Shaped and Formed

Do you have any idea how amazing—how wonderful you are?

The Lord God, Himself, shaped you inside and out.

Meme with prayer in all shades of brown of a potter forming a clay piece

He knitted you together, nestling you within the warmth of your mother long before you ever took your first breath.

woman's hands holding pink knitting needles and working with soft pink yarn

You are His unique creation and He filled you with the senses of wonder and awe.

Adorable and very happy toddler on a merry-go-round. green shirt, gold pole

With His excellence, He created you with utmost attention to the tiniest detail of your being.

His work is amazing and He tucked this knowledge deep within your soul.

King David writes in his Psalm:

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV).

The Lord God walked down the staircase of heaven with you cradled in His arms.

You—your life—is the story.

“Life is God’s novel. Let him write it.” Isaac Bashevis Singer.

How has God shaped and formed your life?

Love,

Sally

amazon.com/author/sallychambers

Running Toward Christmas

This year, I’m running toward Christmas . . .

Running like crazy, with joy, as a child would run toward a father or a beloved big brother. Running headlong, arms open, as fast as my little legs will carry me . . .

Into joy

With my eyes focused on the Christ Child.I run to remember Bethlehem one star-strewn night.

To remember a hillside of quiet sheep, resting after a shining day full of grazing.

I run to remember . . .

I settle back in against the hard wood pew, breathing in the light pine scent from fresh wreaths of pine boughs that grace the church as Christmas nears.

I close my eyes for a few seconds, thankful for a good year, anticipating the final two holidays before a brand new year.

Reverend Hatch rises and walks to the pulpit.

Like a silent snow, holy quiet falls over the sanctuary

My back straightens as the Holy Spirit nudges me into deep listening. I pull in a breath.

I’m about to hear something wonderful.

Hatchie, as we lovingly call him, looks out over us and smiles and begins

“When God walked down the stairway of heaven with a tiny Baby in His arms, He came bearing the greatest gift the world has ever been given.”

The words race like a gentle fire into my mind, body, soul, and spirit—into the realm of wonder. Brushstrokes of color flow across my imagination.

From impossible white clouds in a star-pierced violet blue night sky, a figure of brilliant light descends a wide staircase.

Within God’s arms, a small, moving, living Being nestles in a blanket of light.

Above them hovers a transparent Presence, crystal waves of movement aglow with a palpable sense of power and love.

The Holy enters Creation.

Everything in me wants to kneel before the Holy Triumvirate.

I cannot move, captured in breathless awe.

The Gift.

Delivered as I was and you were.

The Holy into humanity. Born to fill the void we came into the world with.

Born to fill the emptiness that nothing—no one but Jesus—can fill.

God is love, but He is just.

Born to save and free us from sin, He, the Lamb of God, came to sacrifice His humanity in our place . . .

and to prepare a place for us in Eternity.

God’s offered Gift.

Is our choice.

Jesus told us “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3 NKJV).

An angel spoke to shepherds and to us “. . . and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'” (Luke 2:9b-11 NKJV).

To the woman at the well “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life’” (John 4:13-14 NKJV).

Will you run in thankfulness toward Christmas? Will you look up in joy and wonder and remember . . . ?

If you have a special Christmas memory I’d love for you to share it in the comments!

And just in case I don’t post again before Christmas, I’ll leave you with this~

A very Merry Christmas full of joy and blessings to you and those you love!

Love,

Sally

Elegant Staircases     #Christmasjoy    #MerryChristmas

Signs and Seas

It’s a cool, beautiful leaf-strewn day in early October.

I slow the car for a lazy curve, praying and and thinking back over the last troubling week of seemingly never-ending problems. Self-imposed deadlines, expectations of others, an untimely sinus infection . . .

On and on. I allow the mean little puppy of anxiety to to nip at my heels.

Help, Lord.

A a small white country church nestled in a sea of fall colors, its spire piercing upward, reaching for the clouds floods my view.

On the church sign, my eyes and imagination are caught up in the words. “A smooth sea does not make a great sailor.”

My sea has been far from smooth.

But always my strength and my song, He has me glimpse a simple sign.

I negotiate the next curve and smile as He rights my ship.

He’s with me. Within His will and with His help there isn’t anything I can’t do.

Those rough seas shape me,

keep me becoming the best sailor I can be for my Captain.

“Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.” Henry Ward Beecher

“Faith pulls the black mask from the face of trouble, and discovers the angel beneath.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7 NKJV).

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).

“Then He [Jesus] arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39 NKJV).

Jesus said: “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26 NKJV)

Troubles, trials, tribulations, tumults, whatever they are termed, we never have to go through them alone.

What are you facing today that has you running to the LORD, your stronghold and very present help in time of trouble? Reread those verses above and “take heart!”

Love,

Sally

 

Look Up!

Sky Walkers

Look up at the night sky and see the face of God.
See stardust sprinkled across His cheeks,
a thousand twinkles in His eyes

See His smile in the sliver of a quarter-moon,

the light of His countenance reflected in His far-flung galaxies.

Feel His love envelope you in the mists of evening.

Breathe Him in as life. And when you breathe no longer,
with Him

you are more richly alive than ever before.

How do you see God?

God looks down from heaven upon the children of men,to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Psalm 53:2

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’ Numbers 6:24-26

Jesus said to Thomas “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” John 14:7

Look up in faith this week!

Love,

Sally

Next event for The Stonekeepers Book Launch

August 16, 2015  4:00-6:00 PM

Life Enrichment Center (LEC) Cafe

at First Church Melbourne, a Methodist Community

Reflecting the Writer

Ann Cooper McCauley is my guest today, and from the archives of her wonderful blog, she’s given me permission to use this beautiful and thoughtful post.

Here’s Ann with her inspired thoughts on what it’s like to be a writer.

Ever wonder how much we mirror God our Creator?                                 And from the get go? Born again, yes, we are continually transformed into His image, but do we realize how each of us—individual as we are—mirror different aspects of His nature? Our God DNA is grafted deep inside us.

Allow me to camp on the writer.

Who is God, but the Writer of the story? Not only did He leave us His bestseller, but it is a work in progress—alive and current.

So who are writers—really? People who yearn to be heard, write to be a voice, hunger to express thought, and seek to deliver timely messages. Not unlike our Creator at all.

Who discovered the plot outline?

The Writer of our story. He demonstrated to us the nature of construction when He wired everything on the planet in a perfect order and with a specific purpose. He tells us Himself that He knows the beginning from the end. Every good writer knows the general ending of their work, whether they write by the seat of their pants or not. From the beginning of the manuscript until the end, it makes sense, and a theme will whisper through its pages.

Who understands the web of characters more than the Writer?

He generates us. He makes plans for us. And like any good Writer—though He knows the ending of the story—He allows His characters to develop over time. He allows them to repeat mistakes, grow, and evolve. He intertwines his characters at just the right time and in just the right genre, setting and scene different to each character, yet similar to all.

And let us not forget dialog.The Writer is an open channel, a river on the page taking us where He is active and involved, unlike narration which tells the story rather than showing the action. God the Writer speaks intimately to His own and demonstrates to all. Why? Because He wishes His characters to know and understand Him and be complete. He desires them to hear. His purpose is to reveal—not conceal.

Does this pattern of seeing God in our vocation or giftings solely benefit the writing profession?

I think not.

Are you a musician, a welder, an administrative assistant, or a teacher? Explore how your work is patterned after the One, whose very nature, you reflect.

I’d then love to hear your analogies!

Me, too, Ann!

Analogies anyone?

“See, I have called by name Bezalel . . . and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” (Exodus 31:2-3)

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/ Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. A songwriter for many years, Ann has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising actvities. She’s has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences through many venues and has been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Her motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. Having written three historical novels, Ann looks forward to finding a publisher for her novels, working through her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

Thank you Ann, I’ve loved having you as my guest!

Love,

Sally

P.S. Don’t forget to join Peggy Blann Phifer and me at her blog, Whispers in Purple on Wednesday, June 24th.

Peg’s doing an author interview with me, and I’ll be giving away a copy of my new novel, The Stonekeepers. Stop in and leave a comment. We’d love to see you there!

And if you’d like a Sneak Peek, go here to check it all out: http://wp.me/p5BLdw-Ac

A Quieting Love

“The LORD, your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:14 NKJV)

Today . . .

I needed to hear that my LORD, my God in my midst, would quiet me with His love.

Zephaniah’s words, bathe me in a soft wave of soothing balm. They quiet me.

I feel God’s love.

I need that.

A loving quiet.

I treasure it.

We need to hear that our LORD, our God in our midst, rejoices over us with gladness—rejoices over us with singing!

And even as I write this my heart squeezes with sweet emotion because as you read this, you may need to hear Zephaniah’s words too.

He wrote them to the remnant of Israel long ago, but we are grafted into that magnificent tree through Grace, and He calls “O daughter of Zion, O daughter of Jerusalem.” Down through the winds and zephyrs of time, He calls to us, the saved ones.

Even as I’m happy and full of thanksgiving in so many ways . . . I’m burdened and tired and trying too hard.

God knows. He hears our sighs and prayers.

And when Jesus sends us into His word and points to the inspired scriptures, His whispered admonition is “Remember Me.”

So breathe in these words Jesus says to us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

There is peace within His quieting love.

Sit still and know.

~~~♥~~~

Here’s another glimpse of Lexi, heroine in my new novel The Stonekeepers

When I imagine her as much younger than in the novel, I “see” her on her beloved Nantucket beach looking a lot like this little girl. Lexi was probably close to this age when she found a pretty white stone in a tidal pool. And though it doesn’t have much to do with the story, it does show a bit of Lexi’s heart.

~~~♥~~~

  For a Sneak Peek of Peggy Blann Phifer’s interview with me on June 24th, click on this: Upcoming Event Alert!

And please help spread the word.

Tweet this to your followers:

Lexi Christensen finds an envelope. What does it mean? #fiction #YA #Sally Chambers #TheStonekeepers @sallychambers2 http://wp.me/p5BLdw-Ac

Thanks! We look forward to seeing you there!

Love,

Sally

Blue Edges

Lexi—Alexia Evengeline Christensen, grew up loving to race waves, beach walk, and sand dance on the tan sandy shores that ring her Nantucket Island home. No, that’s not an error in the spelling of her middle name, Evengeline. ☺ It’s deliberate and full of meaning, a meaning she’ll learn about along with you as you read her story.

Lexi, gutsy, impulsive, loyal, impatient, and more, the main character in my newly released novel, The Stonekeepers, stepped out of my imagination and lives within the freshly printed pages of her story . . . between the edges of of a book cover.

Edges . . .

Early morning, in the sandy, sunny regions of my memories, I walk the length of a long stretch of quiet beach.

The sea air held within the breeze that ruffles my hair is pungent with the scent of salt and seaweed.

In shades of beige and tan, squishy, damp sand moves beneath my feet as I walk the water’s edge.

Never-ending waves toss and reach to warm their white froth on the hot sand., the cacophony of their constant hiss and splash push away my cares and stress . . .

and I let them go.

Time slows as I stop my sandy walk and turn to face the sky and sea, their edges a contrast of ice blue calm and blue-silver shimmer on the horizon.

Sunlight glistens on undulating, wind-roughened water that looks as if its been feathered with a dusting of snow.And I wonder at how God keeps this great sea within the edges He firmly set so long ago.

 “When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world” says Wisdom in Proverbs 8:28b-31a

We, too, are cradled within edges. We live and dance through a life full of choices, from a beginning toward an end that fades in the Light of the presence of the Christ—the Way, the Truth, and the Life—the supreme, life-changing choice.

A small rogue of a wave races toward me, daring me to run from it.

And I do. Backward. But not quickly enough.

I’m soaked from my knees down and give up in laughter, playing with the sea, racing with the receding water, losing to its speed. I pause, watching it dissolve into anonymity.

So unlike our Heavenly Father. He never changes, and promises never to leave or forsake us.

Edges, boundaries and limits have their place, and I’m thankful for them all as I walk in the riskier places of this earthly journey. But I’m just as thankful for the freedom I have in God. I stretch and grow and learn and experience, testing edges, limits, and boundaries, knowing He has set them.

I am not the sea.

I am me.

A child of God and free . . .

in Him.

He alone holds our edges and they are eternal.

Only God is the Alpha and the Omega of all creation. Who knows what more beauty and loveliness and wonder He may allow us to discover.

♥  Go. Race a wave. Run just a little farther, love a little deeper, try a little harder, walk a little taller, and ask where He is working. Then join Him.

Love along side Him.

Love,

Sally

I’ve wandered through thoughts and words here. Ramble along with me in your comments.

Sufficient Grace

Sometimes I’d like to have an “Aaron” to speak for me like Moses did.

“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’

So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’

But he said, ‘O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.’” (Exodus 4:10-13)

It was sort of a he said, He said give and take.

. . . I know

my little insecurities aren’t anywhere near worthy of comparison of what Moses was up against. Moses held the fate of a nation and faced a Pharaoh. I stumble trying to not to say the wrong thing or gently make a point when in conversation with friends or teaching a class or in a meeting.

Moses knew his faults.

Me too.

But I’m not alone.

Neither was Moses.

Nor are you.

Even Paul wrote “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'” And Paul adds “. . . that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9

Paul walked into the future, not knowing the threats ahead of him. He spoke while on raging seas, on dusty roads, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, and before governors and kings.

(And I have share a laugh with you. ☺ As I write this, the usually dignified spell check in WordPress is trying its level best to have Paul standing in the midst of the Asparagus!)

Remembering the history of how the Lord delivered and protected Moses, maybe Paul gained faith to believe God would do the same for him as he trusted the “power of Christ” to rest upon him.

God’s patience and compassion is endless . . .

And you know how things ended up with Moses and Aaron . . .

“So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: ‘Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.’” Exodus 4:14-15

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’” Isaiah 6:6-7

That verse becomes part of a prayer that a dear friend who loves the Lord says silently before she speaks or teaches in any gathering.  She asks the Lord to cleanse and purify her words as she speaks, a powerful example of faith for me.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jesus in John 14:27).

Faith in the Lord Jesus changes everything. His Grace is sufficient for and in all things.

Do you have a prayer or a verse you say that helps prepare you to speak?

Love,

Sally

Our Creator Sets Limits

It’s an honor to have Pat Luffman Rowland guest-posting this week. I’ve long been a fan of Pat’s writing, and you may have seen the link to her blog, Prayerful Pondering, in the sidebar. Many of her posts have caught my attention and imagination, but this is one post that I asked if she would share with us. It’s brief, but powerful, and it sets in place a parallel to our lives.

Pat writes:

Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt”? Job 38:8-11 (NIV)

The ocean is my favorite part of nature. I love to watch the rhythmic movement of the waves, hear the sound of them rolling into shore or crashing on rocks.

The waters have a vastness that seems wild and free, yet it is restrained by God’s command, the boundaries He set.

How can I trust that God’s boundaries for the ocean will hold?

How can I walk by the edge of the water, and not be afraid that a boundary will give way and I will be swallowed up?

It is by faith in the One who created the seas and determined how deep and wide they would be, by faith in the One who spoke that they might come so far and no farther.

Such is how we must trust God with the problems and perils of our lives. Sometimes it seems trials go on forever, pile one upon another. We begin to ask if God has forgotten us when relief is slow to come.

It helps to think of the ocean and how God has it in control. Just as He limits the oceans’ reach, He limits how much His children go through. We don’t always understand our tribulations, but God has said He uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

We must place our trust in that word from God. We must trust that the same One who created the boundaries for the seas, created limits for how much happens to us. We must trust that all will have its place in forming us for eternal life.

♥       ♥

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:27 (NIV)

A little about Pat.

Pat Luffman Rowland1Pat Luffman Rowland doesn’t recall a time she didn’t believe in God or know that Jesus was His Son and our Savior, but she made her profession of faith and was baptized at age twelve. She will never forget the experience of understanding she belonged to the Lord! The sun became ten times brighter and it was as if she could hear angels sing—a supremely joyful moment.

Pat has an undergraduate degree in Healthcare Consumer Relations, a master’s in Religious Studies, and worked for twenty-seven years in healthcare. She’s retired and lives in a suburb of Memphis with her two cats. Her daughter, Kristi, and son-in-law, Mark, reside in Georgia and are the delights of her heart.

Pat is active in her church, First Assembly of Memphis, and the church school, First Assembly Christian School. A writer, in addition to her blog, Prayerful Pondering, her work has appeared in devotional publications including The Upper Room, United Methodist Reporter, and Presbyterian Daily.

♥       ♥

Sally’s note~  Thank you, Pat, for sharing your blog post with us. I’m thrilled to have you as a guest and hope you will bless us with your wisdom again soon.

Have you sometimes felt slammed by wave after wave of things happening that just don’t seem to quit? You felt your prayers weren’t heard, that you wouldn’t survive? And just as you were about to “go under,” by faith, you prayed once more and dug in your heels.

And now, in retrospect, something changed, things eased and were somehow resolved.

Did the Lord perhaps impose limits, boundaries for you?

We are beloved. The Lord walks with us through it all.

Are you a survivor, thankful for His gracious limitations?

Pat and I would love for you to leave a comment on how God has set limits in your life.

Blessings!

Sally

Sleepless in Shushan

Have you ever had a night when you just couldn’t sleep

because those little night gremlins

wormed their way into your head

and began gnawing on the edges of your mind?

Once in a while, night can become Satan’s playground. We may be unable to fall asleep or may be awakened out of a sound sleep, ripped away from resting and thrust into groundless fear that forgets faith for a frightening moment. But if we know and love the Lord, it’s only for a moment.

“The mind is a beautiful thing,” they say. But what if it refuses to settle down and sleep?

What if your lovely gray matter decides to take the night off?

What if it says, “Nope, we’re going to think about every little detail of the day and take over the night, whether the rest of you likes it or not?”

Now, right here, is the perfect spot to give you a magical list of six great ways to solve sleeplessness.

Really? Are there any?

Sure, there are ways to help, like count sheep, deep breaths, recite scripture, think lovely thoughts, sip warm milk, or just give up and get up. You know them all and have probably tried them all.

But, once in a while, there may be a good reason why you’re wakeful.

 In the Bible, in the Book of Esther, King Ahasuerus was sleepless in Shushan the citadel.

“That night the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king” (Esther 6:1).

Queen Esther’s husband, King Ahasuerus was troubled with his wakefulness and called for someone to read him boring records so he’d fall asleep. But there were reasons for the king’s inability to sleep.

Good, sound reasons.

If the king had slept, he’d have missed what was written in those chronicles that ended up being instrumental in saving Queen Esther and her people from certain death.

God is in the details of why the King couldn’t sleep.

Could He be in the details of why we sometimes can’t sleep or wake up unexpectedly? Can that happen to us?

The king couldn’t get to sleep. But what about when you’re awakened from a deep sleep with a sense that something’s not right.

You get up and go directly to your child’s bedside–and discover a fever that needs your immediate attention. Or there’s an uneasiness, you can’t seem to go to sleep, and you rise. You’re drawn to turn on the TV and find there’s an overwhelming need for prayer. On the west coast, a gunman is holding many hostage—terrified people. And you’re certain they’re praying. They need prayer. And you pray.

Or what about the time you really wanted to watch the blood moon lunar eclipse but were just too bone weary from a difficult day. You tumble into bed and forget to set the alarm.

Then suddenly you’re wide awake. You glance at the blue digits on the clock. Three-thirty-two.

Did You do that, Lord?

And instantly, your bare feet are on the floor taking you to the front porch to feel the world move beneath you.

You stand in awe of the wake-up call and the sight of earth-shadow inching across the rugged face of the moon, the power and glory and mastery of God. An eclipse you would otherwise have slept right through.

But you know. You’ve been there too.

We love and serve an awesome God. There is nothing He cannot do. That includes the dearness of waking His child, whose little one needs her or whom He knows will pray for others or who has the desire to enjoy His creation, right on time.

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2 NKJV).

“Keep sound wisdom and discretion so . . . when you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:21, 24 NKJV).

Saint Teresa of Avila has the last word this week. I love this quote. Savor its depth and insight.

“God gave us faculties for our use; each of them will receive its proper reward. Then do not let us try to charm them to sleep, but permit them to do their work until divinely called to something higher.” Saint Teresa of Avila

Love,

Sally