Friday, October 28, 2011

You don't have to be the strong one.

I read a book this week that was outside my usual style.  And it wasn't even a book I am supposed to review.  A friend from my church recommended the author Dee Henderson to me.  So I found a series on the library shelve and started at book number 1. It's called The Negotiator.  I enjoyed it.

At the end of the book it explained there is a prequel.  It's called Danger in the Shadows.  Now that book I loved!  Here is the first chapter if you want to check it out.

The heroine in the story, Sara is a young woman who had lived a horrendous life in real, tangible fear.  I won't spoil it for you, but there is a very good reason for her to fear for her life - every day. Although she is a believer and she turns to God to help her with her fears, it isn't the relief she has been hoping for.  It isn't until the end of the book that she finally gives her fear TO God.

Believe it or not, there is a big difference between praying about something and giving that something to God.  But as I read Sara's journey I saw myself in her.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Somebody to Love . . .

Does controversy draw you nearer to God?

We, in North America do not really know what persecution for our faith feels like.  There are a few examples though.  Right away, I think of the young girl from the Columbine shootings, Cassie Bernall, who died for her faith.  However most of us don't know expeiences like that personally.

There are people who are taking risks of a different kind here in North America.

Maybe you've heard of the hype already that is surrounding Marc Martel.  Or maybe, if you're like me you ride a little further to the back of the information bus.  Marc is the lead singer of the band Downhere.  They are a fantastic Canadian, Christian rock band. (For those who are going to Breakfroth, they are preforming Sunday night.)

Their newest hit on the radio waves is Let Me Rediscover You.  I have included the official band's video.  It is cool camera work, by the way.

Today, I have been thinking about this man, Marc.  I have been praying for his family.  Let me take you on a You Tube tour of the controversy that has surrounded this man and his family for the last month.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Have a little faith today.

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith."

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

I have been debating whether or not I should enter the NaNoWriMo contest again this year.  It is a month long writing contest where a writer starts a book and finishes it (minimum 50K words) in exactly a month.  The month of November, to be exact. That is precisely where they get the crazy name from. NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth.  Check it out on line if you wish.  This is the link.

Last year I joined the party and I even finished my novel.  It was my fifth complete novel that year.  (You can find a little blurb about it on the OtherProjects Page.  It is aptly documented under the number five heading.)

I had assumed it would be a lot easier than my contest I do each year to write a whole novel in 3 days.  After all, I had been writing large chunks of words for 10 months prior to that and thought 50 thousand words would be a piece of cake.  

Well ... It wasn't.  

The whole point behind the month long contest is build a new habit. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I asked for it.

God is so good.  All the time.

Why are we creatures of doubt?

Why can't we just rest in the arms of the Almighty and know that He is in control and that He loves us and He longs for the best things for us.

Please tell me I am not the only one who frets.

I am part of a group of ladies who meet regularly to go through the book Fearless, by Max Lucado.  We met on Friday last week. It was already an emotional day for me and then the book gave me a strong left hook to the jaw.

My last post was about an armload of "junk" I've been holding and wishing God would take it away.  Friday was the day all the junk would hit the fan.  It did, but it was amazing how God filled me with peace and He carried me through the event.  He turned my nightmare into a dream.

If I could I would like to get specific with you.  I hope I don't scare you away.

A few months ago I posted about my past.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm tired of living life a fool ...

My heart is so full today.  The Lord is stretching my heart past its edges these days.  It hurts.

But today I say to my God and to you ... I surrender.

I give to Him, the Maker of all that I am and ever hope to be, all the "junk"  I am holding onto.  Maybe it isn't junk in His eyes. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise, a treasure worth a thousand fold, or the one thorn that will bring me closer to him.  To me it feels like a heavy weight, a burden I would like to pass on, a heart-renching pain I would rather be without.

I touched on this in a blog post last month - praying for the courage to follow God's lead - no matter where it takes us.  How can I find courage when I feel anything but strong enough?  Wasn't that Joshua's hearts cry?  Courage seems to be one of those things, like trust, that you have to act on it before you feel it.  God wants us to just trust Him enough to be willing to walk the path we wants us to.

I saw the movie Courageous last week.  It was amazing!  And an amazing roller coaster of emotions too.  We went from fear to sorrow to laughing so hard we could hardly sit in our seats and then back again.  The message is powerful and UNMISTAKEABLE. God is the only answer.

So if God is the only answer for them, I have to trust that He is the only answer for me.  God is the only one capable of getting me through the maze of my 'junk'.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How much endurance does your obedience have?

I have been struck hard by a simple fact I discovered while studying the story of Noah.  One single act of obedience lasted longer than I could ever hope too live.

The time frame we are looking at here is 120 years.  Noah received the call from the Lord (Genesis 6:14) to build an ark and did not see the end of his act of obedience for 120 years.  That is longer than you or I will probably live.  Unlike this one woman who reported lived to over 122 years old (Jeanne Calment), most of us will die long before then.

But let's say for argument sake that I might live 120 years.  Could I possibly follow one path of obedience that long?

I need to break this down so you can see the craziness that has been my thought process lately.  (It might not be pretty.)

Almost two years ago now, God gave a very specific call on my life.  Much like a message straight from Heaven sent to guide me down a path I would not have chosen for myself.  To me it sounded a little like, "why don't you build a large boat the size of one and a half football fields in the middle of this grassy patch, nestled miles and miles away from any body of water."  Although the actual words were 'write these stories'; it might as well have been an impossible task.

After much struggle, argument and all-out disobedience I finally caved and started to type.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thank you for this ... Amen

I have teenagers.  Two and a half of them to be exact.  You don't need to feel sorry for me, but feel free to pray for me.  I need it.  I love each of them very much and treasure the time I have with them.  They definitely keep our home interesting.

Let's take meal times for instance.  It can be tense, awkward, silly or outwardly hilarious.  We have all kinds of experiences.  One thing we do try for is to eat together as much as possible.  As we sat at our supper table the other night, my husband prayed thanking God that we were all together at the table again.  See, my husband had been away on a retreat for one week and then my son went away for two days to a friends.  After we began eating our conversation turned as my son told me how cool it was that this family he visited ate breakfast together.  He added how he wished we would eat breakfast together.  Within a second's notice a chorus of other teenagers piped in agreeing with his comment.

Just as quickly my mind was flooded with a long-forgotten image of trying to eat breakfast together on school mornings when the kids were younger.  The ones whining who didn't want to come to the table.  The ones whining because they were at the table but couldn't eat yet.  And of course the mother whining about why she thought this was a good way to start our days.

Why now, do my teenagers,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Isaiah got it, why can't we?

I read a passage the other day that pricked me a different way.
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
That is the New Living Translation of Isaiah 64:6.

That means even the best things I could possible drum up for God is still throw away garbage.  So if our best is that, why do we think our worst is so much . . . worse?  There are not that many lower rungs than filthy rags.  I guess they just get filthier.

Sometimes in the public eye, there is a person who we thought should have it all together, that fails.  Then they fall and we start casting stones at them.  We are shocked at their sins.  We can't believe we supported them, or purchased their movie or record or book.  Are we really that surprised that they sinned?

Am I surprised when I sin?  It is no surprise to me that I am infected and impure.  The very best I can do is present my disgusting filth to God and ask Him to make it 'white as snow'. (Isaiah 1:18)  God knows all our junk. He loves us anyway.  So when we are presented with someone else's junk - we should offer the same.  After all, our mothers taught us this when we were kids:
"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."  Matthew 7:12
What made me think of all this?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I am a warrior. I am a conqueror.

I did not have to travel to Ireland, like Finley Sinclair of there you’ll find me  did.  Instead I found the grace of God’s words on my dry soul sitting my living room opening my Bible.  See, in Jenny B Jones’s newest novel the main character Finley, whose name means warrior, goes on a mission to rediscover the love of God she thought she lost after her brother’s unexpected death.

I can’t relate to that.  I haven’t lost anyone that close to me.  I also couldn’t relate to Finley’s eating disorder or perfectionist personality begging for control over the multitude of uncontrollables in her life.  However I can relate to her need to FEEL God’s love.  I can relate to wanting to tangibly touch and feel and know that the Almighty is okay with me, because to be honest I am a wreck inside.  And I often think that only Him and I know that.  So if I can’t seem to love me very much than either could He, right?

Do you ever feel that way?  Take my hand and let me lead you down a road that Jenny B Jones, her character Finley, and God took me on this week.

Let’s turn to Romans chapter eight.  This is where the key verse from the novel comes from.  Verse 37 to be exact.  
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
First let me point out that even though the word ‘loved’ is a past tense verb, God’s love for us is not past tense.  I had often grappled with this – why is His love often written in the past tense.  I finally discovered why.  (To be honest I do not remember where I got this from, but it was when I was studying for my camp talks this summer.)  God’s act of love was sending His Son to die on the cross.  It was his 'once and for all time' stamp on our lives.  That action was past tense.  His love is forever and it is past, present and future.  When you see the past tense form of ‘love’ it is probably referring to the act of love that God bestowed upon us.  Christ.  On a cross.  For me.