Discover Your Purpose

January 5, 2020

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Here’s some good news. If you have ever wondered, “What is my purpose?” you can stop wondering. You don’t need to find your purpose, because you’ve already got it. I pray this brief post will help you discover it.

 

Before delving into discovering your purpose, however, we need to make sure that stress isn’t taunting you like a fully extended rubber band aimed at your face. I want to introduce you to the Fun Times Tool, developed by my brilliant friend, Lisa Wagner, also known as the Rug Chick. She led us through this simple exercise at a conference, and it changed my life. Fun Times Tool

 

As Lisa says, “Finding time for fun and rejuvenation is critical for living a good and healthy life.” Once you take time to have fun, your sense of stress and overwhelm will diminish, and you’ll be inspired to do what you were put on this planet to do—to fulfill your excellent purpose.

 

Using Lisa’s Fun Times Tool as a model, I developed the Discovering My Purpose Tool. It will help you discover the unique purpose that was born within you and is still within you. It is your purpose and belongs to no one else. Only you can fulfill it. And when you do what you were put on this planet to do, you will add value to the lives of others. The world will be a bit better because you are fulfilling your unique, excellent purpose. Discovering My Purpose Tool

A Friendlier Christmas Story, Part 3

December 23, 2019

angel-appears-to-shepherds-603730-wallpaperIn the culture of the Bible, whenever a woman went into labor, it was the custom for the ladies to ask the men to leave, so they could gather inside to assist in the birth. It doesn’t make sense to assume that people were so cold-hearted back then that they wouldn’t assist a young girl in labor, only to send her away to give birth in an outdoor barn.

While all this was taking place in Bethlehem, God dispatched angels to a field nearby.

Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds in the same area, living out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night.

People who had a flock of sheep too large to keep indoors would have a shepherd watch their animals outside at night to protect them from predators.

Bethlehem shepherds

Shepherd boy with sheep, just south of Bethlehem

Luke 2:9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were frightened with great fear.

Imagine peacefully watching sheep in the quiet of the night with some other shepherds, and suddenly you see an angel standing in front of you, and a brilliant light shining around you. This frightened the shepherds, but the angel assured them …

Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for Look!, I bring you good news that will cause great joy, which will be for all the people.

11 For to you was born this day in the city of David the Savior, who is the Messiah and Lord.

12 And this will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

Note that the angel said the baby would be lying in a manger, a feeding trough, but nothing about an outdoor stable.

Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory in the highest heavens to God, and on earth peace among people with whom he is well pleased.”

What a glorious sight to behold—a multitude of God’s warrior angels, His heavenly host, praising God!

Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, when the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.

The shepherds were excited. Their ancestors spoke about and awaited the Messiah’s coming for millennia. And now the promised Messiah had arrived—in their neighborhood! They hurried to Bethlehem to see him, but how would they find the baby?

In their culture, it was pleasant when a girl was born. After all, who wouldn’t melt at the coos of a newborn infant? But when a boy was born, it meant that when he got married, he would bring his wife to live with his family. This meant future grandchildren, more workers, and increased prosperity for the family. Even today, you can see homes throughout the Middle East with rebar on top, ready to add an additional story when their son(s) marry.

So, when a baby boy was born, there was cause for a large celebration with music and food. All the shepherds had to do was follow the sounds of a party in the small town of Bethlehem, to find who was celebrating the birth of a boy. When they found the joyous party the new parents’ relatives were having, imagine their excitement. They may have nudged their way through the jubilant company, working their way toward the baby inside. Was this the right house? When they saw baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger—just as the angel told them—they were filled with praises of joy.

Luke 2:17 And after they saw it, they made it known about the message that had been spoken to them about this child.

18 And all who heard it were amazed at the things that were told to them by the shepherds.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen; everything was just as it had been spoken to them.

So, should you keep your Nativity set’s ruggedly elegant, 17th-century-style outdoor wooden stable, or chuck it? I’ll probably keep mine.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this heartening retelling of the Christmas Story, just as it comforted us to hear an age-old story being shared in the cultural context of family members taking care of each other and rejoicing with one another.

May your Christmas celebration be filled with peace and joy with those you love.

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Sunset over Bethlehem

A Friendlier Christmas Story, Part 2

December 20, 2019

virgin maryPart 1 ended with Elizabeth encouraging Mary with a prophecy from God about her baby. Even baby John leaped for joy inside Elizabeth’s womb.

Luke 1:56And Mary stayed with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Mary and Elizabeth had a lot of things to discuss and were both in a wonderful position to encourage one another in their miraculous pregnancies. Since the journey home would be long for Mary, it would make sense for her to stay awhile with Elizabeth and help her around the house during her last trimester. (Moms, we can relate, right?) And since she was already there, why wouldn’t Mary stay to assist with the birth, and meet this miracle baby who was announced by an angel, just like her child? I’m just guessing, but I’d sure want to stay for John’s birth!

But Mary had to deal with the inevitable—traveling home to reveal her pregnancy to Joseph.

Matthew 1:18Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way: his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they came together was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

19Now Joseph her husband, being righteous and yet not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20But while he was thinking about these things, Look!, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to favorably accept Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit.”

24Then Joseph, awaking from sleep, did as the angel of Yahweh commanded him and took to himself his wife.

Once again, God sent an angel—this time, to let Joseph in on what was happening. The couple married, and a few months later, Mary needed to journey to Bethlehem again, this time with her husband, and a lot of other people.

Luke 2:1Now it came to pass in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the inhabited world for taxation.

3And everyone went to be registered, each to his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem because he was of the house and family line of David,

5to be registered along with Mary, who had been betrothed to him and was pregnant.

All my life, I saw pictures, children’s plays, and television programs showing Joseph leading Mary, great with child, on a donkey to Bethlehem. This is where we need to set aside tradition and consider Joseph’s humanity. If Caesar wanted everyone in the Roman Empire to travel to the cities of their lineage for a kingdom-wide registration, he would need to give everyone enough notice to make preparations before leaving their homes and places of business for the long journey. With all that notice, why would Joseph wait until the last minute to make his nine-month-pregnant wife travel on a donkey (or whatever means they used) for a period of one to two weeks? Common sense dictates that Joseph would lovingly bring Mary to Bethlehem before the difficult, last stages of pregnancy.

Luke 2:6Now it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled for her to give birth.

The scripture tells us that Mary went into labor “while they were there,” not “as soon as they arrived.”

Luke 2:7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling-cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no space for them in the guestroom.

Most Bible translations say, “there was no room for them in the inn.” The Greek word for “inn” appears only three times in the New Testament, and in the other two usages (Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11), it is correctly translated as “guest room.”

We visited a centuries-old house in Taybeh, a Christian town in the West Bank. The “Parables House” was inhabited up until 1974 and is now used as a teaching exhibit for tourists to the Holy Land.

stepsAs you enter the house, you walk up a small staircase to the main room of the home (left). Over the cooking area are some tiny windows, and to the right is an opening to a bedroom (right). It could be used as a guest room while the family slept in the main room.kitchen

Bethlehem was the town of Joseph’s lineage, as well as Mary’s, so they had plenty of relatives there. However, the town was very crowded for Caesar’s registration. Since there was no space for Joseph and Mary in their relatives’ guest room (which could have been Zechariah and Elizabeth), they had to stay in one of the lower rooms (under the main level) that were normally used for keeping animals safe inside the house at night.

Lower stables for animals, on either side of front entry stairs.  

These indoor stables each had a manger to hold food for the animals. It makes sense that Mary would put something soft inside and place Jesus in the manger.

Perhaps the Bible translators of 17th-Century England saw the word “manger,” and translated the scene into their Western culture, assuming that Jesus was born in an outdoor stable.manger

Manger (right)

to be continued …

Up Next – Conclusion, and why those shepherds were so excited!

A Friendlier Christmas Story

December 18, 2019

christmas-manger-4579217_640It always bothered me as a child when I saw plays and television shows about innkeepers saying, “No rooms!” to Joseph and nine-month-pregnant Mary, and slamming the door. How could these people be so cold-hearted, letting a teenage girl give birth alone with her husband outside in a barn? When I started having children and knew how difficult it was to do anything toward the end of each pregnancy, I was appalled that Joseph would put his about-to-deliver wife on a donkey for the journey to Bethlehem.

After decades of being subjected to the same tale each year, I got numb to the callousness of it all. Reason went out the window as I accepted the traditional Christmas story.

My husband and I recently returned from a sixteen-day pilgrimage in the Holy Land. We visited the Herodium fortress late one afternoon, just south of Bethlehem. As we stood at the foot of the fortress overlooking Bethlehem, some shepherd boys joined us with their sheep. With the sun setting and shepherds by our side, we looked toward Bethlehem as our guide shared a heartwarming retelling of the Christmas Story. To hear this account of love, family and community thrilled my heart as the night descended upon the little town of our Lord’s birth. It went something like this …

Part 1 – Angel Visits Mary, Mary Visits Elizabeth

Luke 1:26Now in the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy with John the Baptist] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

27to a virgin who was betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.

Israel regionsThis map shows where Mary lived in Nazareth of Galilee, the northern region of Israel. Gabriel appeared to her there and said, “Hello, favored one! You’re going to conceive and have a baby, who will be great, the Son of the Most High God!”

Young Mary, about thirteen to sixteen years old, asked, “How can this be? I’m a virgin!” The angel told her she would conceive by the Holy Spirit. (If God could create the heavens and the earth, He could certainly create His seed in Mary’s womb.) Gabriel also told Mary that her relative, Elizabeth, who was barren, conceived in her old age and was now six months pregnant. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Imagine how this must have built Mary’s trust in God. Elizabeth, who was well past her child-bearing years, was pregnant. If God could do that, He could also do what the angel was telling her. She answered, “Lo!, I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Even though she was “all in,” Mary understood some challenges lay ahead for her. What would happen when Joseph noticed she was pregnant? According to the law of Moses, he could bring her to the gate of the city to have her stoned or to publicly disgrace her by divorcing her. (Yes, they took engagement pretty seriously back then.)

So, Mary decided to take a trip to visit the only person who could possibly understand her situation—Elizabeth.

Luke 1:39In those days Mary got up and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40and went into the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

Nazareth to Bethlehem mapThis map shows how far Elizabeth lived from Mary, down south in the Judean region in the vicinity of Bethlehem. A young girl would never make this journey alone, so Mary probably checked around to see who was headed that way and asked if she could travel with them. The journey could have taken a week to ten days. You know how it is when you travel with a bunch of people. Someone needs to stop and visit their uncle along the way, someone gets sick and needs to get some medical attention … life just happens.

When Mary finally reached Elizabeth’s house …

Luke 1:41And it came to pass when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit

42and cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

43And how is this happening to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44For Look!, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

45And blessed is she who believed, because there will be a fulfillment of the things that have been spoken to her from the Lord.”

Let’s take a closer look at Elizabeth’s greeting (Luke 1:41-45). They didn’t have email or Facebook back then. It took a lot longer for news to travel. What’s more, Mary couldn’t have heard about Elizabeth being pregnant from anyone but the angel, because Elizabeth “hid herself for five months,” and her husband lost his ability to speak when he questioned the angel who told him about his future son, John the Baptist.

So, here’s Mary, showing up unannounced at her older relative’s house. Without having told a soul about her dangerous predicament of facing a possible stoning or a public divorce, God downloads the information to Elizabeth, and she prophesies about Mary’s baby. Do you think Mary was a little comforted? You bet.

An angel previously told Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. So, God also downloaded the information of what was happening to little baby John, who leaped for joy at the arrival of his cousin in Mary’s womb, who would be the Lamb of God!

to be continued …

Coming up: Joseph discovers Mary’s pregnancy, and the truth about the manger and stable.

What Is Time?

December 16, 2019

Time pocket-watch-1637396_1920

My high school physics assignment sounded simple enough. Define time. I was intrigued, for I had never considered such a thing. I went home and looked up “time” in my old, tattered Webster’s dictionary. After reading the lengthy definition, I realized the Webster people didn’t know how to explain time. It was one of those words like “love,” that had a long-winded definition, all to say, “We don’t know.”

 

I spent a lot of time in thought and meditation on this concept. “What is time?” I considered myself an agnostic but observed that when it came to the big questions in life, the answers to “What?” and “Why?” usually led to a mastermind behind the universe. And this was one of those questions.

 

“What is a day of time?” I pondered. One rotation of the earth on its axis. What is a month of time? About one revolution of the moon around our planet. What is a year of time? One revolution of the earth around the sun. What is the common denominator here? And then it hit me. 

Motion. It’s all about motion. What would happen if the earth stopped turning on its axis? What would happen if the moon stopped revolving around the earth? What if this planet stopped revolving around the sun? And even more significant, what if everything in the universe stopped moving? I remembered a Twilight Zone episode when time stood still, and no one moved. Nothing happened, because no time passed.

 

I realized that time is simply the measurement of motion. If nothing moved, there would be no time. When something moves, however, time is the measurement of its movement from point A to point B.

 

A few months later, I was going through a time of spiritual confusion. God intervened miraculously and revealed a bit of Himself to me. The only two phrases which came to my mind was that I was “in the Spirit,” and this was “revelation.” I was somehow inside the mind of God, and it was immense. All of time was one. That’s the only way I can explain it. I saw all of time at once. I didn’t know everything, but I understood everything. I didn’t know how my small brain could comprehend the magnitude of His understanding, compassion, and love. A burning desire to go outside and help people flooded my heart.

 

After the revelation ended, I realized I had been exalting myself above God. I was humbled. There was no question about it. God was real, and to say that He was more significant than I would be an understatement. I always believed that truth was within me if I looked hard enough for it. But I recognized that truth was outside of myself and was much greater than me.

 

I resolved to seek truth until I found it, not knowing that it was a “Him.” Two more years would pass before I humbled myself before God, started reading the Bible, and came into a relationship with the living, resurrected Christ Jesus, whom I confessed as my Lord.

 

That was over four decades ago, and I still think about what God showed me. I’m still intrigued by the concept of time, especially when I find scriptures about it. For example, Isaiah 57:15 says that God is “the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity.” 

 

The prophet Isaiah declared that God inhabits eternity. Wherever or whenever you are, God is there, everywhere. He doesn’t go from point A to point B in the physical realm. He exists outside of time because He doesn’t move. He just is. That is why when Moses asked, “what should I say your name is?” God’s reply was simply, “I AM.” Throughout all of time and every crevice of the universe, God is. He couldn’t have given Moses a more perfect answer than “I AM.”

 

We, on the other hand, move through linear time, from point A to point B. I understand things best in pictures, so I made a meager attempt to illustrate time and God. Imagine all of time on earth as a large, black board. Each person’s life would be a tiny line of light peeking through the board–millions of lives, millions of tiny lines of light. Now turn the board over, and we see God—a vast, brilliant, dazzling light.

 

This concept gets very interesting when we consider Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, sacrificed, died, resurrected, and now seated at the right hand of God—who inhabits eternity. He is everywhere, in God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who knows every heart and hears every prayer. He is the Way, as we move along our linear light of time. He is the Truth who satisfies all who seek. He is the Life, who will bring us into eternity.

Hurricane Michael One-Year Anniversary

October 10, 2019

43 0720190548While our nation lurches on with the media’s daily barrage of polarizing narratives, most have forgotten the struggle of millions recovering from 2018 disasters–a blizzard, a volcanic eruption, nor’easters, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, mudflows, and for those of us in the Florida Panhandle, a category 5 hurricane named Michael.

Today marks the first anniversary of Michael’s strike. I’m thankful and proud to be part of a community that has pulled together with kindness and fortitude to help each other in the recovery effort.

And yes, the restoration continues. As for my house, the chimney is repaired, and three-quarters of the roof was installed a couple months ago … still waiting on its completion. We have a long way to go before we are whole, but we’re thankful to be able to live in our home. Many are still living in trailers, RVs, and other temporary housing while waiting for contractors to show up and rebuild.

Despite the challenges, it’s a blessing to see how neighbors have become friends, encouraging and helping one another. I acknowledge and thank the One who gives all increase and growth in budding leaves in the trees, greenery in our landscapes, and unconditional kindness in hearts.

Here’s a photo-story of recovery in one neighborhood–ours. Enjoy, and peace to you.

Hurricane Michael Anniversary, Osprey Point

A Health Nut Is Born

September 7, 2019

no carb breakfast“I’m pregnant!” I announced to my friend, Pat.

“That’s great!” she said. And after a pause, “So what are you doing for your baby?”

“What do you mean?”

“To make sure it’s healthy. What are you doing?”

“Well, I gave up smoking before we conceived. Isn’t that healthy?”

She rolled her eyes. “You’ve got a lot to learn, girl.” Pat sauntered over to her bookshelf and cocked her head to read the spines. “Here ya go,” she said as she tipped a book out and handed it to me. “Read this … for your baby’s sake.”

As I looked at the back cover and flipped through the pages, I had no idea this would be my first book of many in a life-long learning adventure in the field of health.

Fast-forward thirty-four years. I no longer eat out all the time, especially at fast-food restaurants. I want to know what I’m eating, for crying out loud. Every trip to the grocery store is a lesson in nutrition as I read label after label. I take nothing for granted … as if my favorite brand of unsweetened almond milk will never change its ingredients. They change things all the time. All for the almighty dollar. Sales top nutrition in priority, diabetes and heart disease be damned.

If you happen to be at a supermarket where I’m shopping, I’m the lady wearing the dark-rimmed glasses, squinting to read the microscopic ingredients list on a jar of almond butter. “Sugar!” I exclaim in disgust while shaking my head and shoving it back on the shelf. “Why do they have to ruin it with sugar?” I ask no one at all.

Yep, that’s me, the “crazy” health nut. That’s what most people call me, anyway. I remember visiting a friend in Alabama who told me to make myself at home. So, I opened her pantry cupboard to find a snack. After perusing pancreas-assaulting sweetened cereals, unnaturally flavored chocolate chip and chocolate sandwich cookies, chemical-laden corn curled chips, and a host of other engineered foods, I stepped back and said, “Wow. There’s nothing here that I would eat.”

I didn’t realize how rude my comment was until the same friend came to visit me. She opened my cupboard and surveyed the columns of organic soups, wild-caught sardines, organic nut crackers, non-GMO corn chips, mixed nuts with sea salt, and steel-cut oats. “Wow,” she said. There is nothing here that I would eat.” Touché.

My husband watches me take my morning supplements and laments the bundles of dollars wrapped up in all those capsules. “But Dear,” I say. “would you rather I spend hundreds on these supplements, or tens of thousands on a hospital stay?”

“We have insurance,” he says.

“Sure. Insurance on pain and suffering that could have been avoided,” I counter. “Insurance on permanent medications that destroy your liver and rob your quality of life, not to mention shortening your lifespan.”

He shakes his head and scoops ice cream into a dish, slathering it with chocolate syrup.

That’s OK. He’s a work-in-progress. He’ll come around.

Such is the life of your slightly strange health-nut friend. She is on a relentless quest for discovering the truth about healthy living. She updates her cranial database with each new scientific discovery she finds, which might make you groan, “What is she into now?”

Nonetheless, on she goes–reading, learning, and spouting stuff you’d rather not hear while you’re eating your cheeseburger. Humor her, nod, and smile when she uncharacteristically swipes one of your french fries. Because she, too, is a work-in-progress.

Night to Honor Israel

April 9, 2019

Sometimes we experience something so moving we’ve got to tell others about it. Such was my experience this past Sunday night, so I wrote a letter to the editor, and they printed it …

0407191854c b

I want to thank the Panama City News Herald for covering Holocaust survivor Irving Roth’s recent speaking engagement at Naval Support Activity Panama City, and for mentioning he would also speak Sunday night during a Night to Honor Israel event. Pam and Larry Perry, Christians United For Israel (CUFI) Panama City directors, encouraged my husband and me to attend Sunday, and we brought some friends. So did many others. As First Assembly Panama City Pastor Phil Edwards opened the evening and thanked everyone for coming, he commented on the one-thousand-plus crowd. “How could that many people fit in this space?” I wondered. I turned to discover they had taken down the partition to accommodate the standing-room-only crowd. I wanted to document Bay County’s overwhelming response and support for Israel, so I walked to the back of the room and took photos of the packed assembly hall.

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Pastor Victor Styrsky, CUFI Eastern Regional Coordinator, performed a lively Hebrew praise song as everyone clapped in rhythm. Rabbi Samuel Waidenbaum of B’nai Israel Synagogue Pensacola thanked everyone for their support for Israel. I was stunned as a video showed soaring incidents of anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses. Justin Pizzulli, CUFI on Campus Field Organizer, gave a recent first-hand account of a hateful, angry college demonstration against Jews and Israel. As a protester shouted in his face, he prayed. College students in attendance Sunday night were invited to apply for an all-inclusive scholarship to the annual CUFI Summit in Washington, D.C. in July.

When 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Irving Roth took the stage, I marveled at his passion and vigor as he told his horrific story of the rising anti-Semitism in Germany that transformed ordinary people, even dear friends, into despising the Jews. At age fourteen, German soldiers herded him into a cattle car with one hundred people—standing room only, with no bathroom, ventilation or windows—and imprisoned him at the Auschwitz death camp. Several of his family members were gassed and burned to ashes, including his older brother. At the end of World War II, he and 300 other boys, weighing an average of seventy-five pounds each, were rescued by American soldiers, whom Irving called his two Messiahs, one black and one white.

I shuddered to realize that soon there will be no more Holocaust survivors left to tell their story—to tell us that, yes, this planned extermination of the Jews did take place, and that circumstances leading to this tragedy are being mirrored today. Can it happen again? Irving Roth’s story was a startling wake-up call. It’s already happening. In the words of Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Night to Honor Israel 040919

The Power We’ve Got … If We Only Knew It

October 31, 2018

Under Our Feet

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, many people here in northwest Florida are still working their way through this trauma and heartache. I find that I am somewhat disoriented, forgetful, and tend to lose things. It’s difficult to know what day it is. It’s been three weeks since the storm, but in one way it feels like it only happened a few days ago. In another, it feels like months have passed. There’s a lot of work to do each day … and always more work than the hours each day will provide.

Through it all, God is so good, bringing people together to help each other. In our little corner of the world, Michael dissolved the animosity between conservatives and liberals. The rest of the country goes on as usual with a lot of divisiveness … and here we are, doing our best to help one another get through each day.

I’m so thankful for those who have reached out to help, for getting to know neighbors better, and for the blessing of being able to lend a hand. We are helping each other through the recovery process–in our homes, businesses, community, and hearts–one day at a time.

The Lord Jesus’ comforting words come to mind: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

I was recently reminded of the God-given authority over all the powers of darkness, given to those who are in Christ Jesus. I’d like to share a teaching I did about it a while back, “Resurrection Enlightenment.” For those who have simply confessed Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10), triumph over this tragedy and trauma is certain, because we are in him who has overcome the world. Give a listen if you’d like, and if you haven’t called upon His name, He’s waiting with open arms.

Resurrection Enlightenment

Unique Christian Writers Retreat

October 4, 2018

0503180628_HDRWithout knowing anyone who was going last spring, I registered and attended the Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat, which was a life-changer for me. I learned my writing craft more deeply, made great connections, and met people who would soon become my dear friends and support team.

I now say without hesitation, sign up now for this unique, small-setting writers’ retreat on beautiful Blue Lake in Andalusia, AL. Space is limited, and now is the time to register with the Early Bird discount, before the holidays.

I discovered it was a beautiful lakefront camp-type setting, and I opted for my own room. I’m such a wuss when it comes to comfort, so I brought along my foam mattress topper and pillow, which proved to provide “happy as a clam” sweet sleep.

Marilyn Turk, the retreat coordinator, greeted me at the front door, which impressed me beyond measure. “With all she’s got to do,” I thought, “she’s here, greeting me at the door?” Yes, it was a foretaste of things to come.

One of the teachers, Susan Neal, greeted me at the opening meeting and asked me about what I was working on. She asked for my one-sheet, something I had learned about from the retreat’s preparation blog posts, and I sheepishly handed my first one-sheet attempt to her. She gave me encouraging comments about it, and I felt … well, like I was where I belonged. When I found out she was one of the award-winning teachers at the retreat, I was humbled … and thankful.

And so it went throughout the entire retreat. I dined and spoke with authors, publishers, agents … and budding writers like me. I even met Jennifer Hallmark, who invited me to write for her blog, Inspired Prompt.

Best of all, I discovered something I had been long seeking–a Christian writers’ critique group. Because of the connections and friends I made at the Blue Lake retreat, I am now a member of Word Weavers of Destin, FL, where I attend every month and get help and inspiration for my upcoming gratitude journal and devotional.

I always place a priority on having FUN while learning, and the teachers at the retreat did not disappoint. They were fun-loving, extremely informative, and eager to pour out their life experience to help us succeed in achieving our dreams.

What can I say? Great heart, great learning, sweet fellowship, and encouragement. You know you have a story to tell, a message to deliver. Learn your craft of writing more perfectly … in a peaceful, beautiful, and personal setting. Register now.

 


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