"Paul called the disciples together and encouraged them to keep up the good work in Ephesus. Then, saying his good-byes, he left for Macedonia. Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope." —Acts 20:1-2 (The Message)
Fresh hope. Isn’t that what our world craves? We hear this addressed in various ways by presidential candidates; our family and friends yearn for it, and so do our co-workers. We’re grasping for something that will offer a bright, new outlook. And we long for Someone to rescue us, to cover our constant flub-ups with His enduring grace.
When we focus on others, our own concerns vaporize. A powerful principle!
One of the things I enjoy most about touring around the country is spreading God’s love and encouraging the people I meet at bookstores, churches, and at library events. It is part of my calling as a writer of inspirational novels to connect with readers—to offer them this most precious hope. (You can find my tour schedule here.)
Looking forward to seeing many of you in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia,
"These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don't last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That's why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen." —2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (CEV)
When we're called to do something for God, no matter how we may feel—or how bleak things may look—if we're obedient, we'll continue to push forward. The breakthrough (amazing discovery, divine help, success) may be just around the bend in the road. Why quit now just because the stats are bad, the media reports are troubling, the impossible looms too large?
Our great God and heavenly Father knows the end from the beginning. But, wait...He knows the middle, too! The middle, where we get stuck, where we wish we could give up and go home, where we're discouraged, and maybe even a bit angry if we're honest.
This verse instructs us with the most encouraging words, dear friend: These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory. I love that, and I choose to embrace it. Will you join me?
Well, it's already August and for those whose glasses are half-empty, the summer is winding down. Here, in Colorado, however, the summer is just picking up—warmer temps, less rain, more vividly colorful wildflowers in the mountains, more sunshine, perfectly glorious sunsets. So, it's all good!
Let's make August a memorable and happy month with our family and friends! Are you in?
I remember the first time I heard the following song performed by a male quartet—in Lancaster, PA, my hometown. I was a young teenager and the song made me cry, it was so convicting and inspiring. This month, I offer it to you, as well, hoping you might have the opportunity to hear it sung on YouTube, perhaps. I can assure you that the blending of these lyrics, and the melody and harmonies, too, might stir your soul, as it always does mine.
The Cross is My Statue of Liberty
by Neil Enloe
In New York Harbor stands a lady,
With a torch raised to the sky;
And all who see her know she stands for
Liberty for you and me.
I am proud to be called an American,
To be named with the brave and the free;
I will honor our flag and our trust in God,
And the Statue of Liberty.
On lonely Golgotha stood a cross,
With my Lord raised to the sky;
And all who kneel there live forever
As all the saved can testify.
I am so glad to be called a Christian,
To be named with the ransomed and whole:
As the statue liberates the citizen,
So the cross liberates the soul.
Oh the cross is my Statue of Liberty,
It was there that my soul was set free:
Unashamed I’ll proclaim that a rugged cross
Is my Statue of Liberty!
"So he said to them, 'Let’s go to a place where we can be alone to rest for a while.' Many people were coming and going, and Jesus and the apostles didn’t even have a chance to eat." —Mark 6:31
“School’s out!” The cry rings through the crowded halls of my granddaughter’s school, and moms and dads—and some grandparents, too—sigh a collective relief and welcome the prospect of less frenzied weeks ahead…at least for the summer.
Each of us needs downtime, don’t we? Time to reflect, time to change up the typical daily schedule—the so-called "grind"—and time to inhale deeply and look ahead to a new and different routine, even if that means just planning a special menu for a cookout, or dinner in honor of our dads for Father’s Day.
During this first month of longed-for summer, let’s pause to thank God for our incredible blessings—our Lord Jesus, our families, our health, and our country.