Just Say NO!

Ephesians 4: 27

and do not give the devil a foothold.

I like the way the International Standard Version (ISV) shows this verse even better than the NIV. It says,  do not give the Devil the opportunity to work. That seems like really good advice to me. If we don’t take that first step toward temptation, then we won’t find ourselves in a situation that we can’t overcome.

I’m 99% sure I will never rob a bank. Why? Because the first step to such an act would be to think about it and brainstorm ways to get away with it. And if my mind goes there, it stops at that point because I know I couldn’t get away with it–not that I would want to rob a bank but you get the idea.

Why am I not 100% sure? Because that would be arrogant and proud and that allows the devil a foothold in a whole other area.

Think about Adam and Eve and the “apple” that caused sin to enter the world. If Eve hadn’t given the Devil the opportunity to work by talking with him, she would never have taken that bite. Because she wouldn’t have given him the opportunity to change her mind. Then there’s Adam, if he’d just said no and walked away, things still could have turned out way different.

If you think back to any sin in your life, you’ll remember moments when you could have simply said no and walked away. Instead when we say yes to what we think is a small thing, it leads us one step closer to a situation where we can’t say no. If you say no to that first piece of chocolate cake (not that chocolate cake is a sin in itself), then you don’t have to worry about the fact that you might eat the whole cake and the consequences of that action.

Just say NO to the little things and you won’t find yourself in a big situation.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

What’s your Good?

Psalm 73: 28

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.

This verse is simple and to the point. One of the reasons I love it! But even more I love the point it’s making. And as Christians, most of us would say that we believe that….but do we really? Well, of course!

Then if that’s true, why are we always wanting more? More money. More prestige. More things.

Then if that’s true, why are we always complaining? But I need….fill in the blank.

Then if that’s true, why are we not filled with God’s peace and joy? Because…I want…fill in the blank.

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.

It seems as if there’s a disconnect between our words and our actions. We say the nearness of God is our good, but our actions say something different. So how can we close the gap between our words and our actions? I believe being truly thankful for we do have will go a long way.

It can be hard to find the gratitude when life isn’t going our way. Believe me, I know that after spending the past five years battling brain tumors and yet…it is possible. It really is as simple as looking at the positive instead of the negative. Here’s a few examples from my own life:

I’ve lost a lot of my hearing but I’m thankful I still have some usable hearing still left.

My balance and my neuropathy makes it difficult for me to walk but I’m thankful that I still can even if it’s difficult.

In spite of all my health issues, God still gives me stories to write and the ability to write them!

God has given my a loving husband who takes wonderful care of me–and without complaining.

So what are you thankful for even in the midst of your trials?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

I Did It! 3 Keys To Success!

I did it!

I wanted to get back to the weight I was when my husband and I started dating and….I did it! Almost 40 pounds. I still would like to lose a few more pounds but my I met my original goal! It wasn’t easy and it took me a lot longer than I expected and I had a lot of setbacks along the way.

Still I did it!

Today I’d like to share 3 keys to my success.

  1. DON’T QUIT! Proverbs 24: 16 says: for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Whatever it is you want to happen, it won’t if you quit. That makes sense, doesn’t it? You might fail or stumble but you have to get back up and keep going.
  2. BE TEACHABLE. Most of us think we know more than we do. Whatever your goal is, you will need knowledge and wisdom to make it happen. Proverbs 15:22 says: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. It took me 15 years to be published by a traditional publisher. Why? One of the reasons was because I was doing it alone. After I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, it took me less than two years to get a contract. But if I hadn’t been willing to learn from all the wonderful resources available through the organization, I’d still be waiting.
  3. MAKE GOD YOUR PARTNER. God loves you and cares about you and the things you care about. Mark 10: 27 says: Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Go to God with your concerns, ask for wisdom to learn, strength to endure, patience to wait.

I did it! And so can you!

It doesn’t matter what your goal is, these three principles will help you get there. It doesn’t mean it will be quick or easy but that will only make your success sweeter. It took about 5 years to lose the almost 40 pounds.

Yes, that’s a long time. It only averages out to 8 pounds a year but it didn’t happen that way. I joined a national weight loss group in January of 2012 and in May I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors (non-cancerous) and had my first treatment in August. Then for the next 8 months I was on steroids so I gained back about half of what I lost.

At that point I rejoined and started losing weight again and then I had my second treatment and then I had to go back on steroids so  the whole process repeated itself. Then I had to start chemotherapy and steroids to try to save my hearing. This happened three times over three years. So I would lose weight and then gain a lot of it back because of my treatments.

But I didn’t quit, I kept learning, and God is definitely my partner in all things. So I kept going to meetings as much as I could and kept following the program as much as I could and prayed for strength and endurance and… last week, my official weight put me a little bit under what I was when I started dating my beloved husband.

I did it! And so can you–no matter what your goal is.

PS. Of course, we all know the hard part is keeping it off but with the three biblical principles I can do that as well!

 

Fake it?? Good idea or not?

Proverbs 17: 22 (NLT)

A cheerful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

I’ve discovered that when a person doesn’t feel well over an extended amount of time, it’s really hard to be cheerful and upbeat. And yet the Bible says a cheerful heart is good medicine. As with any medicine you have to take it first and then wait for the results. So how is one supposed to act cheerful when they aren’t?

Fake it, of course!

I’m not advocating you lie about your condition, but what I am asking is that you force a smile now and then. In other words act a little cheerful in spite of your circumstances.  Put another way, act as if you trust God in the hard times as well as the good times.

If all you do is whine and complain or even worse get angry and bitter, that’s called a broken spirit. And a broken spirit saps a person’s strength while a cheerful heart is good medicine.  It’s really all about the biblical principle of sowing and reaping. Sow cheerfulness and you’ll get more cheerfulness. Sow a broken spirit and all you’ll get is more broken spirit.

The choice is yours.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

WANT MORE JOY?

As I said in the previous post, JOY is my word this year. God promises us joy and I want it! So I thought I’d take a look at other devotions I wrote on the topic of joy. This one was written in 2014.

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 is 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.

 

This is me in 2017 again. I’ve been focusing on the J and the Y–the O not so much. Having long-term chronic illness can make us very self-centered. I know this to be true because I can see it in myself. In a way it’s understandable but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us spiritually. So as I search for more joy in my life, I’m going to make an effort to get my mind off myself and do something nice for other people at least 3 times this week.

I already did one this morning! I vacuumed my bedroom without asking my husband for help. Now to find two more things to do. What’s something you plan to do nice for someone else this week?

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

WHAT’S YOUR WORD?

1st Thessalonians 5: 16

Rejoice always.

Lots of Christian writers will have a word they focus on for the year. This word might be for them or for their writing or both. There’s even a book somewhere in my office that is all about picking and living a word.

I don’t have a word. I always wanted a word but one word for a whole year? I’m rather fickle when it comes to some things. I change my mind a lot so one word for me didn’t seem possible.

Now you may or may not remember that I’ve had some serious health issues for quite some time–approaching the five year mark soon. In spite of them, God has been so good to me! Two specific things come to mind–well three if you count my amazing husband.

One is that God has kept me in his supernatural peace in spite of lots of things going on. That’s not to say I don’t have a pity party or two but when I draw near to God, He is there waiting to put His arms around me once again.

Two, I can still write! It’s amazing how God has blessed me this part of my life.

But…something’s been missing. Not every day but lots of days.

JOY.

It’s really hard to be joyful when you don’t feel good. It’s just that simple. It makes sense to me and yet I’ve missed having JOY. It’s not that I never feel happy or don’t have a good time. I have and I do but I want to feel God’s joy most of the time–not once in a while. So when I read two different devotions this morning with the theme of joy, it jumped out at me.

I have a WORD for 2017–JOY!

What’s your word for the year?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Let’s Celebrate Christmas All Year Long!

Zepheniah 3: 17

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you.

He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

 

I wrote this a few years ago but it still holds true!

The holidays are over for another year and it’s time to get back real life, right?  For some people that’s a good thing and for others maybe not so much. As  we get caught back up in the daily drudgery of life, we soon forget about all the peace, joy, and love we celebrate during the Christmas season.

We were cleaning off our Christmas porch today and as I saw each of my fourteen trees along with my snowmen and Santas go back in the box a thought occurred to me. Couldn’t I keep up at least one tree all year, just as a reminder?

I didn’t actually mention the idea to my husband. It was quite obvious he was a man on a mission to not only clear the porch but to do it as quickly as possible. But you must admit, it’s a good idea! A year-long Christmas tree to remind us of God and his love.

It’s so easy for us to forget God is with us–all the time.

It’s so easy for us to forget God loves us–all the time.

So, as we pack up our Christmas trees and decorations, find another way to keep remembering God and His amazing love all year long.  Perhaps, it’s a Bible on a coffee table? Or a favorite verse on the refrigerator? Or tune your radio to a Christian music station?

Whatever way you choose, I can guarantee that as you remember God each day, it will bring more joy, peace, and love to your life each day. And that’s a wonderful thing!