Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Why is it easier to complain than to be thankful? Thankfulness requires something of us. Humility. Gratitude. By its definition it is something we give, not take. Complaining is looking for others to give—“Oh, you poor thing” or “I know just what you mean. I’d be offended, too.” But thankfulness stands on the opposite side. Thankfulness requires openness, vulnerability, selflessness for a moment of recognizing someone else’s generosity.

~ Thankfulness will cheer us up when we’re discontent.

~ Thankfulness takes our focus off of what we don’t have and puts it on the One who gave us what we do have.

~ Thankfulness is a discipline. It’s much easier to complain. Try to not complain for an entire week. Instead, every time you feel the urge to complain, choose to be thankful for three things instead.

Picture our heavenly Father in His wisdom. He’s waiting for thankfulness. If you, as a parent, were to give your child one thing after another, noting the child’s lack of gratitude, wouldn’t you recognize that child as spoiled? God is far wiser than we are. Why should He continue to bless a thankless person?

This Thanksgiving, offer thanks for every blessing you can name. Watch how the act of thankfulness softens your heart and increases your joy. Be blessed and count your blessings. You are loved.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits." (Psalm 103:2)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It’s all about perspective. From down here, these Redwood trees are gargantuan. From a helicopter, they wouldn’t be as impressive.

This shot of Mars is magnificent. From earth, we can’t even see this with the naked eye; we’re blind to this view without the help of the Hubble telescope. Our planet isn’t even in the frame. Our tiny homes and trees aren’t even visible here. Our wars don’t exist inside this frame.

It’s all about perspective.

And God measures the entire universe in the span of His hand (see Isaiah 40:12). He’s greater than we think, and yet He desires to reveal His goodness to us and teach us about truth. It’s amazing.

God has not left His universe without a witness, from the gargantuan (the center of the Whirlpool galaxy)

to the minute-- millions of tiny cells in your body that hold everything together (laminin). Amazing.

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Col. 1:16-17 NKJV)

“who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Heb 1:3 NKJV)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Redemption Period

I just received a notice from my website host saying it was almost time to renew my domain name for my website. Part of the notice explained what happens when a domain name is cancelled. It states: "For any cancelled domain name, the Registry will hold the name in a Redemption Period for 30 days." In other words, you can get that name back any time within that month, if you change your mind.

After those 30 days, the domain name is open to anyone who wants to purchase it. Readers who used to come to your site will now go there, expecting to find a familiar atmosphere, and potentially find something offensive or at the very least unexpected. They won't be able to find what they were looking for, and until the domain expires again (if it ever does), you won't be able to redeem it again. Time's up.

A redemption period?? What a great phrase. The time range given for the opportunity of redemption--or buying something back, or being bought back.

You have a redemption period--your life is the time span for you to recognize your need for a Savior and accept Jesus as your Redeemer. After your last breath, time's up. You'll face God (whether you believe in Him or not) and the question will be whether you knew Him, whether you accepted Him (He doesn't force Himself on anyone) as Savior, Redeemer, Lord.

We are not guaranteed tomorrow. For some, the redemption period is a lot shorter than for others. Car accidents, house fires, illnesses, violence, war, old age. We don't know how long our lives will be; there are no guarantees.

Everybody needs a redeemer. And Jesus is the only one qualified. Say "Yes" to Him. Talk to Him, invite Him into every area of your life. Read His Word and humbly ask Him to teach you the Truth.

While you have breath, while you can choose, choose Jesus. Let Him redeem you. Before it's too late.

For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 2:6, NKJV)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Waiting for Salvation to Click

When I was a little girl, a pastor from a local church offered our public school the opportunity for children to hear the gospel message. Every now and then, he would come round up the kids whose parents gave permission and bus us to his church where he would teach us about Jesus. At the end of his sermon, he would ask if anyone wanted to receive Jesus as their Savior. And just about every visit, I would pray with him, as he led the entire group in the prayer for salvation.

Jesus, I know I am a sinner. Please forgive me for all of my sins. I believe You died for me and I want you to come and live inside my heart. Help me live for you every day. Thank You. Amen.

After prayer, this pastor would ask if any of us prayed with him. I know I raised my hand more than once. But I never felt changed. I never felt different. I had said the words, and understood the concept, but in all those years, I didn’t feel like salvation ever clicked.

Then, I went to summer camp. We had morning devotionals with our Bibles and study journals—woodsy setting, find a spot alone to pray, dewy grass, crisp lake. It was my first experience with morning devotionals and I loved it. Somehow my time with God made me feel important. Like, I’m special and here’s how I’ll prove it: it’s just me alone with God and that’s enough.

Every evening, after a full day of activities, meals with silly songs and play, we would have our campfire. Sitting inside the large dining hall near the huge, stone fireplace, we’d listen to the teacher speak of Jesus. He explained something that in all my years of hearing the gospel message I had never heard. No one at the church we attended had gotten this across, and neither had the pastor who ministered to school children.

"When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you’ll have amazing joy. That’s how you’ll know it’s real."

For some reason, in everything else he said, that really stuck with me. I don’t remember praying that night for salvation. But, when the week was over, part of our trek home included a bus ride.

There I was, sitting on a long bench seat alone and pondering the week. That camp director’s words came back to me, along with the other messages I’d heard about Jesus’ awesome gift of salvation, and there, alone on the seat, bouncing down the freeway, I prayed that Jesus would save me. He had shown me my value; he’d been meeting me and sustaining me all week. I chose Him.

Salvation clicked.

Then, the camp director’s words became a reality. Suddenly I had so much joy flooding me, and joy was a new status. I’d been happy at times, and even overjoyed (like, say, on Christmas), but this was different. This started deep inside and made its way out, like a fountain. That’s when I knew it had finally clicked.

I’m not sure what the difference was. I have often wondered, through the years, if reciting a repeated prayer is too impersonal to have much impact. But I think it has more to do with the person’s heart. If you believe the words you’re praying, the impact will be genuine. I'm also not saying it's the only way to know salvation or that everyone's experience will match. It's all a matter of God's grace.

If salvation has never “clicked” for you, ask Jesus to show you what you need to see or understand. Then, pursue Him with all your heart by reading the Bible daily, listening to worship/Christian music, and attending a Bible-teaching church. Seek out a seasoned Christian who lives in joy (i.e. holds no grudges) and ask about salvation. But don’t dominate the conversation. Listen.

If you seek God with all your heart, you will find Him. He promises that over and over in the Bible. (see Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:11-13, even Hebrews 11:6—He rewards those who diligently seek Him and Genesis 15:1—God Himself is our exceedingly great reward)

My prayer for you is that if it hasn’t already, salvation would click for you, and you would know Him and His joy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something Heroic

Sitting here at my desk, I glance down and see a note from a critique partner. She wrote: "something heroic" over my first chapter. Writing coaches recommend authors put their characters' heroic side into the first scene/chapter. I'll have to go back and attempt that. First I'll have to consider my character and what would be fitting.

What's heroism to you?
Do you ever act heroically?

I've known some heroes. Firefighters. Policemen. Advocates for the less fortunate or for the helpless.

The greatest heroes, in my opinion, are those who are humble in their heroism. An act of heroism is itself noble, but paired with humility, the level of honor raises to wonder. We stand in awe of such acts.

I love fiction covers which portray heroism or newspaper photos. Heroism draws readers and viewers.

I've been studying Jesus' humility this week. It's staggering the depths of His humility. That makes Him even more heroic to me. He didn't come for recognition. He didn't strive for our approval or even that people would bow before Him. He simply walked out His calling knowing who He was and how His Father viewed Him. He sacrificed Himself and rescued people.

Pride is often a cover for feeling insecure or wanting to prove one's value. Or pride can be an unfounded sense of accomplishment which wasn't that person's sole work. (taking credit for something s/he couldn't have accomplished without the grace of God in the situation). Jesus never resorted to that. He was heroic without needing to prove anything or needing anyone's applause afterward.

But I will applaud Him. I do. He's the ultimate humble Hero.

What I want to do in my writing is portray heroism as honorable, and humility adds just the right ingredient. Of course, my characters will have to grow into it. Humility doesn't come naturally. But then, neither does heroism a lot of the time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

If MY People

God is full of wisdom. He knows what it takes for a nation to thrive. He has a strategy for a country facing:

~ children cutting themselves due to hopelessness
~ unbelievable stats regarding the mutilation and murder of unborn babies
~ rampant hopelessness in the youth
~ rampant drug abuse
~ high teen suicide rates
~ high divorce rates
~ high teen pregnancy rates
~ deadly attacks from other nations
~ violence, crime and abuse

Want to know what His prescription is? PRAYER.

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV)

God doesn't demand that nonbelievers pray, but rather believers. He doesn't demand everyone change their ways, just His people. That's what it will take to bring hope back to this nation. Jehovah God----JESUS----is the God of hope (see Romans 15:13).

Many ministries have been calling for prayer. Personally, God has been wooing me to pray more than before. We need to pray for our nation, yes, but personal repentance, humility, intimacy with God and holy living will make the difference for our country. It starts in the heart of every believer.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Keep Him Close

Ever noticed this pattern:

Crisis happens.
Seek God.
Crisis calms down.
Drift from God.
Complacency until
Crisis happens...

Not a good pattern. With that cycle in place, we're going from crisis to crisis instead of from strength to strength. (see Psalm 84:7) I'd rather go from glory to glory in God (see 2 Corinthians 3:18) than from crisis to crisis. I'd rather worship through everything than only when I'm happy. Why? Because that sets up a new pattern--one that leads to growing closer to Jesus, rather than only knowing Him as the One who helps when I'm desperate. Yes. He helps when I'm in terrible need. But He's also there everyday. Close.

Keep Him close.