Thursday, February 24, 2011

How did you receive Him?

The continuing story
This weekend we will be driving north, to Merced, CA, to attend a wedding. I have never attended an American wedding, so needless to say I am pretty excited about it. After the ceremony in church there is a reception, a word derived from the verb to receive (to welcome, to accept). The newly weds will welcome their guests for a dinner and party and they will receive gifts.

The other day I was reading in the book of Colossians and it talked about receiving Jesus. The apostle Paul writes in the second chapter, verse 6, So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord... I stopped there and pondered... how did I receive Him? How did I welcome and accept Him? Was it a decision in faith? A conscious decision or an emotional moment? Did I feel pressured or forced or reluctant? Was I glad or nervous? While thinking about the biggest decision in my life, I realized that the moment of welcoming Jesus as Lord in ones life probably is different for everyone! In my case (I must have been kind of stubborn because it took me almost 40 years to surrender my heart) it was acceptance on purpose. I let Him in and take over, and my life has never been the same again!

Maybe your story is a different one. It doesn't really matter how we came to receive Him, it matters how we continue! Paul gives us four practical points for a continued life with Jesus: So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue
  • to live in Him, remember that in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)
  • rooted and built up in Him, remember that we are indeed rooted and established in love (Ephesians 3:17)
  • strengthened in the faith as you were taught, remember that we will be strengthened according to His Word (Psalm 119:28), and
  • overflowing with thankfulness, remember that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34)
I love Paul's practical lessons, they inspire and encourage me and it is my pleasure to share them with you!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Peace in a violent world

About enjoying safe pasture...
While working on my book Grace of Giving I studied the parable of the good shepherd in John 10 extensively and ultimately John 10:10 became the foundation scripture for the book. While studying however, my attention was also drawn to John 10:9. Jesus says there: I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. For the longest time I wondered about the going in and out. Once we belong to Jesus and have entered his Kingdom, who wants to go back into the world? With Him, without Him, going in and out, that would be stupid, right? That would be like the ancient Israelites wanting to go back to slavery in Egypt for the simple reason that the meat was better there! No, the going in and out had to be about something else.

Jesus is the gate to eternal life and we can only enter through that one gate; which certainly narrows our choices down! We will come in, that is: we will enter his Kingdom, a spiritual realm where God's will is being done. The Bible says the Kingdom cannot be seen, but it is within reach or within us (Luke 17:21). We will go out, that is: into the world. We are not of this world, but we still live in it! And then... we will find pasture! Wow, we will be able to find green pastures and guiet waters amidst the trouble and turmoil in this world (Psalm 23). That is a very comforting thought. Psalm 37:3 gives solid advice:
  • Trust in the Lord and
  • do good;
  • dwell in the land and
  • enjoy safe pasture!
It is possible to enjoy safe pasture despite all the unrest in this world, despite all the bad news and the uprisings, despite political and economical unstability. We have to trust God to provide that safe pasture for us. We must not engage in negative talk about this world but continue to do good! Jesus said in John 16:33, In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!
Take heart! Be encouraged! The world cannot invade the Kingdom, but we must bring the Kingdom into the world and share our peaceful and safe pasture with others, so they will get a glimpse of what a life with Jesus is all about! Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview with Lynn Mosher

What did we do before blogging? Blogging has changed the way we communicate, express ourselves and get in contact with people all over the world. One of the first (if not THE first) blogs I signed up for was Lynn Mosher's blog Heading Home. I am sure many of you are familiar with her writings! Today, I have the privilege and honor to publish an interview with Lynn.

Please, introduce yourself... anything special we need to know about Lynn Mosher?
Let's see. I accepted Christ's offer of salvation when I was eleven years old at a Billy Graham crusade in New York City in 1957. I am now gray-headed enough to be a grandmother, will have been married to my sweet hubby for 45 years in July, have three great kids who have flown the coop, and two precious granddaughters. Oh, and a dog that drives me nuts!

To me you are the queen of bloggers :) Your blog was one of the first ones I signed up for. Please tell us how you started with the idea for Heading Home.
LOL! Thank you for the upgrade and crowning but I still consider myself a novice. After fybromyalgia hit my life in 2000, the Lord asked me to start writing for Him. I had no idea what would entail or what I would write. I wasn't a writer, but I guess the Lord thought I was. He led me to research the ancient Hebrew betrothal tradition and to write my first book Ready or Not...Here I come. In it, I uncover the twelve step process that holds profound, spiritual significance for those who are part of the Bride of Christ. The last step of the process is the wedding and the Bridegroom whisking away His Bride back to their home, which is a part of the Father's home. That inspired me to call my blog Heading Home.

What do you hope to accomplish when you write your devotionals?
I leave it all in God's hands. I have no illusions as to what I can accomplish, as Jesus said, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." I obey by writing and He takes care of the rest. My prayer is always that whatever I write will encourage at least one heart that needs it in some way and will bring glory to the Lord.

You are very active on a variety of websites and blogs, how do you keep track of your writings and how do you schedule your work hours?
Since I have fibromyalgia and am also an empty-nester, I really have no schedule. The fibro causes comprehension and memory problems, so it takes me twice as much time, if not more, to write blog posts than it does others. Keeping track of all my writings is essential. I keep a Word file for each column I write, for all my blog posts with the titles and dates, and all the other submissions. I also keep a file in Excel , so that I can keep track of email addresses, what has been sent and when, what has been rejected, who to send my work to, etc. If I didn't have this, I would go crazy!

Your posts are often very timely, almost prophetic sometimes. is there a secret to keeping your writing fresh and in tune with the Holy Spirit?
Oh, thank you, Marja. All I can say is that I try desperately to pay attention to the Holy Spirit's nudges and guidance. Spending time at the feet of the Lord is essential.

Do you have any new publication plans for your work?
Ready or Not...Here I come will be out, along with an e-book, in several months. I also have a daily devotional that is sitting on the back burner, just stewing. Waiting to be stirred and finished.

What role does your faith in God play in your daily life?
Oh, my! If I didn't have my faith in the Lord, I wouldn't be able to live in peace as I do. The Lord is my everything, my every heartbeat, my every breath, my every thought. It is only by His power that I am able to get up every morning!

Do you have any authors or specific books that have been an inspiration to you?
I love Max Lucado's books. One book by Ken Gire is so wonderful that I read it for inspiration on a regular basis. It's called Moments with the Savior. There have been so many others over the years. It would be difficult to list them.
If you had one protege, what would be the 3 main principles for writing you would teach him or her?
Oh, wow! That's a real toughy! Hmmm...assuming s/he would be a Christian, I guess the principles might be, with an extra one thrown in...
  • Practice, practice, practice. Always work to improve your writing. Take courses if you can. Attend conferences. read books on how to improve your writing.
  • Never listen to the enemy's negativity when he throws out those "nobody will read what you write" or "you stink!"
  • Learn from everyone. Read! Read! Read!
  • Spend time with the Lord and listen to and obey His guidance. Remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading.
Any words of encouragement?
Whatever you do in life, whether you write, you're a mother, a doctor, or a garbage collector. always keep your focus on the Lord. Keep short accounts. Have a burial for your unforgiveness and bitterness. it blocks all you can do for God's glory. And two of my soapboxes...always keep a positive attitude and praise the Lord no matter what. These are essentials to living the kind of life God desires for each of us.
Oh, yes, and blessings to all!

If you have never done so before, please visit Lynn's blog Heading Home and leave her a note! You'll always get a kind word in return! Thank you Lynn, for sharing your thoughts and part of your life's journey with us. Looking forward to the release of your book!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guest at Life Lessons

Today I am a guest at Life Lessons, Maria Morgan's weblog and one of my favorite places to visit! Hop on over and say hi, let Maria know you appreciate her writings. I am honored to appear on her blog!
Happy reading!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Remind, refresh and remember

Words jumping off the page...
I am a word freak! I love reading, I love writing, I love words. Most of all, I love the Word of God! My Bible looks like a workbook with countless colored markings, underlinings, bullets and personal notes. Sometimes, while reading a familiar scripture, certain words just jump off the page and that's the moment I know the Holy Spirit wants to show me something. The other day I was reading 2 Peter 1:12-15 and three words caught my attention: remind, refresh and remember. They all start with an R, so they're easy to memorize. In this passage of Scripture Peter adresses believers and warns them to make their calling and election sure. He summarizes;
So, I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
Personalized, his writing comes down to this:
  • We need to be reminded, even about things we already know. Jesus said in John 14:26, The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
  • It is right to refresh each other's memory. Proverbs 11:25 says, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. As Christian bloggers this is what we do all the time!
  • We should make every effort to remember what God and our faith are all about. Psalm 77:11 says, I will remember the deeds of the Lord. We must purposely be willing to do so!
Remind, refresh and remember, these words tell me that we can never hear the essentials of our faith enough! That is why we need to read God's Word every day, that is why we need to listen to the Holy Spirit every day and that is why we need each other every day!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Arizona trip...

We've been on the road for a week now, Arizona is a beautiful place, even in winter!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Facebook account disabled

Tuesday morning I tried to sign in to my Facebook account and found out it had been disabled by the Facebook team. Somehow my account has been hacked and someone, posing as me, sent out weird messages to my friends asking for money, this is what they call the money scam.
Has this happened to any of you? It is almost impossible to contact FB, since there is no customer service. I really don't want to start all over again with setting up an account, but on the other hand... I miss FB already!