But Mom, “He could be another Hitler!…”

But Mom, “He could be another Hitler!…”

“Can we move to Canada?” inquires the daughter

We can’t run from our problems,”answers the Dad.

So…

what do we do?

Originally, it was the people who begged for a king, because they didn’t appreciate or acknowledge that God, the King of kings, was enough.  And so in the end, God conceded and gave the people a king.  And throughout history, there has been, and continues to be, good rulers and bad rulers; people have been blessed and people have suffered at the hands of appointed leaders.

But one thing remains:

GOD.

Is HE enough for us?

In Towdah, A Cancer Survivors Song of Hope, I asked the same question, as I wondered about my future; was I going to live or was I going to die?

You see, suffering was inevitable, and fear grew.

Just as fear is evident in my daughters words….and suffering seems inevitable.

But instead of running, my husband is right, we must stay.

We must stay and stand and endure the battle before us, in whatever form it comes.

AND, my question still begs to be answered:

GOD.

Is HE enough for us?

*****

LOOK.

 I see a man who was mocked, and bullied, and humiliated, and whipped.

I see bruises, and lacerations, and sweat, and blood.

I see suffering: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

This man hung on a cross…

YET,

…the One afflicted, looked up!

Jesus, filled with love, looked up and loudly called to the Father saying three things:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

and

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46

*****

I believe we must do the same.

You see…it has everything to do with TRUST.

Jesus first spoke to His father; He trusted in his Father’s plan and knew it was all for the best.  He knew also, that the people were ignorant of God and had no idea of the depth of their mistaken filled actions.  In the suffering, Jesus also felt the pain of separation from the Father as He bore all the sin of the world. Yet, Trust prevailed and Jesus used His last breaths to speak of total surrender; Trusting His father fully, committing His life and soul to Him.

He endured, to make salvation of our souls possible.

All who believe in Him, must be like Him.

So, I ask: Will you do the same? Will you be like Him?

Speak loudly to the Father in heaven – PRAY.

(“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14)

Have a heart of forgiveness for the ignorant folly of man….

Endure the suffering that is allowed…

Trust in God.

If you are a born again believer, now is the time to stand and pray and be like Jesus.

This is going to be a super charged election season, even still, will you stand with me and say:

Yes, 

GOD.  

He is enough!

Admitting my Addiction

The  magnetic force is strong every night.

I cannot resist the pull. No matter the day, no matter the hour.

I admit it. Fully and with some shame.

I am addicted.

I plop on the couch almost without fail every night after most of the to-do list is finished and I zone out with my vice.

***

Have you ever played with magnets?  Take two magnets and put the positive and negative ends near each other and the pull is strong — the resistance is near impossible — the ends snap together and to un-do the attraction takes great effort.

Like I said:  “The magnetic force is strong every night” and I am drawn  — I am attracted and to turn away is near impossible.

I am addicted to Netflix mini series shows.

Castle, White Collar, Once Upon a Time, BBC specials like  Midwives & Doc Martin…..it is endless. One mini series concludes and I search for another.

I think, What is wrong with me!  I am a grown adult with goals and vision and purpose.

Yet I succumb to the glowing screen night after night, robbing me both of sleep and time…I look forward to the escape.

That’s what it is, isn’t it?

The escape!

We all seek it – just in different ways.  We want to escape the troubles in our lives.

And that is where addictions flourish – in the desire for escape.

It bothered me and it bothers me.  And so I began to ask myself,

Why? Why do I do this?

***

It is the story element.

I am addicted to story – a finished story.

Messy is all over my life.

Is it all over yours?

Troubles with people, troubles with finances, troubles with ailing bodies…ongoing…seemingly never ending — surprises that you don’t want..

things you cannot fix.

Life: messy and full of unfinished story lines…BINGO!

The unfinished story line drives me to desire escape!

My addiction fills the void of the unfinished – unfixed – messy stories and satisfies my desire.

I want the story finished. I want to know the ending. I want the final comfort in knowing there is an end.

Netflix mini series do that for me; they fulfill my need for the story’s end – TEMPORARILY.  I know it’s temporarily because as soon as one show’s final episode is seen, I am on to search out another series to be drawn into — that magnetic pull is so strong.

***

And so, I confess.

No fancy pictures in this post today – just words of truth…bear with me, friend – we are half way through and the best is yet to come!

And I confess I feel shame because I know I am sinking low and settling and eating crackers instead of chocolate souffle — hoarding pebbles instead of saving for the diamond — playing in mud puddles instead looking out over the ocean….

You see – there is a story that has been finished and I have been ignoring it.

The story of Redemption.

My messy has been redeemed. My life’s troubles have an ending…..and I know what it is!

Jesus Christ, my friend, my brother, my King, my Savior has bled, and died, and risen and finished the story for me – for us all.  The troubles are temporary and the troubles are part of the story being worked out – through the messy comes the glory with Jesus by my side..

The greatest story of all is before me; I need to turn my addiction toward the Author of it.  Remember, recall, retell, remind…..I need to turn toward Jesus and trust HIM for my story and rest in knowing that HE finished my story when He called me to himself and when His father adopted me as His child.  Jesus and His story includes my story and the story of all my loved ones.

It’s all in the trusting, my friend.

***

If I become addicted to anything — it must be to my LORD.

If I choose Jesus as my addiction… then, my life and my old addiction to Netflix mini series become like two opposing magnets….you know…when you try to put two opposing magnets together it is impossible to connect them – the force swerves and deflects and the two ends do not meet….they cannot meet.  And that is how it is: When I focus and stick to the Redemption story I am satisfied and replacement stories that temporarily satisfy cannot satisfy anymore – the magnetic pull is no longer strong to connect – but instead they oppose.

There it is. It is the truth.

Is there an addiction taking your eyes off the Redemption story — your story with Jesus?

Turn up the volume and listen to this….

***

Come trust alongside me, friend, in the true finished story of redemption….don’t let the messy and the troubles distract you.

We are heaven bound and nothing on earth will satisfy, nothing on earth will feel fixed, ever.

Come join me in addiction to Jesus Christ – the only ONE who satisfies eternally!

The BEST story is HIS story and our Story within it!

If you have to have a vice – let it be Jesus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throw Down the Stones

It was in the raised eyebrows and puffed up chests that anger, indignation, and pride in knowing they were “right” was painted across all their faces.

And the man they had come to see, remained calm; I imagine his eyes moist with tenderness.

It is true.

The ones with raised eyebrows were “right” in the sense of the law….the woman was wrong; she sinned.

And yet, the one with tenderness knew what was needed.

He began to write things in the sand.

What exactly did he write? It is not revealed, but it caused the ones with raised eyebrows, puffed up chests, anger and indignation to bow their heads and look away.  In fact they turned away and left, leaving a pile of stones.

For the one with tenderness said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone…” John 8:7b

In the end, the one accused stood alone with the man who remained calm.

She, the accused, was forgiven – not condemned.

He, the calm one, offered love and grace, and spared her embarrassment and punishment.

He, the man with tenderness, is Jesus.

****

Friends, fellow lovers of Jesus…

Let us not be the ones with raised eyebrows.

Let us, as a church, throw down the stones.

Let us be like Jesus and offer love and grace first.

Because Jesus did that for us when He first loved us and took up the cross and hung there to die for us – the sinners – who deserved punishment.  The only stone he moved was the one that He rolled away as He rose from the dead -making way for us to join Him in heaven one day.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

“And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.…” Luke 24:2

“He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” 1 Corinthians 15:4

“I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3b

This is Truth.

This is the gospel message.

Jesus was born. Jesus died upon the cross. Jesus rose to heaven. Jesus is coming back to get us.

****

And what do we do now?

“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27

We love.

And we get our strength to love as we trust in the hope which is given to us by the Living Savior, Jesus Christ.

We love God. We love others.  

That’s what we are to do now.

THIS is what is needed.

HOPE trumps ISIS

Two Days.

Two Names.

Hope trumps ISIS.

It is true that the horrors of this life induce all kinds of emotion: anger, fear, sadness, and defeat.  I believe many were sick to their stomach’s as they read the article on social media yesterday about children in Iraq being sold for “whatever” purposes the buyer desires; I know I felt sick.  ISIS is reveling in victory, so they say.

Yet I know that Victory with the capital “V” belongs to Someone else.

Two days have passed and two more Names of God were given to us at my church to study:

The Alpha & Omega and the Blessed and Only Ruler.

Alpha & Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet – a metaphorical symbol used in regard to God.  This means He is the first and the last – the One from the beginning and the One who will be at the end – He is complete and He completes everything.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8

Friends – this life is not it; there is more. The full revelation has not come yet. There is HOPE.

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The Blessed and only Ruler is in control; He is sovereign and His plan will be revealed in His time.

“…which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,” 1 Timothy 6:15

This is another verse caught in midair, leaving us with the question of what this “which” is referring to…well back up in the Word and you will see in verse 14 that this refers to “the appearing of our LORD Jesus Christ.” V. 14b.  God, the Blessed and only Ruler will bring about the return of Jesus in His own time.

Friends – this life is not it; there is more. The full revelation has not come yet.  There is HOPE.

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And this is the HOPE that trumps ISIS!

There is no justification for evil ever – in any degree or form.  Yet the truth is, this life we currently live in is guaranteed to be full of evil; we cannot physically escape that.  WHY, is always the question. Why does God allow these horrors to begin with! Where is He?

Be forewarned: dwelling on the WHY question can paralyze a person in anger, fear, sadness, and defeat.

 Here, ISIS wins, temporarily.

However, we can spiritually escape the horrors by believing the Words of scripture and having a right understanding of who God is.

He is alive: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is,”…

He is El Shaddai:  the one who blesses and helps; the Almighty.

He is complete and His plan is unfolding: “…which God will bring about in his own time…”

He is the ONE over all – sovereign: “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,”

In knowing this about God, we can have HOPE.

Here ISIS loses.

HOPE trumps ISIS;

HOPE trumps all the evil in this life.

The very essence and substance of the Almighty, the Alpha & Omega, and the blessed and only Ruler is HOPE.

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Friends, dwell on Jesus and join me in prayer and in praise to Jesus, our LORD and Savior!

Victory, with the capital “V” belongs to Jesus!

 “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

What IS This?… A Poetic Mystery?

 

 

The Pastor said,

“I challenge you to meditate on the Names of God, just one every day….”

Okay, I said, as many of us do, with all good intention…

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And so…

setting down to take up the challenge this morning I began to read; it began midstream, a thought caught in part: “because…”

Nope.  This was not a simple sit down, read, and pray, and be gone.

I was caught.

Hooked.

Enticed.

It was like a marketing sound bite!

“…because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.” Genesis 49:25

Because whaaaat?  Who can stop at just this verse and be satisfied?

Like a LAY’s chip commercial – who can eat just one!

And so it began. The study.

Please bear with me for 500 more words or so….this will be good.

Looking back, I saw in verse 22 that these were words directed to Joseph – the one who wore the coat of many colors, who was thrown into a well and sold into slavery, who eventually rose to high position in order to save his family from the famine.  Looking back to verse 1 of Chapter 49, I saw these verses were words of blessing from Jacob to his sons, and Joseph was of course one of them.

“Joseph is a fruitful vine….his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber….” V. 22

WHY?

“because…”

– there it is.

B E C A U S E of your father’s God….HIS help and  HIS blessings.  The fertile life of Joseph was only BECAUSE God helped and blessed; the prosperity of Joseph’s life came as a blessing from the Almighty God: El Shaddai.

El Shaddai, the All Sufficient One, the one who abundantly blesses with all that is needed to sustain and nourish and protect and satisfy. God Almighty, the way He revealed Himself to the ancient patriarchs of the Old Testament.

 The focus?

God is the Almighty. 

He is El Shaddai.

Now what?

Substituting my name for Joseph’s:

Sheryl is a fruitful vine…her bow remained steady, her strong arms stayed limber… what IS this?… a poetic mystery?

Just whaaaat does  T H A T mean? 

For me:

I am a saved daughter of the King…

I enjoy a loving marriage of almost thirty years…

I have nine wonderful children and three uber-cute grandchildren…

I have a comfortable home…

My family is employed…

I have food in plenty and clothes that cover…I see the lush creation around me, the birds’chirps of the morning and the sun shining through the tree tops…

I have asparagus that pushes thru the earth despite the weeds…

I have survived the death of a child, the woes of unemployment,  the devastation of cancer…

I endure the long hard days of parenting…

I am fit for the work of cooking and cleaning and playing and blessing others…

I can worship in freedom…

and more….

In other words: I am fruitful, my bow remains steady, and my arms are strong & limber.

WHY?

“…because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.” Genesis 49:25

El Shaddai !

I must praise Him as God Almighty!

HE is the same God Almighty who helped and blessed Joseph in all the ups and downs of his life

and HE is the same God Almighty who helps and blesses my life in all the ups and downs.

Substitute your own name for Joseph’s….Can you see his help and blessing in your own life?

Won’t you join me in saying “…because…” and praise our Almighty God today?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFfXKJIXeJI

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Did you see the mother in the yellow dress rapping her son upside the head today on the social media?

Or maybe you saw the visions of police lining the Baltimore streets like a wall in their suits of armor and shields?

Screaming and running and ducking and smashing and chaos pushes the fear and the anger up, and up, and up to explosive levels.

Which side are  you on?

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Disdainful outcries rumble as family members and co-workers give their two cents on the horrible events of the day.

“What is happening to this country?” 

One thing is for sure: it is nothing new.

What happened in Baltimore has happened throughout all of history before; and I am NOT talking about racism.

I am talking about the human condition.

Take a moment to look back to the earliest days recorded in the time of Genesis; one brother against the other brother because of a dark heart full of uncontrolled anger….a “who-is-better-than-who” situation.

The result? Murder.

“Who-is-better-than-who” has been done a lot in history….resulting in wars and crime and divorce and all levels of arguments.  It is the condition of natural sin; otherwise known in religious circles as the “sinful nature.”  The human condition is sinful nature.

Will it ever change? Can it ever change?

To be honest…. not as long as we remain humans on this earth.

Lucky for us, however…there is a remedy.  And it begins with each one of us.  And it begins in the heart.  It takes a heart deciding to believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior; deciding to follow Jesus and His ways. Putting off the old and putting on the new – being transformed with a new vision of life and who we are in it.  The Scriptures instruct us:

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

“…put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22b & 23

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph. 4: 31 – 32

Yes, it begins with us.  It begins with being humble (us) and it begins with forgiveness (Jesus’ toward us).

The side to be on is Jesus’ side.

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In Christ, we can forgive. In Christ, we can love.

And we know because we are told, that The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8

Pray and forgive; Pray and love….in our homes, in our workplace, in our communities.

It is not about race, or justice, or anger….or “who-is-better-than-who.”

It is always and forever will be about the heart.

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Total change for our human condition – the sinful nature – comes when Jesus returns to take up His own into heaven. Until then, we have to persevere and keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus’ side.

So, dear friends, hold on and claim hope because, “hope does not disappoint.” Romans 5:5a.

The side to be on is Jesus’ side.

Not Even One Christmas Card

It’s funny

and I little bit creepy, when, out of now where, I can hear Diana Ross singing in my head:

“Do You Know

Where you’re going to?

Do you like the things?

That life is showing you

Where are you going to?

Do you know?”

(Diana Ross – 1975)

Normally, I do not ever think about Diana Ross, yet as I sat down to write this New Year letter and pondered what I might say, this song played strong in my mind – a throw-back to radio pop music when I was just thirteen.  Thirty-eight years later, this portion of her melody resonates in my mind; Scary what the mind retains!

I must also confess that this is probably the first year of my life that I could not muster up the usual Christmas spirit.  Almost none of the usual build-up-to-the-season by way of children-pleasing traditions were played out – partially due to the fact that most my children are not young anymore and not around to embark on the usual preparations – and partially due to the fact that my home had been in such a turmoil of disruption for the previous 5 months that climaxed with a great flurry of workers as last minute details fell into place just thirteen days before the time of celebration: Christmas.

Nonetheless, the tree was put up, decorations set out, gifts shopped for, and food preparation done. We ate, we gave and received gifts, we delighted in the visual pretties.  I admit though, not even one Christmas card was sent by me.

Feeling a bit like George Bailey, I sat alone and watched, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” this past Saturday night. Part of my pondering included a slump.

Five days later, everything is put away except the manger scene figures that sit on my kitchen window sill.  Life is a whirlwind here at my house.

All I wanted for Christmas was Peace. My kids asked me, and so that is what I posted on my refrigerator on a sticky note: “I want Peace for Christmas – Mom.”

My son, Samuel, in all his charm and wit gave me a pillow with the letters  P-E-A-C-E  stitched across it.  So, in a sense, I got what asked for.

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Coincidentally or divinely arranged, our pastor preached on peace this Christmas Eve; fitting, as it was what I had been pondering all the season since Thanksgiving.  Peace.  Not the kind of peace in the quiet moment.  Not the kind of peace that comes with calm scenery or well loved music.  I am talking about the peace that fills the soul with total satisfaction and a knowing that all is well.

I believe in my heart there is no peace found on this earth….and there never will be.

You see,  no “things” or people bring me peace.

Truly, I say to you my dear friends and family, peace only comes when we abide in Him and with Him.

Loving Jesus brings me peace.  And it seems only when I keep my focus on Him, do I have peace in my heart.

And still, Diana Ross’ lyrics repeat in my mind.

Do I know where I am going to?

Do I like the things that life is showing me?

Where am I going to?

These are all great questions to ponder as a New Year approaches.

Put another way, I might re-word the inquisitions:

What are my goals?

What is life showing me?

Where am I headed?

There will be no New Year resolutions for me tomorrow evening; no temporary intentions to fix myself.   But I will be pondering and striving with resolves all the year through; decisions and answers to hold close.

Resolve #1:

My goals are to serve my King – the One who was born in the stable and laid in the manger.

Resolve #2:

Life is showing me that there is no peace or comfort found in it.  Only struggles and challenges and hard things that need seeing and hard things that need doing.   Life also shows me that with a right set of eyes, there is beauty and joy in the seeing and doing.

Resolve #3:

I am headed toward a Kingdom – where the whole of my salvation sits at the right hand of His father.

Herein lays my Christmas spirit.

It is an ongoing everyday way of being. I just may keep those manger scene figures out on my new window sill all year long…

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It is my prayer that each one of you may be able to answer those impertinent yet important questions that Ms. Ross sang so many years ago: what are your goals, what is life showing you, where are you headed?  I hope you can answer in a way that brings you true peace this New Year of 2015.

I hope you each had a merry Christmas with your loved ones, as I did.   ‘Tis the season for remembering what is important – family and special people are near the top of my list.  At the very top, is the One most important.

Do you know Him?

 

Give Hope: Weep and Laugh

JUST BE THERE.

Don’t try to change things.  Don’t try to ignore things.  Don’t make excuses for things.

Just be there. Fully and genuinely.

When a friend or loved one is suffering, they just simply need you to be there on their side, in their corner, with them in the present moment.

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King Solomon clearly said,

“There is a time for everything….a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1a & 4

Being there is not always easy.

It takes effort to clear the schedule and make the time to be there.

It takes courage to join a suffer-er in their space and be open to the moment of just being there.

It takes love to sit in silence and hold a hand, to weep, to laugh, to mourn, and to dance in the being there.

BUT – please have confidence that you can do it.  

This is probably the one thing that meant the most to me as I was enduring my battle with cancer.

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“David walked into the room and took me in his arms.  Without words, I drew close to him, leaned against his chest and hugged him. We swayed gently to the music….no words. Emotions gave way with an ever so gentle explosion of sighs and tears….I felt so loved, so uplifted, and strangely refreshed.  Through the reach of my husband, God comforted me….” p. 34 & 35 Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

A time to weep….

“Walking across  the parking lot on a short shopping outing, my girls chuckled along with me as my shoe flipped off flying ten feet in front of us!” p. 68 Towdah

A time to laugh…

Joining in and engaging with me was the most precious of all things that helped ease my pains, both physically and mentally.  In these moments, HOPE reigned because there was love in the being there with me, no matter what the moments held.

 

Suffering is all around us.  Many are afflicted.  I pray that  you will trust in God’s equipping you to find ways to ease the pain of a friend or loved one this Christmas season.

Be His hands and lips and feet.  

Carry the burdens,

intercede,

encourage,

do good and share,

and love by just being there in the moment.

Offer HOPE.

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Give Hope: Send Balloons!

“I fought depression during  the last and worst days of my chemo cycle.  A dear friend sent me a dozen helium balloons in bouquet fashion.  Clipped to the string of colorful ribbon were encouraging words calling me back to Hope: ‘When you stick to what you know, the what-if’s don’t matter.’ ”   p. 118, Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

I am a frugal shopper and I know.

A dozen helium balloons, delivered, is not acquired via pocket change.

This dear friend did not consider the cost of the gift – she thought more highly of the effect of encouragement this gift would have on my struggling heart.

“And do not forget to do good and share with others,

for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Hebrews 13:16

“Stick to what you know” — such wise words delivered so cheerfully!  This was good and it was shared from the heart; I am sure the sacrifice pleased God!

This gift lifted me immediately out of the slippery slope I was on and reminded me to stand on the promises of God.  Sounds a little trite, but it was true.  I began to recall all the ways God had upheld me and carried me through my struggling days, weeks, and months.  I knew a lot about God and it was ALL graciously good!

One moment was all it took.

One moment for my friend to decide she was going to do good and share.

One moment for me to receive the balloon bouquet.

One moment for me to take to heart the gift

and be transformed in my thinking by remember all I knew about God and sticking to it!

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HOPE was restored for me.

What about you?  Are you willing to make sacrifice to do good and share with the one you know is suffering during this Christmas season?

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Created to Crave

A good story brings such satisfaction!  

I suppose that is why so much of my family’s tradition includes Christmas stories.

From Dr. Seuss’, The Grinch to O.Henry’s, The Gift of the Magi, there is much delight.  Troubles and problems are taken care of by mysterious changing of hearts and amazing and sacrificial offerings of love.

Heart and love are key elements woven into the best of stories.  It’s no wonder my family holds so much anticipation for the same stories re-read and re-read, year after year.  Whether on pages or on the screen, we line up the stories and dig into the reading and viewing from Thanksgiving eve to Christmas Day.

I believe we are created to crave the resolution of conflict with a changed heart that has been turned around by love.

 It is God’s way.

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It is the whole of the Christmas story; Jesus  in the flesh, come to earth to be born. Why? To change hearts by way of His sacrificial love for us.  And so, we love to hear that theme over and over… on the pages of books and on the screen in the movies.

HOPE resounds! And we all love HOPE.

May I suggest a new read, or perhaps a re-read of a story that was crafted by me and eight other author friends: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt.

Kick off your Christmas story season with this tale – you won’t be disappointed.