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October '13

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

—Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Reflection:

A surprising number of reader-friends, during my recent book tour to Indiana and Kentucky, asked me this question: What constitutes having influence in one’s small corner of the world? And how can we know if that calling is being fulfilled?

Especially now, in these difficult times, people are eager to know what they can do to make a difference where they live and work and minister…right where they are.

My recently novel, The Secret Keeper, delves into this important issue. When the Holy Spirit inspires a desire in our hearts—if we nurture that calling and follow it—the initial desire (with prayer, divine blessing, and hard work) can spring to life and blossom into a beautiful “garden.”

Are you struggling, unsure of your influence on those you love, your circle of friends at work…at church…in the secular marketplace? Trust in God’s perfect timing and in His cherished will. My Amish friends understand the meaning of God’s sovereignty. They truly believe, like an innocent and trusting child, in their heavenly Father’s plan for their lives.

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” ~Romans 8:26-27

A blessed and inspiring autumn season to you!

September '13

Make your ways known to me, O Lord, and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me because you are God, my savior. I wait all day long for you.

—Psalm 25:4-5 God’s Word

Reflection:

When asking for tech support from your computer geek, do you interrupt before you receive the information and just hope you can fix your PC problems yourself? When you’re gathering cooking ingredients for a new recipe, do you abandon the last three items, too rushed to bother, yet still hope the dish turns out okay? Do you leave off the last half of your course assignment, hoping the prof won’t notice?

Yet how frequently do we, impatient as we are, throw up our hands when our prayers seem to go unanswered? Why are we in such a hurry for answers?
James 1:4 instructs: But let patience have her perfect work.…

In this fast-paced, hectic world we live in, it’s sometimes hard to think that waiting for God’s answer is ever a good idea!
Many of my Amish friends are lifelong farmers; they are familiar with the concept of waiting and patience—one of the fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering. They wait each spring for the soil to thaw and soften before plowing and cultivating; they wait for the crops to yield produce, for the rains to come, and for the highly anticipated harvest.

So often we wonder how much longer we must wait to know God’s will. But really, does it matter if, while we’re waiting, we’re growing and maturing…trusting in His timing?

On that note, I’m patiently waiting (trying!) to see many of you during my upcoming fall 2013 book tour to Indiana and Kentucky. Please check the full schedule here.

Blessings as we grow together in Christ,

August '13

They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other’s homes and shared their food. At the same time, they praised God and had the good will of all the people. Every day the Lord saved people, and they were added to the group.

—Acts 2:46,47 (God’s Word Bible)

Reflection:

When was the last time you lingered at the table, taking time to “break the Bread of Life” with your family or close friends? My many Plain (Amish and Mennonite) friends view their tables as the most important furniture in their homes, for this very reason.

Treasured fellowship—enjoying a community of believers.

Imagine the joy of sharing God’s faithfulness and goodness, and answered prayer, with others at your dinner table! (No cell phones, please). There is nothing quite like looking into the faces of your loved ones—and others close to you—while eating together.

As the last days of summer wind down, before back-to-school craziness begins, let’s embrace every precious moment. Talk of the Lord while we sit at breakfast, when we go about our day with our kids, our friends, our co-workers, and let’s focus on Him when we tuck the family into bed at night. He is our life, our breath, our very purpose for living.

We’re only given so many precious moments on earth. Let’s savor them, embrace them, and make them count, dear reader-friends.
 
Have a wonderful August!

July '13

Indeed, our lives are guided by faith, not by sight.

—II Corinthians 5:7 (God’s Word)


Reflection:

We are children of the Promise—God’s promise. Think of that! We trust in our heavenly Father, knowing we can focus our eyes (and hearts) on the blessed hope, the reward of the eternal, while looking ahead with joy to the great things God is doing right here in our world. Missions are thriving. Thousands each day are answering the call of Christ in many lands. God is at work in our lives and all around the world, friends.

When things look the darkest, the candle of Faith shines the brightest.

Also, let’s never forget those early "pilgrims" who paved the way for our American liberties more than two hundred years ago, this Fourth of July, and the many men and women who have given their lives, limbs, and minds willingly for those very freedoms.

I wish you and your family an inspiring Fourth!