No Warning Construction

Build the Holy Temple

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Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit.” Ephesians 2:13

My plans were firm. I left in plenty of time to meet a good friend for breakfast. Yet not a mile from my home I ran into a road construction crew with no warning signs. There was hardly room to turn my car around and backtrack the other direction. An upset construction worker motioned frantically. I put my car window down and meekly explained there was no sign warning of any road construction. Nevertheless, I was now redirected on a different route to reach my destination.

This reminded me of how many times in my life my plans were firmly set in my mind only to have them upended. When it happens, there must be a detour or complete change of plans. Other times, just as in the closing of a road during construction, I have found myself “temporarily closed.” Being temporarily closed means one is not functioning as expected. Such was my reaction when I recently lost both parents within a twenty-four-hour period. I was closed for construction for quite some time.

It is during these closed periods of time, when everything comes to a halt, God has our complete, undivided attention. It is a time to go back to our source of strength: Scripture. And each time I have gone back to Scripture while closed for construction, the Word can reach me in a way I cannot be reached during the busyness of life. The Scripture is able to get right inside my heart where nothing else can.

Closed for construction is a signal to us that should we continue ahead, without a break, things will not be pretty. When working without God’s help, plodding forward with no break, our minds and bodies suffer. We might end up with depression, anxiety, or illness brought on by stress. Shutting down while “under construction” is necessary. When we are under construction, God can reach us.

Once we are collected and our feelings have been gathered back together with the stitching of God’s mighty hands, our lives makes more sense. We see the world more clearly, more intensely, and more in tune with God’s Word. And God’s Word is always the same. His plan for us remains the same. He uses this “closed for construction” time to assist us, comfort us, and strengthen us, so we are ready to help in His work, His plan. We are ready once more to get back to our calling: to build His temple.

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Using Christ Jesus as our cornerstone, we diligently work to build His church. We are all citizens of His community. The Holy Temple is us, the members of His community. To complete the temple, He asks us to invite others to our community; to invite others to help build His church. The next time you find yourself closed for construction, return to the Scripture, reach out to God’s community, and rely on the strength of His arms to prop you back up. Then you can return to working for Him.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28: 19.

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For a complete listing of books, go to Amazon Terry Overton Author Page.

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Celebrating Our Country

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“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.

The news, whether local, national, or world news, is disheartening. Violent crime, tragedies, economic crises, fuel and food shortages, are just a few of the headlines causing most of us stress.

The verse above from 2 Chronicles is quoted often during times when a people see their own country on a downward path. The verse was first stated by Solomon as the Temple was completed. Solomon knew his people had committed wrongdoings and, as in our own time, the people needed a course correction. In our own country and in this time, we need a course correction just as the people in the Old Testament. And, like the people of Solomon’s time, God has already chosen us. He loved us first.

Nevertheless, before our eyes we see the violence, theft, and burning of cities. We hear the angry vitriol between political parties. It seems our nation needs to be humbled. As a country we need to turn back to God, ask for forgiveness, and work very hard to heal our land. Can we do it? How do we do this? Where do we begin?

Let us turn first to young people. We see the pain, hurt, and suffering of so many in a generation raised without parents or with dysfunctional parents. We see children of poverty and violence within their own homes. We see children with material or technological substitutes for parents and happiness. We also see groups of teachers who are more concerned with one political stance or another, with one rights group or another, who attempt to influence vulnerable children who have no role models at home to advise them and teach them about God. Faith has not only left our schools, but faith has also left many homes. These children are easy prey for indoctrination.

How can a nation save itself? How can we save children who have no one to rely upon? How can we save the church in our country? And what is “church” in the modern world?

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Acts 20:28.

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The church is us. Those of us who have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, who have accepted our Lord and Savior, who lift one another up, who help each other and praise God together. We are the church. It is up to us to get busy. We are to share the Word of God with others. As the Apostle Paul told the Colossians:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16.

As the Christian church, we are to plant the seeds, invite others to church, lift each other up, and keep our Christian values. We are to provide role models not only for our children but for children and adults who may have lost their way. Today, talk with others, think of how to make a difference, even a small difference in the life of a child, a neighbor, an acquaintance, a friend.

We are coming upon the celebration of our nation’s independence. July 4th is just a few weeks away. During this time, remember the brave men and women who gave their lives defending our freedom and our values. Remember this country was founded under the one true God and Christian values are the ones our country held dear when it was established. Teach children about the true history of our country. Do not rely on others for the education of your children and grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and children of friends. Establish the values early. As a nation, let us humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from wicked ways. Let us do our part to bring our country back.

Books of American values & Books for children and youth can be purchased on Amazon.

God’s Timing

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

God’s timing is always perfect according to His bigger plan. He knows when things will occur before they occur. He knows when we will receive blessings and how and when tragedies occur. He always knows how things work together for the good. No matter how hard we try to plan and schedule our lives, in the end, it is He who has control.

This is a hard lesson to learn. Sometimes the interruptions in our schedules are a mere inconvenience. Sometimes they are heart breaking. Last month was my own heartbreak. Last month my life and plans were upended.

It began last fall when I accompanied my dad to his local donut shop where he gathered frequently with his buddies for fellowship, laughter, stories, and of course, donuts. One of his buddies suggested I write a book about groups like Dad’s donut shop group. The purpose would be to teach young people about these friendships and God’s fellowship and purpose for our lives. I accepted the challenge and began right away on the book. Although I spoke often with my dad about the progress of the book, I wanted to surprise him with a copy once it was completed. I scheduled everything from the book cover design to the editing and the release date. As it turned out, God already had a plan for my dad in the month of March.

In late February, both of my parents contracted Covid. Mom went to Heaven on March 9th and Dad followed her the next day. They were blessed to be together to the very end. I never got to show Dad the book. Instead, I handed the books out at Mom and Dad’s funerals. It was a bittersweet and sad moment.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

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My siblings and I talk often about God’s reasons and timing of our parents’ deaths. Our parents took every recommended precaution, such as taking vaccines, staying home. They seldom left their home and when they did, they were not around people. But this virus found them. We believe if it wasn’t for the virus, one might have passed away many years before the other and it would have been devastating. It was a blessing for our parents to be able to go to Heaven together. They were able to remain at home thanks to the work of dedicated Hospice workers. They were at peace with God and each other.

As for the book about my dad’s donut shop buddies, I read it often and feel like Dad is right there with me. Perhaps the reason for the timing for me was to provide me a source of comfort while grieving. I know the book will find its way to the right hands and pray it makes a difference for our youth. I pray those who read it will understand my dad’s faith and love of our great country. I also know, because I was inspired by God’s Word as I wrote the book, the purpose will be served.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6.

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We love because he first loved us 1 John 4:19

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.

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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.

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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.

Faith Moments

Had enough winter?

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 separate the 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.

All books available on Amazon.

Available for preorder-Release date April 5, 2022