Friday, September 27, 2013

A Dream Come True

Dreams DO come true! 

These thoughts rolled around in my mind last Saturday, as I headed the Chattanooga, Tennessee for my first book signing. The devotional book was called Pearls of Promise. Forty-six writers in all had contributed but only 5 were able to attend this event. This was only the second time I have seen my writing in book form.

The day began at 11 am with a delicious lunch at Sticky Fingers. Our fellowship was lively as each of us shared stories. There seemed to be an instant sense of friendship and camaraderie. And then…the ribs came. They were the best ribs I have ever eaten. We laughed about getting a ‘BBQ sauce anointing’ while we tried to keep the sauce off our clothes. The manager was so taken by our group’s joy that he gave each of us a complimentary bottle of the sauce. I thought, Blessings are beginning to flow already. Thank you Lord. You have made my expectancy rise.

By the time we arrived at Barnes and Nobles around 12:30pm, everything was prepared for us. As we greeted Kelly, one of the store’s managers, he told us of his faith and commitment to make our time as fruitful as possible. Right before 1 pm, we all circled around (even Kelly), held hands, and prayed for God’s best. Along with signing a bunch of books, these are some of the highlights that followed:

Instant connections between all other
Christian authors presenting books there.
No competitive spirit among us.

Praying and ministering with a young father, Robert
about his newborn son, Nathan (mother-Rebecca)
who was born 6 weeks earlier with Gastroschisis
(born with intestines outside the body)

Kelly brought bottled water for each of us.

Authors ministered and prayed with other authors.

Words of prophesy were given and confirmed.

Prayers went upwards for one author who had not shown up
because her husband had been in a car horrible accident the day before,
and was in critical condition.

Kelly brought over oatmeal cookies in small white bags.

One of the author on our team got a call that her
little fourteen-year-old dog had to be put to sleep. She was heart broken.

I could hardly believe I was signing books and ministering
to people’s needs right in the middle of Barnes and Nobles.
For years, I have shopped at the store in our area and said, by faith,
“Yep, one of these days, I am going
to have a book on their shelves too.”

By the time 3 pm came, we could see that God had done something special with our newly formed friendships. The cohesiveness of our group did not happen just because we were all writers. It was because we all had servant hearts. Somewhere, we grasped that this day was not about promoting our own book and ourselves but about showing others Christ and being a living epistle for His glory.

What God-given dream are you working towards and expecting to manifest? Can you spread the Gospel of Christ through it? No matter what, don’t give up on your dreams. God is faithful to manifest what He has prepared you to do. Just keep moving forward by maturing your skills and the knowledge of Christ. Then one day, when you least expect it, your dream will come true.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Monday morning started off good until I went downstairs. I heard a noise coming from the direction of my freezer. When I went to investigate, it had been left open. How could this be? Suddenly, I remembered I had cleaned out some old food the night before.

As I checked the remaining food, my joy began to deteriorate. Fortunately, I only lost about a third of what remained. Then my thoughts began to turn inward.

“You should have made sure you closed the freezer door.”
“Look at how much food you’ve wasted.”
“Look at the money you’ve wasted.”
 “You should have done better.”
“When will you learn?”

I was anxiously pacing the floor. An old mind-set was activating. The self-condemnation was building. Worry and fear were not far behind. My focus had turned inward and the victim mentality was forging ahead.

Suddenly, I yelled out, “NO MORE!” as I sensed God moving within me to implement a new plan of attack. I need to ‘change my mind’ now. I refuse to become self-absorbed. I’ve had enough of the enemy’s frame of mind. My focus must be on God and His Provision. Ok Lord, where should I begin?

These three actions burst into my mind: I’m going to praise, I’m going to pray and I’m going to pass out some food.

Praise- My heart and hands flew upward to where all true blessing come.

I began praising God for who he was to me. Next, my thoughts turned to what Christ had done on the cross and who I was in Him. These thoughts allowed the spirit of boldness to shine forth. Last, I remembered how God had helped me previously so I knew He would help me right now. Joy began to shine forth in my soul.

Prayer- I aliened my will with God’s so His power could work on my behalf. I ask for wisdom, protection and alertness to ungodly thoughts. Thankfully worry and fear drain away. A plan of action for planting seeds formed and more joy flooded my soul.

Pass out some food- I knew of several families that would appreciate some free meat to help them stretch their tight food budgets. I made a list and began calling. When a friend would answer the phone, I started off with, “Have I got a deal for you!” By the day’s end, I noticed an enduring joy stabilizing my soul. The transformation of an old mind-set had begun.
Where is your mind-set when everyday challenges strike? Is your focus on God or turned inward to self-condemnation? We all have mind-sets, which need to change? These misguided thought-patterns are how we cope when life challenges us. They force us to focus on our abilities instead of on God’s power.

Today, ask God to alert you to worldly self-condemning mind-sets. Then, choose the Christ-centered transformation process. Renewing your mind will stop the worry and fear. Then, peace and joy will spring forth to soothe your soul.

The mind of sinful man is death,
but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:6

Casting down imagination and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Every good and perfect gift comes from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with when is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17

Just a footnote 9/25: I have already received seed blessings from two very unexpected sources. Thanks God from whom all blessings flow.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Real Thing

From a letter I received from Kimm Car at      Community Bible Study:

Twenty-four hours ago, with absolute conviction, my twenty-year-old daughter said to me “I don’t like pudding.”  And so began a crazy conversation about the university’s cafeteria, high school lunch hours and what really happened to the items I packed in her school lunch.  “And I KNOW that I do not like pudding, chocolate or otherwise!”
I do.  So I pulled out 5 simple ingredients and went about the slow, time consuming process of making chocolate pudding from scratch.  OK, 6 ingredients but that’s because I am always looking for a way to add flavor and it worked because after the constant attention to whisking, stirring and tempering, I took a lick of the thick, hot, chocolate pudding-to-be and swooned.  Really, it was amazing.
My anti-pudding twenty year old was watching me.  She sniffed the hot chocolaty goodness and asked what was in it.  I told her.  “That’s all?  Maybe I’ll try it, but I know I won’t like it.”
She used an iced teaspoon, the long handle for protection I assume, and gathered a micro speck of still hot chocolate pudding.  She looked, sniffed and quite gingerly licked.  I cannot even begin to describe the delighted smile that spread across her face.  It was like looking into the face of a 2 year old on Christmas morning.  “This is . . . good.”
The problem was this; she had never had the real thing before.  She had always had “pudding” from a box, can or plastic cup.  Processed and fake flavored, it was called pudding, but it was not the real thing.

Last year, I started going to Community Bible Study in my county in North Carolina. I asked God for a single book to study at home and He gave me a single book, Revelations, and a study group of passionate women to go with it. I am forever grateful for His wisdom. These committed ladies in leadership have shown me and given me the 'real thing': consistent shepherding. And...accountability as I study the Word. First, I study at home with a study guide. Then, I meet with my core group to go over the study guide. Finally there is a short lecture on the meaning of that day's verses and how they apply to us today. When I leave, I feel like I have been surrounded with a shield of love and grace as we have delve into the word of God together each week.
Today, I started my second year of study. I am still experiencing the 'real thing' as well as giving back what I am learning to others. This year, I was also asked to joined the leadership team and work in the children's department. WOW! A double portion. Let the learning begin!

Are you experiencing the 'real thing'? Are you making time for quality Bible study on a regular basis? Some are able to be in a faith-filled group while others have no choice but to study the Word individually. Either way, your purpose will be the same: drawing closer to God through His Word as well as learning to listen to His Spirit. This is the only way to get through these tough times with victory. I pray the only question you are considering now is: Where do I want to begin? You may need to seek help but DON'T GIVE UP! 
There are tons of resources online. I use Blue Letter Bible to help me with my search for the truth between the verses. I have learned so much lately and the Scriptures are coming to life. I know it will happen for you too if you DON"T GIVE UP!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sell or Seed?

“I am sitting here listening to my grandparents gossip about their church. My Grandpa is fussing about the church wanting to give the pews to another church just starting out.” Jamie texted.

“Pray for them” I texted back.

“I will, but it does drive me crazy,” she texted back.

Then the Lord inspired me with this: “Sell or Seed,” I texted.

“Yeah, I know. I agree with you,” was her last text.

What is your meaning behind the words sell or seed, Lord?

There are two ways to dispose of the things we do not need any longer. First, we could sell the item. One item (pews) for a single profit (money received) -This way usually takes minimal effort and is safe. You know when and where your supply will come and how much you will receive. There is nothing wrong with this method of disposal.

After writing this first part, the Holy Spirit led me to study the 9th chapter of II Corinthians. In II Corinthians 9:6-8, I found the other way.

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Sometimes, God will inspire us to plant the sellable item as a seed with no predictable profit. God needs our obedience so He can honor the request of another first. Then, He will multiply the planted seed to abundantly fulfill our needs. Unlike a sell, planting a seed will take faith with expectation until the profit of planting begins to show forth. God orders the multiplication (added favor, better deals, etc.) of a planted seed in such a way that all the glory/credit is His alone and not anything we could have done to help the process along.

Why does God inspire us to plant a seed instead of just sell our possessions?

God is looking for four attributes:
1. Cheerful people –who give from the heart of love and not begrudgingly because they had to compromise.

2. Obedient people -who are willing to risk to grow their faith.

3. Patient people -who are willing to wait on God’s perfect time for their abundant return

4. Declaring people -who will proclaim their victory stories of His faithfulness without fear. 

My friends, God wants His name and His deeds established on the earth above all. He has ordained us to have a part. First hand accounts of disciples are how the kingdom principles are best spread and believed. People hear your story along with your praise and thanksgiving for what God has done, their hearts can be soften and tilled by the Holy Spirit to hear the Gospel of Salvation.
As the end result of your generous seed, not only are the prayers of the saints answered but the fruits of your righteousness will have grown in a wealth of benevolence and encouragement too.

Do you have things you need to dispose of?

Do you desire a quick single reward or are you willing to wait for a multiplied reward that exceeds your expectations? Pray and search for God’s wisdom on where to plant and how to glorify Him with your resources. Then watch and see as you wait for His proclaimable glory to come forth.