Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Give Thanks in ALL Circumstances - The Glad Texts: Part Two

It’s the last day before Thanksgiving and I hope you plan to celebrate with family or friends, old or new. You might even want to share with each other some of the “crutches” you have received in the last year, and how God has helped you to find reasons to be glad in them. May you find countless reasons to rejoice in Him. So pass the pumpkin pie and read a few glad texts together.

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. The poor will see and be glad—you who seek God, may your hearts live!
Psalm 69:30, 32

Lord, I can’t relate to having to offer sacrifices of bulls or sheep, but I know what a sacrifice it is sometimes, to be grateful in all circumstances. Help me remember to sing in good times and bad. There’s nothing like music to get our minds off our troubles and lift our spirits. I want my music to glorify you, even when my voice is a little croaky and off key.

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!”
Psalm 70:4

I do long for your help, but I’m afraid I don’t always think to declare how great you are. At least with that much enthusiasm. But why not? You are great. That reality doesn’t change just because of my momentary feelings. I will rejoice and be glad in you.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14

Unfailing love. Nothing else can satisfy like your love - no novel, new relationship, holiday movie, job promotion, or new car. You make us glad all our days – even the ones when we’re not so lovable. Thank you, Lord, that I get to wake up every day to your love.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
Psalm 92:4

Deeds. Exploits. Miracles. Whatever name we put on them, everything you do is perfect and amazing, God. Your actions are intended to show mankind who you are, and draw us into a relationship with you. How wonderful!
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness. Psalm 96:10-13
It’s pretty good news to know you’re coming to Judge, because I know your judgments are always fair and good. The innocent will no longer be accused, the weak will be protected, the guilty will face the consequences of their actions. With you, all things will be set right. No wonder the earth rejoices in your coming.

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.
Psalm 97:1

Do I see a smile spreading across the face of the globe? Our God reigns! From shore to shore.

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
Psalm 118:24

What is it that you have done today, Lord? So many things! My “it” will be different than someone else’s “it.” Father, I rejoice in the fellowship, light, hunger, hope, and sense of anticipation you have brought into my life today. Tomorrow there will be another whole list. Thank you for giving us new reasons each day to rejoice and be glad in you.

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! I pray your heart will be full of gladness and gratitude, no matter what difficulties you may face. God is worthy of praise. He is near. He loves you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Give Thanks in ALL Circumstances - The Glad Texts: Part One

Thanksgiving is two days away, and no matter what circumstances you find yourself in today, the Person of Jesus Christ gives us each a reason to be glad. Let us rejoice in Him! Following each “glad text” today, I have written a short prayer. I hope these words pour over you and fill you with gladness and the assurance of God’s goodness to you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalm 5:11

Father, thank you that you are our refuge. You are my safe place, where I can run for comfort and protection. I sing in the shelter of you.

I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:2

Even if nothing else is going right, I can still rejoice in you, my Lord. Thank you for being faithful and worthy of praise.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.
Psalm 16:8-9

That’s the key, isn’t it, Lord? To keep my eyes on you. When I look elsewhere to be satisfied, that’s when life shakes me up. So, I determine this day to look to you and be glad.

Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
Psalm 21:6

The joy of your presence. How often I forget you are always with me, even in times of tremendous loneliness, you do not abandon me. Thank you, Lord.

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
Psalm 31:7

No one understands our heartaches like you do, Lord. Only you know the anguish of each heart, and you alone can comfort us. I am so glad you love me!

Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Psalm 32:11

God, I don’t always feel so righteous and upright. I am only those things because I have accepted the free gift of Jesus Christ. That’s worth being glad about! You gave me a song, a new song – a song of praise.

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!”
Psalm 40:16

The wonderful thing about seeking you is that you want to be found! You’re the One who first initiated our relationship. Even when it feels like you’ve disappeared from view, God, I stand on the truth that you will never leave me or forsake me. You make me glad; you are great!

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
Psalm 68:3

It’s a choice, isn’t it, Lord? We can choose to be glad and rejoice; to be happy and joyful in who you are and what you’ve done for us. Or, we can choose to get bogged down in the disappointments and difficulties of life. Thank you for these glad texts, Lord, they remind me I can always be thankful, because of who you are. Amen, and amen.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Give Thanks in ALL Circumstances?

Thanksgiving is only three days away, but people have already started sharing their gratitude for the many blessings of life - at church, on Facebook, and just about everywhere. I love this season of thanks giving! I’ve been inspired anew this year to express gratitude for things I didn’t want, didn’t ask for, and didn’t see as a blessing in the beginning. I’m treasure hunting. It began with the movie “Pollyanna.”

The 2003 Masterpiece Theater version of this timeless story is very well done. Pollyanna is an orphan. Her mother died when she was a baby and her pastor/missionary father has recently passed away as well. She arrives at her Aunt Polly’s house unaware of the unhealed wound between her mother and aunt, and immediately begins teaching everyone she meets about The Glad Game. This is where it gets fun.

Her father introduced her to the game when the missionary barrel arrived. Instead of the doll she had asked for, Pollyanna got crutches. She was heartbroken, but her father encouraged her to be glad instead. “Be glad that you don’t need the crutches. We can always look for something to be glad about.” And so it began – in every situation that disappointed or ached, they began to look for the good, and be thankful.

Pollyanna spreads her cheer, and the game transforms the town. It sends the doom and gloom pastor in search of the “glad texts.” Finally, it comes back to Pollyanna in her time of greatest need - when she is paralyzed from the waist down. It takes the love of the townspeople to give Pollyanna courage in her sense of despair, and melt her aunt’s frozen heart, giving them both the love they have sorely needed.

Most of us have much to be thankful for – food, clothing, family, love, home, work, health, freedom - and so much more. It’s easy to be thankful when this is the case. But there are also times in each of our lives when we feel like we’ve gotten crutches when we asked for a doll. We can’t see the “gift” in it.

I have experienced rejection and loneliness, physical pain, children in crisis, failure, and other things that have made giving sincere thanks seem impossible. Yet, Paul told the early church members to, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). I’m sure they experienced all the same difficulties and heartaches we do today, only without cell phones and Facebook. So how could Paul expect them to give thanks in all circumstances?

First of all, I believe Paul encouraged them to focus on the Person of Jesus Christ. He never fails to bring us joy. It doesn’t matter what our circumstances are at the moment; He never changes. His salvation and new life cannot be revoked. So, no matter what our current problems, we can always be glad in Jesus.

Secondly, I believe they stood back to get a new perspective. When we remember how God has cared for His people throughout history, we can see our present troubles in a new light. In the full scheme of things, they truly are light and momentary.

Finally, I think they looked ahead at our promised hope of heaven. If our sins are forgiven and we rest in the knowledge that our life matters to God, we can rejoice in hope. Hope that God can at any moment - change our circumstances, or change us in our circumstances. We can glorify God in the present when we keep heaven in view.

Now, I’m looking up The Glad Texts…and there’s a bunch! Tomorrow and the next day, I will post the fifteen I found in the book of Psalms alone. I encourage you to search the rest of the Bible to find more favorites. It will lift your spirits tremendously.

Tune in tomorrow for part one of The Glad Texts.

Friday, November 21, 2014

iLove in time for Christmas!

I'm happy to announce my third new book this fall. It has been a hard push, but I wanted to have them available for Christmas shopping.

The iLove Devotional is perfect for personal worship time or to use in a small group Bible study. There are eleven devotions followed by a topical scripture study at the end of each. I wrote this book as a companion piece for singer/songwriter/pastor Rob Baker's CD of the same name. I'm so pleased he asked me!

Rob is an amazing contemporary Christian musician, and just happens to be my brother in law. His music ranges from Rock and Roll to worship and praise music. His lyrics are deeply meaningful and I love listening to his CD's at home, in my car, and on iTunes.

This is a perfect gift idea for people who love music and want to get deeper in the Word. Music and scripture go together so well - just look at the Psalms. They usher us into the presence of God. I hope your spirit soars with the beat of Rob's music, and the devotions spice up your time in God's Word.

Here is the link to my new book, available in both softcover and Kindle edition.

Rob's CD's and downloadable singles are available from Tate music group - 
Amazon -
iTunes -
CDbaby -
CDuniverse - 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eat Food and Lose Weight

link to book and description on Amazon
This is a change from my normal post, and longer, but I thought it might be helpful as we head into the holidays. Like many of you I’ve been trying to lose extra weight that just wouldn’t go away. I was eating healthful foods and exercising, but couldn’t seem to make any progress.

However, since mid August, I have lost 12 pounds and I’m fitting into clothes I haven’t been able to wear for years. I’m pretty excited! I waited three months to make sure it was a lasting change, before posting anything. I’m not trying to sell their book, but I highly recommend it and want to share what I’ve learned with you.

So much of what Harvey and Marilyn Diamond say in Fit for Life makes sense to me. This is not a “diet plan” but a different way of eating for lifelong health. It’s working for me, so I plan to stick to it. I’m not strict about the “diet” every day, other than eating only fruit or juice until noon. The authors said this was the most beneficial “rule” in healthy digestion and weight loss. People who only made this change in their eating still lost weight and experienced other significant physical benefits. If I want to “cheat” and have ice cream or more meat and bread than recommended, I do. But then I get back on the regular plan. This has kept my weight down and I feel so much better!

The best part of all is you just eat regular food - no pills, powders, or expensive supplements. The key is the ratio of fruits and vegetables, and how you combine foods throughout the day.

I took the following notes as I read through the book. I hope these ideas help you enjoy all the luscious food available for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, without regret.  I know I’ll enjoy the holidays more as I practice what I’ve learned, without making myself miserable and gaining back all the weight I’ve lost.

Decide for yourself if this is something you want to try, or learn more about on your own. I just wanted to share my excitement with you.

Notes from Fit for Life:

  1. The authors divide each day into three cycles of digestion: Cycle 1: 4am-12noon, Elimination (getting rid of waste). Cycle 2: 12noon-8pm, Appropriation (gathering and digestion). And Cycle 3: 8pm-4am, Assimilation (sending nutrients throughout the body).
  2. 70% of the food you eat each day should be “live” food – plant based and not heated above 130o.
  3. Food combining teaches: “The human body is not designed to digest more than one concentrated food in the stomach at the same time.” Anything not a fruit or vegetable – bread, starch, dairy, legume, or meat - is considered a concentrated food.
  4. More than one starch can be eaten at a meal – potato and croutons, rice and beans, bread and chips, but not two proteins – eggs and nuts, or steak and shrimp etc.
  5. Because fruit goes through the body so quickly, it should never be eaten with other foods, with the exception of bananas, dates, and dried fruit. Allow 20-30 minutes before eating anything after fruit. This is often what causes gas, because fruit digests quickly and begins to ferment behind other foods.
  6. For optimum energy eat only fruit and freshly made fruit juice until noon. Eat as much as you are hungry for, but do not combine it with anything else. Recommended juicers: Champion, Ultra-Matic, Oster, and Panasonic.
  7. The first couple of days of detoxing can be uncomfortable as fruit and juices loosen impacted fecal matter from intestinal walls. You may experience gas and bloating, loose stools, headaches, and nausea. DO NOT take anything to fight the process! Gas will disappear once toxins have cleared. (I did not experience any of this, probably because I already ate a lot of fresh fruit in my diet.)
  8. Protein takes the longest to digest and uses the most amount of energy. It does not give energy; it takes it. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts supply all the amino acids your body needs to build protein.
  9. Try not to eat more than one flesh food a day, and eat it late in the day so it has time to digest fully. Do not eat after 8:00 pm.
  10. Dairy products do not digest completely and leave a gooey residue on the intestines. They prevent the absorption of nutrients and promote weight gain. Result – lethargy and toxic mucus overload!
  11. If you choose to consume milk products, eat them alone on an empty stomach. Exception - cheese can be eaten with vegetables (as a condensed food).
  12. The best sources of calcium – all green leafy vegetables, all raw nuts (raw sesame seeds are the best source), and most fruits (especially figs, dates, and prunes).
  13. A simple progression to follow from AM to PM called The Energy Ladder: Fresh fruit and juices; Fresh vegetable juice and salad; Steamed vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds; Grains, breads, potatoes, legumes; Meat, chicken, fish, dairy.

I seek the best for you and your family. Please let me know if you try some of these ideas and how it works for you. Remember, God created us whole beings. We are Body, Soul (mind, will, and emotions), and Spirit (heart). Everything we do in one area affects the other two - either positively or negatively. So, honor God with every part of who you are, and enjoy the blessings He gives - our wonderful Creator.