Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year: New Choices. (Choose Patience)

Paving the Road with Patience: Living in the Light

A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
Proverbs 14:29

I could barely see beyond my rain-splattered windshield. Thankfully, I managed, with the wipers on high speed, to locate my exit. Letting out a sigh of relief, I prepared for the final leg of my journey home following a long day at work a stressful day to put it mildly.
            Just as I merged onto the off ramp, another vehicle sped by, cut in front of me, and headed up the ramp, only to slam on his brakes and skid to a stop before redirecting his car back onto the freeway. To make matters worse, he performed a certain, unacceptable hand “gesture” as he raced away into the stormy night.
            Shocked, and more than a little dismayed, I analyzed my choices:
1. I could tear off and follow him in a radical display of road rage.
2. I could yell not-so-nice things about him the rest of the way home.
3. I could choose to pray and behave in a patient and kind manner regardless of the fact that no one was watching.
Honestly, I started with number two before remembering that I did indeed have an audience of One. This particular “audience” was the One that mattered most. My Savior had a front row seat to my actions. He could hear my words. He knew my heart.
I realized right then that ranting and raving in my car, at a driver already a mile down the road, was just plain foolish. I could follow my Lord’s example or act as ridiculous as the stranger I was angry with had. Thankfully, I stopped my fuming and instead prayed for God to protect this person as he drove away so recklessly, and, in the end, I made it home in one piece with a sense of peace that comes from exercising patience. Patience is possible. Remember, no matter what the circumstance — practice patience and experience peace. We’re foolish not to!
Prayer: Dear Lord, Your Word instructs me to avoid folly, instead making wise decisions in my daily life. One wise choice that will help me avoid foolishness is practicing patience. It may not be easy, but with Your help, it is possible.
Action Step: Take a moment to remember the last time you lost your patience and the choice resulted in foolish actions or words on your part. What could you have done differently? Commit to choosing wisely when future opportunities arise. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Not Again!

(An Article I penned in 2004 just seemed appropriate to share today when so many people I know and work with struggle with the "not again" syndrome. Myself included. Thankfully, we have hope)

“Oops, I did it again…” the teen-theme song blared from my neighbor’s boom box as the fourteen-something, belly-baring-girl shimmied around her mom’s car, soap dripping from the sponge turned microphone in her hand.  I didn’t know car washing could be such an event!  But the lyrics of this seemingly mindless melody caught my attention. 
Sadly, in my before-Christ and even my after-Christ life, I had danced to the beat of that same theme song.  I’d find myself saying, “How could I be so stupid?  Why, God, why did I do this again?”  Well, the answer, although simple, is not always easily understood, and breaking free from the I-messed-up-again-cycle can seem like a daunting task without the right steps to follow. 
I learned the why was fairly obvious – because I am human, and I have fallen short of the glory of God.  When Adam and Eve sunk their pearly whites into that luscious fruit, we, the people of today, were deeply affected.  In fact, throughout history, the mantra “I did it again” has been repeated more than a few times, by more than a few people.  Every time I eat that second serving of dinner (or third) that I promised myself, and God, I would avoid, I repeat that age-old mantra.  When I used to be involved with drugs and destructive relationships, I’d continually beat myself with the “not again, not again, not again…” club, which I had grown very accustomed to swinging.  Stopping seemed like some elusive ideal, achievable only by those super spiritual individuals who lived in isolation, far away from the wear and tear of daily life in a mixed up, torn up world.  However, as I have gotten to know my Savior and His Word on a deeper level, I have discovered we truly can start singing a new song—a song of hope, redemption, and love.
Thankfully, we serve a God of second, third, and even three hundred chances.  In fact, most of our biblical ancestors messed up really bad (I mean bad) and they were still able to find forgiveness and a new hope in their Lord when they were truly repentant and sought His Way.  I’m certainly not implying their personal consequences vanished, or all godly correction was avoided, but they did find forgiveness and grace to continue on and influence us for the better, today. 
Paul’s famous words explain that our internal battles are not only expected, but with God they can be corrected, and even conquered.  Romans 7: 14-15 (NIV) states -- We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.  Now granted, we can gain a sense of comfort in these words just by the knowledge that the great Apostle Paul struggled, too.  However, left with these words alone, we’d still be stuck in our “not again” syndrome. 
Thankfully, Paul doesn’t stop there.  In Romans Chapter 8 (NIV) he reminds us, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
The good news – there is a solution.  In our relationship with Jesus, we can find freedom from this vicious cycle of sin.  Utilizing the “Three R’s” we will discover no matter what our mess might be we serve a God who is in the transformation business.  He doesn’t just leave us stuck in the muck of our mistakes.  Our incredible God can and does take those ugly, messy, mishaps and somehow finds a way to turn these experiences into calling cards that highlight His goodness and glory.
First, we must Recognize our mistakes.  If we don’t remove our rose-colored glasses and take an honest appraisal of our mess, or possibly multiple messes, we will remain rolling in the mud of our sinfulness.   God doesn’t cleanse us when we stand cockily, with our hands on our hips, shouting heavenward about how we don’t need His help…thank you very much.  Recognizing and accepting that we have made a big, smelly mess is the first step out of the darkness of denial.   
Have you ever noticed when someone makes a mistake, often times he or she starts blaming anyone and everyone but him or herself?  The old “he said, she said” fault finding madness begins.  As a former vocational counselor, who worked in a drug and alcohol treatment setting, I witnessed this phenomenon on a daily, actually hourly basis.   The story goes like this:  The client enters my office and shares they relapsed and used drugs, again.  Then, instead of saying, “Hey, I made a mistake.”  The list of whose fault it was is rolled out in front of me for examination. 
The dog died.
My shoelace broke.
I was angry.
I was sad.
They hurt me.
I hurt them.
They made me.
I couldn’t help myself.
Yes, life happens and life hurts.  However, just like Eve had a choice in the garden, we have a choice today.  Life is so much easier, and freedom is attainable when we simply start off by recognizing we have made a mistake and created a mess.  When we do this we open the door to the clean-up-step.  The Second “R” stands for Repent and Release.
Once we recognize that we have fallen short of God’s best, and fully understand the choice was ours, we can confess and turn from our mistaken ways.  I have a friend who described mercy to a group of school age children with the following story.  She explained one way to understand God’s grace and mercy was to picture Him working away in a humungous kitchen.  Every morning, He welcomes His children, us, around a magnificent table.  Here, He dishes out a fresh batch of mercy that He whipped up for the new day.  After all, God’s mercies are fresh every morning. 
When we repent, and release our sins into His capable hands, we can expect to be fed a fresh batch of grace and mercy prepared specifically for us.  We no longer have to wallow in our mess.  Just as the Prodigal Son rose from the filth of the pig pen to return to his father, we must recognize we are in the mud, climb out, and release our sin and heartache to our loving Father. 
Finally, like the robe was draped around the returning prodigal, our Heavenly Father wraps His love around us.   The third “R,” God’s renewing power, revives and revitalizes.  This is the step, where God steps in, takes over, and does His incredible work in our lives.  Scripture compares our Lord as to a Potter is to his clay, a Vinedresser to his vineyard, a Silversmith to his precious metals, a Father to his child, even as a mother hen is to her chicks.  In other words, He is now at work restoring and renewing his creation – us.  Although, this restoration and renewal process may be painful at times, we can expect the end result to be beyond our wildest expectations.  Just as a designer carefully draws his plans to restore an old, dilapidated house, and as the builder makes changes on the outer structure, and the remodeling specialist enters and works on the inside of the home, our God is at work on, around, and in us.  This particular Designer, Builder, and Restorer has our best interest in mind, always.  
Instead of saying – oops, I did it again -- when we sin, we can quickly recognize our mistake, repent and release it to God, and expect Him to renew us once more.  No mess is too dirty.  No sin is too ugly.  Nothing is too difficult for our Lord.   He takes on the toughest projects and is able to complete them all using His perfect design plans.  No matter how messy our lives may be, or how many times God has started to clean up our “insides,” no matter how many times we have cried out… “Not again!”  God still loves us with an everlasting, unceasing, and eternal love.   The best way to avoid messy mistakes in the first place is to stay close to our First Love -- Jesus Christ.  When we begin to understand the depth of His love, life will never be the same again.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What's New: Prayer Requests

My blog is going to be expanding in the days and weeks ahead. It will become more like a website. The blog page will remain with inspirational and encouraging articles, and include news and and updates from time to time. That will continue to be the main focus. 

In addition, there will be information about my ministry and speaking, and my writing ventures and books. Right now, if you click on the new buttons below the page heading (which has also been updated) you'll see that nothing amazing has been added. I'm simply laying the foundation for what's to come. 

However the one page that is now open and active is the PRAYER REQUEST PAGE. Please post your prayer requests by using the comment sections. Respond to prayer requests, with prayer and encouragement. I will monitor everything before it goes live, keeping any unfriendly comments away. This is a safe site. Your prayers and thoughts are precious and valued. If you respond to a prayer request, your comment should be uplifting, encouraging, and include a prayer. 

Or ... check the prayer request page, and pray. There is no need to comment if you don't want to. I will put up the first prayer and break in the new page. 

Remember the best way to fight and win our battles, is on our knees in prayer. Amen!

Win a copy of Soul Defenders!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Soul Defenders by Carol Van Atta

Soul Defenders

by Carol Van Atta

Giveaway ends December 11, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Put on the Armour of God (prayer format)

Putting on the Armor of God Prayer

Dear Lord, I come before you today to put on the spiritual armor that You have so generously provided for your Princess Warriors, and that means me. 

First, I put on the Belt of Truth, buckled securely around my waist, for it is Your truth that sets me free. I then put on the Breastplate of Righteousness that covers my heart and emotions and shows I am in right standing with You. My feet are shod in the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, and I take those feet and tread on serpents and scorpions, while bringing peace and love, not anger and discord wherever I may travel this day. I firmly take hold of the Shield of Faith, and use it to quench every fiery arrow the devil may fire at me, and I take the Sword of the Spirit, which is Your precious and powerful Word, and I use it to pierce through the enemy’s wicked plans. For Your Word states, all I must do is submit myself to You, Lord, and tell the devil to flee, and he must go. So, be gone. devil, in the NAME OF JESUS

I choose to follow my Heavenly King this day. May I serve You with joy and perseverance, living boldly and lovingly as Your Princess Warrior. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, I pray, Amen. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

When in Doubt ... Look Up

Friends, I think we all know Thomas isn't the only one who ever doubted Jesus. If I asked you, right now, to raise your hand and confirm you've had doubts, would yours join mine in the air?

 I'm guessing, if we were all honest, every arm would be stretching skyward; because at one time or another, every one of us has doubted either God's existence or something He promised or said in His Word.

I know there have been times when I believed what God promised in relation to you, but doubted whatever it was applied to me. 

Even worse, there have been moments when I was crushed by despair, moments that had me questioning our King's existence. 

When this happens, as it inevitably will from time to time, looking up proves to be the best answer for me.
And I don't mean ONLY looking up, but also: Looking out, looking around, looking over there, over here, and in  the pages of The Word or an inspirational tale of triumph, ultimately looking away from my own situation to the great beyond where God is visible to my hurting heart. 

There's just something about a starlit sky, crashing waves, and towering fir trees that inspire me to believe in my Creator. A newborn's face, a kitten's paw, and a swaying palm tree are all evidence of His majesty and unfathomable creativity. Seeing His creations has a way of renewing and refreshing my wonder. Wonder tends to lead to worship, and worship inevitably draws me closer to my King. 

Remember, we serve a King who wants to be found, who desires a deep and intimate relationship with all who reside in His kingdom. A King who is willing to show the palms of his hands and the hole in His side to one doubting Thomas is a King who understands our tendencies toward unbelief and uncertainty. He loves us no less for our questioning. 

Are you in a place in your life where God seems distant? a place where He doesn't feel real? I promise, He's there, He's here, and He is (forgive the cliche') everywhere. His love for you is painted across the night sky, growing in your garden, visible in a baby's smile and living in your heart. Just look for Him. He won't run away or hide. He wants to be found. 

Practical Princess Warrior Tip: Some days the best we can do is say: "Lord, I love you; help my unbelief. Lord, I love you; help my unbelief. Lord, I love you; help my unbelief."
Though we can't touch his side the way Thomas did, ultimately, He will find the just right ways to touch our hearts, leaving no doubt who loves us most. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Articles to Inspire

Yay ... I finally found a link to all my older articles that were written over the years for various Campus Crusade for Christ publications. Click here to link to articles on a wide range of topics pertinent to Princess Warriors.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Soul Defenders: Now Available in Paperback!

I am so pleased (thrilled) to announce that Soul Defenders is now available in paperback. I'll share the link in a moment. 

First I want to share with you about the power of a story. The Bible is filled with stories, stories about people, people like us, people who make mistakes and fall short of God's glory. Thankfully, these same people find mercy and love in the Savior, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Through fiction, although its fiction, spiritual truths can be found, especially if that is the intent of the author, which indeed was my intent. Nuggets of truth are often buried in the words of a story, treasure waiting to be found by the reader. I know I've found my fair share of jewels between the pages of a book. In fact, as a new believer, I read a great deal of Christian and inspirational fiction. I found myself eager to see what The Word had to say about what I was reading. I was drawn closer to our King through the stories authors were faithful to write.

I, too, wanted to reach wounded warriors and our yet-to-be embraced friends, who do not yet know our Savior, through my writing. That's why the following comment on Facebook touched my heart. This is a gal who  I mentor. She has no consistent spiritual upbringing, and has never really wanted to talk about Christ with me. I gifted her this book for her Kindle Fire, knowing she loves to read. Here's what she said: "YYYYYYAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!! Read soul defenders. it is awesome and defintely inspiring. I prayed after i read it."

That's how God can use our stories, even fiction, to touch others and change hearts. I'm looking forward to my next meeting with this lovely sixteen-year old girl who God's placed in my life. We'll have a lot to talk about. 

If you have someone, maybe addicted to drugs, or who has run to the arms of our enemy for fulfillment, consider sharing this book. I believe it can make a difference. Do you have a book or books that touched your heart? - please share in the comment section. Just as important, do you have a story to tell? Maybe it is time for you to tell it too. 

Click on the link below to purchase a trade paperback copy of Soul Defenders

Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering 9/11

I wrote the following article in 2008. It still stands true today, four years later. 

I can't believe it has been seven years ago that tragedy struck our beloved homeland. Like most people, I can remember exactly where I was that mornng.
Getting ready for work, I'd stepped out of the shower and heard the radio announcer say that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. At first, it appeared that it might have been a horrible accident. I had to hurry to work, but in the car, as I continued to listen to live news, I realized that this was no accident. Our nation was under attack and no one seemed to know by who.
At work, we all sat open-mouthed in front of the TV speculating about what was going on. World War III was mentioned more than once. Outside the skies were abmormally silent as planes had been banned from flying. Our nation was in shock, mourning, and fear. Yet, there was something else growing beneath the surface and in the hearts of men and women everywhere -- a sense of commonality and love for country -- our country ... a desire to help others and support those who were hurting. People forgot about East Coast/West Coast, we were, after all, one nation under God.
Today, sadly, our nation appears to be split right down the middle, and the political climate is scorching with fiery rhetoric from the right and the left. Our enemy is still out there and we are so busy bickering among each other we have forgotten on some level that we are ONE NATION.
As a Christian woman, I am thankful that I can see meaning and purpose through these dark times. God is still moving and eternity awaits His children. Right now, on this historic day, I choose to love others as God intends. I choose not to engage in political debates. I choose to pray for all our leaders whether I agree with them or not. I choose to honor the brave men and women who are fighting for my freedom here and abroad. I choose to pray for my enemies. May God change their hearts.
For one day, can we just love? I believe we can. God bless you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Keep your bra on and get your Bible out!

First, before I share today's message, can I just share how much I love this image of the princess entering Heaven and the Lion (our Lord) welcoming her ... someday. I can only imagine. 

Okay ... here we go:

We women can be quite resourceful. Yes, men can as well, but I just read a recent news story about a woman who was stranded after she fell while hiking.  
Amazingly, she used her sports bra, attached to some sort of lift-wire to signal her whereabouts. Once the cable started working, her bra ended up in the right hands (that would be anyone’s hands at this point) and she was delivered to safety. Deep sigh of relief. The article acknowledged her intelligent consideration in planning what to send. After all, she needed the remainder of her clothing in order to stay warm overnight. She didn’t randomly choose to send her sports bra, she made a quick, well-assessed plan, and it worked.   
I often wonder if I would be so ingenious in a perilous situation. Do you ever do that? You know, you imagine yourself in a specific hair-raising place or position where you alone are responsible for saving the day, and yourself. I guess you might call this a form of daydreaming. But, hey, when I was an athlete (swimmer) back in the day, I always visualized myself performing well before my events. It worked! – most of the time. 
I’m not sure why I’m even thinking about this. I guess the whole “bra story” got me thinking about emergency planning and preparation. Many of us plan better for what might happen in the “physical realm” than we do in the spiritual. 
Okay, okay, sounds weird, but let me explain. Remember back during the Year-2000-Scare? Many people stocked up on water, food, flashlights. Some even built extravagant underground dwellings where they could stockpile their goods and live for extended periods of time if needed. They were ready for the worst.  
However, according to God’s plan we should be more concerned about the matters of the heart, our hearts. Do we love God? Others?  Do we care about our character and living in a godly manner? Do we spend time combing His Word for those treasures that we can stockpile in our hearts? God tells us we should live in such a way that we are storing up rewards in Heaven not on earth. We try so hard to protect our physical selves, yet, so often, we fail to effectively manage our spiritual condition.  
I also recall during the preparation for the Year 2000 that many people actively, even aggressively, shared their concerns about the future and argued that we needed to be ready for worst possible scenario.  
Friends, the worst possible scenario would be to spend an eternity in hell apart from God’s presence. Yet, how much time and effort do we invest in helping others understand this very real threat? For me, unfortunately, I have to say, not enough.  
Maybe we should think a little harder, plan a little more, and become more ingenious like our lady hiker friend. I’m not suggesting we use our bras to spread the word, but we all have access to God’s Truth and His plan. Today is a new day. Let’s get creative and help people prepare for what’s real, forever, and always. Investing in the eternal makes sense considering where we spend our life after death is final.  
No need to wave your bra or boxers, just wave the Banner of Love.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Soul Defenders: The Black Orchids ... It's arrived!

It's arrived! My book, Soul Defenders is out on Kindle and will be available in print by Monday on Amazon. I'm so excited to share this tale of spiritual suspense and warfare with you. Every Princess Warrior should be prepared on all occasions to fight the good fight. This book is a reminder that we do not fight against flesh and blood.

Here is the link to purchase. Please, please, spread the word and share the story. Thank you and God bless you, sisters.

Order Soul Defenders by Carol Van Atta

I'll provide the link to the trade paperback as soon as its available.

For more reading ... take a peek at Liz Curtis Higgs latest Bible Study book:

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Battle is Real

The Battle is Real. There is no question in my mind about that truth. As Princess Warriors for Christ, we face an adversary eager to orchestrate our demise. In my book, Soul Defenders, discover the powerful role prayer takes in defeating the darkness that threatens our lives.

I'll let you know when this is released as an Ebook. Hopefully, in print as well.

Take a moment and think of the books you've read (both fiction and non-fiction) about the topic of spiritual warfare. The Bible, of course, being our best resource. Share your favorites in the COMMENT SECTION. I'm always looking for good reads on this topic.

And always remember, if you are a daughter of the King of Kings, you are on the winning side. Amen!

Monday, April 9, 2012

He Lives! We Live in Him.

This amazing picture captures, for me, the darkness before the resurrection of Christ. Standing in the field is a Princess Warrior for Christ, a woman just like us. The sky is dark and the earth trembles following the death of Jesus. Uncertain, His followers watch for a sign, something, anything, that brings assurance that their Jesus was who He said He was. 

Those present at The Crucifiction couldn't yet see the light behind the darkness. They were lost, confused, and afraid. What if they'd been swindled? What if the religious leaders were right? What if ... ? 

We know the rest of the story, don't we? As depicted in the photo above, light was just behind the darkness waiting to burst forth, bringing hope and healing to hurting people. The light of Christ couldn't be hidden for long. Three days after his burial, He rose from death's clutches and freed us all from its hold. Nothing could extinguish His holy light. Nothing could stop Him from loving us so much He was willing to die a brutal death to save us from our sins, to secure our future in Heaven.

For some of us, right now, our lives feel dark, hopeless. The clouds are rolling in, and the storm is raging. Our swords have grown heavy and we've lost the will to fight. We wonder where our Lord has gone? What if He doesn't come back? What if we've been too sinful for His love? What if ...? 

Forget the "what if's"!

Instead, let us cling to the Easter promise of eternal love and eternal life. Jesus died for us and freed us from all failures past, present, and future. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can rest assured His love is forever, and He will calm the storm. Maybe not in our time, or in the way we'd hoped for, but He will do what is best for all His children, for us. 

We just need to keep believing, standing with our sword held high, trusting in our victory. And, precious princesses, we don't have to do it alone. Remember Moses on the hill, the battle below? As long as he kept his arms up and his staff raised, his fighters remained victorious. In time, the weight of his staff became too much for him to manage alone, so Aaron and Hur literally lifted his arms for him! What an amazing picture! If you're too exhausted to continue, call on your sisters, and allow them to help lift your weapon in battle and your voice in praise. 

Ladies, Easter isn't about a bunny, it's about being redeemed. 

Thank you, Jesus for dying for us, thank you for defeating death, and thank you for delivering us from the sin that so easily entangles us. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy 2012! A New Year ... a new beginning?

Please read a New Year's Article I wrote a couple of New Years ago. Hopefully it will inspire, encourage, and challenge you, thus reminding you, as God did Esther, that you were created for such as this.

Let us reign real in 2012!