For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Control the Dust Bunnies

John 14:1-4
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.

I have a confession. I’m not the best housekeeper. I keep the basics up, but sometimes the bigger jobs take a backseat to my creative efforts. We’re having a birthday celebration for some of our children, so I needed to pay special attention to the house. Sorry to say, I had to take a vacation day to get it all done. But, even as I worked to spiff things up, it felt good to take control of the dust bunnies again.

As I worked, a scripture popped into my mind. In John 14:1, Jesus is talking to his disciples. He’s preparing to leave them and wants them to understand that he’s going to be with God and that he’s going to spend his time getting the place ready for them to join him. Of course, He’s talking about heaven. I love that he assures them that He’s not only putting their new home in order, He’s going to come back and get them. This promise is for us, too. Jesus will return and take his saints to the beautiful home He’s designed. What joy and hope fills my soul when I think about the day I’ll be with Jesus in heaven. As much as I enjoy life with my family and friends, I know a better place waits for those who believe. Praise God for his gift of heaven.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Timid Spirit

2  Timothy 1:7-9
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus…

Last weekend, Tim and I traveled to Indianapolis for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. I’d signed up so that I could pitch my book to publishers. If someone had told me ten years ago that I’d be sitting down with an editor and telling them about something I wrote, I would have doubted. But God laid a story on my heart and gave me the tools and resources to put it together. He also covered me with his power and grace, replaced my timid spirit with His confidence and prepared me to speak.

As remarkable as that is for me, I am even more amazed at the power of his Spirit when He takes away my timidity and replaces it with the His power. Only through the grace of Jesus do I get through each day surrounded by the craziness of the world. One thing I love about God is how He equips me for every circumstance. Whether a battle or a moment of compassion, the Spirit walks me through and gives me grace. Praise Jesus for His purpose and grace.

P.S. Thank you to all who prayed for me as I prepared for and attended the conference-

Friday, September 13, 2013

I Brought You Into This World

1 Timothy 6:6-8
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

In an early episode of the Cosby Show, Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) talks with his son, Theo, about the value of education and why he should work harder at getting better grades. After much discussion that includes a lesson with Monopoly money, Theo still isn’t convinced that he needs to follow his dad’s guidance. That’s when Cliff pulls his dad card and says, “I brought you in this world and I’ll take you out.” In other words, you need to listen to me.

In 1 Timothy, Paul warns the young minister about greed. He reminds him that he came into the world without one earthly thing, and he sure couldn’t take anything with him when he died. This is a truth that’s repeated often throughout the Bible. Be content, God cares for the flowers and birds. Don’t build an earthly kingdom, things on earth corrode and rust. Instead, trust God. Not as easy as it sounds, but certainly the best advice I can follow. God provides. It’s as simple as that. Do I sit around and wait for my food and clothes to magically appear? No, I need to work and pay for them. He gives me the opportunities and the means. God is good all the time.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Keep My Eyes on Jesus

Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I grew up watching the Cincinnati Reds play baseball. The Big Red Machine dominated the field in the 1970s winning two World Series. The Great Eight, men who took the field together, played a huge role in making the team champions. These team members fixed their eyes on winning the game. They worked together and used their strengths to succeed. Recently, the Reds honored this group of men for their excellent abilities and love of the game. It was fun to watch them get back together and reminisce about their wonder years.

As much as I love baseball and appreciate the skills and effort of these great men who played, I’m looking forward to meeting another group of heroes. Hebrews 11 is considered the Hall of Faith. The chapter lists many who clung to their faith in God under difficult circumstances. When I read about Abraham, Moses and the many other followers who met adversity with faith and hope, I’m strengthened in my walk with God. The New Testament is also filled with folks who endured—Paul, Barnabas, Peter and so many others. These people have not just been honored, they’ve been rewarded a home in heaven.  I hope to meet them someday. But until then, I’ll run with perseverance and keep my eyes on Jesus.