Monday, July 27, 2015

The Most Beneficial Thing

"Everything is permissible--but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive.” 
I Corinthians 10:23

Many things in my life are neutral within the “right or wrong” category, but are not necessarily beneficial. 

In the middle of these choices of permissible busyness, I cry out “how do I fit in the most beneficial thing?”

Sometimes there are seasons when choices seem to be made for us as we move constantly to keep up with life circumstances such as illness, death, family difficulties.  

But most often, the truth is…

If I have time to read a book or watch TV, I have time to read my Bible.

If I have time for coffee with a friend, I have time for coffee with Jesus.

If I have time for hobbies, I have time for stillness with God.

If I have time to listen to podcasts, radio shows and the like, I have time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

In moments of mindless chores and activities (dish washing, cleaning sinks and toilets, folding towels, vacuuming, exercise, showers) I have time to pray.

I have to decide. What do I want to go big on? The permissible? Or the beneficial? There is a trade off because I can’t do it all.

I struggle because my flesh likes to take the easy road. Overindulging in the permissible before I plug into the lifeline of the beneficial-time with God. 

It’s not an abundant life if I have all these (permissible) 
things but don’t have Christ.  Click to Tweet 

Each day I have a choice. And each day you have a choice. Which will you choose? The permissible or the beneficial? What do you struggle with letting go to have time with God? 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Author News.

Thank you to everyone who participated in my survey to discover where I can encourage you. I value each one of you and your input. 

A few themes ran common. A need to trust in God, to find rest in the middle of life's storms and strength to carry on. Whether it was in the middle of moves, health issues, parenting, marriage struggles or pursuing dreams. 

I am planning some blog posts to give you "uplift" in those areas, including a few from some blogger friends who share similar challenges as you. Be on the lookout for those. 

Most recently I restyled my newsletter to better encourage you in your faith journey and these struggles you shared. See the new header above? Sign up in the sidebar or check out a sneak peek here 

Other author news:

October: be on the lookout for a contest! Hint: it has to do with food.

November: Author Extrvaganza here in Omaha. AND my publisher is planning a great surprise for CrossRiver fans. More news on that to come!

Early 2016. Book 2 is due for release. I have lots of goodies planned for my readers. I am so excited!

That's about it. What is new for you? I would love to hear. If you have a prayer request, feel free to contact me using the form in the sidebar. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Source of Our Strength

photo credit:  // savitkeawtavee 

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28:7

The world presses in
Takes apart

Leaving my soul

Where Oh my soul
Will strength come from?
From the Lord
The maker of heaven and earth

The creator of my soul
Life Breather
Strength Giver
Lifter of my Head

Bless the Lord
At all times
My heart cries out
Longing for you

More than life
More than circumstance
More than ease

Pressing in to You
Leaning in to You
Being still in You

Then Your strength comes
Like the morning sun

It’s a new day
Carry on, oh my soul
In the might and strength
Of the Lord 

Finding time to be with Him can feel impossible. Sometimes it is truly impossible to “come away” from our circumstance. Then it is necessary to find a way to meet with Him in the middle of the pain, the grief, the suffering, the hard circumstance.

Perhaps it’s praying while doing dishes.
Post it note verses to focus on, posted all over your home.
A worship CD in the car instead of the radio, news, etc.
Worship WITH your children.
Notecard verses in your purse to focus on when you are waiting.

What is your challenge to overcome to have time with the Lord, your source of strength?

How could you creatively find spaces to focus 
on Him and allow your soul to rest?  

Is there something you could give up 
(TV, books, hobby, etc.) to have time with Him? 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pursuing Your Dream

photo credit: //
We've all had them. Dreams of what we want to do some day. For one reason or another, many of us set them aside for a season. Or longer. But God has plans for us. Ephesians 2:10 says He has created us for good works. He doesn't want us to quit. 

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Today, I want to introduce you to a friend who had a dream and with the help of God, didn't give up: DJ Mynatt. Here's a bit of her story...
~ ~ ~
I have always wanted to be an author.  When my children were young, I began writing a novel, but family and work took all my time, so I put away my writing. 

Two years ago, my daughter challenged me to join her in the annual National Novel Writing Month – known as NaNoWriMo – challenge held in November. She assured me it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t write 50,000 words; that I would be a winner as long as I did my best.

NaNoWriMo is an event to encourage and support new writers and although you don’t really learn “how” to write, it is an excellent place to learn “to write”. But my story isn’t really about how I participated in NaNoWriMo… my story is about how I had no joy – no contentment – and reached out to God for help.

With God’s help, I went back to college when I was 50 years old; within a few years I had earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, 2 professional certifications, and became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, where I served as an officer. I continued to pray for guidance and soon found myself writing an Amish fiction novel…

After the challenge I was asked to write about my experience with NaNoWriMo. It sounded like a good idea, so I sat down and wrote out how God had helped me write a novel – something I had wanted to do my whole life.

Because the reason I write is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ; to be a witness and tell others of God and how He loves me – and you – with an unending love. Without God, nothing is possible – and with God, nothing is impossible.

Whatever path you are on today, I urge you to seek God’s will in your life. He can help you climb mountains and pass through the darkest of times. And when you can’t take another step, He will never leave you or forsake you. He is your best friend. Thank you for allowing me to share my life – and my love of God – with you today.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  ~ John 3:16-17 (KJV)
 ~ ~ ~
DJ Mynatt is a newly-published author, who works full-time for the State of Tennessee, as well as beginning a new career as an author, editor, and speaker. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, The Christian PEN and the Non-Fiction Authors Association.

DJ lives with her daughter and grandchildren in the beautiful hills of Tennessee. When she leaves her "day job", DJ focuses on her writing, editing, blogging, reviewing books (especially for authors featured on her BookShelf blog) and attending workshops and writers conferences.

In her first published book, DJ shares her experiences while participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge in November, and she encourages others to sign up for this amazing adventure!

"If you've always wanted to write, but haven't been able to get started, NaNoWriMo is a great idea for you. It's not meant to teach you how to write, but to give you the opportunity to create a habit of writing. It might just be the push you need to begin your writing career!"

~ ~ ~
Connect with DJ

You CAN write 50,000 words in 30 Days takes us behind the scenes of one author’s journey through National Novel Writing Month… also known as NaNoWriMo.

Every year, people from all over the world log in to their NaNoWriMo profile, find a local group to hang out with all month, stock up on snacks, sharpen their pencils, get their playlists ready, and write!

50,000 words sounds crazy, right? Well, most writers ARE a little crazy!

Read about one woman’s journey and you will see that you CAN write 50,000 words in 30 days!

Get your copy on Amazon 

"I write because I feel I am called, as other Christians 
are called, to be a witness…" Click to Tweet 

"Fifty thousand words…Thirty days. 
Is that even possible?"  Click to Tweet 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Restyling My Newsletter

Beginning in July, I will be sending out my newsletter on a monthly basis. I will not be sending a short story with each edition, although you still might find one in your email from time to time.

I think you're going to like what I have planned. But I need a bit of help from you to fine tune those ideas. Can you take 2 minutes to answer a 3 question survey for me? This will help me know how to encourage you!

Click HERE to take the survey.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Psalm 2: A Place of Refuge

The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters." The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them…” Psalm 2:2-5

When I read that last part of the verse, I imagine the scene in Narnia when Aslan’s army is fighting the White Witch’s army. It looks like the witch will defeat Aslan’s troops. And then over the cliff Aslan charges and destroys the evil queen.

One of the biggest enemies of rest is the struggle to win. To be in control. To make sure life works out. Especially when it feels like things are falling apart and the world is standing against us. When it feels like we are about to lose, like Aslan’s army must have felt.

We begin to worry. We make plans. We get busy. We take on more of a load to try and save the day. We forget who cares about us more than we care about ourselves.

The psalmist reminds us that even when the world stands against God, He is still sitting on His throne. And HE IS LAUGHING. Because He knows that no matter what, He is still in charge and He wins. He knows that victory is just over the horizon.

God is bigger than anything that comes against us and if we can find that place of rest in Him – if we can trust Him to take care of things, then we can be counted among those who take refuge in the Lord and are blessed.

…. blessed are all who take refuge in him.  Psalm 2:12b

We can rest in God because He is bigger 
than anything that comes against us. 
Click to Tweet 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Psalm 1: God's Rest, God's Way

Tree by stream

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. 
Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

Sleeping through the night. Getting 8 hours of sleep. Neither one is a regular occurrence for me. Between menopausal hormones, a snoring husband and years of late night habits (when my younger body could handle being a night owl) a solid quality night’s rest is often an out of reach dream.

But sleep is not the only kind of rest that our body needs.

Psalm 1: 3 talks about someone who is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields fruit in season and whose leave does not whither. Sounds nice. Sounds like someone who is resting and refreshed in their living. So how does one find this way of living?

Verse  1 & 2 shows the way.  
1.      They don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked. In other words, they don’t take advice from folks who don’t walk with God. This does NOT mean they never converse with those who live in complete opposition to the truth. But the counsel of those not walking with God does not lead us down a path full of life and light and rest.
2.      They don’t stand in the way of the sinners. In other words, they don’t make it a habit to be part of the “sinning” lifestyle. This does NOT mean, they never sin. It does NOT mean they aren’t friends with sinners or keep themselves so separate they can’t influence them. Jesus himself hung out with the less desirable characters of His day. To speak life to them, to show them He was the bread of life. Not to become like them!
3.      They don’t sit in the seat of mockers. In other words, they don’t get comfortable with those who mock God – with their words or their life. This does NOT mean they shush everyone who speaks a mocking word. Or turn their backs on them. Or disown them. But, rather than letting mockers pull them down, they call mockers to a better way by their example of living.
4.      They delight in God’s way. In other words, seeing Him in every part of life and giving thanks and glory to Him. Its celebrating the good He is doing. It’s also preferring His way over the world’s way. This does NOT mean we will never be sad or struggle with what He is doing in our life.
5.      They meditate on his law day and night. In other words, they habitually ponder and think on His word and His ways. Through reading, study and memorization they carry His word in their hearts. This does NOT mean they have to become a monk or a nun.

God’s ways lead to life, fruitful living and true soul rest. 

Considering my life right now, in this moment, I need to work on delighting in God’s way. Not the wanting and choosing to follow God kind of delighting, but the finding JOY in the following. In the day to day living and walking it out. Finding refreshment and strength in His JOY kind of delighting!

Do you need to work on on of these areas to find refreshment like a tree planted by streams of water?