Alexis A. Goring–Writer of the Day

2 Comments

My Writer of the Day is Alexis A. Goring. She’s a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.

Alexis has written a new devotional–STORIES OF SONGS AND FAITH: MY JOURNEY WITH GOD. She’s sharing one of her devotions with us today.

AMAZON LINK

A God Who Hears

“Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.”

– Psalm 34:17 (MSG)

The idea for this devotional struck me when I interviewed for a part-time position at a daycare. This daycare was for children as young as six months until about Pre-K. I remember that part of the interview process was to have me observe a classroom to give me a real taste of what working there would be like. They placed me in the quietest classroom. But the teacher in that classroom told me that it was only quiet because the children were sleeping.

We sat at a table in the middle of the classroom. The adorable toddlers surrounded us, sleeping peacefully on their blue and red mats. They looked like little, sweet cherubs. The teacher of this classroom and I spoke in soft tones as not to wake the children. She informed me about the tasks that she and her classroom aide were responsible for each day and then she said something that still stays with me today.

“I couldn’t work in that classroom,” she said, pointing down the hall to the Cradle Roll, which was where the noise I noticed from the moment when I entered the secure hallway near the classrooms, originated.

“Really? Why?” I asked.

“Because those babies cry all day!”

We shared a quiet laugh (so not to wake the children in her classroom).

As I walked away from my hour spent interviewing and observing at that daycare, the humor stuck with me and I smiled, but then realization hit me. I realized that no matter how much we cry – in joy, in despair, in anxiety or what have you – we have a God who hears! Not only does He hear our cries, he never tires of hearing us cry. He wants us to cry out to Him. He is completely invested in caring for us and meeting our every need. We can never wear God out! He never gets tired of taking care of us! The Bible says that He never sleeps! The Bible says in Psalm 121:4 (MSG): “He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.”

God never gets tired listening to our cries even if they are constant and never stop. His patience, perseverance and kindness in caring for us reminds me of the song by Scott Krippayne, “Every Single Tear.”

Here is my paraphrase of that song: We may feel like we’re not that important. We may feel invisible like nobody knows our name. But we’re priceless to God. He sees us and He knows each of our names! He sees every single tear that we shed on any given day, noon or night. His empathy is unique because He feels everything that we feel. God looks past our tears and sees our heart. He gets to the core of our pain and as the Master Physician, He carefully and effectively works on us in a way that will heal us and bring about complete restoration. We cry, He cries. But He doesn’t just empathize when He hears us cry, He listens to what we cannot even put into words and then He answers the cries of our heart in only ways that He can.

To the world, our cries may be annoying and misunderstood. But to God, our cries draw Him near to us because He’s concerned about everything that concerns us! He wants to be there for us and He’s readily available to help.

Bottom line: We don’t have to face pain alone because we have a God who hears and answers us!

The Bible says in Matthew 6:25-26 that if God takes care of the sparrows (He does) then He will take care of us too! The sparrows don’t worry about where they’re going to sleep or what they’re going to eat because they know that their Creator (God) will provide for their every need. The Bible says that we’re worth more than sparrows. So we can trust that God will meet all of our needs, from the food that we need to eat to the clothes that we need to wear and to the bills that we need to pay.

Here’s how The Message Bible (MSG) words Matthew 6:25-26: “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.”

You are a child of God and He is a Good Father who loves you with all of His divine heart. Cry out to God. Pour your heart to Him. Go to Him for help that only He can give. Remember, God is always listening and ready to rescue you!

Reflection Questions:

  1. When was the last time that God meet your needs?
  2. How does reflecting on how God met your needs in the past, help you to not fear the future?

Readers, feel free to answer her questions here so others can learn from you. Thanks so much, Alexis, for sharing your devotion with us today.

THE UGLY BUGLY WHO TRIED TO CANCEL EASTER

4 Comments

A friend challenged someone to come up with a story about Covid-19 and how it tried to steal Easter. similar to How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Being a writer, I took the challenge.

I’m no Dr. Seuss by any means, but here’s what I came up with.

PS. This is a first draft so it’s subject to change!

 

THE UGLY BUGLY WHO TRIED TO CANCEL EASTER

 

THE UGLY BUGLY WHO TRIED TO CANCEL EASTER

 

It was twenty-twenty in the Land of Plenty.

Easter was fast approaching.

So busy—so much to do!

 

Easter hams.

Easter egg hunts for the little runts.

Chocolate bunnies to be bought.

 

The Ugly Bugly sat in his Ugly Bugly hole and wondered.

I thought Easter was about the Risen Savior, not jellybeans and peeps.

The People of Plenty have forgotten.

So there is no need for Easter.

 

The Ugly Bugly laughed.

As he watched the People of Plenty making their plans.

He had a plan of his own.

To cancel Easter.

So busy—so much to do!

 

The Ugly Bugly crawled out of his Ugly Bugly hole.

He looked around.

He stretched his wings from the sky to the ground.

And he laughed some more.

So busy—so much to do!

 

But what could he do?

After all, he was only one little ugly bugly.

He thought and he thought.

And then he knew.

There was only thing he had to do.

Keep the People of Plenty in the dark.

If it stayed dark, there could be no sunrise.

If there were no sunrise, there could be no Easter.

It was the perfect plan!

So busy—so much to do!

 

He flew away from his Ugly Bugly hole and into the Land of Plenty.

Everywhere he flew he left a drop or two of mist and dew.

Not much, just enough for one or two.

But the darkness grew.

Along with the darkness, came the fear.

Darkness and fear.

No sunrise.

No Easter!

 

The Ugly Bugly laughed and cheered as he shouted with glee. “No sunrise; No Easter!”

His plan made perfect.

Easter was cancelled indeed!

 

The People of Plenty sat in their houses, so afraid and sad.

Life was so bad.

And they were so mad.

 

No Easter hams.

No Easter egg hunts for the little runts.

No chocolate bunnies to be bought.

 

In the twinkling of an eye, they went from the Land of Plenty to the Land of Darkness, Fear, and Want.

 

People bought and bought.

They did not share.

They did not care.

 

The Ugly Bugly laughed and cheered.

Knowing he had won.

Easter was cancelled indeed!

 

But then the people opened their Bibles.

But then the people sang praises to God.

But then the people looked to the Cross.

And they remembered.

 

Easter wasn’t about ham or eggs or even chocolate bunnies.

Easter was about the Risen Savior indeed!

Death and Darkness could not stop him then.

Nor would it stop Him now.

 

The people left their sad little houses.

And walked out into the darkness.

Holding high their crosses of light.

They sang praises to the Risen Savior.

 

And the sunrise came.

And with the sunrise, Easter came.

And the People of Plenty proclaimed.

Jesus is the Risen Savior indeed!

 

The Ugly Bugly frowned and stomped his feet.

No1 No! No!

This simply wouldn’t do.

He would start again.

More darkness.

More fear.

More dread.

 

But the People of Plenty had remembered.

They refused to listen.

They sang ever louder and louder.

They held their crosses higher and higher.

Because they knew no weapon formed against them could prosper.

And that the Risen Savior loved them indeed!

 

Copyright 2020@ Lillian Duncan

Contact: www.lillian-duncan.com

 

 

Blessings to your this Easter.

 

I Want To Be Wise!

Leave a comment

Proverbs 10: 19

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable. But he who restrains his lips is wise.

Wow. I love this verse.  Many words equals an unavoidable transgression but he who restrains his lips is wise.

I want to be wise.

It may not be the only thing we need to do become more wise, but it’s a good start. Thanks to social media, there’s way too many words out there in the universe. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll read something on social media and my first response will be to write something that won’t be so kind or useful. I’ll even write the post, but most of the time, I’ll delete it before I actually post it.

The times I don’t I usually wish I had.

For some reason we think we have to tell the world how to live, what’s right and wrong, how to feel or not feel. The list can go on and on. But a better choice is to restrain or lips–and our fingers!

God Bless & Good Reading!

Book Review: Praying God’s Promises by Linda Evans Shepherd

Leave a comment

Praying God's Promises: The Life-Changing Power of Praying the Scriptures

 

God has given us many promises and yet so many of us do not see those promises fulfilled. Linda Evans Shepherd has written a wonderful book that will help us move from being frustrated with our prayer life to basking in God’s love.

This is not a book to be read in a day or even a week. This is a book that can change how to think about God. I’m currently using it as part of my daily devotions. Each time I open the book, I look forward to what I’m going to learn that day. The Promise Garden is part of each chapter. It gives verses that are relevant to that chapter’s topic along with a prayer that agrees with God’s Word.

Some of the topics covered include: comfort; faith; healing; joy; peace; and protection. And that’s just a few of the topics. No matter where you are in  your spiritual walk, this book will lead you further down the path.

A big thank you to Linda Evans Shepherd for writing this book!

PUZZLE HOUSE–A Different Sort of Book

2 Comments

So PUZZLE HOUSE is completely different from the other books I’ve written. I classify it simply as a Christian story–a parable if you will. My definition of a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly message. I like to think that defines all my books, but certainly PUZZLE HOUSE.

AMAZON LINK

Here’s the blurb:

 

Life isn’t a box of candy—it’s a puzzle!

Rachel Summers is all about Rachel Summers…until the day she crashes headlong into a semi-truck. As her life hangs in the balance, she has a visitor who asks a very simple question.

Does she want to be healed or to be a healer?

She makes her choice, but the journey doesn’t go quite the way she expected.

And so Rachel now runs Puzzle House. Every guest is different and yet the same. They all come to the Puzzle House for one reason and one reason only—to be healed, usually from a life-threatening illness. Sometimes they receive their miracle, and sometimes they discover there’s more than one kind of healing.

Nia is a fifteen-year-old African-American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. And she’s angry about that. Very angry. Against her wishes, Nia’s aunt brings her to The Puzzle House.

Together, Nia and Rachel will take a journey that will change both their lives.

 

PUZZLE HOUSE has a much deeper spiritual message than my suspense and mystery novels. And because of that, I’ve written a companion devotional book to go along with it–Devotions from PUZZLE HOUSE.

AMAZON LINK

DEVOTIONS from PUZZLE HOUSE takes the puzzle theme from the novel and delves deeper into God’s Word.

FREE DAY!

2 Comments

Today’s the day! Devotions from Puzzle House is FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow. So be sure to get your copy and tell all your friends about it as well!

AMAZON LINK

 

God Bless & Good Reading!

Red Word Wisdom

1 Comment

The Bible is filled with all the wisdom we need to have a successful life here on earth. And certainly the words of Jesus are no exception. In fact, perhaps, his words deserve some extra attention so I’m starting a new Bible study that focuses on Jesus’s Words.

Time wise, Jesus’s first recorded words were found in Luke 2: 49 (NIV) when he went missing and Mary and Joseph found him at the temple. “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

The New King James Version says it this way:  “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

I think both versions have something to teach us.

In my Father’s house. When you spend time at another’s house, it implies a relationship with that person. I don’t believe it’s an accident that Jesus’s first recorded words point to having a relationship with God—His father. Our Father. First and foremost, we were created to have a relationship with our Creator.

Don’t neglect that relationship.

About My Father’s business. Jesus knew that he was put on this earth for a reason—to do God’s business. We were put on the earth for that very same reason. Jesus was put on this earth for a very specific purpose—and so were we.

My purpose is not the same as yours. And yours is not the same as anyone else’s. Once you have that relationship with God, then it’s time to discover the business your Father created you form then…

Get about His business.

Wow! Jesus’s first words give us direction and purpose in our life. Can’t beat that. I have a feeling this Bible study might take a lot longer than I realized.

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Are You Putting God In A Cage?

1 Comment

This is not the first time I’ve used this devotion, but I love it! So I use it from time to time. I hope you enjoy it as well.

ARE YOU PUTTING GOD IN A CAGE?

James 4: 8 (NLT)

“Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.”

Friends told me this story of a rescued dog long ago, but I’ve never forgotten it. The dog’s owners decided to use cage training to housebreak their young puppy. Cage training consists of having the puppy spend time in his cage until he figures out where to go potty and where not to.

Unfortunately, the owners missed the point. They brought their young puppy home and, as expected, the puppy soon had an accident. His owners punished him by putting him in the cage. With each accident, they would punish him by keeping him the cage for longer periods. Naturally, the dog would have another accident in the cage and so the cycle went.

Eventually, the dog was in the cage for several days at a time without food or water. The owners didn’t understand why the dog had turned mean.

Dogs are great pets when they are loved and nurtured. The more time we spend with them the stronger the bond becomes. The key to any relationship is the time, attention and effort given. That holds true for relationships with animals, people, and God.

The more time and effort we put into a relationship the more we receive.

What about our relationship with God?

Do we treat Him in a way that we wouldn’t treat a dog? Do we take God out of the cage on Sundays for a few hours and then stick Him back in until the next Sunday? We may even have good intentions but…life can get so busy.

I know that happens to me more often than I care to admit. I have good intentions to spend time with God but then life happens. Before I know it, I begin to lose my patience, my joy, and my peace. That’s when I know it’s time to draw near to God and He’s always there waiting.

Don’t cheat yourself out of a loving relationship with God because you think you don’t have time. There is no right or wrong way to spend time with God. Here are a few of my favorite ways to spend time with God:

While you do your chores, listen to praise music.

Pray whenever the mood hits.

Start writing a list of what you are grateful to God for–big and little things.

Rent a Biblical movie.

Put index cards and a pen by your Bible. Write out verses that are meaningful.

Sing your favorite hymn–even if your husband doesn‘t like your singing.

Reflect on God’s goodness as you notice His beautiful handiwork.

As you fall asleep, end your day with a pray of praise and thanksgiving.

Be creative, be flexible, and enjoy your time with God. The more time you spend with him, the more peace and joy you will experience. As you reap the benefits of spending time with God, you will soon find yourself craving more time with Him. He’s here right this moment–waiting for you.

What’s one of the ways you enjoy spending time with God?

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Are You Ready To Play In The Super Bowl?

Leave a comment

Who doesn’t want to be a champion, especially on this Super Bowl Sunday, right?

My preacher had a great sermon today so I thought I’d share the highlights. So thanks, Tom, for inspiring this post. He entitled it SUPER BOWL CHRISTIANS. Don’t you love the title and wouldn’t we all love to be a Super Bowl Christian. Being a Super Bowl Christian might mean different things to different people but there’s a few things we all need to do if we want to become one.

DESIRE: You can’t win the game if you don’t care about it. Psalm 42: 1 says, As the deer pants for the streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God”  To be a Super Bowl Christian, we should desire a relationship with God above all else. 

DISCIPLINE: To be all that we can be, we must endure a little discipline in life, sometimes self-displine but also from others. (Just ask the Army!) Discipline is not a bad thing. Hebrews 12: 7 tells us,  “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father.” To be a Super Bowl Christian, we must accept and learn from the discipline, not be made angry, frustrated, or bitter.

DETERMINATION: This step is about focus and commitment. Lots of people start lots of things every day, but it takes determination to finish. Proverbs 24: 16 says it all, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.”  To be a Super Bowl Christian, you’ve got to get back in the game no matter how many times you fall.

DENIAL: This is a painful one–because it’s about self-denial.Something we’re not very good at these days. We want what we want when we want it, and we don’t want to sacrifice anything to get it. .Paul tells us in Romans 12: 1, ” Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”   Each time we make a sacrifice as we run our race, we move a little closer to the goal line. To be a Super Bowl Christian, you must be willing to sacrifce.

DISTINCTION If we follow the other four steps to the best of our ability, then we will have completed the race we were given to run. We will live a life of excellence, a life pleasing to God. As Paul said in Phillipians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”. And we, too, can say we are a Super Bowl Christian.

Can you even begin to imagine what your life might be like if you practice these four steps consistently and to the best of your ability in your writing life as well (or whatever dream you are pursuing)?

You might start that story you’ve been wanting to write.

You might finish that story that’s been sitting dormant for so long.

You might edit, revise, and polish so that it’s ready to submit.

And you might just obtain that illusive goal of being a published writer.

Now that I’m published I still want to write the best story I can. My writing is my ministry, and because of that I want to do it as well as I can. To be a Super Bowl Champion means to live the life of excellence God calls each of us to live.

Any other ideas what we need to do to live a life of excellence?

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

ARE YOU A GRINCH?

2 Comments

Proverbs 23:7:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas, but I know that not everyone did. Some because of circumstances out of their control and some because they chose not to.

WHAT???

Who would choose not to have a wonderful Christmas? Probably not many of us would choose to do that consciously. Though there might be a few. But just because we’re unaware doesn’t mean we didn’t make that choice just the same.

Count me among the unawares.

I’ve beein going around telling people that  I love the Christmas season but not necessarily Christmas Day. I mean really! Talk about a bad attitude. I’d already planned to not have a good Christmas.

And I didn’t mind talking about it either. Talk about being a Grinch. That was me! Just because I’d had not perfect Christmases the past few years, I’d decided I would never have another one.

Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My attitude and my words were ensuring that I wouldn’t have a good Christmas—this year or any other one.

But God is good!

God’s Spirit spoke to my spirit a week or so before the big day reminding me that everything’s not all about me. I know! Shocking as it was, it was exactly what I needed to be reminded of. I decided to smile and enjoy the day for the people around me—because it was their Christmas, too!

And…. I had a good Christmas! And everyone around me seem to have one as well.

It’s amazing how when you focus on making other people happy, you get a little more happy as well! Well, actually, it’s not all that amazing. That’s another one of God’s principles–you reap what you sow. If you sow grinchiness, then all you reap is more grinchiness. If you sow Christmas joy, then you’ll reap more Christmas joy.

And I’m already excited about next Christmas.

An interesting point is that Proverbs 23: 7 has been one of my anchor verses these past few years as I dealt with my brain tumors. I would remind myself over and over that my thoughts had power when it came to my health. But somehow I seemed to forget all about that principle when it came to Christmas, and especially my attitude about Christmas.

Mmmmm…. I wonder what other unaware attitudes of mine need adjusting….

So, what have you been grinchy about lately?

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!