Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
See, our pastor was reading a testimony prior to collecting offering. And it was an amazing one. Ah-maz-ing. Not only that but it happened to be exactly what I’d been praying for in my life. You know how you make birthday and Christmas lists and put your most wanted thing at the top? Yeah. I think He mistook my list for theirs and delivered it to the wrong person.
Come on. You know what I’m talking about here.
Except God’s not Santa and He’s not a genie.
And every gift He gives is perfect (James 1:17). Perfect shape. Perfect size. Perfect fit. Perfect timing.
Yes, we can make our lists, but what do we know really? Just because my son asks me for an assault weapon for Christmas does not mean that it’s the right thing for him. (He didn’t, it was just a BB gun, but still, he could shoot his eye out). Just because my daughter wants that super-mini skirt, doesn’t mean it is the right skirt for her. (um, yeah, she did, and she’s 9). And just because I ask God to clear all my debts doesn’t mean that it’s what I need. Because really, have I learned the lesson He’s been trying to teach me?
Honestly. I have. At least in regards to debt. But have I learned other lessons? Like patience. Resolve. Trust. Not coveting…(slinking away here)
See, God knows what we need and it never, ever looks like the person next to us—well, except for when He gave us all salvation. That’s the one gift He’ll duplicate a million times over, re-gifting it to all. But as for everything else, that’s up to Him. He’s not into making cookie-cutter disciples so the path you take will be different than the one I’m on. The timing for our gifts and blessings will be different. The actual gifts themselves will be as unique as we are. And, as long as I’m here, let me add this—if we’re so interested in everything being fair than we better be willing to walk the same valleys as the person next to us.
Oh. Not sounding so great now, is it?
That’s why I love how God doesn’t often give us what we want, but what we need. Like yesterday morning, the second those thoughts went through my mind He squished them. But He did it with a chuckle, reminding me of the picture above that I snapped of my son, whispering to me “you kinda look like that right now”…In His awesome love He convicted me. Sure, He could have listened to the temper tantrum in my heart and given in, blessing me with what I was stomping my foot over, but that would have made me a spoiled child of the King, not a warrior princess (my mental picture here, let me go with it). I raised my shield of faith and dodged those fiery darts, standing on His word—and became stronger for it.
He’s growing us people, to do awesome things that He’s planned for us way before we were even born. (Ephesians 2:10) That means sometimes He’s not going to give us what we’ve asked for. Be okay with it. Even more so, rejoice when the person next to you receives exactly what you wanted. Because the One who gives the gifts knows exactly what each of us needs--you included--and he's never early, but He’s never late either. So wait on Him. He knows what He’s doing.And it will be perfect in His time.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
And my favorite chair ever! Grandma's chair. The one I loved the first moment I saw and shall never reupholster (nor shall Hubby, unless he uses the same fabric). The one I plan on designing my writing room/library around one day. I'm typically not such an antiquey person, but I loved the way this chair lit up Grandma's room.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Lynette has started a new series called Deadly Reunions, and I love that she brought along a character from the Women of Justice series - Serena Hopkins. Only we don't get Serena's story quite yet. She's a friend of the main character, Alexia Allen.
In When the Smoke Clears, Alexia returns home after ten years and danger follows her. We're kept in suspense over why someone is after her, only getting little pieces along the way as Alexia discovers them along with Hunter Graham--the handsome detective and old friend who is helping her. This is one of the reasons I love Lynette Eason books. She does a great job of balancing the romance with the suspense and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire book. The story starts off at a fast pace and keeps it up, and offers a lot of twists and turns along the way. Oh--and a cliff-hanger of an ending. Cliff-hanger as in you will not want to wait until fall for the next book to come out. But you have to. You got no choice people!
Here's a blurb:
As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she's involved with murder, arson--and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family history, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.
Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.
If you enjoy fast-paced books that keep you guessing, you'll love When the Smoke Clears.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
Ever look like that? Yeah, we all know we’re supposed to be cute and cuddly, but what happens when someone steps on our last nerve? Or…is mean to someone we love? The teeth and claws pop right out, don’t they?
There’s only one little problem with that—God told us we’re suppose to love people. All of them. And He didn’t say “love then when…” or even “love them if…”. Nope. Just love them.
He even went so far as to ask us to love our enemies. I'll be paraphrasing here, but basically in Matthew 5 Jesus comes right out and says, “Listen, loving people who are all sweet and cuddly and kind all the time, not a problem. But loving someone who doesn’t deserve it? Who has been cruel to you? Who knows just how to push your buttons? Now that right there will stretch you.”
He should know. He loves us. Enough to die for us. And we’re not always so cute and cuddly.
But we can work on it.
See, there are going to be times when you want to take someone down—literally or figuratively, we’ve all been there—but we cannot tackle a person and try to call it a bear hug from God simply because we’ve wrapped them in our arms. If our heart resembles that picture above, we’ve got a problem and people will see it no matter how nice our words sound or actions look. Simply put, we cannot effect change in people’s lives with our claws and fangs out even if we try to hide them.
God's Word says it best (doesn't it always!) right there in Romans 12:9:
Sincere. Genuine. Honest. Heartfelt. All are synonyms. Not anywhere does it relate to easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible—if you rely on God. Look at Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Even loving who you think is unloveable with a sincere heart. So if we're going to be giving bear hugs, let's shoot for something like this:
Friday, February 10, 2012
The past two weeks have flown by with little time to read. Yet, in the middle of all my busyness I kept stealing small snippets of time to pick up Walks Alone, even if it was simply to read another paragraph. This book was like a lazy river ride full of twists and turns that slowed my crazy mind, but entertained me all the while. Sandi Rog's descriptions of the western countryside, the Cheyenne villages, and even Denver City were beautiful. Not only did she make the scenery come alive, but she sucked you into the lives of her characters. I loved getting to know Anna and Jean-Marc/White Eagle as they took their journey toward forgiveness and love. If you haven't experienced this book, add it to your To Be Read pile!
Here's a blurb:
A Cheyenne warrior bent on vengeance.
A pioneer woman bent on fulfilling a dream.
Until their paths collide.
After fleeing her abusive uncle, Anna is determined to reach the city of her dreams. But White Eagle and his fierce warriors take her prisoner. Anna attempts a harrowing escape, but her savage captor is determined to have her at all costs and forces her to be his wife. Has God forgotten her, or does He have plans of His own?
A man with a boot in one world and a moccasin in the other, White Eagle is disillusioned with his faith after a minister leads a massacre on his peaceful tribe. Where is his God? He’s definitely not with the white men who are slaughtering his people. But White Eagle also can’t give in to the idolatry practiced by his fellow tribesmen. Only the Truth can set him free.
And it’s found in beautiful Anna’s carpetbag.
Walks Alone is currently offered as an E-book on Amazon, soon to be released in hard copy.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Oh man. I could relate! I’ve so been there. And wouldn’t it be great when tests come our way if we could hold up our hands and say “Time out! Not prepared. Give me a minute here.”
See, we know life is full of tests, and we know where to find all the answers. But sometimes—most times—we don’t want to put in the time to learn them.
Get up early and read the Bible?
Go to church mid-week?
Sunday mornings are for coffee time, right?
Quiet prayer time = nap time.
Yeah. Why is that? I can stay awake to watch an episode of Castle, but put me at the kitchen table for my morning prayer time and I conk out cold.
And then when the test comes we're left wanting a time-out. Hold the boat! We're not ready!!
Tests will come in all shapes and sizes, and we need to be ready. Some days it’s the enemy attacking us from all angles. We need to remember that “the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) To wield this sword, we must know it! To know it, we must study it. Commit it to memory. It’s even more important than that math you thought you’d never use but still do every day. And yes, you will use the Word every day. Don’t even question it.
Other tests are of this world. Every day you’ll encounter people who don’t know God. Schools, neighborhoods, workplace…what makes you different? Why doesn’t your family watch that movie? Why do your girls dress the way they do? Why do you like that candidate? Why aren’t you fearful that the price of gas is going up again?
Something makes us different. Different in the way we live. Different in the hope we carry. Different in the joy that fills us even in adversity. But can you give a well-informed answer to the questions when they come?
I mean, if you went to the ER because you had chest pains, and the doctor stood over you with a syringe and said something to the effect of,“Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is what you need. I’ve seen it used here before, and it looked like it worked but I don’t really know the details on it. That’s okay though, I feel like it’s the right one. So just trust me.” You’d be outta that bed so fast there’d be a trail of smoke behind you.
If we want people to take us seriously, we've got to study. There's a confidence that comes when you've studied. When you know your answer and why it's right. That's no different for a Christian. Yes, we need faith for many things. But we also need to know our faith so we can share it. And sure, some of us aren’t eloquent speakers (see my hand raised), but if God can use Moses with his stutter, He can definitely use you and me. We just need to be prepared.
And we need to be nice.
Yeah. That’s right. No yelling to get your point across, no matter how much your blood may boil (election year, anybody feeling me here?). Because that admonishment from 1 Peter 3:15 actually says “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
So this week, I challenge you—and myself—to start studying, so when your next test comes you won’t need that time-out. You'll be ready.