Legal Property

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Morning Devo--The Edge of the Storm, Part 5

He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, And stretched out the heaven by His understanding.
When He utters His voice—There is a multitude of waters in the heavens: He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries. Jeremiah 51:15-16, NKJV

Who among us has the power and ability  to create a storm? No one that I know. We know now that high pressure and low pressure relegates where storms will happen--but we can't make them happen. They've figured out how to predict when and where, but the weather is still out of our hands.

God knows.

It's a comfort to me, even when I don't relish going out in the cold or heat, wet or wind, that God is still God. I'm not in charge. Just think if I were: It would rain nearly every day, a real downpour, but just enough to provide water for the plants and trees. Every storm would have a rainbow. Occasionally, the rain would be accompanied by lightning and thunder and big winds.

It would be a warm rain, though. When the rain  left, packing away it's rainbow for the next day, the sun would come out with all it's cheery yellowness and warm it even further. Somewhere between 70 and 80, every day, without fail. No warmer, no cooler.

Now, if my husband were in charge, he'd make those rains about once a week. Never any wind, and he'd rather the temperature were between 65 and 70. Possibly some distant thunder on occasion.

My brother, on the other hand--he'd want snow once in a while. Temperature never over 60 degrees, but as low as 20 is just fine. Brrr!

Logically, we need it all: scorching heat, below freezing cold, high winds, drenching rain, driving snow, even hail. Some trees won't bloom unless they've experienced a freeze in the winter. The heat ripens the fruit.

Humans are like that. We have to have storms to give us an appreciation for the perfect weather. It's the storms that strengthen us, ripens us to maturity.

When I'd rather have sunshine, it's hard to give thanks for freezing snow--but I will anyway. When life's storms hit, may I have the grace to still trust the Creator of the earth, knowing that in spite of all I see, He is still God.

He is still God. He was there before the storm, He's there during, and He will still be there when the rainbow comes.

Thank You, Lord. Amen

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Sermonette--Seeds: Part 4

For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11, NKJV

In this long passage in Isaiah, God tells the people in Israel that although they aren't exactly in a cool place now, the time will come when He will reestablish righteousness and praise in front of all the nations. What does that mean?

At the point when Isaiah wrote his book, Israel wasn't exactly known for righteousness. In fact, it seems the majority of the Israelites had been cheating on the Lord of Lords, King of Kings. They'd been bowing down to the false gods of the surrounding countries, sacrificing their children to them, lying with the temple prostitutes, and in general doing whatever lit their fire.

Other countries observing them laughed at the One God of Israel who couldn't keep the allegiance of His chosen ones. What would it take to turn them back to Him, to lives worthy of praise?

It's true that most people don't appreciate what they have until they don't have it any more. So God didn't fight off the invaders who raided the country. God's chosen had grown lazy and incompetent. They reaped what they sowed--the seeds of all things corrupt. The seeds sowed ripened, and they were taken into captivity.

God didn't leave them; they left God. And now they had to leave their homes, their livelihoods, and their memories.

But in this passage God tells them they will come back one day. The seeds of destruction will be replaced by seeds of righteousness and praise.

Israelites aren't they only ones who should watch out what kind of seeds they sow, are they?

Lord God, Almighty One, Creator of the earth and all it's inhabitants,
Forgive us, Lord. Help us to be careful of the seeds we sow not just in our own lives, but on those who look up to us. Thank You for providing the good seeds. Show us how to sow them, water them, and help them grow. Thank You for being You. Amen.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: FOR ALL ETERNITY by June Foster

I'm reviewing a book today for a lady who has to be one of the world's sweetest authors, and her writing reflects her personality so very well. This sweet romance has all the elements in it: One woman, one man, and...oops, another woman...and yep, a huge barrier to their romance.

Joella Crawford is an interior decorator with a secret in her past. JD Neilson is a CPA with a deception in his present life. When Joella finds out this deception, she's devastated. His religion, a really weird cult, forbids their romance. Her beliefs agree with that notion. They back away from each other at top speed, but they forget to bring their hearts into that decision. Bot.h of them remain joined at the heart, despite JD's engagement to another woman from his own church.

It's a quandary you really should buy the book to help them resolve, okay? Available from Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Author Interview: Megan Boudreaux and Susy Flory

Susy Flory and Megan Boudreaux under the Tamarind tree.

Anne: I have a double honor today. Last week I reviewed Miracle on Voodoo Mountain  on this blog (click HERE to read the review), written by Megan Boudreaux, founder of Respire Haiti. I get to interview her here. And then there's Susy Flory, a writer who has more irons in the fire than your typical nineteenth century laundry. You'll know which responses are Megan's (hers are in a warm brown) and Susy's (hers are in red to match her blouse in this picture).

Now, Megan, usually my first question is what inspired the book--but after reading your marvelous story of how you happened to go to Haiti, that would be the duh question of the century. So, instead, how did you and Susy come together to write this? 

Megan: Thanks so much for sending these questions. Writing this book was an experience that grew me tremendously. I’m so thankful for Susy who was my amazing writing coach and helped guide me through the process of my first book!

Debbie Wickwire (who works with Thomas Nelson Publishing) had read my blogs and had some friends who had heard me speak about Respire Haiti. We began communicating and she asked me if I had ever considered writing a book. After a few months of prayer, I decided this was something that God wanted me to do. Since I had only written blogs and needed help with the structure of the book, Debbie connected Susy and I. Susy was incredible and even came to Haiti to see the real story herself.

Anne: I understand the urge by God to "go." Got a similar call, but it wasn't that drastic a change for me. Tell me, how many people asked if you were out of your mind to take off for Haiti, not knowing what you were going to be getting into--and did you wonder the same thing?

Megan: God’s call can come in all forms. Sometimes it’s not even to “go”, it’s to “stay” exactly where you are and love people there. For me, I had said that often, that your mission field is where you live and loving people is what God calls us all to do. I believe, because of that mindset, God had been preparing me for years to do His work in Gressier. When I visited Haiti, the urge in my spirit to move there was overwhelming. My friends and family were encouraging but hesitant. However a few months after I moved to Haiti and they began to see what God was doing in Gressier, they really began to believe in what God was building in Haiti.

Anne: Can you explain a little to the readers how about the partnership works between the author and the writer who is helping the author tell the story?

Susy: Every project is different, so there really is no one-size-fits-all answer for this. For Megan’s book, she had an amazing story to tell, she already been sharing stories on her blog, and she had a strong sense of the book she wanted to write and the message she wanted to share. I just came along behind and helped! Communication is important, so there were lots of phone calls, texts, and emails. We used Dropbox to keep our chapters straight, and a live spreadsheet on Google Drive to track word count and stick to our outline. One fun thing I got to do was help recover some important photos on a hard drive from Megan’s defunct laptop computer. I had a contact in San Francisco who does this kind of work, and he spent several days working on the hard drive. He wasn’t sure if he would be successful, but he made it happen and recovered over a thousand photos, some of which are included in the book!

Anne: Was there someone in your past who made a similar jump into the unknown at God's call?

Megan: No one specifically comes to mind. But I believe so many people make a jump into the unknown. When tragedy strikes, or when important decisions have to be made, these are all unknowns that change the path of our lives.

Anne: If you had it to do over again, is there anything would you do differently?

Megan: This is a tough question! Sometimes I think there are tons of things I would love to change, but then I am reminded that this has unfolded exactly how God has planned it to. My plan is not better than God’s and because of that I am grateful to be walking on the path He has laid before me. Even through the errors I have made, He has grown me and taught me in all of it.

Anne: Normally, I ask an author in an interview, "What's next on your writing plate?"but with you, Megan, what's in your plan for the future?

Megan: My heart is to continue pouring into the community of Gressier, Haiti. We are constantly discovering new ways to serve them here.

It’s an honor and a privilege to share the story that God has given myself and the people of Gressier. The best part of it, is that this is really just the beginning. Even since the book was finished, so much more progress has been made. God is still moving on Bellevue Mountain and changing the spiritual direction of my new home.

Susy: I just finished a book with Jep and Jessica Robertson of Duck Dynasty called The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God--it's a very engaging love story! And I have several new projects in development, including a memoir with an astronaut who has packed several lifetimes full of adventure into his forty-something years. I'm also directing the upcoming West Coast Christian Writers conference. You can check it out here and I'd love to see you there!

Anne: I'm in awe of both of you, and in awe of all God is doing through you. Susy, I can't believe how many books God has put you in partnership on. You are astounding and inspirational. And Megan--to go to Haiti on the strength of a persistent dream about a tamarind tree, and there to find...well, dear reader, you've got to read the book to find out what she found out. It will .

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Morning Devo - The Edge of the Storm, Part 4

[Jesus said] "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:43-45, NKJV

There was a proverb I heard a long time ago, and who knows who came up with it. "Be nice to everyone, because someday he (or she) might be your boss."

That might be a little bit of what Jesus was trying to say. Another way of putting it might be that if you treat people with kindness, you never know who you will draw closer to the Lord. If they see the good in you and if they find out you follow God, they might become curious about the reason you are kind.

Because, you see--everyone has a rainstorm or two in their lifetimes. Everyone has a joy to share sometimes. If you treat your friends and enemies both the way you'd like to be treated yourself, you'll listen to them when they have a sadness they want to talk about. You'll laugh with them when they have some happiness bubbling over.

Sounds easy? Well, yes, with the friends. Not so easy with enemies. But guess what--if you treat your enemies like friends, could be soon they'll be your friends.

Or--someday they really might be your boss.

Father, Help me say my words sweet, just in case someday I have to eat them. Amen

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Morning Sermonette - Seeds, Part 3

For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11, NKJV

Seeds of hope. Sometimes it seems like all hope is dead--but take a lesson from the seed. All it needs is a little water, a little dirt, and a little sunshine. Seeds patiently wait until the conditions are right to begin their growth.

Water. The liquid soaks the hard shell and begins to encourage the inside to start growing. Water's essential--but by itself, water can't do it all.

Dirt. By itself, also not enough. It has to have organics in it to nourish the promise of a full-fledged plant. Fertile soil and water alone can cause a seed to sprout and sent up long shoots. But what are those shoots searching for?

Sunshine. The warmth and light tell the new plant the time is right to produce. Joyfully, it springs heavenward (okay, so I sped up the film a bunch), flings out branches, flowers, fruit--and more seeds.

We're the same. We need that Living Water (the words of Jesus) to soften our hard, unbelieving shells. We need that deep, rich soil of the Father's love to begin our growth. And we need the enlightening of the Holy Spirit to bring understanding and maturation to our souls.

Hope is born and nourished by Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If you pay attention, you too can experience hope where there appears to be none.

Father God, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit, help me when it seems hope has gone to be awakened by the Living Water; nourished by the eternal, all-powerful Father; and blessed by the understanding the Holy Spirit gives to us. Thank You, Lord!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review – MIRACLE ON VOODOO MOUNTAIN by Megan Boudreaux with Susy Flory

Of all the nonfiction books I’ve read, this one might be the one that has touched me the most deeply. Over unbelievable and insurmountable odds, one young woman waged a war against darkness for a handful of Haitian children—and won.

Megan Boudreaux paid a brief visit to Haiti in 2010, just after the earthquake that devastated that country. While there, she hiked up to a beautiful old tamarind tree sitting by itself on top of Bellevue Mountain.

She went home, and the dreams started. She would dream about that tree night after night and wake up with her heart pounding in excitement. She went in to talk to her boss about these crazy dreams and how much she’d been impressed by the children and people.

In the middle of her ramblings, her boss spoke up. “If you think God is calling you to Haiti, you absolutely need to go. If it doesn’t work out there will always be a place for you here.”

So she went. No plan in mind, no one with her, no funding, no sponsors—just a dream and a destination, Gressier, Haiti. So many amazing and miraculous things unfold from that little step of obedience—you’ve got to read the book to believe it.

It's available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.