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August '16

"For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]."—Ephesians 2:10

Reflection:

Recently, I was going through my father's books, recalling his affinity for the Amplified Bible, (see verse above), which he frequently used in his sermons when I was a young girl, growing up under his pastoral ministry. When I opened this English translation of the Bible the other day, I noticed my mother's handwriting—hers and Dad's names written on the flyleaf—and wondered how either of them might respond to the chaotic upheaval in our world today if they were still living on earth, especially in this heated and intense political landscape in our own country.

I witnessed throughout my life, Dad's interest in steering people toward the positive, the joyful—he loved to encourage believers in their walk of faith, and daily anticipated making friends with those who were yet-to-become-believers, as well. He fully embraced this verse, and often preached about the Great Creator who made us, knows us, and understands our every yearning...and struggles, and our hopes and dreams. He taught us to care for and about each other, to love each other with no strings attached. (It has been two and a half years since his Homegoing, yet his ministry continues in the lives of those who opened their hearts to Christ during Dad's long lifetime.)

It is my prayer that we may grasp the treasure of Ephesians 2:10 and fill our hearts with its truth: Believe it, and act on it, use our God-given abilities to make a difference in our corner of the world for the good. And for the glory of God alone.

Blessings for August!

Beverly Lewis

July '16

"Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."—Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV)

Reflection:

Heaven is our true home, but God calls us to seek the good of the earthly home where He's placed us. As you reflect on the verse above and the moving lyrics below, will you join me in praying for our nation this July 4th weekend?

"America the Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

May your summer be full of blessings!

Beverly Lewis

June '16

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is there anything too hard for me?” —Jeremiah 32:27

Reflection:

My father was my pastor for all the years I was growing up. He based several sermons on this verse in Jeremiah—an enormous statement from our heavenly Father.

Nearly every Sunday, I took detailed notes…and, not surprisingly, some of Daddy’s ideas and declarations of faith have found their way into my novels.

In turn, I taught my three children to believe this verse, as well. One day, when our fluffy white cock-a-poo, Cuddles, wasn’t his normal lively self, my husband said maybe our pet needed to see the vet for some medical attention. Our little girl, Janie, overheard this and put her faith into action, kneeling next to listless Cuddles. She laid hands on him and prayed that God would heal our puppy-dog.

It wasn’t long before Cuddles was up romping about the house and the yard. All of us were convinced that God had answered Janie’s prayers. It was a remarkable recovery.

To this day, our family goes to the Lord in prayer first for healing or guidance. And it all started with my dear father (and mother), gone now to be with the Lord. This Father’s Day I will remember the many faith-filled sermons my Daddy preached in his little church in Lancaster, PA, as well as “preached” at home by his kind and loving ways and strong belief in the God who cares, sees, and understands.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. And a happy start of summer 2016!

Smiles,

Beverly Lewis

May '16

"I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life." —2 Corinthians 2:14-15

Reflection:

Mother’s Day, for many of us, is a difficult time. There is heartache at not having conceived a longed-for child as each month passes, the yearning for a family of our own, the sadness of pain that comes from misunderstandings and rifts between moms and rebellious children, and other heart wrenching issues that pound away at the very core of our families’ lives.

I understand on some level, because I, too, struggled to have children before God opened the door to the idea of adopting. Fast forward: our three “J’s” are the joy and delight of my life—Julie, Janie and Jonathan—all grown now. They are true gifts from their biological mothers, and from our heavenly Father who does all things well.

This month of May is the fruition and finale to springtime, which I love. The radiant and blossoming trees and shrubs I enjoyed so much during my recent Ohio book tour reminded me of the stages of each of our lives, which, when I consider the loss of a mother, father, and other dear ones, is truly sobering. Those sweet-smelling tree blossoms only last for a season, and then are gone. Just as our lives are described as “a vapor” in Scripture, compared to all of eternity.

When I think of my darling mother, gone now ten years, I can tell you that the fragrance of our Lord still lingers in the lives of those who came to know Him because of her gentle and fervent witness. I’m thankful Jane Buchwalter Jones was the mother God chose for me. Without her influence and encouragement, I doubt I would be pouring my heart and soul on the pages of books. I doubt I would be the woman, wife, mother, and author I have become.

My mother led me to Christ when I was just six years old. Her heart knew that our heavenly Father was calling me to follow His Son, even at that tender age. Mother had a heart for me, and for my sister, Barbara, and she laid down her life in ministry along with my father till her Homegoing in July 2006. Her cancer surgeon and other doctors at Lancaster General Hospital, never expected her to live more than six months after her inoperable cancer surgery when she was only 34—I was just a young girl (this story is fictionalized in my book, The Sunroom). Yet, my mother lived to be 84-years-old—an answer to thousands of prayers around the world. Even the doctors called her their “miracle girl,” and she outlived all of them. Amazing, yes…and to God be the glory!

So, our unbearable and discouraging times don’t have to end badly. We’re here to struggle and come out on the winning side, no matter the situation, because God is with us. He is for us, cheering us on, carrying us along…when we need His loving arms the most.

This spectacular springtime, I am counting my blessings, despite the dark days I’ve endured through the years, knowing I can count on our heavenly Father to be all that I need, all that I yearn for, every single day of my life.

Blessings abundant!

Beverly Lewis