Friday, May 29, 2009

Life Boats

Almost 100 years ago....

The last life boat's been launched.
The last warning given.
Hundreds of "life belts" have been dispersed.

No ship comes to offer rescue for
1800 drowning people in time
to spare their lives.

Half-full life boats drift.
Hearers of agonizing screams.
Husbands, fathers, women, children unsaved.

Would I have turned a deaf ear?
covered my heart with thick callous and willed
the night to end?

Am I doing that now?

I will reach out a hand.
Come. Come into the boat.

Come, find your salvation
like me. Safe
in the hands of
the finest Captain-
Jesus, Messiah.

And, if you know Him, Come. Join us. Rescue those
who recognize the ship is going down.
Every soul -- the same need

There is no hope,
except in Jesus.

Reach for Him with us.

Come. Get into the boat.

Come, rowers. Reach with me for those
flailing in the sea.

Those who recognize the need.

Come. Let us rescue souls.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I love weddings. Over the weekend we attended a friend's wedding. They quoted from the Song of Songs in their program:

I am my beloved’s, And my beloved is mine. (Song of Solomon 6:3a)

Watching others get married reminds my husband and me of our wedding 18 years ago. A fantastic way of reliving memories and sentiments of our lives together. But I'm also reminded of our future as believers.

The Song of Songs was written by Solomon, but inspired by the Holy Spirit. It has literal meaning, absolutely. A celebration of pure intimacy between a woman and her husband. But it also points to the future of all believers in Christ. We are the bride of Christ, destined to reign with Him as His wife.

It's our identity, but what does it mean to be the bride of Christ?

~ We are beautiful to the Creator.

~ We are cherished.

~ We are His beloved. He sacrificed His life so we could be free. At the wedding, as at other weddings, I was filled with joy because there's a huge wedding in our future to the Bridegroom of the ages.

~ God has awesome plans for us, both here and in eternity. Partnering with Him.

~ Whosoever will may come. There's an invitation. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, receiving His gift of salvation, you're in. You are the bride. You are welcome at the wedding feast. Not only welcome, but very honored as the bride.

Marriage is a God-given example of relationship with Him. We witness the power of pure, loving commitment over time. We exalt in relationship and security. We learn how to sacrifice for each other. We learn better communication and how to face unpleasant situations for the sake of relationship. It's a successful tool of refinement for our character. But it's also a platform for amazing expression of love, joy and hope. Of acceptance and celebration.

I'm very thankful for marriage and for weddings---a beautiful picture of love.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Rest. It's a common theme lately.

There are two different kinds: physical rest--hey it's getting late. Better go to bed!

And spiritual rest--rest in your soul, in your heart. Rest for your weary mind. Who couldn't use a little of that lately?

We worry. About finances, school, about our jobs or our bosses, our kids or their friends. We worry about the consequences of our actions of those of others around us. We wonder if God sees.

He does.

And Jesus can give you rest. He doesn't promise to take all the worrisome problems away. He said we'll have tribulation while we're in the world (see John 16:27), but He also said to take heart, because He overcame, and He invites us to overcome.

Some of the most beautiful words in Scripture, the most loved, are these:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. ~ Jesus (Matthew 11:28-29)

Next time you're feeling overwhelmed, soul deep, turn to Jesus. He wants us to leave our worries with Him:

Cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you. (see 1 Peter 5:7)

Find your rest in Him.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pushing Toward the Goal

Are you a goal-setter? In my life, I've struggled with setting goals. I haven't always been realistic about the ones I've set, sometimes hoping to achieve things that are outside my control. Now, though, I've become more realistic and began setting goals I hope to achieve. But goals don't always motivate me (or my personality type?) like I see in others. So I question applying them to me. And then there are fears of failure or success. Stand in the midst of a writer's conference, close your eyes, and point. Chances are, you are pointing at a writer who has felt that fear of failure as well as success.

Yesterday, I took my pre-schooler for a walk. Sometimes she walks beside me (a slower paced, shorter trek where we talk more about what we're seeing) and sometimes she prefers the stroller and a snack or toy to keep her occupied. This time, she wanted to ride. Great. Better exercise for me. (Believe me, she gets her exercise just by burning off all energy her little body creates naturally at other times.) So, first, we tackled the big hill. I had warmed up in the house, so this was a reasonable task. Down the hill and then back up. But, push the 50-pound stroller/child combo up the hill and don't slow down. We made it. Then, stride the long way around the block, then add another leg to our stroll. Then, return home.

By the time we were finishing the extra block, my kiddo was saying "I wanna go home." And by the time we were within sight of our street sign, I was feeling the fatigue. I still have to be careful for my back's sake. That street sign was far off in the distance on this level stretch of road. Far off. And every step I took didn't seem to get us any closer. That sign was our goal and there was no option. I had to march toward it. But I knew something. If I kept moving forward, I would eventually reach it. I would eventually get there. The goal would be achieved. So, I marched onward. Even mailboxes seemed to "approach" slowly. Honestly, I don't think I slowed my pace that much. Sometimes I match the rhthym of the songs on my iPod, which are all upbeat, Christian songs. My "walking" playlist. So, it wasn't that we were dilly-dallying. But I certainly couldn't reach that street sign fast enough.

Guess what? A couple minutes later, we did reach our street. We'd overcome the long stretch and succeeded--met our goal. That was a great feeling! Goal achieved and benefits to reap later.

So, I've learned some things:

1) If you're motivated by goal-setting: set reasonable goals. (ex. newbie writers can't expect bestselling status on their first manuscript, though of course, there are exceptions; but s/he can decide how soon they will finish the manuscript--just modify timelines as needed and stay motivated)

2) Set goals where you can control the outcome. (ex. you can't decide who will publish your work, but you can study what that house wants and try to meet their criteria, availing yourself to conferences where their representative will be meeting with writers)

3) Faithfulness counts. God isn't looking for "success" (which has a subjective definition in any scenario); He is looking for faithfulness. And he will award those who stick to it and overcome obstacles.

4) Celebrate whenever you achieve goals, consider your next goal using the wisdom you just gained, and take off running toward the next finish line.

5) Never give up!

No matter what your goals, go with God. Let Him lead and watch Him work. He is for you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Overwhelmed with Fun Books!

So yesterday was my birthday, but today God surprised me with a stack of new Christian fiction! Love when He surprises me around my birthday!

Look for reviews over on my book review blog: and at and As I handed the padded envelopes to my oldest daughter, I said, "I love what I do!"

Pick up some delicious Christian fiction and let God minister to your soul this weekend.

Happy reading!
Annette (who knows I've used up my quota of exclamation points for at least the next three posts)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Win a copy of Love Letters

Hey readers, it's my birthday so I'm giving away a copy of my book!

Pop over to the White Rose Publishing authors' blog for a chance to win a copy of my book "Love Letters." Just leave a comment over there about your favorite birthday present ever, the best one you've ever given OR your dream present. I'll have the drawing late tomorrow. Don't forget to leave your email address.

Have fun!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

His Favorite One

We're studying being the Bride of Christ at our church using Shannon Ethridge's book "Completely His." It's so good. Last week in my cell group I told the ladies, "you're His favorite one; we're each His favorite one."

This is how I know: If you come to the Lord in prayer at any time day or night, He never says, "Just a minute. I'll be with you soon. I'm busy listening to someone else."

Our magnificent God is capable of hearing everyone at once. If somehow every single human on earth suddenly decided to pray, God would hear each of them and respond as if that person were the only one in His line of sight. In fact, God hears every person's words and thoughts at all times, praying or not. He is the God who sees--keeping everyone in sight at once. He is amazing.

And He is personal.

Do you feel like His favorite? Next time you go to pray, consider this truth: you are His favorite one. This truth excludes no one, so you're not pushing anyone else aside to be where He longs for you to be--right in the center of His affectionate attention. This truth isn't one of pride--it's ordained by God, so you don't have to worry about ugly pride. God calls you beloved. You are His favorite one. See if that truth will affect the way you pray.

Let that truth affect the way you live.