Filtered For Purity

The water was so inviting, sparkling blue and clear, as I glided through my morning swim. I was fully enjoying the peaceful calm of silence as my ears slid under the water’s surface and blocked out any exterior noise. As I looked up into the sky, the clouds gently floated by, changing formations with each lap. What a perfect setting to have a conversation with my Lord. He had my full attention, and I was surrounded by the beauty He created.

The pool’s filter suddenly caught my eye. For such a large body of water, it really has a pretty insignificant presence, yet, if the filter’s not working…well, I’m not swimming in THAT pool. Without the process of the water entering into the filter system, being cleaned and balanced with chemicals, that pool is no longer going to be inviting to swim in. As a matter of fact, it’s going to be green, smelly, and filled with bugs!

We need God to be our filter. Our lives can represent a sparkling, beautiful swimming pool, or a disgusting, algae-filled mess! It all depends on our filter. Are we giving God access to every drop of water in the pool of our hearts? Are we inviting Him to re-circulate, cleanse, and bring into balance every area, so that others see a life that is “inviting”? Or do we try to only let some of our water run through His filter, and therefore, our lives look a little cloudy, and truth-be-told, pretty unhealthy. If a water test was performed on us to compare us to balanced, healthy water, there would be no hiding the impurities.

Our hearts need open access to God’s filter. Each one of us who have given our heart to Jesus have all the equipment we need to reveal a beautiful, pure heart…but only if we’re connected to God, allowing His Holy Spirit access to every motive, every thought, every action, every fear… every ounce of our being. Yes, this is loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Recognizing that He is all we need to purify our hearts and reflect the true beauty of a life He has permeated. Open your heart to His filtering process today, and you will receive blessings far greater than you can imagine.

Psalm 51:10 ~ “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

 

1 John 1:9 ~ “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

 

Images courtesy of BrandonSigma & PANPOTE at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Got Joy?

There are many things in this world that try to rob us of our joy. For me, it usually starts with what I have my mind focused on. From there, the attitude is on a slippery slope based on what the circumstances are around me. I’ve recently made a decision to choose to display right attitudes daily. What exactly does this mean? Well, it’s a decision that I must manage every day. I may not be able to control my circumstances, but I can control my attitude toward them.

In John 15:11, Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” You may be asking, “What? What has He told us? What is “it” that gives us Christs’ joy, and therefore makes ours complete?”

The answer starts in verse 9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” So then, according to Jesus’ words, experiencing His love fills us with joy as we remain in it.

Perhaps you noticed the “if” in His promise. “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love.” Well, Jesus didn’t leave us struggling to know what His commands are. He spelled it out very clearly in verses 12-17. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose and appointed you, so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”

Jesus was the perfect example of love…all the way to the cross. He then calls us His friends! Jesus loves us in the same way His Father loves Him. He promises to not withhold His love from us…we get to remain in it. Then He calls us His friends…chosen by Him and appointed to do important, worthy work for the kingdom…and if we lack what we need to accomplish that, He just says, “Ask Dad…He’ll give you what you need.” I think I feel the joy bubbling up…do you?

Go and love one another, in the name of Jesus. Have a blessed day my friends.

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Perfect World

What do you see? Louis Armstrong saw trees of green, and red roses too. He saw their beautiful blooms as gifts for me and for you. This song goes on to speak of the blue skies and white clouds, the blessings of day, and sacredness of night. It marvels at the colors of the rainbow and humankind speaking words of care and love to one another. Yes, this song describes a wonderful world.

Again, I ask you, what do you see? If you watch the news, you will be getting a much different glimpse of the world. If you’re elbow deep in diapers, formula and temper tantrums, you may be getting another glimpse of the world. If you’re exhausted from the demands of your job, relationships, and finances, you may be getting yet another glimpse of the world.

Perspective…what do you see? Where is your focus? We do not live in a perfect world. This world has been marred and maimed by sin which causes damage, destruction, and heartache at will.

I believe we do live in a wonderful world though. There are gifts of beauty all around us. Wonder and amazement are calling to us from creation. There are people who show kindness and love to one another. Everybody? No. Many? Yes.

Look for the good, search out the positive, and then thank God for it. One day when Christ returns, He will set up His kingdom, and those who know Him personally will get to experience a true perfect world.

Until then, search out the wonderful, thank Him for it, and when you see the opposite of wonderful, ask Him what He wants you to do about it. He may give you a tangible opportunity to contribute to the making of wonderful, regardless, you always have the privilege of being able to pray about the situation that is disturbing and heartbreaking.

I challenge you today to make a list of your wonderful. From everything within your body that works as it should (and if you’re alive, that should be a pretty good list in itself), to all that you enjoy in creation, to the relationships that you have been blessed with…well, you get the idea.

Let’s give thanks and praise to God in all things, because He Is Worthy!

Touched By Suffering

 

Recently I have witnessed the agony of suffering. Several friends have been touched by very real tragedies, unexpected blows and staggering illnesses…just to name a few. I also have family members who live with chronic pain and circumstances beyond their control. We watch as news headlines flash across our smart phones about innocent lives lost, suicide terrorists, and natural disasters….and it can leave one asking God, why?

I truly hate to question God. I know He has a perspective and view far beyond my comprehension. I know He is compassionate and loving, and when we suffer, He is right there with us, holding us, wiping away our tears, and lifting our heads above the water when we don’t have the strength to do it ourselves. Yet…we still wonder, why Lord? How much longer Lord? Will this pain ever end? Will I ever be healthy again?

It was out of a broken heart for others that I brought my questions to the Lord. “Help me understand Jesus!” I begged. Well, God heard my plea, and as I opened my Bible to start researching what the Word had to say about suffering, I was led to Isaiah Chapter 53.

As I read this passage, I was overwhelmed with what God was revealing to me. First of all, this text is pure prophesy about the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the world. The details of what He would endure are so specific, and the fact that this all happened exactly as prophesied over 600 years before Christ was born is quite miraculous in and of itself.

But this is what really got me…in these 12 verses God reveals 40 descriptions of suffering as it relates to Jesus’ sacrifice for us. I’m going to list them for you below, because they have a little different effect than simply reading the passage. These were all taken directly from this short passage.

* Jesus was not attractive
* Jesus did not look like royalty
* Jesus was despised
* Jesus was rejected
* Jesus was no stranger to pain
* Jesus understood suffering first hand
* Jesus took our pain
* Jesus took our suffering
* Jesus was stricken
* Jesus was afflicted
* Jesus was pierced…literally, for our sin
* Jesus was crushed…severely beaten, for our sin
* Jesus took our punishment to give us peace
* Jesus was wounded so we could be healed
* We have gone astray…turned and done our own thing
* God still laid our sins upon Jesus
* Jesus was oppressed and afflicted
* Jesus did not open his mouth in self-defense
* Jesus allowed us to lead him like a lamb to his slaughter
* Jesus remained silent for us
* Jesus was oppressed and taken away
* No one protested
* Jesus was cut off from the land of the living
* Jesus was punished because of our sin
* Jesus was assigned a grave with the wicked
* Jesus had done no violence
* Jesus had no deceit in his mouth
* It was the Lord’s will to crush him
* It was the Lord’s will to cause him to suffer
* The will of the Lord will prosper
* Jesus will see the light of life after he has suffered
* Jesus will be satisfied after he has suffered
* Jesus was God’s instrument to justify many…the world
* Jesus bore the iniquities of the world
* Jesus will receive a portion among the great
* Jesus will divide the spoils with the strong
* Jesus poured out his life unto death
* Jesus was numbered with the sinners
* Jesus bore the sins of many
* Jesus made intercession for sinners (stood in the gap…took our place)

You see, no one has suffered more than Jesus…so no one can understand our suffering more than Jesus. Jesus also knows what’s on the other side of suffering…the light of life…satisfaction…blessings.

When we question how God could allow suffering, we must remember that God did not create suffering. Sin is the author of suffering, but He caused, or allowed, Jesus to suffer, because it was His will. That’s hard to comprehend! But God knew what that suffering would accomplish. He knew that after Jesus suffered, He would be reunited with the Father and never suffer again. He also knew that through Jesus’ suffering, you and I would be able to choose to be with God and Jesus forever as well. He loved us so much, that the temporary anguish Jesus suffered and endured, was actually God’s best case scenario for you and me!

So when we are suffering, we have to remember…there is a veil over us. God is always accomplishing His best case scenario for us…we just can’t always see that. That is why we must keep our minds rooted in the truth. Let me ask you, does God love Jesus? Silly question, right? Well, if God allowed His Son to suffer for our sake, we must understand that if He has allowed suffering in our lives, there is a reason…or more likely, many reasons behind it that accomplish His purposes. Because we are human, we will look for the reason, and I believe that we will know one day, even if that one day doesn’t happen until we see Him face to face.The veil will be lifted and our now finite minds will be able to grasp the breadth and width of God’s overall plan. God doesn’t make mistakes. God doesn’t harm us. When Satan deceived Adam and Eve in the garden, and they disobeyed God, sin was introduced into the world. That sin introduced suffering into the world, and suffering has touched every life to one degree or another ever since. God loves us so much, and wants the best for us. His desire to rescue us from our suffering is the reason He sent Jesus…to put an end to it. As long as we live in this world, yes, we will be touched by suffering, but the next….ahhh, yes, one day suffering will be so far removed from us we will remember it no more. Jesus gave us a permanent hope and future. We must choose to trust Him with our suffering, and pray that we will respond to it in the manner He desires in order to accomplish His good and perfect will in our lives.

So my friend, as horrible as it is to see our friends and family suffer, or experience it for ourselves, please remember that Jesus knows our suffering…REALLY knows. Others may not comprehend how you must be feeling…but He can. Others may not have the power to heal you…but He does. Others may not understand what you need…but He does. He loves you. He wants you to receive the light of life, and satisfaction and blessings. He is offering that to you. May you believe the words of Jesus, who formed you and knit you together in your mothers womb, and who knows how many hairs are on your head. May you believe and accept His love and compassionate care for you, and know that one day there will be no more suffering, as you experience the gift of eternal life that God has waiting for you.

Thank you Lord for your body, the church, who are called to be your hands and feet; to care for the widows, and orphans, and all who are in need. May we shine bright for you, and may your love filter through us and spill out onto a hurting world. ~ Amen

1 Timothy 2:5-6 ~ “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”

John 11:25-26 ~ “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

Revelation 21:3-5a ~ And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

 

Great Weekend At The Festival of Books!

The wind tried to blow us away this past weekend…but we made it safely through with the exception of one glass poster frame that got smashed to the ground. My husband thinks we should get t-shirts that say, “I survived the 2015 Festival of Books!”

Seriously though, the people who came to our booth to visit, share their stories, or simply ask questions as they were searching and looking for real answers, was the biggest blessing of all! It renews my passion in spreading the truth of real freedom that Christ has for each of us. It also humbles me to be used by Him with the words He inspired me to write.

I encourage you all to follow the dream that God puts in your heart. He’s designed you specifically to carry it out, and He will equip you and guide you along the way. Live your purpose!

Tucson Festival of Books

The Tucson Festival of Books will be here before you know it!

The 2015 Festival is March 14-15, and is held on the University of Arizona campus from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm both Saturday and Sunday.

The Festival of Books is a free event, and along with utilizing public transportation, the U of A is offering free parking that weekend.

Last year 130,000 attendees enjoyed the event. With entertainment, food, hundreds of exhibitors and so much more, there is something for all ages.

I am excited to bring “Timeless Truth” to the festival this year as an exhibitor and look forwarding to meeting many new book lovers as they stop by the booths.

The Tucson Festival of Books supports organizations that work to improve literacy rates in Southern Arizona. Those groups include: Reading Seed, Literacy Connects and University of Arizona Literacy Outreach Programs. Since 2009, the Festival has contributed over $900,000 to agencies that improve literacy in the community.

For complete details, please visit their website at TucsonFestivalofBooks.org

 

 

The Book Cover Concept

Originally, when I was trying to picture what I wanted on the book cover, I imagined a winding road, lined with large canopy trees, with streaks of sun rays shining through.  The publisher took my concept idea and sent me several photos similar to my vision…none of which felt right.  I went to their recommended photo website and started looking through hundreds of photo ideas.  Then I saw it….the eagle, soaring high above the earth, heading toward the sunrise.  Around that same time I came across a teaching by Pastor Bill Lobbs on “God’s Eagle Christians.”

The teaching explained how God has called us to be spiritual eagles. Just as baby eaglets are 100% dependent on their parents for nourishment, so are we to also be 100% dependent on God for our spiritual nourishment.  Without it, be will grow weak and spiritually die.

Just as eagles are born to fly…to mount up and soar to heavenly heights, God has also placed within us, as His “eaglets,” a deep desire to mount up and soar to spiritual levels we have never experienced.  Sometimes we get too comfortable in our nests.  In order to encourage us to fly, God will rearrange our nests until they are so uncomfortable…even painful if needed, until we decide to attempt to fly.

This is when we get to experience our Father’s protection and faithfulness.  Just as the mother eagle securely sets her eaglet on her wing as she begins to teach him how to fly, we hold tight to Jesus, as He raises us above our circumstances and grows our faith.

Mother eagle knows that in order for her eaglets wings to be strong enough to soar, his wings must be strengthened.  This is achieved by shaking her eaglet off of her wing, and as he flits and flutters in an attempt to fly, while plummeting to the earth, she swoops down and rescues him just before he hits the ground.  Then up they go again….and down he goes again….over and over until he is strong enough to ride the winds of the air.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  So often we feel like life is spinning out of control and we are swiftly approaching crash and burn.  But we’re not.  We are being strengthened, by our loving Father, who swoops in and rescues us just in time.  We continue these faith lessons so that we are strengthened to experience the freedom of mounting up, and soaring toward the glorious horizon, as we fulfill the unique purpose that God created for us.

 

My Tribute

Harold C. SayersI wanted to share with you why I included my maiden name “Sayers” in the authorship of this book.  My dad was the only son of four children, and then he was the father of three daughters.  He and my mom REALLY tried to make me a “Timothy Paul”…but God had a different plan.

In 1998, at the age of 54, my dad lost his battle with melanoma, although he won the prize for which he ran the race.  Although I miss him terribly, I am so grateful that God chose him to be my earthly father.  Using his name is my tribute to acknowledge the legacy that he left…because of the way he lived and loved.  Thank you dad, I love you.

Excerpt from “Perspective” poem

Timeless Truth: Inspirational Poetry for Life’s Journey

Excerpt from “Perspective” poem:

What if we had God’s perspective,
if His priorities were crystal clear?
Would we see our lives in a new way,
as through His eyes lens we peer?

Nothing is wasted in His design,
He works all things into His plan,
for He knew you and dearly loved you,
even before your life began.

The past is over and done with,
it cannot be erased or changed,
but through His transforming power,
your life can be beautifully rearranged.