the faith within her words. As I read I was reminded of the book of Psalms. And yet, one night when we were talking she broke down in tears and said, that although her trust in God was strong and that he'd carried her through the greatest hurts and trials of her life, that there were times when she needed someone with skin.

Through the years, those words have stayed with me. And in recent weeks I've been wrestling with my own physical challenges and life-changing decisions. I've spent a good deal of time in God's Word and in prayer, but still peace eluded me. I needed flesh and blood people to help me sort out my thoughts. I met with and talked to a few very special people, friends who know me well and who walk close to God, people I knew would speak truth to me and whom I could trust.

I have a way to go in finding my answers but I am at peace. I know God will show me the way. And it is the voices, insights and Godly wisdom of my dear friends who have been a great help. I am incredibly grateful for their prayers and sincere counsel.

It is a blessing to witness God working through Christian family. We are meant to minister to one another. Just the thought makes me smile.

If you find yourself in a place where you need "someone with skin" please don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. That's why God placed us in the midst of his family. We can breathe life into one another.

May you know His peace, glorious peace!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quiet Moments With God ---Human Hands

I've been out of touch for a couple of weeks. And I've missed you. It's wonderful to feel well enough to write again. Praising God!

A few weeks ago I injured my chronically ill back and was laid up here at home. Then Sunday, the fifteenth of August while my husband was helping me sit, an explosion of pain went off in my low back. I've lived with back pain and muscle spasms for many years, but have never experienced anything like this.

I have the dearest husband. Greg held me tightly. We cried together and knew we needed outside help.

I was soon on my way to the hospital, via ambulance--not something I wanted but we had no choice. I'm a strong believer in God's sovereignty. There is a reason for this journey. I understand some of those reasons and some are still to be revealed.

I spent six days in the hospital and while there experienced God's love through friends, family, hospital personnel, nurses and CNA's. Their care, compassion and hands-on help were a balm from the Lord. I wished they could understand how much their care meant to me, but words weren't adequate to express my gratitude. If only they could feel my heart.

Much of the time my mind was in a drugged fog so names are unclear, but the faces of God's angels remain with me. Some offered gentle words, medication and confidence. Others massaged sore muscles and some cared for my very personal needs with tender respect. One young woman gave me a soothing bed bath in the middle of the night. All offered love and kindness through gentle words or the tender touch of their hands. I had an amazing conversation with a woman who worked with the hospital chaplain. And there were two physical therapists with very different approaches who helped me face my fears and do what I must.

I had apportunities to share my faith and even gave away a few copies of my new book. So much of what happened in the hospital felt like a gift.

I'm home now and my older daughter, Kristi, is taking care of my physical needs. She's wearing a smile and is overflowing with empathy and encouragement. My younger daughter visits and provides the gift of her smile and makes me laugh. My grandchildren are full of sweetness and hugs.

I don't like pain and I'd never choose to be in this situation, but I believe that what happened is part of God's plan for me. I have much to learn. Through the hands of his servants I feel His love in the midst of this trial. I'm grateful, beyond words, for those who have reached out in love and have made this time more positive than negative. Thank you.

Love comes in all shapes and sizes, and when given it is never wasted. Look about and love those around you. Blessings will flow.

I love you all.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, August 09, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- A Cheerful Heart

Over the weekend, my husband and I moved . . . again. We've done a lot of that in the last year. At this stage of our lives, it's difficult. We couldn't do it without assistance and we're thankful for the helping hands that shared the work.

Our son traveled from Central Oregon to offer up his brawn. And our youngest daughter and her children also helped, plus another friend. It was a lot of work, but it was also fun and I'm very happy to be settled in my new home. I'm hoping to stay here a good long while.

Our home is actually two houses. There's the main home plus an addition.We moved into the addition.

I made a lot of trips back and forth. On one of those trips I carried family treasures while one of my grandsons and my granddaughter walked in front of me their arms loaded with sheets and towels. Smiling, they chatted, happy they could help. It was a precious snapshot that will remain imprinted in my mind--a picture of God's grace "in action". He wants us to help one another. Later that day I attended a memorial service at my church and again I witnessed God's love, given through the hands of people.

A wave of blessing washed over me as I felt the mercy and love of The Father through the love of people. Helping hands and hearts are an expression of His love.

May we always remember it is an honor to be part of God's family. And that being part of the family means caring for and loving one another.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- New Every Morning

Have you ever wished you could go back and do something over--do it right--do it better? When you're hit by the reality that you can't go back it can be downright painful. I had a moment like that this morning. Tears were quick to come--I wanted another chance.

Sadly, life cannot be rewound. Opportunites for do-overs just don't come along very often. And sometimes I'm sure if we could go back and "fix" something we might actually be messing everything up. God may want things to be just as they are. We have lots to learn and getting something wrong the first time can go a long way toward growing us up.

No matter where we find ourselves, we're here. And we've got to begin right where we are.

As I think on this the verses from Lamentations 3:22-23 come to mind. "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." And Psalm 30:5 says, "For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

I love these verses. They're filled with mercy, love and hope. We can weep over wrong decisions, lost opportunities or wasted moments, but after the weepiing is over, we begin again. Every morning we awaken to a day filled with God's love, forgiveness and new opportunities.

May we rejoice for the gift of today.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- My Hero!

Do you remember the old dramas where the bad guy twirls his mustache and then ties a damsel in distress to railroad tracks? All looks lost. The train is coming and there seems to be no way to save the young woman who struggles to free herself. But . . . along comes a hero just in the knick of time. We watched the dramas, hoping and praying for a savior, and always knowing he'd show up.

I'm still doing that. Waiting, watching, wringing my hands and hoping for my hero to rescue me. Since the hero in my story is the Lord, it's silly of me to worry. He's never let me down.

In a Bible Study I attend we're going through 1 Samuel. In chapter fourteen, verse twenty-three it says, "So the Lord rescued Israel that day." If you go back and read the story all looked lost for Israel. They were facing a battle against the Philistines and they had no weapons. Except for Saul and his son Jonathon, the army was unarmed. They needed a hero.

Jonathon believed and trusted God. He knew God would come to the rescue, and he did. On the day of the battle the earth shook, the Philistines panicked and Israel was saved.

We have our own battles. Some feel insurmountable and sometimes I feel as if I'm going against them unarmed. It's not true. I'm not on my own, not ever. God is with me and he is the one who rescues me. Scripture tells me that when I pray he hears and he will not turn away. With him at my side I can stand strong against any foe. God is mighty and righteous. He is my hero.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Go To The Word

The Word of God will never lead us astray. Proverbs 30:5 says, "EVERY word of God is flawless". How wonderful it is to know there is a place we can go when we need comfort, guidance, assurance and love--a place without error where we have no fear of being led astray. We can trust God's Word and be certain that what we read is the absolute truth.

I'm asking for a show of hands. How many of you read the Word of the Lord every day? Every other day? How about every week?

Like many of you, I'm not always faithful in this area. I read my Bible and a devotional, nearly every day. And I'm usually working through a study of some kind. But . . . when I'm especially busy or on vacation my Bible sometimes remains out of sight. Why? It holds the wisdom of the universe.

Maybe I just don't really get it--that The Word is life. It offers me everything I need. Without it I'm like one who is blind and trying to make my way through a city with no one at my side.

When we're in some kind of trouble what do we do? I can't count the times I've worked a problem over and over through my mind and agonized over what to do. And often I seek help from a friend or family member. We need one another, but we also need God. If we ignore him we're being foolish. God has placed His truths in one book. It is complete. He hasn't left out one word. All we need to do is open it and read. There we will find Him, the God of all the universe. And in addition to that--His Holy Spirit dwells in us. He's with us always.

How unbelievably wonderful it is to be a child of The King! We're never alone, never without help, and never not loved.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, July 26, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Gather Together

My sister and one of my nephews flew into town this week. It was just what we needed to get everyone together and light off the BBQ. We had a good time. We ate, gabbed, laughed and played with the kids and the dogs. And we shared family stories. It happens naturally. One story leads to another and soon time has run out before we've shared them all. It's fun and faith-building.

Sharing the stories and reliving our lives knits us together. Our history reminds us of who we are, where we've been and it even helps show us where we should go.

It's not so different in our church families. God has a reason for telling us we need to gather together. It's for teaching--yes, but there's so much more going on. Like a family, we need to connect with each other. If we never get together how can we build a history? How can we learn to trust? How can we carry one another's burdens or rejoice with melded hearts and minds? And then one day, look back and grow stronger because of the places we've been . . . together.

When we gather to worship and learn we discover truths we might not have found, garner strength and courage to persevere. We need to pray together and help each other find the way. And it is our Heavenly Father, in the midst, who gives purpose and assurance.

Whether it is your genetic family or your spiritual family, find time for each other. Life will be sweeter.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quiet Moments With God--More Than Just Signing Books

I love booksignings! I know a lot of authors dread them, for good reason. Sometimes we sit and sit without anyone stopping to chat or buy a book. That's difficult. But usually booksignings are opportunities to meet new people, chat with old friends and loyal readers, and on very special occasions we get to share Christ with someone. It's a wonderful time to connect with others.

Today I drove into my local bookstore, Living Hope Bibles, and settled down at a table that had been beautifully arranged with copies of my new book, Touching the Clouds, bookmarks and postcards and a gift basket. And people were waiting. :-)

A booksigning is actually a marketing tool, but today God used it for something more. He wanted to bless me as well as readers who stopped in. While one woman shared some of her life story with me I dabbed at tears as I learned how God had led her from hate to love. Another woman prayed for me--what a precious experience to go to our Heavenly Father together. Person after person shared their lives and allowed me to share mine. What a wonder it is to see once again how God's family is bonded in love.

I don't know how many books were sold, although I think the store did well. What really matters is the love and care that was expressed among God's family. It's a beautiful thing. I'm still feeling warm and fuzzy. I love that!

We don't need a special event to reach out. Love one another today and every day.

Grace and peace to you,


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Be Kind

In a recent interview I was asked what I dislike most. The answer immediately flashed into my mind. I can’t stand meanness, especially between Christians.

We snipe at each other, gossip, and toss barbs. There is no reason to be cruel, not one. And yet, it happens all the time. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm not innocent. I've been known to throw insults when miffed. I detest such behavior, especially when it originates with me.

Scripture is clear. Maliciosness is not okay.

Matthew 19:19 says, "Love your neighbor as yourself” and in John 13:34 Christ says, “A new command I give: Love one another As I have loved you, so you must love one another." And in Matthew 5:38 Jesus says, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

These are just a handful of verses, there are many more. They should make us think. What does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves? We make sure we’re well fed, clothed, housed and we take care of needs that arise. So does loving our neighbor as ourselves mean we're to extend the same kindness toward them? How can we do that better?

To love as Christ loves means to love sacrificially and unconditionally. Do we even come close?

And when someone wrongs us what is our first reaction, reprisal? Clearly Matthew 5:38 describes just the opposite.

So, do we take God's Word seriously? Do we believe ALL of it applies to us?

It's not possible to live perfect lives, we're human after all, but do our hearts long to live in a way that honors God? Maybe we should spend time contemplating how we can honor Him. If we find ourselves being cruel to others either to their face or behind their back, then we're clearly not pleasing God.

Cruelty can devastate. Unkind words and actions tear down those God has asked us to love. How it must grieve our Heavenly Father.

I don't want to grieve Him. I want to please Him. I say, let’s give the Lord's way a chance. Decide to love at all times. Imagine what the world would be like if we chose love instead of hate.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Be There

It's good to be alive! I just returned home from a local event that I nearly missed.

Every Fourth of July, for the last several years, the churches in our community sponsor a Fourth of July celebration. There's lots of food, games for the kids, great music and the best fireworks display in the county. It's a gift to our neighbors and friends. Everything is free, just as the gift of salvation is free.

This evening I attended with my husband, my oldest daughter, one of my grandsons and my pup, Bentley. This year the estimated number of attendees was three thousand! We live in a tiny town so this is a big event.

While my daughter and her son enjoyed the festivities and my husband cut and served watermelon, Bentley and I wandered through the grounds, visiting with people. A puppy is a sure fire people magnet. We had a good time.

As the sun set I found a chair alongside my family, wrapped myself in a blanket and snuggled down for the evening show. A band continued to belt out songs from the seventies while my grandson and I rocked out. He played his imaginary guitar and I a drum. With a little head banging, laughter and smiles we created a new memory to store away for another day.

The stars appeared one by one while my daughter counted them, and then the band quieted and a pastor shared the wonder of the gospel while I prayed for receptive hearts. When he finished amens and clapping echoed across the large open field. And then we stood and sang the Star Spangled Banner, all 3,000 of us. The fireworks began just as the song came to an end. People cheered and then we sat and marveled at the thundering sounds and brilliant colors lighting up the night sky.

I whispered thanks to God, grateful to be there. I'd almost missed it. I was tired and staying home had seemed easier. I'm so glad I didn't give in to the temptation to hibernate at home. I wonder how much we miss because it's "easier" not to go.

Our years here are limited. And there is so much to see and do, but we've got to BE THERE.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, June 28, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- A Love Letter

Dear One, please hang on. I know life is hard and sometimes the battles feel as if they can't be won, but press on.

When there seem to be no answers, know that there are. When you feel as if you're lost in a pitch black night, know there is light. When you feel as if your strength has run out, know that God will lift you up. He hasn't forgotten you. He hasn't lost sight of you. He sees every worry, every hurt, every adversity. Look to him and he will set you on your feet. Your answers will be found in him alone, and it his peace that will comfort you.

The apostle Paul told us in Philippians 3:12-14, "I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Dear one, press on. Strain toward the goal. Don't look back. What lies behind is vapid. Seek your Father. He would not ask you to do the impossible. Whatever he asks, you can do.

Life is full of trouble, but beauty and treasure still resonate. Do not become distracted by the rigors of the world, but instead hold onto Truth. God's Word is powerful and pure. Like an arrow it finds its mark. Cling to it, believe it and true riches will be yours.

Resist the wiles of the enemy. He offers destruction. The One who truly loves you gives life.

Grace and peace to you from God.

Bonnie Leon

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Being Simple

For much of my life, I thought I was stupid. I'm not sure how I came to believe that, but I did. Believing the lie was like living my life shackled. It wasn't until I was in my mid-thirties that I realized the truth. I'm no genius, but I am intelligent. I'm also simple--an ordinary person.

Psalm 19:7 says, "The law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple." And Proverbs 9:1-6 says this, "Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city. Let all who are simple come in here, she says to those who lack judgment. Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding."

God offers so much! We, who are simple can be wise. We can walk in understanding. What a precious gift.

Knowledge is good. We want to know the secrets of the world. We need to know God's ways. However, without wisdom knowledge is empty. It is amazing that God can fill a simple person like me with His wisdom. Because of Him I walk in understanding. We all can walk in understanding.

I have only a basic education, no renowned ideas or legendary accomplishments, and yet God chose to use me. I hear from people from all over the world who have read my books or my blogs or an article I've written. I am often thanked for sharing God's truth, His hope, His love. I'm nobody special, except I'm one of God's children. When I link arms with the Lord anything can happen.

Never tell yourself that you don't know enough, you're not smart enough or educated enough. That's not what God's about. Wisdom comes from Him, the King of Kings.

Ask Him for wisdom, then humbly accept His gift and see what He does with your life. It just might amaze you.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Who Do You Want To Be?

Yesterday, while reading from "My Utmost For His Highest" Oswald Chambers closing lines caught hold of me. "Beware of paying attention or going back to what you once were, when God wants you to be something you have never been." Powerful words, potentially life changing.

What kind of person are you--one who goes back to what's familiar or the type who looks forward to what could be? I want to look forward, to move forward--to become something I've never been. I long to be that person. Sadly, that's not always who I am. Fear, lack of confidence, lack of vision and a voice in my head that tells me I can't be someone else holds me back.

2nd Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore,if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone,the new has come!" Amen! We must remember that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Whoever God calls us to be and no matter what He asks of us, we have the strength and ability because of Him.

I remember the day I placed my faith in Christ--I was a brand new creation. It was an amazing time learning what it meant to be a child of God. And now when I hear that God wants me to be someone I've never been I'm reminded of those early days. I wonder who does he want me to be and am I ready?

If I'm willing, then I'm ready. God will show me the way, give me the strength and the wisdom as I am transformed.

Trust the Lord. Don't hold back. Embrace God's opportunities. And discover the person you've never been.

I'm stoked. How about you?

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- He Is Everything

We have a new puppy. I think puppies are adorable, especially when they are just visiting or when they belong to someone else. I'm not hard hearted, honestly. I do think they are sweet, but they're also a lot of work. And this is my second day without sleep. Our new addition can't stand to be away from us and he makes sure to let us know . . . all night long.

During the middle of the night while he cried and cried in his crate I got to thinking about his world. He was fearful, thinking he was out of our sight. We are everything to him. He longs to be with us. He's absolutely dependent upon us. And he trusts us to care for him. That's how it ought to be between myself and God. Is He everything to me? Do I long to be in His presence? Do I seek Him with all my heart? Do I turn to Him for my every need? Do I trust him completely?

I wish I could say, yes, yes and yes. But I'm self-willed and though I long to be close to God and to always trust and always be obedient, just like our puppy, Bentley, I have a lot to learn. I need to rein in the "I want what I want and I want it now" syndrome. When I'm thinking about me I'm not thinking about Him.

Seek Him and His will. Live fully aware of His presence and love. Remember He always watches over us. There is no place we can go that He is not there. We are never alone.

If we make Him our everything peace will rule in our hearts.

Grace and peaced to you from God.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Out of the Wreck I Rise!

This title comes from one of the daily devotions in the book, "My Utmost For His Highest". It is powerful. As I read the devotional on that day, I was led to Psalm 91:1-2, 4, 14-16. God's Word swept over me in a mighty way. As I read the verses I sobbed.

In the past weeks and months I've had moments, sometimes days, when I felt hopeless. I felt despair. I was angry. Trapped. I've been fighting a battle that presents itself in physical disability and pain, but the real battle is in my spirit.

I have feared there is no way back to good health. And maybe there isn't. Maybe I will have to wait for heaven. But I know this, that as I read God's Word and stand in His presence I grow stronger. I find hope. And I know that no matter what my physical condition I have all I need. God is with me. He stands with me. I am never alone. He fights this battle with me. And in the midst of it, He will carry my burden.

Here is the Word of God. Psalm 91:1-2 says, "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust." Verse 4 -- "He shall cover you with His feathers; And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler." Verses 14 - 16 "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known my name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him. And show him My salvation."

The power of God's Word is mighty!

My hope is in God! He is my refuge and my fortress. When I am afraid, afflicted, hopeless, He lifts me--out of the pit of despair, fear, and suffering.

In God alone will I trust!

Beneath His wings I will abide and there I am safe and given ease. I am not alone, but lifted up. He will lead me and show me the way. He gives me wisdom to do what is BEST, not only what is good.

Time with Him, seeking Him, loving Him and resting in Him is my comfort. And He is your comfort too.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Bloom Where You're Planted

There was a book published years ago, called, "Bloom Where You're Planted." I always loved the idea and have tried to live my life that way. It's not easy, but God gave me a beautiful example through my sister, Leslie.

During much of her life, she was a wreck of a person. That doesn't sound like a nice thing to say about someone, especially not a sister, but it's a true statement.

Leslie, had a great beginning. She had loving parents. They loved each other and her. She was the youngest of five children, was intelligent, beautiful and a superb athlete. And she had a special love for animals of all kinds, including things like iguanas.

In spite of all that she was unhappy. As a child she was the victim of abuse, something our family didn't know about until she revealed it to us as an adult. I think her self loathing began during the years of abuse. An additional heartache was the death of our father when she was a young teen. The hurts sent her down a path of alcoholism and drug addiction. And her fight with lupus and bi-polar condition began when she was just a teen.

Her life resembled a battle field, but she fought back and overcame the addictions to alcohol and drugs. Lupus forced her into a nursing home at an early age. It was devastating to her and her family. But God had a plan for my sister, and the nursing home was part of it.

Psalm 1:3 says, "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season."

For many years, God called to my sister, but she resisted Him. His love never wavered, especially when her path led her into the nursing home. He planted her where she could bloom, a most unlikely place.

The early weeks and months in her new home my sister was miserable. It seemed her life had no meaning. Gradually she found her niche. The senior residents needed her sharp mind and she came alongside many of them, helping them manage medical issues, legal matters with the state and with their families. She became a trusted friend to many.

Life in a nursing home can be dismal so Leslie built bird houses and homes for squirrels to attract the wild creatures into the home's garden where they could be enjoyed. And even though she couldn't walk, she planted hundreds of flowers in those gardens. And she was the one who convinced the directors that a dog would be good for all the residents.

Those of us who loved her watched Leslie bloom. She'd fought God all her life, but in a modest nursing home she found purpose and she found the Lord. When she was just forty three she died from complications of lupus. But before she flew off to heaven she bloomed and became a beautiful picture of what God can do with a life bent before Him.

Even in the midst of the worst circumstances there is joy to be found. Place yourself in God's hands and He will enrich your life and you will bloom.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- God Sightings

Do you ever have God sightings? Those special circumstances or moments that remind you God is close. Sometimes something happens and you're certain God orchestrated it, just for you.
We all have God sightings, but sometimes in the midst of our busy lives we don't stop to pay attention.

A couple of days ago God gave me a special reminder that He cares and that He's near.

My grandson, Corey, loves my baby chicks. He's taken on their care. He feeds and waters them every day and makes sure they are safely closed up in their little house every night.

Two nights ago, just before sunset all the chicks had gathered inside their house, all but one who decided he wanted to stay out doors. He eluded all attempts to catch him and finally hid beneath the chicken house.

Corey did everything in his power to save that chick. Unwilling to give up, he wiggled beneath the coop, in the dirt and filth, just to make sure this little creature had a safe haven for the night. Unaware of his filthy condition, my grandson, cradled the baby against his chest and stroked its soft feathers, calming him. Then he gently placed him safely inside the coop.

Tired and filthy, Corey wore a big smile. He didn't care how much work it took to rescue the chick, all he knew is that he was safe.

My grandson's care and concern reminded me of God. Our Heavenly Father did everything to save us. He doesn't give up. And when He gathers us close after rescuing us, He smiles.

There is no place we can go that God is not there. And yet, I don't see Him often enough throughout my days. Maybe I'm not watching.

I have a friend who often talks about "God sightings" -- circumstances she experiences that she knows God had a hand in or something beautiful God created. It can be a sunset or a delicate flower we might not notice unless we're looking. Or it might be a bumble bee in flight--that's an all out miracle. It might be a parking space God saved just for you because He knew you needed it.

There are lots of God sightings out there waiting for us to see. We have to look.

When we see or experience a "God Sighting" make sure to share it with someone else. It will lift their day and maybe even encourage them to look for God in the day to day happenings of their life.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Enjoy The Moment

I've been rushing lately. I have a lot going on, including a deadline for a book. Everyday my "to do" list requires more hours than I have in a day. During my shower this morning, I caught myself washing my hair in a hurry. What happened to luxuriating beneath hot steamy water? Or maybe even singing a song while showering? I always sound better in the shower.

While the water cascaded over me, I wasn't thinking about how good the shower felt. My mind was on the list. I nearly missed the pleasure of the moment.

Almost everyone I know is in a hurry these days. We have to many responsibilities crowded into our days--work, family, church, community and that's only the beginning. It's good to be involved, but while we're in the midst of planning and fulfilling our obligations let's not forget "right now". Stop and enjoy the significance of the moment.

The "little things" in life make all the difference in how we feel. Take time to enjoy a sunset or a sunrise. Stop and watch bees gather pollen and marvel at the wonder of nature. Listen to the birds sing. Make sure to listen to your children's or grandchildren's interesting perspectives on life. Answer their kazillionth question. It only takes a moment or two.

God reveals Himself in these snapshots. He is all around us, whispering His presence, revealing to us the wonders of who He is. And He waits to hear from us. If we're in too big a hurry, we'll miss Him. We'll miss the beauty of the day to day specialness of life.

When we tell ourselves we'll make time later, sometimes later never arrives. Because after this project there will be another one and then something else after that. We must choose to enjoy the moments. They are like a string of pearls, each one unique and significant, snapshots that breathe life into our souls.

The days will pass whether we're paying attention or not. Don't miss them. Look. Listen. Enjoy.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Meditate?

When we use the term meditate, what first comes to mind? I must admit I see someone sitting in a lotus position, hands folded in front of them and chanting. Sorry, but sometimes my mind is so cliched. But, I know there are others like me.

Philippians 4:8-9 gives us a whole different picture of meditation. It says, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report. If there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."

With all the instability and violence in our world it's easy to become fearful or jaded. And peace, well it can be hard to find when our very lives are threatened. And the day to day troubles steal our tranquility. When we focus on our difficulties or the evil that might touch us or our loved ones we lose sight of The One who knows it all and who watches over us. If we're not on guard our days will be stolen from us.

I looked up the word meditate in the Webster's dictionary. It explains the word this way -- "To engage in thought or contemplation. To plan in the mind; intend."

So it would seem that the apostle Paul is saying we should not only set our minds on what is good, but to plan how we will think or what we will do according to what we see in him, and then the God of peace will be with us. So if we're wondering where our peace has gone, maybe we ought to take a closer look at where our thoughts reside.

What has captured your thoughts today? Are there troubles that tear your mind from God and His goodness, from the noble and true things around you? Then drag your thoughts back to what is good, noble, true, pure, and lovely and remember the things Paul did. It will change your the tempor of your spirit and change your day. It might even change your life.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Not Done Yet

My chicks are growing fast. They're in that stage where they're partly fluff and partly feathers. They look rather pathetic. But as more feathers come in I can see that one day they will be gorgeous hens. They're New Hampshires so they'll be golden brown and should be good layers with gentle temperments. Perfect.

While I was out feeding and watering them today I watched them for a while and a scripture came to mind. Philippians 1:6 "And I am certain that God who began the good work within you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

Like my chicks, I'm not done yet. But there's hope. My growing up is a process. One day I will be complete and perfect.

In the day to day of life I get frustrated with myself. I'm so not perfect. And I wonder, will I ever grow up and become the person God wants me to be? In this life time I'll grow and mature but perfection is out of reach. However, I can be assured that the good work God began in me will one day be finished. Amazing! I'll get better at being who God wants me to be. He promises. And God always keeps His promises.

When we're most disappointed in ourselves that's when we need to look up and look to the cross. Christ's work is finished, but we're not. We all have some growing to do. But God promises that one day we'll stand before Him, complete and holy.

Let's not waste a moment. While we linger on this earth keep moving, keep growing, loving and living. And as we grow I pray for grateful hearts, for it is a grateful heart that reaches out to others. It is a grateful heart that lifts us above the everyday and moves us along the path God set before us. A grateful heart seeks Him above all. And He will see that the work begun is completed.

God is in us and with us.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Be Smarter Than A Chicken

Chickens are stupid creatures, but I still enjoy them. They're generally gentle birds who provide us with fresh eggs and sometimes meat. It's fun to listen to a hen cackle her joy and pride to the world after she's laid an egg.

Spring has arrived here in Oregon, which means it's time to build our flock, time to buy chicks. The tiny fluff balls are really cute, but they seem to have fewer brain cells than their parents. Still, God uses the simple things of this world to teach us and my little brood reminded me of an important lesson.

I've been caring for my chicks in a box in the house, but as they grew so did their stink. And after one precocious little bird flew out of the box and ended up on my carpeted floor I decided it was time to move them all to a coop.

I got the coop ready--fresh shavings on the floor, food and water and a heat lamp. When I put the chicks inside they were jubilant. They had room to run and even fly a little. I was sure all would be well. The next morning I checked on them and they still had plenty to eat and drink and seemed healthy so I went on my way. Late that afternoon I looked in on them again. There was still lots of food and water. In fact, it looked as if they hadn't touched any of it. My feathered friends weren't eating or drinking.

I moved the water and food closer to them and they immediately set upon both eating and drinking as fast as they could. Nourishment and drink had been available and yet they hadn't touched either. All they needed to do was move a couple of feet further and they would have discovered their meal. If I hadn't intervened they would have died. Stupid, I thought and then I realized how many Christians are just like these chicks.

God has placed his Living Word within our reach, yet we refuse to consume His spiritual feast. Our Bibles gather dust, and church on Sunday is just too much trouble, and activities crowd out things like Bible study groups or prayer groups. When we don't eat the spiritual food provided by God we risk dying from spiritual starvation.

Gods says in the book of Hosea, "My people are being destroyed because they don't know me." God has provided everything we need so that we can know Him. His Word is filled with glorious promises and words of encouragment and wisdom. If only we will eat, then we will know how to live.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Be Kind

Sometimes it feels as if our world has completely forgotten what it means to be kind. I know there are many kind souls out there, but some days it feels like the majority of humans are focused only on self--their comfort, their needs, their desires. And others . . . well their pain and their troubles are of no concern to us. Why waste time being thoughtful or helpful?

I think our awareness of charity begins in childhood. When I was young being cruel wasn't tolerated and if I was caught tormenting anything or anyone my parents made certain I paid a price--often that meant a sore behind or at the very least an apology offered to the one I'd purposely hurt. My parents were also a living example of what it meant to live graciously. Their moral message stayed with me. I live kindly, as best as I can. I'm human so failure is a certainty.

If you weren't raised with the kind of example I was blessed to have, there is still no excuse for intentional cruelty, not if you're a believer. God has adamantly answered this issue. In His Word He states clearly how we are to treat one another. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead be kind to each other tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." And Christ is our example.

I don't see that we have any excuse that justifies cruelty. I've witnessed rage, anger and harsh words hurled from one Christian to another. And it's usually over an inconsequential issue. This kind of behavior must grieve our Father.

I want to say, "How dare we injure one another this way? Do we take God's Word so lightly? Have we forgotten that Christ lives in us? Matthew 25:40 says, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." How about to Him?

I know we're imperfect beings. We lose our tempers and react in ways that dishonor God and hurt others. When we fall, as we surely will, we need to seek God's forgiveness and then the forgiveness of the one we've treated badly. I believe in clean slates; it makes life much sweeter. How good it is to know that God's mercies are new every morning.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Let Him In

I am a sinner saved by grace. With my human mind it's difficult to grasp what that really means. I can't comprehend God's love. He sacrificed His son for me and for you. I couldn't give up my child for someone else.

I've been a Christian a long time and sometimes take God's gifts for granted. I forget to be grateful. And yet He never forsakes me. When I look at who I really am, on the inside where no one sees, I wonder why He loves me so much. I guess I don't have to know, but at the very least I should let God have all of me. To do so means I have to let him in.

Am I prepared to do that? To allow God to see my core and then to look at what He shows me about myself? Of course God already knows everything there is to know about me, but the difference I'm making is that I choose to let Him see it all. And I choose to see the real me.

God is good and I don't think He will show us what we're not ready to see. But we need to begin. And to do so means to bend our will to His. Until we look at who we are we can't fully walk with Him. When we hide from our sin, refusing to see it, how can we seek God's forgiveness? How can we grow and change? How can we be transformed?

Looking into our hearts can be painful. I don't like everything I see there. I have too much of "ME" there. And too much me means too little of Him.

Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

How about that -- "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." That's powerful. That's what I want--to be made new, to be a light to the world.

Don't be afraid to look, Christ's sacrifice covers all our sin.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Make Sure To Have Some Fun

I am blessed. I have a job I love. However, like most of you, it's not all fun and games. I spend countless hours alone in front of my computer. I work nights and weekends. And my income -- well let's not even go there.

I do get to create characters. I love that. I dream up plots. I love that. I search for historical tidbits that will make a scene more realistic. I love that too. And I meet the most interesting people. I absolutely love that.

My biggest struggle is my physcial condition. I live with chronic pain. And some of what I do as a writer makes it worse. Travel, though it is something I love, is one of those challenges. It's hard on my body, and sometimes it's hard to fight through the pain. In fact, on my last resarch trip my back went out while I was touring a really nice museum in Yakima. That was definitely not fun.

While in Yakima I took my smarting bones to a meeting I'd scheduled prior to my visit. Mark and Cheryl Barrett (pictured above) were my gracious hosts. What a delight it was to visit with them. Although my body was complaining the rest of me was having fun. The Barrets are one of those treasures writers look for. Their family has been growing fruit in the Yakima Valley for generations. The Barretts know all there is to know about fruit growing and life in the valley.

We sat outdoors on a patio in front of their gift shop, sipping apple pop (I didn't know there was such a thing, but it's very good) and chatting. The gift shop is located on their fruit farm so I had a good view of the rows and rows of fruit trees. The store is chock full of goodies and interesting gift items. I highly recommend it to visitors.

It was one of those perfect spring days, warm and sunny with just a light breeze. We talked about farming, life in the valley and local history. Although I was in pain and technically working, I was having fun. I suppose I could have set my mind on the pain and all the work that waited for me here at home but if I'd done that I would have missed out on the fun.

It turned out to be a super day. I met a couple of very nice people and gathered in information that will make the scenes in the book I'm working on come to life. I'm so glad I made the trip.

God has all kinds of surprises waiting for us. There is wonder in day to day living. We've just got to open our eyes and our hearts so we can see it.

Grace and peace to you from God.


You can find Barrett Orchards at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- God Sees It All

I've been thinking recently about Godly living. In fact, I touched on it in my last blog. But a situation came up just this week, one I've sadly seen many times before. Being unkind to anyone is never okay, but it's especially disconcerting when Christians are cruel to one another. And if we think we can do it in the dark where no one will know that's not true--God sees everything.

Psalm 139:1-3 says, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sittng down and my rising up. You understand my thoughts afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways."

Frankly, I have mixed feelings about these verses. My first emotion is comfort and I feel protected. I can rest in the knowledge that God truly knows me and yet He loves me just as I am. But I also feel shame. My Father sees it all. He knows everything there is to know about me, and yet I'm thankful I'm never out of His sight.

I've been witnessing a small crisis. Well, it feels small to me but to one of the people involved it's a heartache and it is being inflicted on her by a friend. Irritability and a short temper feels as if it's aimed directly at her on purpose and it's making her feel that she isn't valued. It's a wound that may leave a scar between her and this friend, which is a true sorrow.

I'm almost certain the person inflicting the wounds is not doing so with evil intent, although he's probably aware of his sour mood. If we are honest with ourselves I'm sure we can remember doing something similar. Circumstances in life cause us to lash out at the people around us. Though we know it's not right we still do it.

Wouldn't it be better if we chose to pray and quiet our spirits and then spread a balm on our loved ones instead of acid. We should do so out of obedience and a high regard for God and His family. Maybe knowing we can't truly hide our wrong doings from The One who matters most will help us to turn away from this sin and find a way to love instead.

For when we think no one knows He does.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, April 09, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Don't Carry Tales

None of us wants to be seen as the type who ridicules others. And I doubt that many of us consider ourselves to be malicious. But let's get honest--we're humans and all humans do bad things some of the time, including being a tale bearer. Perhaps we fall into it unintentionally. Nevertheless if we've taken part we've sinned.

Proverbs 29:8 says, "Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger." Seems clear to me that we're called to bring calm to our world not anger. Mocking someone else or gossiping about others is always damaging and stirs up trouble.

I know a person who doesn't intentionally do this, but there is often a cloud of trouble swirling around him. He loves God and serves faithfully and yet he mocks others. He has a tendency to see the worst in people and is quick to share his views. Soon, the word is out about so-and-so and people are quick to judge and to jump on the gossip train.

If we listen to hateful words about someone else and accept them as truth we're part of the problem. It's easy to think we know the "facts" when we don't. Only God knows a man's heart. Only he can judge.

I've seen major storms break out in a church over one piece of misinformation passed along by someone who thinks they recognize a truth others ought to know. We hurt each other, sometimes with eternal consequences. Oh, how it must grieve our Lord.

I've been on both sides of this issue--a tale bearer and the victim of tales. Both hurt, but when I think back to my part in a flood of gossip or judgement I'm filled with shame and I vow--never again.

God says we're to love one another. How much better it is to pray for and to lift up others rather than to tear them down. Love brings blessings.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Remember Christ

Many people are struggling. Some fight to make it through one more day. We face financial hardships, illness, aging parents, betrayal and loss of hope and disappointments of all kinds. Our burdens are many and it's easy to get caught up in the uncertainty and anxiety of the world.

We've just been through Good Friday, a day to remember Christ's sacrifice, and then Easter, a day to rejoice.

Jesus walked the way of sorrows and allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross. Very near death he said, "It is finsihed." Our sin has been paid in full, covered by His blood. To receive, we only need to believe.

And on Easter, the day He rose, we rejoice. He covered our sin with His own blood and now waits for us in heaven. He has promised us a place at His table. His sacrifice destroyed the tactics of the enemy and we now have unending days waiting for us.

Our time on this earth is only a blip in eternity. Todays sorrows are less than that.

On Sunday, our pastor talked about many things, but something that stuck with me was his description of the disciples sacrifices and deaths. Some were crucified, even upside down, others beheaded, one stoned, another killed by spears, one exiled. But they would not renounce Christ, because they had seen all that had happened. They knew, they believed--not because of something they'd heard, but because of what they'd experienced--Christ.

In light of this my present sorrows seem small. I carry my hurts and fears to God and I know He cares, but I have not even begun to give what these men of God offered. I am the recipient of their sacrifices and of the greatest sacrifice of all.

Life is full of hope and joy because of Jesus. One day God will carry me home and then I will see clearly how man hours I've spent contemplating the wrong things. I will leave my possessions of this earth behind and will be caught up into heaven with my Lord pure and blameless because of Him.

There is nothing I can do to gain this gift, except to believe in Christ. It is He that should be foremost in my mind and heart, not my troubles.

All will be well. Never forget what has been given for us--remember Christ.

Grace and peace to you from God.