THANKSGIVING

Psalm 100: 4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

 

Gratitude is focusing on what you have, not what you want.

Gratitude is a lifestyle.

Gratitude is a choice.

Gratitude is the key to a joy-filled life, no matter the circumstances.

 

I have brain tumors, but they aren’t malignant.

I’m partially deaf, but I can still hear my husband when he tells me that he loves me.

I had to retire from a job I loved, but I don’t have to worry about paying my bills.

I’m not a rich and famous author, but people read the stories I write—and like them.

I’m not as healthy as I used to be, but I’m healthier than I was last year.

I don’t live in a fancy new house, but my house is filled with love and laughter.

 

Life changes and not always for the better.

Some might be tempted to grumble and complain.

Some might be tempted to give up and give in.

I choose to give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his love endures forever.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

My list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

What’s on your list?

WANT MORE JOY?

Matthew 22

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Life nis not nearly as complicated as most of us make it. Here’s a quick and easy to remember formula that will bring more joy in your life. If you want more JOY in your life, then focus first on Jesus, then on Others, and finally on Yourself.  The first above says exactly the same thing. Love God; love your neighbor as yourself.

Focus on Jesus. Jesus said the first and most important commandment is to love God with all your heart and mind. It’s not enough to say that you do, you must show that love to God. One of the ways to do that is to spend time praising and worshiping God and I don’t just mean in church on Sunday. From the beginning, Jesus was meant to bring joy to those of us on earth.

Luke 2:10

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Focus on others. Jesus talked of love again and again. He wanted His followers to show God’s love to others. Loving others is not a suggestion, but a commandment. Again, loving others doesn’t have to be complicated. Smile at people; be friendly, when  you can help someone in need, help them. Talking about loving others includes loving your spouse and your family. Sometimes we spend all our energy helping people outside of our house. That’s wonderful but save enough energy to be sweet and kind with those you live with.

John 13:34

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Focus on yourself. Yes, we are to focus on first on Jesus, then on others but don’t think that we are not to focus on ourselves. God doesn’t want us to be selfish or self-centered but He does want us to enjoy our life. He does want us to take care of ourselves in a healthy and balanced way.

We shouldn’t put ourselves first all the time but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t put ourselves first sometimes. We need to take care of our own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs as well as others.

 

So there you have it. Want more joy in your life? Then follow God’s greatest commandment and the second as well, and you’ll suddenly have more joy than you can imagine.

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

REDEMPTION–A Devotion

Romans 3: 22-24

 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

 

The title of my newest book is REDEMPTION so it seemed to me a good topic to write about in a devotion. Dictionary.com defines redemption as an act of atoning for a fault or a mistake; deliverance or rescue; deliverance from sin; salvation; atonement for guilt.

The title came about as a result of Jamie, the main character being ashamed of things she’s done in her past as a consultant to the FBI. As a result she feels God can’t love her the way she is. So she seeks redemption by putting herself in dangerous situations to help other people.

That makes for a good plot in a suspense novel, but it’s important to know that we can’t save ourselves through good acts, through helping others, or even being really good people. There is only one way to receive redemption: meaning salvation; meaning going to heaven to live with God forever!

We are saved through our faith in Jesus—and only through our faith in Jesus.

No amount of good works can earn us a ticket to heaven! It doesn’t matter how “good” we are, how much money we give to good causes (including the church), or how kind we are to others.

Only our belief in Jesus as the Son of God can save us.

And the reverse is true as well as Jamie discovers in my novel, REDEMPTION. Your past doesn’t matter. God loves you just the way you are. He won’t turn his back on you because of your past, present, or even your future mistakes.

And that is more awesome than I can say, but 2 Corinthians 9:15 says it best:

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

REDEMPTION PROMO:

To celebrate the release of REDEMPTION, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. But wait…there’s more! I always feel bad for the people who enter the contest but don’t win. So I’m also going to pick FIVE more lucky names to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Just the right amount to buy REDEMPTION! Just kidding, the winners can use it to buy whatever they wish.

All you need to do is leave a comment here or under any of the posts with REDEMPTION in the title. Contest ends on October 18!

Redemption_h11626_300

BLURB:

Others may think Jamie Jakowski is a hero, but she knows differently.

Haunted by her past, she seeks redemption by helping others in spite of the danger to herself. However, after almost orphaning her daughter, Jamie opts to retire. When a friend needs her, Jamie agrees to one last undercover operation.

She is determined to reunite a heartbroken mother with her kidnapped son. Used to working alone, Jamie’s not happy when she’s assigned a partner. And after a failed operation and their failed romance, Enrique Rodriguez is the last person she wants to work with—ever.

To succeed, Jamie must confront her past as well as the people who want her dead.

DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT!

 UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD WRITING!

Apples of Gold

Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Apples of gold in a silver setting? Doesn’t that create a beautiful word picture? Golden apples in a silver bowl–sounds lovely to me. And that’s what the Bible likens our words to if they are fitly spoken.

So what exactly are fitly spoken words? 

I’m sure everyone has a different defintion of that that phrase might mean. To me it’s about speaking kindly to others. Sometimes we may in a position of having to say something that may be unpleasant to another person. But we can always do it with kindness. 

And sometimes the kindest words are the words not spoken. We don’t always have to say everything on our mind in every situation with every person. 

Words fitly spoen are those that we speak after examining ourselves, our motives, and  our attitudes. If the words pass all those tests, then speak them, but speak them in the kindest, most loving way you can.

The world is filled with angry, hars, hurtful, critical, and  hateful words. We don’t have to add to that. As Christians, let’s create apples of gold in silver settings.

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

WHY AM I HERE? The Answer!

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.

WHY AM I HERE? Isnt’ that one of the big questions in life? Scholars and philosophers have pondered this question since the dawn of history. Apparently, they haven’t been looking in the right place–the Bible.  The Bible answers this question again and again. The above verse is only one example, but I love this verse.

It sounds so simple: God created us to do good works. He prepared a path for us. If we walk the path, we will have a good life. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, real life isn’t always so simple. Some of us make a wrong turn and miss that path. And how are we even supposed to even know what path to take? After all, there are a lot of paths out there to choose from.

What did God create you to do?

When God starts our heart beating, His touch lingers for just a moment.

And in that touch, He creates us to be us.

And in that touch, He creates us to be unique.

And in that touch, He gives us talents, interests, abilities and gifts.

And in that touch, He pours passion into our heart.

And in that touch, He loves us as no other ever can or ever will.

So, what’s the answer to the question of what does God want you to do? He wants you to do something you love. Something He gave you passion for. Something you are good at. Something you care about so much that you will spend hours and hours doing it and enjoy it.

That something is YOUR DREAM.

Your Dream is God’s Purpose.

Here is some really good news.  He gives us all that we need to accomplish it. So no matter how crazy your dream sounds to you or to every one around you, God wants you to pursue that dream. And it is when we do we are filled with a joy and peace that can’t be explained.

As we pursue our dreams, we are fulfilling God’s purpose for us. Some may not understand it; some will call it a hobby; some a waste of time, but focusing on our God-given dream is a divine task.

My dream was to be a writer. And after many years as God as my partner, I am living that dream. No, I’m not getting rich or famous, but people love to read my books.  And I still love to write them.  GOD IS SO GOOD!

So, take a minute and share your dream with us. What would you love to be doing right this minue?

 

Jumping Off The Roller Coaster!

Psalm 31:15

My times are in your hands.

I hate roller coasters! Not only rollercoasters, but most any amusement park rides. I don’t have the time to tell you how many times I ALMOST got hurt on various amusement park rides, but that is neither here nor there.

Real life has ups and downs, just like a roller coaster. If we aren’t careful we can get  caught up in the cycle of all those exhilarating highs and those desperate lows. Some people may enjoy that ride, but I’m not one of them. I am not a drama queen. I don’t like drama any more than I like roller coasters.

Unfortunately, my life has been more like a roller coaster lately. As the two-year anniversary of diagnosing my bilateral brain tumors approaches, it seems as if those hills and curves are coming even more quickly. One day–good news. The next–bad. The next–worse and then back to good news. And at this point, it seems as if it’s never going to be done.  It just keeps going on and on and on and…..

The thing about roller coasters (and life) is that control is an illusion. The best we can do is buckle up, hold on tight, and go along for the ride. Life can get that way as well if we let it. We can start worrying about every little detail, not just in our lives but in the lives of the people we love. As if worrying about it can change the outcome. NEWS FLASH–IT CAN’T!

 I’m done with the roller coaster.  In fact, I’m jumping off the roller coaster! I am not  in control, but God is. All those emotional highs and lows are too exhausting and stressful. Certainly, not good for me or for you. Instead, I’m claiming God’s promises of peace and joy, no matter what the circumstances.

He promises me my times are in his hands.

I believe Him!  

The City Slicker

 Philippians 2:12

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

This  verse has always bothered me, I thought salvation was a free gift.  So, then what’s this verse talking about?  Does it mean that we really do have to work for our salvation after we accept Jesus as our Savior?  

I prayed about it, asked God to clarify what it meant, meditated on it, listened to what others said it meant. I started to have an idea what it meant but it still wasn’t clear enough to be able to verbalize what it meant. 

As a speech pathologist and a teacher, I know if you can’t explain it to someone else then you probably don’t get it completely.

I also know prepositions can be very important. In this case the  words work out instead of work for are crucial to the meaning.  Anyway this analogy popped into my head.  Yes, I believe it was the Holy Spirit clueing me in.  Let me explain what I believe the verse means by using this analogy.

 

The City Slicker And The Farm

A city slicker inherits a farm from a distant relative. The city slicker owns that farm, free and clear. There is no doubt about that, he owns the farm. He doesn’t even have to pay taxes on it. It was all taken care of by his relative.

No one can take the farm from the city slicker. He doesn’t have to do anything to get the farm except to accept this wonderful free gift. He didn’t do anything to deserve the farm but thanks to his very loving and generous relative, it’s definitely his farm!

The city slicker is very excited about his new farm.  He’s telling everyone about this wonderful gift that he’s received but, alas, he’s never been a farmer before.  He doesn’t know the first thing about farming.  He doesn’t know how to use the tools and equipment.  He doesn’t know what to plant, when to plant, or how to plant. 

So, even though the farm belongs to the city slicker, he doesn’t know how to use the farm to its best advantage.  He doesn’t know how to make the most of his farm.

The city slicker has a choice. 

He can just enjoy knowing that he owns the farm or he can learn how to make the most of his new farm.  The choice is his.  Either way the farm belongs to him but if he chooses to learn how to farm, he can make the farm much more fruitful for himself and for others.

Becoming a Christian is the same way. We can choose to learn how to use our wonderful gift of salvation so that we can become more fruitful for God.  We can, also, choose to accept the gift but not dig further to understand the true meaning of God’s gift. We won’t be as fruitful and we may miss out on many of the blessings that God wants to give us.

 But we are still Christians even if we don’t unwrap all the generous gifts God included as part of the gift of salvation. A few of the wonderful gifts included under the multifaceted gift of salvation are God’s love, grace, forgiveness, an intimate relationship with him, wisdom and power to name a few. I could go on and on but time doesn’t permit it.

God in His great love and generosity wasn’t satisfied with just giving us a way to get to heaven someday.  He wanted to give us a way to overcome the world now.  So, how do we go about opening all these gifts? Through Bible study, meditation, and putting God’s words into action.

It may not always easy, but it’s always worth it!