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.