Friday, January 30, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Look Up Not In

When we’re staggered by something in our world our natural inclination is to look inside for strength. We rely on our intelligence, our history, or our feelings. They will lie to us.

Being knowledgeable is good. History matters. And feelings are real. But we can’t always trust them. When the storms of life hammer at us it is God who has the answers. His Word offers solutions and He is our comfort.

I have neuropathy in my feet and legs. The pain and numbness never leave me. It’s the last thing I’m aware of at night and the first thing to greet me in the morning. It nags at me, never leaving me alone. Sometimes it’s all I can think about. But it’s the last thing I should pay attention to when gauging my quality of life. It’s not my circumstances that define me, but rather who I am in Christ. And the question I need to ask is, “Am I His, all His? Am I living within His will for me?”

God knows my condition and yet I still suffer. I’m doing all I can to improve my circumstances, but beyond that I must rest in the path chosen for me. It is the Lord who gives me strength. Pain and anxiety have the power to rule my life. Each day I must make a choice—choose to direct my mind on Him or not. Every day belongs to Him, but those days that I choose to relinquish my will for His are the best.

Second Corinthians 12:9 says, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It is our weaknesses that provide opportunity for God’s divine power to be displayed.

Therefore, let us look to God and not ourselves. Let us trust in Him for our daily needs, knowing that He is strong when we are weak. And may we never forget that with God, all things are possible.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- New Beginnings

Sometimes we feel as if we're at the end. Our mind tells us that it’s over, the fun, the excitement, maybe even our life. But, there is always tomorrow.

Today while reading my Utmost For His Highest I was struck by something Oswald Chambers said. “Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with him.”

Beautiful, encouraging, exciting words! There is always tomorrow. Let’s not languish in past failures or misfortunes. Do not let the quagmire of today, hold you down. Instead, step out with hope and expectation anticipating whatever God has in store. Our circumstances may shout at us, saying we have no hope and no future, but circumstances lie. With God there is always hope. There is always another day. Even when we face our last day on earth eternity waits. There is no end, only new beginnings.

And so as the New Year fades, I embrace today and tomorrow. I look forward to what God has in store for me, His child. He promises to walk every step with me and with you. Look to your left, look to your right, look behind you—He is there. We are never alone.

God directs our paths. Listen to Him and believe. Step out with shouting and with joy. There is so much still ahead. It's a new day.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Forgive Others

There’s a lot we can learn from children. We just have to pay attention.

A few weeks ago, two of my grandsons provided me with a delightful picture of forgiveness. The two cousins, both six years old, are buddies. They don’t live in the same state, but when they get together it’s like they’ve never been apart. It’s always instant bonding. For as long as they have, they play at full tilt.

Over the holidays they were blessed with almost two weeks of fun. It was inevitable that their joy would be interrupted by some sort of conflict. I don’t know what happened, exactly, but one of them did or said something that hurt the other and soon they were at war, both angry and hurt.

Eventually they each sought out a sounding board. Ezra went to his mother, and Gabe came to me. Interestingly my daughter and I gave basically the same advice, that they should work it out between themselves. Not long afterward I saw the two together. They were smiling and shaking hands, their eyes full of laughter, love and forgiveness. After the handshake they walked off together, side-by-side, arms draped around each other’s shoulders. All was forgiven and forgotten. They had more important things to do than fight.

If only us adults could move on so easily. Instead, we tend to hang onto our hurts, nurturing them and wondering if it’s possible to forgive an offense. The world would be a better place if we were more like children. Doesn’t God say we ought have childlike faith? Why not childlike forgiveness as well?

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

To love and to forgive, that’s the better way. Instead of allowing our wounds to fester and corrupt our spirits lets shake hands, throw our arms around each other and get on with things.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, January 02, 2009

The Edge of Light

Ann Shorey is a critique partner and my friend. I'm proud to write a review of her first novel! She's a fabulous writer, and my new favorite author in Christian fiction.

The Edge of Light is a seamlessly written story of faith, courage and survival. The story begins in 1838 with Molly McGarvie, who lives in St. Lawrenceville, Missouri. When her husband Samuel dies she must find a way to provide for herself and her family. A woman of spirit and strength, Molly believes for the impossible and sets out on a journey that takes her and readers on a quest for a new life and a miracle.

Ann’s captivating writing style draws readers into the lives of Molly McGarvie, her companion Betsy who is more a friend than a slave, and Doctor Spangler who carries a burden only God can lift. Plus there is an interesting cast of characters you’ll pray for and cheer with, some you may even want to strangle. Ann’s attention to detail and her elegant writing style will draw you into every scene. You’ll experience emotions and encounters right along with her characters.

The Edge of Light is a fabulous first book! Once you read it, you’ll forever be an Ann Shorey fan. I am.