Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How to Handle Horrible Happenings

Ever experience one of these horrible happenings? 
1.      You try a new restaurant in town. The food tastes marvelous, but both you and your dining companion end up sick afterwards. Do you give the restaurant a second chance, or decide never to return?

2.      You send your assistant to a local hardware store for supplies. When your assistant returns, she tells you that the entire time she was checking out, the young sales girl chatted on the phone with her boyfriend. Do you call the store manager and apprise her of her rude employee, or let it slide?

3.      Your mother’s best friend criticizes you for not taking better care of your mom, quoting the Bible verse that says, “The person who doesn’t care for their aging parent is worse than an infidel.” Do you forget the comment, knowing in your heart that you’re doing your best? Or do you decide never to speak to Mom’s friend again?

Horrible Happenings abound in every life. They are different for each of us. But we must decide how to handle them in ways that please the Lord, and give us peace of mind.

I pray that whatever horrible happenings you must handle today, Jesus will give you grace, wisdom, and strength to overcome.
BTW, how would you handle one or more of the horrible happenings listed above?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

When You Do It Right and It Turns Out Wrong

Please meet a new friend and prolific author, Rebecca Price Janney. I'm featuring her latest novel on Hope Splashes today, because the story is full of hope in the  midst of troubles. Here's a short synopsis:

What was going on? Erin made key decisions about her future after much prayer and counsel. God even broke through with a rousing forward, march!

            Likewise, Peter jumped into a crisis on the brink of retiring from years of public service. He couldn’t see himself resting before his own hearth when his country needed him.

Why, then, is Erin struggling so hard in her new job? And why is Peter being maliciously slandered and slighted, wounded in battle, and a POW?

            Erin Miles and Peter Kichline are the two main characters in my latest novel, Easton at the Crossroads. They live over 250 years apart in Easton, Pennsylvania, and their lives bear striking parallels. (Peter is Erin’s, recently-discovered, six times great-grandfather.)

In the first book in my Easton Series, they’ve both just lost their spouses. In the second, they’re trying to discern the right path. In the third novel they’re reaping what they’ve sown, but why are there so many thorns? Weren’t there supposed to be roses?

We can relate. When we do what’s right, isn’t life supposed to reciprocate? Shouldn’t we receive a cosmic pat on the back?

Here’s something we don’t necessarily like to hear—God’s highest purpose for us isn’t to make us happy or our lives perfect. He wants us to be holy, like Himself, to fit into His plans for the fulfillment of His kingdom. If we follow all the rules, we won’t necessarily become wealthy, have a nice home, well-behaved children, doting spouses, and rarely need a doctor.

            God doesn’t owe us a smooth ride, even when we do everything we know to be right. Paul followed God’s plan and ended up beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and martyred. Corrie Ten Boom rescued Jews from the Nazis in World War II, and got sent to a concentration camp. Jesus was crucified.

            “In this world you will have tribulation.” Even when you do what is right. God’s purposes aren’t always accomplished on paved roads. Sometimes they happen in the midst of teeth-rattling potholes.

As Erin and Peter learn in Easton at theCrossroads, God can be trusted on bumpy rides without satellite coverage. He uses the stuff of earth, weeds, heartache, the annoying and mean-spirited, to achieve His glorious purposes. 

        Rebecca Price Janney is the author of 21 books including Easton at the Crossroads, the third installment in her Easton Series. She’s also written Harriet Tubman, Great Women in American History, Who Goes There? and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She speaks at schools, churches, synagogues, libraries, historical societies, civic organizations, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, as well as on radio and TV.
          A native of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, she’s a graduate of Lafayette College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and received her doctorate from Biblical Seminary. Rebecca invites you to know her heart-warming characters and a town you’ll want to visit again and again. She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, teenage son, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

If you're thinking "Rebecca sounds like a fascinating person," I agree! And if you'd like to connect with her, find her here: ww.rebeccapricejanney.com
To order her new book, go here: Easton at The Crossroads


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Five Habits of Happy People

Would you like to be happier this time next year than you are today? Me too. Here are five habits that will make you happy, or twisted around, five things happy people don't do...

1. Happy people don't live in the past or the future. They receive God's forgiveness and look forward with hope, but they never dwell on past mistakes, or ruin their todays by thinking, "When I get my raise..."

2. Happy people don't read into what others say and do, taking it personally. They realize that the universe doesn't revolve around them. If Boo-boo didn't say 'hi' this morning in church, it may be because he or she is worried or distracted.

3. Happy people don't have super-sized expectations of otherswhich usually lead to disappointment. They expect God to move on their behalf, but they let others make mistakes, and treat them with grace.

4. Happy people don't hold grudges. They realize that bitterness destroys the one who holds onto it, and do whatever it takes--praying for, blessing, giving gifts in secret--to forgive those who've wronged them, so they can move on with their lives.

5. Happy people never give up on themselves. They continue to sing in the rain and whistle in the dark, holding out their hands to God, trusting in His love to turn even horrible circumstances into trophies of his mercy.

How do you incorporate more happiness to your life? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Great Zucchini Fiasco

“How do I get myself into these fiascoes?” I mutter, as I wipe the kitchen counter for the fifth time, hoping the neon green of zucchini pulp doesn’t stain. The phone rings. It’s my eleven-year-old granddaughter, who’s the starter for our three-kid-and-two-grands Sunday chat.

“Whatcha doin’, Gramma?” she chirps.

“Oh, honey, I am up to my elbows in Zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, and zucchini mini-loaves. I underestimated how much zucchini pulp would make a cup, so I had to triple the recipe.

She giggles before saying, “That sounds like a mess.”

“You have no idea, dear girl. I started out with a large bowl, transferred the batter to a huge bowl, and then had to graduate the bright green goo to my enormous chili pot. I ran out of flour in my canister, so substituted a chocolate cake mix for the final cup. I wish you were here to help me!”

We visit for a while, me cradling the phone on my shoulder as I fill muffins cups and loaf pans. Finally, I sigh with pleasure. “How many loaves and muffins do you think I ended up with?” I ask, mentally daring her to guess right.

Her giggle reaches through the airwaves again. “I don’t know.”

“Three large loaves, eight mini-loaves, and sixteen muffins. And there is still a fifth of a zuke sitting in the fridge wondering if I forgot it!”

I’ve often joked how I use gardening in the summer and baking in the winter as therapy, because they’re cheaper than a therapist is.  But the zucchini fiasco has me re-thinking that philosophy. I spent three hours of my time mixing and baking, another hour cleaning up, and have yet to ask forty-seven people if they’d like to adopt a loaf or a set of quintuplet muffins to make their home complete. Isn’t my time worth at least two sessions with a shrink, in an office devoid of stained green counters?

The upside is, I have enough breakfast breads to last the winter, my grandgirl and I bonded a bit, and my neglected loaf pans felt needed.

But the next time a friend offers me an 18” long zucchini, I will run the other way!
Do you like to bake? 
Have you ever experienced a fiasco similar to mine? Do tell.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Fears: How Do You Face Them Down?

Here is a list of the Top Ten Fears:
10. Water and storms
9. Public Transportation
8. Flying
7. Crowds
6. Tunnels and bridges
5. Spiders
4. Heights
3. Confined Spaces
2. Snakes
1. Public Speaking.

How do you face your fears down? Pretend they don't exist, and act as if you are brave? Take tranquilizers? Or, avoid doing things that scare the bejeebers out of you?

When I was a young mother I became afraid of something not on the above list: mental illness. My daddy had spent some time in a mental hospital, and we'd seen a popular movie that depicted a horrible scene from a psyche ward. I was terrified I'd end up like that.

Even though I was a Christian, I didn't know what to do to face my fears down and break their power over me. I lived in torment for two years. I was a nervous wreck. Then one day I called a prayer counselor at the 700 Club, explaining my fear to him.

He said, "I am going to give you a list of bible verses that talk about overcoming fear. I want you to sit down and list them, then when we hang up, look up each one and read them aloud to the devil--the author of fear--and tell him to get lost. You are a child of God, and Satan has no right to torment you with his lies." Then he prayed for me before we hung up, after he'd given me the list of Scriptures, which ranged from Genesis to Revelation.

I followed his instructions, reading those verse to the devil and commanding in Jesus' name that he skedaddle. And... it worked! The fear left, and I was free!

This is the best way I know to face down fear and conquer it. The Word of God is powerful and sharp, to slice through the devil's lies. Because that's what fears are: lies that God won't protect you and care for you. Satan is the father of lies, so we know that fear comes from him.

Please join me today in using the Bible, the Word of God, to face down your fears and make the devil sorry he ever messed with you! Here are a few to start with:

I John 4: 4
Isaiah 54:17
Psalm 103: 17
I Peter 5:7
Psalm 23