Think Positive

In the early morning hours this thought came to me

Never assume the worse about anything, but assume the best until proven wrong. The gift of positive thinking is a wonderful boost to your faith.Free Image Public Domain

And to your peace of mind.

God is still, and always will be, in control. Allow Him to work miracles in your life. Remember all He has already done for you. Read in His word and believe His promises.

“For faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

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Who Are You?

Who Are You

Do you ever feel like you’re on the “sidelines” of life. Left out. Lonely. Growing up, I did. Even today, I feel excluded sometimes. Why is it that some people always seem to be the center of attention with no lack of friends? I think part of the answer lies in our personality type. But another factor is how we grew up.

 

All humans need to “belong.” Some of us never get the sense of family growing up for one reason or another. We go into adulthood wounded and feeling excluded. We don’t know how to be a wife or husband, father or mother, because we never learned the concept as a child. We were raised by dysfunctional, imperfect parents. But guess what? We’re imperfect, too.

 

“Hey, June Foster, how did you become so dark and sullen?” you might want to  ask. But wait, the story doesn’t stop here. It gets better—and happier.

 

God says He doesn’t care how dysfunctional our childhood was. He’s ready to make us whole. We belong to a more important family—the family of God. We’re blameless in His sight and are called sons and daughters of the Most High. Though we’re hurt and lonely, Jesus overcame the world. We need to learn who we are in Christ.

 

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1: 4-5

 

Did you know God would have such amazing words to say about you, my friend?

 

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Too Shiny

Too Shiny

 

Once when my grandson Jayke was about four years old, he told my daughter the

reason people couldn’t see God was because He’s too shiny. Of course Grandma thought that was such a cute thing for a little one to say. It was only recently I found a scripture that affirmed the truth to that statement. By the way, my grandson’s now thirteen.

1 Timothy 6:15-16 says: God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom  no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.

When I thought about it, that is the reason why we can’t see God, because he lives in unapproachable light—He’s too shiny. But when God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross, He sent us a physical representation of Himself. We will see the Son again someday as well at His second coming.

And at the present time, we’re not left as orphans because we have the third part of the trinity living within us and others—the Holy Spirit.

Wow, never knew kids were so smart. Theologians even at the age of four! I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Luke 10: 21

 

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The Glowing Poker

As she climbed from Mrs. Dugan’s car, Kathy thought again of a comment the pastor had made that morning. Christ lives in us as we live in Him.

“Oh!” She’d almost forgotten her manners. “Thanks for giving me a ride to church.”

“You are welcome anytime, dear.”

As the car rolled away from the curb, Kathy waved then walked to the front door. In another year she’d be able to drive herself if her parents still wouldn’t come with her.

Christ lives in us as we live in Him.

For the hundredth time she wondered how it was possible. When she’d accepted Jesus as her Savior, she was told He now lived in her heart. But how could He be in her and she be in Him at the same time? Surely there was something she must do to be in Christ. What if she was only half a Christian?

More than anything, she wanted to win her parents to the Lord, and she felt this new truth was important for that purpose. Surely if she lived in Christ as He lived in her, she would be able to witness to them, and they would listen.

The aroma of roast beef simmering in potatoes and carrots drifted into the living room as she entered the house.

“Mom! Dad! I’m home.”

“Good.” Her mother’s voice reached her. “Hang up your coat before you wash your hands. Dinner is on the table.”

After they ate, Kathy joined her parents in the family room. A bright fire danced in the fireplace. Kathy sank to the floor and watched the red and orange flames as they licked greedily at the logs.

She turned to her parents. “Mom, can I fix some popcorn?”

Mom glanced toward Dad, and he smiled. “That sounds wonderful. Need any help?”

Kathy jumped to her feet. “No, I can do it.”

She stirred the wood first with the iron poker. Sparks flew as she pushed the pointed end against a log. It settled then and began to blaze. Instead of putting the poker away, she lay it down then reached for the long-handled popper. Soon the pops of exploding corn filled the room.

As the last popping sounds died away, Kathy noticed the pointed end of the poker, still lying in the fire, was glowing red. She bent and pulled it back from the fire but stopped, staring at it. Now she understood.

As the glowing-red fire was in the poker, so was Christ in her. In like manner, as the poker lay in the fire, so should she be in Christ. If she surrounded herself with the things of Christ, she would be in Him.

Kathy whispered, “Thank You, Jesus.”1-Circle of Vengeance Blog

She rose to share the popcorn and hopefully her new life in Christ with her parents.

 

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, But Christ liveth in me. Galatians 2:20

Categories: Devotionals, Musings, On My Mind, Story Devotion | 1 Comment

Does Jesus Have Tattoos?

Does Jesus Have Tattoos

 

Hmm. Good question. Well, Isaiah 49: 16 says, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

All kidding aside. I’d like to talk about one of my favorite scriptures. Romans 8: 38-39. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That scripture contains a mountain of assurance and strength for a weary Christian. Paul is sure beyond any hesitation that nothing can remove him from God’s love. Nothing on earth, no created being, not time, absolutely nothing can sever us or remove us from our Savior.

Sometimes we need to stop and internalize the thought.

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What Inspired The Novel “Flee from Evil” by Connie Almony

What inspired the novel Flee from Evil, you ask?

Though it is not actually a long story, it was long in the making. Let me tell you about it …Flee from Evil Meme--with green bg

Around 20 years ago I watched Mel Gibson play a character who rescued his son from kidnappers when law enforcement could no longer help him. I’d just started to read Christian fiction and wondered, “How could this be written from a biblical perspective?” I also wondered, “How could the writers have inserted a little romance?” I had no plans to be an author at the time, but this story swirled in my head—characters added, others subtracted, various settings—until I began to reveal bits to family. They marveled at the crazy churnings of my mind, but none of us believed I’d actually turn it into a book.

More than ten years later, after my daughter inspired me to get serious about writing, I still hadn’t planned to write this story. I created and published three completely new ones. Why? From a human perspective, I couldn’t tell you. From a Godly perspective, I believe He wanted it to marinate a little longer. Had I written it first, it wouldn’t have had the layers and textures that now make it what it is. It also wouldn’t have had the characters whose life experiences I’d yet to appreciate at a deeper level. The sweet, ten-year-old boy struggling with autism. The tattoo-laden, Harley-riding, elder of the church. The former dirt-track race car driver who, despite his hardened exterior, has stolen some reader’s hearts with his rarely-exposed kindnesses. These characters were drawn from people whose lives unfolded while I matured as a writer.

Though I’d planned to make the “pastor with a past” someone who’d grown up in a country-club lifestyle, I hadn’t planned to make his new best friend, and the man who brought him to Christ, his mechanic. Nor had I planned to make the church he pastored a “redneck church” until my cousin had lovingly given his own church that label, the one I’d come to see like home and family.

This story is about forgiveness, redemption and the manifestation of Romans 8:28 where God can not only make bad things that happen to a person good. He can also use the bad things a person has done for His glory.

Unlike the movie that inspired it, it is not just about a man who’d do anything for his child—as God has done for us. It’s about a God who can re-purpose the lowliest of lives and make them extraordinary!

Note: It just so happens the ebook version of Flee from Evil is FREE this very day. Follow the link below to get yourself a copy.

Flee from Evil

A pastor with a past uses his underworld connections to try and save the child of the woman he wronged many years ago.

Pastor Vince Steegle thought his destructive beginnings were ancient history, but the ramifications of his prior choices just walked in the door of his church. Is Romans 8:28 really true? Can God really make all things good? Or is Vince’s past just too ugly?

After the death of her much-beloved husband, Cassandra Whitaker is looking for security for her children. One, a teen on the cusp of womanhood. The other, a young boy struggling with the effects of autism. But there are those who seek to destroy them. Can Cassandra keep her family safe, or must she flee from evil?

 

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God’s People

God's People

 

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” Proverbs 4: 18-19.

Hmm. Let’s see. Would I rather walk in the full light of day or in darkness and stumble. That’s a no brainer. But the passage says the righteous walk in the full light of day. I don’t feel very righteous. I’ve harbored some unkind thoughts today … and I’ve gossiped a bit. And oh, yeah, I envied a few people and lost my temper with my husband. That doesn’t sound too righteous. Sounds like sinful behavior.

But what does God’s word say? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3: 23-24. Though I don’t feel justified, God says I am. And I believe Him.

Romans 8: 1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” This is good news. Though it doesn’t say I’ll never sin again, it does mean I’m not a slave to it. Now I think I can walk in the full light of day and hold my heart up higher.

 

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Everybody Worries

 

 

Businessman Thinking on StepsWhat? You worry about things, too?

Everyone worries—whether it’s a young person starting out into the world, parents raising their children, professionals building their careers, the elderly concerned about health, you get the idea. I’m pretty sure writers are in there somewhere.

Questions continually plague me. Maybe my manuscript is lacking and my hero is unsympathetic. How do I fix him? Do I rewrite the whole book? It took me nine months just to write it the first time. Will that agent like my proposal? If not, what will I do next? Sometimes I feel like telling my computer good-bye and never turning in on again. Worry? You bet I do.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.” Matthew 6: 25. God says not to worry. Huh? Does He really mean that?

Lord, could You be telling me not worry about what I will write or how I will create scenes that bless my readers?  “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6: 27.

Okay, I get it. But how do I go about not fretting over my manuscript?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Okay, seek Him first. Once again, how do I accomplish that? I believe the answer is trust God moment by moment to achieve His perfect will in my writing. Pray and tell Him I am helpless without His strength and wisdom. Tell Him I want to write for His glory and ask Him for the many skills it takes to do that. “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, when you run, you will not stumble. Proverbs 4: 11-12.

If I free my mind from worry, I have more room to hear from Him and more energy to write.

Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” Psalms 34:10.

 

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Count Your Blessings

“Can you meet me at Ryan’s Café for lunch?” Lisa’s request wasn’t out of the ordinary, yet the strain in her voice tugged at Janice’s mind while she drove to the café.

Something was going on. Although she didn’t have a clue what it might be, her heart pounded as she parked and crossed the lot to the door of the small café that served the best home cooked meals in town. At least that’s what her husband always said before he’d wink and add, “Other than yours, of course.”

A smile set on her lips at the memory and widened when she saw Lisa waiting for her in a back booth. She lifted her hand in greeting.

Lisa’s answering smile could’ve been mistaken for a grimace. Still, she grasped Janice’s hand as soon as she sat down. “I’m so glad you came. If ever I need a friend, it’s now, and you’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”

Janice’s heart dropped like a dead weight on her stomach. This didn’t sound like a broken fingernail problem. She took a deep breath and squeezed her friend’s hand. “What’s wrong, Lisa?”

“He walked out.” Lisa hiccupped a sob, covered her mouth, and two big tears rolled from her eyes.

Janice held her breath, hoping she was wrong. “Who?” Do you mean—?”

“Yes, Cameron. My two-timing husband.” Silent tears ran down Lisa’s cheeks even as she squeezed her eyes tight. “He wants a divorce.”

“I’m so sorry.” Janice couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“Don’t be. My mom says I should be thankful to be rid of him.” Lisa blotted her tears. “But I can’t. I have nothing to be thankful for.”

“Oh, no …” Janice thought of so many things Lisa had to be thankful for. If nothing else, one was that she found out before she and Cameron had children. How much harder it would have been if a child was involved. But it wasn’t her place to list her friend’s blessings. Lisa needed to realize those things on her own. And she would. When the pain eased, she’d understand God had not abandoned her.

“If there’s anything I can do to help …” Janice laid her hand on Lisa’s unsure how to finish without saying too much.

“Thank you. You’re a good friend.”

Although Janice couldn’t remember ever saying she had nothing to be thankful for, she’d often acted that way. Yet even in her lowest circumstances there’d always been much to praise God for.

At that moment, she made a promise to herself. She’d be available for Lisa, but she’d also begin a list of blessings for herself to take out during those times she needed it the most. Thank You, Lord for Your blessings even when we can’t see them right off!1-Circle of Vengeance Blog

 

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  II Thessalonians 5:18

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Temporary vs. Eternal

Temporary vs. Eternal (2)

A passage of scripture stood out to me recently. 11Corinthians 4:18. “So we fix out eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” It made me think.

In the passage, Paul is talking about our future hope when we die. In this life, we are wasting away, our bodies are getting old and feeble, but these troubles are light and momentary. Someday we’ll experience an eternal glory that is so much better that we can’t even imagine it. He encourages us to think about the Eternal when we will see the Lord face to face, even as He now sees and knows us.

So what do I normally “fix my eyes on?” The TV screen, the computer, my kindle, my clothes closet, the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets—just to name a few things. But as the apostle says, I will experience these things for a short time. More importantly, we should focus on the next life. That’s Heaven for the Christian.

So here’s a short list of the “temporary” things we witness daily.

1.All the items I mentioned above, 2.house and place of work, 3.pets, 4.our car, 5.i-phones, 6.friends, 7.bar-b-que grill, 8.cosmetic products, 9.movies, 10.books.

Sure this stuff concerns us and occupies our minds, but how often do we center on the “eternal?”

  1. God’s word, 2.our lives in Heaven, 3.the Lord, 4. Jesus’ sacrifice for us, 5. speaking to God in prayer, 6.Praising God, 7.Singing to the Lord, 8.Spiritual gifts, 9. the Holy Spirit, 10.Sin.

We live in this world and must focus on daily chores and responsibilities. But maybe we should set aside more time to “fix our eyes” on what is unseen. You can’t go wrong, and I believe it would lift our perspective on this life and the next.

 

 

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