My Book will be Released July 8!

I Was Broken, Too #2

Written by Me

workstation-Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Who am I to write a book? That was another objection that contributed to my dawdling. I’m ordinary. I’ve not done anything outstanding, obtained qualifying degrees, or received accolades━so what do I know?

Well, I know pain, loss, disappointment, disillusionment, and consuming grief. I know how it feels to live in a dark place, unable to see one hour ahead. I know what it’s like to wonder how I could still breathe when I hurt so bad. I know the devastation of shattered dreams, untimely death, and the assault of personal worth. You know these things too.

I also know God’s mercy and have learned how to overcome, how to breathe and, yes, how to hope again. So I wrote I Was Broken, Too to tell you that God sees your brokenness, He cries with you… and He repairs broken hearts. 

I wrote a book to remind you that your focus matters, that shattered plans make room for new opportunities, that you can reboot your mind, and, mostly, that you can expect grace. These are four paths to hope I describe in I Was Broken, Too. Each one is supported by personal experiences, biblical truth, and the stories of others. 

My prayer is that my journey back to hope will inspire your journey and, as you walk the paths described in I Was Broken, Too, you will renew your hope.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The Imbalanced Math of Easter

Biblical Mathematics (5)

5-Easter-Image by Jo-B from PixabayThe principles of Biblical mathematics can be seen most clearly at Easter in the celebration of Jesus’ victory. He suffered the ultimate subtraction and division to add and multiply His grace to us. Think about it…

Subtraction : the act of taking something away

  • Jesus—stripped of His glory, dignity, clothing, and life
  • Us—the subtraction of guilt, shame, and debt—a zero net balance

Division : the act of separating

  • Jesus—separated from friends, from His Father, and then from the world, heaven and God when He descended into hell
  • Us—the temple curtain tore, closing our separation from God and offering us instead, separation us from sin’s curse, our failure, our debt, and our fear to approach Him

Addition : the act of joining or supplementing to cause increase

  • Jesus—added the weight of sin, human suffering and shame, to His blameless perfect life
  • Us—to our need, was added supply; to our debt, was added redemption; to our sin, was added forgiveness; to our despair was added hope

Multiplication : the act of increasing greatly

  • Jesus—bore the multiplied sin of mankind, past, present, future, and suffered pain and agony multiplied beyond comprehension for our freedom.
  • Us—multiplied, immeasurable grace, fresh mercy every morning, free and unending forgiveness

Lord Jesus, our words fall short. We cannot express the depth of our gratitude so we offer the only thing we can, our lives. Loving Spirit, grace us to walk away from temptation and subtract sinful attitudes and practices. Inspire us to live separate lives, dividing our time and treasure to serve others. Help us cultivate and produce fruit that reflects you. Multiply our love, for you and others. Amen.

Image by Jo-B from Pixabay

Multiplication

Biblical Mathematics (4)

4-Image offered by Julia Barret at teacherspayteachers.com

If addition is good, multiplication is better. Add 8 to 32 and you get 40; multiply 8 times 32 and you get 256. We’re blessed when God adds to our lives, but when He multiplies, we’re overwhelmed.

By definition, multiply means to increase in number especially greatly or in multiples. With that in mind, let’s look at three aspects of Biblical multiplication.

A relationship with God multiplies our grace and peace (2 Peter 1:2). A look at the synonyms for multiplication informs us that this means our grace and peace are increased, enlarged, augmented—they reproduce. Who wouldn’t like more grace and peace? I told you, God’s multiplication is overwhelming!

On top of that, our connection with Jesus enables us to do our own multiplication. He wants us to bear fruit, more fruit, much fruit—and He empowers us to do so.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener … every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful … If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” John 15:1-5

Lastly, the words God spoke at creation, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28), were not that different from Jesus’ final words before ascending into Heaven. He told His followers, then and now, to go and make disciples of all nations—to multiply (Matt. 28:19). He desires all people to live with Him in heaven, eternally.

There is only one way to multiply and that is by being attached to the Master Multiplier. He is the One who multiplies our grace and peace, enables our fruit to reproduce, and increases our love for others.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  2 Peter 1:2 NKJV

Image offered by Julia Barret at teacherspayteachers.com

Mary, Joseph & a Donkey without MapQuest

Christmas Travelers

6myriams-fotos_pixabayWhich is harder to imagine?

  • A trip on a four-legged beast without heat, reclining seats or a radio?
  • Heading anywhere without MapQuest or Google Maps?

Complicate the scenario with a first-time, full-term pregnancy; a journey not for pleasure but required by unjust law; and an unspecified destination with no room reservations.

Joseph and Mary set out on their arduous journey with all of those complications in full play:

  • The supernatural pregnancy was not sought, expected, or fully comprehended. It was rife with social and relational challenges, stretching the couple’s faith in God and their commitment to each other.
  • The decree was unreasonable, inconvenient, and burdensome, ordered by a Godless Roman unjustly governing a land that belonged to the Jews.
  • They traveled to the town of Joseph’s lineage, knowing the route but no details—and without layette, bassinet, or midwife.

And, yet, the God who goes before them (and us) was present. Though the particulars of overbooked lodgings, an unsanitary delivery room, and a feeding-trough-cradle appall us, God had orchestrated those details, just as He orchestrates ours.

It may be that you’re also traveling an unfamiliar road, in trying circumstances, dealing with inadequate conditions. Be assured of this—God is present on the journey, covering the details, offering grace, and awaiting your arrival.

And, who knows? There may be angels, shepherds, and gift-bearers somewhere in your future.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

I’ve Fallen—And I Got Right Back Up!

fallen2Have you noticed that what’s true in the physical realm is often not so spiritually? It’s understandable that the older we are, the consequences of a fall are more debilitating and difficult to heal. Wisdom instructs me to hold hand rails and watch my steps, but I’ve also discovered the converse is true in my spiritual life, in matters of my heart and soul.

Circumstances that would have devastated me in my youth are now taken in stride—I recover more quickly and get right back up. As I considered this, I wondered why it’s true.

Have I suffered to the point I’ve become numb? Have I become cynical and unsurprised by adversity? Has my heart hardened to disappointments? It’s none of these reasons—the pain is still poignant. The difference is, I’ve been exercised in grace.

Grace was waiting for me when challenges caused distress. It met me when I was hammered by despair. Grace calmed my heart and carried me when I couldn’t go on. Every debilitating loss provided a fresh discovery of God’s grace—and now, I’ve learned to expect it. This expectation may not be immediate. I often have to sit quietly to center my heart and remember, but God’s grace is always there…

Abundant grace

Fresh grace

Personal grace

Free grace

Sufficient grace

I may sorrow through the night of my affliction, but in the morning I find God’s mercy and grace, faithful and new. Again.

Belief Changers

Picture 1 from Life Alert, picture 2 from Belief Changers

 

 

Learning from the Angels

shepherds angels (1)

The angels appeared to the shepherds with a long-awaited, earth-shattering, can-it-really-be-true? message: “A Savior has been born to you.” As amazing as this announcement was, a gentle progression preceded their proclamation. Read it for yourself in Luke 2: 8-15.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

The angel arrived on the hillside with an astounding announcement, but before that, he calmed the shepherds’ fears. His first words were, “Do not be afraid.” The angel had the shepherds’ attention but needed to prepare the men to hear the message. It makes me wonder how often fear stands in the way of receiving—in the physical world and in the spiritual world.

The angel still didn’t make his announcement; he stated his purpose, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” There was urgency to the angel’s message, but the heavenly being didn’t rush. His shepherd audience needed further preparation—they were going to hear good news, a message of joy for them and the entire world.

Finally, the announcement was made: “A Savior has been born to you.” The angel proclaimed the history-changing, life-altering, sin-solving message of hope. The proclamation was simple and straightforward, without explanation of prophecy or theology.

The angel concluded with details, which were also a teaser. “You will find a baby…lying in a manger.” He didn’t tell the shepherds what to do, but enticed them to discover the truth for themselves. Then a host of angels appeared and burst into praise, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

With little information and the inspiration of the angels’ song resounding in their hearts, the shepherds were compelled to act.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Isn’t that exactly how God is with us? He calms our fears so we’ll be in a position to listen. He gentles our spirit before speaking His message. He tells us truth, plainly and simply, with information enough to inspire us to go and see for ourselves.

And the angels sing.

Photo compliments of endoftheage.blogspot.com