Thursday, December 11, 2014

From the Throne Room to the Common

As I listened to my hubby/pastor read Luke Two again, I was struck with the humility and love of a God who leaves perfection and comes to anything but perfection.

"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

How much more common could you get? A young couple traveling from a small town, finding no place to stay, ending up in a stable. Jesus' first crib was a manger. We see pictures and our eyes have become so used to the images, we forget what we're really seeing. God in human form was born on the floor of a barn used for animals. Some scraps of cloth were fashioned into a blanket and He was laid in a wooden trough used to feed animals.

Think about this from a different perspective. Jesus had left the very throne room of Heaven. A place we can't fathom but know is glorious from John's account in Revelation. This is a place with no pain, no tears, no death, no sin. This is a place where things that we hold so precious like gold and gems are used for building and road making materials.

I believe we can't begin to fathom the love required to leave Glory and descend into a dirty world. But, that is the love God has for us.

But, then again, the intelligence behind God making Jesus a man who walked and talked among the people. We can never say that we have a Savior who doesn't understand where we're coming from. He was here. He lived it.

Even further - Jesus returned to Heaven to prepare a place for us to come to that marvelous place. Without His blood to save us, we wouldn't have entrance. But, we have the hope of Glory because He gave it up for a time.

Pause just a moment this season and consider the love God had when He came to earth. Yes, I can easily see the love Jesus showed on the cross. He wrote it in red, his blood. But, I believe He showed this extreme love even before He died for our sins. He was already showing his deep love for us when He left the splendor of Heaven and came to earth.

He left Heaven for you! That's love.

Merry Christmas.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

If we own the gospel, we owe the gospel

Wednesday night my hubby/pastor showed this message from the new International Mission Board President, David Platt. I was brought to tears by the reality and urgency of his words. I was also reminded that so many of the things that we devote our time to will be worthless in the end. And, often the things we deem important are just preferences and mean nothing to the Kingdom of God. Please take the time to view this. If you feel moved to do so, come back here and comment.

Watch David Platt's message here.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Anointing

I've been deep into the research for my latest contracted book for Prism Book Group called Love Does Not Dishonor. When I say deep into the research, I really mean it. The storyline requires that I know something about inherited diseases as well as Amish rumspringa. Now that's a mix!

As I waded through a huge database for inherited diseases, God led me to exactly what I needed. Stay with me here. With the amount of diseases that I had to read through, God had to lead me to the exact two that I needed. I could just feel His Spirit's nudging as I've discussed on this blog before.

Sunday I experienced another nudge. I felt God telling me to pray for an anointing on the words and message of this book. Now, I didn't really even know what that would mean so I looked up anoint in my Bible dictionary.

Anoint - The purpose of sacred anointing was to dedicate the thing or person to God. The oil symbolized the Holy Spirit, empowering them for a particular work in the service of God.

When I read that definition, I could see why I might want to pray for anointing on my story. That act would be one of dedicating those words to God and empowering the message to accomplish what God has planned in the reader.

Consider these verses about anointing:

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
1 John 2:20, 27
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth."
"As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit - just as it has taught you, remain in him."

As a Christian I've been anointed with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit in me not only marks me as one of God's children, but it works within me to teach me.

So in accordance with this, I ask God to anoint my words that they may accomplish what is set forth for them to accomplish. My part is to remain in Christ and pay attention to the Spirit's teaching.

Do you have something that God wants to accomplish through you? Have you "anointed" it? Are you paying close attention to the Spirit's instructions?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Trust Through Remembering

I've always heard that hindsight is 20/20. But do I apply this same principle in my spiritual life?

Deuteronomy 11:1-2 and 7
"Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws, and his commands always. Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God; his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole county; ... But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done."

The passage above was the message given to the Israelites as they were preparing to cross into the promised land.

First, a quick reminder to love the Lord and follow his instructions.

Then, it is as if God is reminding them why they should follow his instructions. He tells them to recall the past they experienced with their Lord. They had seen discipline come from Him. But, they had also seen his majesty, his strength, and his help. Before their journey ever started, God proved his loyalty through the plagues inflicted on Egypt.

So, why is it that the people could trust God's leading? They need only to look back and see His track record on their behalf.

I'm afraid that I might be guilty of not letting what God has done in the past give me more trust in Him now. If He has proven faithful before, He'll be faithful again. He never changes. But, my spiritual hindsight seems to be nowhere near 20/20.

I doubt, tremble in my boots, and try to "fix" things by myself. How God must shake his head and sigh at my pitiful attempts to do what only He can.

Oh, that I would correct my vision and be encouraged to trust through remembering.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spirit Know-How

Have you ever experienced instruction from the Spirit?

Jesus spoke to his disciples in John 14:26, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

Does this idea of a Spirit inside of us excite anyone else? When I think about the fact that God has put a deposit of Himself inside of each Christian, I'm just in awe. God's Spirit can urge us to confess sins so we are on the right track and come clean before God. The Spirit can give a nudge when we encounter wrong things. He can teach us through God's Word, the Bible. He can enlighten us with knowledge we could not know on our own.

First Corinthians 2:12-14 says, "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

I remember a trip to the mall. My husband and I had just entered a store. Suddenly it was as if the air was cold and the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. My husband turned to me. "Did you feel that?" I nodded my agreement. We turned on our heels and left the store. As we were leaving, we glimpsed a couple dressed in very dark clothing and wearing satanic symbols. I'm convinced that God's Spirit in both of us warned us about the evil present in that store.

One night I awoke from a sound sleep and got the strongest urging to pray for someone in my family. Later I found out the family member was experiencing some problems at just that time. How else could I know without the Spirits's nudge?

Recently I was struggling to complete a novel I was writing that was based on a particular Biblical passage. I knew there was a scene to write but I also knew that I didn't have all I needed to construct that scene. I wandered into the living room and plopped into my husband's recliner. I noticed his New King James Bible on the table. I turned to the scripture passage and there at the end were three other verse addresses. I immediately turned to them and my eyes were opened. I couldn't get paper fast enough to write that scene.

I don't have enough space to recount the times the Spirit has interpreted a scripture specifically for my life or circumstance. I've also had the privilege of the Spirit enlightening a passage even more deeply for my understanding.

Did you catch the end of the First Corinthians verse above? People who do not contain the Spirit will not understand. It is those of us Christians who contain the Spirit that "get it."

So, to take advantage of this Spirit know-how, you need to walk in the Spirit. Study God's Word and be sensitive to the Spirit's leading.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Release from Rachel A. James


Rachel A. James grew fascinated with the medieval time period as a child. Dubbed a bookworm from a young age, Rachel found herself surrounded by places steeped in history and adventure. She enjoyed trips with her family to visit nearby derelict castles and Roman ruins, and that coupled with a zealous imagination and love for stories, sparked her interest in knights, fortresses and ancient kingdoms. 

Born and bred in England, Rachel writes adventure driven historical romance, she is also a pastor’s wife, and has three beautiful little princesses. She minored in creative writing at university and strives to entertain, inspire and encourage others in their own spiritual journey. She’s also captivated by romantic tales… combine it with a little history and a hot cup of tea, and she’s smitten! Find her at www.rachelajames.com for more information.





A few years ago, whilst living in Yorkshire, I visited a grand stately home, Harewood House, where there was a commemorative exhibition on display to celebrate the once owner of the house, Princess Mary.  I discovered that she was known as ‘The Yorkshire Princess’. I was fascinated at the notion that Yorkshire, once had their very own princess, and inspired to write a story about it. However, I did not want to write a historical account, but rather a fictional book.

Having always been drawn to medieval times and tales of Britain when it was once divided into separate kingdoms, I wondered if I could write about a princess who lived long ago. It was then that I discovered the kingdom of Elmetia. Elmetia existed for only a few hundred years, before it was invaded by neighboring Anglo-Saxons, where the last king of Elmetia, King Ceretic, was slain in battle.

There is no historical record of Ceretic ever being married, or having children, but some historians believe that just because it wasn’t recorded, didn’t mean they did not exist. This inspired me to write about Princess Teagen, my fictionalized daughter of King Ceretic, who, because she managed to flee the invasion, was forgotten about.

The Forgotten Princess of Elmetia is essentially, a story about how a forgotten princess journeys to find her true identity, and reclaim what was stolen from her. It is an inspirational tale, demonstrating God’s amazing grace and forgiveness, and love.



This sounds like a must-read for your reading list! Thanks for sharing the background, Rachel. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

25 Years!

Tuesday, October 21st, is my and my husband's 25th wedding anniversary. It was so wonderful to celebrate with family and friends Sunday.

This guy of mine has been in my life since we sat in first grade together. He asked me to "go with" him when we were in middle school. It wasn't called "talking" then. We broke it off when I moved about an hour away. But, after two years, my family and I returned. My sweetheart and I got back together in high school.

During high school, he felt the call into ministry. My mama saw it all along!

We stayed together all through college, even though we attended different schools. We came home on the weekends to see each other and do our laundry.

On my graduation day from Maryville College, my honey proposed to me. Five months later we tied the knot!

I don't remember my life without him and don't want to. I've seen God take a very shy boy and turn him into a bold preacher of the Word and a caring pastor.

He told me when we got married that he would probably not ever be able to give me a big house or an expensive car. But, he did promise if we stuck together and followed God's guidance, we would have an adventure. He didn't lie about that!

Happy Anniversary, Babe! I love you. Let the adventure continue .........