Thursday, January 16, 2014

He has promised, we are his

"They will be my people, and I will be their God.  I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.  I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.  I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul."
~Jeremiah 32:38-41

Are there any sweeter words than the promise of our Lord..."They will be my people, and I will be their God."

He never stops doing good to us. He rejoices in doing us good! And when he inspires us to fear is for our good, that all will go well for us, and so that we will never turn away. I like to remember that when times get difficult and my heart is downcast and weary...I am not alone. Even this, however bad it gets, he can use for my good. And if I stray and wander, as we are all prone to do...he will bring me back, and inspire me to fear him so that one day, I will never turn away. He will give us singleness of heart and action, so that we won't be divided in a million directions but focused on him in the busy-ness of life, his glory and grace giving us direction as we make decisions and choices.

We never walk alone.

He promises, with all his heart and soul. May we respond with our love and our praise, with all our heart and soul, and give him the honor due his name. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Illumination Award Winner! Invisible Illness, Visible God

The results of the 2013 Illumination Awards have been posted, and Invisible Illness, Visible God has won a bronze medal in the Devotional category!

"With the motto, "Shining a Light on Exemplary Christian Books," the Illumination Book Awards are designed to honor the year’s best new titles written and published with a Christian worldview."

I'm greatly honored that Invisible Illness, Visible God: When Pain Meets the Power of an Indestructible Life was chosen. We pray that others will continue to be strengthened and encouraged through God's word and the sharing of our journey.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you..."
~ Ephesians 1:18 

Friday, January 3, 2014

One-Word Resolutions

Do you have a New Year's Goal or Resolution? A friend of mine on a message board encouraged others to have "one-word" goals. Choose a word or a very short phrase that represents your goal so that it's memorable. I decided to use "Healthy Choices," and hope to focus on one new one each month and really make some long-term changes. (My husband always says that a good goal should be definable and measurable--otherwise you won't know if you've met it!)

But "Healthy Choices" is short-hand for something that's really been on my mind, and that make the changes with my eyes on the Lord and not wrapped up in self. An overfocus on self-improvement could become self-absorbed and miss God's glory and grace.

With that in mind, one example of a healthy choice that I thought of many women, when they look in the mirror, look at all of their flaws. Too fat, too skinny, don't like this or that feature, acne & skin issues, or whatever. What if, when we looked in the mirror, we were thankful? Thankful for a body that works (to whatever degree one's body functions), for eyes to see and ears to hear, and hands to help others? What if we saw kindness and grace in our eyes when we looked in the mirror? What if we saw joy and thankfulness to God instead of complaining about our imperfections and despairing of weight struggles?

Instead of looking in the mirror & thinking, "I've got to lose that ugly fat," I want to take that thought process captive and turn it around. Instead I want to look into the mirror and say, "Thank you God for my health and my physical abilities. Give me wisdom and discipline to take care of what you've given me."

Then my body isn't an idol for beauty as the world defines it (or something that falls short of that ideal)--it's a gift from God that I can cherish, that I can use for his glory, and something to protect and care for.

I want that to color my decisions and choices...and not the self-absorbed goal that the world holds out to us.

Another example--just yesterday I was starting to berate myself. Here our Christmas break was ending and I hadn't accomplished any household projects as I usually like to do over the break. I had just...rested. As I started to complain and belittle myself in my mind, I stopped and realized...I don't have to do this. I can be thankful that I had a wonderful, long break, that it was okay to enjoy that rest. A gift from God.

A weight was lifted, and I started to think about breaking some projects down into small, doable segments--15 minutes here and there can accomplish so much, I've learned over the years. Today it was cleaning off my desk. And who doesn't like a clean desk?! For this, too, I can be thankful.

I wonder how often negative thoughts keep us from making more healthy choices--and how often we miss God's blessings because of our own discontent. So, this year I want to accept and be thankful as I focus on learning to make more healthy choices.  What resolutions are you making?