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Posts Tagged ‘Julie B Cosgrove’

I learned a godly truth from a bunch of cilantro. Sitting in my fridge for a week or so, I noticed some of the leaves had rotted before I got to use them in my food. My first instinct was to chuck the whole thing.  But I love cilantro, and it isn’t cheap. So I decided in order to keep the lush green ones from being contaminated, I’d pluck them away and sealed them in a storage baggie. Much less icky that snapping away the  slimy, brown ones and getting the gunk on my fingers.  Blech.

As I pulled the fragrant, dark leaves, I realized there were a lot more “good ones” than I originally thought.  That made me sigh with relief because I hadn’t wasted all my money after all.  Yet immediately my eyes had detected the bad ones and thought the worse.

It took a while to pluck all the tasty leaves away,  and I had to be more methodical and careful about doing it, but I felt better about ditching the rotten remnant once I had finished the task. A bulging baggie proved to me how much good remained. And my kitchen smelled amazing!

Of course this became a God-lesson for me.

Thank goodness our Heavenly Father doesn’t see only the bad in us and decide we need to be trashed. Instead, He sees the good in us as His Son points out, “These abide in me and I have made them worthy to save for Your use, Father. Do not cast them out.”

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful  (John 15:2).

Our precious, loving Lord carefully and methodically plucks away the sin tendencies in our lives to keep them from contaminating us, and uses the good He has found in us to do His will.  Then He bags and seals us in His Spirit to protect us and keep us fresh until He can use us.

Instead of concentrating on the bad, rotten and yucky in me which needs to be thrown away, perhaps I need to see how much good God sees in me through His Son, Jesus. He is viewing each leaf in my life to determine if it is worth keeping and using. There may be more good for Him to use than I originally thought. It makes me more thankful of the process, no matter how long it takes.

Thank you Lord, for taking the time to save what is good in me and not chunking me in the garbage because of the sin which has tainted my life.  Seal me through Your Holy Spirit. It is through and by Your Son, who has made me worthy to save, that I pray: use me to draw others to You. Amen.

 

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If it hasn’t happened to you, it will.

Hackers are on the rampage. FaceBook posts, emails, tweets are compromised. Safe “share” posts have lewd images hidden in them, or links that illegally access your profile. Banks, hospitals, even government entities are not immuned. It seems there is no firewall strong enough.

Our souls are not immuned to being hacked, either.  Call him what you will…the devil, the evil one, satan, the father of lies. He leans in and whispers into our brains –interrupting our thoughts and warping around blessings.

You aren’t strong enough to resist.  

You’ll never achieve that goal.

You don’t serve God’s favor.

God has walked away because He’s mad at you.

You’ll never get back in His good graces after this.

Everyone does it, it’s not so bad. 

The Bible is outdated. That verse doesn’t matter anymore in today’s world.

 

And the worst of all.…I’m a good Christian. Nothing big can tempt me.

C.S. Lewis said in his book, Mere Christianity, “A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”

….When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8:44b

This hacker know the places where our “firewall” is the weakest.  He knows what words to say that will crack our will and get to us emotionally. Then He wiggles in with a negative suggestion and clouds our positive viewpoint. Soon, like a virus, it begins to affect all of our thoughts and actions, even our prayers or desire to pray. Step by step, we become more and more vulnerable to his wiles. Trust me, as soon as you begin to do God’s will, this hacker will show up. Big time!  You got it wrong. God didn’t mean for you to take this on. That’s why this is so hard. You misunderstood.

Where is your firewall the most vulnerable?  How can you make sure your soul is “unhack-able”? Paul shared the algorithm two millennia ago: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer  (Romans 12:12).   Jesus used Scripture to keep Satan from seeping into his thoughts while he was in the wilderness being tested. (Matthew 4:1-11) Remaining joyful and counting your blessings no matter your feelings at the moment keeps your attitude up and running. (Philippians 4:6)

Prayer is the best defense against becoming compromised. Scripture is the best method to detect hacked messages, and a joy-filled attitude that knows without a doubt that God is faithful, true and loves you is the best way to have uninterrupted power.

 

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A God lesson in the midst of a storm…

2:30 a.m. My bedroom fills with a loud, mechanical female voice – “TORNADO WARNING! TAKE SHELTER!”

My eyes fly open and I turn to see my cellphone flashing on my bedstand.  I throw back the covers and force myself to call my two cats, who had been curled up on the end of the bed, in as calm of a voice as I can muster. “Come on, kitties. Follow me.”

One immediately sails off the bed and follows me into the closet. The younger one comes halfway and stops. His iridescent eyes turn to the window as the flash of lightening filters through the curtain. Then an elongated crack of thunder shakes the rafters.  He stares at me, frozen. I beckon, a bit sterner. “Come on, kitty.”

He huddles onto his haunches. “Um, nope.”

The warning siren’s wails crescendo. “Cat. Now!”

“Uh-uh.”

As the wind howls and the rain-hail pellets pound on my rattling window, I scoop him up and rush to the closet, closing the door with my other hand.  I can feel the air pressure changing and the 85 mph wind swooshing outside. He doesn’t care. He hates closed doors. He wants out and begins pushing his 15 lb weight against it as I hold it shut.

I have been like both of my cats were last night, but I admit I am the reluctant and stubborn one more often. Unaware of the danger, I resist following God. I am not concentrating on if He provides shelter, or is blocking my path for my own good, or leading me to something so much better than what is my reality now. I have my own ideas, my own plans, my own route.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4

Sometimes we don’t understand where the Good Shepherd leads. It may be in a totally different direction, or a seemingly dead end. Maybe even a dark closet with the door closed.  But when He calls, who will we act more like? The compliant and totally trusting cat, or the one who would rather have his way, even though he is afraid and unaware of what is about to happen?

 

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The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:8

I have a cross-shaped plaque hanging on my door jamb. Cut out in the center is the name of Jesus. Each time I use my key in my latch, it reminds me He is with me in my going out and my coming in. Yesterday the wind whistled through the corridor to my apartment. I noticed the plaque had flipped around backward. God, once again, sent me a message.

I wish I could say I know my Bible forward and backward, but I can state I recognize Jesus forward and backward. I don’t just mean by reading His name on the cut-out plaque near my front door. I mean in life.

I have learned over the years, backed by Scripture and experience, that God is already in my future and He is preparing me for it.  But, if I’m honest, I most often see Him backward.

They say hindsight is 20/20. I agree. It is always easier to see God’s movement in my life from the rearview mirror. The evening after, or a few days later it thunks my brain. Ah – okay. That was You, Lord. That serendipity was orchestrated by You alone to encourage me, correct my path, or confirm I am in Your will and am headed in the right direction. It always leave me with a tingly warmth that spreads from my heart into my tear ducts.

Sometimes it takes months or years before I see it.  But eventually, I do. Often, it makes me drop to my knees.

I hope, as I journey through this life, I can now see Him more forwardly and trust more in His guidance. Here comes the test of that…

Being accepted into the mission field is a leap of faith. I have always resisted the idea of being a missionary, but He had other plans. 

No, I am not off to Cambodia or Africa. My mission field is in cyberspace and I am traveling via my keyboard. But the work is just as valid. Souls are being won and hearts are being touched. I am humbled to be asked by Campus Crusades for Christ Canada through The Life Project to come onboard as a writer and editor. It has been a long discerning and vetting process. But as with any missionary, I must raise my own salary.

ButI go forward in faith believing that the time, income and words will be there. And looking back, I know He has prepared me for this effort over the past seven years. To Him be the honor and glory.

Already, God is bringing forth partners in prayer and funding, mostly from friends and a few family members. I know He will continue to do that and people only He could bring forward will join me.  Some I may not even know yet. Scary, but cool to consider.

If you want to know more, here is a quick video: https://vimeo.com/147793848.  If, after discussing it with our Lord, you feel called to support me in prayer or funding, comment and I’ll get in touch. Thanks.

Looking back on my life, I see Him in it, and so I boldly go forward…

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A local Christian radio personality relayed how she was driving down the road when a cop flashed his lights and motioned her to pull over.  She admitted her blood pressure rose and her teeth clenched because she wasn’t speeding. How dare he?!

Then he told her that around the blind curve was a huge obstacle in the road and the road was very poorly lit. At highway speeds, she’d have careened into it. Other policemen were removing it now. Would she mind waiting about ten  minutes.

After she sputtered and nodded, the officer jumped in his car, and with lights flashing, swirled around to block the road for the oncoming vehicles behind her. She publicly thanked the policeman on the radio and apologized for her initial reaction.

It made me wonder how often God blocks my path and I MP900444553[1]grouse about it. How often does He detour me from danger and I complain because things are not happening “my way”? How often were those irritating moments that delayed me –like the cat hacking a furball in my shoe just before I went to slip it on, or a button snapping that I have to quickly repair, or the moving van blocking my exit from my apartment complex for a few minutes– actually work to my advantage without me knowing it?

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Lord, forgive me. Let me publicly say thank you to You for putting obstacles in my path and delays in my day. Thank you for the story on the radio today that stepped on my spiritual toes a bit. Next time, I will try to be more patient and praise You in all circumstances. Through Your Son and by Your Spirit I pray, Amen.

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imag0562I was asked, what is the one thing in your closet you should probably throw out? If anyone else rummaged through my clothes, they’d most likely choose the ratty ol’ black sweater. It’s faded, a bit threadbare, and stretched out of shape. But it still hangs in my closet…for a reason.

When my mother passed away, my sister, niece and sister-in-law gathered with me in her bedroom to sort and pack up her things. What to give away and what to throw away? None of us felt we could handle the task alone. What began in solemn sorrow ended in tearful laughter. Morphed into little girls again, we tried on “mommy’s clothes.”  We shared memories of when she wore this or that.  We snickered over some of her choices in fashion. We paraded around the room in various items. In the end, we each took a few as mementos. I chose the black sweater, already worn with age.

Even now, years later, whenever I’m feeling a bit down, I slip my arms through that ratty old sweater. It is almost as if my mom is hugging me once again. I feel the secure warmth I felt as a child. When my husband passed away, I wore that thing a lot, even out in public. I didn’t care. Mom had become a widow far too early as well. I knew she’d understand.

Paul spoke of God’s comfort He give us to pass on to others. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 13:3-4  

My mother was a deep believer even though she suffered many sorrows including the death of two children and my father becoming a POW in WWII.  She lived with his resulting PTSD that turned into depression and alcoholism. Through it all, she used her experiences to God’s glory and comforted many during her 80 plus years on earth, especially the last few decades. At her funeral I heard many stories that testified to that fact. When I wrap myself in that sweater, I feel her God-endowed wisdom and comfort.

Yes, I should probably toss it away, but I doubt I will. In a way it has become my prayer shawl. One day, after I am gone, maybe the women in my family will go through my clothes. Someone will snicker and wonder why I kept that old thing. Then she will feel the urge to slip her arms through its sleeves. I think when she does, she’ll realize why.

 

 

 

 

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Four and five star reviews bolster a Christian author. We see it as confirmation we are doing God’s will, because He is the one we truly write for.  I am often amazed God uses my books to His glory, and one of the ways I find Him moving in my life is  through the feedback of readers. So, if you have left a review in the past on one of my books, thank you!

Now for the blatant advertising part:

THE BUNCO BIDDIES ARE BACK!!

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This is book Two. The first Bunco Biddies Mystery released last summer- Dumpster Dicing.  Both are clean, faith-based reads in the cozy style with a touch of humor and romance.

Both are available on Amazon.com. You can read about them and find the links in the MY WRITINGS tab.

Thanks!

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