Legal Property

* * * * * * * * * * * * * This blog is the intellectual property of Anne Baxter Campbell, and any quotation of part or all of it without her approval is illegal. * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Sermonette - How to be a Grownup, Lesson 11

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:1, NKJV

Acting and reacting.

Small children act on nearly every impulse. Wet, hungry, uncomfortable? Let someone know, NOW! They also react to every stimuli--cry, smile, laugh, strike out...

Goodness! Sounds like a lot of adults I know!

We fail to put brain in gear before opening the mouth.

We don't stop to wonder what's going on in the other person's life that they might have acted the way they did. Knowing (or considering) the other half of the story can make a big difference in our reactions.

Shouting matches, angry words that never die, or worse can and do erupt. How do you cap a spewing volcano?

Lots and lots easier to think before speaking and setting off the tempers. Think about what might have upset the other guy. Accept blame, even if it's not all your fault. Listen, and calmly repeat back to the guy what you understand he's (or she's) trying to say. Say, "how can I help?" Say, "I'm so sorry for your trouble." Say, "Forgive me. I didn't mean to start (or worsen) a problem." Say, "May I pray for you?"

Never say, "I'm sorry, but..." Never say, "You always do this...."

Actions and reactions are totally up to you, with God helping. Remember, you cannot change anyone but yourself. That's God's job, and you aren't God.

Well, God, You and I both know I'm going to often fail this test before I pass it. Please be patient with me, and please remind me before I say or do a thing to pray/think first. I love You, Lord, and I want to honor You with my mouth, my actions, and my reactions. In Jesus's Name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Review - EMANCIPATED HEART by Jan Cline

This author chose a difficult topic to write about--Japanese interment during World War II--not one of the US's proudest achievements. When President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the military moved thousands of Japanese--the majority of whom were US Citizens--into primitive, unsanitary, and prison-like conditions behind high barbed-wire fence. They were given 48 hours to pack a small suitcase and move. This is the fictional story of one such family, the Katos--Papa-san, Mama-san, Hana (the older daughter), Martin (the only son), and Chiko (younger daughter). As you read this, I know you're your to be thoroughly engrossed and pulled into the scenes, smells, and sounds of the camp.

The story begins with Papa-san's removal to an even worse prison, one reserved for dissidents who didn't meekly comply with the situation. The heartbreak they tried to hide to give their father and husband a hopeful sendoff on the train is enough to make a grown man cry. Hana tries to shoulder the responsibility for holding the two younger teens in line while comforting her mother and looking for ways to earn enough money to sustain them. Her mother's faith seems so inadequate and impossible to Hana.

Before the interment, Hana had earned her nursing degree, so she finds a job at the local hospital, working for one Caucasian doctor who hired her and treats her well, one who hates anything Japanese, and the head nurse who seems to hate everyone.

Now two men compete for Hana's favor--Neil Bennett, the Caucasian who hired her-- and John Yamada, a long-time family friend. Hana is undecided and reluctant to enter into anything, and her faith is nearly nonexistent in the face of so many hardships.

How will God triumph in this situation? How can Hana keep her family together until the Papa-san comes back? I strongly encourage you to find out by going to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and buying your own copy. I believe you will be lifted as well as educated!

I received a free preliminary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - He's Always Here

And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11b-12, NKJV

Have you ever experienced this? All around you, things are shaking, burning, blowing away. Your world seems impossible to live in any more. And yet...when you turn to God, He's right there. He's not the noise or pain or fear--He's the still, small, voice. Strong, yet gentle. Unshaken. Peaceful. Loving. Freeing.

Something like this happened to me when I was pretty sick lately. Feeling too weak to move or do anything for myself, I turned to Him, saying, "Hey, God?"

All He said was, "I'm here." Almost instant peace settled over me. He was there in the middle of the storm with me. Calm and comforting.

Then I "saw" something like a picture of a carved stone bench beside a garden path. A tree and lots of other green foliage grew behind the bench, and maybe there was a little brook back behind it too. A peaceful setting. Beautiful. And so I rested in that place where He is.

Are you often in the middle of a storm? Do you need His peace that passes understanding? You can go there with Him, too. That was "my" place of peace with Him, but He has one designed just for you too.

Precious Lord, please show those who ask of You their peaceful place. You know we all need it, need You. Thank You, precious Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Saturday Sermonette - How to be a Grownup, Lesson 10

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:1, NKJV

Not entertaining your fantasies.

Ah, yes. Our fantasies. Those wayward thoughts that go scampering in delightfully wicked ways. Trouble is, those thoughts can lead us astray wayyyy too easily. Or at least they did in my life. Can you relate?

Fantasies are fine for children. Pretending to be a famous person, an animal, or grownups--even being the bad guys--doesn't usually do any harm. The problem comes when we reach our teens and the hormones kick in, right? Is that why there are so few chaste teens anymore? Plus patterns established in teen years can follow us all our lives. Theft? Drugs? Alcoholism? Divorces? Unwanted--and aborted--children?

We don't have to entertain evil thoughts. Throw them away, then find something else to direct your thinking. Read the Bible, Pray, Look up some inspirational blog posts and read them. Talk with godly friends. Read an inspirational book. Go to a Bible study or to church.

Your case is not impossible. It can be done.

Father, help us, please. We are weak, but You are strong. You can cleanse our minds as well as our lives. Work in us now, Lord, please, as we yield to You. For Jesus's sake and in His name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Review - FATEFUL FALL by Erin Unger

Erin Unger says in her Amazon biography that she loves to read and write mysteries such as Mary Higgins Clark did--and I think she's made a good start in this story of murder, intrigue, and, yes, even a bit of romance.

Ava Worthington looks much too young to be a private detective, and just doesn't fit the mold of tough investigator. Her two companions, Shauna (former military) and Jillian (shy to the point of reclusive), are a little distant from that picture too. However, they've been hired by the owner of a backwoods resort to help the local sheriff (who doesn't exactly like their butt-inski ways) solve the murder of the owner's son.

The inquiry is hampered by the arrival of paying guests who shouldn't be disturbed or aware of the goings-on, the reluctance of anyone to divulge information about their local friends, and the "accidental" death of an employee. How's a fledgling investigator supposed to prove herself when no one is cooperating?

Thank goodness for that handsome (although Ava really shouldn't be thinking along those lines) guy assigned to guide them around, Cory Mortel.

Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you're a mystery fan, I do believe you'll enjoy this one.

I received an advance copy of this book free from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - Old, Threadbare Material

"No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16-17, NKJV

The cloth in the picture above is old, threadbare, and full of holes. It won't hold wine or much of anything. It reminds me of me before I allowed Jesus to come in and take over the mess I'd made of my life. If anyone was a total screwup, I was. How could even God fix the messes I'd created?

I don't know how He patches up the holes, stains, and old transparent materials, but He does. A lot of Christians call that being born again because that's exactly what it feels like--like being brand new with a free ticket to start over. We get to skip the guilt parties, reject the old temptations, slide out of the dark into the light of His constant love.

I didn't have to do anything to deserve it, unless you count asking Him to come in and sit on the throne in my heart. That's it. Not to say I always leave Him there--the old me tries to take over every twice in a while. I hope one day I'll quit that.

But the new life draws me so much more than the old life. I like this new cloth--it fits me so much better. No embarrassing holes and thin spots in the fabric. No leaking messes. Stains have been washed away. What a relief!

You can do it too. My prayer is that if you haven't already, you'll say "yes" to Him today. He's calling out to you with a golden, life-time, irrevocable invitation. He's waiting....

Father God, You know exactly what it will take to make a person into brand-new, strong, forever fabric. I pray for every person who reads this, that she or he will accept your invitation today and stop wasting her or his precious time and life. Tell them it's not hopeless, that You are the author of hope. Tell each one You know how to be the miracle they need, that this can be for them the day of a new beginning. For Jesus sake and honor, and in His precious Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday Sermonette - How to be a Grownup, Lesson 9

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:1, NKJV

Crying over small things.

I used to run wailing to my mom when I scraped a knee or bumped my head, wanting her to make it better. I don't remember anyone ever telling me to stop crying over the little things, but eventually a little cut didn't seem worth the tears anymore. Which didn't stop me from going to Mom if my hurt went way deeper, like when my boyfriend invited another girl to the prom. Yep, I still cried. I was a teenager, and it seemed like emotions were really close to the surface then.

Does that mean that emotions are childish and calling Mom is, too? Of course not. But as Christians we know we can take our tears to God--and that He's even better than Mom at comfort and peace. Even so--I don't cry to Him over small cuts. I don't think it's pride--just distinguishing between what's threatening and what's unimportant. What needs prayer and what is already taken care of in God's design of the body to heal itself. Either way, I'm relying on God to take care of me.

So--what's my point? Spilled milk isn't important. Get a mop and clean it up. Most bruises will fade. Praise God for His provision for healing. Thank Him for being there to help you through those deep, hard hurts, and trust Him. He won't let you down.

And step outside your own hurt to see and help others who really need God's comfort and healing.

Lord, help us become the adults You intend us to become. We can't do it alone. Help us put away the childish and put on the adult. Show us how, precious Jesus. For Your Glory--Amen.