Endurance Possible with God’s Unfailing Help

But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.” Acts 26:22 NIV

Do you ever wonder how the Apostle Paul from Bible times endured the many trials and times of crisis that came his way? After his dramatic conversion to Christ and being called by God to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, Paul faced not only trials and imprisonment, but his very life was threatened time and again.

At one point after one of his arrests (when the Jews had seized him and tried to kill him,) Paul had the opportunity to defend himself before the Roman king Agrippa. Paul shared  a bit about his personal history, his eventual conversion to Christ, his ministry to the Gentiles, and the resulting opposition he faced from the Jews—including how they tried to kill him.

Paul then summed up his life to that point with this powerful testimony: But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.” (Acts 22:26) In everyone’s hearing, he pointed to the One who had been his strength.

Yes, Paul had been able to endure the hardships and dangers in his life because of God’s unfailing help. In spite of all that had happened to him, he was able to stand before King Agrippa—and stand up to all the opposition he faced—because God was with him being his strong support.

Is this your testimony too? Our testimonies are such a good thing to remember when times are bad, aren’t they? Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that God has been with us to this very day and that he will continue to be with us come what may.

If any of us are struggling to hang in there today, let’s remember that endurance is indeed possible with God’s unfailing help. He didn’t let Paul down and he won’t let us down either. He will ever be our strong support. He will ever be our Rock.

God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

*When have you felt God’s strong support in a very great way?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) p.s. It is too late to get in on this issue’s giveaway, but if you subscribe, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by DVIDSHUB, Creative Commons License

Preview Flowers Day Before Wedding

Mother of the Bride, do you and your daughter want to avoid one potential disappointment on wedding day? Make arrangements with your florist to preview the wedding flowers the day before the big event.

You don’t want to arrive at the church just a few hours before the wedding and find that a mistake has been made on the type of flowers requested for the bridal bouquet or that the florist completely missed your vision for the altar flowers. You don’t want to be short on corsages or boutonnieres.

Previewing the flowers may not be convenient on the already-busy decorating day before the wedding, but it’s a safeguard you need to make time for. You may not be able to avoid some things that go wrong on wedding day, but disappointment with the flowers is one thing you can fix before it happens.

I didn’t know to do a preview when Kristin, our first daughter, got married, and she ended up unhappy with her bridal bouquet. She had requested a white rose bouquet with a few little yellow touches in it. But when we got to the church and saw the bouquet, we discovered that the florist had gone overboard with yellow. Kristin was so disappointed. I know now it could have been altered if we’d seen the bouquet the afternoon before.

When planning our second daughter’s wedding, I still didn’t realize that previewing the flowers the day before the wedding was done in the floral business, but Kelli’s florist himself asked that we come by and give final approval, even though some of the flowers might not be finished. This is when you know you’ve got a good florist, MOB. A good florist doesn’t want any misunderstanding. He or she wants everyone happy on wedding day.

So go ahead and add a quick preview of the flowers to your day-before-wedding schedule now, Mother of the Bride. You’ll be glad you did.

*You might also like read Get It In Writing and Three Tips for Working with Your Wedding DJ.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Hope this slightly revised post from Feb. 2014 was helpful to you today, MOB!

*Photo by Will Flowers

Wedding Day Tip: A List for the Photographer

Mother of the Bride, today I have a tip on how to sidestep a potential disappointment with photos from the big day. Since wedding photography is one of the major expenses for the wedding, you definitely want to do anything you can to insure that both you and the happy couple will be satisfied with the once-in-a-lifetime photos from their special day.

One of the best things you can do to avoid disappointment with the photos is to give a list of must-have shots to your professional photographer. Don’t assume he or she will automatically take all the shots you think are standard. Don’t expect him to be a mind-reader, MOB. Some couples and their parents have a very traditional vision of what their photos should include while others want to take a more casual or photo-journalistic approach.

Be specific. Don’t just say family shots. List the specific family shots you want. Also be sure to tell him that in addition to the list, you want him to be as creative as possible and capture unexpected, fun, and tender moments whenever and wherever he can.

As you compile your list, MOB, think outside the box—think of some of the great photo opps that might present themselves at the wedding that are unique to you and your family and friends.The photographer will not magically know to take a photo of you with your very best friends. He won’t know that the newlyweds want a shot of all their college friends together.

Do a little photography preparation, MOB, and you’ll come much closer to being pleasantly surprised with the results instead of unhappy over missed shots. Take full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event—make your list!

*You might also like to read Wedding Weekend Photography Tip and Day Before Wedding Tip: Preview Flowers.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out in early August. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Hope this slightly revised encore post from Feb. 2014 has been helpful to you!

*Flickr photo by Elvert Barnes, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Staying in Lonely Places

girl-491623_640“ . . . Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places . . .” Mark 1:45

Jesus knows what it’s like to be forced to stay in lonely places. Early in his ministry after people began to hear about his healing powers, crowds began to seek him out any time they caught news of his whereabouts. Jesus was no longer free to stay wherever he wanted. His growing popularity brought new limitations into his life.

Some of us may find ourselves in a situation or season of life that makes it necessary for us to stay in lonely places. For whatever reason, we’re not free to do what we want to do or go where we’d like to go. This new season, this new situation, has brought new limitations.

Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus understands our disappointment and frustration, our grief and loneliness when we lose our freedom? Let’s not face time like these alone. Let’s turn to Jesus. He understands.

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28

*What’s one of the lonely places that life has found you in?

*CCO Public Domain Photo

Midweek Morsel: A Light for the Darkness

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Some of us may find ourselves in dark places today. If you’re struggling with fear, depression, grief, or life circumstances that seem hopeless, please know that you’re not alone. All of us have been there at one point or another.

The good news is that there is a Light for the darkness. If we will but look, if we will but lift our eyes, the Lord will be our light during our darkest moments. He will be our guide, our comfort, our hope. May these verses point you to him, my friends. May hope be your portion today!

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” Micah 7:8b

“You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28

“‘I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.’” Isaiah 42:16

*When has the Lord been the light in your darkness?

*Flickr photo by jeet_sen, Creative Commons License