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Friday, October 31, 2008

Just a Quick Post

Any of you who know me know that I am not a political person. Frankly, I'm sick and tired of hearing about the election. Don't get me wrong. I know that it is important, but as a preacher recently said, if we would talk about Jesus as much as we talk about Obama and McCain, our country would have revival. AMEN!

That being said, the Lord has laid it on my heart to share with those of you who may not know that there is another candidate in the presidential election. He's not gained much popularity because he is a Baptist preacher. If you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils, check out

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Making a Point

Before I get into today's discussion, I want to thank all of you who faithfully follow my blog. As many of you know, I started this blog to build my online platform so that publishers would see me as "already having a following." I know that many of you read this blog daily, but I need to ask a favor. At the bottom of each post, there is a link you can click on to add comments. Earlier, I had trouble with this link, but I think I have fixed the problem. I'd like to hear from you. Did you like the post? Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? I would love to see more of you get involved because as it is, when a publisher comes to my blog, they will see a lot of postings but no comments which makes it look like no one is reading it. That is the opposite effect that I'm going for. Please understand. I know you are all extremely busy, and I'm not asking you to write a book or to post a comment every day. But, I am asking if you will help me to make it look like this blog is read. I feel silly asking, but as a writer, I have to promote myself, and blogging is one of the best ways to do that . . . if the blog looks like it's being read. Thanks in advance! And, if you have trouble posting a comment, please send me an e-mail so I can try to figure out the problem. Okay, enough commercial. Let's get to the good stuff!

Have you ever noticed how God has a way of getting a point across in the Bible? Sometimes, it's almost comical how He beats people over the head in order to get their attention or to make a point. (I have also been the recipient of that head-beating, and it's not so comical then.) Anyway, in my Bible reading, I found another occasion where God was trying to make a point. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107: 8, 15, 21, 31.

Did you catch that? Those four verses read exactly the same. God put the same sentence in this one psalm four times. Why? Could it be that He wanted to make sure we didn't miss it. After all, it's a very important verse. Through this passage, the psalmist is talking about how God provided for the children of Israel and delivered them from Egypt. Yet, they were not happy. They complained of hunger, thirst, fatigue, obstacles. You name it, they complained about it.

So, the story is being told. They complained, and God said, "Oh that men would praise the Lord." They rebelled, and God said, "Oh that men would praise the Lord." They cried, and God said, "Oh that men would praise the Lord." They worshiped idols, and God said, "Oh that men would praise the Lord." Do we get the point?

The Israelites were so wrapped up in their complaints and criticism that they ignored or forgot (I often wonder which) all the things that God did for them. He fed them with manna and quail. He gave them water from the rock. He delivered them from captivity. Their clothes never wore out. He continuously forgave them for their bickering and sinful acts. But, do they appreciate it? No, they complain!

Now, before we get too hard on the children of Israel, aren't we often the same way? When tragedy or hardships come, don't we often fret and forget how God delivered us in the past? We focus on our problems instead of on the Solution. We complain about our current state and wonder why life is so unfair?

This psalm is an excellent reminder to all of us that no matter what we face, good or bad, we need to praise the Lord. He has been good, and He has done wonderful works. Shame on us for overlooking that!

Whatever you're facing today, put aside the complaints and murmurs, and instead praise the Lord for all that He's done. After that, the problem may not look so bad anymore.

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Psalm 107:8,15,21,31

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Thorn in the Flesh

We are all familiar with Paul's thorn in the flesh. Granted, we don't know specifically what it was. I know many believe it was a health issue of some kind, like blindness perhaps. We can't be certain, but we do know it often hindered him in his service to God. That makes me wonder.

Have you ever questioned why God would give us a thorn in the flesh that prevents us from serving Him at our greatest capacity? Paul said that it was so that he wouldn't be exalted above measure, but is that reason the same for all of us?

I know of Godly people who can't make it to the church because of physical ailments. I know of others who can't come to many events because they are needed to care for a loved one who is suffering from physical illness. I, myself, am constantly battling various physical conditions. During these times of suffering, I turn my face toward Heaven and cry, "Why, God? Couldn't I serve you better without this thorn? Don't you want the complete service that I could offer if I were healed?"

The answer I receive is the same as the one Paul received. "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

I don't understand God's ways, but I'm sure He knows what He is doing. So, for all of you out there who are suffering physically or take care of those who are suffering physically, take heart. It's not easy, but God's grace will be sufficient. We don't need to understand; we only need to trust.

My prayers are with you all!

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.
II Corinthians 12:10

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Back!

The past couple of weeks have been a true test of patience. I know that patience is a good thing, but the Bible says "tribulation worketh patience," and let me tell you, I understand.

We were able to get our home phone number routed to a cell phone and to establish a new DSL connection. The process was supposed to take a few days. From the time we called 'til the time it was completed was two weeks! Two weeks!

As if that wasn't enough to get me frustrated, my bursitis decided to flare up, causing me to miss out on several work days and to have to pay for a chiropractor visit. It is doing a little better now, but I still can't type for very long at all before it really begins to throb and ache. What a pain! (literally)

There were other difficult situations that I had to deal with this week, but they're personal, so I won't go into a lot of detail. Needless to say, it's been a rough couple of weeks, and my stress level was through the roof.

But, the Lord knew all this was going to happen, and He had already planned a little weekend getaway. My in-laws had reserved a cabin on Lake Keowee for the weekend, and they invited my husband and I to join them. It was so quiet and peaceful there. That alone was enjoyable, but then we also hiked up to Twin Falls. Gorgeous!!!! As I sat there beholding the enormous power of the water as it gushed forth from the top of the falls, I was reminded of just how powerful God is. The problems that seem so huge to me are nothing to Him. He is in control, and He is all-powerful.

The trip was short, but it allowed me some time to regain some focus on who God is and what He is capable of doing. I needed some time to be still. I needed some time to get away from all the distractions that drag me down. I needed a renewed fellowship with God. I wish we had had a little more time for vacation, but I'm extremely thankful for the time we did have. What a blessing!

PS- I'll try to put up some pictures of Twin Falls as soon as I can get them transfered from my phone to my computer.

Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.
Psalm 4:4

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Just a Reminder

Just wanted to remind everyone that AT&T will be working on our internet and phone lines for the next few days. I won't be able to post anything until they're finished, so until then, may God bless you all. I'll be back as soon as I have my internet back. I think I'm already suffering from withdrawal!

A Really Big Bottle

Any of you who know me know that I am a VERY tenderhearted person. I think sometimes that I'm too tenderhearted. I can't watch someone cry without joining them. If I see someone hurting, my heart aches for them. I can't even watch a touching movie without crying my eyes out. It just doesn't take much to make me cry.

For that reason, whenever I read verse 8 of Psalm 56, my mind begins to spin. It says, Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? I'm wondering if God keeps all of our tears. If so, does he keep them all in one bottle or do we each have our own bottle? Even if I have my own personal tear bottle in Heaven, can you imagine how big it must be? I know that I've cried oceans of tears in my life, and I just can't imagine a bottle big enough to hold them all. It's an interesting thought, isn't it?

But, there is one thing I do know for sure. God sees each of my tears, and more than that, He understands each one. During those times when I just can't find the words to express how I feel, my tears can speak for me. What a blessing to know that God understands! What an even bigger blessing to know that one day, He will wipe all the tears from our eyes. We won't need them anymore. So, I wonder, what happens to our tear bottles then?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wings Like a Dove

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Psalm 55:6

What a beautiful verse! So poetic! So applicable! I know I've had the same feelings that David portrays in this verse. When life gets overwhelming, I cry for a way to get away from it all and to be at rest. I think we all often feel that way, but most of us are unsure how to express it. David allowed his heart to speak.

I don't have the time or opportunity to drop everything and go on a vacation every time life gets tough. Do you? I didn't think so. But, all hope is not lost. There is still a way for us to find peace and be at rest in the midst of life's complications.

First, pray. I know it sounds simple, but you'll be amazed how much more peace you have once you turn the problem over to God. Things won't seem so bad, and rest will seem within reach.

Second, take a walk. All of us can find 15 minutes to take a walk. I suggest walking in a pleasant environment, if at all possible. For example, I love to walk at the local park. There is a river and a waterfall. It is peaceful and soothing to me. It takes a little extra time because I have to drive there, but it's well worth it to me. However, if it's not possible to go somewhere nice, just walk wherever you can. It is an exercise that is not only good for the body, but also for the mind. As you walk, don't focus on your problems. Focus on the walk, on your breathing, and on all the things you are thankful for. If you really want to save time, pray while you walk, and you can kill two birds with one stone.

Third, close your eyes and allow your mind to drift to an imaginary place or a place you would love to visit. Spend five to ten minutes dreaming of this place. See, smell, touch. Incorporate as many of your senses as you can as you picture yourself in this peaceful place. When your time is up, before you open your eyes, promise yourself that you can return to this place any time you need to. After that, take three deep breaths, and open your eyes.

While it's not always feasible to get away when we need to, the above exercises will help us to deal with life's interruptions. They will make it possible for us to keep going until our next "real" vacation. We may not be able to fly away, but we can be at rest.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Singing With Understanding

Have you ever found yourself singing a song but not really paying attention to what you're singing? I've had times where I lifted my voice in joyous song, the words rolling off my tongue, but the meaning completely lost to me. It's not that I didn't understand what I was singing. It's just that I wasn't paying attention. Don't look at me that way. I know you've done the same thing. How many times have we stood in church and sung, "I Surrender All" without even heeding the promise we were making?

In Psalm 47:7, the author says, For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. Did you catch that? Don't just sing it; mean it! That might limit our song choices a little. Won't it? For example, there's a song that I absolutely refuse to sing. It's a beautiful song entitled "Whatever It Takes." The song basically tells the Lord that I will be willing to do anything or give up anything for Him. Not just that, but that I'll do it gladly. I'd love to say that I know for a fact that I am in that position. However, when I think of Job, I ask myself if I'm REALLY willing to face that. I want to be, but I don't think I've arrived at that place yet. So, I don't sing the song because if I did, it would be a lie.

I often hear people comment on a particular song, about how beautiful the music is and everything. Then, when I hear it, I discover that it's completely against the Scriptures. The doctrine is messed up or the message is just wrong! But, it's a beautiful song because the music is pretty? Oh, we'd better be careful.

The Bible encourages us over and over again to sing praises unto the Lord. But, if we don't mean it, we shouldn't sing it. So, to keep from making this mistake, we would do well to pay attention to what we are singing. Sing? Yes! But, sing with understanding.

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
Psalm 66:1-2

Monday, October 6, 2008

Facing the Obstacles

Why is it in life that every time you get things rolling, something happens that causes you to lose your rhythm? Isn't it frustrating? I'll give you an example. Things were rolling along quite well in my writing. I've just finished the rough draft of my new book, and I have a couple of other projects that I'm working on. I've being doing good to meet my daily writing goals and to stay focused on my projects. Things seemed to be going well, after all, I'm doing the work the Lord called me to do. Right?

I woke up yesterday morning with a severe pain in my neck and left shoulder. The pain continued all day, working its way down my left arm. It didn't take me long to realize that I had done something to aggravate my bursitis. The last time it acted up, I was out of commission for nearly a month. A MONTH! I can't afford to lose a month of work, but just typing this short post is killing me.

During times like this, I can't help but turn my face to the skies and ask, "Why, God?" Why must we face obstacles when we're doing the Lord's work? Why would God lead us to do a work and then make that path so difficult to travel? I believe that the answer is that God is helping us to grow in our Christian walk.

Have you ever heard of growing pains? Well, they're not just physical. Spiritual growth can cause some growing pains as well. But, think about it. If everything in our lives were simple, we would have no need to grow. We would grow complacent in our current state. That's not acceptable to the Lord. He wants our faith to grow. He wants to see more and more of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. In order for this to occur, we must face some obstacles.

Let me hasten to say that understanding the process does not make it any less painful. I am in pain. I'm frustrated because I can't do my work. I'm discouraged because I lost my rhythm. However, I am NOT defeated because I know that this is for my good. I may not like it, but I know I need it. So, as I stand here facing today's problem, I must make a choice. Am I going to look at the obstacle, or am I going to focus on the One who will get me through? I think the answer is obvious!

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Thursday, October 2, 2008

O Taste and See

O taste and see that the LORD is good. (Psalm 34:8a) What an interesting verse. I mean, for David to say, "See that the Lord is good" is nothing unusual, but taste? How does one taste the Lord? I believe it is an expression similar to what we use today. We often say, "let me get a taste of it" or "let me get the feel for it." In other words, let me experience it and get the hang of it. Wow! That's powerful! What could our lives be like if we allowed ourselves to fully experience God, to "get a handle" on his love, mercy, and grace. I don't think we'd be able to control ourselves.

I read this verse in my Bible reading this morning, but I was also thinking it when I first woke up. This is, by far, my favorite time of year. I love this season! I like the colors. I like the temperatures. I like the freshness the air holds. I just love it! Last night, we opened up our windows and allowed the fresh air to cool the house. When I awoke this morning, I was snuggled deep into my covers, for the air was indeed cool. I took a deep breath and savored the crisp, fresh air as it energized and renewed me. Through my window, I could see the bright blue sky and the sunlight as it began to warm the earth. My first thought was 'Wow, God is good.'

Think about it. He didn't have to give us the different seasons. He could have allowed us to have Summer all year round, or worse yet, Winter. But, in His goodness, He allows us to experience four seasons, each with their own unique characteristics and attributes. To me, the change of seasons is just another reminder of what a great God I serve and how mighty He is. If you haven't done so already, go outside and take a deep breath. Enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air. And, take a minute to thank the Lord for such a privilege.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1