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I Almost Died…Coming Soon – My NDE Testimony & God’s CPR For Your Faith!

(UPDATE: I now have my own imprint, which the book will be published under, so stay tuned, more info coming soon! Subscribe so you don’t miss it!) 

November 16, 1985 was almost the last day of my life…

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Have you been through a traumatic event? 

I’ve often said, God can take the “lemons” life has handed you and turn it into some of the best “lemonade” you’ve ever “tasted”. But you have to give Him the lemons! Whatever it is the devil intended to use to destroy you, God wants to take it and turn it into your testimony, just as He has done for me! He can and He will!

On Saturday, November 16, 1985, I was in a horrific auto accident that derailed my nursing career and changed my life forever. Only later, through the divine power of the Holy Spirit revealing it to me, along with the help of my psychiatrist, would I come to learn that I had gone through a Near Death Experience, and very possibly passed through death’s door.

Have you felt like giving up? 

Although I was left with a fractured hip, a terrible head injury, a speech problem I still suffer from although it isn’t immediately obvious, and other problems due to the traumatic brain injury (specifically, right temporal and frontal lobe damage, my head actually dented the dashboard, and I was unconscious), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and psychological scars that would last long after the physical ones had healed, through Christ and His healing power in my life, I have triumphed over it all and gone on to write “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door” (tentative title), which should be available soon. (I’ll keep you posted!)

Does your faith need God’s CPR? 

Now, in my book coming soon, I will share my story, along with what I’ve learned on my long road to healing, and the special kind of “CPR” your faith needs. I will also explain why giving up is simply not an option in these last days as we work to build the Kingdom for our Lord Jesus Christ as we await His soon return. In sharing my story, it is my hope that just as He has done for me, your faith will be renewed, and you will be on your way to discovering His plan to take whatever has happened in your life and turn it into a powerful testimony to help others! So don’t give up until you read my book!

We ARE living in the last days! Giving up is NOT an option!

I believe without a doubt, we are living in the last days before our Lord’s soon return. We must work harder than ever before to “bring in the harvest”, and God has a plan for you to be a part of it! He wants to take whatever it is you’ve been through and turn it into a powerful testimony that will help win others to Him while there is still time.

“But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” – Matthew 24:13 (KJV)

I do have a publisher for the book, and will hopefully have a release date sometime in the near future. So, if this is you, run, don’t walk, and hit the “Subscribe to my email” tab and subscribe so when it does come out, you’ll be one of the first to know! If you know someone who has been through a traumatic event and could use some “CPR” for their faith, please feel free to share this to your Facebook, Twitter, etc, using the buttons below.

And thanks for stopping by!

Life’s “Hiccups”- The Cure That Works #HowtoStopHiccups #TheWaterofLifeisFree

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” – John 4:13-14
* * * * * * *
You know, those pesky hiccups can show up without warning, and at the most inopportune times. And when they do, forget even trying to have a conversation! Can you say, “embarrassing”?
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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

HICCUPS STOPPING HACK (This works!) –

For all those people like me for whom, nothing, and I mean, NOTHING, works when you get hiccups…
So, I found a way to stop hiccups instantly. So far, I have tried it twice, and it works. One of the neat things about the fact that I know God guides my life and my steps is the joy I feel when He guides me even in the smallest things. It’s knowing that He is never “too busy” to be bothered by our concerns. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
In ALL your ways…did you get that?. and “he SHALL“, not might…
So here you go…(No guarantees here, but just had to share this): If you have a water bottle sitting nearby, and those pesky hiccups start up, here’s what you do:
1. Pick a number (I did 3)…
2. Take 3 (or whatever no. you chose) sips, then STOP
3. Wait and count 5 or 6 seconds, THEN
4. Take 3 more sips.
5. Repeat this like 2 or 3 times.
I have done this twice, as I have had a couple of mornings recently that I actually woke up with hiccups, and both times, it worked, they just stopped instantly, within 2 or 3 repeats of the above steps. Evidently, in processing the sipping, stopping, and counting rhythm, your brain “forgets” to send the signal to keep the hiccups going, and it stops them instantly! Again, no guarantees, and if they keep up, or if you have other issues, you should still follow up with a doctor, but I just thought this was too good not to share. I will be curious to see if it actually works for anyone else. 🙂
…You’re welcome 😀

Life’s  Little  (Or Sometimes Not So Little) “Hiccups”…

Just the same, life can be full of “hiccups”, and just like the physical ones, those “bumps in the road” of life can have a way of uprooting everything. Kind of like that hurricane we just had move through our area, Hurricane Florence. Oh, and if you ever visit North Carolina and you ask one of us older folks about Hurricane Fran, make sure you aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere.
Below are links to some of my recent posts that you or someone you know might find helpful. Think of it as that “drink of water” for whatever “hiccups” you may have encountered on life’s road. Click on each link to open the post in a new tab, then look for the buttons below the post to share them with your friends, or like, tweet, or whatever you do!

So How Do You Stop Life’s “Hiccups”?

With the “Water of Life”, of course.
I’m not talking about water you drink. This kind of water is found only in God’s Word, The Holy Bible He gave us, and we can only come to Him through Jesus Christ, His Son, Who died for our sins, and took our punishment so we could have eternal life with Him. John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
My friend, Jesus has provided that water for you, but He will not force you to “drink” it. But I can truly testify to you that if you are willing to receive it, you will never “thirst” again for the things of this world.
No, we cannot stop life’s “hiccups” from coming. We will face those bumps in the road, those storms that often derail us and leave us wanting to give up. But we can face them knowing we do not face them alone, because He has already gone before us to prepare the way, and if He lives within you, as He does me, then you know you are already a fountain of that water, springing up into the everlasting life He has promised to all who will believe. Come get your drink now. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms.
Do you know someone who has suffered from life’s “hiccups”, who could use a “drink of water”? Know someone who would benefit from this information? Please share via the buttons below to share this post, or visit the individual links above to share those posts.
What if YOUR story could change someone’s life?  – Well, start writing already! That book isn’t going to write itself! You can do it, because Philippians 4:13 says you can!
Thanks for stopping by! Subscribe so you don’t miss future posts or book releases!

The Grand Equation: 5 Steps to Finding Peace – God’s Formula for Balancing Out the Equation of Your Life #5StepstoFindingPeace

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Do you sometimes feel like your life is out of balance, like there’s something missing?
Does it seem that no matter what you do, things just don’t “add up”?
Would you like to know how you can find that balance and peace in your life?
My friend, there is a way. But are you really seeing the greater picture, or just going by what you can see immediately around you, as it applies to you?
Stay with me here, this gets really good. I know it has helped me. I know this because I have lived it, and found out most of it the hard way. I am currently 52 years old, soon to be 53, and I can honestly say, when you reach this pinnacle on the journey through life, you want to share the wisdom you’ve gained (most of it the hard way if you’re like me) with others, and hopefully maybe prevent someone else from taking the same falls in life you have.
Isaiah 40:31 is a powerful verse that has guided me through some of the rockiest, toughest roads of my life. It reminds us to see that greater picture through the eyes of the eagle:
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
We all go through hurt in this life. Most of us can relate to going through these painful times in our life. People you thought you could trust “stab you in the back”, reject you, judge you without getting the facts. Old unforgiven hurts and grudges. People who have written you off a long time ago. So how do you ever find peace despite it all?
1. Look at the Bigger Picture…From the Greater Perspective of Our Creator
The answer is simple. But you must first understand that you need to look at it from the proper perspective. As humans, we only see what is immediately around us. However, the eagle sees all that is on the ground below. If we pray for God to help us “mount up with wings as eagles” as the above scripture promises we can, then we see the picture through the eyes of that eagle, or closer to God’s perspective, seeing the whole picture.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we tend to see ourselves in the middle of our little “circle of life”, envisioning everyone else and everything in life rotating around us. But in reality, we are not seeing the full picture. It is our Heavenly Father, our Creator, Who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us by His grace, which we didn’t even deserve, Who belongs in the middle of that circle. So, the first thing each of us must do is put Him back in the center of our lives, and stop making it about ourselves.
Hey, I am talking to myself here too, friends. I went through years of heartache, dysfunction, and disappointment, because of the bad choices I made early in my life. I’ve also gone through a lot of undue stress and wasted precious time I cannot get back before I could ever get it through my head that it wasn’t all about me.
But what about all those hurtful situations that we find ourselves going through that we feel we didn’t even deserve? How do we forgive those who have hurt us deeply for no good reason, or treated us unfairly?
2. Forgive, Let Go, and Let God…
Well, first, we forgive them with the same grace Christ was willing to forgive us of our own sin. (See Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25, among others).
Romans 12:19 boldly emphasizes this: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
He sees that bigger picture a whole lot better than we do, and He sees the hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him and nothing surprises Him. Besides, we never know that when we show them the love of Christ and forgive, it might just touch their hearts and win them over to Him. When we insist on being angry and getting our own vengeance, we rob Him of that.
Once we see it all from His Grander Perspective and forgive, this closes the door to the enemy being able to further use it to control us, and it opens the door for our loving Heavenly Father to work it to our advantage (see Romans 8:28, Galatians 6:9). Then, we apply a simple formula, which I will share with you here. For that, we’re gonna do some math.
I heard those groans! I know, math was never my best subject either, but this is a simple and time-tested process. I know because I have already been tested on it, so now, I am sharing it with you because I know it will work for you just as it has for me…
I have a chapter in my upcoming book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, called, “God’s Mathematics”…If the “equation” of your life isn’t “balancing out”, try what He has told me (and it won’t, until you do this, trust me, no better yet, trust Him)…
3. Take yourself OUT of the equation.Hey, I know that’s hard, believe me, it was for me. But like I said, in order for this to work, we each and every one have to get this through our stubborn, human heads…it’s not about us. It’s about Him, and what He did for us. It’s also about what is available to us, if we are only willing to believe, trust Him, and put Him back in control. This means total surrender from all the “I deserve, I shoulda, I coulda, I woulda, I’m gonna…”
Let. It. Go. This is the only way it can work. It represents total surrender to Him, the only One Who can save us…even if it means saving us from ourselves first. Trust me when I say, I went through this one “kicking and screaming” – okay, not literally. 😉
4. Put Him (Jesus, our Lord and Savior) in all the places you’ve been putting yourself.
Then…and only then…will it finally start to balance out. Trust me. It works.
For a long time, I held on to resentment, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and the longer I held on to it, the longer I kept making it about “what I felt I should have been entitled to”, what I deserved, ya da ya da… I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it all out myself. It wasn’t until I let all of that go, and turned it all over to Him, and did just what He’d told me, that it all began to work out, and I began to finally have peace.
Now, for no. 5…
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5. Put down the pencil. – That’s right, just give Him the “pencil”!
After all, HE ALREADY HAD YOU FIGURED INTO THE EQUATION – long before you or I were even born. We need only turn to His Word for proof of this…
  • Genesis 15:5 – “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”
  • Galatians 3:8-9 – “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed. So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”
  • Galatians 3:29 – “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
  • Matthew 10:30 – “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
  • Luke 12:7 – “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
  • Matthew 6:26-27 – “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”
  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

And this one, which speaks for itself, as all of God’s Word does…

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  • Psalm 139:13-16 – “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”
The Grand Equation…
Too many times, the hurt, damaged self esteem, and feelings of worthlessness we have suffered at the hands of others leaves us damaged in ways that have left us unable to trust our Heavenly Father, Who only wants the best for us, and created us with His perfect plan in mind for each of us.
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Only He sees the grand equation of the plan He had for our lives, fully balanced out, with all the factors in place, blessings He had originally intended for us, many of which we often forfeit when we insist on being in control and doing things our way. Far too often, we grieve His Spirit when we do this, and we hinder, or delay His ultimate plan for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 “sums” it up best: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – KJV
The New King James Version renders it this way: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
In truth, it is only in finally letting go, releasing it all to Him, turning the “pencil” over to Him, and trusting Him to balance it all out, in His perfect, all-knowing, all-seeing way, as He sees fit, that we will finally begin to see that we are already a part of a far grander equation than we could have ever dreamed possible. We only see one page, of the greater “book” that He sees, the “bestseller” He penned, with you as the main character, long before you were even born. 
If you know someone who needs this word of encouragement, please share via the buttons below! And don’t forget to subscribe to my email, via the tab above so you can receive email notifications of my book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, coming soon, as well as future book releases. 

“Silent Night” in September?-A Love Stronger than any Hurricane #HurricaneFlorence

20180916_123651“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon

As most are probably aware by now, Hurricane “Florence” (OK, no “Flo” jokes) just tore through our area here in the Carolinas. It came ashore here in North Carolina, causing major damage and catastrophic flooding, then tore through South Carolina, and according to this news report, is still wreaking havoc, now spread over six states. As my husband and I just got our power back on Saturday night, and our internet wasn’t restored until late Sunday, we are just now being able to access information as to just how bad the damage has been. We had some tree branches down all over the place, including about half a tree in the back yard, which, thankfully, didn’t hit the house, and some flooding, which we are still dealing with, but we are thankful that our kids and everyone in our families is safe. That said, we are also praying for all of those in areas that got it worse, and especially the families that lost loved ones in this storm…which brings me to what this post is about.

The little angel figurine in the picture was part of a collection of Christmas figurines, some Nativity pieces, and other things, which, up until now, have remained in a box, carefully wrapped in pillow cases, etc. The collection came from household belongings which were donated to our church a couple of weeks ago by a local preacher and his wife after her mother passed away, most of which was dispersed by our Outreach team of our church. Keith and I have gone out with them the last couple of times, reaching out to the community, and we have truly been blessed and humbled by our experience so far. We are seeing lives restored and people saved and delivered at our church, and I believe it has only just begun.

Until recently, setting up a “prayer room” in our home was just an idea, something I had been thinking of doing, ever since I saw the movie, “War Room”. But when our pastor began to speak about it in his messages, we knew it was time to stop “talking about it” and make it happen. I can tell you, things have changed for the better since we cleared out that back room and turned it into our own “War Room”, and God has certainly made His presence known in that room in some powerful ways, which is just what happened this past Sunday morning.

I can tell you that if our own resources were better right now, and we weren’t sitting here unable to even get out or get anywhere much because of the flooding, (the dirt path leading to our house has pretty much been turned into a river), we would most certainly be out there, helping others who have gotten the worst of this storm. But since I can’t do that, I have done the next best thing, and that is, pray.

For the sake of everyone’s safety, our pastor as well as I am sure, most around here, made the decision to cancel services, urging everyone to still honor God in our devotions as well as staying in prayer for those affected by the hurricane. So, after I got up Sunday morning, I just felt the urge to go into the prayer room, and just pour it all out to God. I don’t mean just my family and our little circle of friends and all of that. I will just say here, that my faith has grown in leaps and bounds since I came under strong conviction to pray for others more, in our church, our community, and not just my family. We pray for each other in our church, and we share each other’s burdens. We rejoice when someone in the church’s prayers are answered, and it gives us a special kind of joy when we know we prayed for that need with them. It helps build our own faith. Galatians 6:2 says, “ Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” So, that is what we do. We rejoice with others as their prayers are answered, because we know that what God has done for them, He will do for us.

So, that is what I had in mind when I went into the prayer room. I knelt down at our humble little makeshift altar and just began first to praise Him, which is how I always begin my prayers. Then, I began to pour my heart out to God, not only for our own family, our kids, and our church, but for all those in our local church community, and the church as a whole. In other words, as the “Bride of Christ”, and others all over who have been affected by this terrible hurricane that has done so much damage and wreaked so much havoc and devastation everywhere. I prayed for God to help our Outreach program, and to help us all be the true examples, the light of Christ’s love, that we need to be as we reach out to those around us. I prayed for the families of those who lost their lives in this storm. I prayed until I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit begin to fill that room, lifting up my praises to Him.

When I came out, I looked at the time and realized I had spent at least a whole hour in that room, and I can tell you, I received an immediate answer. So, in effect, this special way God chose to answer my heartfelt prayer is for you, too, which is why I just had to share it with everyone. Immediately, as I walked out of the prayer room, I began to hear what sounded like a tune being played, from somewhere. At first, I thought something had happened with one of our neighbors, and it was someone’s cell phone. I walked all around the house, trying to figure out where in the world it could be coming from. It wasn’t my husband on his phone.

Then, I realized it was coming from somewhere in the house. It was muffled, like it was coming from inside of something…the box! That was it. It was coming from the box of Christmas figurines, which I had yet to even go through. I got down the box from where it was sitting, and opened it, and sure enough, it was coming from inside it. When I located the piece it was coming from, I carefully unwrapped it, the one you see in the picture above. It was playing “Silent Night”.

I sat down at the dining room table, where we usually have our devotions, and after a minute or so, turned it over to find the button to turn it off….

…it was already in the off position. 

Flipping the switch to “on” only made it play faster. I got my phone and took a picture of it, then shared it with our pastor’s wife. Ten, fifteen, twenty, then thirty minutes passed, and it was still playing. My husband actually had to take the battery out to get it to stop. Although it could very well be possible that this may have been a regular, or at least, occasional occurrence with this figurine, that doesn’t really matter. I know that my God is an on time God, and His timing is NEVER off.

It was then, that the Lord brought to my mind the passage in Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV):

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

This all took on a special significance to me, as I sat there listening to “Silent Night”, after spending almost two days, and one sweltering night, without power, or internet service, in the dark, and with no way to access internet via phones, as we have just switched to flip phones for now to cut corners. Though it was just an electronic tune, I knew the words, and found myself singing along with it, and being filled and surrounded by the peace of God, in a way I had much needed.

So, there you have it, God’s immediate answer to my prayer, to yours, and all of those who have been affected by this catastrophe, as we pray for one another, and help each other through this. Whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, or other storms of this life, even after we have lost electricity, internet services, or even our homes, and even if we have lost everything, nothing, NOTHING, can ever separate us from the power of an almighty God who loves us and will never leave us, nor forsake us. Indeed, the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, the God of Israel, Who parted the Red Sea, and led the Israelites into the Promised Land, and Who sent His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins, has Himself sent this message of His undying love for us. So, as we all work together to rebuild our lives, may we ever be reminded, that even if we lose everything, and we have nothing left but God, it is then that we will realize, He is all we need.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, which was inspired by a powerful message we recently had brought by one of our newly ordained ministers, that saying is actually on the wall in our laundry room. You can believe I took another long, hard look at it, by flashlight, of course, during the time we were without power, reminded once again, that we will never lose the Power we have available to us through the Heavenly Father Who loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. Thanks to a little angel figurine that played “Silent Night”, one stormy morning in September, even though it was turned “off”, we have been reminded once more of the Love that is stronger than any hurricane. It is a timeless message, lovingly sent by a God who needs no electricity or modern technology to communicate with us, for His power, His love for us, and His amazing grace, are much stronger.

Remembering 9/11: 17 Years Later…Relighting the Candle of Hope #9/11Tributes

I posted this back in 2016, (re-titled) but thought it worth another share. May the light of God’s hope ever burn in all of us, as we remember those who were lost…Please give this a read, and feel free to share. If each of us can light someone else’s candle…

~Flossie Stewart, Christian Inspirational & Fiction Author~

(Photo Credit: John Skelson, at bottom right of photo)

“Five years from the date of the attack that changed our world, we’ve come back to remember the valor of those we lost—those who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them. We have also come to be ever mindful of the courage of those who grieve for them, and the light that still lives in their hearts.”
—New York City mayor ­Rudolph Giuliani at the World Trade Center site in 2006

September 11, 2001. One of the darkest days in American history. According to Wikipedia, 2,996 people were killed immediately, including those on the four planes, the World Trade Center and surrounding area, and the Pentagon. Many more have since died, due to their injuries, or cancer from inhaling the toxic dust. Of course, this number varies, depending on what source you…

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When There’s Nothing Left: Dwelling in God’s Peace – 5 Things We Can Learn From Job #BibleDwellers #BookofJob

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At trails park, my husband in background.

So I was going through some of my pictures, trying to pick out one or two to use for this post. I came across these I took on a summer outing to a local trail park with my husband and grandsons a couple of years ago. The dandelion reminded me of when I would pick one when I was little and try to bring it to my mother. It always made me almost want to cry when all the little thingies blew off before I could get it to her. But now, looking a little closer, I decided it would be perfect for what I want to discuss in this post…the story of Job, one of the “Dwellers” in the Bible, as was the subject of the message brought this past Thursday night at our church. If you think about it, all those little “flyers” that float through the air when you blow on it (my youngest grandson still likes to do this) could represent all of the things that Job lost during his trials: his family, his health, and everything he had. Actually, we’d probably need a hundred or so of them to more accurately represent his losses. After a child or someone blows on it, all that is left is the stem…just the way many of us have felt at times in our lives, right?

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My youngest grandson, Julien, at the trails park, blowing a dandelion. We call him “Juju”. ❤ 

Now, more than ever before, God’s people are going through difficult trials, and Jesus said that during the last days it would be this way (See Matthew, ch. 24 and Mark, ch. 13). Being realistic, most of us will go through traumatic events, tragedies, and difficult times at some point in our lives, and all too often, we turn to man-made solutions, and everything else but God. I’ll be the first to admit, I have done this, more than I’d care to admit. Now, I am learning, more than ever, what it means to really “cast our cares upon Him” (see 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22). My faith has grown in leaps and bounds since I have learned to pray for others in my church family and community, and not just myself and my family (see Romans 2:11, Galatians 6:2, Phil. 2:2-4).

Most of us have to admit that at one time or another, we’ve referred to ourselves or someone we love as a “modern day Job”. But have we really taken the time to read the book of Job and take into consideration all that he went through? Better still, for those of us who feel we have endured similar circumstances where we’ve suffered such significant loss that it’s left us feeling hopeless, like nothing matters anymore, what could Job teach us? How could we learn from his story and how he handled it all? Perhaps we would be more inspired to learn from him if we were to read his story and see how his faith paid off in the end. Truthfully, I can’t think of a better one to learn from than Job, if we ever have to face a time when there’s nothing left…

Would You Still Trust Him? Have You Been “Considered”? (If you are serving Christ, and you haven’t, you most likely will be)…

First, before I go any further, let me give a special shout out to my sister in Christ, Rev. Tamika Clark, who inspired this post. She brought a powerful message on the “Dwellers” of the Bible this past week at our church. Basing it on Psalm 91:1-2, she named several throughout the Bible who were dwellers, men who chose to dwell securely in their faith in God, and saw His answers to their prayers.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” – Psalm 91:1-2

During the message, she gave a challenge for us to go and read the book of Job, and learn from it, and perhaps post what we learn. So, being one who loves to accept a challenge, the next day, I did just that. Then too, I am a writer, this is what I do. But I must give credit where it is due. I have to say, I woke up Friday morning with some things coming to me about this, and I just had a knowing that God was placing it in my heart to do this.

Soooo… after starting my day in our prayer room, and my husband and I had finished our morning devotions, I sat there and read the entire book. I want to say I have read it before, but it’s been a while, so I went ahead and read it through again. In reflecting on Job’s story after I had read it, some interesting points came out to me. As I prayed about it and thought it over, I found that it spoke volumes on trusting God in the midst of suffering and trials, and paints a picture of a man who remained steadfast in his faith and love for God, all the way through to the end.

In all that he suffered throughout this whole trial, yet Job never cursed God. As Rev. Tamika brought out in her message, we have to each ask ourselves, could we still love God and stand strong in our faith and loyalty to Him if we were to be considered as Job was? (See Job, chapter 1.) Would our faith stand strong through the trial, as his did? Would we still love Him and trust in Him, even if we reach that point that there was nothing left? Then too, this can happen in many different ways, divorce, job loss, divisions in the family, debilitating accidents (such as the one I went through, click here for more info on my upcoming book) as well as tragedy.

To summarize the book of Job: As the book begins, two times, the devil goes before the Lord, and each time, the Lord asks him if he has considered Job: “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” – (ch. 1, vs. 8). He is told that all that Job has is in the devil’s power, only do not lay a hand on his person. So, Job loses his livestock, his servants, and all of his children. Then, of course, the devil cannot resist, so going back before God the second time, he gains permission to further torment Job, and so, Job loses his health. As the story unfolds, Job is then visited by his three “friends” who proceed to voice their opinions on the matter, accusing him of being a hypocrite, speculating as to whatever great sin Job has committed to deserve all of these calamities that have befallen him. All three are convinced he has to have committed some terrible sin against God to bring all of this on himself. Yet none of them are getting anywhere, as he has something to say each time, so they finally give up. Then, finally, when they’re done, another young man is angered and decides to get his two cents worth in. He is angry at the other three because they have condemned Job without cause, having found no answers (his “rant” begins in ch. 32), and at Job because he “justified himself rather than God”.

Meanwhile… God is just waiting patiently for all of these to get through, and in chapter 38, it says He answers Job out of a whirlwind, and His response, His challenge to Job, is recorded in chapters 38 through 41. I found this part quite interesting. Here are the first 5 verses: “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know!” Job’s response quickly follows in chapter 42, verses 1-6:

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”

In the end, Job repented of his anger and hasty answers before God, and so God forgave him, and let the other 3 know that His wrath was aroused against them (chapter 42, verses 7-9). God also restored to Job twice as much as what all he had lost, after he had prayed for his friends. Interestingly enough, in verse 16, it says Job lived after all of this one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations.

Interesting Points: 5 Things We Can Learn From Job…

  1. Unshakable Faith in our Redeemer… In chapter 19, verses 25-27, in answer to Bildad, the Shuhite’s accusations, basically insinuating that he “doesn’t know God”, (thus, all of this befalling him), Job makes it plain that even after all God has allowed him to go through, he still proclaims his faith in his redeemer: For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Are we building up our faith in Him through studying His Word and staying in prayer and fellowship with Him, so that if we were to go through such a trial, our faith in Him would remain unshakable? The key is to keep trusting Him, no matter what, and not listen to our “flesh”. Job saw beyond the flesh, choosing instead to focus on the end result, as we can clearly see by his response here. 
  2. Trusting God’s Righteous Judgments… It is interesting to read the “rant” from Eliphaz the Temanite in chapter 22, then note Job’s response in chapter 23, especially in verses 10 -12, where he clearly lets him know he trusts in God’s righteous judgments: But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.” Do we trust Him no matter what? More than anything or anyone else? Job knew there obviously had to be something God wanted him to learn through all of this. He knew that even though he couldn’t understand it, or why it was all happening, He trusted in God’s righteous judgment in allowing it, and He trusted that God would work it all out for his good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Isaiah 55:11 further confirms this: So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” His Word will not return to Him void! All things work together for our good, no matter how hard the devil tries to make us think otherwise. Job believed in what he could not yet see (see Hebrews 11:1), and that faith worked for him, just as it will for us. Just as in Job’s case, what the devil intends to destroy us, God will use to make us stronger, AND, He will vindicate us for our losses, and turn it all into a powerful testimony, if we only trust Him, even through the pain.
  3. Repenting for his family/children… Going back to the beginning, in chapter one, (this was also brought out in Sister Tamika’s message), Job would regularly offer burnt offerings for them all (before the time of Christ on earth), so he regularly prayed to God on their behalf. How many of us, when we feel we have been wronged, whether by friends, co-workers, or even family, can we pray and repent on their behalf? Note again here, in the end, in that last chapter, Job’s losses were restored to him, even more children, after he had prayed for his three friends and forgiven them himself, basically repented on their behalf. Of course, we know those who have wronged us will have to repent on their own to God, but again, Job’s vindication came from God, for all he had suffered, not only after his own repentance, but in offering the prayers for forgiveness for his friends, as if you read God’s initial response to them in chapter 42, verses 7-8: And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. 
  4. God Knew the Devil Would Lose this Battle… We have to remember here, that God knew how this whole thing was going to turn out from the beginning. (I’m actually picturing God, shaking His head, with a big grin on His face as the devil walks off.) In reading chapter one, we have the conversation between God and the devil: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Clearly, the devil thought he would no doubt, win this whole thing, and get Job to turn against God. But think about it. He is clearly being offered a chance to get at the most Godly and faithful man there was, on earth even! Yet, through it all, it says in verse 22: “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Even in chapter 2, verse 10, (after being struck with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head) when his wife asks why doesn’t he just curse God and die, he answers: “…“You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” It further reads, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”. And even through all the torment he went through with the “debate” with his three “friends” and all their accusations and speculations, and his defense rants he retorted back to them, yet his faith was never shaken. Why should it be? He knew God Himself was his “Attorney”, and that His judgment was the only one that mattered. Throughout all that he lost, he never cursed God, and in the end, after he prayed for his friends and forgave them, even as he knew God had forgiven him once, God restored to him twice all that he had lost. Job’s faith was tested in the fiery furnace, and because he never lost faith in God, (as God well knew that he wouldn’t) and indeed, continued to praise him, even after the loss of his children, his health, his wealth, and everything, he came out “as fine gold”, just as he had said he would (ch. 23, vs. 10-12). He did, and we will too, if we keep our faith, and our focus, on our Redeemer, and not what others say. Like Job did, we must place our trust in the One Who laid the foundations of the earth, and what His Word says about us, not what our naysayers think. 
  5. The Boils – What We Can Learn From His Pain… If you’ve ever known anyone who has had them, they are no doubt likely some of the most painful kind of sores you can get. As I woke up and went into the prayer room that morning, the Lord brought to my mind an insightful comparison on this. If you apply this in a spiritual context, many of us are walking around with deep emotional wounds that we’ve managed to hide, even from ourselves. Only after going through some fiery trials myself during the past few years have I finally begun to see this. Like many others, sometimes it seems after a “wound” is almost “healed”, there is always something else that happens, or is thrown upon us, or someone who hurts us, in a way that seems to “rip the scab” off again, leaving us “bleeding” emotionally, or in a spiritual sense. We can’t understand why it happens, after we’ve prayed about it, fasted, and prayed some more, yet still, it happens. (We must understand here, that when we “hide” our wounds, instead of giving it fully to God, the enemy sees this, and he will hit us where it hurts.) Many times, instead of really trusting God, we say we’ve prayed about it, but then, we still keep “nursing it”. No doubt Job, in his initial discourse, was in enough pain to regret the day he was born. Yet, like Job, we must remember, God, our Healer and loving Heavenly Father, will bring us through these painful trials, and bring us healing and deliverance, in His time, not ours. In my own personal experience, I found myself at times, feeling sorry for myself, (even sometimes, calling it “prayer”), in effect, “nursing” those wounds again, when it finally occurred to me the more I sought the Word and prayed about it, that He can’t “heal” all those old wounds I’ve been covering up and hiding, even from myself, until I completely turn it all over to Him. Then, there won’t be an old “wound” for the scab to be ripped off to start with! When we get in the Word, believe it, and speak it over our situation, this breaks the enemy’s power to use it over us any longer! God wants to heal all those old wounds in our hearts, and use it all to make us stronger, but we have to open the door of our hearts and let Him in so He can!

When There is Nothing Left…

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Another encouraging reminder, on the wall in my work room.

In reflecting on my own journey through life, I’ve gone through some “Job” trials, and before it’s all over, no doubt, I will go through more. Jesus said as long as we are on the earth, we will have trials. In John 16:33, He said: These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”. At age twelve, I lost my nine year old brother, Charles, in a tragic freak accident, and at twenty, I was in a horrific automobile accident that almost took my own life. The road to recovery for me was a long and hard one, and because of the choices I made early in my life, it was a lot harder. There were times I almost threw in the towel. Even in more recent trials I have gone through as I work toward getting my books finished and preparing for my ministry, I have had times I felt like that. Yet, through God’s grace I am still here. We will go through those fiery trials as long as we are on this earth as we work while we await our Lord’s return. But if we:

  • Never lose faith in our Redeemer
  • Trust His righteous judgments as Job did (in other words, stop second guessing Him and questioning why He lets things happen-again, see Romans 8:28)
  • Open our hearts so He can go in and heal all of those old “wounds”,
  • Study His Word, and let it build our faith, then…
  • Speak it over the situation!…

…It is then that we will have developed the truly unshakable faith that Job had. It is then, as we are passed through the fire, that the impurities are removed, all those weaknesses we had before are purged out, and then that we will come out tried as fine20180708_171051 gold. Yet, in His infinite wisdom, God knows that sometimes, it is in reaching our lowest valleys in this life, when we feel we have lost everything, when there is nothing left but God Himself, that we finally see that He is all we need. Perhaps that is what motivated the previous residents of our home to put this on the wall in our laundry room: “When you have nothing left but God, you become aware that God is enough”. Job’s point, exactly.

The Most Priceless Perfume You Could Ever Wear…

A reflection on 2 Corinthians, 1 & 2, emphasis: chapter 2, verses 14 & 15…This is something God led me to for our devotion this past week, and I thought it was so powerful that I just had to share it!
For those of you who may read my posts regularly, you know as an author, I have, up until now, only written fiction books (see my two currently available books in the side bar, or visit my home page). Currently, I have other projects I am still working on, which I hope to have available soon, but one, for which I am currently looking at publishers, is a non-fiction book, which will be inspirational to those who have suffered traumatic events and/or are giving up on faith in God. It will have my testimony of my near death experience in a horrific automobile accident in November of 1985. Click here to read more on this. Be sure to hit the subscribe tab above if you or someone you know would be interested in a copy when it comes out.

Priceless Perfume?

What do the words “expensive perfume” make you think of? Chances are, you are already naming off a few brand names. What are your favorites? How about “priceless perfume”? Perhaps you are thinking only celebrities could afford it if it was “priceless”. But the type of perfume I am talking about here is much more priceless than any of it…

2 Corinthians, Chapter 1 at a Glance…

In chapter 1, after talking about the “trouble” they ran into in Asia, so that they “despaired even of life” (verse 8), Paul thanks the Corinthians for their prayers for them (verse 11), and reminds them that they do not operate their ministry according to the flesh, or “fleshly wisdom”, but by the grace of God (verse 12). He goes on to remind them of the “yes” of the promises of God. I have read the entire New Testament, and one of the things that really impresses me about Paul’s ministry is, he put his whole heart into it, and didn’t just go one time to preach the Gospel to these people, he made it his life’s purpose to go back and follow up on them. In his writing to them here, he actually gives them the route he had intended to take to come by and see them. If you go back and study Philippians, chapter 4:10-17, he talks about giving, not that he “desires gifts from them”, but that “fruit abounds to their account”. He knew that once they understood this, and gave, either in money or provisions, food, etc, to help in his ministry, they would be “bearing fruit”, and he knew they would then see the ways God would bless them back for it (you can’t out give God! Try it!).

2 Corinthians, Chapter 2, Here’s the Good Stuff!

That’s just a little background info to catch you up to what’s going on in chapter 2. Now, to get into the good stuff! Although it’s not clear (to me) whether Paul is, at this point, in prison or what his exact circumstances at this point were (pastors, teachers, anyone, feel free to comment and elaborate on this), it is fairly clear, at least to me, in verses 3-4, that he very likely wrote these words weeping, in being unable to get to them. He makes it clear here, the love (of Christ) that he so “abundantly” has for them:

And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. (verses 3-4, KJV). 

Now, that is love! Paul’s joy in his ministry was in being able to go back and see them living the joy of bearing fruit for Christ, basically saying here, “your joy is my joy”. So, what really jumped out at me in reading this chapter was, he stated 4 reasons in his writing to them:

  1. Their joy (in Christ) is his joy, not sorrowing Him, but the joy of seeing the fruit of his labor, thus, his dedication in actually following up on them.
  2. That they would know his dedication and his love for them, in reflecting for them, the love of Christ for them all, which was his affirmation that he had gotten through to them, seeing the fruit of his labor, thus how he was able to rejoice, even in prison, through the tears he wrote them through.
  3. Reminding them of the importance of forgiving and comforting those who did wrong (“caused grief”, verse 5) as Christ forgives us, in His great love for us.
  4. To “put them to the test” as stated in verses 9-11, reminding them that not forgiving, as Christ forgives us, opens the door for the devil, (verse 11b-“…for we are not ignorant of his devices”).

Now, for the really good part! So, what, you may be asking, does all of this have to do with perfume? No doubt, if you really wanted to do some research on this, they did have “perfumes” in those days. Here are some other Bible verses about perfume. In Matthew 2:11, the wise men visited the Christ child and gave Him gifts of what would have been very expensive oils or perfumes in that time:

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” -Matthew 2:11, KJV

And I actually found this! —> Scents of the Bible, click here!

Mark 14:3 tells the story of the woman with the alabaster box. Although the King James version doesn’t mention the word, several other translations refer to the costly perfume it held as “Nard”, which is actually one of the scents above, which is an Amazon page on which you can buy these 3 perfumes.

Now, back to 2 Corinthians, the two verses I especially wanted to emphasize here are verses 14 & 15:

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (King James version)

The New King James version of the Bible renders it this way:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

In doing the things Paul was so dedicated to teaching us in showing the love and forgiveness of Christ to others, and being a Godly example in our daily actions, we “diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge” wherever we go, we are the “fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing”. For an insightful post I wrote this past Christmas on doing just that for those who “no longer feel the joy of Christmas” click here. 

When we go to dress up for a special occasion, we wouldn’t put on cheap perfume that stinks. Just the same, if we don’t do these things Paul talked about, and conduct any ministry we try to have in the ways Paul reminds us here, and show Christ’s love to others we minister to as he did, then, we “stink”. Plain and simple. We must “diffuse the fragrance of Christ”, everywhere we go, or we stink. And who wants that?

And you know I just had to include this for you. We’ve all felt like that woman at one point or other. So, here you go, enjoy, and go be that “Fragrance of Christ”!

Romance, Time Travel, and a River of Secrets…and an Idea for a Romantic Getaway! #greatvalentinesdayreads #loveisintheair

“They say there is a path that winds through the forest, that exists deep within our imaginations, in that childlike part of our minds…that gate is only open once. After this, the adult mind somehow closes it.” – “Anna” – “Summer of the Rose”

SOMEWHERE DEEP IN THE FOREST LIES A SECRET…

A rose is thrown onto the water, as its surface sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight, beckoning you to go just a little further…

Come with me on a path that winds through the forest, and even back in time… 

Romance, Time Travel, and a River of Secrets…

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A RIVER OF SECRETS…Anna Brownfield is 12 the summer of 1877, when she and her twin brothers, Jed and Josiah, 15, set out to find the secret place in the river, hidden in the forest near their little dirt road southern town, where folks say that if you touch the water there, you will look around and realize you have traveled forward or even backward in time. Little do they know what the “Enchanted Lady” winding her way through the forest, which Anna refers to as “Lady River”, has in store for them. 
ROMANCE…Did she find her true love because of a secret place in the river, like others claim they did? Anna is now 87 years old, and she has some stories to tell, but none quite like the “Summer of the Rose”. There are others who have stories to tell, and Anna knows who they are. She also knows that there are few who have ever been able to resist the River’s call.
TIME TRAVEL…Pull up a chair and sit for a while with Anna. She might just tell you a story you just wouldn’t believe…

Although my second book, “Summer of the Rose” is not classified as a “Romance”, (it has romantic “threads”, but that’s not the main theme), I feel it will truly take you on a journey you won’t soon forget. As you follow Anna’s journey as she tells of that magical summer of 1877, when she comes of age, and eventually finds her true love, you might be surprised at the lines she is willing to cross to find him. The Kindle version is only $2.99, and with a simple click, you could be reading it in just a few minutes! The book is also in the Kindle Matchbook Program, which means…”If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99″.

I am currently working on other projects I hope to have available soon, but since it is Valentine’s Day, I just wanted to put this out there for you. It is a truly captivating tale that would make a great addition to your Kindle list, especially since summer is just around the corner. It is the first in a series, and I have started on the 2nd book, although I did kind of put this project on the back burner in order to focus on other projects, one of which I have been working on a bit longer (it’s gonna be good, I promise! More on this later…wink, wink!) so I really want to get that finished. That one ended up being a 2 book set, and I just recently got book 1 back from my editor, so I am in the dreaded re-write stage, but it’s all going to be worth it! So, if you don’t want to miss out on this and my other upcoming books, be sure to hit the subscribe button so you will be among the first to know!

Meanwhile, click here to read my “Interview with Anna” and I’ll just let her tell you a little about the story. But now, I’ll have to warn you, she’s 87 now and she says what’s on her mind! Also, for those who might be looking for a nice, cozy, rustic cabin for a romantic getaway with your sweetheart, the link is on the page (the “Interview…”, above). Be sure and tell Arizona Jane Keith and Flossie sent ya! The cabin is in Cherokee, NC, and we’re pretty sure you will enjoy it! For other things to do in Cherokee, click here. 

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Dancing Stones Cabin in Cherokee, NC

So, from Keith and me, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! 

Enjoy your evening with your sweetie, and be sure to check back later or subscribe for more of my exciting books coming soon! Visit my home page to learn more.

Meanwhile, what’s your story? Click here to read my post on getting your story out there and making it happen! Well?

Now, go get ready for that romantic date with your sweetheart! As for my sweet hubby and me, we’re having ours right here at home, with candle light and the works! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put my roses in a vase and some water and get ready for my own dinner date to celebrate our love, married 3 years and counting, although we actually went to the prom in 1983! We may have walked away from each other, but we are thankful every day that God brought us back together and gave us another chance!  And don’t forget parents, grandparents, and others who are special to you too. They need to hear those three little words too! Oh, and if you two do decide to try the cabin, be sure to bookmark the page and check the calendar early, as special dates do get booked way in advance! You can thank me later!

 

Stumbling Stones or Stepping Stones: Is There a Book Stuck Inside You? #writeyourbook #whatsyourstory?

Write that book
What’s YOUR story? What’s holding you back?

Could God be calling YOU to write a book and tell your story? The truth is, God is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34 & Romans 2:11), and what He has done for one, He will do for another. If you have a testimony of a traumatic event or trying situation God has delivered you from, then it is now your testimony! What have you learned from it? How could the wisdom and strength you’ve gained from it help others? Here are some Bible verses about letting God use our testimony to help others.

Is writing a book one of your goals? If not, maybe it should be. Maybe like a lot of folks, you have been walking around with a book stuck inside of you, you just haven’t known how to go about writing it. Or if you are like many I’ve talked to, you may not even realize you have a story that needs to be told. In truth, I think a lot of people are in that last category. I know I was for a long time.

In too many cases, I think it is too easy for us to allow the devil to convince us that we are useless, that whatever it is that happened to us has destroyed us to the point that there is no way possible that we can ever be any good to others. So, the reality is, there are a lot of people walking around feeling lost, defeated, and useless, but this could not be farther from the truth, when in fact, their stories could help others. All we have to do is surrender it all to Jesus, the “Author and finisher of our faith” (See Hebrews 12:1-2, this of course, is put in better context if you read the 11th chapter, what has been referred to as the faith chapter.)

He is able to take what the devil meant to use to destroy us, and make it into our testimony. This is something I get into more in my upcoming book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, which will have my testimony of my Near Death Experience in a very traumatic automobile accident in November 1985. Click here for more on this. Be sure to subscribe if you want to know when it comes out!

Stumbling Stone or Stepping Stone?

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Pic taken on a trip to Cherokee, NC in 2012. Are you going to be a “rock” in your own path, or the water that goes around it?

So, what about you? Have you been through a traumatic experience? Do you want to learn more about how God can use your story to help others? Are you ready to learn how you can surrender it all to Christ and let Him turn it into a dynamic and powerful testimony to be used for His glory? Whatever it is that happened to you, you can either let it continue to be a stumbling stone, or give it to Him and let Him turn it into a stepping stone, one that will lead to greater paths as you pursue your destiny. The above picture was taken on a trip I took to Cherokee, NC in, I believe it was May, 2012. I was at a very low point in my life. I stayed at the Dancing Stones Cabin. I needed to just get away from it all, and desperately needed some “Me and God” time. When I first saw it online, it was like I felt the place was calling me.

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On the back porch of the Dancing Stones Cabin, where I “had coffee with God”.

That last morning, as I sat out there on the porch, sipping my coffee and just being in His presence, one of the things He said to me was, “The water in the river, when it comes to a rock, does not stop and wait for the rock to move. It simply goes around the rock and continues on its merry way. Are you going to be a rock in your own path, or are you going to be the water that goes around the rock?” I sat there and thought about what He had said, and later went down to spend a few moments by the river. Now, when I look at the above picture, I think about those words He said to me that morning, and how long I was a “rock in my own path”, allowing the devil to use all that had happened to me to “cripple” me spiritually. I had allowed it all to be a stumbling stone, but now, through God’s grace, it has now been turned into a stepping stone.

Perhaps you are more the type to write fiction. In truth, I think it is possible to write life-changing, thought provoking fictional stories that will truly inspire others. The important thing to remember here is, don’t just get caught up in writing what the world wants to read, what will get you a place on the New York Times Best Seller List. Okay, yes, that would be nice. But Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:3 to “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit”. Trust me. I was that person for too long, and that is where my main motive with my writing was. Now, I understand more, why God led me to that verse again and again, until it finally started to sink in, just what He was trying to tell me. It is no longer enough for me to just write what I think will hit the best seller lists, but to write what He gives me, the message, or the stories that He has put in my heart, as He has guided me through the experiences of my life, the wisdom I have gained in my walk with Him. The truth is, it is far too easy these days, to go with what the rest of the world is doing, and too easy to allow that “selfish ambition” to take over and be our main motivation. For me, the rewards of serving Him will be far greater than any best seller status could ever offer, and much greater than anything the world has to offer.

For more on how to write a book, here is a simple guide from bestselling author, Jerry Jenkins. Here is another helpful post by Joanna Penn on her website/blog for writers, The Creative Penn. She also has a course she is offering, scroll down toward the bottom of the page to see it, along with tons of helpful articles she’s posted, and resources to help you get started. A simple Google search will reveal other courses on how to write your novel, many of them free, and by bestselling authors.

As I have said earlier, I have mainly taken the self publishing route up until now, but I have my reasons for it, as my first two books aren’t in popular genres, but my husband and I are very excited about what God is going to do with my latest projects. Here are a couple of earlier posts I did recently, in a little “mini series,” Book Writing for Procrastinators, Part 1 and Part 2, which are loaded with tips and links to more helpful resources from a few of my friends in the writing field who have helped to pave the way for others.

Book Writing for Procrastinators… 8 Ways to Learn from the Pros, Get Started, and Write that Best Seller! #writingtipsfornewbies

Book Writing for Procrastinators, Part 2: Overcoming Distractions & Mind Blocks #WhatsYourStory #WritersHelpingWriters

I think you will find these exciting to get into and explore. After all, I am only one writer helping others, shining my light for Him in whatever way I can to help others, and do all I can to make sure that no one I may pass by goes through their life with a story trapped inside of them.

I have learned from my mistakes. I chose to surrender it all to Jesus, and let Him take my “stumbling stones” and turn them into “stepping stones” that will lead to the greater path of being the best I can be, through Him (Philippians 4:13), and helping others along the way, to be the best they can be too. I hope you will be one of them!

So, what’s YOUR story? The world is waiting!

 

The Light that Still Guides Us: Reaching Out to Those that No Longer Feel the Joy of Christmas

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:9-11

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” 
― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

 

Three wise men and the star

Well, here it is, Christmas time again, everyone’s favorite time of year…or not…

Unfortunately, with each passing year, more and more people I know have ended up in that second category. For these people and their families, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays no longer hold the joy they once did. They are unable to feel the joy of the season because of the overwhelming feelings of grief and sadness. In many cases, the loss of their loved one has happened unexpectedly, only weeks or days before the beginning of the holiday season. Then too, others are unable to “get into the spirit” because they know they will be spending the holidays alone. Of course, being a “military brat” myself, my Dad having served fourteen years in the U.S. Army, I know first hand, there are many who have a loved one who happens to be deployed at the time of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I also know what it’s like to feel the pangs of grief because of a loved one taken way too soon, and the big hole it leaves in your heart, and your family. For these reasons, I couldn’t let this Christmas go by without at least offering my take on it all. I know that all the pretty words in the world won’t bring a loved one back, but still, a comforting word from one who’s been there can help more than you know.

No matter what reason a family you know might find themselves with an empty chair at their Christmas table this year, we cannot forget the reason we are celebrating Christmas in the first place, and it is because of Him, our Savior, Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us, that was given so that we could receive the gift of eternal life. We cannot forget that if we have that light of hope in our hearts that comes through having a relationship with Him, then we can share that light with others who are less fortunate than ourselves, those who are hurting, and those who are so overcome with sadness and grief, especially when it involves one who was lost way too soon, who had their whole lives ahead of them. I know several classmates (different schools) who have tragically lost a child. I also know from experience, what my family, especially my parents, went through when we lost my brother, Charles, at only 9 years old. The Christmas of ’77 is forever etched in my memory, and at times over the years, it has seemed almost as if I have been unable to move past that point. There were 3 of us kids, I was the oldest, 12 at the time. Our younger brother had just started school. Charlie’s passing left a big hole in our family that nothing can ever fill…that is, except the love and comfort of our Savior, the “peace that passes understanding”. But those who are hurting will never know we care, and that He cares, if we don’t share it with them.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

For those families, friends, or others we may know who are going through this, it goes without saying that it can be rather painful, to see all of the photos posted on (I’ll just say, “social media”), of the seemingly picture perfect families, and the beautifully set holiday dinner tables. Then too, even for those who still manage to gather together for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or even a New Year’s party, no matter how nicely and festively, or sparsely, their table might be set, it does nothing for the emptiness and pain of grief they feel because of that empty chair, where someone they loved should have been. Whether it’s a family grieving the loss of a loved one, a family facing Christmas without a deployed parent, husband, or wife, or someone spending Christmas alone for the first time, (I’ve been through my share of “Hard Candy Christmases”, too) it can be all too easy to label them a “Scrooge” or a “Grinch” when they post on social media about how they are unable to get into the Christmas spirit, or something to that extent (Okay, so you just thought it, that’s still just as bad, but hey, we’re all guilty on that one). I’ll even go so far as to say that with all that has been going on lately, and having just lost a cousin on my Dad’s side, I will admit I myself have been feeling more like a “Scrooge” at the beginning of the season. But let’s just back this whole thing up a minute…

This morning, my husband and I were led to Matthew, chapter 18. At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus calls a little child to Him, and tells those listening, that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must all become like little children. So, to illustrate my point, I am going to do just that…

My youngest grandson recently spent some time with us during a period of transition with his daycare, and during that time, he wanted to watch “The Grinch that Stole Christmas”, the movie version with Jim Carrey as the Grinch, again and again. So, after awhile, I found myself really thinking about that story. I still remember the cartoon version of it we used to watch as kids. In the story, of course, we all know how the Grinch went to all that trouble to steal all the Christmas gifts, the turkeys and fixings for the Whos’ Christmas dinners, and even the Christmas trees, down to the last ornament, which he snatches up with glee, yet in the end, Christmas still came, without all the boxes, bags, bows, gifts, Christmas trees or decorations.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” 

Perhaps, if we really stop and think about it for a moment, we can really begin to see how the moral of this story applies to all of us. Christmas will come, whether or not our tables are decorated with all the fancy fixings, or the least that could be afforded. It will come whether or not our homes are all aglow with lights and decorations, and it will come, no matter what is under the tree, or how many or how few gifts there are. And it will come just the same, to those who have empty chairs at their Christmas dinner table.

For those of us who have the Savior, our Lord, Jesus Christ living in our hearts, it is that same light that lit up the night sky those years ago as the bright, shining star that the wise men followed until they came to where the Christ child lay, that is still guiding us. (And by the way, as far as I have been able to see, the Bible does not actually say there were “three” wise men. It doesn’t even mention how many there were, or if they actually rode camels. In fact, although most pictures we’ve seen depict three wise men on camels following the star, and the “stable” in the distance, the Bible actually seems to indicate that it was probably sometime later before they arrived to see Him. Note that in verse 11 of Matthew 2, above, it says, “and when they had come into the house…”, not a stable. Click here to read more on this.)

So what I am saying is…if we truly have His light shining in us, then it goes without saying that we will be looking around us and taking note of those who can no longer feel the joy of Christmas. We will be His hands reaching out to help them in whatever way we can, whether it’s through sending a card, providing some needed food supplies, or a meal. We will be His mouth speaking a comforting word, and His feet walking to do whatever we can to show them we care, for if that light is truly shining within us, then and only then, will they see and feel the true, healing, and comforting joy and peace of Christmas.

That light is still guiding us, for the same Christ that the wise men worshipped that night, is the One Who lives inside of each of us, and “Christmas” is already inside of us. It is that light that they’re looking for, not what’s under the tree or on the table. So, think of this, next time you wish someone a Merry Christmas. And if we can’t show that love of Christ to others in need, whether they are friends, family, or people we don’t even know, then perhaps we’re the ones being a “Grinch” or a “Scrooge”. Besides, if we take even a moment to look at Christmas through the eyes of little “Cindy Lou Who”, perhaps it is then, that it will all make a bit more sense.

If the light of His love, the light of God’s hope that lit that star up those years ago, is truly shining through us, then every day is Christmas! Why wait for that one time of year to actually reach out and show His love to others? With that said, thanks for stopping by, feel free to share this with anyone who could use it! I hope you and your family have a truly wonderful Christmas, and a blessed New Year!