Tuesday, January 31, 2006

There is Rest in the Sunset

I find great rest in a glass of tea, a rocking chair and a beautiful sunset. You can lean back in the rocker and with each swaying motion take in the last rays of the setting sun. There's something peaceful in that. It's the winding down of a busy day. As each ray of light first extends and then fades away, it's as if it's slowly preparing you to sleep.
I find myself taking in one long breath after the next, filling my lungs with a calmness only found in the sunset.
The colors range from bright orange to pale pinks and purples...what a sight. It makes me anxious to see what the night sky holds. So, I wait patiently for each star to open its eyes and look down at me. It kinda makes you wonder if the stars find rest in us.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

"What if I don't believe in gods?"

Since this is a fairly new blog sight, news hasn't gotten out about the interactive portion. Until yesterday that is. I've had a few friends touch base with me and as the sight receives more attention, I'm sure God will use it.
However, yesterday, I received a comment from someone I've never met. I've tossed the idea back and forth as to whether to respond to him or let it slide. After all, this is the internet -- the place where people can pretend to be anyone they want to be and get away with. Still, the remark made by this blogger perplexed me.
He replied to the devotion "When I Feel Like A Failure." His remark was simple, yet very to the point.
He'd read the devotion and saw I'd guaranteed God would not forsake us, when he clicked on the comment button and asked...."What if I don't believe in gods?"
Well that took me back a few paces. Niave as I am at times, I still love my Christian bubble where everyone loves the Lord and serves Him. Suddenly, reality pokes a hole in my bubble and and it goes "bbbbbbbblllliiiiiiiiiiissssssssppppppppppphhhhhhhhhhfffffffffft ttttttt and hits the floor. I guess there are unbelievers out there aren't there?
So, I 's prefer not to directly respond to this blogger in order to not seem like a freak or a Christian fanatic. But, I do want to respond. Geepers, "What if I don't believe in gods?" Well, I suppose the first and most obvious response you'd expect is one of hell, fire and damnation. (Smile) though the obvious punishment is not open for debate, I will approach this question from a different stand point. A positive one.
We all understand there are consequences to decisions we may have made which were less than appropriate. I mean, if you steal...the consequence is being caught and punished. If you lie, likewise, the lie catches us and we pay the price for lie. The wonderful thing about believing in God is learning to trust. Scripture tells us, faith is believing in something we cannot see. We don't see God walking next to us dressed in cut-offs and a tee shirt, rather we see Him in His creation. We step out on faith and CHOOSE to believe in something we cannot phyically see. There is hope overflowing in that faith. Believing in something is so important. Believing in God is MEGA important.
Thank goodness this responder doesn't believe in gods. I'd hate to image what types of gods there would be for him to believe in. But, for me...there is only one God (capital G, little o, little d)
He has shown me miracles, provided for me and my family when we had nothing and no one standing in front of us to hand us a morsel. He has eased my pain, rested my mind, calmed my spirit and given me peace when I have needed it most. Would He have given this to me if I didn't believe? I'm sure He probably would but who would ever know if you chose not to believe?
I guess the next most obvious remark would be something snide, such as, "A garbage dump stands ready to accept anything thown into it" or "Even dead fish float down stream", but let it be known that's not how I feel.
For those who read the devotions, my hope is you'll find some peace there. You aren't forced to believe anything you don't want to believe. That's the next most wonderful thing about God. He stands ready to enter your heart as soon as you invite Him in. He doesn't force Himself on you, rather He patiently waits for us to recognize Him.
For me there is no hope without Christ. No desire without Him. No peace, no freedom, no encumberment, no nothing. The writer of Ecclesiates tells us, "It meaningless! Meaningless!" Unless we have God to offer us purpose.
I hope you will find peace and rest within the devotions, and I pray for a tiny hole in your heart....So that even one thought of the goodness of Christ can crawl in and nest -- slowly growing opening your soul up for the ride of a life time.....acceptance, obedience, forgiveness and eternity in heaven -- not hell.

Friday, January 27, 2006

When I Feel Like a Failure

None of us live a perfect life. We've all experienced failure at one time or another. However, it's how we handle the short comings that will make or break us. it's only natural for us to feel a great loss when we've worked exceptionally hard toward a goal and then missed the mark.

Dissappointment, hurt, frustration and sadness will all flood in at once when we realize we've lost the battle. There are times when we have no control over the failures which occur -- illness being number one on the list. We simply can't control some things. Then, we run into those incidents in which we play a part in the downfall -- goals, finances, divorce. This is when we learn to fall to our knees and ask God for the necessary forgiveness we need concerning our part of the failure.

1 Chronicles 28:20 tells us, "David also said to Solomon his son, 'Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.'" This didn't mean God would forsake Solomon when the work was completed. it was only saying, not to be afraid during that difficult time -- God would not leave him.

In times such as dealing with prodigal children, divorce or even death, God never accepts failure. He is a constant staple in our lives reminding us He will not forsake us. When we feel as if we've let the world down, He is still leaning over to hug us.

When we fail we have to climb back to our feet and start the climb again. Just like a baby learning to walk, falling over and over again then climbing back to their feet. It's a minor set back. Trust in the Lord always and failure will become success. God is always with you.

Prayer: When I fail, Father, lift me back to my feet. Help me to find the confidence and peace to try again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

An Ocean of Rest

Let's take the ocean for example. It's rippling waves washing in and out from the shore offer us a certain amount of solitude. Each wave that crashes on the beach takes a worry and washes it away. Just the sound of the ocean sends a rush of relaxation over you that will almost take your breath. The breeze whips through your hair and the evening sun warms your skin. Wow, what a wonderful place to go to be revived.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Prayer A Day

I had an idea to create a second blogspot -- one that would link with this one and use it as a place for prayer requests and praises. WOW. I never dreamed so many would be interested. With the devotionals, people are always sending little notes asking for prayer and it's my pleasure to place them in my heart and pray. So, my hope is that God will lead me in the direction of the development of this additional site. We want everyone's hearts to be lifted to heaven. God sees and knows all.

I spent the past weekend with a BUNCH of my Mary Kay friends at a retreat. It's always wonderful to spend quality time with these women. There are two reasons I enjoy it. The first is a renewal of desire to continue my little side business. The second, is to be filled. And there is such inspiration among these women. 99% are God-fearing, God-inspired, God-loving, God-filled women. It's wonderful to hear them speak about their successes and their failures and have them give complete glory to God.

For me, this is especially restful. At times I feel so weighted by my own worries that to have an opportunity to hear how God blesses others FILLS MY CUP. I can lay down at night and close my eyes, knowing that God is awesome and amazing. It's restful and peaceful, it's pleasant and exciting.

The importance of spending time with others who believe in the same creator you do, to hear them sing His praises and be joyful in the growth He has given them...helps me to grow. It inspires me, it touches me and well, it just makes me happy.

I find a prayer a day helps us all. SO DO IT! You'll find great solitude and quiet in the arms of prayer. I hope you find people you can be lifted up with. I hope you have friends who offer you edification and teaching in the word. I hope....your cup is filled.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

WHATEVER.....Phil. 4:8

I've come to the conclusion, the more I write the more I love to write. Every morning or evening, when I sit down to write a devotional, I ask, "Well, God. What's on your mind today?" And I find myself flipping through scripture, picking out the perfect one. Odd thing is, I really never know what will come first -- the idea for the content or the scripture. I'm still amazed at how inspiration works.

My husband and I went into the Bible bookstore last week and right in front of me were all these little tiny pictures of framed scripture. I grabbed a pen and started jotting down the scripture locations. There must have been twenty scriptures individually framed -- scripture I hadn't had a clue was there. The meditations God and I are writing are using less familiar scripture and seeing this list of wonderful one liners made my creative juices start to fly.

Anyone who knows me, knows one of my favorite scriptures is Phlippians 4:8. I raised my kids saying, "If you ever get in a situation where you are unsure what to do, Philippians 4:8 it. "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever, is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things."

The perfect answer to any situation you are unsure of your actions. If it fits the critieria then you've made the right decision. So, I am forever mumbling beneath my breathe, "Philippians 4:8, Phillipians 4:8) Sometimes I'm in situations where I really have to grit my teeth and repeat that phrase. :) Still, it is a scripture with great wisdom attached.

As we moved through the bookstore, my husband picked up a card with a little broach attached. The pin was shaped in the forms of letters. GUESS WHAT THEY WERE? Yep, you got it. WHATEVER! He started laughing and handed me the pin. The cardboard piece that held "whatever" contained the scripture, PHILIPPIANS 4:8. Shesh...it took the industry long enough to realize I had something there! (laughing). I've taken that pin everywhere but I've left it attached to the card with the scripture. It's great. Once I've shown it to the world, then I'll start to wear it.

The fact remains, it's inspiration. God fed inspiration. What inspires you? I have a friend who publishes a wonderful BLOG. www.firstnoveljourney.blogspot.com. You can actually click on her name in the right margin and go there. (Gina Holmes)

Gina and I met two years ago at a writer's conference in North Carolina. I don't know why, we just connected. I'm very middle aged and she's very NOT but we found enjoyable common ground. Humor, passion for the same ideas, family...kids (we both have sons). We stayed in close touch. Gina has proven to be a wonderful mentor for me in the writing dept. She's honest and intelligent -- not to mention she has taught me volumes on writing. All of which she's done free of charge, and with a smile on her computer face. (I can't see her flesh face from my computer) God has given her a gift. Last year at the conference, we shared a room together where she informed me about this BLOG STUFF (gee, thanks Gina..I guess I appreciate you bringing me into the 21st century.)

Anyway, she has found God leading her into promoting authors...Christian authors. Her blog is wonderful so I encourage you to check it out. She has been a form of inspiration to me for two years, a blessing and a joy. She is serving God by being a support tool to published authors as she works to become one herself. Weekly Gina runs a contest with some pretty cool prizes. Now, I ask you,,,who in their right mind doesn't love a prize?

Visit Gina's personal ministry on the blog. Scroll down at the numbers of authors she's already interviewed. See their work, go to the book store and buy their books, jot them a note on the blog or to them personally for they are offering inspiration as well.

HERE, HERE! Raise your plastic sippie cups of milk to a woman on a mission. TO GINA! And Gina.....whatever!