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Archive for December, 2016

Another of Abigail Proffitt’s insightful blogs. What a way to close 2016!

Wow.

I don’t  know about you, but my  year has flown!

As I look back on the past 12 months, I’m overwhelmed by the warm memories, new discoveries, and growth that took root.

In many ways, 2016 was yucky…Full of uncertainty, hard decisions, and lessons learned the hard way. I made mistakes I wish I could undo, and struggled to accept God’s grace.

But I wouldn’t trade the cloudy days for anything.

I’m thankful for the twists and complications and sleepless nights. Because God had a purpose for it all, and I’ve learned more about Him and drawn closer to Him than I ever dreamed.

I can’t ignore the sunshine of 2016, either! So many changes, exciting events, and new friendships lit up this year, and I can’t wait to see what happens next 🙂

All that to say, I’ve learned a ton over the months, and I…

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            This afternoon my editor-in-chief, Nicola Martinez, emailed an encouraging letter to all her authors. My heart was touched as soul tears blurred my eyes. Most of my regular followers know our only daughter died a number of years ago, and due to her home-going and the onslaught of secondary losses, Christmas has been extremely difficult for me. Until last year. And I know many of you find yourselves facing your first Christmas without the one you love and it’s so painful and strange.

            Two years ago, after a heart-twisting meltdown, I made some serious changes and came face-to-face with the fact I’d attempted to travel that same old road, Christmas after Christmas, and it just didn’t work—each year became worse.

‘Til a close friend counseled, “You don’t have to keep traveling down the same road. You can take a new path.” And I listened and tried that new road, and it worked. Does that mean my heart is healed? Far from it…I still have boo-hoo moments, but they no longer incapacitate and prevent me from participating in the joy of Christmas. And your joy will return. It won’t be tomorrow, and it may not be next year, but Christmas won’t always be a time of dreaded darkness for you.

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            Today Ms. Martinez stared, unblinking, into the sufferings of that first Christmas. I pray her words will touch your heart as they have mine. I’ve often said, “That holy baby in Bethlehem was born to die so you and I might live.” But all we consider this time of year is the joy and by our contrast we are devastated.

            I asked to be sure she would not mind if I shared the blessing of her thoughts with you. Her response was quick. “Yes, you may share if you think it will help someone.” I pray the Spirit of God will give you new insight into the throbs of your heart and God’s comfort will soothe and give you peace.

                                                                                    DiAne

“I’ve had my head buried in computer code and databases that I’ve hardly noticed the time go by. With the exception of prayer, it’s rather made my Christmas preparation a little clinical. Add to that my kitchen at home is partially torn up right now, and for the first time in my adult life, I’m not fixing Christmas dinner. And the whole season seems a little strange. Yet, God is awesome, and my discombobulation is nothing compared to what some are dealing with right now.

So many are facing hardships. From illness to financial hardship to family estrangement and having to endure the first Christmas after losing a family member. It’s easy to lose sight of God’s promises. They can feel distant and almost out of reach even though we know as Christians that God and His promises are never out of reach.

You know, when it’s Lent and we’re approaching Easter, it’s easy to ponder Jesus’ suffering and how He endured the same hardships we do, and worse. But, at Christmas, the special joy the world seems to exude tends to outshine the reality that there was a lot of suffering in the birth of Christ. His mother had to tell her fiancé that she was pregnant, which meant risking not only divorce but possibly being stoned. Then, as she was just about ready to give birth, they were forced on a journey. (Mothers, you remember what it’s like to be “big as a house”, “out to here”, right? Must’ve been really comfy riding that donkey!) And what must it have felt like to have to lay the Son of God on a bed of rough straw instead of in a comfy bed.

Mary and Joseph must’ve felt like failures…certainly unworthy of the task to which they’d been entrusted. That wasn’t the end of it, though, because while the angels were singing “Glory to God in the Highest”, Herod was slaughtering babies and toddlers. Shocking, I know.

Those who suffer through loss and loneliness at Christmas are not alone. They are not far from God’s promises. They are as close as Mary and Joseph. They are as close as those parents who lost their children. They are as close as those martyred innocents. There was a lot of sadness and suffering when Salvation entered the world. And yet, this is rightly a season of Joy. Emmanuel: God with us. Through love and miracle, we have everything. There is nothing He can’t accomplish. All we have to do is believe. Trust. Give Him permission to work in our lives.

No matter what your circumstance is this holiday season, I hope you have time to enjoy the miracle of this life and His with which you are blessed. If you are in a place of happiness, contentment and abundance; praise Him. Have compassion for those who are suffering right now. Pray for them so they have the strength to make it through.

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If you are in a place of pain or sorrow or other hardship, try to rest in the promise. It is right there even if you can’t feel it. There is nothing in this world that can make your situation easier at this moment in time. For whatever reason, your situation is something you must endure. But you can endure! And when you come out on the other side, you will be better. I don’t know how, but I know it’s true, and I pray you know it, too.”

 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NAS).

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I know many of you are suffering from loss of a loved one this Christmas. This excerpt from Penelope Marquez’ book “Hoping for Joy” speaks to each one of us.

http://www.prismbookgroup.com/love-is-series

Where Did You Find God Today?

The following is written by Penelope Marquez, an author I know. It is taken from her novella, Hoping for Joy, part of the Love Is series based on 1 Corinthians 13, releasing today.  http://www.prismbookgroup.com/love-is-series.

Soon after Logan’s sister dies, her preschool aged daughter, Joy, who is now his responsibility, disappears.  His father has had a debilitating stroke and his fiance is severely injured in a car accident, possibly intentionally caused by the drug lord who killed his sister.

Now he is stuck in a mega traffic jam and can’t get to her. His anger at God increases. Prayer seems futile. He ponders if God really cares, or is even real.

ladybug-169943_1280When he opened the bag, a ladybug flew out. It landed on his hand.

His sister had loved ladybugs. He glared at it. “Fine. I give up. This is a message. Give it to me straight.”

The ladybug crawled along, struggling over each hair in its…

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The reflection shining in the night sky above the tree tops was nothing short of a thousand-watts of brilliance. I crossed the little bridge and rounded the curve where acres of pastureland opened to a blazing, blinking, gaudy extravaganza of everything from American flags, to Christmas trees, to castles and camels, unicorns and merry-go-rounds—all wrapped in multi-colored lights—and I wondered in all this would-be celebration of Christmas—Where was the Lamb?

A trip through my neighborhood offered a plethora of inflated figures from snowmen to Santa’s, lights wrapping and flashing over housetops, peppermint-cane lights lining walkways and I wondered if these decorations from planet earth magnified the deception of our generation before the Throne of God, or were they lost in the splendor of the Universe? Or do they scream in defiance at God like the sins of ancient Israel—we refuse to believe in You!

Having just come from the Mall where a jillion short tempered shoppers and clerks celebrated the season buying gifts they could ill-afford, the question again whispered in my heart Where is the Lamb? ‘Cause I sure didn’t find Him there either.

I recalled Abraham’s words to Isaac as they traveled up the mountain where God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son—his only son. The same mountain range where centuries later the God of all creation would willingly be crucified for our sins.

Isaac knew they were going to the mountain to sacrifice, he carried the wood. But there was no lamb. “My father,” Isaac asked, “…behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb?”

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Abraham’s answer to his son rings prophetic through the corridors of time. “God will see for Himself the lamb for the sacrifice” (Genesis 22:1-18 NAS).

And in Isaiah 52 and 53 God speaks again through His prophet to tell us about this Lamb who would come:

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before it shearers, so He did not open His mouth…But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand…By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many as He will bear their iniquities.”

In the 9th Chapter of Daniel the angel Gabriel delivers these words to Daniel:

“So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in time of distress. Then after sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:25-26 NAS)

Again in Micah God promises:

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“But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago from the days of eternity…And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God…Because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. And this One will be our peace” (Micah 5:2-5 NAS).

God left His words, time after time, even gave them the exact timetable when The Lamb would come. In the Book of Exodus God had given His people an illustration of what the Lamb would do and instructed them to forever celebrate the passing over of the death angel. But throughout the ages God’s people deliberately chose the deceptive rituals of bling and pleasure over believing and trusting in His name. And when Messiah actually came, as prophesied, they still asked—Where is the Lamb? Because they refused to believe Jesus was that Lamb of God.

John was baptizing and saw Jesus coming to him and he cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” And he baptized Jesus and saw the Spirit of God, descending as a dove out of heaven and the Spirit remained on Jesus. Again a few days later John saw Jesus as He walked and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

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But the Jews refused to look then and certainly aren’t looking now, but are still asking, Where is the Lamb?

What about you? Do you know where the Lamb is? Do you know what the Lamb has done? Do you understand the Lamb is the only way to God?

Buddha didn’t hang on a cross to give you access to the Lord God Almighty. Mohamed didn’t die so you could live—his message is to kill everyone before they kill you. And there are many man-made idols preventing those who are deceived from knowing and coming to Jesus.

There are not many ways to heaven and no, we are not all traveling many different paths to ascent to the throne of God. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The message there is more than one way is a lie from the pit of hell, first told in the Garden of Eden. A lie crafted by Satan to confuse and bewilder all who listen. And he continues to spew the same nonsense today—because it still works.

Time is short. That baby in the manger in Bethlehem is the Messiah, our Savior and soon coming King—The Lord Jesus Christ. Does the message of your life, your actions, and your words point those who are searching to the lights and lies of what we’ve allowed Christmas to become?

Or do you and your family bow in worship and awe over the true miracle of Christmas—the holiness of the conception of the Son of God who chose to be confined in the form of a tiny human baby—every bit God, but every bit man—born to die—your Passover Lamb sent to pay the price for your sins and mine, so we like Abraham, can teach our children, God indeed provided the Lamb!

 

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Mow Me Down

Julie, God gave you these words for such a time as this! And all Prism authors said “Amen!” The past three days left all Prism Authors wondering “What do I do now?” And we all prayed in one accord…and according to His faithfulness God answered in a mighty way! Listen to Julie’s account and application. You’ll be blessed too!

Where Did You Find God Today?

I looked at the Psalm for the day and snickered at the appropriateness. He shall come down like rain upon the mowed field, like showers that water the earth.”  Psalm 72:6

This week I felt as if a giant lawn mower had plowed over me. My publisher gave official notice it would be closing. That meant all of my books published with them would now be as if they did not exist. I’d been an auhtor with this company for four years and produced seven fictional works, with two more in the works.

If I wanted to self-publish these works or seek a new publisher I could buy the edited, proofed and formatted manuscript and also the cover design– for a very fair price.  But, the two others I had under contract would not ever come to fruition. The two after that I’d queried in hopes of contracting…poof.

lawn-1812944_640Like a mowed field…

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