God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 (NASB)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 (NASB)
In a few days I’ll be 45 years old. Most likely I am in the second half of my life, assuming I may not live to be 90. As I think of some recent public figures who have passed away, I am reminded of my desire to finish well. These particular individuals to whom I’m referring had many great accomplishments, but may ultimately be remembered for failures at the end of their lives. I don’t want to be remembered for my failures, but rather as one who finished well. We all have had failures, but we can overcome them. It is possible to move forward past the failure and complete our journey in victory.
At what have you failed? It does not have to define you. You can overcome failure. We have many examples of people who have done so. What do you want your epitaph to read? Forget about the past and make progress toward that goal today. Our failures do not change God’s love toward us.
I believe there is more life to live. I believe my best days are ahead of me. God still has something for me to accomplish–and you as well. Let’s finish well!
Although my last name is Winters, summer is my favorite season of the year. Living my whole life in northern Ohio, I have become acclimated to the sub-zero temperatures that are common in January and February, and the multiple inches of snow. However, I prefer the warm weather and long summer days of July and August. Today is the Winter Solstice – the day in the northern hemisphere with the least hours of sunlight. When I think about December 21, I am encouraged as I think about the fact that from this day until late June, the days are getting longer.
You may be like many people, and are going through one of the darkest times in your life. Today is your winter solstice. Be encouraged. It gets better from here!
(Photo Credit: -ciaran Flickr via Compfight.com)
Today is Election Day in the U.S. People all across America are voting on local school levies, referenda, amendments, judges, governors, etc. Voters will be making many important choices; some of which will have long-lasting impact. In actuality, every day is “election day”. Every day we make choices that affect our futures. Many of us are dealing with the consequences of choices and decisions made some time ago. Where we are today has much to do with choices we have made in the past. Some decisions are easy, while others require much thought, consideration and prayer.
Even after facing a major disappointment such as a divorce, job loss or family crisis, we still have a choice as to how we deal with the negative situation. Will it be happiness or self-pity? Forgiveness or bitterness? As I state in Go Into The House, “we can choose to ‘join the festivities’ or remain isolated.” Let’s make positive choices so that we can do everything in our power to position ourselves for a better tomorrow. Happy Choice Day!
We often enter into situations—particularly relationships—with the wrong expectations. We can be surprised by an outcome when our expectations have been too low, or disappointed when expectations were too high. We can hope things will be a certain way, but they don’t always work out as we imagine they will. It could be that we fail to communicate our expectations to the other party. We can’t assume that other people know what our needs and desires are. Some people intentionally set their expectations low in an effort to avoid disappointment, but this still leads to unfulfillment and dissatisfaction.
Whether our expectations are high or low, if we’re honest, we must admit that we have them. Setting high goals is important, but we must also be realistic. Having the right expectation often involves doing the research necessary to obtain all the facts. The more you know about a particular situation, the more realistic your expectation will be.
What goal do you have? Gather all the information you can. Be honest about your expectation. Share it with those affected. This will help you achieve your objective. I’d like to hear what you think. Please take the monthly poll and feel free to post a comment.
I continue to meet many inspiring Christian authors. Here are four more authors and their books:
Amanda Stephan – The Price of Trust
Carly Richards is on the run. For the last two years, she’s skipped from town to town, ducking her dangerous and well-informed ex-fiance every few weeks, never settling anywhere for long. With the death of her parents, Carly’s vulnerability made her trust a man with an attractive facade. Now that same man has tracked her across the country, always nipping at her heels, preventing her from reaching out to anyone other than her God. Now she’s in Montana, and surely that is far enough away from Texas and her abusive past that she can rest. But her emotional scars are reluctant to heal, and Carly resists the friendliness of those in the small town she lights upon, especially handsome farmer Joe Baird. Without a car and money though, she has little choice but to dig in and begin building back up her savings so she can run once more.
Caught in the circumstances, the kind people around her begin to creep into her softening heart. God is at work, and she has to trust him to not only take care of her, but care for the the people she is learning to love. Carly must learn the Price of Trust.
Gail Dudley – Ready To Pray
In her latest book, Ready To Pray, Gail Dudley shares the life lessons that the Lord has poured into her life through her spiritual journey with Him. Whether these were seasons of joy, seasons of sorrow, seasons of want or seasons of plenty, the Lord has been working in Gail’s life for many years, teaching her the disciplines of prayer and the power that comes through the life of someone who is obedient to calling on Him during all of life’s challenges.
Maurice Huff – The Choice That No Longer Haunts
The Choice That No Longer Haunts is about a young boy who is given permission by the Creator to come to Earth and confront the father who made the CHOICE to have an abortion. This narrative captures the imagination of the reader and culminates in the reality of God’s grace, and loving forgiveness. As a bonus, the story is told from a male’s perspective.
Teresa Ann Winton – Pieces of the Pearl: Memoirs of a Foster Child’s Triumphant Transformation
This book tells the true-life story of Teresa Ann Winton, who invites you to journey into the depths of her soul where a vulnerable and profoundly sad little girl once lived. Teresa’s unstable home left her exposed to abuse, poverty, and neglect. Foster care, a system meant to help the helpless, brought even more trauma and loss. But in spite of it all, Teresa forged ahead, refusing to succumb to despair.
In this poignant story, the author interlaces poetry and narrative, sharing her joys and sorrows, her triumphs and tears.
A second book, Tears in the Lilies, is due to release in spring 2011.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “you reap what you sow.” This is based on the biblical principle found in Galatians 6:7-9. This expression is often associated with negative situations, but it also applies positively. Yes, we reap consequences for sin, but we also reap blessings for doing the right things. If we plant seeds of kindness and love, we should expect to receive the same in return. Therefore, we do have an important part to play in our harvest, although God ultimately controls the outcome. A farmer who plants corn expects to reap corn at harvest time.
However, one of the truths about harvesting is that there is sometimes crop failure. While crop failure is usually unwelcome, it is not always a bad thing. In Jeremiah 12:13, God’s people sowed wheat and reaped thorns due to their sin. But crop failure can be a good thing when we have sown evil seeds. Because of God’s mercy, He does not always give us what we deserve. Even though we’re guilty, He may choose to lighten our consequences. There have been times when I have been in the wrong, but God has shown mercy on me. Thank God that sometimes the bad seeds we plant get choked out by weeds. I’m grateful that sometimes the sun scorches our bad seedlings or frost destroys the harmful plants that have spouted.
Take a moment today to thank God for His mercy.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1 (NIV)
One of my motivations for writing Go Into The House was to help men who have gone through a difficult marriage/divorce without a support system to aid them through the process. As I state in the book’s introduction, men don’t often talk about certain pains and struggles. I wrote about mine because I believed others could benefit from my experience.
The statistics show that women are much more prolific readers than men. To market my book exclusively to men would eliminate a majority of the potential audience. However, men were never my only target audience.
The book is also directed to women, because I have found that women want to hear a man’s perspective, especially when it comes to relationships. This trend can be seen in the popularity of books such as Steve Harvey’s, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. And, the principles in Go Into The House can be applied to any major disappointment in life–relational or otherwise, whether you are male or female.
While I have received excellent feedback from men who have read my book, the majority of the readers and responders have been women. This comes as no great surprise, given the statistics. Women have told me they’ve appreciated my candidness in sharing my experience. Some have admitted that my story has helped them realize things they have done in their own relationships.
Talking openly and honestly about relationships is a key to helping improve relationships and maintaining healthy ones. Our silence as men has contributed to the problem. I admit, it’s not always easy to share, but so much is at stake. It’s worth the risk. Let’s keep the conversation going!
Since publishing, Go Into The House, I have met a number of wonderful Christian authors. Here are four of these authors and their books:
Ed Houston – Single and Living Free: An Inspiring Companion for Your Personal Journey
Single and Living Free: An Inspiring Companion for Your Personal Journey is a book that was birthed out of Ed Houston’s experience as a single Christian who struggled with strongholds for most of his early adult life until God gave him a revelation that changed his life and set him free.
Angela Serocki – You’ve Been Conned
After learning her husband has cheated on her, Angela must face her demons and put them behind her or let them rule the life she has worked so hard to build. By seeking help from her heavenly Father, she learns the roles of forgiveness and acceptance within relationships; thus, slowly pulling herself from a two-year depression that has threatened to destroy her entire family.
Nicole Cleveland – So He Cheated, Now What?
Nicole Cleveland knows a little something about rebuilding a marriage after an affair. Her very own marriage was almost destroyed when her husband abandoned their family a mere five days after she gave birth to their third child. After a shameful separation, the Lord restored her marriage. In the midst of her pain, she found her purpose; to encourage motivate and inspire women by sharing her personal testimony with women everywhere.
Lori A. Moore –
In her book, From Zero to Christian in Just 35 Years, new author Lori A. Moore shows us that nothing in the past will keep God from loving us. Trusting God can be scary, especially when confronted with complex and formal language. Through this simple and easy going guide to finding God, inexperienced Christians will learn to emerge from doubt and fear into the peace and comfort that can only be found in Christ.
In her latest book, Missing Andy: The Journey from Grief to Joy, author Lori A. Moore explains how to view the loss of a loved one as a celebration instead of a final event. After unexpectedly losing her ex-husband, who was also her best friend, due to a fatal blood clot, Lori found herself lost and numb, but working her way through the five stages of grief helped her rediscover true happiness.