“LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR.” That sentiment may not be found in the Bible, but I’ve found it to be true in my life many times. It’s because God is already there making a way for us even when we can’t see the path.
Hebrews 11:1 and 6 remind us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen… without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” God has a good and powerful plan for your life. What are you believing Him for today? Are you depending on Him 100%? Are you trusting that He will reward you for diligently seeking Him with a whole heart? As you spend time in prayer today, let this awesome truth resonate in your mind, soul and spirit.
Our sense of smell influences our life in remarkable ways. Imagine what would be lost if you couldn’t breathe in the rich scent of Starbucks coffee on a chilly morning or the invigorating perfume of springtime blossoms wafting on the breeze.
Did you know that smell is by far our most accurate sense? Michael Cole writes, “Our ability to recognize odors is tied directly and intimately to the part of our brain most involved with memory and emotion. A single sniff can cause an emotional response to a freshly baked apple pie in ways that are not possible by touching it or looking at it.”
We can breathe a whiff of a scent that we haven’t smelled in twenty or thirty years and instantly, we’re transported back to a particular moment in time. For me, it might be the smell of bacon frying that reminds me of waking up at my grandma’s house. For you, it could be a favorite perfume, a certain flower, or the salty, exhilarating aroma of the ocean that reminds you of your honeymoon.
In her book Radical Gratitude, author Ellen Vaughn writes:
“Years ago there was an incident on the Washington subway system in which a crowded train stalled on an underground track. Harried commuters were beside themselves. No one had been talking to one another, but now they burst into mutual, frenzied spurts of accusations against the driver—as if the situation was under his control—the Metro authorities, the federal government, anyone and everyone they could blame for this vile inconvenience.
Somewhere in the midst of all this invective, a woman with a number of bulky shopping bags dropped a new bottle of perfume, and it shattered. Within a few minutes, the pure, luxurious fragrance had wafted the length of the crowded car.
It was as if the fresh smell released people from a dark spell. They sniffed, smiled, and relaxed, laughing with each other. Surprise!
Followers of Jesus have the opportunity, in life’s crowded moments when people feel stuck, to be the fragrance of Christ. We don’t need to be annoying Pollyannas (who would be thrown right off the Metro anyway), but free spirits—saints and poets—who can lead and turn the tide, rather than follow along on the lazy downward spiral of negativity.”
The apostle Paul wrote, “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…” (2 Cor. 2:14–15).
When we allow ourselves to be broken and spilled out as a sacrifice for others, we release the fragrant, beautiful aroma of Christ. And that aroma instantly reminds others of who God is.
How are you faring in the “fragrance of Christ” department? Do you tend to absorb and reflect the negativity of those around you, or does the sweet aroma of Christlikeness flow from your soul like an expensive perfume?
I’m looking forward to attending the upcoming International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta from July 10-13. This show offers exciting events for retailers, publishers, authors and agents. I always enjoy the opportunity to make new friends, have lunch with editors, hold book signings, attend seminars, meet with editors and publishers, and perform media interviews. I love discovering what’s new in the industry, too! Usually, I also have the chance to talk to writers and editors who are in need of my writing and editing services. So it’s fun to make those connections, too!
This year, I’ll also be holding a book signing for my intercultural marriage book with Moody Publishers, titled Your Intercultural Marriage. Are you going to be there, too? If so, let me know ASAP and I’ll be happy to look over my schedule and try to set up a meeting with you! Thanks.
Intercultural marriage is a blessing, but it presents a variety of real challenges, too. In the past year, Catalin and I have seen the marriages of several of our friends crumble – friends who were in intercultural marriages. That breaks my heart, and it grieves the heart of God! He is the one who established the sacred covenant of marriage. We need to spread the word that Christian resources do exist to help struggling intercultural couples!
My book titled Your Intercultural Marriage: A Guide to a Healthy, Happy Relationship provides practical relationship advice drawn from our marriage (nine years, two kids) and from the marriages of hundreds of other intercultural couples. Based on our personal experiences, interviews, reading and research, my husband and I offer relevant spiritual, emotional and relational guidance to help couples build strong marriages on the firm foundation of Christ.
Now, YOU can give the gift of a healed marriage for less than $5. How? Order this book from Amazon or visit your closest Christian bookstore and bless an intercultural couple today with the gift of a book that can help them on the road to healing. Get a copy of Your Intercultural Marriage here: Yes! I want to buy the book and help a couple today!
Wow! Talk about convicting – have you heard the song “7 X 70″ (7 Times 70 Times) by Chris August? The Lord has really used that song to shake me up and teach me about my need to keep on forgiving people and letting them into my life even when, in my humanness, I tend to want to say, “That’s enough.” Check out the video at 7 X 70.
For all of you writers out there, Robert Lee Brewer has posted a fantastic list of blogs that offer info and inspiration. He includes specific sites for fiction writers, nonfiction writers, poets, and more. Check it out at Best Blogs for Writers to Follow. Enjoy!
What better to do on a snowy February day than read some inspiring poetry? I found out today that my group of three poems, titled Mapping the Interior, Equinox and Ode to Printemps, won an award in the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Competition. I felt very honored, and I was impressed by the strength of the other writers’ poems. To read the winning poems, please visit www.dorothyprizes.org. On the left, you will see “2010 Winners, Prizewinners, Winning Poems.” Click on the “Winning Poems” link to read all of the prizewinning poems. Thanks and happy reading.
Excellent Communication Tips
Those of you in intercultural marriages know that effective communication, love and respect are crucial elements to a successful marriage partnership. Chuck Martin, our pastor at First Baptist Church of Frisco, has been preaching a fantastic series called Faith @ Home in which he gives parents excellent tips on improving their relationships with each other and with their children. This past Sunday, each of us received a copy of “The 21 Rules of This House” by Gregg Harris. These guidelines are so powerful that I wanted to share them with everyone! Here they are:
The 21 Rules of This House
1. We obey God.
2. We love, honor and pray for one another.
3. We tell the truth.
4. We consider one another’s interests ahead of our own.
5. We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.
6. We do not hurt one another with unkind words or deeds.
7. When someone needs correction, we correct him in love.
8. When someone is sorry, we forgive him.
9. When someone is sad, we comfort him.
10. When someone is happy, we rejoice with him.
11. When we have something nice to share, we share it.
12. When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.
13. We take good care of everything that God has given us.
14. We do not create unneccesary work for others.
15. When we open something, we close it.
16. When we take something out, we put it away.
17. When we turn something on, we turn it off.
18. When we make a mess, we clean it up.
19. When we do not know what to do, we ask.
20. When we go out, we act just as if we were in this house.
21. When we disobey or forget any of the 21 Rules of This House, we accept the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
The Doctor is In!
Do You Need a Professional Writer or Editor for Your Book?
Exciting News: my editing/book doctoring business has really taken off over the past few years. Now I am typically balancing a couple of book editing or development projects at a given time (plus writing and marketing my own books)! I just received a new contract from a ministry for a book project that I am very excited about. Each relationship that I am able to build enriches my life and teaches me so much, and every project provides its own fun and inspiring elements as well as its own challenges. I really enjoy this ministry. If you have a project and are looking for an editor/developmental writer to help you get it published, definitely let me know! You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Search Engine Optimization Writing
I’m thrilled at how God is expanding my writing and my ministry horizons this year. I just started doing SEO writing for a company called My Web Writers. We help companies increase their business opportunities, profits, client base and Web exposure through search engine optimization. It’s an exciting and cool thing to learn to do. Check it out at www.mywebwriters.com.
Blogging on www.bible.org
I’ve also been blogging on www.bible.org for the past couple of years. Their Tapestry site for women has some fantastic, thought-provoking articles on cutting-edge topics related to the Christian life, theology, wife-hood (just coined that one!) and motherhood. It’s an excellent resource. View it at http://blogs.bible.org/tapestry. Let me know what you think!