Wednesday, February 1, 2023

New Life Awaits

The hyacinth and tulip leaves have pushed through 
the cold January ground and reminded me of the coming of spring. 
I love that God thought to give us plants, some to eat and some to 
simply enjoy. As I wait through the quiet of winter, I look forward to 
new life in my garden, just as I look forward to heaven.

Enjoy the beauty of the earth until we see the magnificence of heaven.


 Genesis 1:11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

He Broke the Record

2 Peter 1:5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The crowd cheered.

Our grandson, Aiden, a senior on the varsity basketball team, broke his own record. A few weeks previous, he set the record for the most three-point shots in a game at his school. He made eight three-point shots (baskets made beyond the arc.) Impressive. Then a few games later, he hit nine three-point shots and smashed his own record.

How did this young man do it? Practice, self-control, and knowledge of the game played a big part. He stayed after practice and challenged himself to make as many baskets in a row as he could. His perseverance paid off. Even in his excitement to break his record, his ability to be a good teammate shined throughout the game. After the game, his team gathered around him, hugged him, and congratulated him. They showed him how much they valued him.

Peter writes to make every effort to pursue faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, affection, and love. Those are all qualities I strive toward in everything I do. They all help me live a productive life for God. Sometimes it takes more work than others. Self-control is a tricky one for me, especially with sweets, but I continue to try. Jesus set the perfect example as He ministered to everyone who would listen. God asks me to grow in knowledge of Him every day. And I’m so thankful He gave us the Bible to read and study. I strive to be a better person, as I live my life as a believer and follower of Christ.

Seek ways to grow.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Mt Zion Ridge Press Online Conference Coming in May

 I can say from my own writing experience, this is a conference I'll attend every year. I met my publisher and editor through this conference, It's a great place to network and learn from speakers who have been in the field of Christian writing for years, and you can attend in your favorite chair and comfy clothes.  

What are you waiting for? Grab the early bird price!


Exciting news!!! The MZRP Conference is open for registration:


Early Bird Price - $50 until April 1
Regular Price - $75 until April 30
Late Fee - $100 after April 30

Wouldn't you like to attend a reasonably priced online conference that has top speakers, opportunities to network with other writers, and mentoring and editor appointments for any stage of your journey whether you've just started writing or are multi-published?

Register today!

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Snow like Wool

I can't resist sharing a photo of the snow we got on Sunday.

In Psalm 147, the psalmist mentions that God spreads the snow like wool. 
I can imagine shepherds pulling wool, sheered from their sheep, over them at night to protect themselves from the cold.

Could it be that God covers the land with snow as a reminder of His provision?
It's a comfort to know God is always with us.
He loves us.



 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

I Am Not Alone

Matthew 10:16-20

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

God is with me.

A crowd gathered for the varsity boys’ game. On the opposite side of the gym from us, the opposing team’s fans came together. A sea of blue filled the bleachers, except for one lone soul dressed in gold and black (our team colors.) When I noticed the fellow dressed in different colors, my first thought was sympathy. A fan for our team sat amidst the opposing fans, but then I wondered if he wore those colors without thinking about what everyone else was wearing.

I’ll never know the answer, but the visual reminded me of folks who stand alone in their faith or are on their own in their circumstances. Missionaries go to places where they may be the only ones who believe in Jesus, and they are responsible for living a life of faith. Teachers stand before classes and work so hard to instill a love of learning in their students. Ministers sometimes feel alone, even surrounded by many.

I’m sure the apostles felt singled out and on their own many times. Jesus sent them out without earthly possessions and asked them to go to towns less than welcoming. They traveled and taught about Jesus, even though they could be flogged or end up in jail. What did the apostles know that kept them going? God was with them. They were not alone. The Holy Spirit dwelled in their hearts.

Writing is a solitary activity, but I know beyond a doubt, God is beside me as I write. He’s with me when I’m tired, disappointed, excited, happy, broken, or weary. No matter what my circumstances may be, God stands with me, picks me up, heals my heart, and keeps me going. For that, I am so thankful.

God is with His people, even when we feel alone.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

From Our Chaos

My daughter, Maggie, made this beautiful piece of embroidered art.

I'm happy we share a love of fiber arts. 
When I create embroidered art, my box of floss has a
chaotic array of tangles, 
but when each strand is threaded through a needle
and applied to the fabric, a work of art emerges.

Art is chaos taking shape, much like life. 
God mends our broken strands, and 
He takes our loose threads and weaves beauty.
From our chaos, He creates a work of art.


 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

And God Gave us Music

Psalm 92:1-3

It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.

Praise is the rehearsal for our eternal song. -Charles Spurgeon

Our grandson, Zeke, tried out for the OMEA seventh grade band performance. I’m delighted to share he was chosen as first chair baritone. The students from various districts came together to perform a wonderful concert after learning the music in only three days. Kudos to Maggie (his momma) for driving him to Cincinnati every one of those days.

On Sunday, as the band assembled, I sat in the audience with family and soaked in each song. Each of the four songs inspired their own beauty. They started with a song that might have been the soundtrack to an action flick. Then they played a lovely song that invoked an inward peace. The third song reminded of something you might hear in a palace, and the last song they played was based on an African spiritual with a contagious rhythm.

As I think back on the music, the first song played reminds me of Joshua marching around the walls of Jerico. The peaceful song left me thinking of Mary holding baby Jesus. The palace song brought Queen Esther to mind, and the African beat reminded me of David dancing and praising.

God gave us the gift of music, and we can use instruments and voices to raise praises to God. Music also soothes the soul and offers a respite from the cacophony of a noisy world. I’m thankful there are different styles of music, and a variety of musicians so we can all find the tunes that draw us closer to God. Contemporary Christian music, traditional hymns, pop, and folk are among my favorites, and I’ll listen to almost any instrumental tunes. As I am with nature, I’m amazed at God’s creation of tones and melodies. He’s given us so many gifts, and just think how beautiful the music of heaven will be.

Find music that draws you closer to God.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Seek the Beauty

Walking in the woods this time of year, I don't see much color. 
There's an occasional dart of red from a cardinal 
or some orange bittersweet buds still hanging around, 
but without snow, brown covers the canvas. 

Tim and I walked a path at the local park not long ago 
and this bright orange fungi grabbed my attention. 
I love discovering beauty in the every day. 
Some people may not think fungus is pretty, 
but this particular one looked like flower petals growing from wood.

When you're out and about or even at home seek beauty in every day.

He has made everything beautiful in its time
He has also set eternity in the human heart; 
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
-Ephesians 3:11


 

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Content and Obedient

Acts 18:9-11
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

Content and complacent are not the same. 

This time of year, when snow falls or rain drenches the ground, I’m content to stay inside and enjoy the peace and quiet. With my word for the year being content, I’ve been thinking about what it means to live a life pleased with what I have and having what I need.

Tim and I live a pretty simple life. We don’t need a lot of things. We’re not extravagant spenders, nor are we wasteful. In pursuing a content life, does that mean I stop striving and moving forward in my life, my writing, or my spiritual growth? Of course not. No matter how old I am, or how successful, or pleased with life, God wants me to continue to serve through the gifts and circumstances He’s given me.

The apostle Paul spoke of how he’d learned to be content in any circumstance, but guess what—he continued to strive to be a better person, one who served the Lord and listened to his calling. In Acts 18, the Lord even spoke to Paul and encouraged him to not be afraid and to continue speaking and sharing the gospel in Corinth because God placed people around him to care for him. Paul obeyed God and once again found contentment.

As a believer in God’s mercy and grace and as a person of faith, I trust God in my circumstances and long to serve Him all my days.

Content and complacent are not the same. Strive to be content and obedient.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

He Made Summer and Winter

I want to challenge you in this new year of 2023 
to slow down and observe God's creation.
He's given us a beautiful natural world as a resource, 
but also as a reminder of His magnificence and power.

Whatever the season, appreciate His creation.




 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Suspense Fiction Review: Critical Threat (Extreme Measures Book #3) by Lynette Eason

What it’s About:

FBI Special Agent Grace Billingsley tracks serial killers, using her skills as a psychiatrist and behavioral analyst to get dangerous people off the street and safely behind bars. But prison psychiatrist Sam Monroe knows that just because a killer is incarcerated doesn't mean they're not a threat. His own father, Peter, is a serial killer--in prison but certainly not out of Sam's life, as much as he wishes he was.

When bodies start showing up with Peter's MO, Sam and Grace are both called in to consult. They've met before--and though Grace thought they'd made a real connection, Sam ghosted her. They'll have to get past the awkwardness and mistrust to solve this case--especially because it's about to get personal.

My Thoughts:

If you’re a fan of shows like Criminal Minds you’ll like this book. I’m not a fan of those types of shows, I prefer a little milder show like NCIS, but I will say this story kept me reading. Grace is a tough lady determined to find a serial killer. Sam, whose dad is a serial killer is right on her heals trying to protect her. Eason’s characters have depth and insight as they chase down the evil man who is taking lives. She also layers in how such horrific events affect so many. If you enjoy thriller suspense, you’ll want to read book three of the Extreme Measures series.  I received a free copy of the book with no expectations. The opinions here are mine.