Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our Forever North

I am that girl that can find her way anywhere, but can never find my way home! Been there? I can find any mall, but after shopping? Look out, cause I am one tired girl trying to find her way home. Yes, you will see me pulled over, on the phone, asking my husband, "How do I get home from here?" You will hear him on the other end give a chuckle and then tell me how to get back on the road in the right direction.

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

Today we have GPS which can put us right in front of our destination if we only listen to the instructions. Sometimes we think we know a better way. A quicker route. My husband is my map drawer. He can get me anywhere I need to go. Let me drive in day light I am good to go. As soon as it gets dark, I totally lose my way. Even if I have been there a thousand times I still take a wrong turn and end up some place I don't need to be.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Life can be so hard. We try so hard to follow the right path. The path the Lord has placed before us. But somehow in our stubborn minds we think we know a better way. We look for a route to get us there even faster. What happens? We end up in traffic or behind an accident. We might even end up pulled over with an officer writing us a ticket for speeding. Why can't we just slow down? Read the maps? Give the wheel to someone who knows the destination and can safely get us there?

"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105

While driving and trying to stay on the road before us there are road signs at every turn telling us to turn here. Okay, do you know how hard it is to try to drive and look at all the signs? Some are flashing, some are huge and some are so small you are squinting to see the words. It is after you have passed your turn off that you finally realize where you were suppose to turn in the first place! Now you find yourself looking for a place to turn around and back track.

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch our 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." Psalm 138:7-8a

We see people driving with their phones to their ear, putting make up on and reading books (Okay, this one might be tempting for me.lol) and eating. You might on occasion see me with my hands raised in praise. I just need to remember to keep my eyes open! We are so tempted to take our eyes off the road. When we then find ourselves crashed into the back of another car we say, "Gosh officer, I don't know how this happened."

"My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path." Proverbs 2:1-9

Life can be so hard! At every turn something is grasping for our attention. We set out to go one way and end up on another, hitting every pot hole possible. That smooth road soon turns into gravel and we are spinning out control. Dust is flying and the wind in our hair isn't feeling so freeing any longer. The dark clouds come and now we find ourselves in a storm brewing. We have made a wrong turn and now all we want to do is go home. Find our way back to where we once stood on solid ground.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

How terrible if it all ended right there. Praise the Lord there are U-turns. There are camping areas and rest stops along the way. If we have lost our way all we gotta do is get that map back out once more and follow the directions. Jesus Christ is our Forever North. Jesus always makes a way! We will never be stranded and find ourselves alone. We must drive in faith. We must believe the directions He has given us will take us to where we are to be. I have been driving in storms and have seen Him bring out a rainbow before me. I have driven through hail that beat down, but I have found shelter from the storm. I have lost my way so many times, but with Christ in my life He is always there to turn me around.

"Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on." Proverbs 4:14-15

It's not about getting in the car and seeing how fast we go. It's slowing down long enough to enjoy the ride. I love taking long drives with my husband. He slows down to see the sights. If I sneak a peek at something pretty he will pull over. If I am setting out to go somewhere he will tell me the best way to get there. I can trust his wisdom. After all he is a professional driver. Isn't that so important? We must be able to trust those we gain our information from. Anyone can have knowledge set before them. Knowledge is everywhere. Wisdom is knowing what to do with all that knowledge.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Proverbs 9:10

Being young I set out on my own and went down so many wrong paths trying to find my way. It wasn't until I surrendered the keys to Christ that I finally understood, it's not my way, but His. He knows the road the before me. Who better to ask for directions?

"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20

My son is now trying to find his way. He has made some wrong turns and listened to some wrong advice. Praise the Lord we are a work in progress. All it takes is one wrong turn to destroy our lives. One wrong turn usually leads to another. Jesus can find us on that path. He can bring us back into His will and way if we only allow Him to lead. Max Lucado says, "A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." There are times in life we will have to turn away from the path we are on and look toward our Forever North. He will turn us around and plant our feet on solid ground, getting us off that road that curves forever. Ever find yourself car sick? Ugh, that is the worst feeling ever. All you want is for the car to stop, get out and get some fresh air. Pour yourself a cool drink and just sit. Jesus is that cool drink. He is that safe place where we can stop and stay a while until we are able to set out once more.

"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." Psalm 143:9-10

Monday, March 28, 2011

MINE IS THE NIGHT by LIZ CURTIS HIGGS

Do you love the story of Naomi and Ruth? If so, this story will be a blessing beyond anything you can imagine. "Mine Is The Night", comes after, "Here Burns My Candle." Once again we meet widowed, Elisabeth Kerr and her mother in law, Marjory Kerr. This is a Scottish tale, crafted by one of the very best. My friends, Liz hits it out of the park. If you love historical fiction with a twist of romance and intrigue, you will grab a cup of coffee, get cozy and stay up all night!

This is one of those extraordinary books that will inspire. The characters are rich and the setting gives us a chance to escape to another time and place.The Kerr name is now defiled and Elisabeth and Marjory are trying to find solace. With no title, no fortune, they are outcasts. Everything they ever dreamed of is gone. They step off the coach into the city of, Selkirk, with only their bags. They have each other and a cousin who is willing to help them. Elisabeth's character is one that pushes forward. She is determined to do more than survive, but find life once again, if she can open her heart and trust. Neither of these women feel worthy, but as you read the pages you see a God before that has great and wondrous plans ahead. Love and redemption are waiting. Even though they are terrified of the future, it holds blessings they never imagined once they decide to let go of the past and embrace the future.

This is one of those books that will be at the top of your all time favorites!

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

DESERT GIFT by SALLY JOHN

Jillian Galloway is a radio host with a program on marriage. Now that her radio program has given her a platform, she has begun speaking in front of thousands about her newest book. A book she has written sharing her wisdom on having a successful marriage. She has been married to her husband, Jack, for twenty-four years. Their marriage has been rock solid. A marriage where they communicated daily and lived as though everything was perfect. It was until the morning they are to leave for Jill's West Coast tour. Jack doesn't carry his bags to the car. He walks Jill to the car and simply tells her, "I want a divorce." No warning. No nothing. He just places her in the car and tells her to have a good time. Can you imagine? I am reading these pages thinking I would down right kill this man. Who does this? They woke up happy and then despair takes over. The thing is, Jack, doesn't even know why. He just wants a divorce. This leaves, Jill, in a tail spin. She is lost and wondering if everything she ever thought was a lie.

Jill leaves with her assistant/friend, Gretchen. This is the friend I would want by my side. I love their relationship through this book. Jill is doing good until she is in front of hundreds of women and she flips. It finally hits her that she has lived a lie. She shares what has happened to her perfect marriage and as she does she finds a woman going through the same thing.

This is a book about journey and growth. The title says it all. When we are in our lowest times is often where we find the greatest blessings of all. I love how Sally John brings to light both, Jill's and Jack's feelings. We see what can happen when we look the other way. When we take our eyes off our marriage and place our focus on other things. Jack is a doctor and Jill is busy in her writing. The life they thought was perfect was only on the surface.

You will have to read this amazing book to find out what happens to the Galloways. I loved each and every page. I felt I could relate to the characters and it brought lessons to my own heart. I love when I can walk away from a book with nuggets of gold.

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

Sally John:

When the going gets tough—or weird or wonderful—the daydreamer gets going on a new story. Sally John has been tweaking life's moments into fiction since she read her first Trixie Belden mystery as a child.


Now an author of more than fifteen novels, Sally writes stories that reflect contemporary life. Her passion is to create a family, turn their world inside out, and then portray how their relationships change with each other and with God. Her goal is to offer hope to readers in their own relational and faith journeys.


Sally grew up in Moline, Illinois, graduated from Illinois State University, married Tim in 1973, and taught in middle schools. She is a mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. A three-time finalist for the Christy Award, she also teaches writing workshops. Her books include the Safe Harbor series (coauthored with Gary Smalley), The Other Way Home series, The Beach House series, and In a Heartbeat series. Many of her stories are set in her favorite places of San Diego, Chicago, and small-town Illinois.


She and her husband currently live in southern California. Visit her Web site at http://www.sally-john.com/

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy is as joy does

When will we ever be happy in today? We can't wait to be sixteen so we can drive. Then we will be happy. Well, I hate to tell you, but puberty is not exactly fun. All those zits, yuck! We can't wait to have our own job. Oh Lord, again, you might not find that happiness your looking for when you have a boss breathing down your neck telling you to move faster. We think we find happiness when we are finally out on our own. Wow, we can do what we what when we want. Um, once again, nope! When you begin taking out your check book each week and watching your paycheck go to bill after bill you might re-check that happiness list. Oh, once we get married we will be happy. I wouldn't count on it. Marriage is work. Daily work. Love just doesn't happen. It is an action of purpose. Children? Yes, I will be happy once I have children? LOL There are days you will want to pull your hair out and run for the hills. Well, okay then. What about when I retire? I hear people are so bored they go back to work within a year! Why oh why are we placing all of our happiness in when and if and tomorrow? We place our happiness in all the things we do not have yet, but want to acquire. What if we never acquire those things? What if the Lord has other plans for us?


What if we never grow rich or to be 5'7? I am still waiting to hit 5'4. I don't think it is going to happen! What if that perfect man never comes? What if we don't have that dream job or that house filled with stuff? What if our car is a lemon? Then life will pass us by without a smile. Without a day of feeling complete. We spend more time dreaming of those very things we don't have than the simple joys we do. The key is being thankful. Finding thanks in all God has for us. When we have thankful hearts we have joyful hearts.

"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name." Psalm 100:1-4

Here in Missouri it has snowed once again. Yes, the weather is crazy here. What do we do? Complain. Why? Why not enjoy one more snow fall? Why not cozy up and watch it fall? Why not simply laugh with the kids and build one more snow man, fall into one more snow angel before we once again complain that it is too hot? Are we ever satisfied? Are we really ever happy?

We want what we want when we want it. If we don't have it we seem to live in our own pity party. Life is not about stuff. The faster we learn this the more joy we will see. Life isn't fame and fortune. I use to be one of those people who thought joy came from simply living in happiness. Happiness is an emotion. It comes and goes and changes just as quickly as Missouri weather. Joy is something different. Joy is in our hearts. We feel it no matter what the situation is. Joy is a choice. It is an action of faith and a continuous effort to see good in all.

"Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again I say, rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

It seems we wait for something bad to happen. Then that of course gives us more warrant to complain. "See, I told you nothing good is coming my way." Are we afraid to be happy? Are we afraid to just let it all go and feel joy? I think we are. We are afraid that as soon as we let it all go something dreadful will happen that brings us right back into our pit of despair. How do I know? I have been there. I have been afraid to open my heart again. I have been afraid to feel. Not wanting to feel loss or hurt again. Through all I have learned one thing. God will never let me down. He is always with me. He is not looking for ways to bring me happiness, but ways in which I can be content in Him. Ways that I can find joy completely in Him and in nothing else.

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, through it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Through now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory." 1 Peter 1:6-8

We say we try to find our way. We spend our lives seeking happiness when all along it has been right in front of us waiting for our attention. Waiting for us to take part in the joy that abounds daily. At the end of our lives we will either smile knowing we took every day and made it all it could be or we will frown in sadness wishing we had more time for a do over. May we live without regret. May we open our eyes before they are shut permanently to all around us. Why don't we bend to smell the flowers? Stoop to take a child's hand? Look up and see the sun shining brightly? We can choose to laugh.

"For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" Psalm 30:5

Friends, we will face doubt, struggle, and sadness. We will live in times of trouble and sickness. We can overcome by making the choice to smile in all Christ has done, is doing and will do in our lives. Even though the rain might be pouring, the sun is still out. The rain has it's purpose. We don't have to get lost in it. We can choose to walk through the rain in faith, believing there is a rainbow for our eyes to witness. We can take hold of right now and not allow our emotions and circumstances to steal away all the Lord has placed in our heart.

In Matthew 15:8 we can begin reading about the feeding of the 5,000. Hello? 5,000 people? Jesus didn't fall into despair. He knew, He trusted His Father. Daniel (Daniel 6:10) in the lion's den. He didn't give up and just wish for death. He had faith and God showed His might. We can see singing and praise all throughout David's life. Paul? Oh the heartache this disciple seen. The pain he lived. He praised God as he sat in a prison cell, beaten and bruised. Life is what we make it. A life filled with joy is a choice.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

So, what will it be for you? For me, I want to make each day count. I want to live in joy through my migraines and chronic pain. Through each struggle that comes I want to open my heart and see all God has for me. Hard times will come. We can count on that, but we too count on Christ to be there through all. We can find joy if we will only stop looking for happiness tomorrow.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4

A soft answer is the way to go

A sweet friend spoke this verse to me, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1, at a time in my life when the Lord knew these words would stick with me forever. This beautiful friend was not only calming me, but preparing for what I would be what I needing most.

When we are in the heat of the moment words fly. Words that you cannot take back. Words can either edify and bring glory or they can curse and bring shame. I believe I have been on both ends of these words we use to share our emotions. Emotions are so very hard to control, aren't they? We can get angry and we can spout off at the mouth, only regretting those words later.

When we speak softly and make a conscious effort to be calm it provides a door for the other person to remain calm. Ever notice the more angry we become the more angry the other feels also? Then both people are shouting and no one is hearing anything, but anger. Nothing good can come shouting. We want the other person to understand us so badly that we forget all about the one on the receiving end. All we want is to be right and to be heard. Sometimes are not right. If we could only listen to the other we might find that out and humble ourselves into understanding no one is perfect. The same grace we so desire is the same grace that is offered to all.

"The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression." Proverbs 19:11

A month ago I ordered two new phones. They just happen to be two phones that didn't work properly and phones we did not like at all. I had been speaking to the company who provided these phones for about forty-two days. That is a long time to try to remain calm. I was speaking to them from week one upon receiving these phones. Once a week, if not twice a week I was speaking to people who continued to tell me I am wrong and they cannot help me. Now, I am not one who always has to be right. I am learning to be humble, but friends, when you know you are right, it is hard to just stop and let something go.

"An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression. A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor." Proverbs 29:22-23

I  spoke with some really great people and some that were down right mean. As anger was stirring in my heart it was this verse that kept coming to mind. It was this verse the Lord kept placing in front of me, reminding me that even though I am unhappy, I am representing Him in all ways. It didn't matter what the other was saying. I needed to remain calm and speak with love. A soft answer.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25

I can tell you as long as I focused on Christ I remained calm. There was one day where the person on the other end of the phone had me so very angry I lost my temper. I ended up apologizing for the words I spoke. She may not have cared, but I did. I knew my words were not edifying to Christ. Why do we allow our anger to take hold of us? It seems to happen so quickly and then we are sitting there in the midst of those ugly words feeling badly for saying them. This woman didn't know me. I would never see her. But that didn't matter. My Savior has called me to higher standards. Values that go hand in hand with a godly character. There are times we must take a stand, but when we do so we can do so with integrity. We can choose our words wisely or we can speak foolishly without thought as I have many times. I can tell you speaking softly never fails.

"Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles." Proverbs 21:23

I did not give up. I kept calling and calling until I did get connected with the right person who was willing to listen and willing to do all they could to help me. That got me thinking. As all of these representatives sat before me they could only do so much. They were limited in power. They were limited in knowledge. I too am limited without God. Without His Word my knowledge is lacking. Without His wisdom and love all my knowledge is powerless. They had to go to one higher. One above them. I too must go to One higher. One who understands all and One who is without limit. One who will always listen to me. One who has gone the distance.

After being on the phone for hours yesterday we are receiving new phones this week. This month has tested my patience. When we treat others with kindness and show respect it sometimes shocks them. Sadly, it is not something that happens often. In speaking with a woman yesterday she said, "I can't believe you are not yelling at me. Everyone yells and calls me names when they are unhappy." How terrible to throw a fit and show such unkindness just because we are angry. I felt bad for this woman. She appreciated my kindness. It wasn't me throwing a fit and yelling that got me new phones. It was continuously calling in and sharing my story. Telling the truth. Kindness always prevails.

"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:36-37

In our walk we will either lead people to Christ or turn them away. People know a fake. They know if we are really what we say we are. These people represented a company, while I represent someone far greater. Jesus Christ. Our words can impact the world. In great ways we can bring others into the presence of Christ or in great ways we can turn them away forever. It is all in how we speak and what we say.

It would have been very easy for me to just let go and let words fly in anger. I could have sat not caring about the other person on the end of the line. Only caring about my wants. We can get so caught up in justifiying ourselves that we lose all self control. Our reputation will be made known. It was the words of a friend. The comfort of a Savior who brought me to be humble and to speak with kindness. Did I mess up? You betcha. Lost my temper indeed. I knew I did as soon as the words were out. I let go of my pride and said I was sorry. Sometimes just that one humble doing sets forth a course for others to see something different. Something better. It is always best if we can try to place ourselves in the other's shoes.

"Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls." Proverbs 25:28  Self control is the key to being obiedient to Christ and walking in His way.

So, I must ask myself daily, "What are my words saying? How am I impacting the world for Christ?" It doesn't matter if we are on the phone, at a stop sign, or face to face with another. I need to overcome my anger and allow Christ to shine before me and through me. It is not about me, it is all about Him. We are given opportunity daily to speak with others. May our words show others who Christ is and show that we can overcome anger and emotions by focusing on the One who came and delivered us from all. We can overcome all anger just by keeping our eyes on Him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LETS CHAT FRIDAY with DOREEN HANNA

I am honored to have the beautiful, Doreen Hanna, as my guest today. As I prepare for this interview today, Doreen's husband, Chad, is in the hospital. As of right now he has congestive heart failure and will be going through more testing. I ask that you saturate all of heaven with prayers for the Hanna family, asking for complete healing. As I was on Doreen's FB page today a wonderful friend of hers wrote this grace filled prayer. I would like to share the prayer of her friend, Dawn Marie Wilson, "Father God, I ask You to encourage Doreen right now. Give her a tender sense of Your presence. Strip any fear from her heart, and fill her with Your peace. You are in control, Father, and I know that Doreen knows that. I ask you to touch Chad's body and heal this staph infection. Ease his breathing and help him rest. We ask for healing of the heart and lung problems. We rest in You. I ask you to encourage all of the Hanna family today, and help them know that we are all in their corner, praying. Thank you for Jesus who binds us together in love and concern." Amen. Doreen, our hearts and prayers are with your family at this time. God is mighty and He is ever present in our lives.


Doreen is the founder and president of, Tresured Celebrations Ministries. ( I am going to let, Doreen, tell you all about her ministry.) You can visit, Doreen's site, Encouraging Women To Take Life's Journey, so you can see all she is doing and to find informatation on this amazing ministry. She is the author of, A Modern Day Princess, along with author, Pam Farrel. Doreen, is having a give a way today of her book, "A Modern Day Princess."


(Robin) Doreen, could you please tell us a little about yourself.

(Doreen) I grew up in a Christian home. My mother was and continues to be (she is now 83) a wonderful role model of a Proverbs 31 woman. However, I was anxious to get out of my home by the age 18 due to the lack of my father's love (this relationship was reconciled when I was in my late 20’s). Therefore, I quickly married my husband, Chad now of 40 years, who at that time was a cute Christian surfer (we are both raised in the beach city of Venice, CA). We soon had 2 girls. Brandy is our oldest (who has now been married 14 years to her husband Roberto Corea who is an Associate Pastor at Hope Chapel, Hermosa, Beach, CA and they have our 2 granddaughters Shekinah Faith, 10 and Hannah Laynne 4. My grandma name is Leila (short for the Spanish grandmother titled of Obelia) Our youngest daughter, Kamy lives here in Santa Fe, NM close to us. She is a beautiful single woman and works for the Hyatt Place as a front desk manager.


(Robin) I would be honored for you to share your testimony with us.
(Doreen) I came to know the Lord at the age of 14. I gave my life to him at the age of 21, after praying, "If you'll meet this financial need (we were so broke and owed what seemed almost an impossible amount to ever cover to our creditors at that time) I'll live for you the rest of my life. He must have chuckled and then miraculously met that need. I committed my life to him that very night and for the next 8 years of my life I was growing abundantly in the Lord by way being in the Word, being in church fellowship and most importantly, through love and encouragement of some wonderful mentors in my life. I have acknowledged most of them in our chapter on mentors in Raising a Modern Day Princess because I wanted to honor them and share the impact they made on my life. After 24 years of marriage Chad and I separated due to alcohol abuse and I fell into an affair. I moved to another state, filed for divorce determined not to return him and running from God, as this was our 4th separation. However, 13 months later and 6 weeks before the divorce was final I heard God’s voice, ever so clearly that I was to return to Chad. I did (a great story for another time). However, it took 7 more years before Chad chose a life of sobriety. He has been sober now for 8 years. We have shared our testimony of reconciliation and recovery on numerous occasions.


(Robin) When did you hear the Lord calling you into the ministry?
(Doreen) At the age of 29 my mentor, Faye Darnell, said I had a call on my life to teach women. I always thought she heard from the Lord but this time I thought she might have heard incorrectly. After a day spent on the beach with the Lord, He used Jeremiah chapter 1 to meet everyone of objections! I returned home to tell Faye that she was correct and I was soon preparing to become a Women's Bible Study teacher and have done so for the last 30 years. However, the call to become the Founder of Treasured Celebrations and becoming a writer was a new calling.


(Robin) Please share with us just what the Lord is doing through your ministry.
(Doreen) Treasured Celebrations Ministries is the umbrella for our Modern Day Princess programs. What the Lord is doing through this ministry today is:

Raising up women mentors/facilitators to carry out the Becoming a Modern Day Princess study in their churches, schools, home school groups, and community organizations. The BMDP study is equipping our teenage girls to become young women of purpose with God’s strength and His values. When Pam Farrel (my co-author and friend) and I wrote Raising a Modern Day Princess (it was released in 2010) our purpose was to equip moms of teenage girls, women who mentor them, and church youth leadership to understand the value of a Biblically based rite-of-passage to womanhood and then take their daughters and teen girls on that journey that ends in a celebration wherein family and friends are invited to celebration this step into young adulthood. The most powerful part of this moment is her receiving a public affirmation from her father, or other step-in-dad of her choice, and crown her a true Modern Day Princess… a Daughter of the King. This journey and celebration has not only impacted the lives of the girls but also their families. We often hear of reconciliation with their parents, marriages reconciled as wives see their husbands stepping up into their Priestly role, and families getting back into church and living more fully their relationships with Jesus Christ.


(Robin) It is challenging being a woman. What would you say the most challenging aspect of being a woman in the ministry is?
(Doreen) Wow! Talk about a tough question. My answer: Continually remembering the godly order: Family 1st and ministry 2nd. The needs of ministry can so quickly present itself as the urgent and override what is truly important. I must ask the Lord daily to guide me in daily decision making process.


(Robin) What wisdom can you share for a new mother who feels overloaded?
(Doreen) Take time for you, even if it’s 15 minutes a day. Whether that’s a bath with your favorite music playing, read God’s word or just going outside and enjoying the beauty of nature. He is gracious and he understands your struggle. Don’t run from Him, run to Him- he’ll embrace you! It’s the hardest thing for you to do but it will keep you from resentments and a victim mentality.



(Robin) For someone going through change and is searching for answers what wisdom would you give them?
(Doreen) Embrace change, it provides another opportunity for you to grow, discover and see what God has in store for you next!



(Robin) So many are hurting today. What wisdom would you give to one who is going through adversity?
(Doreen) Remember – God is faithful. Even when we can’t see or feel Him, He can be counted on, His word promises it and I’ve seen him show himself faithful over and over again in my life. I am saying it often right now, as my husband has been in the hospital for the last 10 days and is still there. Life is tough but God is faithful! I love Deut 7:8-10 Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.


(Robin) Motherhood is such a blessing. What has been most challenging and most rewarding for you being a mother?
(Doreen) Most challenging is when you see your children living out the consequences of their rebellious choices.

Most rewarding is seeing them walk with God!


(Robin) What are some of your favorite books you love surrounding you?
(Doreen) His Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

What Happens When Women Pray by Evelyn Christenson

I’d rather be Laughing by Marilyn Meberg

A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards


(Robin) What is your definition of success?
(Doreen) Living life in a manner that will leave a rich legacy.


(Robin) Looking back from all you have learned in your walk with the Lord what advice would you give yourself at the young age of eighteen?
(Doreen) Seek to find a mentor that you can freely talk with. Listen to her wise counsel from God’s word, then follow it!


(Robin) For someone going through loss what encouraging words would you surround them with?
(Doreen) I would share with them the verse that has blessed me in my losses: Isaiah 66:13 “…as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you,” declares the Lord. He has!


(Robin) God's word is powerful. Do you have a life verse? One that has brought you through those days that seemed to last forever?
(Doreen) Yes, Jer. 32:17 “Behold, I am the God of all flesh, is anything to difficult for me?”


(Robin) In your legacy, what do you wish to leave behind?
(Doreen) My prayer would be a leave a legacy of tried and tested faith that will be carried out in the lives of my family, their generations to follow, and those whom God called me to mentor.


(Robin) What advice would you give to a new babe in Christ just beginning their walk?
(Doreen) Same answer as #12 and adding Prov: 4:7 “Determination to be wise is the first step toward becoming wise! And with your wisdom, develop common sense and good judgment. If you exalt wisdom, she will exalt you. Hold her fast and she will lead you to great honor, she will place a beautiful crown upon your head (a true Princess!).


(Robin) What is the most empowering advice ever given to you?
(Doreen) He’s revealed His call on your life, Now watch, wait and then go for it girl! Spoken to me by Luci Swindoll



(Robin) Other than God, family and friends what are the things you love surrounding you?
(Doreen) Hearing the laughter of others in a public place. The beauty of creation that He has created for my pleasure. I live in a home and enjoy 3 different mountain ranges that surround us. The winter provides the snow capped mountains that remind me of His majesty. Love cozying up in my favorite spot in the living room to read while a fire is crackling in the fireplace. Love taking a drive up to the mountains and smelling the scent of pine trees or to the beach and take in the scent of the ocean.


(Robin) God created us in His image. Can you share one thing you love about yourself?
(Doreen) My laughter!


(Robin) Doreen, what are your dreams for 2011?
(Doreen) To see that all 50 states will have implemented the BMDP rite-of-passage study and celebration. We have reached 44 of them plus 6 other countries internationally. It is my heart’s desire to completely saturate the US, and of course, internationally with this life-impacting ministry for our teen girls.



Doreen, thank you for sharing with us today. You are such a gem. I will share that as I read over your words I had chills. It was as though I had spent the morning in  worship. There is so much to take away and for me, I love the words, Luci Swindoll, shared with you. He’s revealed His call on your life, Now watch, wait and then go for it girl! Spoken to me by Luci Swindoll. We are all created by Him to do great and mighty works for Him. He gives us all we need and prepares the way. Oh, don't you just get excited when you talk about the Lord?  You are such beautiful woman of God. As you continue to  share with others all across our land just how much we need the Lord, I pray blessings upon all you are doing. I want to leave you with the loving words our friend, Shona Neff, has to say about you.

Doreen is indeed a gracious woman and servant of God. You can she that she wears the garment of peace in every aspect of her life. Whether she is leading her ministry, encouraging others, or getting down to the business of life, she knows who she is in Christ. Her light shines bright and reflects Christ to those around her. What a godly woman God has in doing his work right here among us."

Now, to enter the give a way of the awesome book, "A Modern Day Princess", all you must do is leave a comment sharing how you were blessed by this interview. You can even leave a question or a prayer request. I will announce the winner Wednesday, March 30.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coming through the valley with a better view from the mountain top

Sadly I saw a woman's words a few days ago. Words that broke my heart. Her words were this; "Tomorrow I will wake up and I will still be______." This woman was in distress. She didn't want to wake the next day still being her. I stopped and prayed for this woman. I too have been there. I could relate to her words. They are words we all feel at one time or another in our lives. This woman just needed someone to wrap their arms around her and share some love with her. What had happened? What circumstance had effected her in such a way that she didn't want to wake up?

Through my life I have lived with the death of friends, the death of my dad, rape, divorce, the list goes on. If I were to concentrate on all these times in my life I could just curl up in a ball and take the fetal position until Jesus comes. Friends, that isn't what we are to do. I have learned it is a choice. Each day, even moment by moment, is a choice to live in worship or to die in despair.

There was a time in my life when I didn't know Jesus as my Savior. That was the darkest time in my life because as I was living in the death of my father and a rape that caused my world to spin out of control. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know to turn. I was raped when my dad was still alive, but he was home and very ill. I couldn't tell anyone. At least that was how I felt. How could I possibly lay this burden on my parents? After my dad died I really fell apart. Although I kept it hidden from others. I had to be strong for my mom. I felt I had to be strong for everyone. I made a promise to my dad to take care of my mom. Now that I look back, who was taking care of me? Sure, I had family in my life. But I needed more. I needed the love of a Savior to bring me through. To lift me through the despair and bring me to a place of peace.

My life has been touched my many other circumstances that could equal the pain of those earlier times, but there was something different now. I had Jesus in life. Although I didn't know what the next moment was going to bring, I was learning to trust in a Savior who did. He has used each moment in my life to make me who I am today. Not many know my whole story. Praise the Lord it isn't finished yet. God is the writer of my novel and I am learning to be excited to see what the next chapter is. I too am learning to slow down and not hurry through. Even those parts that I don't like, because within those very pages are lessons to be learned. Blessings to be seen that I would other wise miss.

We were created in love. God wove us with the beauty of His hands. He has a purpose and plan for each of us. He doesn't want us to set our eyes on our circumstances, but on Him. Might we see each day as an opportunity to grow in Him. When those challenges come we don't have to turn tail and run. We can stand in faith knowing we have a God who will work ALL out for the good of those who love Him. Cast your cares away and leave your burdens at the cross. Look to God for strength and encouragement. His Word is a lamp unto our feet. We might not understand all that is touching us. We might not be able to see past the fog, but one day I believe we will. I believe He brings us through each valley and sets us upon the mountain just so we can see the ultimate view.

As I went through a valley with my children, as my mother began facing illness, when my husband lost his job and facing chronic pain daily I can tell you the only way I have I made it is by the grace of God. There were times I didn't want to go on. There were times I shouted at God asking, "Why? Why, can't You fix this?" God is in the business of restoration. Restoration takes time. One cross beam at a time. One nail hammered in at a time all built on the foundation of love. Today I still don't know the answers as to why to all of my questions, but I know one day I will either know or find out it doesn't really matter when before me is the face of God.

I look at my life today and see blessing after blessing. I am choosing to see differently. I am choosing to see through faith and trust. I am choosing to make each day about Him and not me. When we make a conscious choice to live worship we will spend our day in praise of Him and all His goodness because we will choose to see all that is right.

I pray today that you are not defining yourself by your circumstances, but are finding all you are in Christ Jesus. If you don't have a relationship with Him, today is the the day of new beginnings. Turn to Him. Seek Him. Let Him fill you with a joy you never knew possible. He will wash you in His grace and touch you with a mercy that will renew you and leave you feeling complete in Him.

"Therefore, having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:1-5

"But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:8-9

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"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." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's time for some softball

Yes! Spring has arrived in full bloom. The breeze that brushes the curtains so softly feels so warm reaching all throughout my home. I can hear the birds chirping. Geese are flying over and I hear farm animals all around me. The grass is growing green and the buds are popping on the trees. Daisy is eager to go outside and I am ready for some sun! Are you with me?

It is time to play some softball my friends. Okay, if you know me, you know I love softball. Now, as a kid, I was a great second baseman. I could stretch, flip and slide everywhere. Well, I still can, but I might not land on my feet as I once did. LOL Yes, it is a sight to behold. There is just something about getting out that old dusty glove, which I keep in the trunk of my car along with my tennis shoes. Hey, you never know when others will be ready to just throw a ball around.

I had a friend ask me last night, "So, are you gonna try again this year?" I laughed as she asked me. I will put on my tennis shoes every year until that day comes when I can no longer put them on anymore! I might have to play on a senior team by then. LOL

Even though I play and it causes severe pain afterward I just can't give up. Not yet. You get bruised up and in my case sometimes broken, but you dust yourself off, wash the dirt from your eyes and get back out there. I might not be able to run as fast as I once did, reach as high for the ball or slide with grace, but I give it my all. I laugh when I miss a ball. I spend a lot of time laughing at myself, but that is part of the fun of it all. We all laugh. There are some teams that take it so seriously when you play them it is no fun at all. But then you get a team who loves to laugh as you do and it becomes a game you never forget.

Life is not so different. We have those things we love so much and we don't want to give them up. Circumstances might cause us to move a little slower or miss a few balls, but we are still in the game. We can still strive to get out there and enjoy each and every minute of life. Why put the glove away just because it becomes a little harder? For me, that is just a challenge I am willing to accept.

It is so easy to just sit on the side lines and say, "Oh, I am too old to play anymore." Hodge Podge!! We are never too old to have fun. To enjoy life. I have shared with you before that I have Fibromyalgia. After a game you can find me taking off my shoes and crawling into my car with tears ready to stream down my cheeks. My mom thinks I am crazy for playing and wishes I would just give up all activity. I think she is just hoping I don't end up on a stretcher. LOL

I don't want to be one of those girls who gave up. I don't want to live in such a way when things get hard I am ready to throw in the towel. But I want to be that girl who through it all grabbed that bat and swung at each pitch.

Is there something in your life holding you back? Something from keeping you from enjoying today for what it is? Let it go. Don't let your fears hold you back. Don't live with regrets, only wishing you would have played harder. You never know, this just might be your year to hit a home run!!

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with certainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body anda bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Little feet, big shoes

"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." Ephesians 5:1-2

Wow, I can remember when my children mimicked every gesture I made. Every word they would repeat. They would place their tiny feet in my shoes and try to hard to walk in them. They would tumble over, but you know what? That never stopped them. They got right back up and moved forward with each tiny step.

"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20

Oh, the sweetness of child-like love. Nothing can stop it. They are not hindered by anything. They reach for the moon. They count the stars. They run like there is no tomorrow. They live a crazy love that is catching to all around them. You cannot be within the company of a child without laughter. Laughter that comes from a simple joy. A God given joy that surpasses all.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127:3

I pick up my grand daughter, Peyton, and one of the first things I notice is how sweet she smells. I see that smile that is all love. I can only pray one day she will look to her grandma and be proud and want to be like her. I think that is every mother's dream. A hope that their children and grand children will see them with love and kindness. Remembering their words and encouragement that was filled with wisdom.

"Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her." Proverbs 31:28

What we do in moderation our children will do in excess. That should make us want to strive to be the best we can be. They are imitators of what they see. It is as though we are a walking billboard. What we are proclaiming should be Godly character. We should be walking with integrity so they too will have much to imitate as we walk as our Savior is calling us.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Are we? Are we imitating God? Are we looking upon His life and walking in accordance to His will and way? He gives us a perfect picture of how to live. We simply must make the daily choice to turn to Him. Will we ever walk in complete perfectness? No, not on our own, but with Him we are perfect in every way. With His presence in our life we are complete in Him and in Him alone. He makes all the difference.

"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15

It is so easy to take our eyes off God and place them on the examples of this world. This world tells us to be one way as God is pointing us in another direction. We must make the choice to leave this world behind and remember we are not our own. We were bought with a price and we are to be examples to others. When our children look to us what do they see? Do they see someone they admire and strive to be? May we knock ourselves out working toward becoming that person God has created us to be.

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Ever go shoe shopping with a friend? I have a girlfriend who is as crazy over shoes as I am purses. You should see her at a shoe sale. Watch out!! lol  Through our life we will try on many shoes. Some will be really cute, but they will leave blisters. You soon find out if they are made for walking. Each pair is different and we all have our own style. The thing is, you keep shopping until you find the shoe with the perfect fit! You put your foot in and you know, "This is the one." I have a pair of cowboy boots like this. They were a gift from my husband. As soon as I placed my feet in them it was like I was walking on a cloud. They were perfect in every way. God is that perfect it. He is the One. If we keep our eyes upon Him we will never find ourselves lost in the steps of another.

"Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:2

I pray my legacy will live in my children. It is my hope that when they hear the voice of their momma they will hear praises, songs of joy and wisdom that the Lord has placed in my heart. I pray that they remember my bible was always open and the Word of God present and alive in my life. Above all else, I pray they see the Lord through my life. A life that will encourage them to follow the Lord and be all He has created them to be. Leaving behind a legacy for their children and their children's children.

"Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father." Proverbs 17:6

Sunday, March 20, 2011

THE ART OF BEING YOU (How To Live As God's Masterpiece) by BOB AND JOEL KILPATRICK

I recently received, "The Art of Being You", by Bob and Joel Kilpatrick, father and son. Artists, creative by nature, have written a book together about being the you, God, has created you to be. Throughout this book they examine the differences in an artistic based faith and a math based faith. I want to begin with the description of this book by Zondervan.

Description:

People are the artistic masterpieces of God—beautifully drawn, brilliantly scored, poetically rendered. The Art of Being You by Bob and Joel Kilpatrick will help you view God as artistic master rather than master mechanic, and see yourself as his finest work rather than as broken and in need of fixing. Your life will be transformed, and your relationship with God will change forever.


I heard a well-known Christian musician say at a concert that God was in the business of fixing broken people. I went home and thought about that for a while, and I came to a different conclusion... That different conclusion, reached by singer/songwriter Bob Kilpatrick, has some interesting and exciting applications for re-thinking what it means to be a Christian. Rather than casting God in the usual role as architect and great mechanic of the universe, Kilpatrick instead paints a portrait of God as an artist—passionate, visionary—who considers humankind his masterpiece. God doesn't see Christians as broken beings chugging along in a fixed-up life. He sees us as new creations, whole, complete, and a stunning part of his creative process. It's a powerful perception of God, one that determines how much we understand and enjoy God, which, in turn, affects the entire course of our lives. We'll stop perceiving God based on what we lack, what we need repaired, and how weak we are, and come to know God as a creator who sees each one of us as a work of beauty and value. If we believe our relationship with God is one of artist/masterpiece/creative process, then we have every reason to rejoice in every stage of that process. The Art of Being You offers every reason to believe that God is preparing us for an amazing heavenly display.


Of course as artists, the Kilpatricks will see God as an artist. He is. He is the Creator of all. As I writer I see God as an artist also, but I too see Him as a mathematician. Although this book is pointing us to a God who is creative and showing us we are His masterpiece, it too is filled with metaphors. It speaks of setting limitations for ourselves. I don't need limitations when I have a God who says "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 This book plays on words in math as the attitude we should not have, but for me, math is truth. Math is infinity and beyond. Math is certain and sure. Just and right as God is. Can you see I struggled with this book?

As I looked at reviews there are many who thought this was the best book they have ever read. Most gave it five stars. The lowest I saw was a three. That would be what I give this book. Yes, there are some wonderful points in this book that point us to see God differently. To challenge our senses. This father/son team used scripture throughout this book to show God is creative and we are His work. We are after all a work in progress.

Here are a few examples of how they compared a math based faith and an art based faith:

Math equates verses God creates
Facts are math verses  Faith is art
Law is math  verses  Grace is art
Evangelism is math  verses Friendship is art

You may pick up this book and love it! Praise God if you do. May God gain all glory when we ponder over thoughts and grow closer to Him by searching His Word. For me, it fell a little short of all I wanted it to be.

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

Bob Kilpatrick has been a professional musician and minister for more than thirty years and has written many songs, including the classic worship songs "In My Life, Lord, Be Glorified" and "Here Am I (Send Me to the Nations)." Bob speaks at hundreds of events around the world each year and has produced recordings for artists such as Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill. He also writes a popular column for Christian Musician magazine and his radio program, Time Out, reaches 4 million people each week. He and his wife, Cindy, have five grown children and live in Fair Oaks, California.



Author Website:


http://www.bobkilpatrick.com


http://www.prayercanvas.com


Joel Kilpatrick is the founder of the religion satire website LarkNews.com and has been profiled in Christianity Today and Time. He earned an MS in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School in 1995 and won the Christian industry’s top humor award from the Gospel Music Association in 2005. He has authored and coauthored many books, including the satirical A Field Guide to Evangelicals and Their Habitat.



Author Website:


http://www.larknews.com







Saturday, March 19, 2011

GUEST POST by JENNIFER SLATTERY

Today I am honored to have, Jennifer Slattery, write a guest post for the Nest. It is a post I too feel passionate about and it is my prayer that you will be blessed. I hope it is a post that will bring change as we stand boldly for Christ. If we can only bring a "love change" to our hearts then we will be ready to face the world as a Christian ready for service. Jennifer is a great writer because she writes for the Lord and is passionate about His Word and His calling in her life. After you read  Jennifer's post take a few moments and check out the links below. You will be blessed beyond words as you find Jennifer's loving wisdom in her own blog and others she co-writes.

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Last summer our family spent a week in Branson. While there, we met a woman passionate about the life movement and we engaged in conversation. She told me a story of a pregnant girl she reached out to. One day, she spoke with the girl’s single, impoverished father who asked her, “Are you going to be here to help pay the expenses once the baby’s born?”


What he was asking was, “Do you really care, or are we just an agenda, just a battle to fight? Will you, so focused on speaking truth, walk with us when we put action to your words?”

This stuck with me, and is something I ask myself every time I’m tempted to engage in a battle. And there’s plenty of battles to fight, aren’t there? If we want to, we can spin from one to the next, Bible thumping every unsuspecting passerby hard enough to leave them dazed…and enraged. At Easter we’ll fight against the Easter Bunny. Come Christmas we’ll write articles, boycott stores and give long-winded sermons fighting for the phrase, “Merry Christmas”. Then we’ll grab our picket signs and line every street corner in protest of abortion.

But here’s the thing, while we’re drawing battle lines, people are dying. And seeing a “Merry Christmas” or an “abortion is murder” sign isn’t going to save them. In fact, most often our long-winded debates fall on deaf ears because it is impossible, yep, impossible, for man to understand spiritual things apart from Christ. There’s only one way to change societies, and that’s by changing hearts. And there’s only one way to change hearts, and that’s by bringing them to the cross.

Let me explain it another way. Or, better yet, how about I allow the Bible to explain it for me:

Romans 1:21-28

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

Absence of God leads to depraved thinking. All these battles we fight are the result of depraved minds living out sinful lusts. So how do you fight a depraved mind? You don’t. You introduce the depraved mind to Jesus and let Him change them from the inside out.

Think about it for a moment. What if every dollar and hour we spent on picket signs and protests we spent on outreach, instead? How many lives would be changed? How many souls would be saved? And once those depraved minds were transformed by the love of Christ, how many issues would there be to fight. Folks, we’re merely chasing fires here. Instead of fighting fires, why not start making people fire proof?

Now, I’m not saying never speak truth, but never let your truth mask your love. Even now as I write this, numerous “truth-speakers” come to mind. Funny thing is, although I frequently see them in Bible study or standing in the church pew, Bible in one hand and concordance in the other, I’ve never seen them at the women and children’s shelter.

Truth is important, but it must never separate from love. The next time you’re ready to fight a battle, before you enter into that debate, ask yourself, “Would I die for this person? Am I ready to stand by them and to walk with them?”

Unless your answer is yes, walk away.



Jennifer Slattery is a novelist, columnist and freelance writer living in the midwest with her husband of 15 years and their 13 year old daughter. She writes for Christ to the World, the Christian Pulse, Samie Sisters and Reflections in Hindsight, reviews for Novel Reviews and is the marketing Represenative for the literary website Clash of the Titles. She's also written for The Breakthrough Intercessor, Afictionado, The Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Granola Bar Devotions, and Bloom and is a frequent contributor to Pentalk, the Write Conversation and the Barn Door Book Loft. Visit her devotional blog, http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/ to be encouraged, challenged and inspired to walk hand-in-hand with your Savior.

  

Clash Of The Titles

Face Book

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Reflections In Hindsight

LILLY'S WEDDING QUILT by KELLY LONG

Oh the love that flows from Lilly Lapp. She has loved Jacob, well, it seems all her life. Jacob on the other hand has carried a torch for, Sarah King, but it was not to be. Sarah is now married to another and Jacob can't find it in his heart to release his love. After a night of events, Lilly, finds herself standing up for, Jacob, and before they know it, they are engaged to marry. You would think this would be the happiest time in a girl's life, but for, Lilly? She is marrying a man who is in love with another. My heart ached for Lilly. She misses her father. There is a huge whole in heart she is trying to fill just as, Jacob, is trying to fill the loss of the girl of his dreams. Jacob wants to love, Lilly. He wants to give her his whole heart, but he is struggling. I enjoyed watching these two people come together leaving the past behind and taking hold of the future with a new hope.

"Sarah's Garden" is book 1 of the series, "A Patch of Heaven Novel." As you open the pages of book two you are transformed into Pine Creek, Pennsylvania. I loved this sweet romance. It is as though we are seeing a story of God calling us sweetly and we are tenderly finding our way to Him. But we have a little trouble keeping our eyes off ourselves. Lilly is fond of  quilting. I love how she shares that her marriage is a bit like piecing together a  quilt. All pieces of hand me down fabric all placed together to make one beautiful poetic story. Even though Kelly Long's words just flow, I love how the book is a slow read. One that you just want to soak in for a bit. I can't imagine being, Lilly. Marrying a man who still calls out the name of the one he loves. But God has a plan and I loved watching His plan come together in the lives of these sweet people.

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

Friday, March 18, 2011

Keep teaching me, Lord

You know the term, "I know, I know..." Oh, how many times I have heard these words from my children, but on the flip side, oh, how many times I have said them myself. We seem to think we know an awful lot don't we? When it comes down to it, what do we really know? Enough to know we need to learn more.

"Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." Proverbs 19:20

In teaching Junior High kids in our Awana program you get those kids that sit before you wide eyed and eager to learn. Then you have those who look at you as though they want to ask, "Why are you telling me this? I know it already." Oh, how I wish they too could get it. I wish I could get it. I am learning the less I say the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I share. It is a progress of growth. Maturing is really understanding how little we do know and how greater our lives can be if we will just take the time to listen a little more and talk a little less.

"For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness." Psalm 18:28

I look back at the disciples as they followed Christ. He is teaching them and at times they are so confused. They have a hard time understanding. So, He takes His time and teaches them through stories He knows they will understand. I just wonder what kind of a disciple I would have made then. Would I have been one who listened to every word and got it the first time? Most likely I would have been that wanderer off on my own trying to figure it all out. Then when I messed up I would find myself at the feet of Jesus asking Him to explain. How do I know? Because that is how I am now. Yes, this humble girl finds herself at the feet of Jesus asking Him to repeat it once more.

"But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a  man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was." James 1:22-23

I can sit in church on the edge of my seat at times. Writing down every word being said. I can search God's Word for hours, but when a problem occurs I find myself once again off on my own trying to do it my way. Of course I know how it should be done, right? I am a mother. I have learned a few things. The Lord probably wants to hit me over the head more often than not. I can imagine Him shaking His head and saying, "Daughter, have I not taught you?" Well yes, but I thought this way was better. Lord help! I know there are others out there. You know who you are. We want something done. We want a problem fixed and we want it fixed now. We think. No, we know how to fix it if everyone would just listen to us! LOL Can you hear the laughter? You know the Lord just has to sit up there and laugh at us sometimes. I mean we do laugh at our own children, right?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones." Proverbs 5-8

We all learn in different ways and we learn at different levels. We are all on the same walk, just different paths. Amazingly as long as we are following Christ they all lead to Him. We can't expect another to understand everything we do. In fact, many times we can't understand others until we too have walked in their shoes. And yes, I mean walking, not just trying them on and taking them off. Walking the miles they have walked in their blistered, hurting feet. Jesus can understand us because He has walked in our shoes. He knows each path by heart and His wisdom is from God Himself. Why can't we simply listen to His Word?

"For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Oh sure, we hear it. We read it, but do we live it? Being a Christian is so much more than walking through church doors on Sunday. That's the easy part. The hard part comes when we walk out those very doors we entered wanting changed hearts. The problem comes when the Lord wants to begin the change. Sometimes that change hurts. Sometimes that change comes through trial and circumstance.

"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?" Micah 6:8

My mom always said I was hard headed and she knew just where I got it from. My dad. Isn't it funny, it always comes from the other parent unless of course it's something wrapped in a blessing? I love how the Lord teaches. He doesn't give up. He never throws in the towel and says, enough. He keeps trying to grab my attention and He will go to whatever means He must to bring me back around. Just as it was then when I was a child, it is now my fault when I choose not to listen.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Look at the Israelites. They followed. They left. They followed. They left. We still do the same today. Life would be so much easier if we would just listen before we speak. Look up before we leap. Pray before we get in too deep.

"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Romans 8:26

The Lord gives us all the wisdom we need in His Word. His Word is alive and breathing in us as we place each Word He gives in our heart. We can go to Proverbs for wisdom and Psalms for comfort. We can look at the lives before us in His Word and see the steps others took. We can see how they fell and what we need to do to make sure we don't. We too can find His grace and mercy wrapped in love in each page as we read the greatest love letter of all.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2

We spend so much time searching everywhere for life's answers. Just what if we stopped going other places first and sought out God with all our heart first? What if we were still and waited for His answer? What if I began each day in His Word and picked it up before a problem came? He always leads us to the truth. He leads us to the wisdom we will need for the day. We can always find our way if we seek Him first.

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10

Knowledge is knowing information. Wisdom is having the understanding of what to do with the knowledge. God's Word is the only place where we find true wisdom.

Lord, may I seek Your face daily. May I stop searching every place, but You for wisdom. May I seek You with my whole heart and live according to Your Word and may You teach me and fill my life with all You have for me. Forgive this girl who is forever learning the same lessons over again. Open my eyes to Your Word and way and allow me to understand what You have for me.

MAVERICK HEART by LOREE LOUGH

Oh, to be inspired by a book thrills my heart! A Maverick for sure. Levee O'Reilly is one of those girls you absolutely love and admire. Her character is so strong, yet you see a vulnerable side to her. She has been through much, but the Lord has brought her through. She might be petite, but she carries a huge joy that steals your heart from the first pages and keeps them turning. I was cheering her on all throughout the book. Levee has seen loss in her life and felt the pain of being alone, but you would never see that by the way she lives. She takes one moment at a time and is determined to live fully. 

She finds herself in Eagle Pass, Texas as a teacher after tragedy strikes once more in her life.  Before long she meets the Neville family and finds her  heart pounding when sees Daniel Neville. Once you meet his character you wish you were Miss O'Reilly, yourself!  

Dan has seen the hard days of life and is finding his way back. The Neville family is one of strong faith and leadership. This story is filled with love, but even more so, learning to live again. When you pick up this book you are off for an adventure and one you will not soon forget.

Thank you, Loree Lough, for the gift of this beautiful book for review. It was an honor my friend.

Loree writes in such a beautiful way you can relate to each character as they come alive in the pages you hold. You can't read fast enough and then she leaves you wanting more. In fact, book three of this series, Unbridled Love, will be coming out soon. The first in the Lone Star Legends Series, is Beautiful Bandit, another you don't want to miss.

Loree Lough:
A prolific writer, Loree Lough has more than seventy books, sixty short stories, and 2,500 articles in print. Her stories have earned dozens of industry and Reader's Choice awards. A frequent guest speaker for writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, corporations, college and high school writing programs, and more, Loree has encouraged thousands with her comedic approach to learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and industry. For decades, Loree has been an avid wolf enthusiast, and she dedicates a portion of her income each year to efforts that benefit the magnificent animals. She splits her time between a home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and she shares her life with a spoiled pointer named Cash and her patient, dedicated husband, who has supported her writing and teaching endeavors throughout the years.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Temptation on the roof top

In reading the story of Bathsheba and David, I realized something. Since first hearing of this account in David's life for some reason I have always though Bathsheba suduced David in some way. That simply isn't true. I had the aha moment while reading, "Bathsheba", by Jill Eileen Smith. After reading this wonderful book, it brought my eyes to God's Word once again to read the account of David and Bathsheba. We can begin reading the story of Bathsheba and David in 2 Samuel 11. David was a man after God's own heart. But this? It displeased God. I found myself asking, "How many times have I displeased my God?"

Here we have Bathsheba. She is married to, Uriah the Hittite. They are happily married, but Uriah is away at battle. It doesn't state, but could she have been missing him? I am sure her love was strong for her husband, but in one night it all changed. One night she dressed for the wrong man and forgot her husband's love and took another as her own.

After David saw Bathsheba on the roof top that day, I imagine he couldn't get her out of his mind. Her beauty caught his attention. He already has more wives than he needs, but now he is searching for more? I find David being selfish here. But then again, how many times do I find myself in that same selfish way wanting what I want when I want it?  Bathsheba is married. But yet, his eye still wanders. He becomes fixated on, Bathsheba.

Did she too see her King differently? What made her answer his call? While, Uriah, is out at battle, why does she go to the palace? Maybe the King did have news about, Uriah. David dishonored, Bathsheba, that night, along with Uriah also.

Now, Bathsheba, finds herself with child. A child she never had with Uriah. What is she to do? She tells the King, but then again, David, makes a choice that will change life forever. He has, Uriah, killed in battle. He doesn't even tell, Bathsheba, he does this. Does she ever know?

God brought judgement against David and his house. After the death of, Uriah, David marries Bathsheba and they begin a life together. Uriah, was the innocent victim in all this. All he wanted to do was honor God, his king and his family. He was caught in the actions of others and paid with his life. Why? So the life of David could be easier. Or so he thought. The thing is, although David may have fooled the people under him, God was watching the whole time. David didn't escape the judgement of God. Oh, how many times do we make a choice thinking no one is watching? I am not hurting anyone? Our choices not only effect us, but those around us. Either in good ways or bad, our choices lead to the next.

The thing that catches my eye? Although God's wrath touched David and his house, so did His grace. He graced David with a marriage to a beautiful woman and together they had a son, Soloman. God brought them from the ashes of disgrace to the ashes of redemption through forgiveness.

The bible is filled with story after story of those who fell and were brought back into union with God. David was a man after God's own heart. Just as we are children of God, we too can fall just as easy. All it takes is one look, one thought, one action. The trouble began with the action in David's heart. The root of sin began there with his lust for Bathsheba. Although at times I think she fell victim to David's desires, she too fell from temptation into sin. If she had only said no. If one of them could have only stood in truth. But, we know, because we too have been there. We know how easy it is to fall into sin, whatever sin that might be.

What if she would have just told, Uriah? Would the story have been different? How many people have been on the other side of our sinful actions and paid the price? How many times have our eyes wandered? Our thoughts? All it takes is one time. One wrong choice.

We must guard our hearts and minds. We must surround ourselves with all that is good and right and stay far from those things that tempt us. Those very things we think we can handle will have us caught up in sin in the blink of an eye.

David was sorry for his actions, but he couldn't go back. He couldn't change what he had done. Have you been there too? I know I have. Wishing I could go back and change a decision. Wishing it would have never happened. What can we do? We can move forward with righteousness. We can move from our discretion of sin and go straight to God with a humble heart. Forgiveness is for those who love Him. His grace reaches us all. For if not by grace, there go I. We can fall just as David and just as our neighbor. Before we judge, may we pray.

I love the story of, David. His life is one with such lessons for us. Through his life there is something for us all. He was a man of God. He wanted to serve and honor his God through his life. Although he slipped, God picked him up and brought him through. We are a work in progress my friends. We don't have to live in our pasts. We don't have to live with regret. We can live our life filled with the grace of God. Our sins are forgiven as we simply go to God, the One who loves us more than anything. We cannot fathom the greatness of His mighty love. Whatever is holding you back from celebrating life today, let it go. Let God have your past and trust Him with your present as your future holds a great hope.
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