Dangerous Comparisons

I'm currently working on a new book that tackles a very serious topic, hypocrisy and corruption in ministry.  It's a tough subject, but I am committed to producing a an engaging story with some thought provoking circumstances. Most of all, I want to bring God's truth to the topic. 

Today, I was writing some dialogue between two characters. They were discussing a few examples of church leaders who publicly failed, making all Christians look bad in the process. The main character made this statement: 
"All Christians have to decide what level of commitment they are willing to live. If we spend our time comparing ourselves to others, we will always find someone performing better and someone not doing as well.  We can use that to excuse our bad behavior or we can aspire to be better."
This is so true. It's not helpful to spend our time focusing on how everyone else behaves.  There will always been Christians who are more or less committed that you are.  It's never a good idea to gauge our own behavior based on the observations of others.  

Almost every non-Christian I've ever talked with with cite the hypocrisy in the church members as one of the reasons they don't want to be a part of it. As a believer, this pains my heart. I don't believe anyone is intentionally acting hypocritically. Christians are judged harder and their actions are  reviewed with much greater intensity.  I'm not sure that is fair. 

My encouragement to non-believers is to base their faith decisions on Jesus and the bible and not on imperfect people who fail just like anyone else.  Instead of waiting for the perfect Christian before you make a commitment to God, focus on Jesus.  He's the only one that got it 100% right.  

Simply Good News

There are days when I put off reading my Bible. I don't know why I do that because when I finally take the time to read, I am always encouraged, refreshed, and amazed. My God is not in the business of disappointment. He never fails me.  

Today, I have a list of tasks I hope to accomplish. I'll admit that was was about to hit the treadmill but felt strongly that I needed to pause and take a moment in the Word. After only minutes of reading in Isaiah 45, my heart lifted and my attention began to focus on what is really important. 

My busy day of tasks doesn't seem so important all of the sudden. What really matters is that I serve the Most High God! 

I encourage you to read your Bible, even when life's demands try to convince you that you don't have time. Make time!  You'll be glad you did.  

Update On our Miracle

My grandson received his new heart nearly a month ago.  Today we learned that his second biopsy showed ZERO rejection.  We are celebrating and I am praising God for such wonderful news!  Thank you to everyone who prayed for Nolan in the past months. Please continue to keep in him prayer as he goes through rehab to catch up with his development that was delayed as he lay in a hospital bed for 6 months.  

You can continue to follow his progress through his Facebook page. 

My Favorite Story- Surprise at the End

When I was a small child, my parents divorced. Mom had little money and we lived in a tiny house far out in the country. Across the road was a retired farm where a sweet couple lived. They married rather late in life and were never blessed with any children of their own. She was a retired kindergarten teacher and he kept busy with his small garden and his chores.  

I was about four when the nice neighbor lady came to visit for the first time. It was the week before Christmas and she brought an armload of presents for me and my siblings. I especially remember the red and blue toy snow shovels that were protruding up over her shoulder as she balanced the rest in her arms.  

The visit was the first of many and she eventually invited my mother to a prayer meeting. That night, my mom accepted the Lord and life dramatically changed for us. This couple took us under their wing and adopted us as part of their family. We called them Grandma and Grandpa. In the coming years, we shared holidays, birthdays, and even a few vacations. 

Every year, she would take me shopping for school clothes and a hair cut every year and our day always ended with a meal at a nice restaurant. She thought it was important that I learn table manners and how to eat in a nice place.  I now smile at the memory and I'm in awe of the love she expressed for me. When was the last time I took an 8 year old out for a nice dinner?  

One of my favorite memories is when she took me to purchase a dress for my piano recital. She really liked to shop and we made a day of it. We selected a beautiful dress, my first pair of nylon stockings, new shoes, and a pretty pink rain coat with daisies sewn onto the pocket. After we were finished shopping, I changed into my new dress and she took me to a really fancy place for dinner.  There were candles lit on the table and I was amazed when the waitress brought us our own cutting board with a tiny loaf of fresh, warm bread. I'm fairly sure I ordered my usual meal, a cheeseburger, but the whole experience is burned in my memory.  It was magical.  

I will treasure this couple for the rest of my life.  They are both home with the Lord today and I miss them terribly. However, the seed they sowed into my life will forever remain. They didn't just tell me about Jesus, they showed me. They could have written a check or just dropped off a dress, instead they spent time making me feel important and special.  They showed me love.  

Now, here's the surprise ending I promised. Their names were Fielda and Sherman Hetherley.  I now write under the name J. Heather Leigh in their honor. This is a small token to honor them for the integral role they played in my life.  

A Blessing for YOU

My friend Marci over at Life With Joys is taking part in a FUN exercise to pass blessings on to others. As soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to be a part of this.  

I'm so excited!  The first SIX people that comment on this post will receive a special blessing from me. I'll mail it to you! Don't you love getting MAIL?!?

Here's what you need to do:
1.  Leave me a comment on this post.
2.  Send me an email at JHeatherLeigh@Gmail.com with your full name, address, and five interesting facts about you.

In a week or so, you'll receive a surprise in your mailbox.  I pray it blesses you!

One Word

I read about this great concept called One Word for 2013.  Instead of creating goals and resolutions, you select a single word that sums up something you are learning or your focus during this part of your journey.  One Word is a powerful concept!

It only took me a moment to select my One Word: ABIDE. This past year has been a painful and frightening journey as my baby grandson fought for his very life and eventually received a heart transplant. We walked through the valley of the shadow of death and that's not a place I want to visit again anytime soon.

During this journey, I clung to Jesus like never before.  I wrote many posts about my deeper love and trust in Jesus that developed because of this storm. I don't want to stop clinging just because the clouds have parted.   I don't want to treat my God as though I only require His presence in times of trouble.

My heart's desire is to ABIDE in Jesus. I will abide in Jesus out of love and out of obedience.  ABIDE will be the word that remains in the forefront of my mind.

What's your 2013 ONE WORD ?

Forgetting What is Behind

A new year is upon us and this is a time to pause, reflect, and consider how to improve the coming year. Many people will make resolutions, mostly about dieting, and others will happily leave the former year in the dust. I'm probably part of the latter group because this has been a really difficult year for my family.  After many months of waiting in a hospital, my beautiful grandson received a heart transplant a few weeks ago.  (THANK YOU JESUS!)

Prior to his transplant, we were in a constant state of fear and anxiety, holding on to hope with both fists.  My faith has been tested to the extreme and it has withstood the test. I am still trusting in my God, believing His word, and I know that He is FAITHFUL.

While I want to reflect on the past year, I also want to forget this storm and move forward. Now, more than ever, I want to focus on pressing on toward the goal. I want to please my God! I want to complete all that He's called me to do.

Fellow believers, the time is SHORT! Press on!