Things have been pretty crazy lately, in my life and in the world in general. There have been many personal challenges and deadlines I need to meet. Health issues, work issues, issues, issues, issues. When we feel like all the balls we must juggle are in the air at the same time, we might get testy. I know I do. And those are the times we might feel we aren’t very lovable. That is me lately. I have felt pushed and rushed and pulled from all sides. Too much to do and too little time as the saying goes. It can make one grumpy.
Today I wondered, if I am not very lovable here with my loved ones, I must look awfully unlovable to the outside world. Neighbors, friends, and acquaintances might take a second glance and wonder, “What’s going on with her these days?” “A lot, in fact, probably too much,” would be my answer.
In reality, I wouldn’t give up any of my writing projects, pastimes, or other things clogging my calendar. But maybe this is the time to consider adjusting some of these demands to take time to relax and to take time and think more about the bigger picture rather than projects and appointments. I am fortunate to have a considerate husband, understanding family, but more than that, I am blessed because He loved me first. This means He knows, He sees, He understands, and through all the turmoil, He loves because He always has. He loves us first. He loved me first. I didn’t have to choose Him, He loved me first. This still amazes me.
And because He loved us first, we can love others and they will love us back. That is what love is.
Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever Psalm 136:26
No matter what we are going through, the demands, conflicts, and issues, His love endures. Period. He loved us first and He loves us always. Isn’t that incredible?
If you would like to read a story about four humorous life long Christian friends who stick together through tough times, you will want to pre-order a copy of “Sabal Palms and the Southern Squall.” See how a hurricane touches the lives of these women when Devine Intervention intertwines their lives with the lives of a lost man, a wayward son, a runaway daughter, and a New York hit man. Pre-order is available on Amazon. Release date: April 5th.
Other books now available on Amazon.
Visit my Amazon author page, Terry Overton, to see other available books and devotionals.
For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:11-12
The verse and the picture depict spring. Ahh… Just the thought of it! We watch the weather reports and see many places are still covered with snow. Others face cold bitter winds, and, here where I live, rain and more rain. It was only weeks ago the Christmas season ended. We put away the decorations and lights. However, winter continues to overwhelm many with freezing weather, clouds, and darkness.
I am one of those people who thrive in sunshine and warm temperatures. I long to be by the sea, or here in the southern part of Texas, the gulf! Winter can throw me right into a seasonal funk where I remain until the sun begins to shine again every day.
Our Creator knew we needed seasons; He created them.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separatethe day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years (Genesis 1:14)
Seasons are part of the passage of time and the passage of life. We know spring will soon follow winter. But for now, we can read Scriptures, enjoy our indoor time, and read books about traveling or the beach. We can bring more light into our homes and brighten things up. We can watch movies set in beautiful gardens of flowers, travel destinations, or movies set at the beach. And we can offer thanks for knowing, as we struggle through the winter seasons of our lives, spring will follow. He made it that way.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
In full disclosure, please allow me to tell you about my reflections on recent events. You may not know that my own dad earned three purple hearts in the Korean War. You may not be aware that my grandson serves in the 82nd Airborne and was recently deployed to Iraq and has since returned. I am quite certain you are unaware that my grandson’s best friend, also in the 82nd Airborne, was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, and was at the airport the day thirteen servicemen and women died. You also may not know that my son serves as first responder in the capacity of a firefighter.
As a conservative Christian, it is difficult these days to understand what is happening in our country. It was especially heartbreaking on August 26th and 31st this year when we witnessed a preventable disaster in which our own government played a part. It was very hard to see the servicemen and women killed at the hand of terrorists while our own administration announced they had a “successful mission.”
For days, I was upset. I could not reconcile in my mind our country had not kept promises made on the worldwide stage. Our administration let down our allies by pulling out of Afghanistan so quickly. Both Christians, United States citizens, and Afghans who helped our military personnel, have been left behind. There is little effort for rescue. These events, and the thought of the women and children who will now be targeted, is upsetting.
Feeling helpless to do anything about what has happened in Afghanistan and our country, I was compelled to write. Long days and nights have passed. In the end, I finished a book that is dedicated to the servicemen and women, and first responders, of our great country. I am posting the link to the book in this blog if you would like to see it on Amazon. Please know, a portion of the sale of each ebook or paperback is donated to Tunnel2Towers Foundation. This money will allow the families of the fallen to have their mortgages paid. It also assists disabled veterans and first responders by providing smart homes in which these amazing individuals can live and function. Please share this information with your friends, fellow Christians, and military and first responder families.
And what can we do now? We can pray for our country to be strong once again. We can pray for protection and that our country would return to God.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
My husband and I attend church on the island near our home. At last, we are attending church in person once again! It is such a gift to gather with other Christians for praise and worship. During the service, it is customary to offer prayers together for those who are sick or suffering as well as for those with thanks and praise reports. This is a time to listen to what is going on with our fellow Christians. It is also a time that causes me to think about our journey on this road we call life. As years go by, people we used to see in church, in our neighborhood, or even on the golf course, are now moving on further down the road of life. Prayers are said for neighbors recovering from surgeries or treatments and for those who remain in hospitals. Others have recently lost their siblings or best friends. And so we travel together on this road of life to the finish line.
Do you not know that in a race all the runnersrun, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it, 1 Corinthians 9:24
When I ran marathons, there was a time of hitting “the wall” when you feel as if you cannot continue to put one foot in front of the other. A common mantra at this time in the race is to “finish strong.” It was the mantra that motivated me, when I wanted to give up, to continue with the struggle and finally get my foot across the finish line.
Recently, I retired from working full time as a professor. Unexpectedly, I received a call from a publisher who informed me that a book I had written more than thirty years ago was going into a new edition. To update my publisher about my new Christian writing projects and interests, I sent him a link of my recent release, Both Sides of the Border. He emailed back with a short note, “You are finishing strong.” His remark gave me pause because I believe I have a long way to go. I am still in “training” so to speak, for my faith. There is more to learn, more to write, and there is always a need to strengthen my faith. But his comment caused me to smile. I’m not finished yet, but I am going to finish strong.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, Philippians 3:14
Paul instructed the congregations in Philippi and Corinth, and also to Timothy whom he mentored, to stay strong. He reminded followers of Jesus to approach faith as athletes approach training for a race. Stay consistent, stay focused, and finish strong so that our faith endures until we reach the final prize. And in Hebrews, we are reminded once again to continue with our fight and to not become weary or fainthearted.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so thatyou may not grow weary or fainthearted, Hebrews 12:3
No matter where you might be on your life journey, whether you are just starting a marriage, a career, a family, strengthening faith can parallel your journey in this world. There is always more to learn about the Word of God. And at times, when we are weary from our journey on this road, when we strengthen our faith, it will strengthen us for the final leg of the race. At last, like Paul, may we be able to say we kept our faith, finished the race, and made it to our final prize.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.
We may not have advanced warnings of storms. Tornados develop quickly and may go undetected until it is too late to move from their path. Hurricanes provide more warning but may take unexpected turns, intensify, and catch us off guard.
Storms in our lives are often unannounced. A sudden medical diagnosis or health event finds us hearing test results we never thought would be about us. A family member tells us their marriage failed or a wayward relative finds trouble around every corner. The sudden death of a family member rocks our world to the core. An unexpected, a health crisis may not even seem rational to us. But life happens according to God’s plan and calendar. Not ours.
It is clear that storms in our lives can make us hold on more tightly to our faith. When things are looking down, Christians look up and ask God for help with a marriage, support for challenging relationships, or talented surgical hands for a loved one’s surgery.
But the verse above from Deuteronomy is not speaking of an unexpected storm. This verse takes place as Moses is nearing the end of his life. God told him he would not cross the Jordan, but Joshua would be the one to take the Israelites to the promised land. God knew the times ahead would be difficult. Joshua would have wars with nations and for many years the wars continued. God foretold of these storms. He knew trouble was ahead. It was part of the bigger picture. God knew that on the other side, after the struggles and the wars, the Israelites would be better because of the struggles. They would claim their promised land.
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of troubles; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7
For over a year now, the world has dealt with an unexpected storm. No one saw it coming. No one knew our lives would be shut down and changed dramatically. But as the verse above states, we were not forsaken by God. He stood with us as a nation and slowly we are getting our lives back. Of course God could see the bigger picture.
“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” Psalm 33:11.
Much has been written about the time of this pandemic. Interestingly, a common theme among Christian’s writing or speaking about the pandemic is one of a great revival in our country. The pandemic is viewed as a time when Christians, and for the first time perhaps, many non Christians took refuge in God and asked for strength and protection.
The pandemic caught us off guard. We were not prepared. But is there another storm ahead that we should pray about? Is there a coming storm in our country? Can we see it in the road up ahead?
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” James 1:19.
Are we prepared for the large numbers of helpless people who are streaming into our country with medical issues and no economic support? Can we address this coming storm with Christian hearts and be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger? Are we praying that our nation can be kept secure? Are we praying that no harm would come to the people entering the country and no harm would come to our country? Have we prayed for our own neighbors, who might be placed in harm’s way?
“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do,” Psalm 33:13-15.
God knows our hearts. He knows our feelings about the events of our times. Unfortunately, all issues in today’s world are politicized. Once again we must think about how Christian’s are to live. We are commanded to love our neighbors and that includes all of our neighbors. This means protecting each other and individuals who cannot protect themselves. These issues are complex. People within our country and those streaming across the border have real reasons to be concerned. We all should be. Solutions will come to those who are quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Let’s begin by praying and then, with God’s guidance, talking to each other.
If you are concerned about these events, consider all of the issues and resources available. Let’s not turn off our ears to viewpoints that are different than our own. No solution will come from that. Rather, let us be attuned to our faith in God and in mankind. As a people, we can do better. We can listen more intently and speak more respectfully.
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My new release explores the situation on the border through the lives of two women, one in the United States and one traveling across Mexico with the hope of entering the United States. When they ultimately meet, their lives are changed forever. Below is the trailer for the book followed by the link to the book on Amazon.
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