Monday, October 31, 2011

He did it ALL for you

"Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the Lord's presence like a tender shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance. Nothing to attract us to him." Isaiah 53:1-2

Jesus made Himself available to us. He was approachable. Do you think you would have been able to pick Him out of a crowd? Jesus didn't come from money. He didn't have great lands to share. He wasn't beholding of grand beauty so that He stood out among all others. He was a simple man.

He was despised and rejected-a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care." Isaiah 53:3

Jesus wasn't that popular guy everyone wanted to be friends with. Most didn't want to be seen with Him. If so, that could have very well meant their death as well. We often feel so alone and rejected in our own way. Jesus knew that pain. Yet, He continued on in His ministry, knowing very well that some would turn away from Him. Would you have been one who stayed by His side?

"Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishement for His own sins! Isaiah 53:4

Can you imagine the weight He carried? The sin that covered Him? Really, would God punish His own Son? What I cannot imagine is why Jesus would want to die for me. He didn't have to do what He did. He chose to out of love. Out of obedience. He knew there was no other way.

"But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed." Isaiah 53:5

He knew it would take His life so that we could have life. Is there a love greater? If you were there that day would you have watched in horror as your Savior died or would you have turned  and went on your way? Can we really say what we would have done 2,000 years ago? Jesus was willing to take the chance that you would stay. He was willing to walk the walk so that you could know Him today. After all this time, He is still calling. He isn't giving up anytime soon. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His love is never going to change.

"All of us like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's path to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. Unjustly condemened, He was led away. No one cared that He died without descendants, that His life was cut short in midstream. But He was struck down for the rebellion of my people." Isaiah 53:6-8

Can you see the cross? That cross no longer holds our Savior. That cross is empty today. Even death could not hold Him down. He won that battle. He carries victory in His name. Although He was silent on that day, He is silent no more. Can you hear His whisper of love? Can you feel His forgiveness? His grace is only a prayer away. Through His willing heart, He gave us life eternal. He died a criminal's death for you and me. If it was only you, He still would have given all so that you could have life everlasting.

"He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man's grave. But it was the Lord's good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord's good plan will prosper in His hands." Isaiah 53:9-10

See, Jesus wasn't the sinner in need of a Savior. We are. We are sinners in need of Salvation and Jesus is there, standing in the gap for you and me. He paved a way so that life could reach us. Heaven is real and is forever. On the other side of this earth lies a place so grand we can't even fathom the beauty it holds. A beauty that is ours because of a Savior that holds the scars of our sin debt paid in full.

"When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satified. And because of His experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. I will give Him the honors of a victorious soldier, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels." Isaiah 53:11-12

His death was for the greater good. God does nothing but good. He cannot do evil. Jesus was just in every way and through His life we find honor and royality. He has left us an inheritance with Him. We are His desendants. Won't you choose Him today? He has given all for you. He was silent so that all of heaven could hear your name being spoken by our sweet Savior. His life just isn't a story. It is real. Through His life we see life. There is no other way. The cost had to be. Our debt was paid in full. There is no I.O.U, my friend. All He is waiting for is your R.S.V.P. He is patiently waiting for your reply. He has laid out the red carpet for you. He has made life possible through His death. That's how much He loves you.

"But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God's condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." Romans 5:8-11

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can Halloween be a day to let our light shine for Jesus?

If you were to ask me a year ago what my thoughts were about Halloween I would have said, "Evil, evil and more evil." My family has not celebrated this day for many years. Now, I still do not like anything about this day or what it represents, but my thoughts are changing with time. I love it when the Lord opens my eyes to new ideas. When we grow with Him the possibilities are endless!

I can read verse after verse about staying away from all evil. I have researched the meaning of this day and it's origins. So close to this day are the celebrations of All Saints Day and Day of the Dead. There are celebrations of all kinds at all times of the year. It seems if you place a date on a calendar for a celebration people are going to celebrate.

Where do you stand on this day? This is one of those days of the year that seem to bring people face to face with their convictions. We seem to want our children to be happy. We don't want them to feel left out. So, what do you do? Do you not celebrate at all or do you have your own traditions on this day? Have you thought of alternatives? Some think any alternative is still taking part. I can tell you if my children were still young I wouldn't allow them to dress up and walk the streets in search of treats. But, I might give thought to this new conviction the Lord has placed on my heart. Could it be a day to teach your children to share Christ? Can we share Christ without partaking of the evil? Could it be a day in which your children could open the door with you and make this an opportunity to allow Christ to shine through you by simply showing hospitality?

We seem to look at this day and think, "Well now, what shall we do?" Some think taking a trip to a haunted house is fun. You will not find me there. I do not think haunted houses are okay. In fact, I think they are downright evil. I don't think there is anything good about them. I don't like vampire books or Harry Potter anything. If it has anything to do with darkness we are to stay away from. Far, far away. So, what gives with Halloween?

I read an article a few days ago that gave me new insight. It said that all good Christians should celebrate Halloween. I peeked at this article just out of curiosity, because after reading the title I just knew it had to be wrong. But I was blessed to keep on reading. It said that this was the only day of the year where lost people were coming to your door. Think about that for a moment. Usually, it's the other way around. Usually, you find Christians going door to door sharing the gospel, but on this night, your home is being flooded with people.

I am not saying decorate your home with ghosts and goblins. I am not saying hang out orange and yellow lights. I am saying, maybe it is a great idea to open your door to your neighborhood and meet the folks who live in your town. It is a great way to pass out bibles and tracks. It is a night where you can invite everyone who comes to your door to church or a church close to their home. It's a night where we can simply love those who ring our door bell.

Maybe we could have pumpkins with crosses carved in them. Maybe there could be a bible verse hanging brilliantly from your door all lit up for everyone to see. Instead of dressing up, what if we just gave a hello and a giggle at the little ones coming for candy.

It is a night where we can show our neighbors who Christ is by simply showing kindness and love. Opening your door to another is a wonderful way to let your community know who you are and even more so, who Christ is.

I don't know, the Lord is continuing to teach me and I am so grateful. I really don't like this day at all, but should we be hiding out and closing our blinds? Is this really a time to not answering our door? If we answer our door in love are we really inviting evil in? I was so against trunk or treats and churches participating in anything to do with Halloween, but just maybe I am wrong. Could it be?

This day is one that is discussed by many. We take a mighty stand on either side. I think this day must be a personal decision made by each family according to how the Lord is speaking to your heart. Believe me, I am just as shocked as you. I was that girl standing firm on the side of NOT celebrating Halloween. We must remember to respect one an other's decisions about celebrating this day. Some choose to partake, while others take a strong stand against it. Each family must follow their convictions. Although I do not like the day, I can agree that every day is a day to celebrate the Lord and share His love.

Now, you won't see me dressed up, nor will you see me watching a scary movie or attending a haunted house. Since we live out in the country no one comes to our door on Halloween, but just maybe if we lived in a neighborhood, I just might be changing my mind this year about handing out candy. Just what if with each piece of candy dropped in a bag you said, "God bless you, little one"? Just what if you prayed as each little child came to your door? Maybe give out Christian pencils and little coloring pads. I am beginning to think this night could be a night for real change if Christians stood and shined brightly for Christ. After all, aren't we suppose to let our lights shine?

What does Jesus look like?

If you were asked to paint a picture of what you thought Jesus looked like just what would you paint? Our imaginations can take us away on a dream cloud of just what Jesus might look like, but do we really know? I think we do.

Look at that sweet baby in your arms today. The grandmother laying in room 201 down corridor 3 in the nursing home. The soldier fighting on the battle lines of Afghanistan. The pastor humbly reading from God's Word. The mother feeding her child the last piece of bread. The daddy working in the lumber yard late hours to provide for his family. The child watching veggie tales giggling with all her might. The homeless woman begging for a dollar. The nurse caring for the young mother breathing her last breath as cancer steals away her life. The youth that goes in late to church and sits in the last pew. The boy who stays after school to help a classmate with homework.

All those sunrises and sunsets. The billowing clouds and the starlit nights. The mountains that climb the sky and the valleys that lie close to the river. The tiniest of rain drops to the greatest whale. A rainbow filled with dazzling color. Trees billowing in the wind. A calm pond filled with jumping fish. The puppy that gives kisses and the elephant that gives a ride all are reflections of what God looks like.

He is that love you see in your husband's eyes and in the touch of your mother. He is the sweet hug you receive as your child jumps into your arms. All of creation shouts His name. Great or small, Jesus is alive and in us all. We were made in His image. As the Holy Spirit lives within us, He makes Himself known by love. A smile and a tender hello speak His name. The sweetness of forgiveness and the tender touch of grace. Mercy that finds us on that dark night. The hand that reaches for us as we stand on the edge ready to jump.

All we must do is look around and we can see His splendor. In all things beautiful He shines through. So, how would you paint Him? In all His glory, all of creation shouts His name.

"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we see and the things we can't see-such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him." Colossians 1:15-16

"So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them." Genesis 1:27

"Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16

Love like a mother hen

Don't you love verses that remind you that there is a place of safety? Safety in the arms of Jesus. He will protect us. He will cover us. He stands guard over us. He is that warm place where we can find shelter. Just like a mother hen loving her chicks, Jesus is loving us. He forever has His eye on us. Sure, we might trail off just a bit, but He knows exactly where we are. He will go to any cost to bring us back into His fold. Isn't that what He did on the cross?

Walk into a chicken pen where there is a mother hen with newly hatched chicks and you better watch yourself. She isn't going to allow you to get close to her chicks. She will take you on no matter how big you are. You can come at her with everything you have and she is going to stand there as if to say, "Bring it on, bring it on! I'm ready to go!"

We can understand this kind of love. This is the kind of love we have for our own children. I believe just about everyone knows not to mess with my children. I will come unglued as I stand and protect my children. It would be hard to find a mother who wouldn't be willing to do whatever it took to protect her children.

So, then we should be able to relate when Jesus is giving all for us. Just as we want our children to remain under our wings of protection, we should be able to realize the depth of the love Christ has for us, His children. Why do we always try to push Him away? All He is trying to do is protect us. He wants to guard us against all evil. He wants to cover us with His love, but here we are, trying with all our might to do our own thing. I am forever that little chick running off trying to find my own way, only to figure out later how very much I need my Savior.

Those mother hens stay busy watching over their young. Jesus is staying busy watching over us. There isn't a moment when He isn't watching us. When danger approaches He is right there covering us with His wing. God's love and affection for us is very real. If you notice, little chicks follow their mother everywhere. She leads and they follow. That is all God is wanting for us.

We NEVER have to fear because God ALWAYS has HIS eye upon us. His wings are wide enough for all of us and comforting enough that we feel as though we are the only chick He loves. Just as the mother hen protects her chicks from the winds and rains, God too will protect us in the storms of life. We can depend on God. We can trust our Savior.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, 'Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'" Luke 13:34-35

"Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hid me in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 17:9

"How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:7

"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by." Psalm 57:1

"Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!" Psalm 61:4

"Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 63:7

"He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection." Psalm 91:4

Is that pew feeling comfortable?

Today my son and I visited a new church. I must say, when we woke up we were excited about our new adventure to this new church. I am sure if you looked close enough you could see a little skip in our walk.

As we entered the church, a church we have been in before, it was as though we were a fish out of water. You know that feeling. Your totally out of your comfort zone. Everything is new. Kind of exciting, but you would love to feel some comfort about now. Kind of like that love for down home country food. No matter how your feeling, when that plate is set in front of you, you are feeling warm love, my friend.

We felt nothing of the sort. There was one man who spoke to us as we entered the sanctuary.  Not one person even noticed we were visitors..or did they? Now, let me move ahead just a bit. The pastor was awesome. The message was amazing. Made me think outside the box and I LOVE that. But the thing that was missing was almost the one thing your hoping to receive.

The music was some of the best I have heard. I can tell you, it wasn't a knock your socks off worship service, but the Lord was speaking to me loud and clear. Sometimes what we expect is not at all what we are needing. God seems to be in the business of giving the unexpected. It doesn't have to be a service that makes you shout, cry or dance in your pew, to make a difference in your life. Sometimes it can just be you and Jesus taking care of business right there in the pew. As worship came to a close we stood to leave and we were just feet among the crowd moving outdoors to our cars.

I walked out to my car and before I started the engine I just sat there. My son was silent for a moment and then we both said at the same time, "So, what did ya think?" My son said, "Mom, there was something missing." From our conversation I can tell you, the Lord is doing a work in our hearts. We are searching. We are seeking Him on every level. We want to know Christ like never before. We want to be changed. We want to serve Him with a new passion.

So, I sat there in the warmth of the car. All I could think about at the moment was turning the heat on and just sitting there for a moment. My son said to me, "Mom, how many times have we ever made people feel like we just felt?" You know what I mean. We walk into our church and make a run for our regular pew. That pew where we feel nice and comfortable. We get so use to sitting in our pews we forget to look around. We miss the new people walking through the door. We are so caught up in ME that we forget to look around at others. We even get used to just speaking to those few in our comfortable little circles.

In a rush we walk past others, sometimes not even looking them in the eye when we say, "Hi, how are ya today?" Goodness, do we even stop long enough for the other to answer? Do we even want to know, really? Lets be honest.

Today the Lord spoke very clear to my heart. I am to be a humble servant of the Lord. I am to reach out to others and make them feel loved, welcome and warm. It is my prayer that I never pass by another in church and make them feel as though they are just a shadow. I know I have walked right by people before not even paying attention, but being focused on something else, and I have probably made them feel as if they didn't even matter. Why do we do that? Why don't we take time with people?

Today, everything is so quick. We can shoot someone a text or an email. I think like God, we should be more into one on one. I need to step out of my pew and reach out to others. I need to be a little less cozy and a little bit more uncomfortable. It seems the more we reach out the easier it just might become. Just think if we are reaching out we aren't going to be so complainingly crabby about whether or not Jodie spoke to us today or whether Sam reached out for our hand. We are going to be so busy doing the Lord's work we will find ourselves satisfied and complete in Him. Whether we like it or not, it is our job to make others feel loved and welcome. Don't we want to feel that way?

So, what can I take away from today? Be a greeter! Smile and welcome people with a pure heart. Take time and look into the eyes of the one passing by as you say, "Hi Nancy, how are you today?" Ask with a pure heart and wait for her answer. She might just be in need of a friend willing to listen and pray with her. Switch pews once in a while and have conversations with those on the other side of church. Take the initiative and make a point to make another person feel welcome sitting in the pew next to you.

"Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality." Romans 12:9-13

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just simply be you

It doesn't take us long to look at another person and decide if they are real or fake. Think about it. We spend a lot of time trying to be someone we aren't. Just what if we spent our time seeking God for who we were created to be? Being the REAL you is so much better than being the FAKE you.

It seems we can see the heart of a person if we look close enough. So what about you? What is your heart saying? Do you think your not good enough so you must become someone else? Are you trying so hard to fit into the crowd you lose all sense of who you are to be? It's easily done when we look to the world for who we should be.

We often just think of girls as trying to fit in, but young men struggle with this as well. For some reason we are an insecure people. We are forever changing ourselves. Now, there is nothing wrong with improving ourselves. We are after all a work in progress. But when we begin to think we are not good enough or there is something wrong with us, there lies the problem. It becomes a vicious cycle of looking in the mirror and not liking who is looking back. We must get to that point we not only like ourselves, but we LOVE ourselves. We can't be concerned with what others think of us. We just have to be ourselves, who God created us to be. Praise the Lord, He created each of us different. I am not so sure the world could handle more than one Robin Prater. lol

Do we find ourselves acting one way around one group and then another way around another set of friends? One thing we must think about is, who are we when we are all alone? I can tell you when it's just me at home I am more comfortable in many ways. I act goofy. I dance around the house. I sing at the top of my lungs. But there too is another side to that freedom. There are days I turn on music that I love dancing to when I know I shouldn't be listening to it. That is a real struggle for me. I LOVE music of all kinds. What about television? I love old movies as well. Set me up with an old movie and I am good for hours, but put a comedy in front of me and I will laugh until I pee. What I am laughing at isn't always humor God would find funny. There is a fine line there isn't there? We seem to be one way at home. One way in church. One way with this friend and one way with the other. So, who are we?

That isn't for others to figure out. We should just stop asking others, "Do you like this? Does this look good? What do you think of my new hair?" Ladies, if you like it, wear it. If you want your hair purple, be you! Stop worrying about how others see you and consider how the Lord sees His child. That's right. His child. You belong to Him. You were created by Him. Do we really understand that? I think sometimes that is too cool to even fathom for me. God loves me. He really loves me. It isn't anything special I do. It's not what I do or how much money I have. It isn't at all about what I look like. It's just all about Him loving me for me. The greatest thing of all is, He isn't comparing me to others. He doesn't look at me and say, "Now Robin, why can't you be more like Crystal?"

See, the thing is, the more we know Christ, the more He shows us about our self. The closer we are to Him, the closer we are at the person He has created us to be. It's hard. I know. We want everyone to like us and we really want to fit in, but not everyone is going to like us no matter what we do. It's not about our relationship with the world any way. It's about our relationship with Christ. The world will forever tell us we are not good enough. Just pick up any magazine. The cover is all about changing you to become someone else. The latest styles, the coolest clothes and all the illustrated photos of what we should look like. All from what type of jean we should be wearing to what color best suits us. You can even find ads about what celebrity you look like. How about just showcasing women in their real beauty? Showing women who are not trying to be someone they aren't, but women who stand out because they are who they were created to be. You will NEVER find yourself and who you are to be in another person!

When we are real that is when others see Jesus through us. The world needs to see our struggles. They need to see our fears. We seem to hide all our emotions and put on the face. You know that face. That one that says, "All is perfect in my life. I am all good." In our deepest struggles is when others see Christ working in us. They see us being lifted up by Him. It's then they begin asking questions like, "I just don't know how you do it." There is your opening to share your faith in Christ. If all is so good and perfect in our lives why are we in need of a Savior?

When we act fake all people see is plastic. There is more to us than what is on the outside. We don't have to hide behind rose tainted glass. We need to stop putting on a show and just be REAL. When we hurt, why not be honest and say, "I hurt"? We don't have to put on a fake smile and giggle when someone walks by. I think we can all spot a fake pretty easy. With Jesus we don't have to pretend with who we are. He loves us just the way we are. We don't have to be a certain way to receive His love. In His time and in His own way, He does the changing. That's why His perfect timing is so cool. When He does the changing we are ready for it. We understand it and we are comfortable with it.

Just simply be you.

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they out number the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!" Psalm 139:13-18

The sweet spot

If you have played baseball or softball you know that when you are up to bat you have one of two choices. Stand and wait for a good pitch or swing at anything that comes by. Now, when we swing at anything there is always the problem of striking out. Missing that pitch all together. So, we take our chances with each swing.

But what happens if we just wait with patience for that perfect pitch. You know the pitch I am talking about. The one where you see the ball coming into the zone and you know it's your pitch. The one you have been waiting on to sail into your bat. The ball hits that sweet spot of the bat and you are off and running as the ball is soaring through the air.

Many times in our quickness to swing we hit the ball and feel the sting in our hands. When you feel that sting you know you should have waited. Hind sight seems to give us a sting sometimes, doesn't it? We want everything in our timing. We also want everything our way. We must remember we are not the one doing the pitching. We are the one learning to swing. Hm..maybe we would say, learning to wait.

Waiting on the Lord is not always easy. Learning that all things happen in His perfect timing takes patience. Even more so, it takes trust. We want what we want, but we must realize we don't always get things the way we want. God has other ideas. He sees every situation in our lives as an opportunity to soar into greatness. For us, sometimes that might mean missing a ball or two. There is a humbleness that comes from striking out. It too is a time of great learning.

That saying, "Practice makes perfect", is wisdom for our ears. We are a work in progress. Each and every situation in life gives us an opportunity to learn and grow. We must remember that when we reach heaven's gates we will be perfected in every way. That only comes from trusting the Lord and having faith. It's nothing we do on our own. We just stay focused on Him. Keep our eye on the ball and when He says, "Swing", we swing with determination and purpose. When we stand with confidence we can swing with a boldness that only comes from a belief that we can do anything if given the opportunity. God gives us that strength and courage to face each pitch. Sometimes those balls are coming in fast and hard. We gotta learn not to step out of the batters box in fear.

"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." Philippians 3:12-14

"Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

We can find that sweet spot with Christ if we will just wait on Him. He has so much for us. Too many times we fail to see His purposes because we are in too much of a hurry trying to figure things out on our own. Just like swinging at everything. We must learn when to swing and when to wait for the next pitch.

Next time you hear, "Swing batter batter, swing", in your head, remember, you don't have to swing at every pitch. Wait on that perfect one made just for you. That ball will not be the only thing soaring. You will find yourself rounding those bases with a new found confindence that will carry you further than you have ever dreamed before.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


(This is an article I wrote March 10, 2009. I wanted to share this post with you again. It was one of the first posts I had written here in my Nest. I hope it will be a blessing to you today. Maybe just a reminder that it's not what is on the outside, but all about what is on the inside.)


I believe this is the year of my firsts. I have learned to crochet, to sew, and now to paint. Last night I got to paint with two amazingly, talented woman who are such a blessing to me. (Betsy and Ms. Joy) I am not quite sure if they really know how much they mean to me or just what they have brought into my life. The example they lead with and the loving wisdom they share with me opens my heart wider to all the Lord has for me as I grow in Him. Don't you love how He places people in your life that teach you? People who make an impact on your life by just being present.

We are doing a painting project, and when it is finished it will look so grand. As we were painting last night, I noticed I had paint everywhere. Not an easy task for this girl who has never painted before. We are painting the ladies bathroom at church. As you stand back you can see the work ahead of you, but not until you really get in there and get dirty do you realize just how much work is before you.

You have to get down in positions that are not so fun, and you have to stretch, and make sure your not dripping paint, (which I seem to have difficulty with!!!). We are painting over the walls. Making it look better. More beautiful, more soft, more inviting for the ladies of our church. Before we started painting, two great guys (Steve and Jake) came and sanded down the walls, and prepared for us what we could not do alone. They had to get all the old stuff off. All the old crud and build up. You know, the stuff that has to be removed in order for the new paint to shine. If that old paint isn't stripped off the new just won't shine bright. It will have a dull cast to it. We want the room to be inviting.

When I got home last night I started thinking about this room we are painting.  It came to me that we are like those walls we are stripping away. Many times we just want to paint over the old stuff. Leaving behind all the old crud and chipping paint. We just cover it up, and move on, hoping everyone sees the beauty on the outside, and doesn't notice the underneath.

See, if we don't get the stuff off the walls first, we are going to have a problem. That paint isn't going to stick well, no matter how many coats we put on. Its like that with our sin. We get so use to it and we just keep covering it up. Over time it builds up and well, it just doesn't look pretty any longer. It is no longer inviting. No matter how much we try to decorate the outside the inside is still the same.  

First, we have to realize we do have a sin problem. Our sin is like that old paint. We have to get in there with a scraper. It's a lot a hard work getting all that old junk out. It is especially hard to get all that splatter off of us. We search for cleaner or whatever we have handy to try to wash clean. We can try with all our might. We get to the point where we realize we can't do it alone. We need some help. This is where we understand we need God's grace and forgiveness. We can go to Christ and He knows just what to do. He knows right where to begin. For us to look more like Him, He will begin in our heart. Change is quite humbling and ever so sweet to be washed by our Savior.

It may take a while for us to get some jobs done right. Some seem to take longer than others, but look how beautiful they turn out when we take our time and do it right. When we can go to Him and  He will clean our hearts out. When we get right with Him, we look beautiful on the inside. It doesn't take a lot of fluff to make the outside shine, since the inside is already shining with Gods glory. The next time you take on a project, don't just look at it and be overwhelmed at what is before you. Look at the project before you not as a job, but as an opportunity for Christ to do a work in you and through you.

Christ knows our past, present and future. He is waiting for us to put the brush down and allow Him to do some renovating. He is asking us to allow Him the room He needs to rebuild and refurbish what He has created in love.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24

"Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You." Psalm 25:4-5

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shaving cream, fried eggs and basballs

Some little girls watch their mamas in the kitchen. I sat in the bathroom watching my daddy shave. He woke up every morning at 4:00am to ready for work. I would hear the alarm and I was up. My mom would make him breakfast and make him a few extra fried egg sandwiches to take for lunch. Dad would sit down at the table and I was there right next to him eating away at an egg sandwich covered in mustard.

I was just a little thing, but old enough to crawl up on the bathroom counter. I would grab my dad's shaving cream, you know, that cool blue kind, and smear it all across my face. I would then pretend I was shaving. Dad never let me use his razor, but he would hand me his little comb and that would be my pretend razor.

A few years later he would be throwing baseballs at me. I would hold my glove up high, ready to catch the ball. Dad always said, "If you want to learn how to play softball, we are gonna learn baseball first." So, there was never a softball in our house. I remember that first baseball I didn't catch. I guess I didn't have my glove ready in time. Smack, right in the nose. That is how I have a crooked spot at the top of my nose. Sure enough, broke my nose. Blood everywhere and here comes my mom screaming. Oh, I can still see it. She was not a happy woman. I didn't even cry. I went inside, got cleaned up, grabbed my glove and was right back outside ready for more.

Fishing was my dad's favorite pass time. I love to fish. Of course, I caught my first catfish with my dad. He was over the top excited. Then came that first bass. I think he was pretty much excited every time I did something. He did have to untangle quite a few of my lines I would cast into the trees. I never did have the gift my dad carried, but the love for the sport was always present.

Anytime I smell shaving cream it brings me back to that day watching my dad. Playing softball takes me back to summer at home. To this day I still love eating fried egg sandwiches. Now, I eat them with my husband.

Time seems to play tricks on us. When we are small we really aren't thinking of those days when mom or dad won't be around. In fact, that is something we never imagine. I know I didn't. I never expected to lose my dad to cancer. Not my dad, with forearms like guns. Not my strong dad that seemed to overshadow everything in this little girls life. To me, he was bigger than life. Even at nineteen, watching my dad die, that is still today the hardest thing I have ever faced. All it takes is a smell, a waft of air, to take me back in time to those days of hollowness.

In those days I didn't know who Jesus was. Sure, I knew there was a God, but I didn't want anything to do with Him. I figured what people said about Him couldn't be true. How could any loving God take my dad in such an ugly way? Why would He want to rip him from my life?

When we lose those we love we never understand. Nothing makes sense to us. We don't have to pretend. In fact, that is pretty much what I had to do. I had to remain strong for my mom. I only cried in silence, in the darkness of my room. A room which was no longer in my childhood home, but in my sister's basement. When dad died, everything in my life changed. I went from smiling, to having a broken heart and searching for healing. The problem was, I was looking in all the wrong places. I so wanted to see him. I missed him so. There are nights that I still dream about him. It's like a dream in living color. A dream I don't want to wake from. But I do. I close my eyes and try with all my might to go back.

Life today is different for me. I know who Jesus is today. I have known Him as my Savior for nineteen years now. You would think in nineteen years I would have a better understanding. No, it still hurts to think about. My dad was cremated. All I have left of him is ashes. Do you know when one is cremated they give you the ashes in a beautiful box, but too, they hand you a brown paper bag. Yes, a brown paper bag, held my dad. I took those ashes and walked down to the river in front of our home and sat on the bench we fished on together. I opened that bag and placed my hand in ever so gently. It was a moment in time I will never forget. Those ashes scattered across the wind like an angel taking flight. It was as though time stood still for just a moment. In that moment I felt a peace wash over me. Today, I know that peace was the Holy Spirit. Even then, He was guiding me. Oh, I didn't know, but He knew just what I needed. This young woman, just wanted to be a little girl again eating fried egg sandwiches  and catching baseballs with her dad.

When someone we love dies we often hear many things. One that I heard often was, "In time you will heal." I can tell you, that is a crock. Time doesn't heal pain like that. It is as real today as it was then. But one thing does happen. God gives me grace to overcome. Today I have a son that looks identical to his grandfather. A grandfather that would be so very proud. I can only imagine them meeting in heaven. Yes, heaven. See, even though I didn't grow up in a Christian home, one day when the sun was shining bright, a pastor came to visit my dad. My dad had wanted to be a Jehovah's Witness Pastor in His younger days. So, he knew God, he just didn't know Jesus on the level as His Savior. But on this day, my dad, asked the Lord to come into his heart. At the time I really didn't understand that and really didn't care to know. But later the Lord would open my eyes to redemption and forgiveness. He would see my husband walking next to me into our home church and see me sitting there in the pew holding my son. I heard our pastor speak of God's love and it was as though my feet just took on a power all their own. I walked the aisle that day and met the Jesus that my dad had found. My life has never been the same.

Friend, if you are hurting today, you may not be able to go back to yesterday, but you can embrace today. You can seek a Savior that understands your pain. He has felt your shattered heart and knows the brokenness you feel. He knows how we feel betrayed and alone. He didn't take my father as a punishment. Through my dad's cancer he had time to know Jesus. Jesus was doing a work in his heart. A heart that needed change. He set in motion a life everlasting and even though I didn't understand, He was placing before me a path that only pointed to Him.

Let go of all that you cannot change and embrace your memories that bring a smile. Close your eyes and envision the wondrous times with gladness. Life happens and not everything seems fair. Sometimes life is downright hard. I have been there where I wanted to give up. But for the grace of God I am here living for Him and serving Him with joy. I have learned that in the midst of my pain, He brings from those ashes a beauty that only He can create.

Allow the Lord to heal you today, by simply trusting Him and surrendering all your pain and anger at the foot of the cross. Lay it down, once and for all. He will carry your load of heaviness, so you can find a place of rest in memories to light your heart with a smile.

"For I know the plans I have for you,  says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." Jeremiah 29:11-13

"Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who hope in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:28:31

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New love

Remember that new love feeling? Your on top of the world and nothing else seems to matter. Just the sound of his voice makes your toes wiggle. To see his face makes butterflies take flight in your tummy. Oh, to hold his hand or feel his arms around you brings such a safe feeling, doesn't it?

My son is newly in love. Yes, his first real love. I have always taught my son, "Never date a girl your not thinking of marrying." Some might think, what in the world, but it's true. Why waste your time or her time? If your not going to give all your heart, why give any? In love, you just can't hold back. It's one of those things where you can't protect your heart. You love with all the love you have. Isn't that the kind of love our Savior has for us?

Now, don't get me wrong. You don't just dive in with your eyes closed. You take each step slow and enjoy the love that is blossoming. Sometimes it isn't love, but a spark that ignites feelings we are only dreaming of. There is more to love than feelings. We are all searching for something, someone, to fill us and make us whole. No one person can do that. That completeness only comes from God. I wish I could have learned that a little quicker.

I was that young girl searching for that love I didn't feel at home. Oh, in my heart I knew my dad loved me. We were close, but as far as saying the words, "I love you", it never happened until my dad got sick and cancer invaded our lives. It was just a few days before he died that I heard the words that would bless my heart forever. My mom didn't say it much either. In fact, I only remember her saying it when we were off to bed. Of course, she showed it in many ways, but to hear the words, brings so much more at times. I am that girl who wants to hear my husband say, "I love ya, babe." Just this morning he texted me telling me that he was praying for me and how much he loved me. That pretty much set me up for the day.

I have been married to my husband for twenty years. Sometimes it seems like yesterday we married and others, well, it seems like forty years. I can still get those butterfly feelings even after twenty years. No one can make me laugh like my husband. We can finish each others sentences and know the thoughts of the other without ever uttering a word.

When we began dating my husband would work all day and then drive four hours to see me and then four hours back home. We would knock ourselves out trying to show the other just how much we loved them. We wanted to spend every waking hour together. If we couldn't be together than we were calling one another and spending lots of time on the phone I might say. My point is, we did everything we could to show the other we were thinking of them. We did sweet things for one another. Gave each other gifts and I cannot tell you how many times we would say, "I love you." I felt like a princess.

I hear so many complain about their husbands. For me, I don't see my husband every day. He is off on the road and I miss him when he isn't here. I would love for him to be home daily. I don't think some wives know the blessings they have before them. Sure, I can joke with some girlfriends about how my husband might pester me at times, but that is just joking. My life has never been the same since he entered.

We have had some rough times. I mean times I didn't think we were going to make it. But no one ever packed a bag and walked out the door. Even if those new feelings weren't the same, there was still a love that remained. Our marriage is stronger today than ever before. I feel like all those hard times we went through were only stepping stones to a love much greater. Who knew a love could grow even stronger?

But there are times today that I catch myself telling my husband, "Hold on a sec. I just need to finish this first." I would have never put him off to spend time with him and put something else ahead of him when we were dating. Why do that now? Why do I catch myself not knocking myself out, but very well, taking him for granted? Because I just got use to him being here. Just because it's been twenty years, doesn't mean I should stop trying to show him in every way possible how much I love him. Our love should still be growing and blossoming. Not being stagnant and it's easy in today's world when every one is so busy with stuff that fills our life. Never allow stuff come between you and the one you love.

So that brings me to think of my love relationship with Christ. When I read His Word I not only see His love for me, but I know it's real and lasting. I can feel His presence in my life and know that I am forever safe in His will. I feel like He has wrapped me with grace and surrounded me with a love that is never changing. Sure, He might be disappointed in my choices at times, but He is never disappointed in me. I am forever His child and He is forever my love. When everything is dark and I feel alone from the struggles of the day I can envision myself crawling upon His lap and even better I can hear His voice calming me.

Life brings many changes. Feelings come and go. We can feel happiness and anger all in the blink of an eye. We measure our happiness on our feelings and circumstances. A new love is fresh. It makes us feel alive. We feel special and as though we matter. As time passes, what happens to that new love feeling? Are you as in love with Christ today as you were when you first met Him? What has changed in your relationship? I can tell you, if things are different or not the way you would like it to be, well, it isn't because He has left you. It is because you have left Him.

He should be our first love. Where He goes, we should go. Wherever we are, He should be. Side by side our love remains and grows forever. I think sometimes we forget just how special His love really is. We gotta get back to our first love, my friends. We gotta make a change in our lives that takes us right there at that first moment we first knew Him. He has always known us. Goodness, He created us in love. He died for us because of love. He is creating a forever home for us and will return for us all because of love. It is the reason for His being.

Remember those love letters from that first boy who made you blush? As great as those were, they do not compare to the love letter God has written just for you. Open it today and begin turning the pages. There is no greater love than the love that your Savior has for you. It doesn't come and go based on feelings. Someone else isn't going to come and take your place. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you. He wants to take a stroll with you. He wants to take your hand and lead the way to a life filled with treasures. Oh girls, as much as we love diamonds, there is nothing compared to the gifts that our Savior has for us.

Maybe you just haven't met your first love yet. Let me introduce Him to you. His name is Jesus Christ and He gave His life on the cross so that you could live forever in heaven, a place that He designed just for you. He chose to take your sin upon Himself and die a criminals death because His love for you is as real as real gets. He has been waiting for you your whole life. Just ask Him. He has no problem with saying, "I love you", or showing you just how much you mean to Him.

"For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him." John 3:16-17

"No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will over be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39

"Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

"But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

"There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going." John 14:2-4

Best Friends Forever

Friends come and go in life, don't they? If we are blessed with one good friend in this life, well then, we are blessed indeed. A friend is one to treasure. They are to be held dear to our hearts. While reading this morning I found myself in 1 and 2 Samuel. What a life David lived. I mean, he was a man after God's own heart. He was not perfect in any way at all, but the thing that is of treasure here, is that he tried to live for God. Sure, he made mistakes. He faltered more than a few times. But each time, he knew. He knew what God had for him and he chose to do it his own way. But each time, God lead him right back to where he was to be.

Have you been there with David a time or two? Your trying with all your heart to walk in faith and then out of no where, you make a choice that effects the rest of your life? Not only your life, but the life of another? David was blessed with a friend like, Jonathon. Jonathon was ready and willing to stand with David no matter the cost. He warned him of his father's threats and he protected him with his life. Have you wondered where your friends are of late? Have they been there by your side through the difficult times in your life or do they just seem to pop over when all is good? A friend isn't to cause you to fall. They are to lift you up. They are to help you be accountable in a loving way. Sometimes all we need is for a friend to say, "I understand."

David and Jonathan had a bond together. They had a vow of friendship. I am not so sure a vow means much these days. We seem to take friends and throw them aside when they aren't needed any longer. Ever feel like that yourself? A friend is to stick to you like a brother. There is a bond between friends. It says, "I'm not giving up on you and your not going to give up on me. We will walk this journey together." But too often than not we just end up walking away in anger or a misunderstanding. Was that friendship not of any value? What I love about their friendship is they were not expecting too much or too little from one another. They weren't looking for something in the other that they weren't willing to give themselves.

"So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, 'May the Lord destroy all your enemies!' And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself." 1 Samuel 20:16-17

What is beautiful between this friendship is that it is based on love and faith. Not in each other, but in God. How they lived for God speaks volumes at the kind of people they were. How they walked with the Lord shines light on what kind of friend they were to be. Their trust began in God. He was the center, the core, of  their friendship. A friendship that lasted until their last days. A friend will walk that mountain of glory with you and help carry you through the valley of humility.

Friendship is something to be honored. Not used. It is something to cherish. Not take for granted. Friendships come in all shapes and sizes. God places people in our direct path that we wouldn't think would fit our friend mold, but in fact, God knows us better than any other. Until we reach beyond our circle and outside of our box, we will never be blessed with the friendships God has for us.

God is that Forever Friend. He is that Friend who is always there. He isn't leaving just because we make a mistake or take a step back. He is that Encourager that says, "Don't stop now. Keep the faith!" He goes before us each and every day. He stands beside us through thick and thin. He stands guard behind us so that there is nothing to fear.

"God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and He makes my way perfect." 2 Samuel 22:31-33

We can look to David's and Jonathon's friendship as a guide to what friendship means. The strength and honor these two men carried could have only been given by God. A God who led them to victory. Who washed them with mercy and grace. They carried valor in their swords every where they went. Isn't that how we are to be? Shouldn't we stand in truth?

Lets be that kind of friend to another that we want in our own lives. Everyone isn't going to be just like us. In fact, that is what so beautiful about a real friendship. Differences don't matter. They only make you shine brighter together. Those little quirks that are so unique in us can touch others and bring laughter and surprise. On a day when all seems to go wrong, all it takes to make it brighter is the hello from a friend.

"I  cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun."  Chuck Swindoll

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." C.S Lewis

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Kathi Macias, brings us a story of two women. Very different women. One settled here in the states who loses her husband working border patrol. The other a woman living beyond the border, seeking a way here. I wondered how two women could be so different, but yet have so much in common. These women are searching for the same thing, peace and understanding. When we are desperate, God has a way of showing up just when we need Him the most.

I love how Kathi brings a story alive and makes it so real. When you begin to turn the pages of a Kathi Macias book get ready because you are going to be looking deep into our own heart. What can I take away from this beautifully written story? We are often so quick to judge. We see things as only black and white. Our lives are not black and white. We must begin searching beyond what something looks like and search for the story within.

We all put up such borders around our hearts.  Borders to keep people out. That way we don't have to feel or give. This story teaches us to open up and look beyond ourselves, beyond our anger and fear, and reach for our Savior and His wonderful free gift of grace.

As always, Kathi, tells a story of redemption and freedom of the soul. I didn't understand the cover of the book until I read the story. Once you understand the story it all comes together and leaves you filled with Christ's unconditional love.

This book was given to me by Kathi Macias for it's review.

Would you like to check out the first two chapters? Here is a direct link:

Kathi Macias Award-winning author Kathi Macias has written more than 30 books, including the award-winning devotional A Moment a Day and the popular “Matthews” mystery novels.

Kathi has won many awards, including the Angel Award from Excellence in Media, fiction awards from the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, 2008 Member of the Year from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), and the grand prize in an international writing contest.
With women’s ministry as her primary interest, Kathi is a popular speaker for women’s retreats, conferences, and churches.
A mother and grandmother, Kathi and her husband, Al, call California home.

You gotta love book trailers!!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Ten years has passed and the tragedy of a shooting is as real to today to those who experienced as it was then. A gunman takes a life and by all appearances, life doesn't just carry on. One woman might be dead, but to those involved and witnessed what happened, their lives are forever marred. We see the scars that are left behind and we ride this journey with these characters fighting to find today. The murder case is now being reopened after all these years. 

Betrayal is alive in this book. We have murder, suspense and the seeking of the truth, but there are so many secrets to be uncovered. We see just how are demons can keep us from really living in God's abundant grace. Faith is something that I expected more of in this book by Serita Jakes. I would say this book is more secular than Christian.

I must say this book didn't really grab my attention. I wanted to enjoy it, but it just didn't happen for me. You may pick up this book and totally love it. For me, it was just missing what I look for the most in a Christian novel. Faith.

This book was a gift from WaterBrook Press for it's review.

SERITA ANN JAKES has been involved in Christian ministry all of her adult life and has served alongside her husband, Bishop T. D. Jakes, throughout their entire marriage of nearly 30 years. In addition to raising three sons and two daughters, Mrs. Jakes is Executive Director of the WoMan To Woman Ministries of The Potter's House of Dallas where her husband is Senior Pastor.

THE COLOR OF RAIN (How Two Families Found Faith, Hope & Love In the Midst of Tragedy) by MICHAEL AND GINA SPEHN

This is one of the most poignant and raw books I have had the pleasure of reading. Real and remarkable. This true story takes you into the depths of heartache. We are given the real image of what cancer and death do to a family. I must be honest and share with you, this was a hard read for me. It was deep and I mean deep for the reasoning that you see into the rooms of the dying. I think it was so hard for me, because cancer took my dad at a young age. So, I have seen this evil first hand and these pages brought me back to those days and made it all too real for me again.

This story is written by Gina and Michael, who both lost their spouses to cancer. Their spouses were high school friends. Gina begins sharing in the first chapter and then Michael shares. I love how the book goes from each of their lives. This would be the saddest book I have ever read, but it doesn't stop there. Both Cathy Spehn (Michael's wife) and Matt Kell, (Gina's husband) knew exactly where they were going after their walk on this earth. Heaven was just a breath away and for these families, they came together in the worst of times, but all along, God had a plan. Before Cathy died, she told her husband to call, Gina. She knew, Gina, had lost her husband and could help Michael in his darkest times.

This book is filled with hope, faith and love. Grace covers each page. We see the anger and resentment. We see family members come to know Christ through the faith that was witnessed by all who knew Matt and Cathy. We learn that even in tragedy blessings abound. God is real and not far from us, but right there with us in the midst of each and every trial.

I was honored to read this book. To read about the lives of Matt and Cathy. They were not only filled with grace and dignity, but with honor for life. Even in the end they continued to place their families first. Although this book brought back memories of my dad for me, it was a book that blessed my heart.

Once you read the book you get the sweet gift of understanding the title. We see new beginnings take shape and God move in these families, bringing beauty from ashes. I love how Michael and Gina brought their children together and shared in an honest way with them. My heart will forever remember these pages I have read. I feel as though I knew Matt and Cathy. The photos shared in this book are breathtaking. Yes, this was a hard read, but one that grabs hold of your heart and brings you to the table of thankfulness.

This book was a gift from Zondervan for it's review.

Michael and Gina Spehn, joined together by the loss of their spouses, co-founded The New Day Foundation for Families, which provides financial, emotional, and spiritual resources for families with children who have lost a parent to cancer. They are privileged to share their story and faith as speakers and as hosts of a weekly talk radio show, Your Family Matters, in Detroit, MI. Michael and Gina, along with their five children, make their home in southeastern Michigan.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Something new is coming to the Nest!

Hey there friends, I am hoping all of my readers are having a day filled with treasures of all kinds. Even in the midst of our troubles, it doesn't take us long to find a blessing. Something that stands out among the sorrow. God has a way of sending His hope to light the way when we least expect it. He has filled me with a the idea of a new journey. Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. One of those gifts that so many enjoy is the gift of writing. Penning life changing words. Words that inspire and make us ponder new thoughts. I was doing the segment called, Lets Chat Friday, where I interviewed guests. Oh, that was such a blessing to hear from such wonderful women changing this world with their passion for the Lord.

I wanted to share a new treasure coming to the Nest. On Tuesday and Thursday you will now see a guest post written by other writers, speakers and encouragers who light up this world by using the gift of words. This new segment will begin on Tuesday, November 1. It will be entitled, Tuesday's Journals and Thursday's Treasures. It will be a hodgepodge of encouragement and inspiration. Uplifting stories and posts that will make you laugh, cry and inspire to seek the Lord on a new level. For me, I feel this will even be more of a treasure than my Lets Chat segment. This way, guests can write whatever the Lord has laid upon their heart. It is such a treasure to learn from the lives of others.

I ask you pray for this new adventure. I just know it is going to be a tremendous blessing to all. I believe we all have a story. A story to many that could be life changing. So many stories that are untold. Stories and lessons of life that could make a difference in the life of another. I am inviting you to come and share with us.

If you would like to be part of this journey you can contact me through my email. You can submit an article on any subject. If you know someone who has a great story, please feel free to send them my way. I would be honored to hear their story as well as your own story.

I have many guests who have signed up and cannot wait to share their writings with you. Some of my first guests will be Melinda Todd, Jennifer Slattery, Kathi Macias, Lisa Buffaloe, Diane Markins and Cheri Horgan with many more to come! As always I hope you will share the treasures you gain from all you read here at the Nest.

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Wow! Wow! Wow! Okay, after reading the first book, "The Sweet By and By", I was hooked! I couldn't wait to begin turning the pages of, "Softly and Tenderly". Now although this book will bring you great  blessings, I suggest you read, "The Sweet By and By" first. It is the backbone of this series. It brings you to the heart of Jade and her past. I love the character of Jade Fitzgerald. She is so believable. She is broken and searching. I feel so connected to her. Maybe because I was that girl once. That girl searching for real.

In Jade's world, everything is broken. She wants to escape her real and find solace for just a while. Her husband, her marriage, her in-laws and her own family are struggling. Everyone seems to have secrets, even Jade. The secrets these characters are holding are not only hurting themselves, but their relationships with one another.

Jade is devastated as her mother is dying. A mother she has had a love/hate relationship with all her life. This is one of my favorite parts of the book. I loved watching their brokenness turn to a sweet relationship. It didn't just happen over night. It took time. It took grace. It took the Lord.

Oh, the brokenness these characters feel just tugs at your heart. You want everything to work out perfect for these characters, but that just isn't real life. Things don't always turn out our way, but always and forever, God's way. He has perfect timing and a purpose for every pathway of our lives. Through our brokenness we get His healing and grace.

The character I didn't like? Jade's father-in-law, Reb. I think of him and I just get angry at his meanness. His name just sounds like pride. But I'll be, we still see God's grace and love for even a mean one like, Reb. There are so many life lessons in this book. So much to take away.

I applaud, Sara Evans, for stepping out and taking on the challenge of writing. You go girl! Job well done. I am now a huge fan. Rachel Hauck is already at the top of my favorites list. This book is filled with redemption and grace leading healing for these characters. I cannot wait to finish this series with the third book, "Love Lifted Me", in the fall of 2012.

This book is published by Thomas Nelson.


Okay, I didn't like this book. I know what your thinking, "But why didn't you like it? I loved it." I think people will either love it or not. One thing I can walk away with from reading this book is a deeper thirst for heaven. I want to dive in more and read God's Word. I want to be so saturated in God's Word that I find myself washed in His goodness until I meet Him on the other side of heaven.

Now, this is the story of a little boy who went under for surgery and a few weeks later begins sharing what he saw while visiting in heaven. Part of me thinks this is one sweet story and I want to believe, but the other part is really skeptical. Lynn Vincent is an AWESOME writer. Yes, I said, AWESOME! She blew me away with, SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT.

Mr. Burpo is a pastor who has a deep faith. I guess I just wanted to hear more about this little boy and his thoughts today. Does he still remember? Praise God for this little boy and his precious life. No doubt, the Lord gave this family a miracle by healing their young son. We can gain great insight on faith and trusting God when we are faced with the unknown. But seeing wings on people? Some things just didn't line up to what I know to be biblically true. I just have more questions than answers. Maybe that is the whole point. To walk away with a deeper yearning, a wider passion for God's Word. This isn't my home. So, maybe I am to set my sights on heaven and dream of all it is to be.

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for it's review.


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