Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Is it okay to ask God "Why?"

Sometimes our prayers don't get answered the way we want. It's okay to ask God "Why?"

And it's also okay to cry. 

But know that often, God has a huge "YES" hiding behind a little "no."

So don't give up yet, because "hope that is seen is not hope (Romans 8)", and . . .

God is a Master at Plans B through Z. 

Have you had some answers to prayers that were not what you wanted?  How did God work it out for your good?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cats: Do You Love 'em Or Hate 'em?

Cats: most people either hate or love them. The haters contend that felines ruin furniture, kill song birds, and consider people their slaves. The lovers argue that cats control rodents, relieve stress, and cover up their poops.
I find my “spoiled brats in fur suits” brimming with wisdom. Here are some insights I’ve learned from the devilish angels:
  • If you fight with the family cats, you won’t have energy left to ward off enemy cats.
  • It’s okay to have whiskers and pointy ears.
  • Look for a patch of sunshine and stay there.
  • Naps are cool.
  • Don’t fuss about your food, or the one who feeds you may start buying a cheaper brand.
  • Purring will get you everywhere.
  • Master the “Shocked and Innocent Look” if someone laughs at you. Better yet, stick your nose in the air and saunter away, pretending you don’t care.
  • Naps are fun.
  • Act as if you know what you’re doing even if you don’t have a clue.
  • Convince those around you how blessed they are to live in the same universe with you.
  • Refuse to give up. If one bird escapes, climb another tree.
  • Naps are refreshing.
Similar to cats, people are a mix of aggravating and endearing qualities. When I’m
tempted to dismiss a brother or sister as too ornery to tolerate, I remember how God bears with my faults and stupid mistakes. Receiving His unconditional love frees me to love myself and others, focusing on positive qualities.  
Now if I could convince my husband to see the good in our kitties…

The above is an excerpt from my second book The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul. 
 If you like to laugh and discover new ways to add fun to your life, you'll love The Heart of Humor.

Do you love cats? Or hate 'em?  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Five Fun Tricks to Help You Memorize Scripture

If you are one of those who say, “I just can't memorize Scriptures,” this message will encourage and help you, because I've learned
five fun tricks to help you memorize Scripture. 

When I began learning Bible verses, all my brain could handle was one at a time, and I had to repeat it a thousand times to make it stick. Now I can memorize entire passages of Scripture with less effort than it takes to get on my exercise bike once a week. 
Because our brains are like a muscle, the more we exercise them the stronger they become. Here are five fun tricks I've learned to help me memorize Scripture:

1.      Write the verse or passage on note cards or a paper in your own handwriting. Writing helps our brains retain better than if we simply read something.
2.      Say the verse or passage aloud when you first arise in the morning and when you go to bed at night. These are the times our brains are most relaxed, so things will sink in deeper and stick longer. And when your ear hears it, you retain it better.
3.      Carry the cards or pages with you and go over them at odd moments throughout the day—on your lunch break, stopped at a red light, in the elevator, waiting in line at the post office, etc. You don’t have to repeat them aloud—you can mutter them under your breath if you like. 
4.      Use word pictures to help you recall a certain word or phrase. “Your word have I hidden in my heart” from Psalm 119:11 can become a picture of you opening your heart and putting a treasure chest inside it. If you draw little pictures—even stick figures—to accompany each phrase or next to keywords, you'll remember them sooner.
5.      Use word cues to link one word or passage with another. From Romans 12: 9, I linked two words with PRE in them. “Do not let your love be a PREtense, but sincerely PREfer good to evil.” I drew a little arrow from one to the other, and it cued me when the first PRE popped up.

I’m sure there are other tricks that will help you memorize God’s word. The main thing to remember? God loves it when we do this, so he’ll commission his Holy Spirit helps us. And that gives me hope that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Are you memorizing any Scripture? 
Which verse or passage would you like to memorize? 
Can you make a Scripture memory goal for the new year? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Five Ways Memorizing Scripture Enriches Your Life

Five Ways Memorizing Scripture Enriches Your Life

When I began memorizing single verses of Scripture as a child in Sunday school, I had no idea how I was enriching my life. Decades later, after graduating to learning chunks and chapters of the Word of God, I see the benefits of this fun exercise. Here are the five I've discovered:
1.      Because our brains are like a muscle, the more we exercise them the stronger they become. Memorizing Scripture increases our ability to retain other facts and tasks we learn. It improves our memory!

2.      In Joshua 1:8, God promised to “make our ways successful” if we meditated on His word.  The translation of the word “meditate” is “to mutter,” or “to chew, as a cow chews its cud.” When we memorize—or chew on—verses or sections of the Bible, our lives become more successful!

3.      If we “hide God’s word in our hearts,” according to Psalm 119: 11, it keeps us from sinning. That’s reason enough for me to work at memorizing the parts about taming the tongue and keeping my flesh under control!
4.      Knowing the Bible gives us boldness to witness to those who don’t yet believe.  We’re more likely to have answers for pre-believers with questions if we have a few verses about Jesus and salvation tucked away in our minds.
5.      The Word of God comforts, encourages, and strengthens us when we go through trials. If I’m broken-hearted or in anguish of soul, Scripture is my #1 source of help. As I pray, verses I've memorized come up from my heart and out my mouth to God’s heart. I find my faith growing and my fears leaving. The Holy Spirit shows up to embrace me and tell me, “God’s got your back. Everything is going to be okay.”

Next week I'll be sharing some tricks to memorizing Scripture that have helped me. I hope you'll join me!

Have you memorized Scripture verses or passages?

Which ones have enriched your life the most?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Favorite Christmas Gifts

Most of us have favorite Christmas gifts we remember from our childhood.

I was eight the year Easy Bake Ovens hit stores for the first time. My mom, a single parent, could not afford a gift of that size. When I spotted a huge gift under my aunt and uncle's Christmas tree with my name on it, my heart leaped with hope.

     Do you think I got my wish? Could this be why, fifty-some years later, I still love to bake? What is your favorite Christmas gift from you childhood?