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,