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As I speak internationally to English speakers as well as through an interpreter, some of my greatest joys have been speaking to groups where participation from the audience is possible. Not only do I value the input of those in my conferences, but if they are actively involved (share testimonies, participate in prayer, read Scripture aloud), it is obvious that everyone is with me. I am interested in theological study, Christian writing, historical application of Biblical principles as well as writing as a craft and the current status of the publishing industry as a whole. As a result, I find myself following blogs of those whom I have learned to trust who contribute information in those fields. It occurred to me that blogs are the internet equivalent of audience participation in a conference setting. So, this blog is a result of that discovery. As much as possible (sometimes when I travel I do not have internet access), I will be making weekly posts of how everyday life is related to what God has revealed about Himself in His Word - maintaining one focus on that most important relationship. I would welcome your participation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

All About Family

We are all family oriented. If our childhood family experiences were positive, most of us adapted to adulthood without major psychological or emotional issues. If childhood experiences were negative, many of us feel we missed out on what we should have had. 

Everyone wants to be part of a caring, nurturing family. 

When we have a family of our own, we make a choice. We can duplicate what was modeled before us as children, good or bad, or we can use those examples as a springboard and modify our own behavior to become the spouse and parents we think we should be. 

Family members have an incredible amount of influence on our lives. Even now as a grandmother, comments my father, mother or sister said when I was younger keep ringing in my ears. It is my responsibility to sort through them. Some of those comments were good advice. Some were not. 

God is all about family. He created the first family and gives guidelines in His word about how to relate to and show love to family members. He identifies Himself as our heavenly Father and Jesus calls Himself our brother. All followers of Christ are part of His family. 

So, my family members include those with a common DNA as well as
those who share in my trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.

For several years, I have been a penpal with someone in another nation. We have exchanged emails, letters, gifts and pictures, but we have never met face to face. I know I will someday meet her because we belong (as she put it) to an international family. If we do not meet this side of Heaven, we will meet there. 

My family also spans the ages. Every child of God is part of my family. One day, I will have the opportunity to speak with Abraham, Moses, Elijah and David. I am looking forward to visiting with Mary, the mother of Jesus. I want to meet Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Andrew Murray, C.S. Lewis, Betsy and Corrie ten Boom and A.W. Tozer. I know I will have the chance because they are all my brothers and sisters.

God really is all about family - earthly and eternal.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God! (1 John 3:1).



Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Benefits of Cover

I think a lot about the English word "cover" - especially in winter. Possibly because I am so cold natured, I am always looking for a cover - a blanket, coat, sweater, or jacket - just about anything to keep the warmth close to my body. When it is cold enough, I even want to cover my head with a hat, my neck with a scarf and my hands with gloves.

I am a writer and a reader and pay attention to book covers.The cover protects the pages of a printed book from damage and covers - even e-book covers - should give a good clue as to what is inside.

A covering may be physical or figurative. What is covered generally benefits from support or protection.
  • I know of churches and people's homes where there are no walls or just one wall. The main part of the structure is just a covering. The tin roof helps protect against the elements. 
  • Many people are covered by an insurance policy that should come through if their house is damaged, their automobile is in an accident or they have health issues.
  • Paint can cover stains, flaws and hairline cracks on a wall.
  • Temporary workers cover for employees on holiday leave.
  • People may "head for cover" when a tornado strikes - in a storm shelter if they have one.
  • Although I am cold natured, I am often grateful for a cloud cover when working outside in the hot summer. My skin and eyes need protection from the glaring sun. 
  • A policeman may go "under cover" in order to expose crime.
There are also spiritual implications. 
Just like a false storefront that is a cover for an illegal operation, Satan attempts to cover up his true intentions by masquerading as an angel of light. A believer should be able to recognize his deceptive ways because God's Spirit exposes him.

Without God as our covering, we are on our own - stuck in a life of sin without protection from the dangers of this world.

Thank God, His covering brings salvation, refuge and joy.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.... He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge. His truth shall be your shield and buckler (Psalm 32:1; 91:4). I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dependable Power Grid

I travel to many countries where electricity is undependable.

In one country, for instance, it is so unreliable that even the hotel rooms are without power for several hours during the day. The hotels may have generators but they won't run them very often because of the expense. When my husband and I stayed in a hotel for two weeks, I couldn't understand why it went dark every afternoon. I finally learned from a shop proprietor (not from someone in the hotel) that this was deliberate. They were trying to save electricity!

Not only was it inconvenient, but the power was actually tied to our hot water source as well. My husband was speaking every evening and wanted to take a shower before leaving for the conference, but there was never any hot water. Finally I complained and a hotel attendant appeared at the door with a bucket of hot water! That's what they expected him to use to bathe with. That situation never got fixed. We had to learn to live with it.

In another country, lights turned off and on periodically. That's when our host laughed and said, "Electricity is regularly irregular here." As we toured through the city, he showed us power lines leading into apartment buildings. They were not only a mangled mess, but he said that the tenants were expert at learning whose line was whose and theft of someone else's electricity was common.

Even in well developed countries like America, an ice storm, tornado or hurricane can wreck havoc with the power grid. I have had food spoil in a refrigerator and had to light candles to see at night during such storms.

Thankfully, what I know I can depend on is God's power. His Holy Spirit is never weakened by inadequate power or theft. What He requires us to do He will provide the power to accomplish it. Praise Him and His wonderful power source!

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). ... and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power... (Ephesians 1:19).


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The War is Over

Hiroo Onoda, who died on January 16, 2014 at the age of 91, was the last Japanese soldier to leave the Philippines after World War II was over.  Lt. Onoda held his post on the remote island of Lubang until 1974 - 29 years after the official end of the war. During this time he and his comrades killed over thirty Filipinos still believing them to be the enemy.

Lt. Onoda refused to believe the war was over even though leaflets declaring this (he believed they were enemy propaganda) were dropped on his island. It was not until his former commander made the trip from Japan to Lubang island did he understand that he had been fighting a war that had ended years before. After his commander officially relieved him from duty, Lt. Onoda met President Marcos in Manila, presented his sword and surrendered. President Marcos returned his sword and issued a pardon for the men he had killed after the war had ended.

Hiroo Onoda received a hero's welcome when he returned to Japan. When interviewed about those 29 years and asked what was on his mind during that time, he said, "Nothing but accomplishing my duty."

It is possible to admire Hiroo Onoda for his commitment to duty for his country but it is also a reminder that his purpose during and after the war - up until the time he understood the war was over - was to kill his enemy.

Satan and his demons have been waging war against God and His soldiers for thousands of years. There is no honor in their fight - only evil. They continue to fight a war that has officially been won by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Bible tells us that the war is over, but they refuse to quit or surrender, continuing to bring death and destruction until they can do no more harm. Unlike Lt. Onoda, there will be no pardon.

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool (Hebrews 10:12-13). Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war...He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses (Revelation 19:11, 13). "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matthew 25:41).



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Opinion Overload

Information overload is a term we hear often these days. It is easy to acquire information about just about anything you might want to know. I am among the thousands who do this practically every day. Although I love books and have a lot of them, I don't find it necessary to buy a book on every subject I am interested in. If I want to know something, I just google it.

I have noticed another trend, though, that is somewhat disturbing. The information we acquire after a search doesn't always come from someone who really knows something about the subject. Many chats, forums, videos and blogs are filled with no more than someone's opinion - often unsubstantiated. Information passed on through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites can take off like wildfire, but really have no facts attached to the remarks. Even main television news programs ask for the public to respond with a tweet about just any topic that is presented on the program with a "we want to know what you think" attached to the request.
 
I do want to know what others think about many subjects, but I am selective in the ones I give credibility to. If I google a subject, I often find various responses - sometimes polar opposites. If it is something totally out of my field, I might research the person giving the comment and then make a judgment based on whether I believe the person knows what he is talking about or not. 

In other cases, the comments through my own social media sites may hold more credibility to me because I personally know the person. If she is someone I know well and have learned to trust, that holds a lot of weight with me.

Just because something is in print does not mean it contains truth. It is wise to check it out. 

The Bible has been tested time and again and proven true. The living Word, Jesus Christ, is truth incarnate. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). In His prayer to the Father on behalf of His followers, He prayed we would be purified by His truth. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth (John 17:17). 

God, who spoke through His Son and His word, is the only source I can always count on - and so can you.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas Throughout the Year

Preparing for Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year. In years gone by, I remember decorations coming out in retail stores after Thanksgiving. Then some marketing expert discovered that the earlier advertisements, decorations and specials came out, the more money consumers would spend. It created a larger window in which to capitalize on what most people count as their favorite holiday of the year.

Now little ones start making their lists in January or even late December - sometimes before the Christmas decorations are put away. People plan Christmas in July projects and stores start decorating in September. Many people, including me, prepare for Christmas all year long - taking advantage of discounted wrapping paper, cards and decorations after the season is over and always on the lookout for Christmas gifts for next year.

The gifts are put in their proper place. The wrapping paper and boxes are either thrown away or stored. The house gets put back in order. The non-stop eating ceases and everyone gets serious about being healthier and focusing on projects that were put on hold during the Christmas holidays.


I do own a lot of Christmas decorations - some collected from countries all over the world, but my
favorite is something my young son made me one year. He knew I wanted a nativity set and he started making one for me out of clay. He said he only had time to make one piece, but had started with the most important piece. He never finished it, but that was fine with me. I now have several nativity sets. One beautiful handmade ceramic set was given to me by a dear friend. I think of her with gratitude each time I display it. In the center of that nativity I place the piece made by my son those many years ago - the baby Jesus in the manger.

My son was right. The nativity is nothing without Jesus. Christmas was the beginning of the fulfillment of His plan to give us the most important gift we could ever receive. By choice, His cradle led to His cross and my salvation. I am grateful for that gift every day - not just on Christmas.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!... For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (2 Corinthians 9:15, Ephesians 2:8 NKJV).

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bait and Camouflage

I am not a deer hunter, but my husband is. Since I like venison, that's a good thing. Occasionally I sit with him in the deer blind. I enjoy watching the sun come up and keeping an eye out for deer. In the process, I have learned some things about how hunters prepare for the hunt.

Before hunting season starts, my husband puts deer corn in a feeder where it can easily be seen from the blind. A timer on the feeder releases the corn. Hopefully the deer will become accustomed to coming to the feeder at a time when we are sitting in the deer blind.

Deer are very skittish - running away at the slightest noise, unusual sight or human smell. Before heading for the deer blind, we spray our clothing with scent killer. We must get in the blind before the light of day so they will not see us coming. We must also be very quiet - speaking only in whispers if at all. The deer blind, our clothing and equipment are designed to blend in with the surroundings - most of it is camouflaged.

Hunting season only lasts a few weeks each year, but many deer hunters plan all year long for how best to use that time. It takes a lot of preparation and patience, but after deer appear and are shot, field dressed and processed for the freezer, there is a supply of venison -  possibly enough to last until next deer season.

When it comes to my spiritual life, I find myself in the position of the deer. I need to be as watchful as they are. God warns us to be aware of the bait Satan uses to distract us and describes how he can camouflage himself. Satan patiently plans for our downfall while blending in with our everyday surroundings - even in the church.

Ever since Adam and Eve were created, Satan has been actively deceiving men and women through bait and camouflage. Thankfully, we know the end of the story. There will be a day when his influence will end. His hunting season will be permanently over. I'm looking forward to that day.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).