“Therefore we do not “lose heart.”
Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”
— Corinthians 4:16-18
As some of you may know, I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference last week in Indianapolis, and it was, as always, simply AMAZING!!
But … I don’t usually feel that way on the first day. Why? Well, call it baggage from my past or just pyschological idiosyncrosies of a CDQ on endless cups of Starbucks, but … I usually cry in my room on the first day of every single conference.
Of course, Keith is always there to comfort and support me, praying with me to let go of my fears and just ENJOY the blessing of seeing old friends and meeting new ones. And I had a number of dear friends who were praying for me as well (and you KNOW who you are!!), so I popped out of the malaise quickly and had SO much fun connecting with people.
I am basically a one-on-one type of gal, so I suspect groups jolt me back to my childhood where as a wired drama-queen who was #12 of 13 kids, I was the butt of family jokes and ridiculed by classmates in grades 2-4 because of my psoriasis. That’s the only reason I can figure for sinking into a mind morass that sucks the life (and passion) out of me on day one of every conference, on which I always feel very insecure and lonely.
Which is why the Scripture above SO spoke to me when my dear friend Joy Bollinger sent it to me along with a companion devotional she wrote, which I am going to include below. The lines that literally jumped out at me were:
The verse, “…we do not lose heart,” is a declarative statement. It doesn’t say, “We shouldn’t lose heart” or “Do not lose heart.” It makes a declaration that as Christ followers, WE DO NOT LOSE HEART. That is part of our re-born DNA.
WOW!! Because when I read that I realized that it is not just a declaration, it is a PROMISE that in the midst of any situation that is sucking the life from us, JESUS — looking UP into HIS face, focusing on HIM and HIM alone instead of the situation — helps us to not only “not lose heart,” but to be “renewed” with a mindset that says, “I matter to Him, I am special to Him, and He has endowed me with a heritage and inheritance of HIS peace and joy and hope.”
So … because of my AMAZING GOD who banished all insecurities and loneliness … I had a BLAST at ACFW!! Highlights were dinner with my amazing editor, time spent with the Seekers (my group blog partners), a workshop I co-taught with my fantabulous agent, and connecting and spending time with SO many AMAZING friends (and you know who you are!!). Oh, and Carol Moncado’s cookies … the brat! 😉
At the bottom of this post, I have included LOTS of fun pix from ACFW and some upcoming giveaways, so be sure to scroll all the way down to check them out. But first and without further ado, I give you the anointed words of my precious mentor and friend, Joy Bollinger, without whom I would not be here today, on fire for the true LOVE of my life, Jesus Christ.
DEVOTIONAL BY JOY BOLLINGER
Although I have been reading and studying the Word, I have neglected my book of devotions for some time. However, this morning, I felt led to open my devotional for today’s Word:
“Therefore we do not “lose heart.” Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things, which are seen, but at the things, which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal”(II Corinthians 4:16-18).
To “lose heart” means to become disheartened. Disheartened means to become discouraged, demoralized, cast down, depressed, disappointed, dismayed, put off, deterred, unnerved, daunted, intimidated, or crushed.
The verse, “…we do not lose heart,” is a declarative statement. It doesn’t say, “We shouldn’t lose heart” or “Do not lose heart.” It makes a declaration that as Christ followers, WE DO NOT LOSE HEART. That is part of our re-born DNA. So why do we allow trials and disappointments to dishearten us? Could it be that fissures of fear have formed in our hearts and have allowed doubt and unbelief to lodge and contaminate our faith?
God wants us to face trials with confidence that He will take whatever the enemy has intended for evil and work them together for our good and for the good of those whom we pray for and love. He has promised to give us a hope and a future. If our carnal eyes focus on a problem, then the enemy has an inroad to our heart. If our spiritual eyes focus on God’s Kingdom and the leading of His Holy Spirit, then faith and trust emerges to conquer darkness and achieve victory.
Christians are called to be God’s warriors, who stand firm in their relationship with Christ, filled with His Holy Spirit, and clothed with the whole armor of God that they may bring forth His truth and power to a world encased in carnality and spiritual darkness.
Satan’s goal is to protect his kingdom by making God’s people ineffective through intimidation, discouragement, and depression. The good news is this: God daily calls us to boldly move forward with faith, confidence and — trust in His strength, because “WE DO NOT LOSE HEART,” and we know that our “INWARD MAN IS BEING RENEWED DAY BY DAY.” That is a fact! We must believe it.
God reveals the deeper truths in His Word, and when He reveals them, it can be an instruction, a revelation, or His loving correction. They all become a source of joy.
I believe that we all struggle with “losing heart,” and God wants us to know that He built inside of our re-born heart a truth that “we do not lose heart.” We are to live that truth and trust Him each and every day as He renews us. This day, this truth, was instruction and renewal for my heart.
GIVEAWAYS AND FUN THINGS!!
MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23-27, 2013:
BOOKS GALORE, E-READER, & GIFT-BASKET GIVEAWAY!! Don’t miss my Journal Jots on September 27 because I will be featuring Christy nominee Joanne Bischoff and the release of her new book, My Hope is Found. WHICH, I might add, is the only book I have ever read that wreaked SO much havoc with my emotions, I was forced to take a sleep aid!! First time that’s EVER happened!!
Anyway, you’ll have a chance to win both Joanne’s book AND your choice of mine PLUS books from Katie Ganshert, Carrie Turanksy, Beth Vogt, and Jocelyn Green beginning Monday, September 23 as well as a goodie basket with peach butter, wild blueberry soap and your choice of an E-READER (up to $350!), so be sure to drop by and enter, okay? Here’s the link:
HEAR MY FAVORITE EXCERPT FROM LOVE AT ANY COST READ BY YOURS TRULY:
I’m thrilled to say I am featured on the fabulous Southern Writers Magazine, both on its Open Mic page AND its Take Five page of the magazine’s website. So take a listen at Take Five, where you can hear me read (more like stumble through) my very favorite romantic scene from my latest book, Love at Any Cost.
A Seekers dinner … SO fun!!! L to R, Mary Connealy, Myra Johnson,
Missy Tippens, Janet Dean, Debby Giusti, Pam Hillman and moi!
WHOO-HOO … got to meet my good bud, Becky Wade, who did the
“Fall in Love … Texas Style” contest with me this summer. Can you tell
why I had Keith fix my height on the poster??
My agent extraordinaire, Natasha Kern, who — YAY!!! — won Agent
of the Year — SO deserved!!
My dear friend, Casey Herringshaw.
A new friend in Joanne Bischoff and an old (as in friends a long time!)
friend in Carrie Turansky, both authors extraordinaire!
Me and Seekers Mary Connealy, Myra Johnson, plus good friend Pepper
Basham at the Awards banquet.
Me, Becky Wade and COOKIE LADY Carol Moncado!!
Me, Melanie Dickerson and dear friend Debbie Lynn Costello having a blast!
FINALLY … fab author Cathy West and I meet AT LAST!!