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PEACE

John 16:33,

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It’s not easy to stay in peace in this crazy world of ours. I don’t know about you, but if I watch the news for more than five minutes, I develop a stomachache, a headache. or start crying. If that’s not enough, then we have jobs, family responsibilities, church, and community activities to keep us so busy we can’t breathe.

 And let’s not forget about life. Just when we think we’ve got everything under control, life happens and proves us wrong. Life happening might take the form of a broken washer, a tragedy, or a brain tumor. For me, it’s actually two brain tumors that were diagnosed in May of 2012.

And yet, Jesus promises us peace. So, how do we get the peace Jesus promised us and keep it in the midst of tragedies? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can share how I’ve done it as I struggled and continue to struggle with my health. For me it comes down to 3 key principles:

GOD IS GOOD.

GOD LOVES ME.

 I TRUST GOD.

 If you believe that God is good and that He loves you, then how can you not trust God in whatever situation you are struggling with? Romans 8:28 promises us….And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I love this promise. This verse gives me hope. I know that whatever happens to me God will work it out for my good. I believe this with all my heart. I’m approaching the third anniversary of my brain tumor diagnosis. Unfortunately, things aren’t going the way they were supposed to go.

But I know God’s got my back. 

Nobody likes problems, but they are a fact of life. If you’re facing a difficult situation (and we all do sooner or later), isn’t it wonderful to know that the Creator of the world is on your side? Just knowing that gives me hope.

Peace!

GOD IS SOVEREIGN!

BAD NEWS-GOOD NEWS 

SESSION 2

So last session we talked about the bad news–just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we are immune to difficulties in this life. So today we’re moving forward with the good news–thought it may not seem that way at the beginning.

Do you know what sovereign means? According to Dictionary.com it means  to have supreme power or authority. Another one of the definitions I really loved is  being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc. Between those two definitions is a fairly accurate description of God.

supreme power-yes

supreme authority-yes

above all others in character-yes

above all others in importance-yes

above all others in excellence-yes

above all others in etc…..yes

Let me just fill in the etc. part just a bit–above all others in love; in goodness; in holiness. (NOTE: Help me fill in this list. What would be some other characteristics that describe God?)

Supreme–above all others. That means God makes the final decisions about….well everything. Only God decides the who, the what, the how, the when, the why, and the where of miracles. He can choose to give us a miracle or not, no matter what we do or don’t do.

It’s HIS decision and his decision alone.

And…and here’s some GOOD NEWS… because of HIS goodness, HIS wisdom, HIS love, it is ALWAYS the right decision.

Whether we like it or not!

Whether we agree or not!

Whether it breaks our heart or not!

It’s easy to have faith when life is good, but we honor God when we choose to love him, to trust him, and to continue to serve him no matter what circumstances come against us. And when we make that choice, we begin to mature spiritually.

In Mark 14:36, Jesus said in the Garden of Gesethmene the night before his crucifixion,  “Abba”, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

YOUR TURN:  Don’t forget  to help me fill in this list. What would be some other characteristics that describe God? Next time, I promise more good news!

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

Guest Writer–Stephanie Prichard

 My guest writer today is Stephanie Prichard. She is an army brat who lived in many countries around the world and loved it. She met her husband at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she majored in English/Literature. She and Don have lived in Indianapolis, IN, for forty years, and in retirement have turned to co-authoring novels now that their three children are busy raising a beautiful crop of grandchildren for them.
Stephanie and her husband have recently released a book, STRANDED. To learn more about the book and to enter a giveaway, hop on over to Tiaras & Tennis Shoes.

Bully Birds

 Proverbs 19:3

“The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the Lord.”

 

My husband barely dared to breathe. He sat immobile at the picnic table on our Aussie host’s deck, surrounded by thirteen wild Sulphur-crested Cockatoos perched at one-foot intervals along the railing. The size of barnyard chickens, snowy white except for their black beaks and the yellow feathers crowning their heads, they didn’t move either. Aloof, regal, their agenda clear, they stared at him and waited.

Finally, my husband oh-so-slowly extended his right arm across the tabletop and deposited one sunflower seed after another toward him. The Hansel-and-Gretel trail ended with his hand as the gingerbread house. He opened it wide to reveal a tantalizing, come-hither pile of seeds.

Within seconds, a volunteer hopped from the railing to the table. Step by step, the cockatoo followed the trail, gobbling up the seeds until he was within a neck’s stretch of the gingerbread-house cache. He halted. Looked up at my husband. Looked down at the cache. Ever so slowly, he stretched his neck toward the pile of seeds. My husband’s lips quirked into a smile of victory. Then, with lightning speed, the cockatoo nipped my husband’s index finger and scurried backwards.

My husband’s smile disappeared, but he didn’t move. He pressed his hand all the firmer onto the tabletop and tightened his mouth into a straight line.

The cockatoo crept cautiously forward. He stretched his neck again and latched onto the same finger. This time he bit so hard an electric current of pain shot through my husband’s body. Suddenly it wasn’t so cute that he was surrounded by thirteen combat-ready, sharp-beaked aggressors who coveted his sunflower seeds. He dumped the pile onto the table and left. Chagrined, he stood beside me at the sliding glass door and watched the other twelve cockatoos swoop to the table to join in the feast.

That wasn’t the end of it. A few days later, at a small zoo of native Australian animals, we stopped at a cage labeled Cockatoos. My husband clutched the wire fence and peered inside. Immediately, a Sulfur-crested Cockatoo flew straight over to him. “Well,” my husband said, “at least there’s one friendly cockatoo in Australia.” He grinned as the bird replied with what sounded like a mighty affable “Aaaark.”

And with that, the cockatoo promptly reached over and bit the same sore finger the other bird had chomped. “Aaaark,” he squawked, and with a distinct Aussie accent said, “Good boy, good boy.”

Aren’t we just like those cockatoos? Territorial: “Hands off, God. This is my space. My life. Just dump what’s good on the tabletop and leave me alone.”

…Until something bad happens. And then guess Who gets questioned for His lack of goodness?

If you’re like me, you recognize when you fret against God. But do you recognize the territory where you’ve drawn a line and said, “Hands off. This is mine”?

Thanks, Stephanie, for writing this devotion for us. Congratulations on your new book, STRANDED. Don’t forget to hop on over to Tiaras & Tennis Shoes to learn more about her book and to be entered in the giveaway.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

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!