Thursday, May 10, 2012

Perfect Peace - and a Giveaway!

Update Wednesday 5/16/12 7:45 am WINNER!

Here are your random numbers:
8
Timestamp: 2012-05-16 12:44:07 UTC

Congrats to Mary Lou! Email me your address, Mary Lou and a copy of The Discovery will be on its way to you. Thanks to everyone for entering. I found out this week that I will have the opportunity to meet and interview Dan Walsh in July at ICRS in Orlando, so be watching my blog for more on this gifted author!

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Today I am thrilled to welcome author Dan Walsh as my guest. Dan quickly became one of my must-read authors with his first novel, The Unfinished Gift, which came out in 2009. (I reviewed it here. His latest release, The Discovery, is his fifth book, and it is certain to garner awards. (My review, which doesn't begin to do it justice, is here. A glowing USA Today review is here.) He has been called "the Nicholas Sparks of Christian fiction" but I think Dan is actually the one who is setting the bar now!

Before he turned to writing full-time, he pastored a church for 25 years. Below, he shares one of the devotionals he wrote for a series on his blog last month which really spoke to me. If you have ever had to wait on God, I think it will minister to you as well.

Perfect Peace - God's Timing
Dan Walsh

In this next installment of “Perfect Peace – Hope for the Weary Soul,” we’re going to look at something almost every believer in the US probably struggles with to some extent. Some to a great extent. Let’s start looking at this passage in Isaiah that should get us right into it.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” –Isaiah 55:8-9

People who worry often have one thing in common: they have lots of thoughts.

Consider your present situation, the one that concerns you the most (the thing you’re always thinking about). How many thoughts have you had about it? Dozens, hundreds?

For some time I’ve been seeking to become simpler in my outlook on life, and far more dependent on God than on myself. But a while ago I discovered a basic problem, an inner conflict between that desire and the man I had become.

I had become someone who thinks way too much.

I think too much and pray too little. Hours in thought, minutes in prayer. That was me.

The sheer volume of thoughts I’d pile up trying to figure out solutions to my problems revealed whose mind and whose thoughts I trusted in the most. Mine. But I also realized, many of my problems were too big to think my way out of. And looking back, many of the solutions I came up with just made matters worse. They left me weary and more fearful as I stood gazing into an uncertain future.

But this promise in Isaiah 55:8 brings good news. God also has thoughts, many thoughts, about the very situations that perplex us. His thoughts and His ways (what He does with His thoughts) are not just a little different than ours. God says, they are not the same at all.

We don’t think like He does or do things the way He does.

But there’s more. God’s thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours. The gap between our ideas and His are as high as the heavens are above the earth.

That’s no small gap.

God feels no stress as He manages the wonders of a universe. I feel stress as I ponder an unpaid bill. As I pondered this gap between God’s wisdom and mine, I realized why I found it hard to trust in God’s thoughts and ways, and often prefer my own (foolish as that may be).

God’s ways seem much slower than mine.

Whatever my situation, I can usually think of a handful of things that, if done right away, would fix my problem. If I were God, I’d do those few things right now and solve this problem immediately.

But that’s not what happens.

I don’t have the power to pull off what I’m thinking and God refuses to cooperate. So my problem continues, far longer than I think it should. I do pray, at least some. But then I look for an instant breakthrough. When it doesn’t come, I’m tempted to stop praying and start thinking some more. More of my thoughts, not His.

Once as I prayed and pondered this passage, I believe the Holy Spirit began to speak to me about God’s apparent slowness. I realized that God’s ways are slower because He takes all the necessary details into account in His solutions. I may think of 3 things that need to happen. If God would just do these 3 things, my trial could be over. But God sees 30 things (or maybe 300 things) that need to happen. His thoughts are perfect and His ways are, as well.

Now might be a good time to mention the “Slow Children at Play” sign. When I used to see this sign, it seemed like it was an insult to children, rather than a warning to motorists. That’s because it doesn’t appear to have any pause after the word “Slow” (it intends to tell motorists to slow down, because children are at play around here). We might think the sign should read, “Slow God at Work.”

But God’s plan only seems slower because God is infinitely wise…and we are not. When we look back at other situations God has rescued us from, we can plainly see this is true. We see His wisdom unveiled and vindicated. We see dozens of things God caused or allowed to happen―things we had never considered―that resulted in just the right solution to our dilemma.

We see things that, at the time, appeared to show God either not paying attention to our troubles or moving way too slow. Here’s a prayer that might help get our thoughts a little more in sync with His:

Lord, today I defer to your wisdom and thank You for the evidences of grace already visible in this situation. I thank you even more for the promises in Your Word and Your abounding patience toward me. And for all the testimonies of past situations where Your faithfulness has passed every test. Help me to trust you fully in this new situation and release it completely into Your capable hands. Help me to pray more about this throughout the day, and think less. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Thank you so much, Dan, for sharing this with us today. I am already eagerly awaiting your next book, The Reunion, in September!

Learn more about Dan at his website and his blog

GIVEAWAY!
I really want you to enjoy Dan's novels, so I am giving away a copy of The Discovery, or any one of Dan's books if you already have The Discovery--including a pre-order of The Reunion--to one of you. (To see my reviews of all of his books, click here.) To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CDT Tuesday, 5/15/12, and I will randomly draw a winner. US residents only, please. Be sure to include an email address if you do not have a blog so I can contact you. (If you want a book other than The Discovery, be sure to mention that in the comments; otherwise, that will be the book the winner will receive.)



Dan Walsh's books are available at your local bookstore or your favorite online retailer.


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17 comments:

karenk said...

would love to read this fabulous story...thanks for the chance :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Dan Walsh said...

Thanks Linda for having me in today. So glad to be living in a neighborhood with a "Slow God at Work" sign in plain view.

So glad He wants to give us a much lighter load to carry, and is willing to supervise even the details of our lives.

Dan

Shelia Hall said...

I love Dan Walsh's books!!I think he is a awesome writer and person!!His books make you feel like you are really in the book too!

Brenda Stimely said...

Just recently discovered this author and have added his books to my to-read list on Goodreads. Thanks for the reviews and the giveaway! (Since I haven't read any of his books yet, you can pick your favorite!)

Denise Jordan said...

Good morning!

I haven't read any of Dan Walsh's books, so this would be my first.

Thank you for offering one of them to one of us!

Blessings to you,
Denise
ddjordan_sbg_0803@yahoo.com
saved by grace in August, 2003

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Dan, PREACH it, mister!!! LOVE this article and thanks to Linda for featuring it AND you!

I would LOVE to win Dan's new book, so toss my name in the hat please!!

Hugs,
Julie

Sharon said...

Would love to win a copy of "The Discovery"
Sharon
smoore at tcq dot net

Mary Lou said...

Sounds wonderful...just the type of book that I love to read. Great interview.


Mary Lou
dlowran1(at)comcast(dot)net

traveler said...

Many thanks for this wonderful giveaway. An enjoyable and itneresting feature. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

This story would be memorable and special. Thanks for this chance. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

windycindy said...

I adore the writings of Dan Walsh!
The Deepest Waters is one that I
have not read, yet...
Many thanks to you and Dan!
Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Pam K. said...

I would be happy to win a copy of The Discovery. I really enjoyed reading The Deepest Waters. Dan's devotional about God's timing helped me as I am also in "God's waiting room." It's a good reminder that His time is not my time. Thanks for giving away a book.

pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

Lisa writes... said...

I haven't read any of his books so I'm intrigued! Count me in!

Jan Marie said...

Wow! I really needed to read this blog post today - things were already piling up with news of the elimination and unexpected termination of my teaching job; then I got word this evening that my only remaining aunt died, causing me to begin trying to plan and think too much on my own instead of turning it all over to God. Dan's words helped me to slow down and allow God to work the details in His time - thank you, Dan!

I also went back and read your reviews of Dan's books - they all sound terrific! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

Jan Marie
janmarien[at]embarqmail[dot]com

susandelano said...

Any author hailed as "the new Nicholas Sparks" has my attention. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this drawing.

susandelano(at)gmail(dot)com

:-) Su

Merry said...

Loved the thoughts on worry and prayer. I'd love to be entered for The Discovery. Thanks!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

can't miss this offer! any of his? lovely... TY! bless you...