Even so! – guest post

My guest post for this month is from Mary Jackson and http://byuncommonmeans.wordpress.com/

Watch and Pray!  These words are permeating my spirit!  Watch and Pray!  My heart is heavy with this Word – Watch.  And. Pray!  Like the disciples, the church, I fear is not watching or praying, but is lulled into a deep stupor of apathy.  Oh Body of Christ awake. Awake. AWAKE!!  Be watchful, be in prayer.  We ARE in the last days.   Do you hear the earth groaning, do you see its pain?  Why do you sleep?  Oh believer, awake yourself! Bride of Christ do you love your Bridegroom?  Does your heart beat with His?  For too long we have enjoyed the benefits of  engagement to our King while we have thrown our minds and bodies to the ravaging distractions of the world.  Did our Bridegroom not warn us, did He not say it would be so? Yet here we are.  We find ourselves complacent, unprepared, uninvolved, and unconcerned.   He IS coming and soon it will be.  He showed us the signs, why then do we ignore them?  How can we be so cavalier and disdainful to our Bridegroom?  The darkness of the world is overtaking us because our Oil is depleted and we have failed to keep our wicks trimmed.  Our lights barely flicker or have gone out altogether.   He left instructions, why have we carelessly rebelled against them?  We boast we belong to Him, yet we pray that He tarries so we can fulfill the desires of our imaginations.  Why do we not call for the Lover of our souls to come and take us into the bridal chambers of His eternal Kingdom?  Why are we unaroused at the thought of spending eternity with The King?   To His bride He says, “Watch and Pray.”  O Lover of my soul, make my heart beat one with Yours.  May my heart be set aflame with an undeniable passion for You.  I cry out for my Beloved, “Please  come, do not wait, do not tarry!  Help my heart to respond to Your message of Love with passion, and to Your message of Hope with a willingness to be restored.  My heart sings, “Amazing Love, You are my King!”  O Lord Jesus, we long for eternity WITH You, to see YOU face to face, to be held in Your eternal embrace.  This world is not our home, bring me to Yours.  Even so, Lord Jesus come!!

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Interview with Jim Laudell, author of Highpoints

Thanks to a great blogger and my friend, Josh Hood. In a recent interview he asked some pertinent questions about the book, Highpoints. Here is the interview in its entirety.

My friend Jim Laudell just released his new book, Highpoints.

I recently interviewed him about the book and the difficulties of climbing:

JOSH: What inspired you to write Highpoints? JIM: While hiking and praying in Breckenridge, Colorado the challenge of climbing compared to spiritual growth was birthed in my heart. I began collecting artivcles, reading news stories and discovering scriptures bringing the subject of the book more fitly framed in my mind. I love a challenge. I love mountains. I want to grow closer to God. those three desires moved me to write Highpoints.

JOSH: Most people “live low on the mountain” and never reach the highpoints; why is that? JIM: Comfort, complacency and contentment steal greater heights from each one of us. We plan but never purpose in our heart to begin to climb. Once we make up our mind we want to go higher, pray about it then purpose in our hearts, that is when spiritual growth takes part in our life. People who never climb will never know the heights of living for God in joy. In the book Highpoints, I wrote, Once you have climbed the first mountain of His grace and glory, you will aspire to climb another and another. Once you have tasted of the best that God offers – you will never be satisfied to “live low on the mountain”

JOSH: You talk in the book about how the higher we climb, the more uncomfortable it can get. How can we overcome this? JIM: The higher you go, the thrill of reaching the top, superscedes the desire for the weightier “past loves” of life. In Highpoints we wrote, “The zest of life is found when we totally and unconditionally surrender to His divine leadership and direction,” the higher we go the less important everything else becomes.

JOSH: What’s the biggest takeaway you want people to have after reading the book? JIM: Yearning for His presence is the key to change. We can’t always change our circumstances, but we can change ourselves within our circumstances. Yearning means to be deeply affected with passion, to passionately seek for the presence of God and to bring His glory upon us. God delights to dwell within us and to come upon us. to lead us to higher places in His presence.

Go directly to Josh Hood’s blog site here:  http://joshuamhood.com/interview-with-jim-laudell-author-of-highpoints/

Change Your Marriage This Week

I want a better marriage! The stone faced couple sat in front of me with tear filled eyes. They were hurt and wounded but lacked the wisdom to turn their marriage around. “Do you have a checkbook?” After they answered, taking the checkbook I explained, taking withdrawals without deposits would soon cost them more, with bank charges, then they originally had. Do you wish to have the marriage you had when you first married? They both answered an emphatic , “Yes!”

The reason for our “first love” immensity is the amount of deposits we put into the love scenario. The more you put into the marriage – the more you are able to withdrawal. Both had been taking out of the marriage without any deposits into the marriage.

Maybe you find yourself in this same predicament. You see the both of you taking out of the marriage but not putting anything back. Here are a few deposits you must put into the marriage “checking account” today.

Compliment Giving your spouse a genuine and sincere complement is like filling up the gas tank – you can go a long ways on one compliment. Giving a heartfelt, “Wow! that was a great dinner.” “Wow! you sure look great today.” “Wow! you are the best ever.” The “wow!” compliments can change a marriage from bad to good or from good to great in a matter of days but don’t give and expect a “wow!” back. Simply give the compliment without an expected return of a compliment.

Care Giving a few simply “love pats” throughout the day lets your spouse know you acknowledge their presence. These touches should accumulate approximately seven a day to sufficiently express your thoughts and actions towards your spouse. “Love pats” can be a soft shoulder rub, a hug, a kiss on the check, holding their hand or a pat on the shoulder or back. Theses are nonsexual and not to be considered as an advance but simply a “love pat” of acknowledgement and love.

Considerate Ask honest and open-ended questions about their day, or how they feel or what’s on their mind and get ready to listen. Listening is the lost art of love in many marriages. Focus your eyes, attention and heart on the one speaking. Show concern and be considerate. Husbands, you are not fixing the problem (my greatest fault) but you are simply listening and being considerate of their “bad day” experiences. You are feeling for them not fixing them.

Combine Work together. Worship together. Have fun together. Work in the yard together. Clean house together. Wash dishes together. Go on a walk together. Date, of course, together. Go to a coffee shop together. Go on a drive through the country together. Plan your vacation together. You get the picture – combine your efforts into one goal.

Call Whether you are on a business trip or working in your office – send your spouse a text message or call just to say, “I love you.” Write a note and leave it for him/her when they open their lunch sack. Throughout the day let your spouse know you are thinking of them.

Complete God is the glue of the marriage and prayer is the application of the glue. To complete a marriage you must pray together. I pray, “Help me, Lord, to be the kind of husband you would be proud of.” My wife prays, “Help me, Lord, be the kind of wife you would be proud of.” We ask each other to forgive us for words, thoughts or actions that are creating friction rather than a loving environment. we pray together, “Lord, bless our marriage as an inspiration to others.”

Comment: What are some deposits you make in your marriage that would be helpful to others?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

Highpoints Book Delivery

When your printed book is delivered – what steps do you take? Have a plan before things get blurry. The process is easy as one, two, three – if you simply plan ahead. Between the time the book is determined published and the print date can be a week or two or three apart, depending on the printer. Once the book preview copy has been confirmed by the author, then the book is declared live.  Live means the book is now available online through the vendors and assorted book houses. though ordering may take place immediately – the book is not shipped till the printing takes place. Personally, my copies of Highpoints  arrived late Wednesday afternoon for my own distribution among local friends, family and business acquaintances plus, to be available for my personal speaking engagements.

For those who ordered a book online a week or two ago, this seems like a long wait but they should receive their copy this week also. One couple from Canada emailed and said they had ordered five copies for their cell group. Another couple in South Carolina has ordered five copies for their Bible Study group. delivery of these purchases should be very soon.

How does the process work?

Preview Copy The author receives a preview copy to approve the print for smudges, color disfiguration, etc. Even though theses errors are rare it is a good idea to examine the cover front and back for blemishes. When the book came in the mail, I tore open the package, held the book, and cried, “Thank you, Jesus.” I let my wife examine the copy then I sent in a release form allowing the book to go to print.

Orders We were seeing online orders through the publisher. Which sends out a quarterly report and royalty check (woohoo!). But, we also, took orders through our website. I did an email campaign and handpicked friends to be on the Launch Team – they emailed their order back to me.

Printing Although printing can be 7 to 10 days, depending on the work load of the printer, the wait seems forever. I was pleasantly pleased to receive notice that my books had been shipped sooner than I had expected.

Delivery When I handle the orders for family, friends and business acquaintances in the area  I personally like to hand deliver it and thank them personally for having confidence in me as an author. I now this can take a lot of time out of a writers week but the relationships solidified during this time is immeasurable.

Autographs If they ask for an autograph they will receive an autograph otherwise, it is absent from the book cover. The only difference I make is when giving a book to my family or a close friend then I will write a small note with the autograph.

Complimentary Copies Though you are tempted to sell every book you can there will be a occassion when a complimentary book may go farther than you have dreamed. Passing a complimentary copy to a known speaker or writer may develop into a “down the road” relationship. Those who endorsed the book will receive complimentary copies with a thank you note.

Speaking Engagements If per chance you have the opportunity to speak to the public, take the first three minutes and speak of something directly related to the book. A paragraph, read a quote or endorsement, and have the book available at the close of the scheduled event.

Comment: What would you add?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

A Hollow Victory

Bill and Bob had been best friends for years until they discovered their drastic differences concerning a teenager who had taken out Bill’s mailbox with a speedy exit out of his driveway across the street. The neighbor’s offered to pay for Bill’s mailbox and any damage to the yard but Bill wanted to press charges. When Bill expressed his anger to Bob, Bob simply said, “Let it go!” This statement was taken by Bill to be insensitive and one-sided and enraged Bill, to the point Bill and Bob haven’t talked in a few days. Finally Bob went to Bill’s house and told Bill what an immature, spoiled brat he had become, forgetting his own ridiculous teenage years and his actions was dividing the neighborhood. Bill finally dropped all the charges but Bob and Bill are no longer best friends. Bob won the argument but lost a friend – a hollow victory.

Proverbs 6:3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

Someone once said, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.” A good friend is hard to find and a new friend doesn’t have the ties of loyalty as the old friend but certainly may offer new perspective. But to win an argument and to lose a friend is a shallow victory and mostly, hollow. We grieve more than we gain.

Certainly a friend is need is a friend indeed but what happens when friends disagree?

Don’t Count Wins and Loses When friends disagree there is no winners and losers – both lose. There are some things in life you will not agree on but there are other things in life too precious to compromise on. If you must stand – stand your ground but give room for your friend to stand nearby.

Maintain Your Respect for Your Friend The minute the disagreement turns into shouting, someone getting mad, hanging up the phone or slander – BOTH have lost the argument. Keep a respect for the friend you have maintained over the years and keep them in high honor.

Understand We May Not Understand No matter what side of the fence you are on realize you may be on the wrong side of the fence. Opinions are just opinions. Keep yourself clear of making a false judgement. Before we judge makes sure ALL the facts are in.

Paint Your Friend in a Good Light Talking against a friend to another friend is called,  friendacide. Life is too short to kill off our friends so easily. No matter what the disagreement or stand down; keep painting your friend in a good light – one day they will recognize what you did for them.

Give Until it Hurts Compromise on non essentials is not a loss but a gain. Bring your friend a gift, speak softly, and show extreme sensitivity and concern for them as a a person. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Giving makes way for a friend.

Pray Together Nothing will soften our stand against another like praying together. Humble admitting our own faults and failures and reaching for the hand of a friend to bring them into reconciliation. A hug maybe temporary but prayer is eternal – pray together.

Comment: How do you keep your friends when there is a serious disagreement?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

My Daily Prayer Place

Early morning prayer can be a delight instead of a duty is you will simply follow these few simple steps to a close and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone is busy, rushed, and tightly scheduled but amid the noise of a world of clamour there is a silence, a peace and a solace, God wishes to impart into every heart and mind. Some will spend five minutes but others will launch into an hour or more but to be productive and regular you may need to implement a few short steps.

Sometimes a husband and wife will spend some prayer time together but today I want to emphasize a private and personal time in prayer.

Journal Grab a journal or small notepad and record a Bible verse that stands out to you this morning or maybe a song. Scribble down your most pressing prayer requests or needs. Then, write down the answers to prayer or your praise. I started a prayer journal while in college and while not writing in it everyday – I have found time to make a few notes from time to time to help me focus on what is most important during my prayer time and what I should remember to praise Him for the answers already received.

Schedule Some people have been known to actually put GOD on their calendar at a specified time. Others, grab a cup of coffee, and head to their favorite spot in the morning, others like the quiet hours of the evening before bed for their personal quiet time with God. Whatever time you choose be sure and schedule it each day so you can have a set time that comes to mind.

Plan While praying go from praying for family to friends to your future. Pray God will illuminate your present steps and give you wisdom for your tomorrows. Repent, repair and revive as you press into the presence of God. Tell Jesus you love Him and let Him know you intensely desire to walk each day in a Christlike spirit. You may not need a plan but this way you won’t forget to pray for a friend that requested your prayers yesterday. Just simply jot down a few necessary items before going to prayer or building a list throughout the day to take with you to your prayer spot. Sometimes my prayers are scattered without a planned prayer list.

Practice You will always get better at the things you do the most. Prayer, like any other Christian discipline, takes practice to perfect. If you miss a day simply pick up the next day but you will notice an ease at coming to the prayer spot each day. You may want to begin your prayer time with a devotional to put your heart in a good frame of mind.

Place To have a private prayer place allows for you to quietly and quickly slip in and experience your meeting place with God each day. Make sure your private place is free from magazines, a stack of mail, your computer or other distractions. The bedroom, the living room, a back porch, your office, wherever it is, go to an undistracted place that says to you, this is my private place with God.

Comment: Do you have something you do in your private prayer time that is not mentioned above?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

Five Free Fun Apps

Ipads are a unique breed allowing for business, video, social media and reading. It isn’t just a book – it is a tool. It isn’t just a video player – it is a machine. While it is a productive piece of computer genius it includes the “lazy Saturday afternoon” ability to be a fun destination.

You can plan a trip to Colorado, watch the mountain webcams, choose your destination and make reservations and you can  watch videos of snow boarders while sitting at a coffee shop. All the while holding a computer the size of a small book. While the Ipad can be a serious productive tool, showing up where orders can be taken, pulpits and speaker stands, and classrooms. You can watch an Ipad, listen to an Ipad, search with an Ipad, play games with your Ipad, research with your Ipad, draw with your Ipad and the list goes on.

I have found five free fun apps that connect the Ipad to the recreational side when your waiting, sitting, doodling or taking a break. Here you go…

Flipboard I know you will want Facebook and Twitter but what if you could get both plus, USA Today, New York Times, Instagram and Technology News in one package. You can on Flipboard. It combines these and more into a magazine style app that you flip from page to page. You can LIKE, comment and Tweet articles and email from Flipboard. It has been advertised as a “social magazine.” It comes in an attractive format and can be downloaded from Itunes. It is free and it is fun but it also, complete.

YouVersion If you enjoy reading while you wait or relax then download YouVersion, the Bible app that allows for groups, bookmarks, notes and limited video lessons. You can use it as a social connector to find Bible groups in your area and you can share your favorite verse on Twitter and Facebook. It comes with different versions and allows for audio listening. It is also available for the IPhone.

TuneIn Radio If you would rather listen than read follow this link to this most comprehensive radio app. Allows for you to choose your favorite genre, station or location. Plays your favorites and gives you the opportunity to share on Twitter, Facebook or email the link. Here is the cool part. You can set your alarm to the station you choose and wake up to music or the news. Available for Iphone and Ipad.

Golfplan There may be several golf apps but this one includes instructional videos to help improve your game. Record your progress, analyze your strengths and weaknesses, plus sync with your calendar for upcoming tee times. Sign in and record your progress and sync between the Ipad and Iphone app. I downloaded for free but I just checked Itunes and the app now has a $4.99 charge.

TripAdvisor Either plan your next trip or dream of far off places with Tripadvisor, the leading authority on travel information. Find motels, restaurants and nearby things to do with ratings, price s and reviews. You can search flights but there are other apps that serve this purpose more adequately. Tripadvisor is one of the finest and most read advice reviews for travel. There is a forum you can join for conversations and information about your choice travel destinations.

Comment: What are some of your favorite fun apps??

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

Exceeding Expectations

Gary forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was mad. She told him “Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE!!!” The next morning when his wife woke up, she looked out the window to find a box… gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale. . . Gary has been missing since Friday!

This story illustrates exaggerated missed expectations. When you plan, work, push, pray and sacrifice and it doesn’t end well. Maybe you simply miscalculated. Maybe your expectations was too high. Maybe there were unforeseen events that interfered. Maybe you was expecting a ten million dollar response on a $100 budget. Whatever the case, you expected a Ferrari and got a bathroom scale.

So, what now! Well, we can groan, sigh, cry, smirk, grieve, complain or we can learn. Learn?? Yes, learn where we went wrong and develop a better course of action. If we always do what we always done we will always get what we have always got. Let’s plan better, let’s delegate better, let’s take a different course than depression, discouragement and dismay.

Let’s look at a few things;

Expectations must be believable In other words, our expectations must be real. Don’t plan for 1,000 if you never hit 100. Computer developers started in a garage, rock singers started in a garage, why do you plan to start your business in a 10 story high-rise. If you do it well they will come, it is true, if you have the means, the money and the manpower to make it happen but reality is that life is more like climbing a flight of stairs than taking a brisk ride on an elevator.

Expectations must be well planned The best dream, when done poorly, will most likely, end poorly. Delegation – check! Fundraising – check! Media outlets – check! Momentum building – check! All must fit together because the outcome is the outflow of our outstanding performance. Awesome results are a product of awesome planning.

Expectations must be believable I can tell myself a million times I am a million book author and never sell a million books. Does that mean I give up? No! Does that mean I don’t write again? No! It simply means, I haven’t got there yet. I am working on it. I am stretching for it. But is 100,000 books believable? Is it achievable? Life does have a way of throwing you a surprise some of the time but Dorothy, we aren’t in Kansas anymore – most of our dreams must fit within the achievable and with God, our dreams can fit within the miraculous. Maybe you and I both will be surpirsed today when God does something greater than our expectations. Can He? Sure! Will He? Absolutely!

Comment: What are some of your expectations yet to come?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.