Thursday, December 31, 2009

who are you all about?

Do you ever find that there are times where we are all about ourselves? We live in our own little box, our own little circle, never looking out the window, but looking in the mirror. When we spend our time thinking, it is usually about us, somehow or another, but when we are thanking, it is all about Him. Some are caught up in themselves, they won't reach out to others, where you have others who are always reaching out, and not focusing on them. I don't think Jesus spent much time focusing on Himself, He was all about His Father, who in turn brought Him to love those around Him. There is also a flip side to this, we can be so focused on the outside world, that we lose sight of our heart and what is right.We lose sight of our relationship with Jesus. So as Christians we must find the even ground, and that begins with the foundation of Jesus in our lives. When we totally focus on Him and Him alone, He shows us the needs of others, He shows when to reach out and when to pray. He keeps our eyes off ourselves, for life is not about us, its all about Him. The song, "I have friends in low places", is a true song, for it is when you are low, down and out, that you find out who your friends are. Jesus is there in those low places, waiting to lift us up out them, as we too should be for those hurting. Me, is such a selfish word, I is just all about Me. When i live my life as "i" and let Him live in "me", that kind of changes my whole perspective of life, who i am and who He is, and how i am to love those around me, to care for those around me, and to give to those around me. When we draw a circle, we should be on the outside of that circle, not on the inside, we don't draw a circle around us, we build a circle around those hurting and in need. I have to constantly keep myself in check, not being overly concerned with me and making sure i keep my eyes upon Him. Life is all about having things in the right perspective, its always about serving and loving Christ, and when we choose to live that way, we will in turn love and serve those around us. For me, my bible is my guide to living a self free life, and making my life about Him. I don't always get it right, most of the time I get it totally wrong, but the Lord knows my heart, and each day I will strive to live for Him, and spend a little less time thinking about me, and more time thanking Him. I cannot live for me and Jesus at the same the time.
Matthew 6:24"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things shall be added to you."
Lord, help me to keep my eyes off myself, to keep upon You, Lord, and only You, knowing that when I do, You will take care of the rest, give me strength to live each day and the grace to forgive my wrongs. Help me to realize i am nothing without You, but i am everything with You~


Are there really any securities in life? I can testify to you today, the only security in life we have is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. As we are young we watch movies about princess' and princes, we watch how all things end in a beautiful way. Life is just not like that. We have struggles, we have hurts, we have addictions, we have loss and sickness. So much hurt around us and all we really want is to be safe and secure. We lock our doors at night to protect our families, we take our children to the doctor to keep them healthy, we get check-ups, we eat right, we live right, and we try as we may to be the best we can be, but as wake, or sleep, as we walk out the door for work, as we lay our baby down, as we kiss our mother good bye, as we send our children off to school, as we go with friends to the mall, nothing, nothing at all is promising things will go as planned. Too many times often than not, things do not go as planned. I never planned to lose the relationship with my daughter, I never planned for my husband to lose his job, I never planned for my health to be a day to day battle, I never planned to lose my dad at such a young age, I never planned on watching my mother lose her eye sight. You fill in your own "I never planned". That is the funny thing, we plan our lives, we plan our day, and we have no control over any part of our life, except the choices we make each moment. That is the only part of our lives that we have control over, our choices. It is those very choices that at times put us on a different course in life. We either make good choices, or they are not wise, but either way, each one effects our lives daily, and they effect the lives of those around us. Our situations in life may not always be because of a choice we made, but very well the choice of another. We seem to find peace in security, but that is the wrong kind of peace to have, we must learn to find peace in all circumstances. I have to tell you, it is hard right now to find peace for me, I find that so much our lives is up in the air, all things are out of control, and sometimes just down right scary, but praise Jesus, that is not the end of the story. This is just another chapter of my life, another part of the story, a story that leads to Him. He is faithful, He is with us, and He is forever good in situations. From the moment I wake, I don't know what will happen throughout the day, but I can find peace in Jesus, in His strength and in His arms. When I lay down at night, I don't know if things will work out as I wish, but I know without a doubt that Jesus is there no matter what. My husband could be laid off for another two years, maybe more, but Jesus isn't going anywhere. The relationship with my daughter may never change, but I have hope, I have faith, and in Jesus there is no empty hope. Things do not always go as we plan, I know my friends did not plan on getting cancer, but it has come into their lives and changed them forevermore, but Jesus hasn't left them, HE is right there. He is in our pain, and we will find Him in our trials, we will find Him in the dark days of life, throughout the roads we don't want to travel, His love is there to carry us through this life of insecurities. He is there to make us feel secure in Him and Him alone. I think that is part of the problem, we try to find security in so many things, and it always brings us right back into His arms. He didn't plan for sin to come into the world, but He made a way through His life, His death, and His resurrection to make us feel secure in knowing He is there, He is here, all we have to do is stop trusting in the world, stop trusting others, stop putting our faith in things that cannot bring us true peace. He never promised life would be easy and everyday would be filled with roses, in fact He told us we would suffer. But the amazing thing is we don't have to stay focused on all those insecurities, we can focus on Him, and trust Him with all we have. My life is not my own, things have happened that I have no control of, I cannot control the situations in my life, but I can control how I react to them. Jesus is calling us, and many times He is calling us in different ways. You may not call upon Jesus until a tragedy strikes, but the beauty is you are calling upon Him. He is the maker of reality, we must focus on what is real and what is lasting, and the things of this world have nothing to offer us. This is not our home. We are in the process of moving, and if you know Him, you already know your new address, you know there is a mansion waiting for you, there is hope in knowing Him. What ever is effecting you today, whatever problem there is, we all have them, and one is not worse than another. Don't ever let anyone tell you your problem is small, or there are many more hurting worse. Yes, there are hurting people all across this land, but Jesus doesn't reach out to one before He does you. He isn't going to think your hurt any less, He feels your pain and sorrow. Hurt is hurt, pain is pain and trials are trials, there is no great or small, for each one effects us, each one brings us to our knees, and right there on our knees is where we will find all the security we need. Jesus is there for you today, He is waiting for you to let go, and let God. He is waiting for you to trust Him, to believe in Him, and to let Him live through you. It is just not through our words that we show others who He is, it is through those very trials, those struggles, and the pain of each day. It is okay for us to cry, it is okay for us to struggle, its okay for us to say, "Jesus I cannot do this anymore, I need You", that is what He is waiting to hear. When others see us in our worst moments, it is then that we can lead them to Christ, for we can point them to Him and show them that even though life is not as we planned it, nothing has changed with God. We are weak, but He is strong, He is mighty, and when we feel life slipping out of control, it is His hands that will lead us into safety. God showed us through Paul, through Silas, through all His disciples, through those in the old testament and new that people would struggle, that trial would come, but He showed us that is not the end. What an amazing legacy to leave His children, knowing there is more, there is true peace, and there is safety in His name above all names~
Psalm138:7-8 "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."
Psalm 143:9-10 "Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness."
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WHERE IS GOD? by Dr. John Townsend

Wow! This is one of the best books I have ever picked up, and one of the most profound reads I have been blessed to have in my hands. This book came to me just at the right time, when I too was asking, Where are YOU, God? In the beginning John shares his personal story of his expedition in Antarctica, where he found the beauty of God and a fear inside, when he feared what could happen, he too found himself at that moment asking, Where is God. This book shares with us how that one question has many meanings, and how it is okay to ask, why, where, and what to do next. This is a book that gets better and deeper with each chapter. I love how John shares stories of his own life and intertwines them in teaching us. He shares how sometimes we are sinning and sometimes we are the ones being sinned against, and how to handle each one, how to move forward and he gives great insight to not just knowing God, but knowing ourselves through Him. I enjoyed how he shared he thought he feared God more than loved Him, and how his walk wasn't a chore anymore, but a sweet walk, listening and learning. This book if for everyone, it has something for each person, whether you are being touched by hurt and confusion now, or in the past, this book will guide you to a better understanding of faith, and bring you to wanting to walk closer to God. God hasn't left us, He is right here with us, and through God's word, we can find Him. This book has taught me so much, and I will read it again and again, before I pass it on to a friend. This book was a gift to me by Thomas Nelson for its review.

BACK ON MURDER by J. Mark Bertrand

Detective Roland March is trying to prove he is still the one of best. He is trying to gain respect back from the force, and as he is, he is the first one to discover evidence at a crime scene that is important to the case. As his boss calls him into his office, he gives him one more chance. There just isn't the murder of a gang banger, but the kidnapping of a Pastor's daughter. He is on the case for now, so is he trying to prove himself to the force or more so to him? If you love mysteries, if you love a story of redemption, this one is for you. Roland takes a lot of slack from the other officers, he sees the looks they give him and hears the talk, but he finds the strength to overcome, finding agreement with others, learning to work with others again and beginning to find himself again. He has gone through much and is getting back on track. He once loved his job, and now as he is finding his work worthwhile again, he finds a new joy in working cases. Do you think you could find forgiveness after hurt? This story shows it is possible. There are many twists and turns in Roland March's life, in the lives of those around him. The characters seem so real, with such heart, just as you would expect from an officer who gives his all. This was a gift from Bethany House Publishers for its review. This book will be released in June of 2010 for your reading, and it is a read you will enjoy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

WORDS UNSPOKEN by Elizabeth Musser

My heart was opened to such wisdom, such beauty in Words Unspoken. Many times it is not the words that are spoken that hurt us the most, it is those that are left unspoken. Lissa Randall is one of main characters, she is a hurting, confused teen, who has lost her mother in an accident that she blames herself for, and through this tragedy, the relationship between her and her father is misplaced and misunderstood. Ev MacAllister comes into her life, not by chance as she thinks, but as part of God's plan of healing. He begins teaching her how to drive, but not only drive, to live again, to breath and to heal, but as he is teaching her these things, he too is learning to let go of the past and live again. This book is filled with many characters who are hurting, and trials seem to just keep attacking, but through this story we find that all these characters, although different, are much the same, and the story entwines them all together, just as God does with those in our lives. Words Unspoken will take you on a journey, that somewhere on this road you too will find yourself. As I kept reading, each chapter was pulling me in more. As I learned of each character, you opened your heart to their pain, and Elizabeth Musser brings this breathtaking adventure to us in a form that we can all relate to. God is in the business of knowing each of us, He has a plan for us, and as Lissa finds out, her traveled roads will lead her home. This book was a gift from Bethany House Publishers for its review.

Monday, December 28, 2009

do you ever feel as though you are going in circles?

Have you ever noticed life does not just take us in a straight line, there are times we seem to go in circles? I remember on a trip from the country, from our favorite swimming spot, Steve's dad told us a "shorter" route home. Our drive was already about a four hour drive, so sure, we would try out the new direction. This road was one big circle! This road may have been shorter, but ended up taking us five and half hours to get home. This road was so curvy, so hilly, and seemed like we just stayed in a circle forever, except for pulling over so the kids and I could throw up! (Never again did we take that crazy road) But doesn't life seem as though you are going no where except in one big circle at times? The more you try to get off the road, the more routes you seem to take, you are forever in this circle, wondering if you will ever get out. When my kids began drawing, one of the first things they did was draw circles, over and over and over the pages, something I realized today, all those circles they drew, all connected in one way or another. A circle can stand for our rings, a marriage forever. A circle is continuing, just as the planets circle the sun, God is forever moving them in sink together, under His mighty hand. Although we think those circles are taking us no where fast, they are connecting us one by one with the roads that Christ wants us to travel. Those roads might seem like they are never ending, and they might not be fun at the time, but if you look back, you can see your trail, and my bet is without a doubt, you were never alone on that road. Whenever we are feeling as though we are not moving, and we cannot get out of the circle, stand still, stand quiet, look around, and you will see the steps the Lord has taken with you. Sometimes we are in the inside of that circle, sometimes outside, and yes, there are times we are riding that fine line around and around, but we must take our eyes off the circle and look at the trail that led us there, and pray about just where it is leading us. Just because the road might be shorter and quicker, doesn't mean that is the road you should be on, sometimes its those long, winding roads that teach us the most, that show us just what we are made of and point us to a closer relationship with Jesus. So the next time you feel as though your stuck in a circle, just step out of it for a moment, open your eyes beyond what you see, and focus on what the Lord is trying to get you to see~
Psalm 46:10a "Be still, and know that I am God."


Wow, does this life give us interruptions, daily interruptions. We can be all comfortable, and then that rug is pulled right out from under us. So this brings the question, should we be comfortable? You can't prepare for interruptions, they just come out of no where, leaving you sitting, wide eyed, thinking, what next? My life at one time seemed almost surreal. Things just seemed perfect, having a home filled with such love, kids running here and there, dinners at the table, and my mother asking me to go to yard sales with her, Steve working daily, and we had everything we needed and more. I have to say I was comfortable, I had peace, or what I thought was peace. Then life changed, as life changes we change. That comfortable feeling is gone, and life is up in the air, while you find yourself trying to hang on as the tornado rips through your home, taking with it everything special and meaningful. As I sit and watch my husband fill out application after application, watching him become so humble, I see the fear in His eyes, the not knowing what is going to happen next week, I see failure written across his face, when he is anything but. People do not understand unless they too have been there. In eighteen years we have never had to worry about how our next bill was going to get paid, how are we going to put food on our table, or if we are going to lose all we have. Today, we face those trials. As I had written before about what a year it has been, well, this has been our year of trials. A year of praying for a job, a year of praying for our children, my illness' increasingly getting worse, my mother's health declining daily, and the list goes on and on. There have been times where I have asked God, "Are you seeing this? Are you listening to my prayers? Are you hearing my cries in the night?" I have to be honest and say, there has been anger there. Anger at feeling as though what have we done to go through all this. Anger in feeling we are alone in this trial. Anger in watching a country, a company treat their people like they are nothing, while they are filling their pockets with money. Anger at listening to others say all they are getting for Christmas when I am not sure if we could put a dinner together. Anger at the hurt my son feels toward his brother and sisters, for living their lives, and leaving him behind. Anger at Christians who look the other way. Anger, anger and more anger. God understands my anger, my questions, my hurt, my heart. Everything is not always hearts and flowers in my life. There are those days where I question everything, and have no understanding of anything. I pray for peace, for comfort, for the Lords blessings, but I believe our feelings of peace are just a little different than that of the Lord. I think peace would be my husband driving home with a job, all our bills being paid, our kids walking into church with us and leaving their worldly lives behind, my mother being able to see, to walk without being out of breath,for me to step out of bed without pain. To see those hurting around me healed, to see my friend and I never have to take a pain med again, but those are things of comfort, not peace. God's peace is a peace that shines past all the circumstances we are facing, His peace gives us the strength to make it through, the faith to believe and the hope that He is in control. Peace does not mean everything is great and good in life, peace means our hearts are in the right place, right there with the Lord, knowing He has His mighty hand in all that touches us. People may ask me, "Where is your God now?" My answer to that would be right here with me. He hasn't left me, nor my family. Our circumstances may be effecting our lives, they may be filling our thoughts daily, but our circumstances do not define us, they are not who we are. Real peace only comes from the Lord, and it is a sweet spirit that overcomes all the trials facing you, and fills you with such peace in knowing all is going to be okay. Peace is not having our list filled, everything checked, and all in order. Peace is feeling God's love wash over you, its having His joy fill your heart, and it is knowing whatever you face, His grace is with you. In scripture Jesus opened many times saying,"Peace be to you", or "Peace I leave with you". It wasn't a thing, something He left at their door, it is something He leaves in our heart. In all this year, in all these trials we are still facing, I may have those days in which I get down, those days I lay awake wondering what is going to happen, but for the most part, one lesson I have learned is to find real peace, I must call out to Jesus, not let my circumstances good or bad delegate if I have peace or not, but allow my faith in Christ to assure me His peace is with me.
Philippians 3:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Romans 5:1-5 " Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."

the unknown

Why is it we stay in our comfort zone, in our little circle? We are afraid of the unknown. Why is it we don't reach out, to witness to others? We are afraid of the unknown. There are millions in our world who are living in fear, not fear of harm, or danger, but fear of failure, fear of not being accepted, fear of not being loved. Who is behind that fear? It sure isn't Jesus, because in Him there is no fear, but that fear, that unwillingness to go out into the unknown comes from satan. We can listen to the voice of Truth, and understand we have nothing to fear, or we can listen to that little voice of satan sitting on our shoulder telling us of all the fearful things, of all the things we are going to fail at, and just how worthless we really are. It is time we stop giving in to our fears, the unknown, there is nothing unknown to our God, His hands are wrapped around this world and every move is because of His voice. Living in fear is not living at all. In fear you will not find joy, but when we leave ourselves, when we leave the comfort of our safety, we find just how great and mighty the Lord is, we find His real strength, we find His hand upon us, and our eyes are opened to a whole new world, a world filled with Him, waiting for us, His children to move, to work and to serve. As I was studying the disciples yesterday, each of them were different, each of them were unique, they each had qualities much different than the others, but that is what God was looking for. He didn't want people all the same, to follow one another, He wanted them to follow Him, and use the gifts He has given them for His glory. Even those things they each struggled with, God used them for His gain and His glory. He can take the smallest of our mistakes and teach us the greatest lessons, and use them for us to bring glory to His name. Why be afraid when we have the King of kings with us, when we have the God of gods with us, and He has instilled in us His Holy Spirit to lead us, to guide us, to be our comfort, to be our compass leading us home. Home may seem a long time off, but home is right here in our hearts with Him, until that day we see Him face to face. Don't let your fears, your doubts, your questions hold you back from moving forward, from reaching out, and from making great changes in your life. May today be the day we leave those fears behind, may we make today the day we will not allow satan to fool us any longer, but the day we hold on to all Jesus has for us! There is beauty in the unknown, there is hope in the unknown, for Jesus is everywhere and He will meet us right where we are. When we decide to stop being comfortable, when decide to follow Him wherever He is calling, we will find Him there, and it is in that unknown that we will find not only Him, but all He has called us and made us to be.
Psalm 55:22 " Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."
Psalm 62:7-8 "In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."

what will you do with today?

In life we wish we could go back in time, we wish we could say and do things different. In life we make so many mistakes, we say things that needed not to be said, and then there are those things we should have said a long time ago. Its funny, when we are young, we think life will last forever, we think today is all we have to be concerned about, and what we want, the most important thing, my happiness. But as we get older, we begin to see things much different. We see just how selfish we were when we were kids, we see the importance of saying, "I love you", and "I am so sorry". What was once so important to us just doesn't seem to matter much anymore. Are there things in my life I wish I could do over? Sure there are, and then I have those moments that I cherish, that I know God hand His hand upon me and I have seen His glory take place. Those mistakes we make soon turn into lessons of life, those circumstances we couldn't change, soon become little whispers of God, teaching us to be more like Him. Each day is a challenge for all us who are trying to walk with Jesus. Life is not easy, life can be down right hard, complicated and hurtful, but throughout all, if we remember who we are, who are Father is, when we stop looking for acceptance from this world, from those people around us, stop trying to make others proud, and begin to focus on only Him, to make our Father in heaven smile, to live His will, things begin to look a lot different. The clouds seem to part, the rain stops and through the darkness comes a light, a ray of beautiful colors that just speaks His name. I keep finding myself saying, "I shouldn't have said that", "I shouldn't have done that", " I need to forgive and let go of all bitterness", "I need to stop looking back and keep looking forward", "I need to stop looking at the circumstances around me and being fearful". Do you find yourself thinking these thoughts? Where and what am I spending my time on? Who am reaching out to? What am I doing with the gifts the Lord has given me? Am I trying hard enough, or giving up too soon? In this life we get one chance, one chance to make an impact on this world, to move for the Lord, to leave behind a legacy that speaks His name. We must stop looking at things as, "It doesn't matter", everything matters! We must stop looking at things and saying, " I will give my mom that call tomorrow", tomorrow may never come. We have a God who forgives, who loves, and who is working to bring all to know His name. I must stand for Him in all ways, most of all in my life. My life should shout His name and His ways, not mine. Lord, I want to live as You want me to, I want to speak Your words, I want to do Your will. Every night when we lay our head down to sleep, do we think over the day? Do we think about all we did, or all we didn't do? I don't want to be asleep when the Lord comes. I don't want to live according to man's rules, but the commandments of God. I want to feel His presence with me, I want to feel His touch of grace, and when I open my eyes I want to see all He has for me, when my ears are hearing, I want to hear His voice, but if I make the choice daily to live MY life, all that is gone in a moment, in the moment I choose to live for me. My life is not mine anymore, it belongs to Him, it is His to do His will and way with, it is for me to obey Him, to walk as His child. When we can realize the Truth, we can begin to see what is real. Life is precious, it is special, and it is a gift. So what are we going to do with our life today, right here, right now at this moment? Don't let the moment go by. Don't let today go by without seeking Him, without seeking our Father and His amazing love, the gifts He has for us and all the beauty He want to bestow upon us.

Lord may my life speak Your name today. May You forgive me of yesterday, and help me move on today, seeing You, staying focused on You, worshipping You and You alone. Thank You for the life You have given me, may I spend the rest of my life praising Your name, and standing for You. May I live for You and may I put my will at rest, while Your will comes alive in me!
Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

wow, what a year!

What a year 2009 has been. I will end this year with my 43rd birthday(Yes, I do know how old I am now.) I began this year with many goals, my goals, only the Lord had different ideas in mind for me. There have been trials, and I have shared many of them, but I have learned those trials are making me the person He wants me to be, those trials are the same trials others are going through and in sharing my heart they too know they are not the only ones. This has been a year of growth for me, of learning, and of wanting to have a sweeter walk with Jesus. It has been a year I not only learned more about Him, but about myself(Funny how that works out.) January of 2009 is when I began writing this blog, a blog I had no idea of what it would be. I knew as I prayed, as I prayed for the Lord to speak and move through me, He has and He still is. He has showed me His goals for my life. He has opened doors for many publishing groups, for me to write reviews, and have even had my writing in print! I am collecting quite a library of books that I hold dear, for I know my sweet Jesus has blessed me with those, with being able to write and share about them. I know that all I am able to do is because of the Lord and all the glory goes to Him. I pray that through each sentence, each word brings praise to His name. When I began this blog it was to spread His gospel across the land, and it is so humbling to know those who read it, those who are blessed by it, and so my fingers keep writing, I keep praying, and to see one person blessed is all worth it. God is opening doors that I never thought possible, I am now writing a book, who knew? God did, for that was His plan, and all those trials I have gone through are words to fill that book, not with sadness, but with the mighty works of God in my life and the lives of others He has touched. I am excited and terrified to take this step, for in this step is my leap of faith, but in that leap I know the Lord has my back, He has every moment in life in His hands. This year has been one of God showing me everything has a purpose, although I may not see it right then, I may not understand, He is working behind the scenes and listening to each prayer I send up to Him. I do not set goals anymore. They are not my goals to set, but His. My will should be His will and He has taught me in prayer, in my walk, that He will show Himself to me, He will guide me in the path He wishes me to walk if I keep my focus on Him. I remember when I had only one reading my blog, now there are many. But throughout this time I have had many who have encouraged me throughout this journey, but there have been three who have been right there by my side, they are Tami, Judi, and Bobbie. These three sweet friends of mine have blessed me, listened to me, listened to my ideas and my dreams. Tami has been there from the very beginning, giving me encouragement and hope. Judi has shared my blog with many and has blessed me by doing so, and Bobbie, well she too is there, praying for me, and telling me, "God has something big girl!!" Its hard to me to see that, that God would use me, but He has showed me without a doubt that He is right there with me all the way!! I am still going through many trials, still learning, still growing, but through it all God is good and is showing me to never give up, to always follow Him and to stay focused, never taking my eyes off Him. I do not believe in New Year's resolutions, they do not last, and they are our own fleshly desires, I believe in prayer, in asking God, "Lord what is it You are calling me to do?" We don't need the first of the year to make changes, we just need a humble heart and a willing body.
Lord, thank You for this year, these blessings You bestow upon me, this great adventure You have me on. I have no idea where it is You are taking me, but I am here for the ride, and through all the pain, the trials, I can see the blessings clear as day. Praise Your Holy Name~
Isaiah 61:10 "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."

who ya gonna call

When its raining hard outside, the winds are blowing, and your out in the cold, who are ya gonna call? When you have lost your friends, when your husband has lost his job, who ya gonna call? When your mom is sick, you feel as though your in over your head, who are ya gonna call? When the bills are piling up, the car is out of gas, who are ya gonna call? When things were really good, it seems as though we have a friend everywhere we turn, but when things tend to get hard, people scatter. When things are hard, people don't know what to say, they don't even look at you anymore. Its easier if they stay away, they they don't have to ask, "Are you okay, do you need anything?" When you feel alone, when you are hurting, when the enemy is at your door, when things are getting really hard, call upon the friend who never leaves your side, the friend who there always, not just on the good days, not just when you have something to offer, but He is there to pick you up, to lift you out of the pit, to wipe away your tears, to clean you off, to dress you up, and to make you feel special. No one can make you feel more special than Jesus Christ. Am I speaking of my life right now? I believe I am, so much hurt is inside, and you just want it all to go away and want things to go back the way they were, the way they once were when laughter filled your home, when there wasn't a struggle to get out of bed, when your husband left for work everyday and was filled with joy. I know life is not perfect, the Lord never promised that, but He did promise to never leave us. He is the Friend of all friends. The only thing that can come between my friendship, my walk with Him is me. He never leaves, I am the one who leaves Him. I am the one that walks away when things are hard, when I just need to let it all go and run to Him!! That is Jesus! Jesus will not turn and run when things get hard, He will run to you. His phone will not be busy, nor will his calender be filled up, only to hold His important dates, for His calender holds everything from big to small for you. He is waiting for you to call upon His name. He is there for you right now, no matter where you are or what you are doing, no matter what is touching your life, all you have to do is call out His name, and praise Jesus He will be there. He doesn't have to wait for the next flight out, He doesn't have to wait until the rain has stopped and the fog has parted, He is there right when you speak His name. He is the greatest friend you will ever have, He is the friend you want by your side, and in your heart. He is the friend who prays ceasingly for you, He is the friend who has given all for you, He is the friend who will follow you anywhere, and call your name when you have left His fold.He is the friend who doesn't wait for you to reach out for Him, He reaches out to You, for He is the One who sought you out. He will not forget you, nor will He replace you. There is no greater love than His love. There is no greater friendship than His friendship. Wherever you are today friend, whatever is on your heart, call upon His name today, right now, and allow Him to lavish you with His love, to wash you of His peace, and to lift you with His power and strength. Oh, sweet friend, what a friend we have in Jesus, mighty, mighty Jesus!
Psalm 121 "I lift my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Make of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber not sleep. The Lord watches over you-the Lord is your shade at your right hand;the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life;the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Jesus, come and wash over me today, cleanse me from all filth, and lift me from this pit of the world. Lord, keep us in Your tender care, and may we forever look to You as our Savior, our King, our Father, and our Friend~


In this world we cannot always see as the light is shining through. Ben Buckley carries a photo in his wallet of his family, a family that he has lost, one that he has let go of in anger and bitterness. Ben lost his wife Chloe, in a horrible murder that has not been solved. Life seemed simple for Ben until his wife began going to church, then things seemed to change, but before he could understand Chloe's love for the Lord, she died. This is where Ben's bitterness and anger come in, he moved away with his children, but never really was the father he should have been, which has built a wall up between he and his children. Ben is good at building walls now, he keeps everyone at a distance, until he hires Kelly Kovatch, a young, christian girl who has nothing in common with his company, except that her mother and Chloe had become friends before her death, so now Ben is interested in Ms. Kovatch's life, only to find out she is dying of cancer. He feels no sympathy for her, but feels as though she is the lucky one, the one who was able to prepare for her death. This story intertwines these two hurting families, bringing their pain together, together at the forefront of this story. Ben's secretary has been putting up with him for years and trying to solve the mystery of Chloe's death. As the light begins to shine in the lives of these families, healing begins to take place, anger leaves, and new life begins. This is a story all can relate too, and one that I liked. There were places where it moved slowly, but I think the author placed a lot of detail, so we could feel what these characters were going through, so you must take the book slowly, and when you do, you will enjoy each page. This book was a gift to me by Bethany House Publishers for its review.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

do they really offer the best?

Either watching television or listening to the radio, looking in the paper, every store says they have just what you need, they have all you need, at the right price, and they have the best deals for you. I for one listen to this and just have to laugh. I am one of those girls who does love a sale, but I have a great friend to teach me all about the resale shops and now there is an exciting day to come out of a shop with bags full, full of things that you know the real cost and you have just gotten a great deal for less. I am one who loves to go in all the stores at the mall, just to have a look, sometimes dream, but ya know, these stores, these shops, all these ads we see, they just don't have what we really need. They have lots of pretty things, things that make us smile, and for me, shopping at one time had become almost an addiction. I shouldn't even say almost, it had. I was trying to shop for things to put a smile on my face, to take the tears away, and it may have worked for awhile, but the only thing that carried me through those tears, got me through my trials, was the strength and love of Jesus. Nothing in a store could replace what I really needed, and that was Him. Its funny, the stores draw us in telling us all we need according to them, and how they are the ones who can give it. Satan knows exactly how to put out those ads to trick us, to make us think things are what we need, and the bigger the better. He tries every way possible to keep us from our Savior, and if he can do just a little at a time, we can find ourselves in a store, with arms full of bags, bags that are full, but our heart is as empty as it was when we came into the store. There is one present, one gift, that is free, there is no charge, it is given by grace, it is salvation. It is the greatest gift you could ever want and the best there is. Accepting Jesus as your Savior, giving your heart to Him is the best shopping day you could ever dream of. You don't have to get out in the cold, you don't have to shop for sales, you don't have to fight the world for a bargain thats going fast, you can find Him right here, right now. You can call out His name and He will answer your call. What is it your heart is shopping for? What is it that your heart needs? All those gifts on your lists may bring a smile to your face, but the only real joy you will ever experience comes from Jesus Christ. There is nothing bigger, better, and nothing to replace Him, and you won't ever be in a line trying to exchange Him, because once you ask Him into your heart, He is there to stay, and He can replace all those ads, all those deals with something so much greater, His love, His forgiveness, and His undeniable mercy! Try checking out His web site today, instead of the sale books, you can find Him just by saying, "Jesus", and He will come to where you are. His site is always open and you will never find it shut down, His word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!!!

the day after

Is it all over now, the hustle and bustle of Christmas? Another shopping day begins the day after Christmas. The boxes and wrapping paper are all in the trash, the presents are all put away, the cards are stuck in a drawer, the tree comes down, the ornaments get put away safely, the food and snacks are eaten quickly, the decorations come down as do the lights that shone so brightly for a month. So the day is over, all the preparations to get there, and then now as our world moves on, another "Holiday" is to come. It is sad really, somewhere in there the birth of Jesus is all but forgotten to many, to many it was never even a thought. So now what happens? The celebrations are over, the parties are past, and now its time to take back all those presents you didn't like. Why do we just seem to celebrate His birth on one day? We should be celebrating His birth everyday! Our lights may come down off our homes, but they should still be shining in our hearts, bright enough for the whole world to see. Our decorations may come down, but we should still be wearing His love to show the world who He is. The food may gone by now, but at each meal, we can still bow our heads and thank Him for all He has given. The cards may be taken down, the ones with all the verses of His love there for us to see, but as we put those away, we can remember to bring out our bible daily and read of all He is. We may have gone to the last party yesterday, but we can hold a party in our heart for Him daily, inviting others to come, until every last RSVP is sent in for the biggest celebration ever, the day we will see Him face to face. Will you be there for that one? As the pictures were taken, as the hugs were given, as many blessings have come, may we hold them in our heart of hearts, and not forget where our real blessings have come.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the snowman

Okay, all of you by now know just how much I love the winter, the snow and making snowmen. I just love snowmen, and making them with our kids is just a memory that I love to think upon, although there was a Christmas, a Christmas in which our snowman making took on a whole new meaning, and goes down in history as one that will stand out forever!!! Here we are, my husband, Steve, me of course and all five of our children, bundled up almost to where we cannot move, having snowball fights, sleighing down our small hill, and laughing. I can still here the sounds now. At the time we had a big, beautiful Dalmatian, Lucky was his name. He is no longer with us, but oh, how we loved him. This day, as I had on a puffy, I mean puffy, bright red coat, the kids wanted me to get on the sleigh and go down the hill. So of course, I go back, get a running jump on my sleigh, and behind me far in the field, I see Lucky, he is flying through the field, he has his eyes set on me! I am thinking, "What in the world is this dog doing?" I mind you, all of our kids are standing right there watching and waiting. Just as I begin to run, I hit the sleigh, and Lucky hits me, only he doesn't just hit me, he wraps his paws around me and is going on the ride. As I am riding the sleigh, he is riding me! I am yelling, screaming for him to get off, but the more I move, the more he moves, and this unholy sight takes place all the way down the hill! I hear Jake saying, "Ooh, Mom, whats he doing", I hear Whitney saying, "Oh, mommy what is that thing", as Ashley and Lacey are saying, "Oh gross!!!", Dustin and my husband are at the bottom of the hill laughing so hard they cannot move!! Needless to say, I never wore that red coat again, and I never went down that hill again. My husband says, "Oh, I wish we had that on video!" So as our Christmas memories come to mind, this little story has been told to many, I have been the joke of many laughs. You never really know what will happen at the Prater home on Christmas, but one thing is for sure, we will be laughing for years to come!
I pray your Christmas will be filled with memories that make you laugh, bring tears of joy to your eyes and those that you can pass down for generations to come.

Its Your day Jesus!!!!

The wonder of Christmas is just a feeling that can not be easily explained. The birth of our Savior, the greatest gift given to us, the beauty of love, just brings a feeling in the air. Christmas is not a holiday, but it is a celebration of life, of our Savior's birth. A friend shared with me today how they had a birthday cake, and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus as they celebrated together. I think that is just beautiful, what a gift to Jesus, to recognize His day. And the party is for Him, not us, we are the attenders of His party, of His celebration. How blessed are we to be able to take part in such a wonderful, blessed day? We all have different ways of celebrating, we all have different family traditions, but no matter if our home is filled with hundreds, a few, or just you, no matter if there are presents under your tree or just in your heart, we can celebrate this great gifted day by loving Jesus, by spending the day with Him. As the Christmas music plays, as your heart turns to Jesus and picturing that day of His birth, we can rejoice in our Savior, we can close our eyes and open our hearts, reading the Christmas story from Luke, how can be not be excited, how can we not be filled such thankfulness inside? We can easily get sidetracked away from the meaning of Christmas, and we can get involved in what we want and what we have to get, and what we have to do, and stress creeps up on us, and before we know it, we are not focused on Him any longer, but the presents that didn't come in the mail, the gift we thought we were getting, and depression can set it, for how we dreamed Christmas should be isn't at all what is happening, but we don't have to let the world direct us in how to celebrate, we can let the outside world be just that, outside, and we can celebrate in our hearts, and as we do, others will see the great joy in our hearts, the love for Jesus we carry. Don't allow the day of joy in celebrating be stolen away, may we take our eyes off us, and keep them right on Him, our King of Kings, who was born in tiny manger, He was born for us, the Baby who was born to save the world. What greater joy is there to celebrate than that on Christmas Day?

I pray your hearts, as well as mine will not get caught up in stress, in what we think it should be, but just what it is, the greatest birthday party of the world, and guess what? Your invited, and all you need to bring is your heart!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

THE SCENT OF WATER by Linda Nichols

Sam Truelove is a surgeon gifted by the hand of God. He has begun a wonderful, dream filled life with his wife Annie and their daughter Margaret, until tragedy strikes and the life of their precious baby is gone. In that same moment as Sam is in surgery, he decides to stay with his patient, finish his surgery before going home. He feels as though he can save the little girl in front of him, only God had a different plan. There is anger, pride, pain and fear in them both, and it takes hold of them until their marriage is slipping away. Both still loving each other, but trying to move on, only they cannot move on until they come to terms with the past that haunts them. Each year Sam invites Annie to dinner, in hopes of renewing their marriage to what it once was. Although Annie so wants to go, she is fearful that Sam hasn't yet let go of the man he has become, she turns him down, but each year there was a sweet elderly woman celebrating her birthday with friends. She noticed him each year as he noticed her too, only never saying anything until this night, when the sweet woman goes over to pray with Sam, giving him words from the Lord. Never giving up, Sam keep trying to save his marriage, as Annie still holds so much love for him. Love and forgiveness bring them back together. Healing comes in time, and blessings come to their lives. This is a beautifully written story that captures your heart, and takes you right there in the midst of their pain, and with the hope of Christ, we see how He works to bring their love whole again. I loved this book. It flowed, it speaks right to your heart and teaches us to never give up, to always answer that call when the Lord is asking us to move. The prayers of this sweet woman were answered, only because of her great faith in the Lord and to obey Him. This book was a gift from Bethany House Publishing for the review of its contents.

TENDER GRACE by Jackina Stark

Audrey Eaton finds her husband in his chair, with his bible on his lap already in heaven. She is heartbroken at the loss of her husband, a husband she shared such a loving relationship with, one that she cherished with every breath. As she is grieving the loss of her husband, her friends, and her children are trying to lift her up, but she has lost the will to live life with joy. All the things she once enjoyed now mean nothing. She finds herself watching television for hours a day, lost in her emotions, emotions that keep her from even crying again. She decides she is going to take a trip, a trip across the country alone. She is visiting places she and her husband have seen together, and places they had once wanted to see. Along this journey, she has her husbands bible tucked away with her. She has her computer to keep in touch with her children and a few friends. This book is as a diary she is writing to help her in her healing process, so we are able to see her grieve, see her smile again for the first time, and even cry again, as she weeps of the past. On this journey she begins to slowly open her husbands bible and begin reading in John. She takes it slow and steady, and each night she reads God's word, drawing closer to Him. On her journey she is able to relate to to all John has to say. Each day takes on a new meaning for her, she begins to take a new joy in life as she begins to learn how to breath again. She cannot forget the past, but she is learning to move on with new life, a new relationship with the Lord and He is showing her how to let go of the pain of the past so she can take on a new found freedom in Him. We see her thanking God for the journey she has been on and we see the beauty in grieving and learning to begin a new life. Once finished with this book, it is one you can sit back and say,"Beautiful". I enjoyed this book and walking this journey with Audrey, seeing her blossom again after the tragedy that struck her heart. God will bring us through all that touches our lives, just as He brought Audrey through and filled her with His love. This book was a gift from Bethany House Publishers for its review.

Monday, December 21, 2009

they are gifts to Him

Those of you are weary, those who are weak, those who are scared, those who are carrying such heavy loads bring them to the feet of Jesus and lay them down. Although they are great burdens to us, they are gifts to the Lord, for when we lay our burdens at His feet, we are saying to Him," I trust You, I love You, I believe in You and I am giving You control over my life." What do you really give the Savior of the world as a gift? You give Him your heart, and with your heart you let go of all those burdens that are dragging you down, and by giving them to our Savior, by leaving them at His feet, He will lift us up, He will shower us with His blessings for trusting Him and for turning to Him with all we have. What do You give the Savior who has everything? We give Him our hearts, and with our hearts, we spread the love He gives us to others around us. There is no one greater, there is no one with more power, there is no one more mighty, there is no one who loves us more, so why not give Him the gift of our heart, the gift of our love for all He has done for us and for all He will do for us? We don't have to go caroling outside, we can go caroling in our hearts. We can feel the music, we can hear the sound and we can give Him mighty praise when we lay all at His feet. Can you see yourself now? Can you see those burdens you are letting go of? Can you see each one at His feet? Can you see Him picking them up? Can you hear Him praying over each one? Can you see the love in His eyes for you, and every little intricate part of your life? This season give Him the greatest gift we can, may we give Him our hearts, may we give Him all we have and trust Him with our lives, the lives that He has given to us~
Hebrews 12:1-2 " Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has down at the right hand of the throne of God." Colossians 3:2 "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth."

Last year a sweet little one, Ms. Emma, who seems to have stolen my heart, sang a beautiful song,"What can I give Him, I can give Him my heart." I can still hear this little beauty of God's singing this song, I can hear the words and the impact on my heart. I pray this season you will be touched, I pray you will touch God by trusting him with your life, your loved ones, your circumstances, and all your burdens. As my husband is out looking for work again today, I cannot worry about what is to come tomorrow. I must place my faith in Jesus and know He has a great and mighty plan for us. He has that job out there to bring Him glory, just as He will watch over my sweet baby girls, my sweet sons, and my amazing mother who is weaker by the day, my friends who are struggling, who are fighting for their lives with cancer, and to bring revival to our church, to wash this country and cleanse us from our sins. May we come to Him today, laying down all we have, and never picking it up again, but with each burden we lay down, just trusting in Him, our Mighty, Amazing Savior, the Lover of our souls~

a priviledge

Do you seek the Lord early in the morning? Do you seek Him at night? Do you call upon His name all throughout the day? When He calls our name, do you rise to hear Him speak? It is a privilege for us to spend time with the Lord. It is a privilege to hear Him call our name, and it is a privilege to feel His love. The more time we spend with Him, the more we know Him, and the more we know Him, the more time we will spend with Him. What better season to remember just how blessed we are? What better time is there to make a change, to spend more time with Him, and to take a walk with Him that is more sweet than anything we could ever gain elsewhere? For us to be strong in the Lord and never give up hope, we must learn to spend more time with Him, just not talking, but time listening. Its not how much scripture we read, its how much time we reflect on what we read. Its taking God's word and applying it to our hearts, its living out what we read. We can read all day long, but if it is not applied to our hearts, it is worthless. For us to draw near to the Lord is such a humble privilege, why do we often take it for granite? Each moment we spend with Him should be considered a timeless opportunity. For we didn't choose Him, He chose us, He wants to spend time with us! The question is, do we want to spend time with Him?

Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

I know in my own life I need to seek Him more, I need to know Him more, and let myself and my wants go, stop saying I am so busy, and begin my day with the Lord, listening to all the blessings He has to share with me. I know on those days where I put God off, my day is just not right, but on those days I wake to Him, to His word, it doesn't matter what that day brings forth, it is a blessed day, because I am walking with my Savior.

May we honor Him today by spending time with Him, by sharing with Him, and trusting Him with all we have, trusting not in ourselves, or this world, not worrying about what today will bring, but believing the Lord is in control and our faith will bring us through everything and God's word will fill us with all He wants us to see and know~

the inn

As Christmas approaches we often forget the inn. We often forget about a young girl, along with her husband who were traveling, trying to find room in the inn to have their precious baby. As the inn keeper shared with them there was no room in the inn, what do you think went through the mind of Joseph as he knew his wife he loved so much needed rest, needed warmth, and was ready to deliver the Savior of the world? Do you think he worried or do you think he knew God would take care of them? Do you think he asked God, "Why", or did he just trust? As there were no room in the inn, the keeper gave them room in the stable. As some may think the inn keeper should have given his room for the Savior of the world, I think this is just how God planned it. Jesus came into this world humbly, not in a fancy hotel, not in one of the top ten hospitals, he came into this world laying on hay. There is meaning there in those words we can read in Luke about the Christmas story. We often think we need the best, we have to go to the best places, we must eat of the best restaurants, but here in the manger, laying on the hay, Jesus shows us just what beauty can come from a humble little place. Our King of Kings was may have been born on hay, outside in the weather, but He still wore His crown of Holiness, trimmed in beauty. God showed He would take care of Mary and Joseph as they traveled. They may not have been in quaint little surroundings, but they were surrounded by the God who gave us a Savior. Can you see them counting his toes, his little fingers and saying, "He is finally here"? Can you see the look on their faces as they thought about all the things the angel said to them? Can you see the love in their eyes as they knew what a blessing they held that night? As they held their sweet babe that cold night, keeping Him warm, do you think they knew then that one day they would see their little baby's body broken and bruised for the sins of the world? Christmas is not about us, it is not about the tree, the presents, the snow, the feeling in the air, Christmas is about our Savior's birth, its about thinking of that day when he was born, born to die for our sins. It tells us that He was like any other child. He cried, he laughed, he learned to crawl, to walk and to run. He skinned His knees and learned to work as a carpenter as Joseph. He was a boy who came to save us, to show us a better way. In His life, it began in humble beauty and ended in humble beauty. There at the inn that night many things took place. Can you see it, can you hear the sounds, can you smell the manger, can you touch the face of God with your love? Our Savior's birth was the beginning of His life to be given for us. This season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, may we reflect fully on that day, on the days leading up to His birth and the days to follow. As God created life that night at the inn, He created life for us through His Son. There is no greater love than the love we can find in that inn on that cold winter's night~
Luke 2:33-35" And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother,Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Luke 2:4-7 "Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with Child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

whats your status?

On Facebook we can set our status, we can change it as many times a day as we wish. Some write funny things, some tell what they are doing that day, some share the Lord and witness, some ask for prayer, some write when they get a new haircut, a new ring, a new car, when they put their tree up, when they go to work and come home, they may even add a joke, or just share something important to them. Its funny we look at others status and write under it, we may joke with that person or add that we will be praying for them. We often ask questions, sometimes we just have answers to share. In our human lives to some our status is everything. Who you are, who you know, who your friends are, what your job is, how much you make, what kind of car you drive, how big your house is, where you go on vacation are all things that fit into our status. Some even look at people magazine or watch the entertainment shows to see what all the actors are doing. The amazing thing is that as we look at the outside status, God does not care about our status as a person living in the world, He cares about the status of our heart. If our heart is not in the right place, then no matter what we are doing is not going to bring glory to Him. We can change how we look at things right now, today. It is never too late to make a wrong right.(A wise man shared that today) Think about it, no matter how much stuff we accumulate here on earth we can't take it with us. As our Pastor said today,"You never see a U-Haul behind funeral procession." Its not all the stuff we have or if we have the latest styles, if we have the right shoes to go with that light green outfit, or if our sun glasses make us look cool. Life has no meaning without Jesus. When it comes to salvation, it is all about who you know. If you don't know Jesus, you will not find yourself in heaven after you have taken your last breathe. He is the most important person in our lives and as that old song goes, "If I can't have You I don't want nobody else baby", I do not want to be anywhere without my Jesus. I want my status always to be pointed toward Him. I want to be free to be me, to be the person God created me to be. I want to laugh and joke and not have someone take it the wrong way. I want to be able to be silly with my friends and not take life so serious that we just surround ourselves with the bad. I want to be able to be free to be serious and share whats on my heart. I want to be able to cry with a girlfriend and then laugh over something we shared. I never want to put myself on a pedestal and think I am better than another. I never want to exclude someone from being my friend because their status is different. Our status should always, no matter what we are doing point to Christ. We can serve Christ with laughter and we can serve Him with a joyful heart. Its time we step out of our boxes and reach others without being afraid we are going to offend someone. My status on Facebook may say many things throughout the week, but I pray my status always and forever points to my love for my Savior~

Friday, December 18, 2009

SAVING CICADAS by Nicole Seitz

This is a story about family, about choices and how each choice we make effects the rest of our lives. This story begins with Priscilla, a single mother, her parents, Mona and Poppy as her children call him, along with her children, Rainey, who is seventeen and has down syndrome, and Janie, her smart, but outspoken, eight year old daughter. Priscilla finds out she is pregnant and instead of facing her circumstances head on, she leaves with her family in tow, driving across state and ending up back home where their lives together began in Forest Pines, South Carolina. Priscilla is looking for the father of her daughters that left on his motorcycle, never to be heard from again, that is until they met one night and she became pregnant for the third time. This book travels from place to place, never staying in one situation, but always adding to the story line. My favorite part of this story was when Poppy told the girls about the cicadas. While they are outside in the beautiful weather, they notice these little bugs everywhere, not making a sound, but the sight of them brings beauty. Poppy shares how every seventeen years the cicadas come out of the ground to lay their eggs, only to die shortly after. Little Rainey carries one with her throughout this story, and I believe the cicadas tells the theme of the story. That through the beauty of life, there is death and many things we do not understand. Priscilla finds her haunted past in South Carolina, a past of an abortion, a baby receiving her angel wings, and of parents hanging on to see their daughter come to healing. She does find healing with the help of a brother who has been left out of her life for years, now to come into her life as a Pastor, a brother and a counselor. She leans on him and asks him questions about life and promises to one day share her past with him. This story was somewhat hard for me to follow. I loved the meaning of this story, but felt the story line moved too much and left me feeling confused. I do like how the author brought her feelings of being Pro-life into her work. She shares through these characters how the mother feels, and the baby, the childhood she never had, and all that she has missed because of her mother's choice. This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for its review.

you need an advocate?

Do you ever feel as though you just need someone to listen, to understand, someone you can go to for anything, someone to stand in the gap for you, someone to comfort you, someone to help us in our times of trouble? For some we may need a lawyer, a doctor to move until the cure is found, someone to stand before the laws of our states and fight for the rights of the unborn, it may be a friend to be honest, to be our go to when we need set on the right track. Sometimes we just feel alone, we feel as though no one will be there when troubles come, when we start to fall no one will be there to catch us or when we need wisdom can we find it without judgement from another? We have an advocate that stood in the gap for us when He was our sacrifice for our sins. We have Jesus on our side through thick and thin. When the ice feels as though its ready to crack, He is there to lift us up and set us on solid ground.

The definition of advocate is: 1) One that pleads the cause of another. 2) One that defends or maintains a cause or proposal. 3) One that supports or promotes the interests of another.

1 John 2:1-2 "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."

Jesus is our Advocate. He is our propitiation (the merciful forgiveness, our Savior's sacrifice for our sins.) He is there for us 24/7, never leaving us, and the Holy Spirit is alive and living in those who walk with Jesus, reaching us with His word, His peace and His wisdom. We don't have to look any further for someone to stand for us. When we stand we have Jesus, the King of Kings right there by us, protecting us, and leading us in the right path. He is our accountability partner. He teaches us not to sin, how not to sin, by giving us His word and His Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts. If we will listen to His voice, if we will put our own voice aside, His will be louder as He is warning us not to sin, and showing us just how to stay on the right path He has chosen for us. We can be an advocate to the world through Him. We can stand and point others to Him, we can stand for the rights of the widow and the unborn, the sick and the weak. He has blessed us with all we need to take a stand, for He showed us the greatest example of taking a stand. It cost Him His life, for He was willing to give all. The question is, are we willing? Are we willing to make a difference in the world, in the lives of those around us with the Holy Spirit moving through us? As this world is changing, as it is moving farther away from Jesus and His word, we must be willing to stand, for there is no greater cause~

Jesus, thank You for being my advocate, for being there when I find myself alone, when I have no where to go. I can always find a place in Your arms, for Your love is greater than any and Your love is big enough for us all. I praise Your name today for standing in the gap for me, when I am so undeserving of Your love. Thank You for choosing me, for blessing me with Your love.
You are the Great Light House, a beacon in the night to lead us home~

Christmas is in our heart

When we picture Christmas, we have a vision in our minds of falling snow, a crackling fire, a home filled with loved ones, presents under the tree, and food that will feed an army. We picture the smiles of those we love, laughter as we share, and a warmth filling our home. The sweet scents of candles burning, of pies in the oven, and hot chocolate with roasting marshmallows. We picture someone reading the story of Christmas, of everyone knowing the meaning of our Savior's birth and how it is the most special gift of all. We wait to look out the window's and see loved ones pulling in the drive way. Maybe Christmas is not at your home, but you picture yourself traveling home, seeing your parents, resting in their hugs and seeing the smiles in their eyes after being gone from home for a while. Maybe your Christmas is pictured still yet different. Maybe your seeing your little one home from the hospital, laughing as she is healed. Maybe your picturing your sister home with your family, as she has been away for crimes of the past. Christmas dreams are different for us all. We all picture Christmas differently, as some picture a table full of food they have never had, some picture the warmth of a bed. Christmas cannot be found in a store, it cannot be found in a shopping mall, but it is found in our hearts. Christmas is about love, the love of Jesus and the love we carry in our hearts. In my vision, I picture my whole family here, my Mother healthy and active, my kids laughing and sharing, sweet moments spent alone with each, snow, lots of snow, cookies and cakes that we have all shared in making, a job for my husband that brings great joy to his heart, friends gathered for the evening, sharing coffee and treats. A long drive through the woods, looking at the beautiful snow falling, a long walk in the field, feeling the cool air and the beauty of God's creation. All of those things may not take place in my home, but they are taking place in my heart. I pray you have a Christmas filled with love and joy in your heart. May the Lord bring you blessings of peace and show you the beauty of His grace. Christmas is a wonderful time shared, whether your home is filled with many or filled with one, may you smile at the wonders of joy in your heart. May the Lord bring you a moment in which you see His wonder and glory shine before you. My heart is already there~ Merry Christmas

are you weeping?

There are those times in our lives when the weeping comes and we are lost in our sorrow. This is not new to my life, just as I am sure you too have had those trials come and they seem to take all you have, leaving you with your weeping, silently wishing God would bring you laughter instead. I have heard it said that crying can be good for the soul, and I think there is a point of healing in letting our tears fall, letting it out and letting it go. When we try to hold it all in, nothing good can come of that. Before we are honest with others, we must first be honest with ourselves and with the pain we are feeling. We all want to ignore pain, we want to run from our trials, but we could run forever and a day and our troubles would still be there. The amazing thing is God knows where we are, He is our hiding place, He is our safety. Nothing touches us before it first goes through His hands. Although I don't understand it all, and never will until heaven and many things are revealed to us, but I have learned that there is a purpose for everything under the sun. God doesn't bring trials without a cause, He doesn't want us with tears daily, but He is there to wipe them away. Jesus Himself weeped, and knows all about tears and pain, trials that come when we are not ready. If we look to our Savior, keeping our eyes upon Him, He will show us laughter after the tears. There will be joy again, real joy given by Him. Listen to this amazing verse. Luke 6:21c "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh again." What a message full of beauty. Jesus will laugh with us one day, one day when we see Him face to face. Our present suffering can be turned into joy by giving all to Him, trusting Him and believing all that is happening is to bring Him glory and honor. Through my trials, there is still those days of weeping, but when I take my eyes off the hurting, place them upon Jesus, He brings light to my life, He sets joy before me. It is in those sweet moments, those little moments that beauty is released from our tears and laughter begins. My friend I don't know where you are today, but whatever is on your heart, give it to Him today, let Him take your burdens and lighten your load. Share with Him all that is on your heart, share with a Pastor, a sweet friend who will listen and pray with you. You are never alone in your sorrow, Jesus is always there right by your side. Even as my trials are still here today, I know without a doubt that one day God will bring healing. He will deliver me from these trials and those I love will come to know Him by name, walking with Him sweeter than before. In the depths of your soul, reach in and pull out all that is hurting you today and open your hands to the Savior of the world. Leave the past where it is and begin today with a new attitude, living not just seeing the trial, but seeing the face of Jesus~

Thursday, December 17, 2009

does loving another come easy?

1 John 2:11 " For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."

1 John 2:18 " My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."

John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Luke 6:32-36 "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."

Is it easy for you to love ALL those around you? As we read this scripture, it kind of hits home at some points. Jesus knew it was not going to be easy for us to love all around us, just look how many times He speaks about love in the bible. He didn't just give His life for those He loved, for His close friends, He died for ALL people, black, white, red, and yellow. He died for the poor and the rich. He died for those who have much and those who have little. Its easy when a friend calls and is in need of help. We seem to jump right to it, but what happens when someone calls and we don't like them so much? We tend to say we are busy, or we just cannot give up our time. We can bump our cart into a friend and laugh about it, but if someone we don't know pushes their cart into us, we find ourselves angry. Its great to lend a book to a friend, but what about someone that is mean to us? Are we going to hand that book over so easily? We may not like everyone around us, we may have our differences, but we are to love all those around us, and respect them, for God created all. What do we really know of love? God showed us the greatest gift of all by loving us enough to die for us. Would you die for a friend? Most likely you would push them out of the way of the bus, but what about a stranger? Would you move to save them by endangering yourself? I am ashamed to say I have not loved all those around me, I have not showed the love of Jesus to all I come in contact with. So if I am not, am I showing Jesus to the world? How can I teach someone about the love of Christ when I myself am not living it? Remember those clicks in high school that hurt so much, unless you happened to be part of one? Well, they still exist today and they are in our churches too. There should be no click of people, we should be willing to accept everyone in love, never making a difference in anyone, but showing the same love we want Jesus to show us.May we be willing to open our eyes and check ourselves to see if we are in deed loving those around us. Anger and bitterness are not our friends and satan loves it when we are at odds with others, so just think of all that could be done for the glory of God if we showed love to one another, if we worked with one another and helped each other out not expecting anything in return. What if we loved with our eyes and ears closed, and just allowed Christ to move in our heart? Praise Jesus for the love that He has given so we too could love without judgement and have compassion for those around us~

Lord, please give us Your strength, Your love, and Your heart, so that we might open our hearts up to others and love those around us just as we want to be loved. Forgive us for not showing love to Your children and making a difference. May we open our arms to all around us, may You change us to look more like You. May we accept Your love and spread Your gospel by loving those around us~


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