Monday, September 29, 2008

Words From a Reader

I often hear from people who read my books and my blogs. Some letters touch me in a special way. I'd like to share one I received recently.

Hi Bonnie. I'm so glad I got to meet you and spend a little time with you at the summer conference. Your workshops helped me so much.

As I read your newsletter and blog yesterday, I could only sense what a genuine woman of God you are. What amazing stories of God's love and intervention. Thanks for taking your time to share them. I signed up to get your blog posts by email and can't wait to read what you post next.

My husband and I celebratred our 34th wedding anniversary in June, one week before I turned 57. Yes, we had our rough times too. I don't even want to consider the joy we would've missed out on, had we split, which we considered several times during our early years of marriage.

Blessings to you.

And blessings to you, too. Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I'm thrilled you and your husband decided to stick it out. Doing the BEST thing is not always the easy thing. But walking through tough times often brings great blessing.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Look for Opportunities

Life offers challenges, some of them daunting. For most of us, our first response is uncertainty or even panic. But what if we changed our view of life's difficulties and saw them as opportunities? That could be life changing.

Instead of asking God to remove the trouble maybe we should seize it, stand up to it, even embrace it. Sometimes gifts come our way that are wrapped in ugly or strange-looking packages. My question is, does that make the gift inside unacceptable or useless? Not necessarily.

When I was hit by a truck and left less than perfect I definitely did not see that as a gift. And if I'm going to be honest, I still have days when I "just don't get it". But when I step away from my own perspective and look at my circumstances from God's eyes I see that hardship has created things in me of lasting value. And even though I sometimes still "don't get it" God has changed my mind about what opportunity can look like. A calamity may just be a chance for something great.

The "calamity" that hit me (literally) in 1991 led me to write. It's been such a great adventure!

I’ve been writing for many years, and I still love it. The catalist that threw me into writing came in an ugly package, but what a precious gift it was. I can’t imagine life without writing. I get to do something I love and make a difference at the same time. How cool is that!

If you're facing challenges, try asking God to help you stand, confront it, and even welcome it as an opportunity. Adversity builds strength and character. It helps grow our faith and teaches us to trust in God.

So no matter where life has you, trust in Him and let your light shine for Him.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quiet Moments With God--Yet I Will Rejoice in the Lord.

Habakkuk chapter three, verses 16 – 19 takes my breath away. Habakkuk lists all the things that will come against him and his people. Disaster will invade his homeland. Fig trees will have no blossoms, nor the vines have grapes. The olive crop will fail and the fields will lie empty and barren, the flocks will die in the field and the cattle barns will be empty. Habakkuk’s response? “YET I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. "

Great calamity is coming against Habakkuk. And in verse sixteen he says, "I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me and I shook in terror. Yet I will wait quietly . . ."

The “yet” in the last verse makes my heart ache for such faith. Habakkuk’s words to us are powerful and living. He speaks the truth, if only we will listen.

He is a man, in many ways, like us. He knows disaster is coming, and he’s afraid. He doesn’t pretend not to fear. But what he does with that fear makes me want to shout, “YES!” He rejoices. He sees the Lord as his strength, not the plans of men nor something he can do to fix the circumstances. He sees so clearly that what matters is who he is, a child of God. And God is his salvation.

The enemy throws darts at us, the world hurls storms, disasters, heartache, but we will not be undone if we remember where our strength lies. God is the one who placed the sun, the moon and the stars in the heavens. He created all the earth. He is our strength. There is no other who can match His power, love, and wisdom. He is our all in all. There is nothing too difficult for Him.

Praise Him.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quiet Moments With God--Love Is More Than Words.

Today was moving day. For the last twenty-five years I’ve lived in the same house. When I moved here, I was young, strong and I had a lot more energy. Good thing my family believes in helping one another.

Fifteen months ago, our daughter, her husband and three children moved in with us and we went to work on an addition to our home. With the help of our son-in-law, Greg and I have been building the new house for more than a year.

We’ve worked hard, not just at construction but learning to mesh two families. Some days were amazingly fun and some were not. But we’ve made it! And now that we won't be living under one roof we get to learn how to be neighbors. What fun!

I’m ecstatic about the move, not just because I love my new house with its fresh paint, beautiful cabinets, and Jacuzzi tub, but because the last months and days have reminded me how blessed I am. I have a family who loves and cares for one another. My son drove several hours just to be here to help us move, my daughter and her husband have worked tirelessly, and my husband has been so good about doing the things he knows matter most to me.

Love has been demonstrated through actions. And though I’ve sweated and fought with my aching back and feet, I will remember this weekend as being one of the very best.

Love is the greatest gift we can give or receive. So, find someone to love.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tips For Triumphant Living--Get Over Yourself

While reading My Utmost For His Highest these words written by Oswald Chambers hit me right between the eyes. He wrote, “Get to the end of yourself where you can do nothing, but where He does everything.”

Have you ever felt that solving a problem was all up to you? Or that something just wouldn’t happen without your input or your help? My guess is that we all have at one time or another. The problem is that when we do that we’re placing ourselves above God. We may have decided not to wait for Him or for His direction, or we've done everything we can to circumnavigate His plan. We know a better way, or a faster way.

It sounds absurd, but we do it . . . all the time. We need to get over ourselves.

God uses people, but He doesn’t need to. Being used by Him is a privilege. We need to learn to get out of His way and make sure He’s the captain of the ship. If not, we’ll eventually shipwreck.

So, happy sailing.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Quiet Moments With God--Brand New

This July the high school that sits in the midst of our small community burned. The newspaper headline read, “A Complete Loss.”

The school has been the center of activities in our little town for five decades. It feels as if we’ve lost an old friend. Not only did wood and mortar burn, but the hallways and classrooms filled with memories were destroyed as well.

All three of my children spent some or all of their high school years there. As a family we attended concerts, plays, and cheered at volleyball and basketball games. I even had to make a couple of trips to the principal’s office because of a child’s offense.

Some of the school still stands, but a great deal of it is gone. The morning after the fire, my husband and I drove by. At first glance we couldn’t see the damage. Some of the exterior brick walls looked untouched. However, just beyond was devastation—black and broken windows and burned out classrooms. One building was completely destroyed. We could see ashes and blackened remains, standing like charred skeletons.

As I stared at the devastated structure an ache rose up inside of me. I saw more than a building. I saw people. Many of us are like that burned out school. At first glance we look “just fine” but if someone were to gaze beyond the exterior they’d see burned out and devastated lives.

Crews have been hired to rebuild the school, and before the year is out we will have a brand new building. It will smell of fresh paint and have new floors that glisten, as well as spanking new desks and lockers.

When it is our lives that are devastated, Christ is our work crew. He comes in and makes us brand new.

If you don’t know Christ He’s waiting to introduce Himself to you. He gave His life so we can live. His death opened the doors of heaven to any and all who believe in Him. His love has the power to transform us into His likeness.

We are free to be exactly who He created us to be. We can let light in so our lives shine for all to see. Even though imperfect, when we are the Lord’s we don’t have to hide who we are. We can let the world see the real us and be a living example of what it looks like to be made new in Christ.

Grace and peace to you from God.