Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    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. (NIV)

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      B is for Bricks of SavannahSavannah is a short 2.5-hour drive from home, but it took us five years to make it there. Five years! Unthinkable. The bricks.Savannah has been around since 1773, making it the oldest city in Georgia. History oozes from its varied buildings and twenty-four squares--most of them constructed with bricks and dusted with centuries of s […]
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    • A Warm Welcome to Terri Gillespie!
      We're happy to have you visit today, Terri, and looking forward to reading your answers to our questions! Is there a story behind your book Making Eye Contact with God?Oh my, yes. This book was the result of encounter I had with a sparrow. I was home alone when I heard a commotion; a sparrow had trapped itself between our storm and regular window. He fr […]
    • Making Eye Contact with God by Terri Gillespie
      Book Blurb:What kind of eyes do you have?Are they downcast and sad, or are they full of God’s passion?This weekly devotional, for women only, enables you to really see God in a new and fresh way.Using real life anecdotes, combined with scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women […]
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      Welcome to the Book Loft, David! Is there a story behind your book, A Ghost’s Story?After a brief illness, my mother died at age 47, before she really got to know her daughter-in-law or take joy in her grandchildren.  I wanted so desperately to believe in eternal life, to be reassured that someday we would all be together again. A short time later I discover […]
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    • Announcing the 2014 Laurel Award Winner!
      2014 LAUREL AWARD WINNERAuthor Ruth Reid's novel A MIRACLE OF HOPEis the winner of Clash of the Titles's fourth annual Laurel Award.CONGRATULATIONS, RUTH!Ruth will receive the following: a beautiful banner to display on her website; a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, A Miracle of Hope; a "Heart of the Matter" radio in […]
    • ANNOUNCING THE LAUREL FINALISTS!
      The entries have been read and the scores have been tallied. Our unique panel of judges, comprised strictly of readers, has determined our three finalists. And they are…Ruth Reid's A Miracle of HopeJune Foster's Deliver UsCarole Brown's The Redemption of Caralynne HaymanCongratulations to all three!!(Of special note, this is Ruth's second […]
    • Winner of the August New Releases Clash
      Thanks to all of our participants for their wonderful submissions. Congratulations to Our Winner!   Having his younger sister at camp was a pain, but Taylor Dixon never expected the pain to go so deep. At 15, Taylor dreams of getting his driver’s license and driving racecars when he’s older. Only his younger sister, Marissa, believes in his dreams, but her […]
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    • Too Blessed To Be Stressed
      I’m pretty addicted to computer games. There have been a number, over the years, I have enjoyed. Right now I’m playing Zynga’s Castleville Legends. I’m in an alliance of ladies who play and help each other. It’s a generous,  supporting group with a fair number of believers. We encourage each other and have a lot of fun. The ladies are from all over the US, p […]
    • 12 Reasons to Live in a Small Town
      Living in small towns has special challenges and delights. When I say ‘small’ I mean ‘small’. The town I live near has approximately 250 people. The county seat has 3600 and the county has about 16,000. So this is rural America. You might think this county was in the western states where the population is lower and space is not a problem. No, I live in Illin […]
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      I am a slave of Yaweh. We shy away from the concept, and understandably so, given the history of slavery here is the US.  I am one, however, and proud to declare it. As a believer in Christ, I have been paid for by Yeshua through his death and resurrection.  Thus, he owns me and I am his slave. Paul, Timothy and James, the brother of Christ, all claimed it. […]
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    • Land of My Dreams by Norma Gail
      Land of My DreamsNorma GailNorma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, is set in Scotland and New Mexico and released in April 2014.About the Book: Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her pa […]
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    • BOOK REVIEW: THE BECKONING BY MICHAEL MINOT
      Michael Minot, a lawyer, is a former atheist who now follows Christ. The Beckoning is not only his story regarding how his beliefs changed but an orderly and methodical account of how the methods he applied to find authentication and proof of God’s validity as he conducted research of the scriptures.While still single, Minot was challenged by a Christian fri […]
    • BOOK REVIEW: POST MARKED EVER AFTER BY MARY BALL
      I’ve reviewed a lot of books, especially romances, so original plots such as this one are rare.When Serena Gray’s husband died she learned in a letter of a secret he kept. It divulged he had a child years earlier from a fling during his youth.  When Serena meets up with handsome Adam, a widower, she soon realizes that Adam’s daughter, Niki is her husband’s c […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Author Archive

Five secrets to live a joyous, clean life.

Posted by janeteckles on December 8, 2012

12-3-12QuinoaBy: Janet Perez Eckles

I sat at the kitchen table in my friends’ lovely home. “Have you tried quinoa?” I asked them.

“Yes,” they chorused. “We don’t like it!”

“Don’t like it? It’s the best thing around,” I protested. “So nutritious and delicious—depending how you prepare it, that is.”

“It tasted so very sour,” they said. “It was awful, too bitter.”

As details and comments bounced back and forth I learned their big ‘no-no’—they cooked the quinoa without thoroughly rinsing it first. Each grain has a covering (bitter to the taste) to keep birds from eating it.

“C’mon, friends,” I said, rolling up my sleeves, “let’s do it right. Need to wash it well first.”

And sure enough, they prepared it correctly and when cooked, we added a little almond milk, some honey and a dash of cinnamon—delicious!

Here’s a question for you: Is your life delicious or just a bit sour and bitter? Maybe it’s because of the coating of stress and fear that covers up your joy.

We all have those times, those stages and seasons. I say, let’s jump in under the faucet of God’s grace and figure out how to rinse those things that keep us from enjoying, really enjoying life.

Here are five ways to live a clean, healthy, happy and hugely joyous life:

1. Stand under the living water Jesus offers.
2. Rub off stains of sin. Use the brush of repentance if necessary.
3. For more stubborn stains of sin, pour the bleach of His grace.
4. And if the whole garment of your life is soiled, soak in His Word night and day.
5. Press clean item with the iron of contentment and good choices.

Like quinoa, the sour and bitter taste will be washed away. And, our life, clean and fresh, will be ready to be used by God for His purpose, for His glory and for the beautiful plans He has for us.

And like quinoa, David also needed rinsing. He was the king of messes. But He soaked one night in the bleach of repentance. And as he did, he probably repeated, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness…” (Psalm 51:5-7).

Father, I too want to hear joy and gladness. I commit to begin again, clean, free from the bitter covering of sin. I thank you that you gave us the way to find the clarity of joy, the cleansing of peace and the shining newness of a new beginning. In Jesus’ name, amen

• Any rinsing needed in your life today?
• What keeps you from starting over, clean and free?
• How does it feel to stand under the refreshing, living water Jesus offers?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Hope, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Three secrets to choosing a good friend.

Posted by janeteckles on November 10, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

Do you have a friend who is just about perfect? You know what I mean—she has hair to die for, gorgeous skin, wears killer clothes and always smells divine?

I have one of those friends. But rather than hate her, I admire her…she’s so very special!

So I said to her. “I wish I could be like you. “ I sighed. “Tall and statuesque.”

“Ha! Look at you” she said with a giggle. “And what are you? A size zero?”

We laughed. “NO,” I said, “Four petite.”

“Good. Because anyone who wears a size zero is not my friend.”

We both giggled like high school girls.

But what she said was quite profound. You and I should do the same—refuse to have friends who wear zero—in the encouragement department, that is. A friend who offers zero support. A friend who offers zero empathy. Zero wisdom. Zero understanding and nada of genuine love. Those are taken off our list of friends.

Conversely, if you want to be a friend with an extra-large amount of wisdom and love, here are the secrets to be that kind of friend:

1. Evaluate what you bring to the friendship: understanding, joy, positive thoughts and attitudes.

2. Be slow to criticize. To keep count of wrongs. To react without thinking. And to discourage.

3. Be quick to praise. To uplift the spirits. To highlight the good. To be available. And to surprise with sweet gestures.

And when talking about what size of love we wear in our heart, our words are the measuring stick: “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 4:2).

Father, grant me the wisdom to speak all that is edifying, encouraging, uplifting and honoring to you. Make me the friend Jesus is—with genuine love and sincere giving. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• How do your friends enrich your life?
• Are you the kind of friend you want to be?
• What criteria do you use to evaluate friends?

Janet

Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Friendship, Inspiration, Life Experiences | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Five secrets to make our travel safe.

Posted by janeteckles on November 3, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

“Do you remember that time we were in an Arkansas?” my friend asked me on the phone.

“We had a great time.”

“I mean the drive to the country home from the airport,” she said. “That was the darkest road ever. It was black.”

“That was one of the most adventurous trips for sure,” I said.

“But even when it was so dark, I felt better because you were with me,” she added.

What a sweet friend…but felt better with me? What good would a blind friend be to her on a pitch black road?

We both laughed for a long while.

But reality isn’t as funny. While on the road of life, we bring along the wrong person—our insecurities. We invite whom we shouldn’t—our negativity. We pursue what isn’t the best—superficial longings. And we trust in others’ wisdom.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. During the journey, here are five ways to make sure you have the best companion for a safe trip:

1. Bring someone who can see the road ahead.
2. Make sure that person has knowledge of the surroundings, the turns and danger points.
3. Determine if that person has traveled that road before.
4. Know that you can trust in that person should your vehicle break down.
5. Be certain that person can take over at any time.

And if you find this person to be anyone else but the Lord—trouble and danger ahead. The road will be dark. Each turn will be dangerous. And the fatal cliff is waiting at the next curve.

But if you can invite Jesus on the journey…if you can relax as He’s beside you, then, no matter how dark the road is, your soul will whisper: “Great peace has those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119.165).

Father, often the road is black, no way out, no signs or lights to guide the way. Teach me to love your law, your precepts and ways. I will have peace, I will trust in your companionship, in your navigating and I shall not get lost, fall or stumble. In Jesus’ name I thank you, amen.

• What road are you on now?
• Who’s guiding your path?
• Who will bring reassurance for the journey?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Anxiety, Encouragment, Friendship, Inspiration, Life Experiences | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

When God comes to our rescue.

Posted by janeteckles on October 27, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

Two dear friends picked me up from the airport. And once we entered the hotel’s lobby, we went to the counter. . After giving the usual information to the clerk, my friend lowered her voice, “Mrs. Eckles is bl..bl..blind,” she whispered.

“Sure am,” I said with a silly grin.

My friend cleared her throat. “And she needs a room, with…” she hesitated.

“An ocean view!” I said.

I laughed. And they gave a quiet chuckle.

Next, they tried to figure out how I’d get to the restaurant for breakfast. After moments of discussion, I leaned closer to the counter. “There is a great invention called “room service.”

Should I be starved while in my room, all I do is pick up the phone and dial 0, ask for room service, place my order, and voila! Food comes to the door!

God knows that. Not only about our physical hunger, but our spiritual hunger, too. Often you and I are stuck in a room of uncertainty. We wonder how will feed that hunger for security. How will we satisfy that thirst for safety? For confidence and fulfillment?

God knew that before we did. He’s waiting for our heart’s call. And He promised He will show up. While we approach the window facing the ocean of His grace, His love and goodness pour down. And His compassion arrives to satisfy our thirst and ease our pain.

That’s why, no matter what hotel room of emptiness we are in, we will declare, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).

Father, I confess I’ve looked elsewhere for help—my job, friends, possessions, relationships and my own wisdom. In moments when my soul is hungry, I will look up and trust that you and only you will come to my aid to meet my needs, those that burden my heart, those that keep me stressed and those I keep secretly inside. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• How is the view of your life right now?
• Who will come to your rescue?
• How does your heart feel, knowing God will come to you, wherever you are?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Inspiration, Life Experiences | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Five ways to conquer loneliness.

Posted by janeteckles on October 13, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

I zipped my suitcase shut. And my 4’10”, white-haired Mom walked in. “I worry about you travel by yourself,” she said. “Someone will be staying with you in the hotel, right?”

I imagine having her blind daughter travel to another country by herself concerns her.

“Sure,” I lie to avoid added worry.

Actually, it’s not a lie. Although I’ll have no human accompany me, I’ll have someone better—the Holy Spirit.

Think I’m kidding? God’s way to make sure we’re never alone and know how to conquer loneliness is true.

How else can I, being blind, navigate through hotel rooms, unpack, find the bathroom, get ready and sing with confidence while doing it?

I admit. Sometimes, temptation to feel lonely tries to slip in. But I have found five ways to conquer it:

1. In the hotel room of loneliness, the Holy Spirit is the concierge to meet all our needs.
2. His presence is certain.
3. His protection is constant.
4. His companionship is sweet
5. His comfort is forever.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16).

Father, sometimes even when surrounded with people, the loneliness is cruel. But thank you for filling the void. For bringing reassurance to every moment. For whispering protection and provision. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit, for we know you’re present now, and you’ll be present in the happenings of our tomorrows. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• Feeling lonely lately?
• Who fills that void?
• Where do you look for comfort?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

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Seven ways to live with confidence when facing spiritual terrorists.

Posted by janeteckles on October 6, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

“Nana, she told me it was flab,” my 4-year-old granddaughter said.

Flab? Who could’ve put that word in this child’s vocabulary? I asked and verified. Her great grandmother had informed her of this term.

She had lifted her wrinkled arm in the air. With the other hand, she jiggled her hanging flesh. “See?” she said, “that’s called flab.”

Goodness, that generation has bold honesty. No vanity or masks. They call it what it is.

So does God. He is honest. He doesn’t mask anything and is bold when it comes to unsightly wickedness. Even the sound of the word “wicked” jars me a bit. But the Lord is not known for his pretense or ambiguity, rather… “The LORD is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:16-18).

“Wickedness” is alive, attacks are fierce, and terrorism is in action. But those who follow Christ can smile with reassurance, walk with trust and live with hope. Here are six reasons why:

1. God’s protection is certain: “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.”
2. His protection is near: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge…”
3. His ways will be your shelter: “His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
4. He will remove all fear: “He will not fear the terror of night, or the arrow that flies by day…”
5. His protection is constant: “…nor the pestilence that stalks in neither the darkness nor the plague that destroys at midday.”
6. All may be attacked, but you’re protected: “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
7. He’ll set you apart: “You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked (Psalm 91:3-8).

Father, how can I doubt the clarity of your ways? Hesitate in believing your justice. Or wonder about your love for those whom you protect. In this world that turns more violent each day, I turn to you for you are my shield and my refuge. In Jesus name I thank you. Amen.

• What attacks have you faced lately?
• Who is your protector?
• How well do you sleep at night knowing the Lord is guarding your soul?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Five secrets when facing adversity

Posted by janeteckles on September 22, 2012

Posted by Janet Perez Eckles

A day at the beach, what lessons it brings! I held my 4-year-old granddaughter’s hand as our feet sunk in the soft sand. We made our way to the water. And the splashing began. “C’mon, Nana,” she squealed, let’s jump over the waves.”

Don’t know which one of us was having more fun. We jumped, swaying back with the force of each wave and laughed.

Then one big one, unexpected and higher than her splashed with force, nearly knocking her down. I held her hand tighter, “You okay, honey?”

She choked, gasped and coughed. “Yeah, I’m holding your hand, Nana,” she said.

A sweet feeling of delight washed over me. Her security was in the fact her hand was in mine.

How many times, when facing adversity, have I said the same thing to the Lord, “I’m holding on to you, Lord?”

In times when waves of hardship, and deep, deep pain nearly knocked me down, I choked with sorrow. And when I gasped for air when the force of anguish was painful, I held tighter.

In the ocean of life, here are five secrets to know when facing adversity:
1. God is bigger than any wave of pain.
2. Suffering is less when we hold on to His hand in anticipation of those waves.
3. We may choke but never drown.
4. Trust that we’ll lack nothing when our hand is in His.
5. Although circumstances may not change, His grip will keep us afloat.

I delighted in my granddaughter’s trust in me. Do you think God delights when you and I say, “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing’” (Psalm 16:1-2).

Father, those waves of hard times and disappointments keep coming. But your mercy, provision and protection still abound. I praise you because with my hand in yours, I can face adversity and withstand the force. For that I thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• What waves of hardship are you facing?
• Whose hand are you holding on to?
• How deep is your trust in His power and protection?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Hope, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Five ways to overcome criticism.

Posted by janeteckles on September 15, 2012


By: Janet Perez Eckles

No way. Could that be true? Book reviews be tainted and slanted for a fee?

The answer is in this New York Times article.

Confession time: Regarding reviews, as an author, a slightly negative comment about my work erases joy quicker than a click on the mouse.

Faced any rejection lately? A bit of criticism clouded your day? Here’s a thought: If our keyboard is on the solid ground of God’s grace, we can ask five questions to overcome criticism.

1. Did we seek God’s wisdom?
2. Are our motives pure?
3. Do our efforts reflect God’s truth?
4. Did we craft our very best?
5. Are our convictions uncompromised?

If the answers are yes, then our soul whispers a sweet, “all is well.” Renewed peace fills our nights knowing others’ reviews or criticism shouldn’t really matter.

When ready to overcome criticism, what will matter is discerning whether our fingers danced on the keyboard to string insights that make the Lord smile with pleasure.

Seeking to please Him covers our writing, changes the focus, and highlights the truth He wrote in our hearts: “He comes to judge the earth He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth” (Psalm 96:13).

Father, how foolish of me to be torn down by what others think, what others say, or by those who criticize my work. The truth of your promise that tells me you see my heart, you know my ways and you alone judge my motives brings me fresh freedom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• What promise do you hold on to when criticized?
• Where does your reassurance come from?
• Who holds your tomorrows, your future plans and outcome?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What to do when your life is a mess.

Posted by janeteckles on September 8, 2012

Posted by Janet Perez Eckles

“We had so much fun,” my dear friend said as she sat across the table at our favorite restaurant. “We spent the day cleaning the light fixtures in our house, we took them apart and, believe me, they were a mess.”

I stopped chewing and stared. Did she say “fun?”

“It wasn’t what we were doing,” she continued, “but it was the fact that we were doing it together.”

She was so right. The chore was probably bearable, kind of fun and even meaningful. Why? Because they were doing it together.

Lesson for me: That’s exactly what God expects from us. He plans for us not to tackle the cleaning-up of life’s messes on our own. The difference between victorious people and victim people is the former teams up with the divine master and the latter tries to do the job alone.

Which one are you?

When we choose to live victoriously, we move closer to God. Together with Him, we take apart the issues that burden us, the struggles that overwhelm us, and the caked-on mistakes that accumulated.

Because we and His power are a team, “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:7-8).

Father, how often the dirt of life’s battles has piled up in my heart. Times when I tried to clean it on my own, the mess got bigger. Thank you for being at my right hand. Nothing shall shake me, nothing shall soil my peace nor muddy up what you shine for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• What needs cleaning in your life?
• Where do you find the perfect partner to help with the cleaning?
• How long has it been since you saw your life shine?

Janet

Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Three ways to bring color to our message.

Posted by janeteckles on September 1, 2012

 

Posted by Janet Perez Eckles

What happens when we get on that stage, ready to deliver a dynamic message, but way deep in our hearts issues of life weigh heavy?

What to do when inspiring others is our task, but we’re the ones who need inspiration?

Recently, life was going fine, no glitches or major challenges. Then, without warning, no hint it would happen, it did.

I came home from a trip, and eager to sift through the hundreds of emails, I pressed the power button on my trusty computer. Then rather than the usual soft humming sound, a moaning, cracking sound wafted from the machine. It growled as if to say, “bad news.”

And indeed it was bad news. A major malfunction needed a tech rescue. He came promptly, and after trying to get it started he said, “I’ll see what happened, but no guarantees it will be repairable.”

He unplugged and in his arms he took half my brain. The computer with its software to read the screen is indeed part of my brain.

I was left technically naked. No computer, unable to read the Bible for my usual spiritual food. No way to check emails, to write thank you notes to the people who hosted me as their speaker, no way to write blog posts, no possibility to post on Facebook.

But rather than panic, I smiled. A long, long time ago, I learned that each setback, challenge or glitch of life adds power to my talks and flavor to my illustrations.

Here are three applications to the computer glitch:

1. With no computer, silence reigned. God is jealous—for our time, our efforts, our contact, our passion and work. And when we’re too caught up in the wrong things, He makes a way to bring us back.

2. Life’s unexpected glitches are a great contrast to God’s ways–constant, solid and trustworthy.

3. Often life’s setbacks that are out of our control are an effective way for God to regain control of our attention.

As speakers and writers we have the privilege to mold each experience into our message and our writing. But the added bonus is that when crafting the application, the circumstance turns strangely positive, valuable and edifying.

So, what stories that spell gloom in your life ended up shining a powerful illustration for your audiences?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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