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Archive for September, 2016

Vicki Andree Books

IHW_FrontCover

I Hate Walt is available on Amazon and  Audible! Now you can use Amazon’s whisper sync to read along with you as you share a slice of Mary Lou’s life in Denver, Colorado. You will enjoy the sights and sounds of Denver during the holidays as the first scene of the book takes place on Christmas Eve!

I am currently working on the sequel to this fun read with a surprise ending.

Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website.

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Rejoice in Suffering

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“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4 NIV).

Rejoice in our sufferings? How can one do this? We don’t like pain. We don’t look forward to suffering. This verse was written at a time when Christianity had just begun and many believers were being persecuted. Paul wrote this to the Romans and other Gentiles who he knew would face severe trials and suffering. It applies to us today.

As they took up the Great Commission, each of the disciples suffered in various ways. They knew Jesus didn’t come just for them, but for all of us. The price to spread the Word was great; however, that did not distract the disciples from what they knew was their primary purpose here on earth.

They suffered beatings, stoning, and the sword, besides being ostracized by humanity around them. They gave up any wealth and comforts for the cause; they became great men of faith. Hebrews 11:38a pronounces a tribute to them and a reminder to us, “The world was not worthy of them.”

Christians all over the world look to their example as a source of strength. God used the evil one’s attacks and their sufferings to bring them to a deeper relationship with Him. They not only rejoiced in the face of trials ― they gloried in them.

As American Christians we often buy into the worldly view that suffering is to be avoided and the best we can do is quietly endure it while trusting God to eventually use it for good. But enduring suffering is not the attitude that the Bible prescribes over and over. God offers us a better way to face suffering ― with joy and gratitude.

How can we do that? What is the secret that the early Christians knew that we have lost? Author Gary Smalley discovered it late in life and shared it with the Focus on the Family show entitled Helping Kids Hide God’s Word in Their Hearts.

The key was his deep study into what Jesus meant by “Out of a person’s heart flows their thoughts, words, and actions.” These three also determine our emotions and attitude. Gary learned how we can change our corrupted hearts into Godly hearts.

He memorized a key verse with understanding, for instance, Matthew 5:10-11, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Then he would “stick” the text of the verse and the understanding of the verse into his heart at least eight to twelve times a day, everyday, until his heart changed from a worldly view of trials to a Godly view of trials. This might take perhaps thirty days ― more if you are currently in the midst of a serious trial like the loss of a job.

If you rejoice in your difficulties, in your trials, your persecutions, Jesus will give you more of His kingdom immediately. More of His love, more of His joy, more of His peace. . . and He will also give you treasures in heaven.
After being flogged, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name [of Jesus]” (Acts 5:41).

A trial reinforces the testimony of God that you are worthy. Rejoice that God considers you worthy. Rejoice that He wants to give you more of His joy, more of His peace, and more of His strength. He is eager to be the wind beneath your wings throughout the trial until the time you see it was all for your good to glorify Him.
James tells us to rejoice when we are faced with trials. God gives us trials so we can use them as opportunities to show others His strength. Put on an attitude of joy when faced with suffering so that God will be glorified.
Matthew 6:34 promises that each day has enough trouble of its own. When difficulties show up today, try facing them with an attitude of rejoicing.

Dear God, when times of unrest and suffering surround me, give me strength to rejoice in Your ultimate plan. My suffering will never compare to what You suffered on the cross for my sake. I desire for Your will to be done. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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Building Others Up

Haleakala Sunrise

Haleakala Sunrise

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).

In Ephesians, chapter 4, Paul refers to believers as prisoners for the Lord and reminds us that we have been chosen to be Christ’s ambassadors here on earth. If you think about it, this is a huge responsibility. The awesome prospect of representing God must resonate through our entire bodies from the very core. Because the world is watching when we say we are believers, we must walk the walk. As this verse says, part of the walk is how you talk. The idea is not to talk religious or quote Bible verses all the time. The idea is to not curse, not gossip, and to build others up. This, more than likely, requires some changes in our lives. Paul calls us to lead a life worthy of our calling.

Immediate changes required by Paul insist that we begin sporting an attitude of humility, gentleness, and patience. This takes practice and time, but the goal is to project the unity of the Body of Christ and I can’t think of a more commendable enterprise.

As children of God, we are made holy, that is, we have become separated from the world and gathered unto Him. This means we cannot live as the rest of the world. Because hearts have been hardened due to a lack of sensitivity, worldly people take the road to sensuality, believing it’s how to survive in a dark world. Paul says that they indulge in every kind of impurity, always lusting for more. A life without God is meaningless.

We are new creations in Christ and now we can be made new by throwing off the old desires. We have been given power through Jesus to change and be like Him. The first thing we must do is learn to tell the truth. This can be difficult if you are used to telling little white lies now and then to excuse your own mistakes. No, this is no longer acceptable.

As God’s ambassador, we must learn to give up things like anger, brawling, and slander. Give up any malice. Forgive any past grudges. If you don’t feel like you’re ready to forgive, due to your emotions, ask God to make you willing. Most importantly, guard what comes out of your mouth. Words we say cannot be erased, so we must get into the habit of thinking before we speak.

We must refrain from the urge to gossip and we must not listen to others who gossip. This takes discipline because as human beings we remain naturally curious. However, we no longer allow the “natural man” to reign in our body. Now Christ reigns. So we no longer criticize others, but we build them up. We see the good and let the blood of Christ cover their faults, just as it covers ours.

There’s no room in the kingdom for swear words or unwholesome talk. Let me share a practical suggestion that works for many. Suppose in the old days, before you were a Christian, you used to say “Jesus” in ways you no longer do. If something happens, say you stub your toe and it slips out ― immediately turn it into a prayer. “Jesus ― please forgive me for my many shortcomings and the times my old ways surface. You, Lord, are the One I love and I never want to shame you.”

Let’s think of ways to build others up so that people listening will know we have changed. As ambassadors, we want to live like Jesus did and love others the way He loves us. Today let’s practice an attitude of encouraging others.

Father God, You are our awesome God and King. Help us honor You in all of our conversations. Teach us to lift up others as they need so that people around us will also be blessed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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