New Year – Old Memories

Recently I attended a church service where the message was a call to love God. Not just exalt Him and acknowledge His presence but to really love Him. There were several key points made about showing God how we love Him. Of course, Matthew 22:35-38 was referenced, but the main message centered around Deuteronomy 11. After a few days I wanted to review the points made so I started by reading the chapter but ended up receiving a lesson of promises and warnings.

In the reading, the Israelites were instructed to remember what God had done for them and to continue clinging to His directions. If they did this then things promised to go very well for them. Yes, they were about to experience something they never even knew to dream about. But God is telling them that they will have valleys and hills and water.

Coming out of a desert region where they had no place to hide from any desert storm that blew – no valley, no hill, no cover – a place with hills and valleys sounded wonderful. Then there’s water. When you think of deserts, you think of dry mouths from the lack of water. The new place sounds like the place to be.

But God speaks to the very nature of man in this chapter. When things get going well, we tend to forget about God. Hence, the warnings. In order to continue the new harvests, new wine, new olive oil, lush pasture for livestock, and food for eating then they needed to keep God’s anger away. It wasn’t that hard a thing to do. They were to love God, talk about God, and follow whatever God decreed for the people to do. Following this, He would drive out opposing forces. Sadly, we know from the other books in the Bible that they failed to hold to this simple instruction.

As I read the chapter, I felt the Lord was speaking to me about the new year and the continuation of the new path I am on. All of us are heading into a new year full of new experiences. Some of these we can see coming, like having a president who is not the normal politician. But, mostly, the new year holds mysteries; some big and some small, but definitely something different. This new year promises to bring me new experiences I’ve only dreamed of, like the publishing of my first novel, One Way Out.

God has always been with me, but in the past year I have seen His hand of provision and encouragement in new ways. He has taught me through His Word, and held me when I was lonely, sorrowful and angry. The lessons He has given me, the patience He has shown me, the love He has imparted to me through others has opened my eyes to how important I am to Him. We all are. Knowing it completely is the tricky part.

Near the end of the chapter it states that God has been cultivating this new land. I get the sense that this new year is one God has been preparing. Who knows what all we have ahead of us. I do know that the land the Israelites took over had hills and valleys. That means there will be good times and tough times in our coming year. There will also be water. Jesus said His water would cause us to never be thirsty again. This year may bring us plenty of Jesus so that our souls’ longing is quenched. (John 7:37-38; 6:35; 4:13-15)

I like the way the end of the chapter reads in the Message version. When we enter the new year we will be at a crossroad. As is the way of God, we have freewill. We choose what path we take. We either remember and follow God and thus receive His promises, or we ignore what He’s done for us in the past and fall into the curses that follow.

This new year is a new adventure for all of us. We are entering a time that God has had His focus on. He has tended it and has prepared it for us to enter. I don’t know about you but my plan is to do my best to remember what God has done for me and to follow the path of promises so I can soak up all that God has for me. God will bless our steps and actions and take us to places we didn’t think were possible.

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Everybody’s Broken

Recently I read a book by Fay Lamb entitled Everyone’s Broken. It was a great deal, read the book and give an honest review. What I wrote for Amazon and Suspense Sisters is below:

This is my first time to read a novel by Fay Lamb. I must say she has a flare for twists and turns in a story that even when I figured out who is the villain was, I kept turning the page. In Everyone’s Broken Faye shows how we see ourselves may not necessarily be how others see us.

As the main character, Abra, struggles to piece life together while hiding out from the man who killed her husband, she discovers this truth. Her eyes are opened and she’s faced with dealing with who she really is and what these new revelations mean to her future. And as her world seems to be turned upside down she rediscovers her relationship with God and His presence in her life.

The male lead in this novel is Shane. As I turned the pages I discovered a faithful man who withholds truth in order to protect those he loves. He too learns the importance of honesty and how painful lies, even when told to protect, can hurt. But, he also learns about forgiveness and its power of healing.

As family and friends work to solve the mysteries surrounding deaths and attacks their stories and hidden truths also emerge. Together and united they figure out all the mysteries that need solving. It was a pleasure to see each character grow and each story come to a satisfactory conclusion. I highly recommend Faye Lamb’s book to anyone who has a passion for romantic-suspense.

 

A Dream In The Making

Decades ago I was in the midst of my quiet time when the Lord instructed me to write a book. This was a far cry from anything I would have planned to do on my own. In fact, I’ve often thought of myself as Noah building that huge ark, a boat larger than anything ever seen or heard of in those days.

The fact is, at the time, I didn’t even read as a pastime. But, that has changed. I write and read regularly and am in the midst of publishing my first book, One Way Out. It is still an overwhelming task when I look at it with my human eyes and expectations. But, I have God directing me, and friends who are guiding me as I step out on the stormy waters of publishing.

As I mentioned before, it’s taken decades and at one point I felt I had let God down because I wasn’t already published. Then He replied back by telling me I had been working on it since He called me. Obviously, He wasn’t worried about my delay. And over the years His calling has become my dream.

This a dream I share with my parents who each had desires to write. My dad always wanted to publish a book. And although he recorded funny sayings and happenings in a scribble pad, he never pursued writing a book. The closest he got was having a story reach the final selection process in a Chicken Soup collection. As for my mom, whose only non-fiction book won her a scholarship to Boston where she met my father, she went to her death bed desiring to write more for God. (abuespeaks.wordpress.com)

And now, my dream approaches reality. The closer it gets to holding my first book in my hands I again feel like Noah. With the huge project done, did Noah know what was ahead? Yes, he knew God said rain was coming, but did he fully understand what that was? I wonder what will happen after this book is published. Unlike Noah who only had to build one ark, the Lord has given me the rough draft of the next book. In fact, what I thought would be a stand alone novel has evolved into a series of three books. . . The Way Out Series.

My hope is that each of these books will open people’s eyes to how quickly life can change. That they’ll serve to draw people to Jesus as the world gets closer to fulfilling the prophecies written so many millenniums ago. I hope you read and enjoy these books.

As for now, let’s celebrate together and join me on this adventure of what will come next.