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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday Sermonette - How to be a Grownup, Lesson 14

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

Walking away.

So very many things pull us away from God. Confrontation can be a biggie. I had a friend in Phoenix who was accosted and injured by another driver who thought my friend was trying to cut him off. Still another one that I knew--a man's son and his friend got cut off and went after the offender--who pulled a rifle from his trunk and killed the son's friend. Two women in a Black Friday frenzy got into a brawl in the store resulting in one of them going into the hospital. Teenagers in gangs try to rival each other with who can eliminate the most of their enemies.

When you're angry, walking away is difficult. How do you cool off and resist the temptation to engage? Well, maybe you'll get the time to cool off when you're in jail, maybe facing murder charges?

Mark my words--shouting matches are often followed by thrown punches. Thrown punches these days result in someone going after a gun or a knife. Lives can be forever ruined or cut way short by anger. Is it worth it?

Don't justify it by saying you are "standing up for your rights." That's just an excuse. Growing up means taking a deep breath, biting the ugly reply back, making the soft reply that turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), and walking away. You can do it with God's help.

Father, we do need Your help when anger strikes. Help us remember to use Your principles to turn aside from the confrontations. In Jesus's Name and for His Glory alone! Amen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review - SPANKY DOODLES' SPOTTED TALES by Kathy Rodriguez

Okay, we all love stories about dogs, right? How about stories BY dogs? Spanky Doodles wrote this herself--with a bit of help from her human, of course.

Spanky is an English setter with a bunch of stories to tell. She and her setter friends Fancy, Deja, and Dakara; horse friends (sometimes) Chile and Tigger; and cat enemy Marilla (aka Red Devil). From a dog's point of view, ordinary life events can become world tragedies, comedies, or cause for rejoicing. My personal favorite is maybe the one about when Spanky got herself shut in the barn.

You can't buy this from Amazon, but you can order direct from Spanky's human, Kathy Rodriguez, 622 Butte Falls-Prospect Road, Prospect, Oregon, 97536. Cost is $16.50 plus $4.50 postage. Spanky donates a generous part of the proceeds to English setter health research foundations.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - NEITHER BE AFRAID

He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
Psalm 91:4-6 NKJV

Something a little different this Monday: instead of giving you a devotional on how not be be afraid, I'm asking that you'd give me one--or more than one. I'm beginning compilation of a new book, a devotional specifically for people who have been or are in fearful circumstances. Do you have a story of how God helped you through through a frightening situation? How He helped you overcome your fear?

I want to offer this fearful world hope in a wonderful Savior Who knows how to offer peace. Will you help?

You don't have to be a famous author. Authors aren't the only ones who suffer from fears! We can help with grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

I would like for the book to be a something like the devotional I already have out, Fear Not. It's available from Amazon.

Contact me through the "Contact Anne" button on the left. (Or at least it's on the left on my screen.)

Lord--please open the hearts of Your people to help others who so desperately need You. In Jesus's Name. Amen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Review - MIXED INTENTIONS by Laurie Penner

Under the best of circumstances, it is difficult and uncomfortable to fire a person. When Sarah Lynn Jones is made responsible for telling Dan Harding he is fired and why, it's definitely not the best of circumstances. Or outcome. Very good, Laurie Penner. Start with the hot tension and build it over a great mystery!

Sarah Lynn is a young widow whose husband left her with a valuable item that someone wants. One problem is that she has no idea the item is valuable. Looks like junk to her. She needs an estimator. Her husband had been in contact with someone who could provide an estimate, and that person has called many times over the years since Jim departed this earth.

Suspect: Dan Harding, of course. Greedy, without being burdened by an overly-developed sense of ethics. Obviously, though, he's going to need help. The object is heavy and unwieldy.

There's this guy at the office who really likes Sarah Lynn. His name is Mark Slack. He just needs to convince her he's the right guy for her, the only one who can really protect her.

And the guy they just hired--Ben Striker--good looking enough to be distracting, even if Sarah Lynn wasn't in the market for someone to replace Jim. Besides, he's engaged.

Donna Long is the CEO at Sarah Lynn's company. Seems emotionless, and she hates dogs.

Hannah McAndrews, Ben's fiance'e. Has positive things to say about everyone and everything to the point of flattery--well, except about the place Ben wants to buy, a fixer-upper in the woods only 10 miles from the office. She wants a place in Ashland (a small city that has a lot of neat stores and restaurants), a house that would take the rest of their lives to pay off.

Ted Brown. He hurt his wife, Molly. How can you trust anyone who would abuse his spouse?

George DeWinde. Sarah Lynn's boss, better known (at least behind his back) as Windy. Loves the sound of his own voice, despises nearly everyone else's.

Unravel the mystery by buying the book. Available from Amazon.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - Goad Kicking

As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.[a] It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

What are goads? Sharp sticks or prods that were used to keep oxen from kicking the carts they were pulling. I read a long time ago that the goads were attached to the carts, but whether they were held by the cart driver or attached, it really doesn't matter. Those sharp little buggers did the trick. The oxen learned that kicking didn't do any good--in fact, it hurt.

So, tell me. How many times have you kicked the goads? Fought against things you couldn't change, that is. I have, who knows how many times. Rebelling is a sorry part of human nature, but I think everyone I know over the age of two weeks has indulged in a little goad kicking. It goes from wanting to eat NOW to trying to push back time with all those expensive anti-wrinkle cremes or Rogaine. Some things we can do something about (at least once we're able). We can fix a meal to satisfy hunger. Change a diaper to get rid of a little stink, take a doctor's advice to get well. We can't eliminate death or taxes. I couldn't change my dad's emphysema or my mom's dementia or my husband's Parkinson's.

Accepting what can't be changed and moving forward with the life we're offered is sometimes really difficult. With God's help (and friends and family), we can do it. I'm beginning to know that it's still an awesome life that God has given me. Awesome friends and family too. And an awesome God who has again wowed me with sunsets and flowers, mountains and rivers, and given me reason to worship Him once more. I don't think I'll ever stop missing loved ones who are gone until I join them on the other side, but I choose to cherish and focus on the happy memories and hold them to my heart rather than the pain of separation.

I was fired from one of my first jobs through no fault of my own--I had put the wrong price down for someone's steak. I could never remember from one day to the next which ones were on sale, so I always checked the menu. But the boss didn't buy that, so I was out the door. I went home and complained to my parents, and later my dad saw the woman who had taken my place. She was bragging about getting the job. I guess my dad got a little upset with her--he did a little goad-kicking too. Nothing changed. See what I mean?

I have a dear friend who has a loved one going through dementia--and she's still kicking. Even knowing she can't change the situation by kicking. She's mad at God. (Been there too, myself.) And it's okay to be mad at God, but talk to Him about it. He isn't mad back. He understands your pain, trust me. God is the guy who watched His only begotten Son being tortured and killed, and even knowing it was for the benefit of all who would come to know His Son didn't take away the pain of it. He ripped the curtain between the Holy of Holys (the place in the temple where only the high priest could go once a year) and the rest of the temple. He shook the earth. He darkened the sky. I'm thinking He was pretty angry--but He didn't, really couldn't, change what was happening. This was the whole purpose Jesus came to this world as a human.

Lord, Even understanding what has happened cannot be changed, we still try to change it. Remind us, please, dear God, that You understand what we're going through and will help us through it. Thank You for Your endless grace and compassion. We love You. Amen.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Saturday Sermonette - How to be a Grownup, Lesson 13

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

Anger = Hatred?

You know, I was going to end this series with Lesson 12, but I guess as long as God keeps giving me new ideas I'll keep going.

Like this one--when your furious with someone, does that mean you hate them?

When my daughter was a teenager, we often had an adversarial relationship. I'm sure that there were times she thought she hated me, especially when I told her "no."

Anger is temporary (at least in 99.9 percent of the cases), even though you might think at the time you will be mad at the other person forever. Hatred is the wish to kill and send that person to hell. That's permanent.

When you're young sometimes it seems like that anger will be more than temporary. However--as in the case with my teenage daughter--teen/mom angst has become a deep and lasting friendship and relationship, one that we both treasure. What if either of us had acted violently on that anger? Our treasure would have been lost forever.

When Jesus railed against the scribes and Pharisees or when He chased the merchants and animals from the temple, do you think for one minute He wished any of them to hell? No--because He also said the Father is not willing that ANY should die (meaning everlasting separation from God).

Step back. Take a deep breath. Think. Pray. Forgive.

Remember that anger doesn't have to become hatred.

Father, Help us to rise above our childishness to adulthood and reason. We can't do it without Your help. Thank You for always being there to provide the way out. For Jesus's glory and in His Name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Review - LOVE'S SWEETEST REVENGE by Flora Reigada

A good story of love, betrayal, love again, and forgiveness is hard to resist--and this book has a really neat story line from award-winning author Flora Reigada.

Elizabeth Bertelli--Liz to her friends--believed she had a good marriage with Steve. Sure, he had a wandering eye, but he was so good to their twin boys, Stevie and Tony. By the time they were grown with careers of their own, Liz had gained a bit of weight, making the "curvaceous cutie" (Steve's praise) of their younger years, and Steve no longer thought of her as cute at all. He constantly criticized her, told her he longer wanted her. And then he left her for a younger--much younger--woman. Liz is devastated, sure (a) she is no longer a desirable woman and (b) no man can be trusted.

One spring morning on a walk toward the woods near her home, she encounters a bear. She flees, and when she falls and passes out, the bear apparently decides she is no further danger and leaves. When she looks up, Liz finds a precious locket with a letter. She and her best friend Rosa decide to try to find the intended recipient, and they find out the giver of the locket was shot, and his sweetheart disappeared. And they they find the box with pictures.

They discover the pictures are of a place in Florida. A neighbor remembers a young couple who disappeared and supplies names. Of course, they set out from New York to Florida (even over Liz's petrifying fear of flying. They meet with the son of the two teens, and the attraction begins.... Like I said, a lovely story, and with a mystery mixed in!

I think you'll enjoy this story, and you can get it from Amazon.