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Monday, March 27, 2017

Gone Fishing

One of the most poignant stories in the Bible, to my mind, is the one where Peter and the disciples decided to go fishing after Jesus's death. I say poignant because Peter's words, "I go a fishing," (John 21: 3), and the disciples' readiness to accompany him, show a sense of boredom, futility and even a sense of loss.

I can just picture these men, sitting idly in their boat, casting pebbles into the river, watching the sun set, and occasionally emitting a sigh. They needed to be doing something, but what? Their Lord and Master with whom they had traveled the country for the past three years, had gone and left them. Oh, He was alive. They'd seen Him, ate with Him, but where was He now? Did He even care about them any more?

And so these men who had been fishermen before they began their ministry with Jesus, returned to what they once knew. Makes sense, doesn't it? When the wife, husband, friend or whomever  you counted on leaves you high and dry, you return to the old life. Back to the club, the bottle, the dope, the old lifestyle. Anything that would keep you occupied, whether it's wholesome or not.

But something strange happened. These seasoned fishermen failed to get so much as a nibble. They returned with empty nets. This is what happens when you try to go back to the old life. You are in for a rude awakening. There is nothing there for you anymore. The friends are gone. What used to satisfy, no longer does. The pond has dried up.

My heart breaks for Peter and his friends. But wait. Jesus comes to their rescue. They don't recognize Him at first because they have been away from Him for a while. And He says to them, "Children, have ye any meat?" (v 5). 

Notice how tenderly He addresses them. He feels their pain, their disappointment, their hopelessness. He also knows their needs. These men had been with Him for three years. During that time, they'd given up their means of earning a living, and now with Jesus gone, they are left to fend for themselves, and they are most likely broke. Or near broke. But Jesus, our Jehovah-jireh provides for them. He tells them, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find" (v 6).

Friends, hear me. When Jesus seems far away, when those we count on run out on us, that is not the time to go fishing. You will only come up empty handed and depressed. Those disciples could have gone looking for Jesus. They could have inquired of Him, "Lord, what should we do?" But instead they gave in to disillusionment and went fishing.

But Jesus, in His love and mercy, found them, supplied their needs and gave Peter a new assignment, "Feed my sheep," (v 16; 17).

Are you going fishing? Has life dealt you a disappointing blow and you are ready to give up? Don't turn back now. Look to Jesus. 

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 29: 13


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring, Lovely Spring

Garden with some tulips and narcissusImage via WikipediaThis is a post I wrote some years ago when I first started blogging. Having been away from my computer for a while, too long a while, I decided to search some old posts to find something that would get my creative juices flowing. And sure enough, I came across this post, perfect for the beginning of spring. I have repurposed it a little to make it more relevant.
                                                                                 
Spring is here! Isn't it wonderful the way God redecorates the landscape so there is always something new to grab our senses and delight our minds? I love the changing of the seasons. Maybe it's because I was born and raised in a tropical climate where there are only two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. It was only when I migrated to the United States that I experienced the four seasons. I remember the first time I saw snow, I was like a kid again, a grown woman making snowballs and throwing at my friends. Then fall came and filled me with awe, and still does.

There is beauty and purpose in every season. I don't mind the short, gray days and the naked boughs of winter because I know they don't last. The sun will shine again, tender green leaves will appear on those boughs and flowers will spring out of the ground. Perpetual summer or winter could not sustain life. We need heat and cold, moisture and drought in order to sustain life on this planet.

The changing of the seasons reminds me that:

1. God is faithful. He is always with us, whether we think of Him or not. Like a good parent, He is preparing our food, our comfort and doing all the extra little things to give us pleasure. Acts 14: 17 says, "... and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."


2. God is a God of order. Even though environmentalists speak of climate change, weather systems throughout the world remain well-defined. Spring comes faithfully after winter, summer follows spring and so on. We experience heat in summer and cold in winter. Hot climates remain hot and cold climes remain cold. Spring is always the season of birth and new beginnings, winter the season of death and decay.


3. God speaks to us through the seasons. Oswald Chambers says, "When you have thoughts and ideas that are worthy of credit to God, learn to compare and associate them with ... the changing of the seasons." (My Utmost For His Highest). I couldn't agree more. The seasons of the earth reflect the seasons of our lives. Just as God rearranges the environment to suit His purpose, in the same way He arranges our lives into seasons so we can grow and develop into the spiritually healthy and happy beings He created us to be. Just trust Him, regardless of the season. 

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Speaking of the seasons of our lives, I would like to introduce you to my book Women For All Seasons, which uses stories of women of the Bible to show how God works in and through us in every season of our life. Check it out here.







     
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Friday, March 03, 2017

Better Than Solomon



As I took this picture of my orchids this morning, these words of Jesus came to my mind: "Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these" (Matthew 6: 29). Jesus was telling His audience that they must not worry, not about what they would eat or drink or what they would wear (v 25). Jesus continued, " If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?" (v 30).

Every time I look at those orchids on my patio I'm reminded of the beauty of God, the faithfulness of God and the providence of God. I care for those orchids to the best of my ability, but it is God who really causes them to grow and bloom the way they do. I went away for two weeks and watered them well before I left. But while I was gone I worried that I might return and find them all shriveled up. Instead, I was greeted with these gorgeous blooms. That was God's doing. And if He could do it for flowers, how much more would He do for us, His children?

So let's do as Jesus said:  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (v 33-34).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King Jeff Sessions Letter Shared, But Elizabeth Warren ... After an enforced hiatus brought about when my computer crashed, I am now back, having just received it almost as good as new from my firstborn whiz kid, Kevin. If you use your computer daily and you've had to be without it for a month, then I'm sure you can empathize. Hopefully, I won't have to go through this again for a long time.

So with Black History month also over, I'd like to repeat this post I'd published some years ago on Coretta Scott King, wife of Rev. Martin Luther King. Mrs. King was well known for her support of her husband during the turbulent civil rights days and  after his death she continued the struggle along with several of his aides. Mrs. King, herself now deceased,  remains an iconic model of courage, loyalty and dedication for women everywhere.

As you read about this famous lady, ask yourself, are you as faithful and dedicated to your husband as you should be? You don't have to be another Coretta King, but you can be the kind of wife your husband needs. If your answer leaves you in doubt, ask the Holy Spirit to help you become that kind of woman.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Letter To A Brave Girl

In my last post, Choose Love I told you about Sally - a young, unwed mother-to-be who can now find hope and support through the ministry of Embrace Grace, a nation-wide organization that is reaching out to girls like Sally. You too can get involved in this ministry by writing a letter like the one below and mailing it to the address given.

Embrace Grace Inc.
Attn: Love in a Box
700 W Bedford Eueless Rd
Ste G
Hurst, TX 76053










Remember to enter this giveaway just go to http://blessedfreebies.com/embrace-grace.html






Monday, January 30, 2017

Choose Love

Consider the case of an unwed, teenaged girl - we'll call her Sally - who finds herself pregnant. Her mother, friends and her boyfriend all advise her to get rid of "it." Doing that may seem the better way out as it will cause minimal interruption to her life. Still, Sally feels confused. Afraid.

What can she do?

Embrace Grace is a nation wide organization that is bringing hope and encouragement to girls like Sally. With the Love in a Box initiative, Sally can choose to keep her baby and at the same time get plugged in to a local church for spiritual, emotional and physical support through an Embrace Grace group.

Here's how it works. Boxes  containing a Fearless journal, a pen, a necklace, baby onesie, a Brave Girl letter and other items are distributed to pregnancy centers nation wide and given to young, single pregnant women.

The outside of the journal states, "You are Strong, you are Brave, you are Loved. The inside of the journal begins with a Brave Girl letter, and throughout the pages you are encouraged to write about your fear.When you face your fear you are on your way to overcoming it.

You also get to write about your strengths and weaknesses as well as your prayers for yourself and your child. If you have ever wanted to start journaling and didn't know how to start, this Fearless Journal is just what you need. Scriptures and inspiring quotations at the bottom of every page remind you of God's love and will give you the confidence to face the future.

There's also a necklace with the words pro-love engraved on the pendant to remind you that you are choosing love. It can also be a conversation starter with other girls.

To enter this giveaway just go to http://blessedfreebies.com/embrace-grace.html

All women can bring hope to a young girl by partnering with Embrace Grace around the world. Here's what you can do:
Start an Embrace Grace at your local church so young women with unplanned pregnancies can have a support group.
Partner with the national organization through prayer and support at www.EmbraceGraceco.com
Download and print our Brave Girl  letter (http://egrace.co/brave) and mail to the address below for us to place inside a Love in a Box.

Mail your letter to:
Embrace Grace Inc.,
Attn: Love in a Box
700 W Bedford, Eueless Rd. Ste G
Hurst, TX 76053

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Finish What You Start

Have you ever found yourself taking on a number of projects, at home or at work and becoming so overwhelmed you don't really complete all of them? As a writer, it has happened to me, and I feel very guilty about it. There's just not enough time, I tell myself. So for this year, I'm going to make every effort to finish what I start.

A new year has just begun, and you may be thinking it's not yet time to talk about finishing anything. Isn't a new year about new beginnings? Maybe for some people, but for most of us, the new year is just another date on the calendar. Last year I wrote this post:  Just Do It  I hope some of you followed my advice and took that bold step to give your life to Christ. If you did, I'm happy for you, and the angels are rejoicing. If you didn't, don't put it off too long.

For those of you who gave your heart to Christ, I would like to encourage you to develop a habit of daily prayer and Bible reading. Yes, daily. It doesn't have to be an hour every day. You don't need a lot of time to connect with your Lord and Savior. He is always with you, and a few minutes a day may be all you need to acknowledge His presence and thank Him for it. Reading the Word helps you to hear from Him and get His direction for your life. Just as my morning walk energizes me for the day, so my Bible reading lifts my spirits and helps to set the tone for my day.

The other step is becoming a church member. Going to church doesn't save you, but saved people go to church. More about this in another post. Once you become a member, try to get involved in some of the various ministries. Many churches have activities for different ages, so it should be no difficulty fitting in. You don't have to be in everything. Church activity should never be a chore or a duty, but something you do because you want to give of your time to the Lord and fellowship with other believers.

If you do these things, you will grow in the Christian faith and enjoy being part of the family of God.

To help you get started on reading and understanding the Bible, I would like to recommend Know Your Bible by Paul Kent. If you are a woman, you may also enjoy Women For All Seasons written by me. These books do not replace the Bible; they are only companion literature to give you a deeper understanding of the Bible. If you do get any or both of these resources, I receive a small commission.

If you enjoyed this post, I would like to invite you to sign up for my monthly newsletter where you can get news and views about the Christian life, as well as giveaways.