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The Jackpot Deadline

21 Mar
DSCN0517 (2)

Aubrianna in her Winter Princess look – Christmas 2016

Aubrianna aka Aubrie, my 8-year-old granddaughter, asked me to write a book about God for her. The next day, she asked me to read some of it to her. She’s waiting! Little does she know:  I needed this! Deadlines are my juice.

My job is writing, but I’m writing for others. So glad to make a living this way, and it’s a dream come true. I just keep forgetting that my real dream of writing involves pointing to God in a way that can draw people to our wonderful Savior. This is my true heart’s desire.

So Aubrianna agreed that, specifically, I should write a book that helps her and other kids understand about God and know Him better. The ideas I have no shortage of. Over the years, I’ve had literally hundreds of inspired ideas about writings that point people to God.

Here are a few possible chapters for Aubrie’s book:

  • Because of God, we have Breath
  • God has Written You a Letter
  • God Gave Just 10 Rules of Life – Here’s 1 (times 10)
  • God is Right There With You
  • God Fit Himself into a Tiny Package
  • God Gives us Amazing Peace
  • Jesus Loves You the Most

At the same time Aubrie challenges me to write this book, I am also compelled to pick back up on writing Daily Pep Talk.

Even though God is awesome and He is here with us, giving us His peace, most of us could use a pep talk every day. The best kind of pep talk, in my opinion, is one that directs us to focus on God. Nothing is too hard for Him, and He gives us abilities beyond what we think possible. Yes, I can translate my dreams into reality. You can, too! Let’s move in that direction by setting goals. For me, that means spending time every day working on writing that book and this blog.What steps should you take toward your God-given dream?

 

 

The Beatitudes Versus the World

4 Jan
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read the Sermon on the Mount today.  As always, it’s especially uplifting to read Matthew 5:1-26.  I may not be the most dynamic example of  a Christian, but I do seek the Lord and what He cares about.  These verses remind me that friendship with God is enmity with the world.  Must be fewer people who are friends with God making an impact because not much in the world today points to Jesus.

 

If you read the Beatitudes with worldly success in mind, it seems that nothing in those verses would look good on the resume of someone looking to get to the top of the ladder of success.  God’s ways are certainly not the same as the world’s, which is why “Jesus freaks” like myself who want God to have His way are so often perceived as an oddity.  Not a complaint…just an observation.

“14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

Matthew 5:14-16

New Living Translation (NLT)

Snowball Effect

3 Jan

I’ve always noticed that when I make a grand step toward God, He answers my gesture with all kinds of evidence that He noticed.  My commitment to God’s Word for this year produced a growing hunger today — but not for a grilled cheese sandwich or my favorite Doritos.  Instead, I was flooded with a hunger to delve into more of God’s Word.  I really love the Truth.  For instance, when I read a story about the Bible but the story doesn’t get the facts quite right, it bothers me a lot.  The pure Truth is a lot more interesting than altered story details produced by inattention.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For example, I read the story of Noah to Aubrianna out of her new Bible today, and the storyteller missed one of the most interesting things about Noah’s story.  It had never rained before — ever, in the history of the world — when he built the ark in the desert.  (When reading the story in a true translation of the Bible just now, I realized that it was through prior study that I learned this.)  So, anyway, Noah was trusting God for an event that had never taken place while being laughed at by the entire population of the world.  But because Noah was trusting in God and obeying Him explicitly, He was rewarded with life, not to mention that his family repopulated the earth!

I want to be sure and mention that part of the snowball effect I experienced today was better balance and productivity.  It was a full and satisfying day, and I do mean in the non-stomach type of way (which is progress).  Practically counting the hours until the new Bible arrives.  There’s no purchase that usually ever excites me as much as a new Bible, and that’s definitely true this time.

From my reading in Matthew today (virtually the same message Noah preached as he built the ark):

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.[a]”

Matthew 4:17

New Living Translation (NLT)

 

 

2013 Resolution: Balance

2 Jan

Happy New Year!  Are you excited about 2013?  I needed and found something to get really excited about, and it’s linked to my First Love.  On the way to my mailbox is a new Life Application Bible.  I’ve had one before, but I think I gave it away.  This is a wonderful study Bible — some say it’s the best.  I’ll be reading all the way through the new Bible, though it will no doubt take me more than a year.  I want to do more than read.  I want to study and meditate and write about God’s Word.

I’ve just finished reading the New Testament through in 2012.  It was great!  I read it on my phone every morning before I do any solitary other thing and will continue to do that.  BibleGateway.com has handy reading plans, and there are several you can choose from, not to mention that you can read it in your favorite Bible translation.

The Word of God reminds me that the Almighty is so powerful.  I know that God gives me the grace to accomplish balance in my life, and that’s my resolution for 2013.  I want it to become a way of life.  Common sense dictates that I should have already achieved balance a long time ago, and it should already be a habit.

But I’m talking about a balance with everything.  Food, activities, what I do with my time, etc.

It’s important to me to spend a lot of time in the Word of God because I daily watch the news and other shows, almost none of which feed my spirit.  The most important part of balance is to allow God’s Truth to have an input in my life that’s more compelling than the input the world has on my mind and heart each day.

I also need to establish daily ways to get more exercise, since I work in my den.  I’m gonna feel so much better as I do a better job of achieving balance.  And I’ll leave a few notes on Daily Pep Talk every day about something from my Bible reading.

I’m going to wait and delve into the Old Testament when the new black Bible with ivory flowers and my name imprinted arrives.  Til then, I’m reading the New Testament.

What impressed me today from Matthew 1 was that there were 14 generations dividing the major moments in the history of God’s chosen people.  God is very orderly (as well as Creative), and He has chosen a time when life as we know it will forever end on this earth.  Every day of our lives impacts eternity in a positive or negative way, and eternity isn’t all that far from any of us.

 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

Matthew 1:17
New Living Translation (NLT)

 

 

A Car Wreck and Possibly Alienating Coordinating Analogy

22 May

Just as the toddlers got settled in the basket outside our car at Kroger, we heard a car crash nearby.  Looking in the direction of the noise, I witnessed an SUV crash into a white car parked on the far end of the parking lot and then skid around before finally stopping.  I pushed the kids in that direction to get the license plate of the car that was making all the trouble, in case the person decided to hit and run.  The guy whose car got smashed up walked up and was wondering why the heck his new car was crushed in on one side.  I gave him my card as a witness.  Some lady had sped through the parking lot and a truck hit her before the part of the crash that I saw.

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I don’t know what was going on with that lady, but what struck me was that the car that was way off on the end of the lot, supposedly safe from being dinged by other car doors, is the one that got badly damaged.  It got me to thinking about how all of our plans to “play it safe” are subject to fail.  And there’s one area where I’ve noticed all my Christian life that people play it safe, and that’s in choosing not to get overly enthusiastic about Jesus.

If you think about it, usually only preachers and missionaries live sacrificially and are sincerely head-over-heels for Jesus.  Not many everyday Christians can be accused of being more excited about Jesus than anything else.  Truth is, the overall “church in America” has more of the world in it than it does devotion to Jesus Christ.

Never will forget the deacon at a Baptist church who spoke up one Wednesday night at church during a Bible discussion.  He outright and unashamedly admitted that he chooses to please man rather than God.  As a person who has been lopsided about maintaining a God-focus, I can say it really does create friction in relationships.  The easy-going road that invites everyone to roll out their welcome mats is not the one which follows hard after God.

The way I see it is that people like that deacon play it safe like that white car at the end of the parking lot.  But in the end, they’re the ones that weren’t as wise as they thought.  There will be great reward in heaven for people who live for the things above rather than the things below.  And there will be great loss of reward for those who didn’t; talk about an inconvenient truth!  Even more inconvenient that having to deal with all the hassle of a wrecked vehicle.

Here’s my disclaimer: This post may sound a bit like I’m feeling spiritually superior, but I don’t mean to.  I’m so far from a perfect Christian it’s ridiculous, but no one who knows me can deny that I have a heart after God and obviously not after the world. 

The Miracle God

20 May

Kids Nanna and the Bible Online Radio by Kids and the Bible | Blog Talk Radio.

Our next online Bible study is this afternoon at 5:30 CST.  Join us as we talk about Jesus, His miracles, and His desire for sincere followers.

 

Saturated in Garbage, Not Glory

20 Apr

Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher

Today I had a rare break from the children, and I took the opportunity to read a very well-written book.  Robin Lee Hatcher is one of my favorite Christian romance authors; I read a new book of hers called Heart of Gold, which I checked out from the library.  I devoured it within a few short hours.  Anyway, the preacher in the book reminded me of an important principle in Christianity which I call saturation.

Why do you suppose preachers are paid to preach and visit really sick people and, at least in the old days, not much else?  It’s because they need to spend as many waking hours as possible in the Bible so that they can pass the revelation they receive from God onto the congregation.

But here’s the catch.  All Christians are called to live like preachers.  We’re all supposed to saturate ourselves in the Word of God.  I have most definitely not been doing that for a while.  For most of my Christian life I can honestly say that I did saturate myself in the Word of God, prayer, and seeking the Lord.  But raising young ones as a grandmother has been the thing that shifted my focus.

I’ve written a lot here on the blog about being crabby.  That’s not even my normal nature as a non-Christian.  I’ve always mostly been just an all-around sweet and bubbly person.  I guess what’s happened is that I’ve got too much of the world getting on the inside of me and not enough of the spiritual things of God.

The idea of being alone with God and focusing wholeheartedly on His Word excites me as much as anything the world has to offer.  I’ve been depriving myself of what’s best in life, and as of today I’ve thoroughly realized it.  This is one rut I’m particularly excited to pull out of.

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“…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 2:5 NKJ