Thursday, March 17, 2016

Power to Learn

I look back over my many years and realize that I have sold myself short on many occasions. I have told myself and others "I can't" when the truth was I really gave up too soon. I gave up on math, history, memorization, writing, and other efforts.

I learned from my son, Joseph, that I could learn algebra. Homeschooling him in math made me learn, even though he seemed to already know how to do it. I learned from him that I could figure it out. I am still not fast or always right but I understand the concepts.

I gave up on history until I began to study the bible. Reading the history of God's people lit a fire inside me to understand the story of mankind. I still get mixed up on dates, but I am learning new stories from around the world and of influential people. I find I understand what is happening now when I know what has happened in the past. Here is a secret I've found: People have not changed much. Our world has changed with inventions but people seem to still struggle with the same issues.

Memorization was never something I excelled in, but remembering God's word is important to me so I have learned to put the word into my mind and heart. I have not succeeded in memorizing chapters or books, but the treasures I have gathered in my storehouse are so helpful in my prayer life and my walk of faith.

I never thought I was a writer. I loved to write but, I only recently have called myself an author and poet. I continue to learn and grow in this field and may never become an expert. I can do better and so I will keep trying.

These little stories illustrate the power we have to learn. Self-education should be part of our education plan for all students. In fact, I believe each student has as their main job to self-educate with the help of good mentors to lead and guide, not force feed. Learning is a lifetime endeavor. When we teach children that they are to only know or seek to learn what is presented to them we take away the joy of learning.

My parents instilled in us a love of learning. I purposefully tried to do the same in my children. I hope my children are doing the same for my grandchildren.

I believe God wants us to love learning as well. He gave us curiosity and imagination. We only need to supply the self-discipline and the awe from all we discover.

Creator God, Giver of all that amazes and intrigues us, You are to be praised for Your work of creation. Forgive us when we sell ourselves short and fail to see the wonders You placed here for our delight and pleasure. Thank You for not being boring. Thank You for expanding our knowledge every day! Help us to use the gifts of curiosity and imagination so we might discover Your creation and in the process more of You and ourselves. Amen.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Holy Spirit Led Friendship

I was drawn to the stranger who sat at the table waiting for her appointment list to be filled. Ms. Penwell is an acquisitions editor looking for something I could not provide, but I had a strong feeling that I should sign up for an appointment to talk with her, to "pick her brain."

The Florida Christian Writers Conference (FWCW) is a place to learn from those who know best what an author needs to know. I determined I would make the most of my time, and sitting down with Ms. Penwell was what I needed to do since I had the opportunity. I didn't realize how important that talk would be for me at the time, but looking back I can only say that God gave me a divine appointment.

In order to "Pick her brain," I needed to have some questions ready, but I seemed to be in a fog as to what to ask. Even as I walked toward her table for the consultation, I had no idea what I would talk to her about. I sat down and immediately I began to tear up. Before she could say anything I poured out my story to her. She was a good listener without prejudice for my actions.

This past December I lost a dear friend. Carol had been instrumental in getting my book published, but it was her insistence for me to attend FWCW and CLASS (Christian Leaders Authors and Speakers Seminar) years ago that made this encounter special. Ms. Penwell was a CLASS alumni, and of course, she was at the FWCW. She brought back memories of my dear friend and I needed to talk about Carol's influence on me and how she would be so proud of me being there. This wonderful open-hearted woman heard me. She heard my grief. She heard my longing for a friend.

We closed our meeting with prayer, and she challenged me to turn my poems for Carol into devotions that could help others. I have accepted the challenge.

I came away from this encounter knowing God had directed me. It was not my plan but His. It was His Holy Spirit who emboldened me to set the appointed time and follow through. Without God, I would have lost an opportunity to make a friend and have my grief find just a little more healing.

Proverbs 27:9 "Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel."ESV

Father in Heaven, I am amazed that You think of everything we need before we even know we need it! You knew we would need Your Holy Spirit to guide us and show us how wonderful living daily with You can be. However, we do not always live with Your presence so visible. Forgive us for putting You behind ourselves. You deserve to be first and last and always. Thank You for sending us friends at the right time. Thank You for the old and new friends. I've always liked the song we sang at Scouts. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." I can see that You are the One who makes those friends treasures. Help me to be a friend who listens without prejudice. Open my heart to those You would have me befriend. Amen!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Knowledge hurts sometimes!" My granddaughter, Paige, exclaimed the one day.

Her outburst rang a bell with me. Facts discovered about sin in my life or someone else's can easily cause me to wince, step away, or weep. It seems the truth causes pain before it sets us free. Certainly not all truth reveals sin. Sometimes it is a discovery of beauty, grace, or love. It is the knowing of evil that hurts.

Adam and Eve were the first to know pain. The knowledge they acquired from disobedience became a life of pain, not only for them but for us as well. The scriptures tell us plainly that even God experiences pain from knowing our sin. He became a man so He could take our sin upon himself. He suffered with the knowledge of becoming sin for us.(2 Corinthians 5:21)

God also suffers in knowing our sin-filled lives. He is grieved because He knows how much sin hurts us. Knowledge hurts God sometimes, just as it does us. We have a Savior that truly understands.

Savior Lord, You know all and yet you remain good. You are the only One we can go to with the pain of our knowing. Forgive us our sins, Good Father! Thank You for knowing all and revealing truth.