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This is a busy day for me. Just got home from have a blood test done, and later today I am off to PT.
I thought the busyness of the holidays would go away, but I guess there is no rest for the wicked
I promised you that I would be starting a new formatt today. What I will be doing, is sharing excerpts from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.
Each post I will share another excerpt. Keep coming back to read the excerpts. Better yet….
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I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
One of the most exciting things that can happen in your life is to have a close encounter with God. Moses had several. A burning bush started talking to him; he went to Mt. Sinai where God gave him the Ten Commandments. He raised his staff during a fierce battle to help fight off the enemy. Moses and the Israelites received manna directly from God.
Elijah had a close encounter with God when ravens brought him food while he was in the wilderness at God’s direction. Daniel met some lions that the bad guys thought would eat him. Instead God calmed the lions—and they became pets for Daniel. Everyone that met Jesus had a close encounter.
God showed His love through many close encounters in the Bible, and He can do it for you today. You may have already had a close encounter without realizing it ever happened. Did you ever turn a corner you hadn’t planned to turn and seen an old friend who would have missed otherwise? Have you ever happened on the scene of a horrible accident you would have been involved in had you been there just a second sooner? During a lightning storm, were you ever close to a strike that hit the ground? Have you ever felt alone and abandoned and cried out to God for help and then felt a real peace that you have never felt before?
You may have encountered some of these situations, or others. God is watching over you every day. He wants to protect you. He has a plan for you and me. If danger is near, He may choose to spare your life because He has a path He wants you to take to help others to know Him better.
I went through some tough times because I felt lost after I retired from teaching. I had no purpose. I tried being a salesman at several places, and even tried to run my own business as a salesman. I failed at all of them. I went into the lowest spot in my life and was ready to end my life. God saved me on March 31, 2001, after I cried out, “God I can’t take anymore of this!” I felt calmness in my heart and even the air around me seemed to cool. It was as if God were saying, “It is about time you came back to Me. I have been waiting for you to return. Let Me carry you the rest of the way.”
From that day on I kept praying to God to tell me why He had saved my life. It didn’t take Him long to point to a technical book I had been tinkering with for a few months. It was a book written for people who worked in the cash flow business that gave ideas on how to be a better salesman. Can you believe I was trying to write a book on that? Sure failure was lurking at my door—again!
I had failed at being a salesman, but God kept prompting me to look at the cash flow book very hard again. What was He trying to tell me?
Why did I keep getting the book-in-progress out? Then God finally woke me up. He wanted me to write about my own experiences with depression and share the love of God with others. As I looked at the manuscript I was working on, the titles fit perfectly into a book of encouraging others. I had been using phrases I had seen on bumper stickers to start each chapter.
One sticker said, “Need Directions?” Another said, “My way is the highway.” Still another said, “Don’t believe everything you think.”
I had intended them to be chapter titles for teaching selling. As I looked at them, I saw what God wanted.
“Need directions?” was actually God telling us to read the Bible.
“My way is the highway” was God saying that we need to choose the right path that leads us to heaven.
“Don’t believe everything you think” was telling me that Satan can plant garbage in our minds to cause us to drift away from God.
The rest is history. I immediately dove into to writing this book. I was excited the day I started back in 2001, and I am still excited today. I started out writing a book about selling and ended up writing about getting eternal life for free. I had finally found something I could help give away free. No down payment. No monthly installments. No interest rates. Just accept the Lord into your heart and you have a free trip to heaven with its entire splendor.
As I worked on this preface, I searched my computer for the chapter titles I had used for the cash flow book to show how they had been transformed. I came across a statement on the very page I was looking at and saw something I had never seen before. I know I hadn’t typed it because it was in a different color ink. I never use any color but black in my work.
As I read it, I was sure God wanted me to read it. It said: “I love this! Let’s keep going! No catches. Just the peace in knowing that you are able to share God’s love and works to all those you have contact with, and even bless someone you don’t.”
That is exactly how it was typed. I didn’t correct any wording, or add any words to make it look more dramatic for you. It wasn’t sent to anyone but me. It was at the top of the page I was searching for. God may have placed it there way back when I first changed my direction, but I missed it then. But I found it, and it only confirms why I spent the last seven years toiling to get to the final outcome.
God’s timing is amazing.
I had my own special close encounter with God, and He has been my refuge ever since.
This book hopefully leads you to have a close encounter with God. You may have chosen this book because it deals with the hurts in your life as well as other “afflictions” we all face. They can be crippling, and even deadly. I lived with depression, self-doubt, anxiety, hopelessness and fear of failure for many years until I turned back to God and found help through a doctor who determined I also had a chemical imbalance. Now through a close encounter with God and the right medication I am able to cope and have a productive life.
My original working title, Close Encounters of the Heavenly Kind, comes from a favorite movie of mine, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is about a man who has visions in his head and can’t understand what is happening. So he goes on a search to find out. That is what people with the many closed walls around them are going through. They are sad, and they can’t cope. They do not know why they are that way. They, too, are searching for answers.
As the book progressed, I wanted a more “hopeful” title for it. And since it is based on sayings and signs I’ve seen and the fact I wanted the book to provide the same hope for others as I have found, I was easily persuaded that the title Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World might be a better fit. You will still find several allusions to “close encounters” throughout the book and I wanted you to know the how and why I use that term so often.
The bumper sticker idea came from my hobby of collecting them for many years. I looked at them again years later, and realized they had some meaning, and I started writing about everyday connections to them.
That is my story (so far) and I am stickin’ to it! I hope that through this book, you will also begin searching for some meaning to become stronger, and choose a path that leads you to a closer relationship with God.
Let the adventure begin.
I shared the preface to start with to give you a feel of what is ahead from you as you travel with me through the book.
Have you had those kind of days when you are not sure what is coming at you? You certainly are not alone.
Lean on God for help like I did. He brought me out of the muck and more, and today I am very excited for what life might have in store for me.
You are never alone.
You are never forsaken.
You are never unloved.
And above all…never, ever, give up!