Have you ever wanted something really, really bad? It looks like something that would be perfect for you. Whether it’s a new job opportunity, a new relationship, or a large purchase like a house or car … you’ve come to believe that “doing it” – whatever “it” is, is best for you. You’re excited about your decision.

However, you’re also committed to submitting whatever you do to God’s leading and guidance in your life. You want what God wants for you more than what you want for yourself. For me, it’s a belief borne of a life initially lived without God – a life lost, then found.

So, you look at the opportunity from all angles. The first is whether or not it would be something God would want. How do you know? I mean really, how would you know what God would want for you?

There isn’t an easy answer and it’s as unique as each human being. While God’s truth is GOD’S TRUTH, an intimate relationship with our Creator is developed just as our relationships are developed with our children or those whom we love. They aren’t identical and are forged by the individual interaction with each child or person. It’s the same with God and us.

He speaks to us through His word, through His creation, through our praise, and through our worship. Some of those things are done corporately, but they affect us in an uniquely individual way.

What I do know is that if seeking God is the deepest desire of our heart, He promises that we will find Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD,” Jeremiah 29:13-14,

Moreover, as we grow in that multi-faceted relationship, we begin to not only hear Him, but also know what He wants for us. And God wants the best for us, regardless of what we think. “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

How? I believe it is through joy. Or maybe, it’s a peace about any decision we have to make. Suddenly, we begin to ponder that shining opportunity in our career, the relationship that “seems” perfect, or the big purchase that is within our grasp and we begin to question ourselves.

For me, God seems to re-direct my “wants.” Whether it’s to do nothing but remain in Him or to move in a different direction, I’ve come to realize that God has created His desires in me. And that’s when I move into the supernatural peace that God promises us. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7, NIV

It’s joy in the knowing … truly, truly knowing that I am moving and living in His will.

Blessings, Francine

God is Better than Prozac

Ive struggled with depression over the past 15 years. The first was major and it was a long time in healing. With the help of a therapist and my doctor, I began counseling and taking Prozac. It got me out the a deep darkness -- enough that I could begin to see the hope of my belief in God.

Since then, I’ve had bouts of depression. There were times of more therapy and more medicine but each time I became more dependent on God for my healing.

I’ll be the first one to advise
anyone with depression to seek the help of a good medical doctor and get tested to see if there are some chemical deficiencies. I’ll also be the first to say that God’s healing can go deeper than anything else. But there are times when the chemicals in the brain need to be in balance. I’m no doctor and I’ve certainly simplified the issue.

Honestly, it truly is all about balance. Once the medical issues are in balance, it’s time to take a brutal look at the spiritual balance in our lives. I’ve come to the point now that any time --
ANY TIME I feel depression creeping in, the first place I look is at the spiritual side of my life. Is it balanced with my emotions? And believe me, it takes a lot to balance my emotions.

Fortunately, I’ve learned the truth that emotions are a result of how we see things and what we believe. Certainly, loss brings grief, a satisfying life brings joy, children bring laughter -- the list goes on. But we can’t always trust our emotions, particularly when we deal with depression and anxiety. Truth be told, I can “think” my way into an anxiety attack that could trigger heart problems or send my blood pressure skyrocketing.
But those thoughts aren’t real. They are the result of worry and my very vivid imagination.

You cannot tame your thoughts. You may think you can. You may try with medication. And it’s possible you can take enough to numb how you feel. But if you want to live a full and incredible life, drugs aren’t the answer. You can try with alcohol, relationships, careers -- that list goes on as well.

Taming our thoughts has everything to do with what we think about.

Paul wrote: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-10, NLT

Prozac can’t promise that.

Blessings, Francine

A Cup of Coffee

There was a time in my life when the only thing I had to look forward to at the end of the day was the coffee I would have the next morning. It was a span of days or weeks; maybe even months, when I was deep in the darkness of depression. I was in a place I’d never been before and I felt pretty much alone. Everything was different. I couldn’t pick up the phone and call family. I couldn’t run over to my daughter’s and spend time with my young grandchildren. And financially, things were grim.

Have you ever been there? You may have had just one thing to look forward to but it was enough ... enough to get you through the day.

What is so sad is that it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if we have a personal relationship with Jesus. I did. But in my loneliness, I wandered from the light and got lost in the darkness. All I had was knowing I’d wake up each morning and enjoy the coffee I loved so much. Seems a bit silly now. But then, it was everything.

What is your “everything?”

Whatever it is, it doesn’t last. Oh, I still love coffee, most especially first thing in the morning ... sharing it with nature or the desert critters that visit us. But it is no longer my “everything.”

Almost everyone has something they hang onto in the darkness. Unfortunately, its significance and importance will fade, leaving you wanting more. Which begs the question, “more of what?”

That’s the wonder of Jesus. He is our all in all. He will never leave us. And He gives us eternal hope. Sometimes, we can’t see eternally; all we can see is our circumstances and often they look dark and dreary.

With the hope of Jesus in my life, I don’t have to worry about the circumstances. I know they will always change and, if I trust in them, they will always leave me wanting. Instead, I have an unshakable faith and I know, regardless of the circumstances, Jesus will fill my mind, heart, and spirit with a supernatural peace and joy. It doesn’t eliminate the pain. But then, nothing does. Rather, the hope of Christ gives me new eyes with which to see eternally. And as I recognize how fleeting this life is, I realize that the best is yet to come -- honest and true.

And I’ll let you in on a secret, I am hoping there is coffee in heaven.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by (I)prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:6-8, NAS



Point and Click

I love technology. I’ve had various PDAs over the past four years that have been my virtual memory. I have an iMac that I adore. Camera, cell phone, digital recorder, iPod -- you name it and my husband has graciously given them to me. In fact, he tells everyone that teckie stuff is my bling bling. I don’t want diamonds or jewelry ... just the next version of the iPhone.

And I’ve used every item ... worn out a couple of computers, use a digital camera that no longer focuses through the lens viewer, and love my iPod shuffle, dents and all. But I have a confession to make. I think I should be able to point and click and get the results I’m seeking, instantaneously. So while I love technology, I’m severely handicapped in that I don’t take the time to read the instructions.

I was frustrated with my iMAC and it’s photo program. I could do lots of things with the click of my mouse but I couldn’t seem to figure out how to resize photos to send in email or upload to my blogs. And, it was definitely hampering creating a web site. I purchased "iMAC for Dummies" and, when that didn’t work, I purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements so that I could quickly resize photos. NOT! Oh, I’m sure it’s easy and one day I’ll figure it out. But one day is too far away for me.

Recently I decided to go to the Apple web site and read the promos on the newest programs that for the iMAC. I desperately clicked my way to the 2009 photo program. And in my rush, I accidentally clicked on the 2008 promo. There I discovered that I could downsize photos through my email function on the iMAC. I tried it and was stunned that it worked. I even figured out how to resize photos without having to attach them to an email.

It got me to thinking. Too often we want to grow spiritually ... and we want to do it NOW. We go to church, join Bible studies, and we love to purchase the latest best-selling books, convinced these things will be the MiracleGro for Christians. Maybe that works for some, but I can attest that it didn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important.

What DID work was immersing myself in God’s Word, surrounding myself with Christian music, and seeking God’s presence through prayer. Of course, I tried rushing through these things as well but it didn’t work either.

Now, I find joy in reading the Bible. My husband asked me if I knew what BIBLE meant. I knew this was no simple question. Then he grinned and said, “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” I like that. Some people call it our Operating Manual. It’s why God designed it as he did.

So, before you rush out for the latest Christian best-seller or the newest translation of the Bible, just pick it up and start reading. Christian music can be comforting, uplifting, and a source of wonderful praise. Prayer is how we communicate with God.

Seems easy enough. But I bet there are a few out there, like me, who want to “point and click” our way to spiritual maturity. The thing is, it doesn’t work.

Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 1:1-3, NLT

On Turning Sixty

W riting significantly isn’t easy. Unfortunately, it’s kept me from doing much posting here for almost a year. God has always led me in my writing and while I’ve addressed some hard issues, I now feel God leading me in a different direction, both in my life’s ministry and in my writing.

Maybe it’s the fact I’m turning 60 this year. Yes, I’ll admit it. I certainly don’t feel 60, although sometimes my body tries to tell me so. And many tell me I don’t look that old, which is always nice to hear. But that’s the truth.

It brings a number of questions. I try not to ask myself how much longer will I be here. I’m blessed with remarkably good health after a time of not so good health. And I know there is a reason for all of it. Through the times when I couldn’t do much, I accepted it all as God’s will. This “rebirth” of sorts has really gotten my attention. What does God have in mind for me now? Another truth is that I’ve come to feel more responsible in what I’m doing for God.

What am I doing? Going to church, Bible study, and fellowship are all things we should be doing. But I came to ask myself, “Is this all there is?”

Many are called to the mission field, leaving family and friends to serve God. But what about the rest of us. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not going to write the “great Christian novel” that would change hearts and souls. And that’s okay. Most of us won’t ever do anything on such a global scale. But each of us have been called to do what we can in our own backyards.

Part of my backyard are my blogs; I can’t deny that. But the remainder of my backyard is right where I live. What am I doing here? How am I spreading the good news? I’ve been asking myself these questions for several months.

My husband and I just finished leading a small group in The Truth Project. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out. It has the potential for changing lives. And I guess that’s where I am right now.

“Words from the Heart,” will continue as God leads; but I believe it will be more ‘down to earth’ as I begin to respond to words from God’s heart for my life. I’d like to share what I discover on this new journey.

And as far as turning 60, don’t tell anyone, okay?

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'
Matthew 25:36-38, The Message

Blessings, Francine
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