Monday, November 24, 2008

Quiet Moments With God -- Grace vs Work?

Ephesians 2:8 -10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from ourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

On occasion Christians take sides -- either grace or works. The verses in Ephesians clearly state that our “goose would be cooked” without God’s grace. It is only because of His gift of grace that we can be assured heaven will be our eternal home. And so we need to begin there, with the acceptance of His undeserved gift.

After we believe does that mean there’s nothing more to do? Nope. That’s not what The Word says. Although I believe heaven is available even if we never do a thing for God (remember the prisoner crucified alongside Christ), I’m convinced God doesn’t intend for us to believe and then go on our merry way unconcerned with Him or His plan for our lives.

Verse ten of Ephesians Two says we are created to do good works, which were prepared for us to do. It seems to me that if we refuse to do good works we’re walking in disobedience.

God gives each of us gifts and abilities to be used for His service. So I say, let’s use them.

One of the statements I often hear is, “I don’t know how to do anything.” Or, “I’m nothing special. What can I do?” If you look at God’s Word you see that He used plain, ordinary people to spread the good news of Christ and to reach the world with His message of hope.

There is so much joy and beauty to be discovered when we work together—reaching out to one another, to the people in our church and in our communities. Life is meant to be full—of love and grace and service and Christ.

If we’ll just receive the gift God offers, then share it with others we’ll be awash with delight and wonder as we see God's transforming power in action. Giving of ourselves doesn’t end, but is a lifetime of devotion.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tips For Trimphant Living--Trust God

This comes late, but I’ve been sick and laid up for a few weeks. Still, I feel compelled to post this message.

Tonight is November 4th, election day. The news is in. We have a new president—Barack Obama.

I did not vote for Mr. Obama. However, he will soon be the president of the United States, my president. I will respect him and do my best to support him. Above that I will, as a citizen, assist my country. I will remain informed, and stand up and speak out when necessary and maybe even hold up a sign in a public protest. I pray we will all be diligent citizens. America is the greatest country on earth and each of us must serve as guardians for truth and freedom.

For those who are disappointed in the country’s decision, take heart, God knows all there is to know. He has not forgotten His children. His eyes are upon this country. I pray for mercy, but no matter what comes I trust our Heavenly Father.

During Barack Obama’s acceptance speech I was moved by the emotion in the crowd there in Chicago. Especially the tears I saw in the African Americans' eyes who have waited and dreamed for such a day. A hundred years ago, the election of an African American for president was an impossibility and something one dare not even hope for. It is a huge step in our history and for that I am proud of my country.

I will pray for our new president as I have for previous presidents. And I will pray for my country, that there will be an awakening, that eyes would be opened and that God’s righteousness and grace would sweep across our land. And I will go on, serving my Lord and doing my best to fulfill His purpose in my life.

As children of God, may we all seek truth, share the gospel and love one another.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tips For Triumphant Living--Surround Yourself With Encouragers

We all need people in our lives who are encouragers. I have some great friends who love me just as I am and who help prop me up when I need it. I'm grateful for their friendship. God made us to need one another. And it's fabulous to see Him at work through His children.

Some of the encouragers in my life are people I don't even know. Some live far away. I'd like to introduce you to one of these people.

This week I received a letter from a reader. What she had to say lifted my spirits, not just because she loved my book but because she lives right where it takes place. Writers want to present stories and their settings in an accurate way, and when we create stories in times and places unfamiliar to us, the pressure is on to get the details right. That's one of the reasons this letter means so much to me. This gal really knows about the location of the Sydney Cove Series.

I'd like to share it with you.


I'm a very patriotic Australian who loves her country and I have recently read "To Love Anew" in your Sydney Cove Series. I love anything to do with my country and would like to congratulate you for writing such a fantastic book set in my country's history, not only that but my home city! You wrote it very well with no corny cringe worthy Aussie cliches -- well done!

I got teary reading about Hannah's plight and cheered when she triumphed. Love the noble and honourable John Bradshaw! Hope to meet my 'John Bradshaw' one day!

I wrote a positive review on my facebook page and am in the middle now of reading "Longings of the Heart."

Oh, Lottie is so adorable! I was wondering, it would make such a great story, if you plan to write a 3rd book based on Lottie all grown up--as a 20something? I'd love to read about Lottie's story!

Anyway, thanks again for writing a great book!

God bless you,


And God bless you Fiona. You made my day. :-)

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Quiet Moments With God--Finding Contentment

I’m adjusting to our daughter and her family’s move and to the need to sell our home. Yet, I still have moments of deep sorrow when I can’t hold back my tears. And when I briefly allow my mind to move ahead to our farewell tears quickly surface.

Some days I’m comfortable and happy to give all I am and all I have to Jesus and other days I’m not happy at all. Today happens to be one of those not so happy days. I’m hurting and asking God to remind me that it’s all going to be okay and that this moving on business is part of His plan.

I expected to hear from Him, but I didn’t expect guidance to come from my own words. I’m in the midst of reading galleys for the third book in The Sydney Cove Series, "Enduring Love". I’m reading words penned months ago and today they quieted my heart.

I wrote,

She gazed at the river. It flowed quietly toward the ocean without struggle, accepting its course. It didn’t rail against the choice made for it but instead submitted and even relished its path.

These are words meant for my character, Hannah. Yet they speak to me. Struggling against a path chosen for me accomplishes nothing except to make me weary and even angry. And so I must decide to lean on the Lord and accept His choice. In so doing, I can move on to contentment.

Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Paul found strength in Christ. Christ is my answer, too. Only with Him can I be content no matter my circumstances.

Some situations in life demand that we fight, but when God whispers to us “Rest in me,” then I know I am to rest and allow His will to be done. His voice offers peace. I can hear Him speaking to me. Listen and you’ll hear Him too.

Grace and peace to you from God.