Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Purpose of Pain

A few weeks ago my pastor gave a message on suffering. Our congregation includes a number of people from outer countries, so one of his opening sentences was, “If you’ve lived here for just a few years, one of the philosophies you have likely encountered is that all suffering is bad. That is a distinctly American view.”
It’s true. Americans believe that pain is bad and must be done away with as soon as possible. And, if all possible, if I suffer, someone must pay.
However, pain is not always bad. (Insert gasp here.) Sometimes pain is a warning that what we are about to do is not a good thing. Putting your hand over an open flame starts to feel warm. Keeping it there will means your skin will get hotter until it will burn. The uncomfortable feeling warns you to move your hand. Similarly, discomfort in relationships and situations often warns us to move.
Maybe something that was right, no longer is. When children grow and their clothes are too small they can cause pain. When a situation changes and no longer fits, it too, can cause pain. We need reexamine our environment occasionally to be sure we haven’t become immune to the “pain," to see if perhaps we shouldn't make some changes. 
When others make decisions we don't agree with, or that are bad for them or for us, it can cause us pain, sometimes gut-wrenching, horrible agony. We have to decide whether to stay or go. 
Sometimes pain is a result of our own bad decisions. It can be something as simple as reaching for the salt instead of sugar, making the cookies taste awful. Or perhaps we drink and drive, leaving someone injured, or worse. Now that's agony. 
Only in America, I think, do we tend to automatically shy away from discomfort before checking to see if there is a good reason for its existence. We would rather look for someone to blame than figure out what we should change. And in the end, we lose more than we gain.
Suffering is awful. Especially when it's not your fault. It's not fair, but it's not necessarily all bad.
God says: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." (Isaiah 43:2) And He can bring something good from it. "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1;2-4)
The next time you hurt, instead of asking God to take it away, ask God to show you why it hurts, and what you can do about it. You might be surprised. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Make a Joyful Noise!

 Sing of the wonders of the Lord forever!

    The first time singing is mentioned in the Word is in Exodus 15:1 when Moses and Israel’s children sang this song unto the Lord, “I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” They were rejoicing over God’s mighty deliverance from the Egyptian Pharaoh and his armies, swallowed up in the Red Sea.

    Singing is mentioned one hundred sixty-nine times in the King James Version, and it isn’t surprising that seventy-three of those are found in the Psalms. King David is well known for his singing praise to God. It’s an expression of joy and an outcome of celebration. And one doesn’t have to have perfect pitch or be a great singer with a beautiful voice!   
Praise the Lord! Psalm 95:1 tells us this! “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” Seven times, scripture tells us to make a joyful noise, all of them in the Psalms.  

    And there’s the time we all remember when King Jehoshaphat appointed singers and sent them out against the enemies coming against Judah! “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” 2 Chronicles 20:21-22

    So it can be used as a weapon of war! Ephesians 6:12 tells us “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

    Singing heralds in God’s presence! See this in 2 Chronicles 5:13 “It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;” and Psalm 22:3 “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”

    This is of major importance, because evil cannot stay in the presence of His Holiness. When buffeted by powers and principalities on every side, do what Psalm 150 says: “Praise ye the Lord…Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!” God’s presence will come to inhabit your praise and the enemy will flee!

        I am so blessed that the Lord gives me new songs. Psalm 40:3 “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” I find many of them come to help me. For instance, when I’m going through a difficult time, maybe someone has wronged me, and I’m having trouble keeping my mind free of negative thoughts toward them. (Injustice gets all over me!)
    He gave me a new song called “Whatsoever Things” Lyrics: “Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are wowrthy of a good repot, I will think on these things! I will meditate on the goodness of my God! I will gravitate to His Holy Word! I will celebrate His everlasting Love for me, and bring glory to the name of the Lord! I will bring glory to the name of the Lord!”

    It’s a simple, cheerful chorus. So, whenever those thoughts unworthy of a good report bombard my mind, I start singing this song, and they’d go away. It's like an automatic attitude adjustment. Songs can help us get back to acting more like Christ. And now you can listen to it, too. Click t title! :) "Whatsoever Things"

    New songs don’t have to rhyme, and the tune doesn’t have to be perfectly metered. A song is like a butterfly or snowflake, no two are alike. When you can’t seem to stop your brain from bashing another for their bad acts, start singing!
    What about going through periods of depression? We don’t ever have to again! If it were not doable, God would not command us to rejoice always! Sing scripture!Sing “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

    Depression cannot survive in the atmosphere of praise! Neither can fear or anything else the devil throws at believers. Overwhelmed by the circumstances around you? Start singing!

*♪♫Laaaaaaaa!♪♫•*¨*•.♪♫Bless the wonderful name of the Lord ♪♫*♥♫

Bio: Caryl McAdoo is all about loving God! She currently writes four series: the historical Christian ‘Texas Romance’; a contemporary ‘Red River Romance’; The Generations, her Biblical fiction, and the newest Days of Dread Trilogy for mid-grade readers. Known as the Singing Pray-er, she loves praising with new songs the Lord gives her and prays her story gives God glory! In 2008, she and her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-plus years—to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Besides glorifying Him, she hopes each title will also minister His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. Caryl and Ron live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State with two grandsons.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Sweetest Book-aholics Romance Ever

When they were dating she said she liked to read but she soon learned she and her date had entirely different definitions of what it meant to be a reader. He was committed, carrying a book wherever he went. Wherever. He. Went. (Okay, so many of us are cheering him on and nodding our heads emphatically right now. But stay with me and empathize with my poor... eh-hem... "reading" friend.)

Did he notice her poor literary habits? If he did, he never said anything. Maybe his nose was stuck too far in his books, or maybe he figured once he slid a ring on her finger, everything would change. Bookworm friends, you

know we do that, subtly placing novels throughout the house, conveniently opened to the most intense portions of the book. Hoping, just hoping, our loved one will get hooked. Because then we'll have something to talk about. All. The. Time. 

Anyway, time passes, and my friend's little secret is uncovered. "A couple years after we were married I think he figured he'd married a dumb blonde," Rieta Greenwell said. "Because I would have rather watched tv but on a plane, I would read."

Why? Because there was nothing else to do? We get it, and we know what to do with fair-weather readers right? But hold on, before we start throwing Moby Dick or Little Women at her, let's listen to the rest of her story. Maybe she had a reason for avoiding the most pleasurable entertainment known to man.

According to her, the problem wasn't with the content but rather the effort it took for her to get to it. "Part of my problem is being kind of A.D.D.," she said. "I didn't have the patience to go to the library and pick out books. If I entered a library I would grab anything with an interesting title and call it a day." 

Her husband approaches book shopping differently. He peruses all the "Reader" pages for suggestions and keeps an exhaustive list "rating" all the books he's read for years. 

Now this is where I get nervous. I'm pretty sure both of the Greenwells have read a few of my novels. Should I ask where they land on his list? 


Suffice it to say, Rieta's husband is a voracious, like flips-through-the-pages-fast-enough-to-get-whiplash reader. He devours, on average, 60-80 books a year. Based on my conservative page-number estimates, that's over 20,000 pages a year. How many of you are jealous right about now? How many of you can relate? (Don't tell us. We can only handle envying one person at a time.)  

So what does a man who perpetually lives in book world do when he discovers his wife is basically a--gasp!--nonreader? 

"It started one Christmas years ago--like 30," Rieta said. "He checked out a carefully chosen set of about a dozen library books and wrapped them." His gift to Rieta included allowing her the time to lay about a read them. How many ladies are swooning right now? I mean seriously, could you imagine? Men, take notes. If you want to sweep your wife off her feet, forget the dinners out and fancy jewelry and do like Dr. Greenwell. 

"Now we have a small bookshelf in our bedroom," Rieta said. "When I want to read I grab one of the chosen books from the bookshelf. He does all the reviews and provides about 10 books constantly on the bookshelf and I just grab one when I finish the last. This year I also read 61 books. I seriously considered reading golden books just to beat him. ;o)"

What a fun challenge!

Am I the only one who found this story incredibly romantic? But it doesn't stop there. This book-devouring couple are now raising their infant grandchildren to love books. How do they do this? Note the picture to the left.

If you're reading this blog, I'm assuming you're a reader. Was that always the case or did someone you love plant a love for story within you? If you're a parent, are your kids readers? If so, what have you done to instill a love of reading in them? Share your thoughts and examples with us in the comment below. 

And speaking of books, I have fun news! Yesterday my novel Breaking Free released. Yay! Grab your copy at your favorite online store or at your local bookstore. (Christian Book Distributors currently has the best price for paperback. Buy it HERE.) 

Read a free 30+ page excerpt HERE

Learn more about my reasons for writing Breaking Free HERE