NEW BOOK RELEASE!

I am pleased to announce the release of my new novel, The Primrose Papers!  As the second book in my Life Series, it is the sequel to The Rose Journal.  

Cassandra’s angel returns with an even more phenomenal opportunity for her daughter, Annie, in the second book of the Life Series.  The Primrose Papers, an old-fashioned mystery in a modern-day setting, features a plot that bounces back and forth from rural Minnesota to the scenic Cotswolds in England.  Reaquaint yourself with the delightful, Scandinavian Larson family and meet Emma, a young woman who struggles to overcome a disabiity and issues of her past.  This captivating contemporary novel is brimming with romance, humor, tragedy and mystery.  Prepare to let your imagination soar!

“I highly recommend The Primrose Papers to my colleagues and anyone else who enjoys insightful fiction.”  Betty J. McGuire, President/CEO City Life Center

The Primrose Papers should be on everyone’s ‘must read’ list.”  Reverend Thomas Murel, Lifetree Church

At this time, the book may be ordered from my website:  www.lindaruthstai.com  

 

I REMEMBER AMERICA

I Remember America                   September 3, 2015

To my children and grandchildren,

You live in a culture that is so radically different from the one Dad and I grew up in that it could be of a different country. The America we knew as children no longer exists, except in the memories of those who have experienced it.

When we were young, God, the Bible and church goers were viewed with respect by society as a whole. The Bible was held up as the absolute final authority from which came the basis for the laws and moral standards of our country. Often today, faith in God is ridiculed, church-goers simply disregarded as hypocrites and the Bible considered a fable-ridden story book full of inaccuracies.  Although it would seem to me that 100% fulfilled prophecies alone would be enough to assure confidence in the scriptures!

The media reflects and influences the changing culture. When we were young, even the “bad guys” on television seldom swore and condemned criminals generally acknowledged the fact that they would soon “meet their Maker.” In fact, one whole episode on the Dick Van Dyke show was devoted to the problem of his son saying a bad word! We never did hear the word; they always whispered it. Today, it’s difficult to find a modern show where God’s name is not dishonored.

When we were young, sexual images on television and in movies were almost unheard of. The public would have reacted with shock. I’ve read that even changing Ricky’s and Lucy’s single beds to a double one was a major decision, even though they were married.  Of course, sin has been with us from the time of Adam and Eve, but in our day, its practice was generally recognized as shameful, to be hidden from sight. Now sin is often held in honor as an acceptable—sometimes even preferable—lifestyle.

What brought about the cultural change? I believe, as do many students of the God’s Word, that when our society began to lack confidence in the authority of the Bible, people began to trust in human reasonings and unproven scientific theories to decide for themselves what was right and what was wrong.

When we were young, The doctrine of a six-day Creation was mostly taken for granted . . . until about the time I reached high school. For if the theory of evolution is followed to its logical conclusion, sin, death and disease were rampant millions of years before Adam and Eve made their fateful choice to disobey God. If this were true, the salvation story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, which is the basis for the gospel, is pointless.

The world-wide flood of Noah’s day and many proven scientific observations support the six-Day Creation belief of a young earth, although that is beside the point. God’s Word has never been proven false, but science has often changed its beliefs.

All the major Biblical doctrines have their basis in Gen. 1-12. These doctrines also provide answers to the confusion regarding the modern practices of abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia.

I pray for all of us—since we are never too old to be misled—to have discernment so we won’t be swayed by subtle attacks against God’s Word by our secular society.

What a relief it will be to one day reach heaven where we will no longer have to guard ourselves against Satan’s question—the same one he asked Eve—“Did God say?”

  There we can rest in an environment of total Truth, safe forever in Jesus’ arms.

KEY SM14: WHAT IS YOUR ASSIGNMENT?

Do you know what your assignment is?

Gideon didn’t.    “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior” (Judges 6:12b) was the greeting he received from the angel of the Lord.  Gideon belonged to the least of the tribes of Manasseh in Israel and he was the youngest in his father’s house.  He wasn’t involved in fighting a war, just beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from an attack by the  Midianites. Can you imagine him maybe looking around or behind him to see who the “valiant warrior” was?

Gideon saw himself as an unimportant, fearful human being.  But God saw Gideon as the valiant warrior he would become!

The question for me–and you–to ask is not, “How do I see myself?” but instead, “How does God see me?”

Our short time spent in this world is not for the purpose of making ourselves happy–by providing for our own pleasures, comforts and possessions–but rather for the purpose of serving God.  

He has an assignment for each of us to accomplish while we are on Planet Earth.  

So what if God’s chosen assignment does not provide me with all the comforts and conveniences I desire?  What if it doesn’t allow me to enjoy good health?  What if my circumstances don’t match up to my hopeful expectations?  If we belong to God–purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ–God is preparing an eternal home for us with more pleasures than we can begin to imagine, and a perfect body and mind with which to relish those delights forever!  In the meantime, God places us where He wants us to work towards the growth of His Kingdom.  Maybe He is trusting me–or you–with a difficult, challenging assignment here that will yield the richest of eternal rewards when we arrive in Heaven!  What could be better?  

What is your assignment?  Do you know it?  If not, ask God to show you.  

Do you think you can’t handle it?  God told Gideon, “Go in this your strength . . . have I not sent you?”  part of Judges 6:14  

He speaks the same to me and you today.  

BTB KEY #53: MY JOURNEY HOME

As a fitting conclusion to BLOGGING THROUGH THE BIBLE IN 2013 through THE LAND OF ABUNDANT LIFE, I’m sharing a personal story God gave me in 2000, the year before my parents moved to Heaven.  I was staying at their apartment to help care for them, and woke up one morning with this story running through my mind.  I share it partly as a tribute to my parents, but more importantly to honor my Jesus.

MY JOURNEY HOME  . . .  Fifty-0ne years ago, I began my perilous journey to the Celestial City.  The day was bitterly cold, typical for late January in Minnesota.  My dad was at the wheel of our dependable blue Dodge.  My mother tenderly cradled me in her arms and sang lullabies with a voice that rivaled the deep-throated tones of a nightingale.  With my mother at his side, my father capably guided the comfortable vehicle with its precious cargo along the thrilling—though often treacherous—highway of life.  We enjoyed traveling together.  Our ride was pleasant, full of laughter and shared adventures.  The route my dad chose was scenic.  From my secure vantage seat, I observed and pondered all the hills and valleys along the highway of life.

My journey started in a quiet, remote country area dotted with farms.  I remember one particular farm near a little creek where my dad parked our trusty automobile for a time and we fished for sunnies and roamed in the green rolling hills.  When we stayed overnight there, I’d fall asleep cuddled between my parents, listening to the rhythmic chirp of crickets in the near-by woods.  A bevy of kittens entertained me, and a big, furry dog climbed into the back seat with me as we journeyed on.  Later we spent a great deal of time near a gorgeous lake.  My dad built a sturdy rest stop here to house us on our frequent visits.  I loved the lake.  How grateful I was to my parents for letting me spend so much time in the warm, placid waters that enveloped my spirit and made it soar.

Somewhere along the way, my parents taught me how to read a road map and introduced me to the One who constructed our vehicle and all the other vehicles on the road.  He even created the vast highway system.  Not only that, but He also formed the whole spectrum of scenery I viewed day by day, and even more beyond my sight.  My parents told me that this great Master Designer wanted to get to know me personally.  If I would place my life in His hands, He would take care of me.  As I faithfully studied the road map they gave me and talked with Him day and night, He would guide me safely along the road to our destination, the Celestial City of God!

Then they told me a secret.  My dad and mom had turned the controls of our car over to Him and He was in charge of our journey.  Wow!  Now I had a new person to acknowledge in my life . . . the most special Person of all.  I could tell my parents knew Him well, because they said He was Love personified, and they reflected His image onto my life.

I was even more thankful that they had introduced Him to me when the time came for me to take over the wheel myself.  One day at the familiar, cozy lake , they sat me down and told me it was time for me time to journey on alone.  At first, I hesitated.  But after many tears and hugs and repeated instructions, I climbed in at the wheel of my own red Ford and started out.  At first I thought I was alone, but soon a murmur in the back seat cause me to glance with apprehension to see who was there.  I should have known.  It was my friend, Jesus.  I relaxed a little as he took over the navigation, gently advising me when and where to turn.  He pointed out spectacular views I would have missed had He not been with me, and warned me of pitfalls along the way.  Sometimes, I got stubborn and chose to try my own route.  Then I’d end up in a bog of quicksand or a heap of rubble.  Time after time, He patiently came to my aid, hauled me out and set my wheels on firm pavement again.  Little by little, I learned to trust that His way was better than mine.

Often I stopped by to visit my parents, who were contentedly settled by the serene little lake.  At rest stops, I began to pick up others who needed to journey along with me to the City.  We rode and chatted comfortably for  time before I let them off to go their own way.  At one of these stops, God gave me a family to share the ride:  a husband and two precious children . . . a china-doll girl and a teddy-bear boy.  I tucked the children securely in their seat belts in the back of the car and turned over the wheel to my husband.

The day began with clear, blue skies and toasty warm sunshine.  But, about noon, tragedy struck.  An enormous semi came hurling out of nowhere and hit us full force.  My children and I survived, but I lost my husband.

We spent some time in a hospital by the crossroads.  Eventually, I gathered my children in my arms and placed them with me in a rusty, old green Pinto.  We journeyed on alone for a time; I was very tired and worn.   With my vision clouded by tears, I would have lost my way entirely had not Jesus stayed with us.  Sometimes when I got drowsy and began to nod off, Jesus would take the wheel and drive so I could safely rest.  At other times, He’d sit in the back seat between my children, putting His arms around them both, holding them close.

Eventually, I regained some strength and we began to stop for pleasant intervals.  We’d play in the park or take a bike ride to the Dairy Queen for ice cream cones.  We stopped often to see Grandpa and Grandma where we splashed in the sparkling waters of my childhood lake.

A surprise awaited me at one of the rest stops.  A new man joined our little party and took over the wheel.  Contentedly, I moved to the passenger side where I could better focus on my children again.  One day, we noticed a precious baby boy in the back seat, snuggled in between my daughter and son.  We all excitedly welcomed him into our family!  We sang songs and played games.  We moved into a big Ford truck with a camper named “Honeyboose”  and traveled throughout the whole country and beyond.

Life was grand for a time.  Then storm clouds rose on the horizon and hovered close.   The roads became treacherous.  Periods of sunshine were interspersed with the gloom of night.  Life with all of it’s showers and thunderstorms poured down on us.  Pressured by a full gamut of emotions, I vacillated between pinnacles of joy and depths of despair.  Our sturdy truck turned into a fragile vehicle that barely clung to the road.  It threatened to spin into a ditch many times, but Jesus stretched out His arms to prevent disaster and guided it safely back to a steady course.

Somewhere along the way, we traded in the truck for a bus, a huge one that was capable of holding all the special people that wanted to journey with us and Jesus to the Celestial City.

My children grew up.  My daughter fell in love with a dear man who also knew Jesus.  He climbed on first, and was followed by a host of friends.  No matter how full the load got, Jesus continued to guide and lead us onward.

One day when we stopped to visit my parents, they decided to join us.  They were tired and time was making them feeble.  We wrapped our arms around them and cleared a special place for them in our bus, close to me so I could help and comfort them.

I have come a long way on my journey home to the Celestial City of God.  I don’t know how long the road ahead stretches or where it will lead.  But I know Jesus has it mapped out for me.  Maybe I will be the first one of my close-knit group to arrive.  Most likely I will have to drop off some loved ones first.

My daughter and son-in-law now have a vehicle of their own and spend more time traveling alone.   Of course, we always plan to meet at rest stops along the route.  My oldest son took a brief jaunt alone.  He’ll be back on the bus soon, but I’ve noticed him wandering around at show rooms, looking over the new model cars.   I hope he’ll always stay close.

My youngest son is still comfortable in his seat by the window on our bus, but he gets off to stretch his legs more and I know he will soon want to shop for a vehicle of his own.

My parents haven’t confided in me yet, but I sense they expect to arrive at the celestial city ahead of me.  My father promised to help God build my mansion, and my mother said she’d save me a seat in the heavenly choir.

My husband and I expect to continue on our journey together, though I know there’s a chance I will have to drop him off at the gates of the City and continue on, driving solo as the end of the road nears.  I would miss him terribly, but I’ll never be alone.  Jesus promised that He will never leave me nor forsake me, and He always keeps His promises.

We have made plans, my family and friends and me.  Whoever gets to the City first will be watching for the others.  One radiant morning, we will all park our vehicles at the Eastern Gate and stroll together with Jesus along the golden pavement to the wedding feast, the glorious feast of the Lamb.

EPILOG:  Fourteen years after writing “My Journey Home,” I happily report that our family caravan has added two sweet daughter-in-laws and three treasured grandchildren . . . two life-loving boys and a beautiful baby girl.   My parents now reside in Heaven with Jesus and I look forward to the timeless Time when we will all happily live together . . . forever.

copyright 2014 Linda Ruth Stai, author and inspiration speaker.  All rights reserved.

 

BTB KEY #52: The Key to Hope is Home (5th Key to Spiritual Sanity)

Images . . . my mother and I sitting at my father’s feet, where Daddy reposed in his favorite chair.   Our hands entwined as my dad assured us that when he left this world, God would take care of us.  He was in his nineties, my mom in her eighties.  I knew it was likely that they would go to heaven before me, but I couldn’t imagine a world without them.  Now they are in heaven, waiting for me.  And I am still in this world.

. . . as a little girl, falling asleep in the car returning home late at night with my mother and father.  Instead of waking me, my daddy gently picked me up and carried me in his strong arms into the house.  I’d wake up in the morning in my own bed.  Sometimes when I was still awake, yet very tired, I’d pretend to be asleep so Daddy would carry me in.  I’ve heard–somewhere–a similar comparison used to explain the death of believers in Jesus.  One day I’ll close my eyes and when I open them I’ll see Jesus’ face.  And the faces of my mother and father and other loved ones who have gone on ahead.  And then I’ll get hugs–wow!  A hug from Jesus is what I’m craving!  And the new home that God is making ready for me will be more fantastic than anything I could have envisioned during my stay here on earth!

. . . tucking my four-year-old daughter into bed, wondering how to respond to her question, “Mommy, can I bring my teddy bear with me to heaven?”   But before I could answer,  she added thoughtfully, ” . . . that is, if I don’t drop him.”  When we get to heaven, the “teddy bears” we cling to so earnestly in this world will seem as dust compared to the glory of our new, eternal home.  My husband just pointed out to me that a diamond is not even included in the list of precious stones that make up the foundation of the heavenly city.  A gem we value so highly here on earth may not even be regarded as valuable in heaven!

5th Key to Spiritual Sanity:   “The Key to Hope is Home.”

Yes, one day, I will move on!  At present, I want to stay here in my earthly home so I can be available to support and encourage my husband, children and grandchildren.  To be used wherever God sees fit.  But my move is a definite reality.  I look forward to it . . . prepare for it . . . and cling to the Hope it gives me.  One day I will go Home.

Where do you live?  If you are a believer in Christ, your spirit now resides with me . . . in the heavenly places.  “our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places with Christ.”  Ephesians 1:3    In the words of an old hymm: “This world is not my home, I’m only passing through.”   My citizenship is already guaranteed in heaven.  “For our citizenship is in heaven . . . ”  Philippians 3:20   And my reservation is — Paid in Full by Jesus Christ.

This is our Hope . . . the certainty of Jesus’ return to take us to the special Home in Heaven that He is preparing for us  (John 14:2-3).  No matter what we face in this world, no matter the means of our death, no matter the sorrow of grief, we can look forward to the Reality of our heavenly Hope where “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes . . . there shall no longer be any mourning or crying or pain . . . ”  Revelation 21:4  No more bad days or good days.  Every minute of every “normal day” in Eternity will be filled with Joy!   

. . . Come, Lord Jesus.”  Revelation 22:20b

As 2014 begins, I urge you—challenge you—to read the Bible  (God’s personal Love Letter to YOU) every single day.  Remember Job?  The godly man who lost everything precious to him and stayed faithful to God?  Job said, ” . . . I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”  Job 23:12   I have decided that the daily reading of God’s Word is not an option for me.  It is necessary for the health of my soul . . . just as food is necessary for my body.  It is not important to follow a reading schedule that others–even me :)—are using; it is important to feed your mind daily with the scriptures, however God leads you personally.

Father God, all I can say today is “Thank You.”  And even those words fail miserably to express my feelings of gratitude for Your amazing sacrificial love for this one soul You created.  I long to be Home with You. May all who read this blog find their Hope and Peace in You and join us there. 

I promised you a special writing this week, but I am going to “pull an Esther.”  I couldn’t bring myself to close out our Blogging Through The Bible in 2013 without the above comments, so I will entice you (hopefully!) with one more weekly blog, to appear next Wednesday, entitled “My Journey Home.”  This story was given to me the year before my parents’ deaths and is written in the form of an allegory that fits in perfectly with the theme of my blog, “The Land of Abundant Life.”  So please check in again next week for the conclusion of this series.

In 2014, I expect to blog about once a month to have more time to give to editing my second novel, “Primrose Papers,” which I am very excited about!   So—I’ll be in touch—have a Happy New Year!!!

copyright 2013, Linda Ruth Stai, author and inspirational speaker.  All rights reserved.

SCRIPTURE READING FOR PAST WEEK:  Hebrews 10:19-13:25, 1,2,&3 John, Revelation

SCRIPTURE READING FOR NEXT WEEK:  Start over again reading through the most amazing book of all time . . . God’s personal Letter to You!