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Baby Steps!

1 John 4: 4

You dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

You can do more than you think! Not through our power but through God’s power. I also believe the more you do the more you can do! And the reverse is true–the less you do the less you can do. Which one will you choose?

I’m not saying it will be easy or that you won’t have setbacks. But what I am saying is that you can move forward, stagnate, or regress. Which one will you choose?

Life can throw us curve balls.

In my latest book, BROKEN TRUST, my main character was kidnapped and is having difficulty moving forward in her life. She keeps being told–BABY STEPS. One baby step begets another baby st and so forth.

My curve ball was/is bilateral brain tumors and a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis Type 2. I was diagnosed five years ago and it’s been quite the journey–and not a pleasant one.

I’d like to say it’s had its ups and down but it’s probably more accurate to say there haven’t been that many ups. Between the tumors themselves as well as the treatments, it’s pretty much been a spiral of downs.  Lost all of my hearing in one ear; then lost my balance; then lost more hearing in the other ear; then lost more of my balance; then more of my hearing; then my feet went numb and I couldn’t walk without assistance; and…. and… and…

The point is that throughout the past five years I’ve had a choice. Give up or not give up. Giving up does not honor God and I want to honor God so… I do the best I can.

After each setback, I start with baby steps and go from there.  The more I force myself to do the more I can do. If I just gave up (and believe me that thought’s appealing more than I care to admit) and didn’t keep trying, I’m sure that I would be able to do less and less.

I know this because I come from a long line of couch potatoes!

I’m talking about from a physical point of view but I believe it holds true for all sorts of situations–physically; mentally; and emotionally.

If you have a goal or a dream but don’t know where to start–take that first baby step and then another and another.

 

So no matter what needs changed in your life–take that first baby step and then another and another.

It’s just like the tortoise and the hare. Speedy may be more flashy but slow and steady wins the race. BABY STEPS

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

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!

A Baby Changes Everything!

I’ve decided to go back through some of my old posts that pertain to the Christmas season and re-share them with you.  This is one of my favorites. I hope you like it.

 

A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING

 

Luke 2: 10-12

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. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

A baby changes everything, there is no arguing that point. Ask any parent, new or experienced, young or old, tired or rested. A baby changes everything for their family.  And that’s even more true for the baby we celebrate during this Christmas season.  Let’s take a look at the reason for the season.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Atheists–agnostics–and some who just aren’t sure often give Jesus his “due.”  Oh, he was a great teacher, they say, but He wasn’t GOD.

Let’s take a practical look at that for a moment, shall we?

What’s the year? Oh–it’s 2013 A.D   A.D. does not mean “after death,” as a lot of people believe, but it stands  for a Latin phrase: anno domini, meaning “in the year of the Lord”—the year Jesus was born.  B.C stands for Before Christ, though now people have changed it in an attempt to downplay the religious aspect.

Wow!  Time is measured by Jesus’s birth and death. I’m impressed!

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Let’s take a look at Jesus’s life for a moment and those who knew him best–his disciples.

Without going into the gory details, ten of the original twelve apostles chose death rather than renounce Jesus’s divinity. Why? Because they experienced life with the Messiah. Some were with him the day he was baptised and they heard God’s voice come down from the heavens saying,  “this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”  They experienced the darkness the day he died.

They knew beyond a shadow of doubt that he was the Son of God and they were willing to die rather than renounce His divinity.  Because of that certainty, they spread the good news of the gospel throughout the world.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

But even better, Jesus changed my world. Christianity isn’t about rules and religion. It’s about a relationship with God through His only begotten son, Jesus. And that has made all the difference in my world!

Indeed, a  baby changes everything!