I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Two Tips When You Find it Hard to Forgive

All of us need help in forgiving someone in our life. If we’re honest, it’s probably fairly often.

I have two things that help me when I need to forgive someone. One is a sign that was posted in a room in my mother-in-law’s home.

It said: “When forgiving someone is so very hard to do, just remember how much has been forgiven you.”

Yes, there’s quite a lot that I need to remember! I think it softens our hearts to contemplate the depth of our own need of mercy and grace. I don't deserve the forgiveness of Jesus, so why should I hold a grudge?

Then it helps me if I remind myself of my complete, infallible list of all the people in the world who have never sinned. It includes all the religious leaders of the world, all the famous social workers, and all the incredible philanthropists who ever lived. It is my exhaustive list of everyone who has never failed.

Ready for the list?

Here it is:


That’s it. He’s the only one.

If you find it hard to forgiven someone, even if they don’t deserve it, I hope these two things might help you too. But please share with our readers how you are able to forgive!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Internet Fast

Hey, Heidi here. Remember me? Okay, so I’ve been away for a while—away on what you might call an “Internet Fast.” In September, 2013, I attended the ACFW Conference in Indianapolis. It was a great conference, but I came home a little bit discouraged. I was frustrated with my writing—or more specifically, my seeming lack of discipline regarding my writing. It was a struggle to focus on anything, and the fact that I was working on my BA in English made it that much more difficult to get anything done as all my “writing energy” went into papers and other projects. I lost hours to the Internet. I would check in on Facebook, and then suddenly, two or three hours were gone, either to mindless scrolling through my feed or to crafting “politically correct” posts and responses to avoid offending anyone. (It is impossible, by the way…no matter what you post, SOMEONE will find a reason to be offended!)

At the same time, my husband encouraged (read: nagged) me to write a book about our accident and subsequent journey. I didn’t want to write a book about it…it was hard enough to write blog posts here and there, but to dig it ALL up and put it on paper? Forget it! Then he told me he believed that God wanted me to write it, and until I did, He wasn’t going to let me write anything else. Now let me be clear: my husband does NOT throw around the “God told me to tell you” card often. So when he does, I’ve discovered it’s in my best interest (and his) to listen. So I decided to put aside my fiction projects and work on telling our story. Initially it was very slow-going because of my attention span. Due to the head injury I sustained in the accident, my attention span is ridiculously short, so sitting down to focus on writing is a chore. I feel so bad for kids with ADD or ADHD who have to sit in a classroom all day; it’s torture!

So, I prayed. And I felt God pointing to the amount of time I could sit still to focus on Facebook or Pinterest, and I knew what needed to be done. So, I sent out a mass email to let my friends know that I was going to take some time away from the Internet and Social Media to concentrate on finishing my degree and getting my story on paper. It is interesting to note that one of my last blogs before my "fast" was about my inability to avoid Internet Time Thieves, so it was obvious I needed to do something drastic.

I ended up taking all of 2014 almost completely free of the World Wide Web. (In the interest of full disclosure, I was required to be online for my college courses, but I had the majority of my materials printed out and I worked mostly offline.) At first it was agonizing to not know every last detail about my 675 Facebook friends. And it took a few months before my brain cleared the Facebook Fog. I had no idea, but it turns out, I was addicted to Facebook! “Hi, my name is Heidi Geis and I’m a Facebook Junkie.” That’s kind of scary!!

Sometimes, in those first few months, I would peer over my husband’s shoulder as he scrolled through his feed, and I made him tag me in many of the photos he posted. But after a while, I didn’t care. I mean, obviously I still cared about my friends, just not so much about their food or pets, their reactions to sporting events, or their political/religious opinions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve posted a ton of food/pet pictures, and I can be fairly opinionated, but in the grand scheme of things, none of it really matters. And whether we want to admit it or not, we spend so much time "like-ing" the status and photos of people we barely know or haven’t seen in 20 or 30 years or who we’ve never even actually met in person, while neglecting the people next door or at our church or right under our roof.

So, am I saying that we should all leave Facebook and never look back? Absolutely not! Facebook can be a valuable tool. It’s been fun to get back in touch with high school and college friends and to thank my favorite teacher for her encouragement in 9th grade English. It’s a pleasure to follow my writing friends and their newest projects and then share them with some of my other friends who might not otherwise know about them. I love that my husband’s family 1100 miles away can see what we’re up to at the click of a mouse (and vice versa) and that Facebook made it possible for Grandma and Grandpa to watch our boys grow into men over the past seven years of posts and pictures.

What I am saying is that Facebook cannot take the place of class reunions, writing conferences, and family vacations. As Facebook’s own video declares, “some friends you have to tag in person.” We absolutely must strive to make real human connections whenever possible. And, if you’re like me, learn to use Facebook in moderation.

Your turn: Could you take a year away from the Internet? Would you even want to?

Image from blogs.constantcontact.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

You Know You Want Me: Sin and the Serious Disciple

From the time I was a teen until I was roughly twenty-eight years old, I had a cynical view of salvation. 

Here I was a Spirit-filled Christian yet I could not understand the importance of being one. At least, not being one at such a young age. After all, hasn't many a person gone through life, doing their own thing and come to Christ in his later years and ended just fine?

Oh I knew that being a Christian was important. You didn't want to go to Hell, And since you didn't know when you were going to die, you'd better be ready. But, I still did not understand the reason for being a Christian so young. 

It’s not that I wanted to live a sin-filled life either. I just didn't understand the reason to be so diligent at such a young age.

Then one day my faith got challenged. 

I had only been married for about seven years when I looked out my upstairs window to see a handsome man cutting his grass. Out of nowhere a terrible thought came over me. It was something dark that, in a moment, a flash, had gotten a hold of me. 

I wanted to get his attention, have him look up at me. I wanted to be with him and I wanted him to want me. Kind of like David and Bathsheba. The urge was so overpowering, so overwhelming that I could barely breathe. 

Seconds past and I began to think of my husband and our little boys. Then I stepped away from the window, caught my breath and asked myself, "Why?"

Hours later as I was reading my Bible, I came across James 1:12

Jas 1:12  Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Cool! I had resisted temptation even though I didn't know why that was important. But then James continues to address the why:

Jas 1:13  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
Jas 1:14  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
Jas 1:15  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

Now I didn't understand those verses completely, but I knew by them that it was greatly important for me to resist temptation. So asking God to help me I never went back to my window again. 

Moving forward from that day, I had not become a better person per se, but I had become more seasoned.

Stay with me, I have a life-changing point.

It was not until after walking with God several years that the answer to my lifelong question came to me.

A woman that I knew and loved came to me one day with a problem that was too big for the both of us. Her teenager had gotten into grave danger. This mother who had known God and walked with Him in her earlier years had been drawn away by so many other things and instead of her faith being strengthened through the years, it had waned and came under disrepair. As I prayed for the situation both with her and in intercessory prayer alone, God answered and the child was brought out of danger. 

I realized then that walking with the Lord all these years and learning to trust Him had made all that possible. I'm not saying God will not hear you otherwise, I'm just saying, it's a whole lot easier to believe and trust someone you KNOW then someone you don't. And having tried the Lord, I knew when He said that He would bring the child out of danger, that He meant it. She, on the other hand, did not and so had no faith to stand.

Our walk is not simply about us, it is about others especially our legacy. 

The Bible tells a story about Two men who built their houses on different materials. One on sand and the other on solid rock. When the storms of life came, the man who built his life on sand (temporary pleasures, wants etc) lost his house. For you parents out there, that means your children. The Bible says his loss was great. 

Like David who first slew the bear and the lion and because of this was able to slay Goliath, or like Joseph who learned to run a household, then a jail before he ever ran a kingdom, you will have to submit to the exercising of both your faith and trust in the Lord. 

Do not think for one moment that it will always be easy but I tell you this: Before you can be a father or mother in the Church, you must first be a child in the Church and submit your life to God and to other fathers and mothers. That’s hard to do when your fathers and mothers are flawed humans, but it’s Biblical and you will never grow in God the way you were intended too if you don’t.

The man who built his house on the Solid Rock, (that's Jesus and faith in Him) when the storms came, his entire house was saved. 

Let me put it another way:

Before you can run a marathon you must first condition, and that takes discipline, time, diligence and perseverance. So start running. Others are depending on us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Communication Power

Delores Topliff

By mid-February, my three so far TripAdvisor online travel evaluations have been read by 1878 people and won a deserving bed and breakfast in Arad, Israel, a star rating. Two thousand copies of my first children’s book, Whoosh, are out there—not a huge number but it’s gratifying to have that many readers. Five of my true stories published in three Guideposts compilation books have a broader circulation still.

There is power in the written word. Like citizenship, it provides opportunities—and responsibility.

What do we say? And why do we say it? What impact and meaning do we give readers who only know us through the written page? What do they learn of life? What do they see and retain of the God we serve? I don’t want them entertained but detoured by my idiosyncrasies and foibles without considering my underlying life purpose.

Tones of voice and facial expressions are musical accompaniment to our words, creating a multi-dimensional song and dance for our lives. I’ve heard kind words said in clipped anger and felt the underlying knife. I’ve heard awkward but heartfelt words expressed through a voice as rough as homespun—and felt its caress. For me, touch is often the final indicator. You can’t fake the communication of touch. Its communication doesn’t lie.

Is it any wonder that God sent His son as the Word to make Himself known? And lived out redeeming love without self-regard? The Message says, "The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood." Instead of loss and ending, that kind of life grows in leaps and bounds and extends forever.

Writer Brandy Valance posted: “To write means more than putting pretty words on a page; the act of writing is to share a part of your soul with the world.” On her recent blog, author friend Beth K. Vogt shared a post so honest, vulnerable, and powerful, it took my breath away but brought freedom. Words carry that kind of power.

So go ahead, speak, write, and love. Please comment how you will share your uniquely valuable life and show your heart to others today.