How’s Your Walk?

Romans 7: 15

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

In 2012 I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors. The good news was that they were benign. So no big deal, right? Wrong! Benign has two different meanings. One meaning non-cancerous and two meaning harmless. My tumors were non-cancerous but there was nothing harmless about them.

And I definitely didn’t want to deal with it but I had no choice.

The choice I had was how was I going to deal with it. With anger? Self-pity? Bitterness? Or would I choose to face this adversity in a godly way?

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is our choices. As Paul said in Romans 7: 15, the things he wants to do, he doesn’t; and the things he doesn’t want to do, he does. We’re all like that.

We’re all spiritual beings but we’re also a physical being. Our physical self doesn’t necessarily want the same thing our spiritual self wants. In fact, most of the time they are at war with each other. That’s the source of much of our conflict.

Anyway…I’ve been meditating on how once we know something spiritually we can’t go back and “unknow” it. We might be able to ignore it for a time, but in our heart we know what we need to do because of God’s truth inside us.

Think of it like a baby learning to walk. First they scoot around on their rear end. It’s slow but it’s better than not moving. Then they discover crawling on their hands and knees. Much faster, but it might be a little uncomfortable at first so they revert back to the scooting.

But not for long.

They deal with the uncomfortable in order to move faster. Then they discover standing and walking. Much better but, again, uncomfortable at first so back to crawling.

But again not for long.

Our spiritual walk is much the same. In fact, that could be why they call it a spiritual walk. Once we understand a spiritual truth, we might be uncomfortable for a time living that truth. But it also speeds up our journey.

That’s the choice we face again and again on our walk with God.

Stay comfortable or speed up the journey.

I was faced wtih that choice when my brain tumors were diagnosed. Actually, I made more than a choice. I made a commitment that I would do my best to keep my eyes on Jesus and not on the brain tumors.

The following two and a half years have been filled with doctor’s appointments; treatments; side effects—some very serious and permanent; more physical pain than I’ve ever experienced or ever wanted to experience. It hasn’t been easy but God has brought me through it. Not only brought me through it, but gave me peace and joy along the way.

 

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!

Do You Recognize Jesus?

Luke 24: 30-31

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.

Do you recognize Jesus when you see him?

As Christians, we would hope the answer to that question would be a resounding yes! After all, who would want to miss a moment like that? Not me!

But yet, I’m afraid I’ve often failed to recognize Jesus. Too busy. Too many things on my mind. Too much time spent on worrying about me and my problems.

The minute things start going wrong in our life, we go in a panic. Where is God? Why is He letting this happen to me? What did I do to make God mad? Life isn’t supposed to be like this–it’s supposed to be easy, right? Wrong.

Jesus never promised us we wouldn’t have problems but he did promise he would never leave or forsake us.

If you aren’t recognizing Jesus in your present circumstances, take some time and reflect on your past. As you do, you will begin to recognize that Jesus was there, guiding you, supporting you, and loving you even in the toughest of times. And even that many of the things that were hard when we were going through it, actually was a good thing in the long run.

A few years ago, my part-time position as a speech pathologist was eliminated. And it was the PERFECT JOB for me. I loved the kids, the teachers, even the principal was a nice guy. I was not a happy camper, but a few months later I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors.

Now, I know me well enough to know that I wouldn’t have quit the job on my own, like I said, it was the PERFECT JOB. Instead, I would have kept the job while I was undergoing treatments and side-effects from the treatment and…all that wold have done was cause me stress!

God knew me well enough to know that too.He smoothed out the rough road ahead of me by making sure I could concentrate on my health instead of stressing out about responsibilites that I could not have fulfilled.

God is so good!

I didn’t recognize Jesus at the time, but he was with me anyway. If you are in the midst of a tough situation, pray for God to open your eyes so that you can recognize Jesus. He is with you!

I’d love for you to share a time when God was with you even when you didn’t recognize him.

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!

Time To Say…

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven

As the verse says, there is a time for everything. It doesn’t say that every activity we choose to do must last forever.

And so it is that I say good-bye to this blog–FOR NOW. Lately, it’s been a struggle for me to come up with a topic for my devotions. And that hasn’t happened before. I love writing devotions so I can only conclude that my time for writing this blog may be coming to an end.

At least for now.

Who knows what the future holds?

If and when God wants me to start writing devotions for this blog again, I will be overjoyed to do so.

In the meantime, I plan to include devotions on my other blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com.  Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is more focused on my writing life, my books, other people’s books,  and whatever strikes my fancy. Lately, I’ve been sharing my writing journey. It’s been a fun look back at how I became a published writer. So if you’re not following Tiaras & Tennis Shoes yet, come on over and join the fun!

Thanks for all the support you’ve all shown me throughout the past few years. And like the verse said, there is a time for everything, and there may come a time again for this blog.

My blessings to you and to all you love!

MUSIC MOMENT: I CAN ONLY IMAGINE

I love this song–I Can Only Imagine. Now, I consider myself having a fairly good imagination. After all I’ve written dozens of books and been blessed to have several of them published. But when it comes to heaven, my imagination fails me.

I can really imagine it.

I can’t imagine how amazing it will be to see Jesus!

I can’t imagine what it means to live forever!

I can’t imagine no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears!

Maybe, I can’t imagine it right now, but I sure am looking forward to it!!

I hope you enjoy the video.

YOU TUBE VIDEO-I CAN ONLY IMAGINE sung by MercyMe