"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." —Isaiah 9:6
Just think of it, friend. Daily we seek wisdom and guidance on various levels. We strive for strength and health in mind and body. We grasp for longevity—to live long and prosper.
We hope for good education for our children and grandchildren, and for great success, too...and fit bodies, organic foods, alert minds, thriving relationships, fast cars, and nice houses. We yearn for courage and confidence and security.
But of all the things we long for, isn't peace the most elusive?
The Prince of Peace came to planet Earth in the unexpected form of a baby, in the middle of our chaos and clamoring for more and more...and more. Immanuel: God is with us. The Lord of Peace and Hope.
This Christmas season, my wish and prayer is that we may know and embrace the Peace that is mind-boggling, incomprehensible. The longed-for Peace that stills our trembling soul, and beckons us to kneel before His manger-cradle...calls us to surrender at His redemption-Cross. This amazing Peace invites us to stand with devoted hearts flung wide at His empty tomb. He is our greatest treasure, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Gift of Peace.
"Then he taught them many things by using stories. He said:
'A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants. But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered. If you have ears, pay attention!'"—Matthew 13:3-9 (CEV)
Recently, I had the heart-warming privilege of visiting Williamstown, KS ("Bill Town" as referred to by the locals). Back in 1947, as a young newlywed, my father was the pastor of the only church in this community of a mere three blocks. Dad reached out to every resident in that rural community, and beyond. He and my mother lived in a drafty, old house on the outskirts of town—I've learned more by reading my mother's diary of those years—and were paid with chickens and occasional bags of groceries. They struggled to make ends meet and to put enough food on the table, and my mother wrote in her daily journal: "This house is a house of prayer," which indicates their never-wavering trust in God's ability to supply their most basic needs. And, He did!
While I was there a few weeks ago, I believe I found the old house where they lived, and also happily discovered a thriving congregation there....AND a rather large attendance at the Cowboy Church just around the corner. What a joy to learn that the seeds my father sowed are continuously springing forth for God's glory.
I'm thanking God for the ministerial call on Daddy's life (he would have celebrated 89 years this month)...and for his answering that precious call here on earth. As well as when God called him Home last January 9th.
What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving season, dear reader-friend?
“Don’t you say, ‘In four more months the harvest will be here’? I’m telling you to look and see that the fields are ready to be harvested.”—John 4:35 (God’s Word Translation)
Happy autumn season from my house…to yours!
Does the scent of wood smoke and pumpkin pie make you smile? Does it bring back delicious memories of childhood?
Back in Lancaster County Amish country the harvest is in full swing. Soon, apples will be pressed for cider, and snitz pie will appear on long, trestle tables in many Plain farmhouses, at farmers' markets, and all around the county. Ah, the harvest!
When I think of this particular fall, I will always remember your generosity and thoughtfulness during my recent book tour to Pennsylvania, and one stop in Maryland. You are the most wonderful fans ever! Thanks, truly, for the royal welcome I received at every stop along the way. (See tour pictures posted here.)
Presently, I’m settled in at home again and happily “polishing pages” for my spring novel, The Love Letters (available March 24, 2015). We had our first sighting of snow atop Pikes Peak, which possibly means a brisk autumn. But my heart is warm, indeed, with God’s love, while I finish up the editorial process. All for my amazing reader-friends!
May God bless you with His abundant peace, comfort, healing, joy, and His great and amazing grace. And then, let's use those beautiful gifts to bless others...a harvest of divine compassion and love and caring.
"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."—3 John 1:2 (NIV)
We sometimes overlook our good health, don't we? Not until we come down with a summer flu, or fall and break a wrist, or something alters our usually healthy state, do we realize what we typically take for granted.
Isn't that the way most of life is, as well? When things are unruffled, going smoothly, we may not be as aware of God's hand of provision in our lives. And our soul can languish. Our body and soul require constant attention and care. Talking to the Lord each day and reading His Word are two obvious ways to feed our souls. Singing hymns and spiritual songs lift our spirits, too. Sharing the goodness of God with others, as an encouragement, is also vital to a healthy soul. And thinking on good, wholesome, and lovely things, as well.
I've been looking forward to my upcoming Fall 2014 Book Tour to Pennsylvania (with one stop in Maryland), and I'm reminded that the Lord gave me a rich spiritual heritage. And I am truly thankful. Going home to Lancaster County is always a joyful time, a time of reflection, of remembering the grace of God in my life and work--of growing up in a minister's home, being taught the Scriptures at an early age, seeing the Fruit of the Spirit lived out before my eyes each day by my parents, and, best of all, answering my Savior's call at the age of six.
I'm eager to meet you during this special tour, if you live near or in the area. I'll share the stories of God's providence and Amish lore.
So thankful for your prayers for each other, and for my writing ministry.