Monday, December 5, 2016
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Matthew 3:1-2, NKJV.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32, NKJV.
I never really realized the amazing connection between John the Baptist and Jesus until yesterday. It's like John held up a miraculous mirror that showed people those depressing habits and sins they had.
To the soldiers he said, "Don't extract bribes from people." To the tax collectors, "Don't collect more than is required." He kept telling people, "This is what you're doing wrong. Stop!" And he began what Jesus finished in railing at hypocrites.
Jesus let folks know there was something more--believing in Him. Loving God more than self, loving their neighbors as much as self, following His word, living His way, believing that He could lead them to heaven.
Father, thank You for giving us Your Son, our Redeemer and Friend and Lamp. We are forever grateful. Amen.
Monday, November 28, 2016
The Lord God has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary. Isaiah 50:4a, NKJV
I have to tell you, shopping is maybe even more fatiguing to the shopkeepers than the shoppers. Shoppers can go home any time they want. Shopkeepers have to stay until the last customer goes home. After a couple of long days being a vendor at a craft fair, I have developed an abiding empathy for the people who do this all the time for a living. Shopkeeping until you drop!
Shopper or shopkeeper, both get tired and cranky. I'm lucky (?) I guess, because I don't have to fix a meal or clean house when I get home. I can just collapse in a chair. Um, well, after I take the dog for a walk and feed dog and cat. I'm not sure how I'd react if someone demanded a full meal. I'm not sure how sweet and accommodating I'd be.
Those if you who are the ones demanding, have mercy. Those of you who have dependents who are hungry, God bless you and give you strength and patience!
The Christmas season can be trying enough without the grinch taking control. Remember to be sweet--you never know who has just had their very last straw loaded on their back. A smile or a kind word can lift spirits. A helping hand can be a lifesaver.
Be a blessing, not a burden.
Father, teach us how, please? And thank You, in Jesus's name, amen!.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
I've know Texie Susan Gregory for a few years now--I met her at the Write to Inspire Conference in Sacramento, CA, and I was privileged to read a little of what she'd written for a contest. I knew this lady was going to become a popular writer one day. This is her first release, and it's everything I thought her writing would be!
Jochebed is one of the women in the Bible who's just barely mentioned. One of the Egyptian slaves who are required to produce baskets and bricks or be beaten, Jochebed has received her share of stripes when she didn't work fast enough to please their Egyptian overseers. Her mother has tried to instill a love of God and of the stories of their ancestors, but Jochebed doesn't think God is all that great. They're still slaves with no hope in sight.
She's betrothed and then married to a man who's still in love with his first wife, a woman who was killed along with their child in the spring floods. She has a daughter, Miriam, and then a son, Aaron. Another child is stillborn.. Still her husband does not love her. Will one more child make a difference if it's another son? And will another son survive anyway, now that the Pharaoh has decreed all male babies will be killed?
The mother of Moses has never been more real. Give this new author a try. You won't be disappointed, promise! Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and on lots of local bookstore shelves!
I received this book free from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Monday, November 21, 2016
You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:6, NKJV.
I don't know about you, but I tend to way overeat at Thanksgiving. I also tend to way overcook. We make enough to feed a small army. We have our Thanksgiving early in my family so that the ones in retail or otherwise busy on the holidays can come. As a result, I wear myself clear out and my stomach complains.
Too much of a good thing? Maybe Haggai had a point. We tend not to be satisfied with just enough. No one complains about making too much money (except maybe at tax time). Enough food at Thanksgiving and Christmas and other celebrations? You get the point. We take all we can get and still want more.
What is enough anyway? God promised to provide us with what we need, and that's been my experience. Often I didn't have as much as I thought I needed. What I thought I needed (or wanted, knowing I didn't need it), I really got by just fine without.
The holiday of Thanksgiving was begun to celebrate having enough to make it through the year without starving. Do you thank God and celebrate when all you have is enough? Or do you wait until you have an abundance?
I think back to when I grew up. We didn't have an abundance, but we always had enough. Our family never went hungry, and we always had warm coats in the winter. The important things were there--and the most important thing of all was being together.
Father, Help us discern the difference between enough and abundance, and may we always be grateful for enough. Help us see when is enough, especially enough to share with somehow who doesn't have enough. The best part of the holidays is and has always been having You in our lives. In Jesus's wonderful name, Amen.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
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
Maybe one of the toughest jobs a grownup has to do is listen. I love my family and friends, but sometimes it seems like I don't actually listen. What I'm doing instead is waiting for a chance to interrupt with my own wonderful opinion, advice, or humor. Who wouldn't want to listen to someone as wise and intuitive as me?
As Bugs Bunny would have said, "What a maroon."
My opinions are not all that valuable. What would be way better is if I listened and then asked the right questions, ones that would give the other person a chance to develop his or her own wisdom. Maybe give a child a reason to think of a better way than arguments, rebellion, or fighting. A way to express their opinion without hurting. Come to think of it, adults could use that lesson too.
Like you and me.
Father, please teach us to think before we speak, to ask for Your wisdom before responding. Especially with children, Lord, so we may teach them also to listen. For Your sake, for Your glory, and in Your name we pray, Amen.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
A new book by one of my favorite authors, Loree Lough--and one of her best. Thanks, Loree!
An earthquake shakes Sterling Hall followed by a fire that finished the destruction. Shaina Sterling found herself without a penny to her name and only the clothes on her back. Actually, the double disaster might have come at a good time--it would hide the fact that she'd sold off most of the furnishing and her expensive clothing to keep herself off the poor farm. Even if life did leave her with no source of income now. When her husband Harper died, she found out he'd been driving Sterling Manufactory into the ground,
Sloan Remington had been orphaned when he was a young child, leaving him without a safe place to call home and shameful secrets that just kept piling on top of his shoulders. Despite the fact that he was now a wealthy rancher and owner of a fancy Denver hotel, he never felt like he could do enough to help his employees or friends. Not to mention the pretty little widow who'd just lost her home just in time for him to offer her the job of housekeeper at his ranch, seeing as how his current housekeeper had just broken her leg.
The only problem was, how was he going to keep her there once Mable's leg was healed?
I love the way Loree spins a story! You can buy it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, not to mention off the shelves of your favorite local bookstore.
Monday, November 14, 2016
And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
Sometimes I really feel alone. Maybe this week especially, because part of my family was here for our annual pre-Thanksgiving, and they had to go back home Sunday. *sigh*
However, we aren't ever alone. Never. Not even when I feel lonely, not even when no one's in view, not even when the last person walks out the door. God is always there. All you have to do is reach out in belief.
I will forever be grateful to the people who "prayed me through" when my husband was sick and when he died. My friends never abandoned me. And even if the last of my friends and even my family had deserted me, God would not. Did not. He's faithful through the very last minute of the very last day of my life.
You can depend on Him. Hang on. He's there with His hand out to you, waiting for you to slip your hand into His. Go ahead.
Thank You, Father. I needed that. Amen.