Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's all about the time spent together

This week my son traveled to work with his dad. Now, my son has always respected his dad, but now after being with him the past few days he has a whole new respect for him. In seeing all that he does he understands his dad much more. He has a whole new perspective and attitude towards his dad that he never fully grasped before, until now.

Ever been there? That was me as a kid. Even as a teen. I respected my dad. I loved him dearly. But I never really knew just what he did. I guess I just never really thought much of it until I was much older. More mature. Now that he is gone I wish I could sit with him and have talks about all that he did do at work.

I think in knowing all about our parents and all that they do, it brings us closer to them. We seem to take so much for granted these days. We just don't spend the time with one another that we should.

That got me to thinking about how much time I spend with my Heavenly Father. The more time I spend with Him the more I understand Him. The more I respect Him and know Him. Goodness, how I have taken Him for granted too.

My husband has enjoyed spending time with our son this week. Just being away together for a few days has brought them closer together. They have had time to just talk and open up with one another.

Our Savior wants to spend time with us. Time spent with us is enjoyable for Him too. To have conversations and just open up means everything to Him. He desires to spend time with us. Ever feel Him calling and instead of spending time with Him we put Him off for another time when we are not so busy? We are busy with what we want to be busy with.

I just got a new study Bible a few days ago. I couldn't wait to start turning pages. This week I have been staying up late just studying scripture. Scripture that the Lord is showing to me that is so fulfilling. It's like I'm getting to know Him all over again. I had to ask myself, "Why did it take a new Bible to do that?" It's like anything new. We get excited and then it gets tossed in the back of the closet when we tire of it.

If I am honest here. That is exactly how I have treated my Savior. I can go to a conference and come home refreshed and renewed, only to have that time pass and find myself in the same old rut once again. Have you been there too?

We get excited when we see Christ moving in our lives. When we don't see Him moving we tend to put Him out of mind. When good things are happening in our lives we give Him praise. When hard times come we call upon Him in prayer. But what about just spending time with Him daily?

He is never absent from our lives. He never moves. We are the ones moving away from Him. We place all kinds of things ahead of Him. Imagine how He feels? I know how I feel when another doesn't want to spend time with me. When a friend doesn't return your calls it makes you feel as though you don't matter. Does He matter to you? Our relationship with Christ should be the most important relationship we ever have. That we ever desire.

Grab that cup of tea or cup of coffee and spend a while with your Savior. We don't have to make a date or put it on our to-do list. We just gotta call upon His name and He is there. Goodness, He is already there waiting. Picture Him sitting there on that park bench just waiting for you. He is ready and waiting to spend time with His favorite person. You!

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need."
Matthew 6:33

"Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness."
1 Peter 2:2-3

"So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ."
Romans 10:17



Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's a privilege, not a to-do list

As my husband and son left for Pennsylvania today I stood in the doorway praying for their safety. As they left I turned the television up a bit to drown out the silence I was hearing. I made our beds, washed the dishes, picked up dirty socks and gathered clothes for the laundry. I swept dirt by the front door and laid down new rugs for our dirty feet to step on as we enter the house. I peek at Daisy and she already has that sad look in her eye. I think she knows when it's Sunday and all are ready to leave the house. Well, she at least knows when I put my boots on, I will soon walk out the door. That doesn't make for a happy pup. She doesn't like being alone. I must say, neither do I. A quiet house is nice, but an empty one just feels lonely for me.

Through the week I find myself complaining of all the chores I must do. Just senseless chores really. At least they seem senseless, but they really aren't. I should take joy in the fact that they are here to do. To do for the very people I love. You know them. The chores that others could simply do for themselves if they could just pick up the dirt from their boots or throw their dirty socks in the laundry hamper. Even the toilet. Yes, ladies, you know what I am saying. It seems there are always dishes to be washed and clothes to be folded. Dust to be removed from the television screen so I can see it clearly. Newspapers gathered on the table. Countless boots scattered through the house and since it's deer season, goodness, there is a gun in every room. It just seems like I am always busy being busy. Sound like your week?

But wait? Just like today, what if there were no more dirty boots to pick up? What if I didn't have to yell, "Turn that music down!" What if I didn't have to say a hundred times, "Could ya please clean your room?" I miss my husband and son already. I cannot imagine not doing all of those weekly things for the men in my life that I love. It isn't chores when we are taking care of those we love. It is a privilege. We should count ourselves blessed when we have a messy home and laundry piled up.

It's one thing to be busy in selfishness, but a whole other when we are busy in family. When we make the time to do for those we love it doesn't go unnoticed. Lets face it. We are busy with what we want to be busy with. And chores is not something most of us want to be busy with.

I am blessed in our home. I have a husband and son who are always saying, "Thanks hon" and "Wow, thanks, mom!" They even notice the little things even more so than the big things I do.

We just seem to take so many things for granted. We complain because we must clean the kitchen before we go off to work. We get angry because the floor we just cleaned in now dirty again. No one has taken the dog out and the living room is needing a good cleaning. Friends, take it from me, a girl who had a mom that was a total clean freak. It's not always about having a clean house! Let those dirty socks lay in the floor for the day and spend time with your kids. Forget the dishes for today and have that cup of coffee with your hubs before he leaves for work. So what if there are crumbs between the sheets.

Now, before you go thinking I live in a filthy house, please don't. LOL That is not the point I am trying to make. I am just saying, enjoy each and every moment with complaining. Live and love and share laughter in your home. One day it might you might be sitting in your living room that is just a little too quiet and it is then that you realize just how blessed you really are.

The next time your husband leaves toast crumbs on the counter, don't complain and say, "Gosh, can you not clean up after yourself?" Just smile and be happy those crumbs are there.

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ."
Colossians 3:23-24

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!"
Philippians 4:4

"Do everything without complaining and arguing."
Philippians 2:14

Come on, get out of that pit!

You know those times we find ourselves in that pit of despair that seems to last forever? We slip and our foot catches along the way and down we go. We can land flat on our face. We don't have a scratch on us. Not this time anyway, but the scars from battle are real. Mine are real. They might go unnoticed by others, but I know they are there, hidden.  

There we are with tears streaming down our face. Anger rising in our belly. Somewhere we hear a still small voice. We try to quiet ourselves so we can hear. We rise up and there is there it is. That is the sound of our Savior telling us to get ourselves up and take a step forward. Will we ever really get out of that pit unless we climb out? We gotta grab on tight to something. Something strong and stable. Something able to take all the weight we are carrying, plus all of our anger, resentment and pity we feel for ourselves.

Nothing seems to make any sense. Everything that seemed right last week now seems all wrong. We just can't seem to understand those around us. It's like no one cares about us. We are all but forgotten by those we love the most. It can seem so lonely in that pit. But there right before your eyes is light shining down, casting a glow before you so you can take a step. Feel Him? Your Savior? That is His strength wrapping around. It's His grace washing over you. It's His tender mercies filling your heart. It's the Holy Spirit whispering to you, "You can do it. I am here for you. We can do it together, if you will just trust me."

He pulls us out of the pit and sets us on firm ground. We steady ourselves in His comfort and then we are able to walk again. This time we aren't downcast from all the weight we were carrying. When Jesus pulled us out of the pit He too took our burdens with Him. He cast them far from us. Even took our sin and tossed it out into depths unknown. It is in Him we can find freedom and truth. It is in Him that nothing else has to make sense. The world doesn't all have to be right and perfect for us to be whole. In His love we are complete.

Friends, don't fear the circumstances you are facing. Don't allow those failures of yesterday to hold you back from the joy of today. Do not allow the actions of others to steal away your today. All we have is right now. Today. We need to make each moment count.  There is nothing that can hold you down. Sure, we can feel as though we are all alone. But only when we take our eyes off Christ.  We can feel the pain that others cause us, but only if we allow it. Remember that always! We are not defined by our circumstances. Our failures only bring us to be the humble servant we are called to be. The actions of others cannot be changed by us. But we can control how we react to others. We can choose the road paved in love. We can walk in our Savior's steps and give the grace He has given us. We can extend the same forgiveness He brings to us daily. Friends, let the pain go. Don't hold on to the bitterness raging in your belly. We are victors in Christ Jesus! We are children of the King of kings.  

Make a choice today to let it all go!



"For I can do everything through Christ Jesus who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13


"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

Saturday, November 26, 2011

WONDERLAND CREEK by LYNN AUSTIN

I opened these pages and fell completely in love with this book! For a girl who loves to read, I could relate  well with this character. She has her nose in a book all the time. I never leave the house without a book! It is her place of escape and she doesn't even realize it, until everything in her life starts changing. The boy she loves, her job as a librarian, her family and the Great Depression around her. I mean to tell you, this girl loves to read. She not only reads, but she loves taking away gems from each book. Life lessons. She is about to embark on a new journey no book can give her.

These characters come to life in these pages. I am a huge fan of Lynn Austin. Her writing style just gently pulls you in until you are there in Wonderland Creek with Alice. Alice goes from having everything she needs to a small town in Kentucky where need is prevalent.

What I love is that Alice has had a pretty easy life. She has really not had a want. She is kind of self absorbed and until she puts a book down and actually looks around she doesn't really realize all she has been missing. Let's put it this way. She doesn't really begin to understand who she is until she stops looking through a book.

Everything she has tried to escape are things that desperately needed her attention. Just like, Alice, I would rather grab a book and escape, but that doesn't always make life around us better. We can't hide our emotions in a book. We must allow the to escape so we can find freedom of peace and joy!

We see Alice blossom through these pages. Not by reading a book, but by helping and serving others. Alice never loses her passion for reading. It's part of who she is. Who God made her and He uses that love of reading to inspire her to do great things.

I loved this book. I found myself within these pages and that is exactly why Lynn Austin is a gifted writer.

This book was a gift from Bethany House for it's review.

Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won seven Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near Chicago, Illinois. Visit Lynn's Web site at http://www.lynnaustin.org/

Friday, November 25, 2011

LOVE ON THE LINE by DEEANNE GIST

Love on the Line is right! If you want romance, this is your book! The telephone line is alive and hopping with love. Deeanne Gist has a gift to take the reader back in time and make them feel as though they are in that time period. I mean, you gotta fall in the love with just the name Lucious Landrum and he is a Texas Ranger to boot! He is that man's man character and his job is on the line when he is to protect the pretty and self confident, Georgie Gail, who believes she is capable of doing anything a man can do. Landrum is on the hunt and is undercover. These two characters begin a friendship and of course we see a love blossom. After all, we are talking about Deeanne Gist. The girl can write romance.

For me, this book held many many details that could have been more simple. I would have loved to see more conversations and less about the birds. The telephone details just about had me over the top. But with that said, I love Deeanne Gist and every book I have had the honor of reading penned by this talented lady. I admire her greatly. Over all, this was a wonderful read with many hidden gifts within the story line to take away. Sometimes, you just gotta put it all on the line no matter the cost!

This book was a gift from Bethany House for it's review.

Deeanne Gist known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee--has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very original, very fun historical & contemporary romances. Add to this three RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you've got one recipe for success. She has a very active online community on her website at IWantHerBook.com and at Facebook.com/DeesCircle.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

RECLAIMING LILY by PATTY LACY

Reclaiming Lily is a book with many twists and turns. We have a family from Texas ready to adopt a baby from China, but a baby is not yet available. Complications occur and faith is tested. Lets just say God has other plans. We have a doctor (Kai Chang) who finds that her very sister (Lily) that was given up for adoption years ago might be a carrier for a genetic disease. So it turns out that Lily is the adopted daughter of the family of Texas that was in search of a baby to fill their home. Following me? Well these two families now battle it out. We see the best in them and the worst in them. Lily seems to be caught in the middle. Both families want what is best for Lily, but we see how selfishness can draw us from the real issues in life.

I opened the pages of this story and fell in love, but then just became confused in the story line. I just didn't connect with the characters and the story held so many details that is was just hard for me to really stay connected. It just seemed to travel back and forth.

With that said, there are many who loved this book. I mean, they connected and were so moved by the characters. The story line really is beautiful. What I loved in this story is the strong faith and lack of faith we see in the characters. It was real. There are days when we are up and others when we are down. In this story I love how we see family and friends lifting one another up in faith and bringing encouragment into each others lives.  

This book was a gift from Bethany House for it's review.
Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University with a BS in education and completed master's-level courses in English at Indiana State University. She taught at Heartland Community College until May 2006, when she resigned to pursue her passion of writing. The author of three previous novels, Patti is the mother of two grown children and lives with her husband in Normal, Illinois.

THURSDAY'S TREASURE with guest writer LOREE LOUGH

Hello, lovely people, and thanks for spending some of your time with Robin (and me!) today!


Time. It's such a valuable commodity, isn't it? That's why last Christmas past, I asked Santa to give me 48 hours in every day. This year, I have something else in mind (because seriously? Even with the extra hours, it isn't likely I'd cross every item off my To Do list)….


One of the items on that long, unwieldy list? My computer files. Some of that stuff dates back to the late 90s. So I asked myself why I was holding on to it all. And you know what? I couldn’t come up with a single good reason to keep them all.


So I stayed up all night and read every file. Yep, all 100+ of 'em, each at various stages of development. If a story had no hope of selling, I sent it to the trash bin.


That left me with 14 stories, some fully-fleshed out, others just topics I felt could be turned into salable novel plots. I gave each of those a thorough read to determine which might sell in today's oober-competitive market, and which could not. And the Nots sailed into the already-full bin.


Next I gave the final6 a careful read, and filed them in Easiest to Complete and Submit order. Because on January 2, 2012, I intend to sit on my purple exercise ball, fingertips curled above the keyboard, and dig into Tuxedo Bend (working title of the story on top).


Why this mad-flurry to "systemize?" And why now? Well, those of you who know me are aware that I'm organized to the point of being a little, well, wacky, or so says my husband. And kids. The gran-dorables and the neighbors and…you get my drift. If things aren't in order—at least in my head—nothing gets done. Chaos—even a small amount of it—puts me into a never-ending tailspin of 'fix this' and 'do that' until my tiny brain is convinced all the ducks are marching in a tidy row. With my computer files gleaned of useless stuff, I can concentrate on the things that matter. Like salable stories.


I left myself no wiggle room and there's no turning back, because I emptied the recycle bin. (Did you know it actually gets fat when you load it up with junk! But I digress….) Every story labeled "Possible" and "Maybe" and "Could Be" are as gone as my old PE uniform and the hideous bloomers that went with it!


And it feels good. As an avid gardener, I know that when a plant malingers, harsh pruning is in order. Lopping dead stuff off, whacking back to the original plant is the only way to encourage the healthy green chutes and big fragrant blooms that I once enjoyed. I'm sure you see where I'm going with this.... Cutting those dead, never-salable stories from my files made room for stronger ideas that will bear (God willing!) publishable fruit!


It might be a tad early for Happy New Year wishes, but I'm praying that 2012 will bring you and all those you love good health and happiness, allow you to meet your most important goals, and let you see your most heartfelt dreams come true.

Blessings to you and yours,

Loree

Loree Lough With more than 3,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and dozens of industry awards. She splits her time between a humble home in Baltimore and a teeny cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her "Identify the Critter Tracks" skills). Loree has more than 80 books in print, including reader favorites like From Ashes to Honor and Honor Redeemed. Her next release, Love Finds You in Folly Beach, South Carolina is in bookstores now. She loves to hear from readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Shoutlife, and www.loreelough.com!


Loree, you always bless me with your humor and your sweet spirit. Thank you for being a guest writer at the Nest today. You have an open invitation to join us at any time! We get so busy don't we? In the hustle and bustle of life we seem to feel scattered a bit ourselves. I know I sure do. You should see me as I sit before you today. lol How sweet when we take that time to declutter our lives with all the junk that fills the space around us. Space that God wants to use for His glory and honor. If we don't clear out all that unused space we might just miss out on the greatest blessings of all. Those that the Lord is waiting for us to acknowledge and accept.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ANESSIA'S QUEST by KAREN ARNPRIESTER

Get yourself ready, friends, because you are about to go on a journey of emotion! There is no way you could read this book and not see the hand of God at work. Wow! I must say, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. But once I picked up this gem I was captivated. The characters are so real. You find yourself wanting to reach out and just wrap your arms around, Payne, the young girl who has had a life of tragedy and one trial after the other her whole life. Just when she thinks things are about to calm, once again she is hit with a powerful disappointment.

This story takes us through the life of Payne. She was born with the name Champagne, her mother's favorite drink, but later deemed the name Payne, because her mother found her unworthy to carry such an honored name. We see her ups and downs and those that come and go in her life.

I must tell you, the beginning of this book and the ending has twists and turns that were not expected at all! The whole book just comes together so beautifully. I was honored to read this for review. Again, this is another book that you will walk away from with valuable lessons.

I love the premise that we all have an angel watching over us. One that guides and protects us. God uses all of heaven to provide and protect His children. The gospel was shared beautifully in this story. It has just about everything you can imagine and more. If you want to read an unexpected story of love and redemption, you will love this story. I promise, you will not be able to put this book down.

This book was a gift from Karen Arnpriester for it's review.



Karen Slimick Arnpriester is a creative, passionate and adventuresome woman. She raised her two children, adores her seven grandchildren and is now a foster mom of two young ladies. She has been a self-taught graphic designer for twenty five years and started her own business twenty years ago. Her faith in God is strong and she believes that we are Christ’s hands, feet, arms and wallet. This translates into her involvement in youth ministries, local women’s shelter, street ministry, the elderly, as well as many other outreaches over the years. Her home has been available to single moms and their children, allowing them to get a fresh start. ANESSIA’S QUEST is her first novel. The desire to write began two years ago as a hobby. She had an idea for a beginning and the end. The rest of the story flowed and took Karen on a journey. She cried and laughed as she followed the twists and turns of the characters. Once friends read the book, she was strongly encouraged to share her story with others.

THE LAND OF DARKNESS by C.S. LAKIN

I think this might be the first time I am speechless. I am trying to find the words. This book was off the charts AWESOME! The Gates of Heaven Series, is quickly becoming one of my favorite reads to look forward to. I cannot wait to read the next in the series!

Who knew a talking frog could bring me to turn pages so quickly my fingers were burning. lol Lakin is a talented writer with the gift to pull you into the story and make you feel as though you are walking through the enchanted lands not yet traveled. You find yourself  journeying with characters so rich and vibrant you cannot help but long to see what happens next.

Jadiel is the main character. A young girl with a step mother who is wicked to the core. This woman is able to cast spells and enchant people with her beauty. A beauty that is only potion deep. This story carries valuable lessons to cherish. Callen is one of those unforgettable characters in search of a bridge, but the meaning behind this bridge is so much more than meets the eye.

This lovely tale brings you to an enchanted land that leads us straight to the gates of heaven and a God who brings light to all darkness.

I cannot say enough about this book without giving away all the details. I don't want to spoil it for you. This is a great series for Young Adults and Adults alike. I tell you, I couldn't put this book down! This would make a wonderful Christmas gift for that reader in your family.

This book was a gift from Living Ink Books for it's review.

“C. S.” Lakin comes from a family of successful writers. She grew up collating television scripts for her mother, a screenwriter, story editor, and producer for television. As an adult, Susanne assisted in developing series for television, and while raising two daughters and running a bed and breakfast inn in northern California, wrote her first three novels and a cookbook. In 2009, Susanne’s contemporary novel, Someone to Blame won the Zondervan First Novel contest at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. The novel will be published by Zondervan in August of 2010. She and her husband, Lee Miller, continue to live in California, where she currently works as a freelance copy editor and writing mentor.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just a little prayer goes a long way

We often think our prayers must be poetic and spoken with words eleqant and proper. Thought out and well said. Our prayers are simply a conversation with God. He already knows our heart. He knows when we come to Him all that our hearts carry. He just wants to hear from us. He wants to hear our biggest fears, our deepest hurts and the anger that takes over our joy. He just wants us to open up and share it all.

A few nights ago I had the privledge of talking with a girlfriend late at night. You know what we spoke of for what seemed like hours? Our faith. We simply talked about Christ. You gotta love those girlfriends in your life that just want to talk about Jesus. Nothing else matters much when you fill every word with praise for our Savior. Just speaking His name gives us comfort. Fills us with strength. Overflows into our very presence. I had shared with her a prayer I had said for years. She said that I should share that prayer with my readers. Maybe it will give others a way to begin a tradition of hope. I never really thought of it that way. It was just me sharing a dream with Christ that turned into a prayer.

One weekend when all of our children were home we were all playing outside. When you have five children you just about have all the members you need for a softball team. We played every game imaginable outdoors. I took a break and sat on our old steps just watching. My heart melted as I watched our kids play with their dad. The laughter filled the air and I began to talk to God. I could invision His return. I could hear the sound of the trumpet and all those who love Him being called up, out of this world, into the other side of heaven. So, I simply said, "Lord, it is my prayer that when you return, when that trumpet blasts, my family will all be right here, gathered together raising up praising your name." I couldn't think of a greater gift to take part in than to have my family all gathered in laughter when we hear that trumpet blast. What a perfect gift. What a perfect prayer.

We can pass down our prayers to our children. They can than pass them down to our grandchildren. What sweeter words than for our grandchildren to hear, "This is a prayer your grandmother shared with me."

Of course our children are grown now. We have our youngest son at home with us and no, the Lord has not decided to return. We didn't hear that trumpet blast together as Ashley kicked that ball so she could take off and run like a gazelle to second base, but within that prayer was the prayer that my children would all be saved. Would all know Christ as their Savior. Would remain under His protection. Now, we have two beautiful grandchildren to add to that prayer.

You never know, that prayer could be answered just the way I prayed or maybe God is waiting for the perfect time for everyone to join us. So, I wait with anticipation for the sound of that trumpet. I wait with a heart filled with joy for His coming day.

What is your prayer today? Maybe it's a simple dream of thanks like mine on that sunny afternoon day watching my family with a heart of gratitude. May we lift up our children each and every day. No prayer is too silly and there is nothing in our heart that the Lord doesn't want us to share with Him. After all, He is our best friend. He is our Savior. He too is waiting with anticipation to return and bring His children, His family, home to be with Him and join His Father in the greatest celebration ever!

Monday, November 21, 2011

LOST MELODY by LORI COPELAND and VIRGINA SMITH

I loved the premise of this book, Lost Melody. We can lose our melody in many different ways. Circumstances happen and our lives are destroyed with no hope of looking back. We think they are destroyed, but what we see as destruction, God sees as an opportunity to turn ash into beauty. There isn't anything He cannot use. As we see a no answer happening in our lives, there is a yes from God waiting.

The main character, Jill King, has heard the no answer we never expect to hear, an accident took the gift of being a concert pianist away. One night changed her life forever. But love is alive in her life and that love is helping her to move forward. Dreams begin to come to Jill. She pretty much thinks she going crazy. If she shares these dreams it could destroy the career of the very one she loves, but if she doesn't destruction may come to the town she loves.

Again, I LOVE this premise! Do we listen to that still small voice or do we ignore it in fear? This is one of those great stories that carries such valuable life lessons. I love when a writer not only tells a story, but brings that story home to your heart and makes you ponder over it for days.

This book was a gift from Zondervan for it's review.




Lori Copeland is a bestselling author whose books include Now and Always, Simple Gifts, Unwrapping Christmas, and Monday Morning Faith, which was a finalist for the 2007 Christy Awards. Lori was inducted into the Springfield Writers Hall of Fame in 2000 and lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband and family.


Virginia Smith is the author of more than a dozen Christian novels. Her books have been named finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year Award, and ACFW's Carol Award. When she isn't writing or speaking, Ginny and her husband, Ted, enjoy exploring the extremes of nature. They live in Salt Lake City, UT.






Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, Panic Attacks and Finding Peace

For the past few days I have had this overwhelming desire to go shopping. Any kind of shopping really would do, but purses are my thing. See, I have figured out when I have that desire to go shopping, it isn't really because I am in need of something material, but spiritual.

It hit me a few weeks ago that next month I will be 45! It is approaching quickly. December 30 is just around the corner. I have never had an issue with age. I have enjoyed growing older and I gotta be honest and say, I like myself now. I wouldn't want to be 20 over again if it was possible. Until a few days ago I figured out what my heart was feeling, but not able to process to my brain. My dad was only 45 when he became ill. When his cancer hit, he was 45 years old.

My panic attacks started coming on stronger over the last month or so. When they hit I always try to figure out why. Is something bothering me? It is a search I go on often and this time I have found part of the culprit.

My son was sharing with me that a few weeks ago someone had asked, "What do you want for Christmas?" My son shared how grateful he would feel when the holidays were over. No one quite understood. People tend to look at you like your a Grinch when you share Christmas isn't your favorite holiday.

I know why my son isn't so excited. I have that same overwhelming feeling about to burst from my chest. When you once had huge gatherings with family during Christmas and Thanksgiving and now that family celebrates elsewhere, you kind of have a feeling of, "Lets get it over with please."

I am a winter girl. I love this time of year and I so enjoy the seasons of giving and being thankful. For our family, it isn't about getting or even giving gifts. We could go out and buy all the gifts we want this year. But it's about something more. It's just spending time together. Although gifts are great and we enjoy gift giving. We would enjoy time spent with our family even more so. When your not surrounded by your family the gifts really don't mean much at all. I can tell you that my son would rather greet his siblings at the door than to receive any amout of presents. He would rather share this season as a family and not feel left out. I totally get that. What about you?

So, when you hear people complaining about all they must do to get ready for the holidays my son would like to say, "Stop complaining and be thankful your surrounded by your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and grandparents." I know this weighs heavy on his heart.

Christmas was never really special for my husband as a child. He was always made to feel guilty for any gift he received. So now, he even struggles to purchase something for himself. Even if it is just a need. He will downright just get sick to his stomach. It isn't that he doesn't want to spend the money. It's the fact that his parents made him feel guilty for the money they spent on him. So every year he is drawn right back to those days at home. Even after all these years he still carries that deep pain. For me, Christmas always ROCKED! Thanksgiving ROCKED! I was surrounded by family. Mom was always in the kitchen preparing great meals and dad was always eager to open gifts. By the time Christmas rolled around our gifts were all opened up!

I still love Christmas and I love my home being filled with the scent of pies baking and wild turkey in the oven. I love bringing in that tree we cut down as a family and decorating it as Christmas music plays filling the house. What would make it better? To have all our children and grandchildren surrounding us. So, we have learned to make our own traditions and make each moment count. People say, "Celebrate with those around you." I totally get that. But it's not so easy to forget about those who are not near.

Now, back to those panic attacks. This time of year is just really hard for me. I see people complaining because they must make time to go to their parents homes. I wish I could return home for just one Thanksgiving. I wish I could go back in time and watch my dad open all his gifts in laughter. You never really understand what another is feeling unless you yourself have walked in their shoes.

What do I see at 45? I have no idea. No idea at all what is waiting around the corner for me. I just wish the memories that haunt me could leave and not return. So, see my need to go shopping? I have that urge to purchase something to make me feel better about the upcoming days. But I know it won't help. Oh sure, it will for that short moment, but later that purse will be in the closet with all the others I have collected over the years.

Sure, I know, we are to be thankful for what is right in front of us. And we are very grateful. We have so much to be grateful for and I intend to make these days all that they can be. Hopefully this will be the greatest season yet for the Prater family.

My heart feels overwhelmed. I have a hurting son who misses the siblings he grew up with and loves so much. I have a husband who has no desire to be near his parents during this time because of the pain they have left upon his heart. As for me, I see my mother and I see a woman ready to give up.

I am reaching a birthday that was my dad's last. That just gives you great thoughts to ponder  about life and just how much you have really lived and how much time you have nearly wasted. My son knows the real meaning of Christmas. He knows the gifts are just an added blessing. Maybe this year will we take ourselves a little trip somewhere nice and create new memories to last for the years to come.

Why am I sharing all this with you? There are so many who love asking, "What do you want for Christmas? What are your plans?" We forget that there are many families who cannot afford presents this year. Many are left without loved ones they once celebrated with. This is a hard time for many, if not most. Why do you think we tend to spend so much money over the next few months? To make ourselves feel better, only to pay for it over the next year.

So friends, take each day for what it is. A gift. Treasure each moment and take time with those you love and who love you. Share from your heart words you haven't said in years. Allow another to share memories of their past joys. Make this time a time to open up your heart and enjoy the company of those surrounding you.

If you don't have that huge family, if you don't have money to purchase gifts, create a new tradition. Celebrate Christ in a new way. Give thanks by sharing your time with others. This season is what you make it. So grab hold and enjoy with a tender heart of thanks. You just might be surprised all that the Lord has for you this season.

For me, I am still in search of the perfect peace and I know it will come. It will come once I surrender all my feelings and emotions over to my Savior and just completely and fully soak Him in. After all, isn't every day we spend about Him? It's when we take our focus off Him that our troubles begin. We try to make everyone around us happy. We spend way too much money and we go out of our way to make it look as though our holidays are to die for, when all we need to be is real. Speak up and say, "I can't afford that twenty dollar gift limit." Share with those you love how much you want to spend time with them. Don't hold it all in. When we do, we then become angry and no one knows our pain because we have tucked it in tight to hide it from all.

It's not that we will not see all of our children and grandchildren this year. I know without any doubt we will, but for many years now it has not been the same. Once your children leave and begin their own lives you long to have them back home, sitting by the tree in wait to open their next gift. You dream of the laughter that once filled your table as the bread you just baked is too hard to even eat. You are excited for them and all they have planned, but you too miss them. Are you there with me? My mom simply doesn't want to celebrate any day, so what do you do? You can't help but have this upon your heart. Sure, some are going to say, "Get over it", and that's fine. But until you are in the midst of those emotional days yourself you can't very well tell another how to react. So, all I can do, is all I can do and surrender all my feelings to my Savior. I can wake each day with the hope that He will fill the emptiness I feel. That He will remove the memories that bring such hurt and fill me with new ones to make me smile.

Friend, don't worry if your season isn't a vision from a Hallmark card. Don't buy in to the commercialism and think you must rush out and leave all the bills to purchase your child the newest phone or toy. Simply spend time loving on one another. Giggle until you pee. Have that piece of apple pie topped with whipped cream. Go for that walk and enjoy the sights and sounds around you. Get all cozy and watch your favorite holiday movie. Grab that book you have been saving to read. Visit your local nursing home and read to one who needs of touch from God. My point? Take time and enjoy each and every minute. Make the most of it! But most of all, make your focus your Savior. He has a way of blessing you like no other gift you have ever received.


"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Thursday, November 17, 2011

THURDAY'S TREASURES with guest writer LISA BUFFALOE

Kneeling on Tipedtoed Knees
Written By
Lisa Buffaloe


Early on Saturday mornings I meet with a group of women to pray. No agenda is given other than to pray as God’s Spirit moves. We gather before God’s throne, and I can’t wait to see where God’s Spirit will lead. Often we wait in silence, listening to God's Spirit and responding to the counsel of His Word.


Praise, thanksgiving, and scripture float as voices are filled with joy or weep for those lost, ill, or hurting. Our prayers have winged across continents to pray for the persecuted church and covered those needing healing, help, or salvation.


I visualize our group huddled together on knees before God’s throne, bringing our spirits before our Abba, Father.


I feel so small. I’m a tiny girl, kneeling on tiptoed knees wanting, needing my Father’s guidance, anticipating His presence.


How I desire every moment to live with open ears and heart. To unclench my hands to receive all He longs to give, and my feet ready to venture wherever He leads.


And God meets us. His arms always open, His ears attentive to His children’s cry.


These precious moments…The God times. The absolute wonder and amazement of being able to come in His presence aren’t limited to Saturday mornings or only for the elite. These moments are open for all who seek. God promises… I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. (Proverbs 8:17, Jeremiah 29:13 NIV).


O that I would remember and my soul would stay knelt in God’s presence, tiptoed in anticipation of His wonder.


Want to join me?


Want to join Him?


“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me” (Proverbs 8:17 NIV).



Lisa Buffaloe is an avid blogger, writer, (not sure what to call my show now – Internet radio show host for Living Joyfully Free, podcaster???), and speaker. She’s an active member of several writing organizations and critique groups, leads Bible studies, and has spoken to writer and women’s groups.

Her past experiences—molestation by a baby-sitter, assault, rape by a doctor, divorce, being stalked, cancer, death of loved ones, seven surgeries, and eleven years of chronic illness from Lyme Disease—bless her with a backdrop to share God’s amazing promises. God’s love is unending, and through Him we find healing, restoration, and renewal.

Lisa is contributing author of The One Year Book of Joy and Laughter. Her articles have appeared in Guideposts Online magazine, Angels on Earth magazine, (in)courage.me, So You Want To Write, National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs, Rest Ministries, Writer Interrupted, The Christian Pulse, Christian Fiction Online magazine and various other sites.

Her manuscript, Nadia’s Hope, placed as a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest, placed as runner-up in the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) Genesis Contest, and won Best of Conference Award for Adult Novel at the 2007 North Texas Christian Writer’s Conference. Her manuscript, Prodigal Nights placed second in the 2010 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2008 North Texas Christian Writer’s Conference.

Lisa and her husband are Board Members for Gospel Harvesters International

Lisa is represented by literary agent, Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency.


http://www.lisabuffaloe.com/

http://www.livingjoyfullyfree.com/


http://www.fliterary.com/

http://www.shoutlife.com/LisaBuffaloe




Lisa, thank you for being a guest writer at the Nest. Your words always fill me with encouragement. To spend time with the Lord can only set us on higher ground. To surrender all to Him can only bring us to soar above all that tries to hold us down. Time spent with Him is the sweetest time of all. Thank you for reminding us just how precious our time with Him truly is. Many times I find myself doing all the talking. I think that's okay at times. When my heart is full I know Jesus wants to hear all that burdens me, but more than anything I need to learn to quiet myself so that I can hear all my Savior has to share with me. Blessings to you sweet friend.  









Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bringing calm through a simple jar of oil

Can you imagine having to sell your sons to pay a debt? (2 Kings 4:1-7) Picture this scenario. Your husband is dead and you have a debt to pay off with no means to do it on your own. You have two young sons and you are now expected to sell them to cancel your debt. Are you kidding? I think I might just run off and never look back. But, that action might be out of fear. Here we see a story of a woman who stood in faith.

Her husband belonged to a group of prophets, but now their home was empty of him. What would she do? She goes to Elisha and asks for help. He asks her if she has any oil in the house. She tells him that it is all gone. I can imagine her heart is filled with fear at this time. He is telling her to grab her oil to sell and she has none to even use herself. (2 Kings 4:2-3)

Elisha knows a little about God's provision. After all, he was given a double portion as Elijah was lifted up by a chariot into the heavens. (2 Kings 2:9) He has seen God's miracles first hand. He knows this woman has nothing to worry about. Faith is believing in the very things we cannot see nor understand.

"For we live by believing and not by seeing." 2 Corinthians 5:7

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1

"So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:18

What do you think she has her eyes focused on this day? For me, it might be that my jars are all empty and now I am lost at what to do. But Elisha is there to encourage her. He is lifting her spirits as he speaks calmly and firmly to her. Isn't that just what we need sometimes? A friend who will help us off the ledge and lead us to trusting what we know we believe in our heart. The God who was helping her this day, is the same God who is helping you today. You may not see His every move, but He is still there working behind the scenes.

So, now she is to borrow all the jars she can from her neighbors and take them inside. Not only is she to do this, but Elisha makes sure she closes the door behind her. Everything doesn't have to be seen by those around us. There are some things God wants us to see. (2 Kings 4:3-4) Many times when faith is all we have left we come to realize faith is all we need.

Now her sons have helped her gather all the jars or flasks and now she is filling them. Can you believe it? She is filling them all from her jar that was empty! God restored and refreshed not only her jar, but her faith! You gotta love a God who is constant and sure!

Soon every jar was completely filled to the brim. Now, she and her sons have enough oil to not only pay the debt, but to live on in the future. God provided just as Elisha knew He would. (2 Kings 4:5-7) Have you seen your jars filled to restoration? When hard times come knocking on our door we often just panic instead of going to our knees.

This is not the first time we see this in scripture. We see in (1 Kings 17:8-24) where Elijah was there to help a widow in Zarephath. He asked her to fix him something and all she had left was enough for one more meal for herself and her son. He goes then to tell her to feed him first and then make more! In her obedience she finds not only more flour, but more oil. God provided enough for each and every day. Did Elisha know of this story? Had Elijah shared with him the miracles that God has performed through him being a willing vessel?

When hard times come we often fear the next day, but we should see by now God provides for those who love and trust in Him. We don't have to know the details. We just have to believe. Trials come in many different forms. From losing your job, to sickness attacking. We are not going to have a life without trial, but we can live a life without fear. I have had my share of trials and I can share with you that God has never let me down. Sure, I might have turned to my fear first before going to Him, but through each one I only learned I was more sure of my faith in Him and His promises.

Just as the woman here in this scripture we are not to do it on our own. We are called to reach out to God and know that He is going to provide. Is it always going to be in the way we wish? Of course not. That's where trust comes in at. We have to believe that He knows what He is doing with our lives. That is putting our faith into action. As we go through trials I think it's wonderful to share those with others around us. We don't have to put on a brave face. You can see these women did not. They were real. They were searching for help. When those around you see that you make it through each and every trial that comes your way, they will see God in action in your life.

"We are hard-pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

MERCY COME MORNING by LISA TAWN BERGREN

This was a lovely read about forgiveness and finding peace. Can you imagine living your whole life estranged from your mother? Never hearing the words, "I love you". Krista Mueller lived this life and now her mother has Alzheimer's. Time is slipping quickly. Time that she has missed and misplaced. This is a great story in teaching us to grab hold of those second chances.

I loved this book by Lisa Tawn Bergren. She brought out the best and the worst in these characters. She showcased the qualities we all want to be exposed and she too showed the faults that we try to hide and ignore ourselves.

Reading this book leaves you with a passion to know your mother better. To reach out to your daughter more. To not just leave the past behind, but bring it out in the open and share those hurts so healing can come.

What did I love the most? The Christmas room. We all need a Christmas room to remember the good times. We tend to focus on the bad that have crept into our lives. All the while the good has been right in under our nose the whole time.

This book was a gift from WaterBrook Press for it's review.

Lisa Tawn Bergren is a best-selling author of more than thirty books, including The Captain's Bride, The Busy Mom's Devotional, and the God Gave Us children's book series. She and her husband, Tim, live in Colorado Springs, Colorado with their three children. Visit her website at LisaTawnBergren.com



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Even without the details we can still believe

Can you imagine losing your best friend? Your mentor? The one person who walked with you and gave encouragement while cheering you onward? Many know the depth of this pain. Elisha knew this pain as well. It was a pain that was very real to him. His walk with Elijah had come to an end when the God took him up to heaven in a whirlwind of fire, carried by a chariot. For me, I am not so sure what would have been cooler. To be Elijah experiencing this miracle or Elisha watching it happen. Nevertheless, Elisha was now without his best friend. What of their talks? The walks they shared? You know, Elisha, had an empty place in his heart. I can imagine he felt lonely on days when he saw others walking with their friends or when he had a question about what to do. Where would he turn now?

When Elisha and Elijah took their last walk together, Elisha says to Elijah several times, "As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you." He knew what was getting ready to happen, he just didn't know the details. Do you ever wish to know the details of what is about to happen to you today? Do you think it would help or hinder your thoughts? Elisha was about to see God do some of His best work.

You know, Elisha's faith had to be tremendous! Elijah was his mentor who taught him to have faith and to believe in the God who would provide him a double portion. (2 Kings 2:9-10) God had great plans for Elisha. One of them was to meet the Shunammite woman. (2 Kings 4:8:37) This is what I am going to focus on today.

Now, we have this woman and her husband. They are very compassionate people. They see that Elisha travels into their town often and they want to open up their home to him. That is exactly what they do. Hospitality at it's best. Elisha, grateful for all they have done for him asks if there is anything he can do for them. This couple is without a child in their home. (2 Kings 4:14) Elisha tells her that this time next year she would have a son. ( 2 Kings 4:16)

Elisha goes about his business and within the next year she gives birth to a son. (2 Kings 4:17) Now the child has grown and he is going out to the fields with his father. All of a sudden his head his hurting. The servant carries him to his mother ( 2 Kings 4:19) and he dies with her at his side. Can you feel this woman's pain? Can you see her shaking in fear over the loss of the child God provided? Her pain is deep and real. A pain no mother wants to bear. But here, this mother is having a day she never dreamed of happening.

This distraught mother asks for a young man and a donkey so she can go in search of Elisha. (2 Kings 4:22-26)  Wouldn't you go for him? Wouldn't you go to any means possible for your child? She knows Elisha is a man of God. She knows of his great faith. This too means she has great faith. She knows of the God who Elisha worships.

He sees her coming. They speak and as a servant of Elisha's tries to move her away from him, he tells him to stop. The Lord has not filled Elisha in with all the details. He has no idea that her son is dead. (2 Kings 4:27)

Elisha begins to tell his servant to go with her, but this is not what she wants. She repeats the same words, Elisha had once said to Elijah many times. "As the Lord lives, ans as your soul lives, I will not leave you." (2 Kings 4:30) Do you think at this time everything comes rushing back to Elisha? Does he now remember the pain he felt that day? The details he did not know? Through the pain that Elisha knew so well he was now able to help this woman. He showed her compassion and he was willing to drop everything and go with her. I wonder if they talked on the way back to the house. Maybe they were in silent prayer. Whatever was happening, one thing is for sure. God was in control this day just as He was the day Elijah left on that chariot. The details don't matter much when you have a God who knows what is about to happen before you do. He is already there!

He goes into the room and stays with the child. In fact, he lays upon him, with his mouth upon his mouth and his eyes upon his eyes. (2 Kings 4:33-34) He too had seen Elijah do this very same thing. Hey if it works the first time you can be pretty sure it will work again. (1 Kings 17:17-24)

The child wakes and the woman is filled with gratitude. Can you imagine her overwhelming heart of thanks for this precious child the Lord had blessed her with and now has brought him back to her again? Oh, I see the tears of joy on her face. I can imagine her son asking, "What happened mom? What are you so emotional about?"

Elisha was blessed with that double portion. He was blessed to walk with his mentor. The man who came before him to teach him about faith. To show him God's ways and all He was preparing for him. What we have to remember is, God is always and forever in control. He isn't going to leave us. (Hebrews 13:5) Even when we don't know the details we can still believe.

The trials that come into our life are not without reason. Sure, we might not understand the rhyme and reason to it all, but we have a God who sees beyond what our eyes can see. Our faith will not grow unless we see God move on our behalf. I have seen Him do great and mighty things in my life. Things I have never dreamed of happening. I don't know the details of what tomorrow holds, but one thing is for sure. I know God is already there. He is preparing me for every step. There isn't a stone that goes unturned in my life that He doesn't first know about. So, don't get all caught up in the details and trying to figure it all out.

God has a plan. (Jeremiah 29:11-12) The very occurrences that touch your life today will give you great compassion for those who will later feel those same tears and be filled with those same worries. What has touched your life yesterday will tomorrow touch another. Your faith can bring faith to another. What Elisha learned from Elijah, he was able to pass on to others. A great faith in God even when the details are not revealed.

"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:6

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

DECEMBER 1941 (31 Days That Changed America And Saved the World) by CRAIG SHIRLEY

In school I was that girl who soaked up history class. Still today I am a lover of history. We can't move forward without acknowledging the past. When I requested the book, December 1941, who knew I would fall in love with history all over again.

This book is simply amazing. Wow, doesn't even give it all it's due. I can honestly say, this is the best history book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Every classroom should have this book for the students. History books are often jam packed with information, but forgive me for saying, they are as boring as can be. This book is remarkable for the fact that it is like you are on a ride through the whole month of December during WWII. We not only see the day of December 7 that we all know so well, but we go back to the days before it.

Craig Shirley and his research assistant, Andrew Shirley, worked tirelessly to bring us a book we can all understand. It isn't written over your head like many history books that leave you pondering over the words just read. I mean, it's like you have a front row seat to the history that has made us who we are today as a nation.

Shirley takes all the information he read from newspaper articles and headlines and places it all together, day by day. This book is absolutely terrific in every way. We not only see the war happening, but we see what the people were feeling, what our government was doing and what was taking place all over the world.

If you love history, you are going to fully enjoy this book. Just in time for Christmas, this would make a great gift for that history buff you know. This truly is a gem to read. This is one of those books you can never read enough and one you can go back to again and again.

So, if you ask me, this is one of the greatest reads of history ever penned.

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for it's review.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is it really all that bad?

Boy, can we have some bad days. We think it's a bad day before our feet hit the floor. Maybe we must rise up early and we didn't get any rest. Then we find ourselves crabby all day long. That sure isn't fun for those around us.

We can wake not feeling well. Maybe by lunch time the rain is pouring and the streets are flooding and now water in the basement is rising by the inch. We head out to the car after a long days work and what do you know, it won't start. No one is available when we call for help, so what in the world are we to do now?

Our hair is crazy in the wind and we are on our way to get pictures. The baby just spit up all over our new sweater and the tears begin to stream. The chores are piling up and now it's time for dinner and we forgot to go to the store.

The car payment is due and as you get ready to write out that check you realize your account is empty. The dog just made a mess and the kids have now destroyed the room you have worked on for hours. Can we go on?

We think we are having a bad day until something worse happens. After a trip to the ER that dog poo doesn't seem so bad. After receiving that call from your mother that your dad is now ready for chemo treatments, the house no longer matters. When you husband walks through the door and has his last paycheck in hand, the grocery shopping on top of chores doesn't seem so bad any longer.

The cat gets hit by a car and your children are in tears. You think your morning has started out bad, but now your doctor calls with the results of your mammogram and they have found a lump. The cat no longer matters.

Our bad days are most likely good days for someone else. Think about it. Yes, things can always be worse, but we really don't think about that when we are desperate for some calm from the storm. We think we have totally hit bottom, but another friend is quickly sinking. Yesterday's bad news has nothing on what your facing today.

I can wake looking at the circumstances facing me and I can begin to think really quickly that it is a bad day forming. One that I wish I could pass up, but then I think of all the children at Children's Hospital and their parents surrounding them. I think of the Alzheimer's patients my daughter sees daily at work and their families that feel such loss. There are people losing their homes on a daily basis in this country. In other countries people don't even know what it is to have a home, much less a shack.

While I complain about not having crackers for my soup there is a hungry family somewhere searching for nibbles to fill them for the night. Can you see the tears across our world? Is it possible to even fathom the hurt and desperation around the world?

We see wives losing their husbands in a war that is senseless. Parents burying their children after they have committed suicide after being bullied. Tornadoes and hurricanes reaching ground around us. Earthquakes killing thousands and genocide by the millions. Women and children being sold in this world as sex slaves. Think slavery has come to an end? Think again.

So as we look at our comfortable lives are we really having a bad day?

Someone is losing their parent, child, sibling or friend today. A car crash takes the life of an innocent family as one makes the worst decision in his life to drive after that party.

We all have bad days, but is it really that bad? Should we really complain after all? The Lord says different. He says, "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember the Lord is coming soon." Philippians 4:4-5

He also says, "Do everything without complaining and arguing." Philippians 2:14a

Whether we see it or not, the sun is always shining. That's right, the Son is always shining! When we have Jesus there is nothing to fear. He knows what is before us and He too knows just what we need to get through. Our problem? We look at our circumstances instead of being focused on Him. We think a good day has to be perfect in our eyes to be called good. But remember we have a God that can turn ashes into beauty. Just what if the Lord is moving through those not so good days to reach others and to change us to look more like Him? Doesn't He always have a purpose and a plan?

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me." Jeremiah 29:11-13

We have become so spoiled in our ways. We don't look at what's going on in the lives of those around us. Let's be honest. As long as everything is good with us, we think life is pretty good! Until that is, we really have do have a bad day. But again, our bad day is an other's good day. So, lets keep our perspective and always go before the Lord asking Him to prepare our hearts and minds for ALL He has for us.

That day soon comes where you are wishing for that bad day of the flat tire, the crying baby and the dirty dishes taking over your kitchen. Tragedy strikes and we find ourselves now realizing last week wasn't so bad after all. Could we please have it back? Those piled up emails and that report that is lost sure doesn't seem time consuming when your now pacing the halls of the hospital. That arguement with our husband just seems silly by now, doesn't it? What was it even about?

May we learn to appriciate ALL that touches our life. Might we be able to be content in our day and search for the blessings that are not really hidden at all, but right under our noses. Let's give praise, for we have a God who is always in control.

"Sing a new song of praise to Him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. For the Word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust EVERYTHING He does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth." Psalm 33:3-5
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...