Love Is A Marvelous Thing

Every artist leaves his mark. Whether it’s his signature scrawled in the bottom right-hand corner, initials stamped on the underside, or a clue within the masterpiece itself, there is always something to identify the creator.

Physically marked or not, a person well acquainted with the artist will recognize his work immediately. Brush strokes, fingerprints, a chisel mark, are indicators of his talent.

Just as an artist leaves his mark, we as the Lord’s vessels should be marked. People should immediately identify us with our Creator. Jesus speaking to His disciples said,

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

    John 13:35

 Love. It’s a marvelous thing. Mankind has climbed mountains, crossed oceans, and changed the world around them.

Love Can Heal A Wounded Heart

With love all things are possible. Lives are changed all because of this one little four-letter word!

So how did they change the world?

  • Their love for that one thing consumed them
  • They remained focused on their goal no matter the obstacles
  • They allowed their love to guide them when all seemed lost
  • Nothing deterred them from their vision

So how can we change our world?

  • Allow His love to consume us
  • Stay focused on His commission no matter the obstacles
  • Show love one for another even when things seem hopeless
  • When loving someone is hard, remember His love for us

This month is all about showing the one you love how much you care. Just think, if we showed everyone His love what a difference a month would make.

Today, show some love to those closest to you. Then, while out and about, show some love to the stranger you happen to meet. Who knows? You might just change a world!

 

Save

My Purpose Is Growth

Trimming the fat, or excess, is the first step to organization. Organization is the first step to discipline. And discipline is the first step to growth.

For me, becoming organized is the first priority. I begin by removing everything counterproductive to growth. This isn’t easy at first. After a plan of action, I watch and wait. Then, I decide what is helping or hindering me from achieving my goal. With my decision made, I cut my losses and move ahead.

Once I’m organized, there’s no excuse for being undisciplined. Everything I need is at my fingertips. Therefore, I’m able to concentrate on the job and meet my goals. And the result is growth.

This rule works for my physical and spiritual needs. In the first chapter of his second epistle, Peter tells me through God’s precious promises, Christ’s perfect sacrifice, I have escaped this world. Through these promises, God has given me the ability to grow into a mature vessel. No excuse. Everything is given.

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8 KJV)

When reading this passage, I understand that I can’t “add” to what isn’t there in the first place. To obtain these attributes, I must lay aside all that hinders me from spending time with Him. It isn’t enough to have a casual relationship. I crave intimacy.

When I spend time waiting on the Lord my heart’s cry is for Him to search me and know me. Remove all that displeases. Create in me a clean heart. Draw me near. All unnecessary things fade as my heart focuses on Him.

Some say the order of the words is insignificant. Yet, I’ve learned knowledge of right and wrong helps me to practice self-control in all things. With self-control, I learn patience. And if I haven’t affection for others, how can I have Christ-like love? But, if I seek to add all these things then I’ll not be barren but fruitful and able to make a difference thereby, fulfilling my purpose—growth.

Life quickly become cluttered as I take on more and more. I find myself needing to trim some things to lighten the load. Combining several social media sites is one thing I am in the process of doing. Another, is learning to say no.

What do you do to remove the excess?

Delays-Disappointments-Detours

Gail Johnson www.centerofhiswheel.com

Dreams

Dreams are such fragile little things. We hold them close to our hearts daring to believe that one day our dreams will come true.

Dreams ignite hope. Hope gives us courage to look to the future. Dreams help us to plan. Our lives are built on dreams. We begin life dreaming of the next adventure. Education. Driving. Jobs. Marriage. Children. Retirement. Heaven.

But then, things change. Sickness. Heartache. Job loss. Waiting. Detours. Delays. Disappointment. The loss of a dream often brings discouragement and hopelessness.

Delays-Disappointments-Detours

Physically there was no way Sarah could become pregnant. No hope

Moses spent forty years in the desert before leading his people out of Egypt. Delay

Joshua and Caleb, still carrying the dust of Canaan, watched as their dreams fell to the ground. Although faithful, they were sentenced to forty years in the wilderness. Disappointment

Martha ran to Jesus and said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” Loss of hope

Paul, a Hebrew of Hebrew, born of the tribe of Benjamin thought he had it going on until Jesus gained his attention on the road to Damascus. Change of plans

But…

Don’t you love that word? I do when it pertains to the things of God, the author of our hopes and dreams. As the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2) He is well able to keep His promises. And in the end, He alone will get the glory.

God is not behind schedule and we are not late for the appointment. He knows exactly what He is doing. And in His time, everything will fall into place. All we have to do is surrender our dreams to Him, move when He speaks, and trust His heart.

Deliverance

Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:14

Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. Genesis 4:12

Doubtless ye (the doubters) shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. Numbers 14:30

Thy brother shall rise again. John 11:23

But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. Acts 9:15

So, why the wait? Only God can answer that question. But one thing is certain. A circuitous journey prepares us for the destination. While passing through the valley or hiking over the mountain, let’s dig a well and claim the ground! Learn of Him, and collect every nugget along the way

Easy? Not by a long shot. Read the red. He promised troubles and trials,  heartaches and afflictions. Yet, He also promised to never leave us.

Decision

Delays, disappointments and detours, are nothing in His hands. God’s not behind. You’re not late. Trust His heart. He knows what is best.

 

Mist Of Midnight ~Sandra Byrd

I am pleased to have my friend and mentor, the lovely Sandra Byrd with me today. Her book, Mist of Midnight, is on sale for $1.99 for your Kindle and Nook. If you haven’t read it, I assure you it will make the perfect summer read. One of the things I love about Sandra’s writing is what she doesn’t say. Woven within the text is a treasure trove of wisdom if you only look for it. While reading Mist of Midnight, I thought of all the ministers and the sacrifices they’ve willingly made for the gospel. Now, let’s chat with Sandra.

 

Tell us about Mist of Midnight

 In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

 Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her…and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca’s name, but her home and incomes.

 That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father’s investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

 A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

 

How did Mist of Midnight get started?

My interest in this particular story ignited when I read a biography of the first wife of the man often considered the Father of Missions, William Carey. Dorothy Carey was an unwilling missionary. She did not want to leave England, but her husband persisted and planned to take their oldest son with him, perhaps forever, leaving her home with the younger children. Dorothy was finally convinced to, perhaps bullied into, accompany her husband. Suffering first from what we could would call depression, she was an unhappy woman who was locked inside, crying, while her husband baptized their son and his first Indian convert. Her illness progressed and she ended her days in paranoia, psychosis, and misery after the death of their son Peter from dysentery, which she herself suffered from throughout her life. Carey, who seemed to have been both driven and a man seeking relief for as well as confinement for his wife, went on to marry another woman after Dorothy’s death, a woman suited to missions work. They lived and worked together happily.

This interest next led me to the Mault family. Among the earliest missionaries from England to India, sent from the London Missionary Society, both Charles and Margaret Mault were admirably, happily, suited to missionary work. They joined Margaret’s brother, Charles Mead, and his wife in South India. Mrs. Mead and Mrs. Mault worked together to open schools which taught both academic and practical subjects to girls in a state where girls never went to school. Mrs. Mault, an accomplished lace maker from Honiton, shared her skill. Lace-making offered Indian girls financial freedom, dignity, and the ability to climb the social, if not the caste, ladder. Their lace was proudly displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London and sold throughout the world.

 

Tell us about your research process.

I begin by reading, mainly nonfiction material that covers the era I’m writing in. I immerse myself in the language of the era, its customs and mannerisms. How did women dress, and what were their hopes and expectations, their limitations, which are often different from our own? I visit as many sites, personally, as I can, so I spent some time in Hampshire, England. I visited the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, where the London Missionary Society archives are held, and read the actual letters written to and from the missionaries to India. Finally, I engage a historical research assistant who lives in the area in which I write and is an historical expert, to ensure my English people sound English and my facts and customs are all straight.

 

What impact did your research have on you personally?

It was powerful to read the words of those missionary women in their own hands. The letters were written on the thinnest parchment possible, and then the papers were turned sideways and written across again, angularly, to make the most of the paper space. They worked very hard, they suffered and gave their all in service to Christ. Most of them did not realize the extent of their impact in their lifetimes, but we can see it now. It was an effective and encouraging lesson in planting, hoeing, and watering knowing that God will reap, though we may not see it right away.

 

How do you see yourself in your character’s story, if at all?

I think all of us, as believers, wonder why bad things happen to good people, and why it seems as though the Lord has abandoned us at a moment when we most need Him. To live through, and then show on the page, the truth that He is always with us even if we don’t sense his presence and attention was restorative to me, and I hope it will be to readers, too.

 

Will we know what happens to your character after the end of the book?

Absolutely. This is a complete story, including a little epilogue. The book launches a series of three books in the same genre (Gothic romance) set in the same era and area (Victorian England) but each book has its own set of characters and story arc.

 

Where can readers find you online?

Please visit me at www.sandrabyrd.com, or to connect on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’ve love to visit your book club via Skype.

PR-Photo Sandra Byrd pic

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens, including a best-selling devotional.

Mist of midnight

Buy Links:

Mist of Midnight @ CBD

Mist of Midnight @ Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

 

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Steal, Kill, and Destroy Part 2

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

The first time I heard Annie Johnson Flint’s story was during a Gaither Homecoming program. Gloria Gaither told the story of a courageous woman who supported herself through writing, even though she was stricken with debilitating arthritis that eventually left her an invalid.

In the end, when she couldn’t hold a pencil, she held a piece of chalk and wrote on a board suspended above her bed.

When you read Annie Johnson Flint’s poems, you do not hear “Woe is me” in her verses. What you hear, is a steady peace, an active joy, and a quiet trust. Annie learned faith as a child, as a woman she learned to trust.

The difference?

Faith believes God can, while trust rests in knowing He will. Many have learned faith, but struggle with trust. “I believe God can do it; I just don’t know if He will.”

And there’s the problem.

When my peace is disturbed, my joy dwindles. My focus turns inward. I no longer offer sacrifices of praise, but worship at the altar of self. My trust waivers. I question God. How long? Why? When? Will You?

Jesus never lied to His listeners. He promised troubles and tribulations. But the object is to overcome them, not be overtaken by them.

Annie knew that joy, like peace, is a fruit. It isn’t found in happy circumstances.

It’s found in Christ Jesus. It is proof of His Spirit working in our lives. It is us decreasing, Christ increasing.

Annie understood.

When the winds of adversity blew, rocking her to and fro, Annie, like a tree used it to her advantaged and sent her roots deeper into the softened soil. She raised her limbs heavenward and soaked in the Son. She drank the water of the Word and ate of the Bread of Life. She did not bend to self-pity but was strengthened by God’s Spirit. Her fruit remains with us today, a testimony to His faithfulness. And what a testimony it is!

What God Hath Promised~ Annie Johnson Flint~ Public Domain

God hath not promised skies always blue;

Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;

God hath not promised sun without rain,

Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God promised strength for the day,

Rest for the labor, light for the way,

Grace for the trials, help from above,

Unfailing kindness, undying love. Read more here

You can read more about Annie Johnson Flint by searching her name or her poems and songs, What God Hath Promised and He Giveth More Grace.

XOXO

Gail

Save

Save