All posts by Linda Winn

About Linda Winn

The Writer...In the fourth grade when I first learned those squiggly lines of cursive actually meant something, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Naturally, I got busy deciphering the cursive code and writing my first novel. Sadly, that story is lost in time. In the fifth grade, Miss Mae Shelton at Washington Elementary School in Kingsport, Tennessee asked my class, “Who has a vocabulary?” I sat stunned that I didn’t even know what a vocabulary was, so I slowly turned around to see if any hands went up. None. Whew! I wasn’t alone. From that moment on, I wanted a vocabulary, whatever it was, of my very own. Years later, after a B.S. from Tennessee Tech, an M.A.T. from Winthrop University in South Carolina, plus 15 post-master’s hours, and a Professional Rating from the Professional Tennis Registry, I became a tennis analyst and writer for a professional tennis journal and other tennis magazines. From there, God placed a series of people in my life to lead me from serving on the tennis court to service in The King’s court. Since then I’ve written 200+ columns for The Intercessor, some of which are posted on my blog, Light’s On. My first book, Happy Tails, was published by Thomas Nelson in 2008. After a three-year hiatus due to a series of tragic family events, I'm back full force writing for Light's On, co-teaching the sanctuary class at my church, and working on my next book. I stay busy coordinating “Food for Thought,” a program I founded to provide weekly groceries for the families of backpack kids in our neighborhood elementary school. And, I continue to write, play golf, fly fish, photograph area lakes and rivers from my kayak, play with my dogs, work in my gardens, and enjoy God’s presence in the process.

Perils and Pearls

PERILS

As believers, we are all on the road to glory: a road that is littered with perils.

Jesus called the perils we face troubles or trials when He promised, “In this world you will have troubles. But take heart. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Perils, troubles, trials, whatever you want to call them, are the devil’s playground. In Mama’s case they included some bad “caregivers” who just sat and watched TV, who were just pulling a paycheck or looking for something of value to steal; and those who, when asked to help out, chose to walk out instead.

Perils, troubles, and trials also come in the form of good people, sometimes professional people, who are simply having a bad day or not having a full understanding of the situation and all it entails. For instance, they didn’t know how to deal with Mama’s blindness. As a result, Mama lost 16 pounds in assisted living when no one fed her or put her breakfast or lunch within her reach or told her where it was; and in the nursing home, she became dehydrated because no one handed her a glass of water or told her where it was knowing that eight 8 ounce glasses of liquid is a daily living requirement.

PEARLS

Thankfully, the road to glory is also sprinkled with pearls of God’s wisdom, mercy, and grace. Pearls are spiritual truths that are available to those who ask for them.

Our all-knowing God knew all that we would face, and in His wisdom, He was the only One Who could guide us safely through the maze of eldercare.

God illustrated His mercy toward me so that when I made mistakes or didn’t think to ask for His help, the results were more humorous than disastrous.

And He extended His grace to me, His unmerited and undeserved favor, when He covered me with His calm assurance that in His strength appropriated to me, I would be able to handle whatever came our way because He was always present.

To see how God led the way in the many battles we faced, click the link below for your copy of The Road to Glory: Walking Mama Home.

Did you know?

Did you know that more than 1 in 5 adults — a total of 53 million adult Americans — are now unpaid family caregivers? 

Did you know that boomers, ages 55 to 75, who were once taking care of friends and loved ones are now the ones needing care?

Did you know that their children (Generation X-ers) and grandchildren (Millennials) are now stepping into the role of caregiver?

(The above information is from National Alliance for Caregiving).

So, what does it take to be a good caregiver?

First of all, to be a good caregiver we must care. That means we must be vigilant intercessors for our loved ones just like they were for us when we were growing up. That means putting their needs before our own, doing everything we can to keep them comfortable and safe, and loving them patiently through this challenging time in their lives.

What does that look like? Here’s a short list of things we can do.

  • As they downsize their lives, help them navigate and adjust to a variety of living conditions while always keeping their safety and comfort in mind.
  • Act as a buffer to protect and defend them at all times; even when dealing with healthcare professionals.
  • Keep a list of their medicines and make sure they follow your loved one through all levels of care.
  • Make sure your loved one stays hydrated. Eight, 8-ounce glasses of liquid daily.
  • Keep all snacks in sealed containers to avoid an army of ants.
  • If they are bed-ridden, inspect their bed to make sure they aren’t lying on sharp objects and help them adjust their position to be more comfortable.
  • Make sure they have on clean bedclothes at all times.

When Jesus told Peter, “Take care of my sheep” (John 21:16), Peter passed that message along to us. He wrote, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be…eager to serve” (1 Peter 5:2).

For more information on what it looks like to be a vigilant intercessor, read The Road to Glory: Walking Mama Home available on Amazon.

The Road to Glory Joins Happy Tails

Happy Tails is all about the rescue, restoration, and adoption of Mac and Bo into our family and their forever home the same way God rescues, restores, and adopts us into His family and our eternal home.

The Road to Glory is all about the rescue of Mama from helplessness and hopelessness, restoring her to feelings of contentment, and walking her safely through the trials of eldercare to her eternal home.

In both books, you’ll laugh, cry, and celebrate their triumphant journeys through their time here on earth.

Both are available on Amazon.

After the Votes Are Counted

 

trump-and-hillary

Did you know that it was God who ordained government? Romans 13:1 says, “… there is no authority except that which God has established.”

Sometimes we don’t understand His thinking; and sometimes we just plain don’t agree with His choice of leaders, so we must remind ourselves that even in the tough times God is still sovereign over all.

Whether this election goes your way or not, let’s remember that…
God is still in control.
Jesus is still His Son.
The Holy Spirit still comforts.
The Bible is still true.
Heaven still awaits all believers.

And, even though…
We still have flaws;
We still fall short of God’s glory;
We still need forgiveness, and
We still need a savior…

We can rest assured that God still loves us and patiently waits for us to come to Him so He can shower us with His love, grace, and mercy. When we do, He will show us how to extend His love to others…regardless of how they voted.

After the Votes Are Counted

trump-and-hillary

Did you know that it was God who ordained government? Romans 13:1 says, “… there is no authority except that which God has established.”

Sometimes we don’t understand His thinking; and sometimes we just plain don’t agree with His choice of leaders, so we must remind ourselves that even in the tough times God is still sovereign over all.

Whether this election goes our way or not, let’s remember that…

God is still in control.
Jesus is still His Son.
The Holy Spirit still comforts.
The Bible is still true.
Heaven still awaits all believers.

And, even though…
We still have flaws;
We still fall short of God’s glory;
We still need forgiveness, and
We still need a Savior…

We can rest assured that God still loves us and patiently waits for us to come to Him so He can shower us with His love, grace, and mercy. When we do, He will show us how to extend His love to others…regardless of how they voted.

The Wisdom of the Election Process

Voted

“Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 1:20.

The election process has turned into one big fat mess. I first noticed something was slightly awry when I voted in the primary.

The “how to make my selections electronically” were explained to me before entering the voting booth. But once in there, I realized that I had to vote for delegates for my candidate–people I’d never heard of–and out of the gazillion delegates listed, I could only vote for 19 of them. What??? If I were voting for one candidate wouldn’t I want him or her to get all the delegates?

That just didn’t seem right to me. Now both parties are up in arms over the delegate count. Who gets what and how many, and how you can win the popular vote and lose the state. None of it makes sense when you consider that whoever designed that process also added into the rules that if the party doesn’t like the candidate who wins the popular vote they can change the rules at the last minute. What???

Foolish me for thinking that each of us has one vote for one candidate, and that one vote added to other like votes would go to one person. But that’s not how it works. We vote for delegates. I wonder why they don’t call it the delegate election. Hmmm. But then again, maybe they will since they can change the rules to suit themselves.

God has indeed made foolish the wisdom of the election process.

Is Christianity Making a Come Back?

Ash Wednesday

Have you noticed that politicians have finally tuned in to the rising up of the not-so-silent majority? 

In an effort to capture our votes, politicians are suddenly professing their faith in Jesus Christ; calling for a return to decency and doing what’s right instead of what’s politically correct; and most amazing of all, political pundits and some politicians themselves actually sported cross-shaped ashes on their foreheads on national TV Ash Wednesday.

Why is that significant? In a day when Christianity has been pushed off the public stage, ashes on the forehead make the bold statement to the world, “I belong to Christ, and I am not ashamed.”

It symbolizes that we were created from dust by Him and to dust we shall return… on His time schedule. So ashes on the forehead remind us of our mortality and encourage us to turn from our sins before we face our Creator on our own personal day of judgment.

Of course I didn’t understand all that spiritual significance when I was growing up. We didn’t have the Ash Wednesday ritual in my church. Or, if we did, I was unaware of it. But, like many teenagers I wasn’t aware of a lot of things.

So I was shocked when our teacher, Miss Phlegar, strutted into our sophomore English class at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tennessee sporting a sharp-pointed cross on her forehead that looked like it had been applied with a thick black magic marker. There was nothing subtle about it; but there was nothing subtle about Miss Phlegar either.

She was a joyful soul with twinkling eyes, a mischievous grin that made me wonder why she was so happy all the time, and a short perky haircut with turned up ends that always reminded me of what a teenage water buffalo must look like. She elevated her short, stout figure with thick three-inch high heels in which she strolled in front of the class as if amused by her authority. Miss Phlegar seemed to know who she was and whose she was. And, she was happy about it and behaved accordingly.

Not so today’s politicians. Their walk doesn’t quite match their talk. They engage in shouts, obscenities, and name-calling that violate the new covenant of love, grace, and mercy…but don’t we too on occasion.

It’s hard to tell if Christianity really is making a come back because we are all sinners still misbehaving, seeking forgiveness, and thankful we are saved by grace alone.

So while the vote is still out, I only hope. But God only knows.

Poor in Spirit

Poor in spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

As a kingdom dweller, do you know what it means to be “poor in spirit?”

When I read The Beatitudes in Matthew 5 again, the questions I’ve had about “poor in spirit” came to the forefront. Perhaps you’ve harbored the same questions.

How can I be “poor” when I have access to all the glorious riches in heaven? How can I be “poor in spirit” when I have the Holy Spirit living in me? And how can I possibly be blessed if I’m poor in spirit? Much studying required.

Since this first beatitude is the bedrock of all others, we need to understand it. Jesus’ disciples did too. So as crowds gathered, Jesus took them aside to give them an outline of what being His disciples would look like; but first, He had to revolutionize their thinking because their message would change the world.

Over the years the Jews had showcased their status as God’s chosen people. They stuck to the Law–even added a few of their own–and paraded their prophets with puffed up pride, but in the process they became legalistic and withdrawn trying to save their faith for themselves. But that’s not what God intended.

In these first teachings, Jesus explained to His disciples that God’s people were not to be concerned with their outward appearance but with an inward transformation that would enable them to show God’s love, mercy, and grace to a fallen world. He was preparing them–and us–to be part of His kingdom. Thus The Beatitudes–or as some call them, “The Blesseds.”

To be “poor in spirit” means we recognize that without God we are lost, hopeless, and destitute: sinners saved by grace alone.

It means that we are to live our lives as He lived His–in the world but not part of it. But as we fight our earthly battles, we often fall under the influence of the prince of the air, while Jesus lived above the fray. He followed a different plan.

Even though Jesus was a human being filled with the same Holy Spirit who indwells us, He said only what His Father told Him to say and did only what His Father told Him to do.

When we compare our indwelt lives with His, along with all the I-me-my words we speak and all the things we do for ourselves instead of others, we discover that we are indeed “poor in spirit.” Spiritually in poverty.

Can we be blessed knowing that we’ve failed miserably as His disciples? Yes.

Blessed goes beyond happy. It means having an inner joy–the unexplainable peace that resides within that sometimes bubbles over and splatters on others. It’s the “I’m lapping from the saucer ‘cause my cup is running over” kind of joy that draws others to Him. We have that joy because we know that Jesus loves us in spite of ourselves.

Jesus knows that you and I will always fall short of His glory while we are here in this fallen world. We’ll never measure up to His standard on this side of eternity. That’s why He said we are “poor” in spirit. But at least we are His, created in His image to walk in His Spirit and do good works for Him.

As we recognize our need for God and look to Him–instead of others–as our standard for how we measure up, we understand that we are indeed blessed to be poor in spirit; and we look forward to the kingdom of heaven.

A New Strategy for a New Year

happy-new-year-2016

Have you ever lost heart, or your motivation, or your sense of purpose? I have. I’m there now. I feel like I’m just going through the motions.

As I walked Jethro, I said, “Lord, I know You’re with me. You live in my heart; but I just don’t feel Your presence.”

I really said that.

Then I started reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. From prison in Rome, Paul wrote to encourage the church not to lose heart. From prison!

If anyone had reason to lose heart, it was Paul. But he didn’t. Instead he chose to pray for us. As a result of his prayer, I sensed a new strategy forming for the new year–a strategy to seek God’s point of view more frequently so I can understand the bigger picture; and a strategy to ask Him for a fresh and more frequent infusion of His power, from His Spirit to mine, so I can come closer to accomplishing His will for my life.

Then it occurred to me. That’s a new year’s resolution I can keep. All I have to do is seek and ask. God will have to do the work. Happy New Year to me!

And Happy New Year to you, too.

May God crown your year with an infusion of His strength and goodness.

God’s Divine Plan

heavenlyhost

Have you ever wondered about God’s divine plan for your life?

This year as I re-read the Christmas story, I was struck by the way God confirmed His will for Mary’s life — that she was indeed pregnant with His Son — and how He continually reminded her that Jesus is His Son.

Through Gabriel, Elizabeth, the shepherds, Simeon, and Jesus Himself, God gave Mary many moments that caused her to think back, to ponder, treasure and marvel at how her son was God’s Son — the One Who would bring salvation to the world.

Gabriel revealed God’s plan
What a mind-boggling moment that must have been for Mary when the angel Gabriel appeared to tell her about God’s plan for her life. She was chosen to give birth to the “Son of the Most High.”

Her reply? She simply asked, “How will this be since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34).

Gabriel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God,” (Luke 1:35).

Now, if somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind you are still harboring some doubt about the virgin birth, this account was written by a scholarly physician named Luke, who knew full well how babies are made. Then he researched the event to provide an orderly account for you.

If a residue of doubt still remains, consider the explanation that Gabriel gave to Mary.

“Nothing is impossible with God,” (Luke 1: 37).

And if you yourself have experienced the Holy Spirit of God coming alive in your life, you know full well that nothing is impossible with God.

So, from Mary’s humble and devout faith she replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said,” (Luke 1:38).

Elizabeth confirmed Mary’s pregnancy
When Mary went to see her much older cousin Elizabeth, who was also experiencing a miracle pregnancy, she was greeted with a blessing.

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:42-45).

Shepherds confirmed Jesus’ birth
After Jesus’ birth, shepherds hurried to town to find Jesus. They told Mary and Joseph how angels had flooded the night sky with the light of revelation that the Son of God had come to all people.

Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,” while the shepherds returned to their flocks praising God all along the way (Luke 2:18-20).

Simeon confirmed Jesus as the Lord’s Christ
Thirty three days after His birth, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to consecrate Him to the Lord.

Moved by the Holy Spirit, Simeon– a righteous and devout man filled with the Holy Spirit– waited in the temple courts, because God had promised him that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Christ.

When Mary and Joseph brought Him in, Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God saying, “My eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel,” (Luke 2:30-32).

Mary and Joseph marveled at what Simeon said.

Jesus confirmed God as His Father
Twelve years later God continued to send Mary and Joseph reminders that HE was the Father of Jesus. After the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph were on their way back to their hometown of Nazareth when they realized that Jesus was not with them. They backtracked to Jerusalem and found Him in the temple courts sitting among the teachers who were amazed by His understanding.

Mary and Joseph were astonished too, but Jesus simply said, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).

Although Mary didn’t understand at the time, she “treasured all these things in her heart,” Luke 2:51).

This season as you re-read the Christmas story, I hope you’ll take time to ponder, marvel, and treasure all that the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, means to you personally. And as God continues to search your heart for a willingness to accomplish His divine plan for your life, may you respond in humble faith as Mary did.

“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said.”