Monday, July 24, 2017

Prayer Circles


"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.” Philippians 4:6

One of the best ways I know to remember how to commit things to God in prayer is by remembering three circles. One is the worry circle, in which I keep nothing. Second is the prayer circle, in which I keep everything. Third is the gratitude circle, in which I keep anything. So when I pray, I am anxious for nothing, prayerful for everything, and thankful for anything.

We feel foolish asking God to help us with some of the things in our lives. But remember: “In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God” (Philippians 4:6). 

You just need to write out every one of your concerns before they turn into worries and commit them to God. He does care about each of them. If you take them back, just give them back to Him in prayer again. Day by day, as you get more and more practiced committing the affairs of your life to Him, you will begin to leave them with Him. Your trust in God will grow, and you will stop grabbing back what you have given Him.

(Dr. David Jeremiah, July 13 post from his devotional, Sanctuary 2002)

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. God bless you always,
Angela



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Blessings


Summer. Beach. Pool. Children and grandchildren. Well, I’m living in the fullness of who I am, a Nana! What a joy to have all nine grandchildren and three daughters filling the house with laughter, sharing, and reminiscing. The fellowship was like a sweet aroma. Our summer reunion  is a sweet remembrance of the love we share for one another and others. Our children are indeed a heritage from the Lord.

The Bible teaches that family is very important. We see very early in the Bible that family members are to care for and look after one another. In today’s society where families are more transient and independent, we’ve had to get more creative to remain close and create the large family unit most of us crave.  

Living long distances from one another, our family has had to lean into our spiritual family, the Church, to minister to us. We’ve also realized that family comes in many different forms, neighbors, friends, and cohorts. Our family may not get to see one other as much as we’d like, but we have still managed to have many family members surrounding us with support and love.

I am very honored that my family loves God. It’s like power unleashed. When we gather together, I sit amazed listening to the ways our family is reaching out to others. More importantly, I hear how others are reciprocating in kind to them, offering love and encouragement when they are discouraged or need a listening ear. These are precious words to a mom who can’t always be there. I know the family they are building love them, too. 

Jesus said, “A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)  

Thank You, God, for family. Thank You for every blessing and every trial. Thank You for the strength and courage to face every day in prayer and the conviction to live each day in service and love to You. Thank You, Father, for each family member who make my life more meaningful, and reach out beyond their core unit to love others. In all things, in prayer and supplication, I praise Your holy name for the family You have so graciously given to me.

As you think about your summer and family, find ways to celebrate each other and the people that God has brought into our lives.

God bless you,
Angela 

P.S. Missing all the husbands who are not in this picture.





Friday, July 7, 2017

Hope Keeps Our Dreams Alive



So many people have been praying for my grandson, Hudson. From the bottom of my heart, my family thanks you. Every day we feel the power of those prayers. So, I wanted to update you on his progress. Everything he does is a big thing to us. When you hear your grandson is deaf. You hang onto hope because the waiting and wondering what will happen can be painful.
Hudson amazes us daily with new words. Dallas and I had the opportunity to take him to speech therapy this week, and as would be expected he acted like a two-year-old. He did about half of what the therapist asked him to do. The other half he did what Hudson wanted to do. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
His powerful new word that he says and signs is “No!” I think he’s hearing it so much from us that at some point he feels he just has to exert some control. If he’s not sure about something, he will just shake his head. However, if it’s something he refuses to do he will let you know right away.
Yesterday the grand news was he vocalized the words “thank you” very plainly to his cousin. He said it more than once. Good thing because he had the adults bewildered. All of them felt they surely misunderstood what he had said. I think the boy thinks a lot of words and holds them inside just for the best time to touch the heart of his parents and grandparents. Hope is thriving around here.
Hudson wants to learn. He studies and watches everything we are doing. His Papa, Dallas, decided to teach Hudson a rendition of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. The second go-round, Hudson was right in step with his Papa right down to the addition of the Doodle Hill stomp. And if you’re not from Doodle Hill, I’m sorry that you don’t have that image in your head. Maybe that’s another post. For those of you who grew up on the Hill, you are laughing. God bless you!
Hudson will be two-years-old on July 9. His new ears, cochlear implants, are only five months old. That’s how the therapist and doctors measure his hearing/speech progress. He is meeting one milestone after another. Your prayers are working. Our hope is soaring!
Hudson June 2017
God bless you,
Angela


















Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy July 4th!




Happy 4th of July! Celebrate this great country with your family and friends. God bless America! Keep her strong and in Your will, Lord! God bless you all, Angela

Monday, July 3, 2017

Holding to High Standards


Books are powerful instruments to entertain, teach, learn problem solving strategies and coping mechanisms. As a writer I cannot underestimate the impact my words can have on readers. Knowing this, I take being a Christian author very seriously.  

Before I began writing the Cries series, Cries of Innocence and Cries of Grace, I began to pray. My subject matter was hard—abuse, abandonment, and neglect. I was not foreign to the scope of the issues, having worked with women and children who lived under oppression and in wretched situations. Writing about evil is serious business. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those who want to over dramatize the subject matter.

Every writing session was prayed over. I had prayer partners praying for me, too. I endorsed pastors, Sunday School teachers, and avid readers to look over chapters I was struggling with. I wanted the material to show real-life conflict and demonstrate strategies to biblically maneuver through trials.

My journey proved to be a tremendous faith builder for me. The protagonist’s grandmother often said, “You’ve got a lot to learn.” Those words were the driving force behind the cries of those who wondered where God was in the struggle. In the middle of their learning, I learned exponentially. I felt accountable to God and my future readers to deliver a tough message while continually measuring myself against Scripture.

There were four questions I had written down on an index card to keep me focused. These questions established my writing each day.

1.     Prayer

2.     God’s Truth

3.     Stumbling Blocks to Faith

4.     Freedom Through Believing and Praying

Prayer. Begin every writing session in prayer. Pray for guidance over difficult scenes.

God’s truth. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV) Stay centered on scriptural truths. When in doubt seek godly advice. I do this often when I am treading into difficult areas or situations. It is easy to get trapped within cultural mores and half-truths. Partner with people who keep you biblically accountable. Your goal is to lead your readers to higher grounds of understanding.

Stumbling blocks to faith can be indistinguishable from other forms of sin. We are desperate in the dark, knowing evil exists, but unable to figure out how to navigate the murky waters of its lies. Breaking strongholds is seeing different ways to approach the issues and problems life so generously delves out. As book characters learn biblical strategies to deal with their situation, it teaches readers that there are numerous options to break stumbling blocks in order to have a fuller life in Christ.

Freedom through believing and praying. We all have moments when we feel lost, alone, and stranded. Those are times when problems seem too big to handle. Offering readers Biblical ways to look beyond their crisis, beyond their limited view, and beyond their understanding offers hope to the hopeless. If offers the characters the courage to step beyond the dark wall into the light of God’s saving grace and redemption. Readers are given the opportunity to internalize coping mechanisms and strategies to grow as they become more and more aware of God’s presence.

I write with purpose, giving readers a chance to engage with the story’s multiethnic characters who find the end of the road is only the beginning of a new life in Christ Jesus. What more could an author demonstrate to readers than the love of the Father and the Truth that continues to free its victims.
God bless you all,




 



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rescue Me


Music calms my soul. It puts words to my joy and heartache. Music lifts me up when I am low. When I am overfilled with blessings, music accompanies my emotions. Music can soothe the soul or rev up our excitement for life.

“Never underestimate the healing power of listening to your favorite music on full blast while dancing around the house like an idiot.” (author unknown)

That’s another benefit!!! Music can make us feel younger and more vibrant.

You know what music really is?

“God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connections between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars.” Robin Williams

I’ve never heard a living soul say they hated music. They might not like Rap or Zydeco, two of my favorites, but everyone loves some kind of music. And that’s our connection.

Well, music has come to my rescue again.

I’ve been in a slump. No know reason. No diagnosis. No medications. Just one of those natural slumps. When I fall into one of these traps, I get out the music. And God led me to the perfect song for my mood. It was sung by Wynnona Judd, “Rescue Me”.

 What do you do when you’re scared inside?

When all of your feelings just seem to collide.

Emotions just seem to let go,

All of your tears always follow.

All of these things that you’re feeling deep down;

And you realize that you’re calling out loud:

I love Thee.

Rescue Me.

Shine Your light, lead me home.

Lord, all I need is Your Love.

I love Thee.

Rescue Me.

Shine Your light, lead me home.

Lord, all I need is your love.

Rescue me, rescue me.



I played this over and over again. Singing. Crying. Healing those frayed emotions.



Oh, it’s Love’s sweet salvation

With Christ the Blessed Lamb.

We can get through anything

As long as it’s You and me.



Hope this song brought back some memories and maybe some healing. Music is powerful. I’ll be sharing more. If you have a song that speaks to your heart, please share it with me.

Blessings,

Angela

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Faith Without Prayer Isn't


Sounds absolutely right doesn’t it? Faith without prayer isn’t.

I had a young woman tell me she believed in Jesus, but didn’t like to pray, didn’t feel the need to pray. She said Jesus knew everything about her; so, why should she waste her time telling Him what He already knows.

The Bible tells us that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Faith is believing God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.

But if you never pray, how is faith sustained? Is it not through prayer that we draw closer to God? Isn’t our faith about having a relationship with God? And how do we cultivate that relationship or listen to that still small voice if we don’t pray?

John Bunyan says, “Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”

So I went on a mission to find out why prayer is an essential part of faith.

I found a wonderful article from Focus on the Family by Robert Velarde. I am going to recap it here, but if you would like to read the article in its entirety, please go to the link at the end of the post.

12 reasons to Pray:

1.     God’s Word Calls Us to Pray. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

2.     Jesus Prayed Regularly. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

3.     Prayer is How We Communicate with God. “…if my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

4.     Prayer Allows us to Participate in God’s Works. “Does God need our help? No. He is all powerful and in control of everything in His creation. Why do we need to pray? Prayer helps others know the love of Jesus. Prayer is part of His plan for accomplishing His will in this world.

5.     Prayers Gives Us Power Over Evil. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41

6.     Prayer Is Always Available. Prayer can happen at any time or anywhere. The only thing that keeps us from praying is our choice to do so.

7.     Prayer Keeps Us Humble. “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4

8.     Prayer Grants Us the Privilege of Experiencing God. It’s during prayer that we feel closer to God. It’s during prayer that we begin to let the worries of the world slid by and we are faced with the greatest of offerings, peace.

9.     Answered Prayer is a Potential Witness.

10.  Prayers Strengthens the Bonds Between Believers.

11.  Prayer Can Succeed Where Other Means Have Failed.

12.  Prayer Fulfills Emotional Needs. C. S. Lewis said, “God designed the human machine to run On Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.”

 Prayer is essential to faith. It enriches our faith and draws us closer to God.

Take time today to go to God in prayer. If at first it feels uncomfortable, be persistent. In a short while you will be looking forward to your time set aside for Jesus. Your reward will be immeasurable and gratifying, drawing you closer and closer into a rich relationship with the Father.
Faith without prayer just isn't.

God bless you, Angela