Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Beginnings

In all my years of life, I've stepped into many springtimes. I've spotted the tips of jonquils peeping through the cold ground, but never has that sight not sent a thrill across my mind. In God's wisdom, He created spring as a new beginning. I love new beginnings.
New beginnings can come as a new job, a new spouse, a new home or as simple as a time of new warmth as in the springtime of the year. The spin of failure is turned around by a new beginning. Every mistake dissolves in beginning again.
The last few months, I've debated about what God wanted me to do with my time. He showed me this Scripture, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world;and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4."
When I retired from my day job four and a half years ago, I threw myself into my writing, learning all I could. Along with several short stories, I've completed five full-length manuscripts and attempted to sell some of them. As God tried to slow me down, I bucked Him and complained. Now, with His peace descending into my world, I'm faced with yet another new beginning--true retirement with writing as a ministry directed by God.
Charles and I are traveling more, spending time together in fun and relaxation. When he works on real estate, I write stories and sell some of them. God's peace paves the twists and turns of this new beginnning.

Lord, may I always be directed by you and have sense enough to step in Your footsteps leading the way.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Balance

Life becomes a walk on a tightrope with a delicate balance between what we need and what we like. Often, my feet step off the rope and teeter above a harsh, unrelenting floor. Recently, I fell off that rope by becoming stressed and overwhelmed to the point of becoming cranky and hard to live with.

Most of my time revolved around writing or writing-related activities such as critiquing, loops, courses, looking up markets or fulfilling roles in my groups. Family time, even time with the Lord, interrupted my driving ambition. Life ceased to be fun. When I crashed into the net, God required of me to quit all writing except to fulfill definte prior obligations.

While I'm sprawled on the floor and looking up at God, He's teaching me one more time the wisdom of balance in my life. For every weight, we lay on one end of our teeter-totter, we must lay an equal and offsetting weight at the other end.

Ecclesiastes 11: 8 "However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all."

Lord, thank You once again for breaking my fall, for holding me until I regain consciousness and for tipping me onto my feet, so I can take baby steps while balancing with the touch of Your hand.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

PRIDE

PRIDE--the sin committed by a beautiful angel of God called Lucifer. In Genesis, we read of the first sin. God doesn't give us laws to punish us or make it hard on us. His laws show us how to live and cope with life. The ruling He offered Adam and Eve was to merely refrain from eating one fruit--so they wouldn't die. Pride tempted Eve with being as smart as God. She succumbed, as we all often do.

Satan uses pride to his best advantage. As many of the devil's tools, pride slips in without our realization. We believe it's not something that tempts us until we look at the many sides of the sin. Pride hides behind our defensive attitude, our hurt feelings, our territorial stance.

In any chosen field, pride can seep in like a sneaky intruder, but I look at it from the role of Christian writer. When I tighten up at criticism of my writing or feel an edge of envy at another writer's success, that's pride nibbling at my toes. Even handling rejection with anger shows pride in my life. Writing isn't about just getting published for me, it's about ministering God's word.

God gives me words to share with others. As long as I'm grateful to write for Him regardless of where those words are seen, pride releases its power over me. In ministry, we work not for our glory, but for God's, so getting uptight about what person gets the compensation or praise is pride. We find this in all types of ministry even in our local churches. If we don't receive the glory for our work, we get irritated. The devil sneaks in a measure of pride to tear down God's work. The bad thing is many times he's successful.

Time and time again, I'm reminded to check up on my measure of committment to God. He called me to write.

Lord, please make me aware when Satan has slipped into my work. You are my primary reader and critic. Use my words for Your work and delete my pouting pride.

Next month, I'll look into another sin that works on me. Can you guess what it is?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas Y'all

My cup of activity fills to overflowing this time of year. I find it harder than usual to hold on to uninterrupted quiet time with the Lord. Yet, conversation with God is what's needed more than anything to keep my serenity and sanity.
As my heart brims with gratitude for my blessings, I wish peace and love for each of you, resources which can only be found in the Christ of Christmas.
MERRY CHRISTMAS Y'ALL. (I am from Texas, after all.)
HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time for Thanks

Recently, I finished a Beth Moore series on "Esther." Very interesting and very unusual study. All through the ten lessons, we spotted God's obvious hand in everything, yet not once, in the book of Esther, was the name of God mentioned. The last lesson on Tuesday talked about the party at the end of the book. Not only did they rejoice that day, but every day at that time of year, the Jewish people met for feasts, gave gifts to each other and celebrated what they called Purim to remember God's protection during that time. Our Jewish friends still honor Purim today.
We also have holidays set up to remind us of God's blessing and protection. How many can you name--Easter, Christmas, Independence Day? This month we celebrate Thanksgiving, one of my favorites. On Thanksgiving we prepare a feast and invite family and friends to rejoice together and take time to be thankful.
Our family tradition is, before we eat, each one says what they're thankful for that year. One year my middle daughter and her husband thanked God for His blessing though they had lost a beautiful daughter three months before. One year, my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter had moved fifteen hundred miles away, and my mother had passed away both shortly before the holiday. This year hurt feelings and unkind words hinder part of our family's rejoicing. Nevertheless, God is faithful through all seasons of life.
As we close our Esther study, I thought of how many times I'd taken a prayer request to God only to forget later to thank Him for the answer. Now, at thanksgiving time, I resolve to remember to praise more than I petition. From my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for my readers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Lessons We Learn in Trying Times

Wouldn't it be nice if we learned about God's nature when life was pleasing, when no major problems interrupted? Alas, that's not the way it usually works. When life knocks us down and kicks us in the side, we look up to see Jesus gently cleansing our wounds and wiping our tears.
Once again this last month, I've had occasion to reach up searching for God in my misery. On Sept. 29 I had surgery. My doctor said I'd be a "little sore" and at least two friends said they were up and going in a week after their procedure. The reality of pain and problems hit me like an intruder standing over me beating with a baseball bat (my daughter's favorite weapon.).
Friends and family ministered with flowers, cards, calls and most of all, prayers. One of my daughters visited. Ten days into my convalescence, when I thought I might live, my husband, my caregiver, fell ill. For several days, we were a troublesome twosome.
During this time, God again demonstrated his love and concern. Friends can't always be there, but God doesn't get a virrus, and you don't mind him seeing you at your worst (He already has.). His tender loving care bathes the feverish brow and calms the painful cramps. In the midst of hurt, I could call out, and He arrived--every time--not always like I thought, but He came.
With my calendar cleared, God had me where He wanted me--slowed to listen and learn. We become observers of life seeing needs we'd forgotten to pray for, or feeling compassion for those we forgot. Looking from the perspective now of coming out on the other side with the worst behind me, I see God's hand in the bad days.
I prefer not having trying times again, but when they come, and I know they will, I can look forward to special communion with my Savior.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Letting Go brings freedom

Sixteen years ago, the Lord gave me an emotional healing. For years, I fought low self esteem, food addiction and suicidal thoughts. I learned the strong will power and determination I used to help myself could, as easily, turn on me and fuel the fire of my emotional upheaval. As many people who have gone through Alcoholics Anonymous or any of the twelve-step programs, I learned that letting go brings freedom.
I wish I could say that I learned that lesson and have never forgotten it, but this summer, my mind dropped it from its memory bank. I drifted into my old ways. My resentments drove me into a poor-me syndrome making me snippy and unpleasant to be around, and I ate myself sick.
A few weeks ago, I prayed for God's healing, again. He answered me. After all, Jesus stands beside us wherever we go, whatever we do, waiting for us to look up and call on Him. How soon we forget that.
I let go of my need to control, to fix things. I repeated "I can't do it anymore. Please do it for me." After he healed new resentments and guided me into His knowledge, He worked in my eating and gave me peace of mind.
When I thought about what my blog should be this month, these thoughts kept running though my mind. The enigma of having freedom by giving up our wills still amazes me, but it worked sixteen years ago and it works today. Thank you, Jesus.