Saturday, January 29, 2022

Embrace Courage

Acts 4:13
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 

I zipped across the water.

Not a fan of heights, I stood on the wooden tower, harness fastened, and looked across the lake to my daughter. She waited for me to step off the platform and fly across the expanse on a cable. And I did. I raised my arms and screamed as I flew to the destination. Stepping off the secure place where I stood took courage. I had no experience with ziplining, but I wanted to give it a try. The camp counselor gave me the equipment I needed to accomplish the task. 

I'd worked years on my manuscript, here and there when time allowed. After editing and tweaking. I finally typed the end. God gave me the opportunity to send the full manuscript to a publisher. My stomach quivered, and my hand shook a little as I pressed send. Sending my book baby out into the world took courage. God gave me the tools and resources to accomplish the task.

After Jesus death and resurrection, His disciples, Peter and John, were given the power to heal. They moved through the community and placed their hands on the sick and weary and restored them. Those who witnessed their deeds spoke of their courage as ordinary men who loved Jesus. Just weeks before, Jesus had died a horrible death and there were people who hated Jesus and wanted to see his ministry end. Those same adversaries kept an eye on Peter and John as they bravely continued teaching about and living for Jesus. God gave them the gift of healing to accomplish the task.

Even in America, land of the free and home of the brave, it's not always easy to speak freely about Jesus and his grace. God calls each of us to serve Him, and He equips us in whatever task He sets before us.

Whatever God puts on your heart, embrace courage, use the resources and gifts He gives, and go forward.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Let Go and Let God

I've not crossed an ocean, 
but I have had to take my eyes off my comfort zone
and allow God to work in my life.

Writing and publishing seemed like the wide expanse of the sea,
with me swimming in choppy waters.

If I hadn't let go of my fear and anxiety and allowed God to work through me, 
I'd not know the joy of embracing courage 
and experiencing the journey God set for me. 

What do you need to let go of and give to God?



 

Saturday, January 22, 2022

He Heals Broken Hearts

Psalm 147:3-5

He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.

The gash on my leg hurt. 

Several years ago Tim and I purchased a home that needed a lot of tender loving care. One day my daughters and I cleaned and painted in the various rooms of the old place. Clumsy as I am, I tripped over a medicine cabinet and something sliced into my shin. Blood spurted everywhere, at least it seemed like it to me who has no inclination toward any kind of medical care. My leg throbbed, and I screamed like a five-year old. Sara and Hannah came running to my rescue and assured me the wound wasn't as bad as it appeared. Still I needed help. About the time the girls calmed me, my mom and nephew stopped by to check the progress of the house. Bless that boy's heart, he took me to the clinic in town where the physician cleaned my leg and bandaged the wound.

Medical folks mend the brokenness of physical bodies. God heals the brokenness of souls. Oh, how the spirit cries when someone leaves this world. My heart breaks over the losses caused by COVID, cancer, and any other tragedy. Yet, even in the midst of the hurt, the anger, the frustration, the inability to understand, God gives hope. He holds His hands out to the broken, wraps His arms around the weary, lifts up the fallen and binds the wounds.

The doctor wrapped a bandage around my leg, gave me a tetanus shot and sent me on my way to be healed. God wraps His arms around me and keeps me close. He embraces me as He heals my heart.

A wounded soul takes time to heal, it’s a process. In the healing, scars may form and remind me of the pain I experienced, but they also remind me of the One who loves me more than I understand. I am limited in my understanding of why life happens the way it does, but God, the Great Physician, understands and knows the outcome. My hope lies in His wisdom.

Ask God to bind the wounds of your heart.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

He Stands By Me

I've heard the phrase God doesn't give a person more than they can handle
I used to believe that to be true, but life and the Bible
have taught me a different lesson.

I may come across hardships in life I can't handle by myself.
That's okay, because God stands by me, gives me strength, 
and surrounds me with people who care.

For that I am thankful.


 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Historical Fiction Review: The Finder of Forgotten Things by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Book Description:
It's one thing to say you can find what people need--it's another to actually do it.

It's 1932 and Sullivan Harris is on the run. An occasionally successful dowser, he promised the people of Kline, West Virginia, that he would find them water. But when wells turned up dry, he disappeared with their cash just a step or two ahead of Jeremiah Weber, who was elected to run him down.


Postmistress Gainey Floyd is suspicious of Sulley's abilities when he appears in her town but reconsiders after new wells fill with sweet water. Rather, it's Sulley who grows uneasy when his success makes folks wonder if he can find more than water--like forgotten items or missing people. He lights out to escape such expectations and runs smack into something worse.

Hundreds of men have found jobs digging the Hawks Nest Tunnel--but what they thought was a blessing is killing them. And no one seems to care. Here, Sulley finds something new--a desire to help. With it, he becomes an unexpected catalyst, bringing Jeremiah and Gainey together to find what even he has forgotten: hope.

My Thoughts:
I'd heard about The Finder of Lost Things for months and was excited to win a copy in an online giveaway. The story twines with the Hawk's Nest Tunnel in 1930s West Virginia, where the worst industrial disaster in US history occurred. Many workers lost their lives to silicosis from the particles in the tunnel. Although this story is shadowed by sadness, Thomas takes the historical elements and infuses determination, hope, and friendship to create a beautiful story of determination, change, and love. Postmistress Gainey Floyd is an incredibly strong woman who has learned to live alone, content and determined to help others. Jeremiah Weber has been a bachelor for so long, he's not sure he wants to change. And Sullivan Harris, well he's a bit of a trickster who hides his true heart and desires, even as he grows to care about the people put in his path. I love the way Thomas weaves in the tragedy of Hawk's Nest and honors the lives of those lost. She even memorializes many of them by name. I've enjoyed every book I've read by Sarah Loudin Thomas. She's a wonderful writer who touches on the soul of the character and the reader. Opinions written here are my own. I received this book from a contest with no expectation for a review.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Anytime, Anywhere, Anything

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

The sweetest time of the day is...When you pray...Why?
Because you're talking to the One who loves you the most. -Anonymous

As we gathered around the dinner table in my parents' home, we bowed our heads and my dad prayed. In his eighties, his voice sometimes quivered. He'd served as an elder and deacon over the years, and prayed over communion at church and at the bedside of the sick and shut in. Knowing my dad as I did, he moved beyond his comfort zone, humbled himself, and prayed out loud because he loved God and chose to serve the Lord.

I don't consider myself to be a great prayer. Oh, I talk to God frequently but not eloquently. Sometimes my prayers are thrown up in desperation, at times I find myself begging (maybe not the best idea,) while other times I just talk as if I'm chatting with a friend. The chats are some of the best prayers.

I love that God makes praying easyany time of day or nightanywhereabout anything. There are no walls to break through, no papers to fill out, no meetings determining the proper way to pray. Instead, God just asks us to communicate with Him. He longs to hear from us because He loves us so much.

Sometimes I feel anxious, something troubles me to the point that my stomach aches, my nerves get on edge, and my heart hurts. There is only one cure to calm my soulprayer. Philippians says, in any situationANY situationtake requests to God through prayer. Thank Him and then talk to Him about anything and everything.

One of the beautiful elements of prayer is when I can't find the words; the Holy Spirit steps in and takes my needs to God for me. Prayer is one of the most wonderful parts of my walk with God. I love that I can talk to Him any time or place about life.

Talk to God as you would a friend. He listens.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

He Hears Your Heart

God hears my heart—what a beautiful concept.

Sometimes putting a prayer into words seems impossible.
I fumble over the words, my mind wanders one-hundred different directions,
but the wonder of it all is—the Holy Spirit
takes those words and thoughts and lifts them to God for me.

He helps me pray, and for that I am thankful.


 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Look to Jesus

Proverbs 15:30
Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

I tucked Christmas away.

Every year, our home is donned with Christmas displays, trees, and memories. I usually pull out all the treasured ornaments and d├ęcor around Thanksgiving. By early January, I'm ready to take down the beauty of the season and store it away for another year. Wednesday morning, the 4th day of January, I unhooked the ornaments from the tree, wrapped them, and placed them in the Christmas tote. Once the baubles were packed away, I unwound the purple beaded garland, then pulled the plug on the lights, the last remnant of the holiday. When the colorful bulbs turned off, I felt a little tug of sadness. Those little twinklers brought me joy.

When they glowed in various colors, they reminded me of why I celebrate His birth
Shades of pinkHe came as a sweet babe
GreenHe's everlasting
YellowHe's the light of the world
RedHis blood shed on the cross
Blue—everlasting life in heaven

Proverbs 15:30 reminds me to put my sadness away and remember the true light. Jesus came to earth to bring hope. His good news offers peace. When my heart is at peace, the rest of my body feels better.

As Christmas is put away and the new year begins, I choose to look to Jesus as the source of my joy and peace. He loves me more than I understand. I'm a broken human being filled with hope because the King of Kings who came as the only perfect person, loved me enough to die a harsh death on the cross, then gloriously rise to life.

Jesus is grace. He forgives and loves like no other.

Begin this new year looking to Jesus.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Keep Your Peace

I had this saying hanging over my desk at work to remind me 
so many things I worried about were not worth 
my energy or the peace I lost.

So often the things I worry about never happen. 
By worrying I miss the blessing of now.

I pray this year is less worry and more peace.




 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Suspense Book Review: Life Flight (Extreme Measure book 1) by Lynette Eason

Book Description:
EMS helicopter pilot Penny Carlton is used to high stress situations, but being forced to land on a mountain in a raging storm with a critical patient--and a serial killer on the loose--tests her skills and her nerve to the limit. She survives with FBI Special Agent Holt Satterfield's help. But she's not out of the woods yet.

In the ensuing days, Penny finds herself under attack. And when news reaches Holt that he may not have gotten his man after all, it will take all he and Penny have to catch a killer--before he catches one of them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason is back with another high-octane tale of close calls, narrow escapes, and the fight to bring a nefarious criminal to justice.

My Thoughts:
In Life Flight, Lynette Eason delivers a heart-pounding, page turner. Penny Carlton is determined to fly her rescue helicopter and save lives. Holt Satterfield is on the tail of a serial killer. With storms and dense woods and mountains causing havoc, Penny and Holt make tough decisions as they work together to capture the killer. I don't usually read books with a serial killer because frankly they scare me. With the main character sharing my name, I had to give this one a try. Eason is a master at suspense, proven by the late hours I spent reading Life Flight. I appreciate the thread of faith that runs throughout the book and the strong characters. Penny is an amazing heroine and Holt the perfect hero. If you enjoy suspense, you'll want to read book one of Extreme Measure. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Shine like Stars

Philippians 2:14-16a
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.

Sparkle like stars.

Each year I pray about a word to focus on for the year. In 2021, I considered the word gratitude and how much I had to be thankful for. That will stay with me in 2022, even as God brings the word light to my mind. For me, light brings so many pictures: the sun, the moon, the stars, a lighthouse, a candle, a lantern, twinkling lights, but most of all Jesus, who is the bright light in the dark.

Tim and I visited Carter Caves many years ago. In one of the caves the guide turned off his lantern, and we couldn't see our hands in front of our faces. Darkness blanketed the cave until the guide lit the lantern again. I don't know about you, but I didn't like the veil of darkness. It unnerved me, but the light from the lamp brought comfort and hope.

Too often the world seems dark—shadowed by evil, fear, grief, and sadness. Many folks fight through addiction, anxiety, and depression. Jesus calls me to be the light in a dark world, to shine hope and love on the people around me. How do I do that? I pour out the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

To shine like stars, I need to glow brighter than the darkness that shrouds our world. To shine like stars, I need to shine like Jesus and show the hope he offers to everyone I meet. I admit, I'm not always good at shining like a star. Because I'm an introvert, sometimes I have to climb out of my protective shell, consider the needs of others, put a smile on my face, and offer hope. I pray God helps me to light the way to Him.

This year, I want to shine like the stars.

Be the light and seek the Light in this new year.