Does this ever happen to you? The Bible says, “Do not fear,” and you still cling to fear in certain relationships. It says, “Be strong in the Lord,” and you still feel overwhelmed in certain situations. It says, “Rejoice in the Lord,” and sometimes all you can do is fight back tears at certain pains you experience.
It does to me. Then last night it hit me. I have been living two lives, with two opposing gods. I think I have to please certain people, yet, I also want to please God.
Last night I resolved to live only one life, to live for the God I love. I don’t know what it will look like, or how to even do it. All I know is that I set myself free. What about you?
I complained to a friend about not finding the right story for a children’s talk. But my friend showed no sympathy. “Write your own!” she said.
I was taken aback. I had no talent, or even any interest in writing. My life was too busy anyway. But God used her comment, even though it seemed too crazy to consider…
Now, eleven years later, with forty-four re-writes, twenty-seven rejections from publishers, and an illustrator who marched on valiantly, this Creation book has finally come to life!
Yes, there were those who helped me get back up, again and again. There was also a Bible verse. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10)
What is your seemingly-impossible small beginning? Accept every encouragement, and don’t give up!
Coming soon. January 2018. Thank you, Sarah Grace Publishing!
Conflict is sparks flying. It is emotions rising. It is experiencing what most of us think we would rather avoid. Yet, sometimes conflict is necessary. When we speak up for the slandered. When we defend the defenseless. When we risk our reputation to protect the innocent.
But our actions can only resolve part of the problem. The slandered might still feel worthless. The defenseless might still feel powerless. And, the innocent might still feel betrayed. These are reactions that continue to harm.
Conflict then shows us another face. It fights for the hearts that sink into despair. It fights against the lies that drag them there. Yes, conflict is sometimes called love.
There are times when the waves of life roll in, crashing on our shores. A couple of weeks ago I almost lost someone very dear to me. Now someone else is slipping away. I keep thinking, “It’s going to be hard to survive this loss.”
Then, out of the blue a text came in the night. Someone passed on a message to me. “Eva, I am for you!” From God.
I would like to share this same message with you. Have you been up most of the night? Are you experiencing some kind of grief? Could it be a decision you have to make? Or, maybe you don’t feel strong enough to stand up against a wrong? Whatever it is, God is for you. Let him be with you. You are safe.
“If you want to walk on water,” a minister said, looking around at us, “get out of the boat!”
I gasped. That was blunt! But it was true as well. How can I follow Jesus anywhere, at anytime, and at any cost, if I don’t want to climb out of the security of a boat?
Thankfully, Jesus understands our fear of failure, and anxieties at finding ourselves out of our depth, but he still stretches out his hand. “Come!” he calls to each one of us. He dares us to step out of our little boat. He dares us to put everything on the line for him. He dares us to trust that if we sink, he will reach out and hold us up. “Come!”
A salesman telephoned a few days ago. “Are you Mrs. Leaf?” he asked.
My guard went up. “No!” But then it hit me. What was I saying? I am Mrs. Leaf. I have been for 30 years. “I mean, yes!” I said.
The salesman paused in that “Then, who are you?” kind of a silence.
“Mr.” I corrected. “I mean, Mr. Leaf. No! I’m not him. I’ll go get him.” The salesman started chuckling, but I sent up a prayer, right there on the spot. “God, why do I always say the wrong thing!”
An answer came back fast, just like a pingpong ball. “I made you this way. I created you for my glory.* Embrace it.”
Do you have quirks? Let’s celebrate!
All of us make plans of one kind or another. Most of our plans are good. But, will we ever get them fulfilled?
Many of us will. But a few of us will get lost, ending up somewhere we never intended. Others of us will spend our entire lives trying to make our dreams come true. Others will just laugh at the thought that plans ever work.
Yet, I have noticed that some have a goal that transcends all plans. They don’t even have to say what it is. Their lives speak it out for them in silent words. “I will show you the most excellent way… Follow the way of love.” (1 Corinthians 12:30, 14:1)
By God’s grace, I want to follow…
You might remember… my memoir wasn’t published because of a threat of legal action. A full year later the threat still exists. Yup! It’s an accomplishment that deserves the equivalent of a boy-scout badge.
It was also a test to find out what is really inside me. Sure, I found anger and the desire for revenge, but I also found something else. The strength to get back up. The ability to forgive. The courage to consider that I might be getting another badge next year.
I find God does that with troubles. He uses them to teach us about ourselves. He uses them to make us deeper and truer. “It is God who arms us with strength and makes our way perfect.” (from Psalm 18:32) It is God.
Memories can become our masters. When we have been broken and hurt, and don’t know how to move on, those memories enslave us. It is as if they take over our life.
In the Bible God’s people were enslaved as well. They knew they couldn’t escape the pain and suffering inflicted on them. God knew they couldn’t… He rescued them. He sent hope. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Let God fight for your heart today. Believe him when he says, “Don’t be afraid.”
Sometimes life seems to throw us more than we can cope with. Sometimes these troubles come at once… the washing machine breaking, the fridge, the car, the printer, the telephone, my boots… emotional griefs… death, rejection, and exhaustion… My tears flowed unhindered. I was truly in a deep, dark valley.
Then I got a paper cut and spilled lemon juice on it. I started to laugh. The solution was so simple, I rinsed my finger in water. When life stings, I immerse myself in God, his Word. I drink his peace and perspective. “As we pass through the Valley of Weeping, we make it a place of springs.” (Psalm 84:6)