Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A SHORT LIFE WELL LIVED by TOM SULLIVAN

This just might be the saddest book I have ever read. Brian O'Connor is an attorney. He fights for justice and understands black and white. There is one thing about, Tom, that would shock most seeing his day to day life. He is blind. Although he lives a sightless life from our aspects, he sees better than most. He is the husband every woman dreams of and the father of two children, Tommy and Shannon. Life is good for this Irish Catholic family. Bridgette, Tom's wife, is faithful and true to all she believes. Brian, on the other hand, doesn't really believe, but they make a choice to raise their children up in the Catholic church.

Brian has a guide dog that is never missing from his side. I love the relationship we see between man and his dog. This is a deep relationship. Life is good for the O'Connor family until a baseball game changes everything. Tommy is pitching and breaks his arm. This isn't just a break, it is much more. Cancer.

This book is more so of a journal of the journey of this family as, Tommy, is diagnosed with cancer. It is told from, Brian's perspective. We see the battle he faces. One that we hope we never have to face. This story broke my heart. It was a difficult read for me.

Through this tragedy that touches this family, Brian, begins meeting with Rev. Clayton McRae. They form a friendship and a bond that is unbreakable. Brian begins asking questions as Rev. McRae lovingly shares Christ with him. Brian is asking, "If there is a God, why would He do this to a young boy?" I love how Rev. McRae doesn't force Christ on Brian, but simply shares his heart with him. He makes himself available. He shares Christ with, Brian, in a way that he can understand. Brian and Rev. McRae begin running. I felt this tied in beautifully with this story. We are all running a race and wow, can we run a greater distance with the Lord at our side.

We see, Brian, come to believe in God. This is a lovely story of family, life, and love. It is one that will touch your heart. This book touches the lines of denominations and faith. Although there are many denominations, there is only one true faith. Only one way to heaven and that is through, Jesus Christ. I am telling you to prepare yourself. This will not be a book you soon forget.

Now, with that being said, I wanted more. As a Christian novel I wanted to see the gospel truly shared. I wanted to see Rev. McRae share the gospel with, Tommy, through this battle of cancer. I wanted to see, Brian, and his new belief reach out to his family more and share what he had be treasured with seeing. He once was blind, but now he sees. I wanted to see FAITH. I think there are so many beautiful aspects to this book. It just might be one that I must go back and read again to grasp the whole meaning. It is a novel that broke my heart and brought me to a place of being more open to share the gospel in love to those who cannot yet see it's beauty.

This book was a gift from Glass Road Publications for it's review.


Tom Sullivan, known to many as an actor, singer, entertainer, author, and producer, lives and works by "Sullivan's Rules." Born prematurely in 1947, Tom was given too much oxygen while in an incubator. Though it saved his life, it cost him his eyesight. The "inconvenience" of being blind has never kept Tom Sullivan from competing in a world where he realized that to be equal, for him, meant that he must be better. Over the years he's made a number of guest-starring appearances in shows such as Designing Women, Highway to Heaven, Fame, M.A.S.H, Mork & Mindy, and WKRP in Cincinnati. But to create the characters and fulfill the role of a blind man on prime time, he also helped write and develop many of these stories. He gained popularity on daytime TV as a regular on Search For Tomorrow and was awarded the 1984 Governors Committee Award for his role. Tom has also been nominated twice for Emmy Awards. As a special correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America, Tom has become a regular morning fixture in millions of American homes. His touching and insightful reports give many that "you can do it" bit of inspiration to start their day. Whether it was snow skiing with his son in Colorado, or interviewing the legendary Jack Nicklaus over a few holes of golf, his reporting is memorable. He is now writing and producing for television and film. He is a bestselling author of fiction, non-fiction, and children's books.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

THE BETRAYAL by JERRY B. JENKINS

Precinct 11 is not as it seems. There is someone on the inside causing havoc for Boone Drake. Okay, how cool is that name? Really, this character has blown me away again! In the first book of this series, The Brotherhood, we meet Boone Drake and see what life as a Chicago PD is all about. We see devestation happen in Boone's life that would make most of us curl up in the fetal position. But Boone perseveres in strength and finds the faith his wife has walked in.

In book two, The Betrayal, we now see Boone as he has just taken down the most destructive group of evil Chicago has known. So, that means, many are out to get him. Betrayal is everywhere and Boone is digging in his heals without fear. I love this book! I couldn't put it down. Those you trust are really not who you think they are and as each chapter leads to bringing a close to this case, it continues to get bigger.

This is a character movies are made about. He is strong and couragious. Fear is at his back and he is ready to face anything. Why? Because he knows God is on his side. He knows where this unknown strength comes from. I admire Boone Drake and all he stands for.

We too, through all this suspense, get to see love unfold. I enjoy seeing Boone move forward with life, without forgetting where he came from. He now knows what is important and he is willing to fight for what is right even if it costs him everything.

Jerry B. Jenkins hits this one out of the park! This is totally different from the Left Behind Series. Jenkins has a gift at bringing the reader into the pages and walking with the character before them. If you choose to pick up, The Betrayal, I would love to know your thoughts. So come back and share with me.

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




About the author:


Jerry B. Jenkins, former vice president for publishing at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago and currently chairman of the board of trustees, is the author of more than 175 books, including the best-selling Left Behind series. Twenty of his books have reached the New York Times Best Sellers List (seven in the number-one spot) and have also appeared on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists. Desecration, book nine in the Left Behind series, was the best-selling book in the world in 2001. His books have sold nearly 70 million copies.

Also the former editor of Moody magazine, his writing has appeared in Time, Reader's Digest, Parade, Guideposts, Christianity Today and dozens of other periodicals. He was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 2004.

His nonfiction books include as-told-to biographies with Hank Aaron, Bill Gaither, Orel Hershiser, Luis Palau, Joe Gibbs, Walter Payton, and Nolan Ryan among many others. The Hershiser and Ryan books reached the New York Times Best Sellers List.


Jenkins assisted Dr. Billy Graham with his autobiography, Just As I Am, also a New York Times best seller. Jerry spent 13 months working with Dr. Graham, which he considers the privilege of a lifetime.


Jerry owns Jenkins Entertainment, a filmmaking company in Los Angeles, which produced the critically acclaimed movie Midnight Clear, based on his book of the same name. See http://www.jenkins-entertainment.com./


Jerry Jenkins also owns the Christian Writers Guild, which aims to train tomorrow's professional Christian writers. Under Jerry's leadership, the guild has expanded to include college-credit courses, a critique service, literary registration services, and writing contests, as well as an annual conference. See http://www.christianwritersguild.com/.


As a marriage-and-family author, Jerry has been a frequent guest on Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program and is a sought-after speaker and humorist. See http://www.ambassadorspeakers.com/.

Jerry has been awarded four honorary doctorates. He and his wife, Dianna, have three grown sons and six grandchildren.

Check out Jerry's blog at http://jerryjenkins.blogspot.com/.

















Monday, August 29, 2011

Have you heard of georgie designs?

Okay, every once in a while I find something I simply fall in love with and have to share it with you all. Now, what girl doesn't love a new bracelet? I recently purchased one from Robyn at georgie designs. In fact, I loved my bracelet so much I ordered two more! My first is a gold bracelet with a pearl center. This one reminds me that I am a work in progress. The second two are silver. One is turquoise, the other is a heart. That is to remind me I am loved and God is my ROCK. When I find something that can remind me of scripture or just something simple, it just makes it all the more special.

Robyn is such a talented lady and wow is she gifted. Please go check out her site. I promise, you will find something there you will love too. She is quick to make your order and is so personable. Who doesn't love that? She sends your little gem  packaged so pretty,too. You don't even receive that from a purchase at the store. I just love meeting people and seeing the gifts that God has bestowed upon them. Meeting lovely people just adds to our circle of friends and it makes it nice to simply chat with others, doesn't it?  

I think my next purchase will be a ring. I just found, Robyn, to be so lovely and her creations are so well crafted I just had to share with you. I hope you visit soon. Without a doubt you will find that perfect gift that will add a smile to the one you love:)

You can click on her name or georgie designs to take you right there or just follow this link below to her designs on etsy.com

http://www.etsy.com/shop/georgiedesigns

BLUE SKIES TOMORROW (Wings of Glory book 3) by SARAH SUNDIN

Have I mentioned how much I absolutely love, Sarah Sundin? If you love Historical Romance, she will soon become your favorite author to read. I have been blessed to read book 1, A Distant Melody and book 2, A Memory Between Us. This series just keeps getting better!

Blue Skies Tomorrow is the story of Helen Carlisle and Lt. Raymond Novak. First of all, the details and research, Sarah, brings to her stories is breath taking. Yes, I said, breath taking. It is as if you are in the realms of time with these two characters that you will fall in love with.

We see a struggle of not feeling like your good enough and always trying to please everyone. We witness physical and mental abuse first hand as, Helen, finds herself trying to move from the past, but it has a tight grip on her. This is a true love story. One that must begin with Jesus and then loving yourself enough to allow another to love you.

Ray's passion is becoming a pastor, but he finds the Lord has even more for him. Ministry goes beyond the pulpit as he finds himself in a war he has feared. Ray faces his fears head on as Helen conquers her past. We too see the characters in the first two books. Sarah has brought this series together in stellar style.

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

Sarah Sundin is the author of A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.


Find more about Sarah at her website: http://www.sarahsundin.com/

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A communication gap

Have you ever had a conversation and then wondered, "Okay, what in the world just happened? Did they not get what I said?" A few days ago a friend sent me a text that included a beautiful picture of her riding her glorious new horse. At that same time I had just posted a new picture on Facebook. About five minutes later I get a text from an unknown number. I read the text and I think, "What in the world?" I receive a few more. I finally sent one back asking, "Who is this?" Well, come to find out, this person was a friend of my friend and didn't realize her texts were going to everyone. Now, we all had a good laugh about this once we all figured out what was going on, but at first I was scared. Okay, I might have been just downright freaked out. Once you have had a stalker, you just look at everything with question.

The thing is, this was a miscommunication. Here we have two sweet ladies, yes, I guess I just called myself sweet. lol Two ladies who have never met, but just about had differing opinions of one another just because a text had confused us. How many times do we do this in life? We make snap judgements without first stepping back and thinking. We kind of half way listen as one is speaking to us and we come out with a complete different story. It is just like that childhood game where one begins a sentence and spreads it to the next and so on. Soon, as that sentence gets to the end of the line it has changed fifty times.

We hear gossip and instead of stopping it right there, we listen intently. Ever think about that gossip we hear? If it is about someone we love. A family member or a friend we stop it. In fact, we stand up for that person right then, but let it be someone we really don't like or someone we really don't know and we are ready to hear more. This is how so many hearts have gotten hurt. Lost friendships and  problems within  family often comes from miscommunication. I know too well. I have been on both ends of that  miscommunication and nothing good ever comes of it. Only sorrow.

This happens all the time with our husbands. Okay, for starters, men and women talk differently. Ever think about how men give directions? They go by roadsigns and mile markers. Women go by landmarks. Turn left at JCPennys, then make a left at Kohls and go down to Starbucks and you are there my friend! But even in directions we can have miscommunication. A right can be a left and a left can be a right. All it takes is one wrong turn and you find yourself lost.

We too can have miscommunication with God's Word. Ever read God's Word and try to turn it around to where it fits you? We leave out what is pointing us away from our temptation and reading something making it look as if what we are doing is right. Isn't that was happens in miscommunication? Something of importance is left out. The truth!

Oh how we love to take a piece of information and add to it. Oh, if it is about us, we might just leave out a few facts. There is miscommunication all around us. You see it on Facebook all the time. People get mad because they read something that they assume is about them.

You might find yourself on the first date and your waiting on the gentleman to arrive at the restaurant, only he never shows. He too is across town waiting on the girl he thinks could be the one. Somewhere along the way miscommunication happened. This is where grace comes in. We gotta be able to correct ourselves. Yep, when we have been misinformed we gotta forgive and when we are the one who has given out wrong information we need to correct that and be accountable.

There are a lot of  people running around our circles who are hurting because of miscommunication. A while back I just about lost a few friendships. Friendships that were meaningful to me. Why? All because of miscommunication. Stories told that were never true. It took me humbling myself before a friend to find out the truth of the matter. There is peace in truth. There is harmony. If we could just all stop being busybodies life would run more smoothly. People would smile more often. As my pastor says, "If you are not part of the problem or the solution just hush your mouth." It's none of our business. If it deals with gossip, we should concentrate more on what comes out of our mouths and a little less on what comes by our ears.

Might we take more time listening as a friend is sharing a need, as a husband is giving direction, and most importantly, as God is speaking to our heart. In shifting our focus on to what is being said than what we want to hear we will surely find ourselves in the perfect place of where we are to be. And yes, may we find ourselves not so tuned in when gossip appears, but distance ourselves from all that behavior so we don't find ourselves lost in regret.

Communication is a wonderful thing, but we must be wise about what we say and what we hear. We don't want to repeat something that will bring another down or cause one to stumble. If it cannot bring praise to God, than don't repeat it all.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer." Psalm 19:14

"He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter." Proverbs 11:13

"A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends." Proverbs 16:28


"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29


"A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1


Words are powerful and we must be careful and wise in how and when we use them. Much of the time we would be wise not to share our opinion in a matter. When it comes to that communication gap of misunderstandings, don't just assume, go and make right what has been wronged. All it takes is one person to be the bearer of peace in a situation that could drastically change over just one more spoken word. Lets just learn to take more time thinking before we speak and open our heart to listen more intently so we don't miss out on those important moments one has taken the time to share with us.

Much of our miscommunication is laughable, just like the texts I received. We just can't jump the gun and be ready to assume. Take time to get all the information before making a snap judgement. You just might miss out on something really special because you weren't willing to listen or too willing to speak.








Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Words to our children

It's out there. The sad thing is, you can't take it back. In a moment of anger you have spewed words in the face of your child. The child you love. The child you hold so dear to your heart. The child you would never let another human being hurt. But here, you have said words you cannot take back. Oh, how you wish you could. Why did I say them? What did I do? Your child stands there with tears looking as if they can see right through you. The words you just spoke cut deep.Deeper than any scrap they have felt before. Now that argument has turned into much more.

When our children disobey we often remind them that they are to obey their parents. Oh, how we love to remind them of that, don't we? We turn to Ephesians 6:1-3 "Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise. If you honor your father and mother, things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth."

There is something we forget though. It's like we get to verse three and we just stop. After all, this verse is speaking to our children, right? Lets let our eyes scroll down just a little into verse 4. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."

Parents, the words we speak to our children have a lasting impact. A life long impact. We can raise our children with encouragement or we can tear them down with thoughtless words. All it takes is one. I remember all the loving words I have spoken to my children throughout the years. But I too remember those words I spoke in the moment of anger. Which left more of an impact? Good question.

It's tough raising kids. I know. My husband and I have raised five children. There have been highs and lows. Great moments to remember forever and some you would rather forget. I often feel like we are not really raising our children at all, but they in fact are raising us. Don't we grow? Oh my, from that first child to our last there is such a difference. Not in love of course, but in who I grew to become.

I watch my children in awe today. I am blessed with beautiful children. They simply take my breath away. It seemed so easy when they were small. They would take my hand, crawl up into my arms and kiss my cheek. Sure, you have those days where you are stressed and so tired you can keep your eyes open, but all is right with just looking into the eyes of your precious children. They soon grow and those teenage years are hard on everyone. Think about it. They are trying to figure themselves out and you are trying to figure out how to raise them. Their emotions are on the forefront of life. Every emotion is alive and well and yes, they seem to change from day to day. As they wake your wondering, "What is today going to bring?" Ever wonder what they are thinking? "Is mom gonna scream at me today because I didn't clean my room? Is dad gonna tell me how lazy I am again?" Parents we are not the only people with worries and stress. Our kids feel it too. Many times more often then we. They walk on egg shells when mom and dad seem to not get along. Once the yelling begins imagine how they feel? Should they choose a side or should they just hide out in their room?

Sure, our kids talk on the phone. They text late up into the night. They fall in love every other day of the week. They want to go to the football game. They want to stay all night with Chrystal. We like to remind them of all we do. I know that guilt game. My mom played it with me. My husband still lives today with scars of the guilt game his parents played. He can't even purchase anything for himself. He gets downright sick. Why? His parents made him feel so guilty when they bought him something that he never thought he deserved it. That breaks my heart.

Today, things are different with our kids. Gosh, being a teen was hard enough when I was young, but now? They go to school and many times it isn't a place they want to be. It's bad enough if they have teachers who are unkind, the bus ride home is murder to them, and all they want to do is come home to safe. Home is safe to our kids, but how often to we make them feel like home isn't even where they want to be?

The teenage years were not easy on my daughters and I. It was down right ugly sometimes. Oh, the love was there. But the miscommunication was in everything. Mostly because I felt the need to talk and not listen. Today I wish I would have spent much more time listening. Parents take my advice. Being right doesn't always have to be proved. In fact, it is downright not necessary. Our kids have such a tough time anyway. They know when they mess up. They don't need us reminding them of every thing they didnt' do and all they need to do. Our kids might look like adults today, but they don't have minds of forty year old. They don't have it all figured out. They don't even know what they will have for breakfast most of the time.

They want to be loved and they want to fit in. Most of the time it is a job trying to fit in at school. You would think at home they wouldn't have to try. But what do they hear? Words like, lazy, useless, mean, and yes, some hear how stupid they are. The one word we teach our children not to say, we often say to them. Those words cut deep. How do I know? My mom loved to share words with me in anger. After your called stupid for so long you kind of just give up after a while. I mean, why try anyway, right? Your gonna mess up and here comes the yelling all over again.

Parents, what we do in moderation our children will do in excess. We are their examples. Most of all we are the people who love them the most. We need to be accountable when we mess up too. They need to see mom and dad cry and say, "I am so sorry." They need to see us make right our wrongs. We don't need to stand above them, but stand next to them. We need to be the people they respect. You cannot have honor without respect. Sure, they can obey us, but should it be because we are making them or because they want to out of love? A house is not a home without love surrounding it.

I know, I hear you. You say, "But you don't know my child." I have been there, my friend. But changes are you don't either. As parents we like to set our rules and we simply expect our kids to follow them. There is more to life than rules and there is much more to parenting than always being right. Many times our kids are in a state of bad attitude because of our attitude. Our attitudes and actions overflow to them. Each and every choice we make effects our kids. Think of that for a minute. When we let the stress of this world get to us, our kids see that. They feel it. They know when we are overwhelmed. They need to feel comfort. We gotta remember we are the parent and we gotta stand up and act like it even when it's hard. Even in those times we don't know what to do or where to go.

As parents we can spend too much time thinking about our own needs and wants instead of thinking about the needs of our child. Parents, this world influences every aspect of our kids. It's like a war out there. We need to be the biggest influence in our children's life. We need to be the ones making that impact. We seem to expect so very much out of our children. The thing is, are we meeting their expectations? Are we being the parent they need?

The beautiful thing about our children is they are forgiving. They at times seem to carry way more grace than we show in our lives. They know about mistakes and all they want to do is move away from them and do something different. Today is a new day. Maybe your child needs to hear you tell them how you have messed up and how much you love them. Maybe they need to hear the words, "I'm so sorry." We need to own our words and be the bigger person. Our children once looked up into our eyes and felt such comfort. Now they look at us in the eye and they expect no more or no less from us now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spread a little love with a smile

"For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out!' Beware of destroying one another."  Galatians 5:13-15

How is that neighborly love going for you? It's hard isn't it? Sure we live in freedom, but most of the time it's our selfish freedom that we live in. It isn't about serving God and our neighbor. It's about feeding our own hungry flesh. I suppose to begin, we can't very well love our neighbor if we can't even love our self. Doesn't that pretty much sum it all up? Or should it be that we cannot love, truly love another, unless we have love for the Lord?

Some might say, "Well, if we love ourselves, isn't that selfish?" Of course not. God created us in His image. The Holy Spirit lives within us. We are to love ourselves and walk humbly with God, showing mercy and love to all those we meet. Micah 6:8

If we don't love ourselves we can't very well expect others to love us.When I am driving alone I always take advantage of that time and spend it with the Lord. I love turning up the radio and just allowing my heart to be impacted by His message. During my driving time I tend to look over at others. Have you ever noticed how unhappy people are? As they drive they seem to have this look of anger on their face as if they are infuriated they are even in a car. We can be in line at the market and you don't even have to glance around, your ears hear everything. You hear mothers screaming at their children, children yelling at the top of their lungs as their fathers stand with a look of horror. People are just not happy. Our neighbors are not happy people. Why? We can get so caught up in our circumstances, that everything else seems empty.

"Jesus replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first commandment. A second commandment is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'" Matthew 22:37-40

You know that laughing game? One person will begin laughing. Making themselves laugh and then soon another catches on and before you know it the whole room is in deep genuine laughter. All it takes is one person. You can be that one person. While checking out at JC Penney's a few days ago, I walked up to hand the cashier my purchases and she looked downright horrible. I mean her frown could have touched the ground. I looked at her and said, "You have the cutest hair cut!" At first she looked at me like, "Are you talking to me?" Then I again told her, "It looks really good on you." It was then that she smiled and gave her thanks. She may have woke that morning with burdens beating her down, and carried them to work with her, but all it took was one person reaching out to make her smile.

Sometimes I am that person driving in that car with tears streaming down my face. Sometimes I am that girl walking through the store on a mission. Let me get in and get out without running into anyone. Been there? Instead of seeing the Lord we see the pile of bills on the counter that needs paid. Instead of seeing the blessings before us we see the illness that has struck our mother. We see the disaster that surrounds our family, only praying it will heal. We feel the fear of tomorrow weighing us down. When we focus on the bad, bad is going to show up. Meaning if we focus on the Lord, we are going to know those circumstances are there, but in faith we know God is going to work them out. We know that He is in control of the situation. We leave it in His hands and trust Him. In faith we can see the clouds parting. We can see the shimmer of the sun. We can take those raindrops and know after the shower a glorious portrait is going to appear. A portrait of promise. If we focus on the bad, that is all we are going to see. More bad will be around the corner. Why? Because we now expect it. We never see the rainbow because we are never on the other side of the clouds.

Just like that person who begins the laughing game, we must make a choice. Either we get caught up in the sorrow around us or we grab hold of the blessings. It's our choice. We are free. Do you understand that? Freedom is for us to live, not to dwell in sadness of yesterdays mistakes or tomorrows worries. It's not for us to live in today's selfish pride. It is to serve our King of kings with hope. It is to give with a smile and love with grace. As we take each day we have a choice to make the best of it or to let it end in anger. Oh, how bitterness and rage can eat us alive. Sure, we have all had those pity parties. We send out invites, but no one wants to come. No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer. We want Sunshine Sally to enter the room and give us the okay to smile. That one person making a choice to live freely.

We can smile as our cashier hands us our groceries. We can ask our post master, "As I pray today, is there anything I could add for you?", as she hands us our stamps. We might just shock that frown right off her face. She may say, "No, but thanks." But I guarantee she will think upon those words throughout the day. That kindness will carry over. While at a restaurant why not say hello to those who pass by. We walk through life as though we have blinders on. We are ME sighted. That being a little short sighted and far sighted too. We only see the distance where we are standing and where we are going. Everything else we need glasses for. Isn't that a sad way to spend our freedom? We are not in bondage of sin. God took care of that on the cross for us. We are not in chains of slavery. God set us free. He wants us to live each moment in the freedom that His Son died for.

We can either lead others to Christ or lead them away. It all has to do with how we treat others. Our neighbors. Be the neighbor you want living next to you. Be the neighbor you want sitting next to you in church. We are Christ's hands and feet in this world. That is a pretty special appointment He has for us. Don't you think?

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control." Galatians 5:22-23a

"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." Galatians 6:2-3

It all comes back to the love of Christ. He loved us enough to give His life for us. That makes us important to Him. We should look at ourselves with love. In that same love we should love those around us. Be that one person today. That one person that spreads the Lord's love a little farther and deeper than yesterday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thinking about your legacy?

Over the weekend I spent time with my cousin, Melissa, in the biggest Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. Fifty-two acres of history. Who knew I would one day be fascinated with Jewish history and be writing a book about a Jewish girl? I sure didn't. But here I am and I am loving this journey. My weekends will now be jam packed with research and traveling, while trying to piece this story together.

The funny thing is, the more I piece together of this character, the more I am finding about myself. I am stretching myself far beyond anything I ever imagined. Melissa and I spent time reading epitaphs and taking pictures. We stood imagining what the lives of those now gone from this earth were like. Holocaust survivors, WWI-WWII heroes, mothers, fathers and children. Children, whose lives were cut short. One of the most amazing gravestones I have ever seen was standing erect before my eyes. It was carved as a tree. It held flowers, vines, scrolls, and the names of those who were buried. Family gone from this earth. Departed from here leaving behind a legacy. A story for all to behold.

We will one day all leave this earth and all we have placed here. Heaven is only a breath away. For me, death carries no fear. I know my Savior and I know heaven awaits for me. But what about my time here? What about my legacy? My story? What will the words to my epitaph say? I pray the words, "Jesus looked good her", can be written. I pray my life story touches others and impacts those around me. I want to leave this earth having used up everything God gave me. In Jewish culture a short tree stump stands for a life cut short. They place such thought into their gravestones. Am I applying such thought into my own life here on this earth? No matter how long my life here, I want to leave behind love. I want to spend each day living life to the fullest. Not living in the past or the future, but right here and now, enjoying this very moment. I think if we are focused on Christ we can do just that with a joy we never knew possible.

With fear left at the way side, there is only life to fully enjoy. So, why not grab it and run with it? We can live a long life, but one that carries wasted time. We can live a short life and make a strong impact on the lives around us. The choice is up to us on what we do with the time God has given each of us.

I want to make a difference. I want to leave behind a legacy that points to Christ. We have an inheritance in Christ. We have much waiting for us in heaven, but that doesn't mean we believe and get comfortable. We remain focused on Him, living in faith today. Are you building a legacy?

"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." Jeremiah 29:11

"God's purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit whom He promised long ago. The Spirit is God's guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him." Ephesians 1:12-14

"Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace and always be thankful." Colossians 3:12-15

Moving past hurt feelings

Okay, how about we get real today. Sometimes we just gotta lay it all out there, right? How many of you have been hurt by other women? I am sure we can all raise our hands on this subject. Women can be down right mean. Yes ladies, I am talking about us today. Those very friendships we thought would last forever are now null and void. No matter how much you try to reach out, nothing comes back. We can drive ourselves nuts trying to figure out why.

Let's put it this way. If someone has hurt your feelings, why not go to them? Why not just ask them, "Have I offended you in some way?" Why? Because as women we don't want confrontation, so we say, "Nope, you haven't done anything." But yet, there is still no communication. Instead, that friendship that meant so much is lost in miscommunication and pride. What do we do as women? We go to others and talk. We go others and share, when in fact we should be going straight to that person. But what do we do when nothing comes of it? We pray about it and we let it go. Simple as that, right? Do you know how hard that is? Goodness, we are women after all. We must be liked by everyone and be yes girls. We worry why someone doesn't like us, call us or even speak to us in passing.

When does this happen and how can we move past these feelings? I think they are feelings of abandonment. I always taught my girls to be the kind of friend they would want. Well, not everyone is going to be that kind of friend. We can't make other people be what we want them to be. I think as young girls we just want to be accepted. We just want to fit in and this never leaves our hearts. I don't think there is a woman on this earth who doesn't want to fit in and have everyone like her. But what's wrong with this? Absolutely nothing! We can be that friend to all. We can be that woman God has called us to be. But we must accept that not everyone is going to receive us. Not everyone is going to want to be our friend. We cannot be concerned with incoming love. It's that outward love we need to concern ourselves with.

We begin to look in the mirror and wonder, "What is wrong with me? Did I do something? Why doesn't she talk to me anymore?" Ladies, we can't answer those questions for others. We can only look into our mirror and strive to be the woman God has called us to be. We can strive to be a good wife, mother and friend. Most importantly we must remember what really matters is our relationship with the Lord. If we are right with Him our heart is complete. We don't have to have others fill in the gap, because He has become everything to us. In our relationships we must point others to Christ. We are to be His mirror image. We mustn't try to find our self worth in other women. They are struggling just as we are. We all have issues and unless we are transparent, not everyone is going to see and understand where we are in life.

After we have prayed, reached out, and have spoken with this friend one on one, if nothing changes, we simply must move forward. We can't stay in stagnant ground. If they are not willing to share, then there simply isn't much we can do. What can we do? Continue to pray for this friend as the Lord lays them on our heart. In opening our heart in love, we don't always receive that love in return. Ouch! We don't want to ever close off our heart to a person. We make ourselves available and we continue to be that reliable friend. Lets take a step back and instead of focusing on all the hurt this friendship left, lets see what value we can gain.

We should remain faithful to who we are in Christ. He has a way of bringing everything to light. He works all for His good and nothing goes unseen from His eye. With that being said, we should find ourselves complete in Him and Him alone. We should find our acceptance in His loving arms and carry that same grace and forgiveness He gives to us to others who have hurt us and brought tears.

If we are living in Christ daily we don't have time for pettiness and groveling. If we are spending time with Him we are going to be in constant change. If our focus is on our Savior it won't be pointing fingers at others. If we find ourselves wrapped in His Word, we won't find ourselves strangling in gossip. Be the kind of friend to those around you that you want in your life.

It doesn't matter if someone likes us or not. We are called to love. In that love we are responsible for our actions and words. We will never be that woman all women like. That's okay. Be the woman that you can see Christ through and be a reflecting light of His love to all you meet.

It's funny, those women who don't like you, probably really do, but they are so insecure within themselves that they don't know how to react to you. Many times it's not that women don't like us, it's we are so insecure with ourselves we just assume they don't like us.

So ladies, open your heart to Christ and all He has for you. Find that woman He is creating you to be and be all she can be through Christ Jesus. Today is all we have. Don't waste it on wondering if your accepted, liked or gossiped about by those women around you. It is true. Be the bigger person, but with a humble heart and God will send those ladies into your life that will make lasting impacts for Christ and imprints upon your heart. May we encourage, inspire and love each day of our lives. In doing so we are only giving praise to God.

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control." Galatians 5:22-23a

"Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." Philippians 2:3-4

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



Friday, August 19, 2011

Finding that perfect place of peace

When I am in the car I have the voice of a rock star! The Lord says to make a joyful noise unto Him. Well, in my car I can shout out tunes that are way above my register. They sound golden. I am still amiss why no one has asked me to sing at church. LOL

Although in the car with with radio or Cd blasting I can sing along and sound awesome. Yes, awesome. You know you do too! We all sound amazing in the car. Now, it's when I open my mouth to speak in front of others that they realize I sound like I'm a fourteen year old girl going through puberty. I am come to terms with the fact I will never be a singer. That is of course unless I wake one day and the Lord has blessed me with a gift beyond my imagination. We do have a God who loves to surprise us! So, you never know. You just might hear me on the radio one day.

I turn up the radio and it's like I am taken to another place. All my stress is washed away. Maybe with my new ulcers I need to spend more time in the car singing:) Music is powerful. There is a message, a story to be told. One that touches our heart and makes the tears fall or lights up our face with a smile. There is healing in music and many times it's those very words that brings us to our knees or makes us raise our hand in praise.

While I was driving home yesterday from the doctor and an afternoon of shopping, (A little gift after a doctor's visit is just what a girl needs to feel better), a song from Lady Antebellum came on. I found myself raising my hand in praise and reminding myself, "Keep your eyes open! Keep your eyes open!"  The song is, "Hello World". I hear this song and it just reminds me why I am here. I am here to surrender. I need to be in total surrender of my God and all He has for me.

We get so caught up in being busy. Ask one how their day is and they are quick to tell you all they are doing. I too do the same. We get angry at our husband and fed up with life. We get hurt by our children and they too hurt by us. It's a vicious cycle of emotion. We allow our emotions to control our daily lives. We look at the lives of others and wonder what it would be like. If we were to take a look inside their life we would be surprised at the hurt and baggage they are carrying. Gosh, I have friends I try to reach out to and never hear from them. That hurts, but then again, am I making myself available to those around me? We make promises only to forget them. Why? Because we are so centered on me.

We can't wait to walk out our door each morning. Something goes wrong and all we can think of is packing a bag and moving far away. I have been there. Believe me, sometimes the emptiness kills me. I look at all I am missing and I should be looking at all I do have, right here in front of me. If I keep looking elsewhere I am going to miss out on what is right here. One day I will wake and that too will be gone and then where will I be? In a world of, if only and why didn't I's.

Just yesterday I called my mom to share about a new column I will be writing in a Christian newspaper coming to our area. I am still dancing in joy, but as I told my mom, I heard nothing on the other end of the line. No encouragement. No, "I'm so proud of you, hon." I had this void feeling as we hung up. We hunger for encouragement. We hunger for more than this life can give us. When we don't find it too many times we are too quick to just give up. Why try?

This is why in all our loneliness we turn to things to sooth our pain. We can become so enthralled with what is outside our door we forget what is inside. The people in our life cannot be all things to us. They will never fill those shoes. We are an imperfect people and we are works in progress. We all have so much to work on, yet we search for what we need in those very people around us. If we don't get it, it's real easy to simply walk away. The sad thing is we never find peace and comfort in walking away. Relationships are much to important. As we are looking for encouragement we too much be an encouragement to those around us.

But see, as I surrender to God and give Him all of myself, He will fill me with all I need. When all things are right with Him, all things are right with those around us. Things might not be where we want them to be, but in trusting God, we know that He is at work and in that we walk with hope.

"Sing a new song of praise to Him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. For the Word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth." Psalm 33:3-5

"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

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." 1 Peter 1:2

When life seems to go crazy it is neccessary to find solace in Christ. It might be taking a country drive with the radio blasting. It may be a walk through the woods or park. Maybe a bike ride or a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop. God has filled with us with all we need. Simple as that. All we have to do it tap into it and we will feel His encouragement overflowing in us. In taking time to understand that God is in total control gives us a peace we never knew possible. We have to be able to forgive others and know that the only One who can give us all we need is the Lord.

I think He enjoys my singing. He may laugh in delight, but it's our time together for me to come to a place of solace even though things might be falling apart around me, my heart is right and true with God. There is no better place to be than in the presence of our Savior. Yes, when I am singing in the car it's as though my voice becomes stronger and stronger as I see my Savior before me working in my life. I am coming to this place in my walk that everything points to Him. I know everything has purpose. Sure, the road might be hard and it might even be a road I don't want to be on, but through the music before me, I can find that perfect place of peace.

Where that white with a smile

The season of white is quickly coming to an end. NOT! I love wearing white. I wear white all the time. Yes, I am that girl you will see way past that Labor Day date sporting something white. I know, it drives some people crazy, but to each his own, right? I don't think I am really going to let a date dictate when I must stop wearing a color. A favorite one at that.

Now, with that said, it is very hard to where white and not get dirty. In fact, I have yet to meet a woman who can do it. Oh sure, I can stay pretty clean, but there is always something lying in waiting  of those white  shorts and thinks, "Attack!" You have a seat only to notice that some how out of no where you now have something tagged to your bottom for the world to see. You can stand next to a friend and what happens? Out of no where, that soda they are holding in their hand just flies over on to you! There too is always a mystery stain. You look and have no idea what it is or where it came from. I can usually get dressed and get to my car without a spot, but by the time I get to church and sit down in the pew there before me is a speck. Ever notice that those tiny speaks keep growing? It's as though when you try to wipe them away they only get bigger and brighter!

It is every brides nightmare that something will get spilled on their wedding gown. Ever try carrying a white purse? Now that for me is just hopeless. And if you know me, you know that my purses are clean, clean and clean. LOL That's right, they contain no trash. That is unless you have friends who know that drives you crazy and they gather all the trash they can while your not looking and fill your purse to the brim with it!

My point? No matter how much we try to stay clean it's never going to happen. We have the vision of white in our minds. We see how glorious it looks. It too makes us feel clean and refreshed. It has that elegant feel to it, doesn't it? But just a little speck can be seen so clearly. Nothing can be hidden in white. So, do we dare try to wear it? I say yes! We know it is out of reach. We know something will gather on those cute white shorts, but we should still put them on feeling refreshed and regal.

In our life we will never be sinless, but we can strive to sin less. We can be careful and watchful of what we allow close to us. I am not without blemish. When I get my hands dirty I am quick to wipe them on my shorts. Just a habit, but a habit that shows me, I don't want to touch sin, and when I do, it's easily transferred. I cannot stay clean, but by the grace of God, He has taken care of my sin. My past sin and my future sin. It is when I turn to Him that all is made right and perfect.

"For everyone has sinned; we fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins." Romans 3:23-24

"Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

"But-'When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of His grace He declared  us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life." Titus 3:4-7

"He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." Psalm 103:12

Jesus Christ is our White of all seasons. We can wear Him with a smile and no that whatever touches us He will wash us clean. In fact, wash us white as snow. So, put on those white shorts and go for it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Building the character

I always wanted to be tall. I know, I dream big. At 5'4 I am not a tall girl. Okay, my husband would tell you I am stretching it at 5'4, because I am really 5'3. It's just the big hair that makes me look taller. lol But really, do you ever feel like you fall short? I look at those big things in life and feel so overwhelmed.

Today we face battles of every kind. Some bring us to our breaking point, but more importantly they bring us to our knees. A friend today shared with me, "You have a King in you. You can conquer it!" (Thanks, Roberta) How true. We do have a King who lives and He lives within us. Why do I see these big battles with fear and trepidation? Why do I back away and think they are too big for this girl? Satan would love nothing better than for us to crumble. We must remember, nothing is too big for God.

I had to ask myself, "Am I putting on my armor?" I have designer armor, you know. Yes, indeed! It was designed by God, Himself and it is fear proof and fail proof. When we are allowing God to guard us and live through us there is no need for fear. He has conquered that battle already. He is the Victor! There is no failure when we are living in His will. Now, if I step out of His will and try to conquer those big things in life all on my own, failure is just about emanate. I cannot do it alone, but with Him, what? ALL things are possible!

Have you ever picked up a novel and read the last chapter first? I am so guilty of this. I know, some may think it spoils the story, but for me, it only makes it more real and exciting. I will read the first chapter and then I move to that last chapter. See, that way I know how the story begins and ends. That way no matter what happens in the middle of the storyline, I already know the grace and hope that abounds in those last pages. To me, that is pretty cool.

We know how the story begins. God created us in His image. I think that is even too much for me to fathom. Oh, the love He has for us. We too know how the story ends. Jesus returns for those who believe in Him and we spend all of eternity with Him. That too, is huge. Too much for me to try to gather in my brain. I think of the greatness of God and I am on overload. He is too big for me to understand, but what I understand is, even in my shortness, He still loves me. Even when I fail and move out of His will, His love never stops for me. Oh, the healing grace of unconditional love.

What we really fear is all that stuff that flows in the middle. Am I right? We seem to forget how important the beginning and ending of the story is for us to live out each day in faith. Faith is living in the middle without fear. It is stepping into the storyline not knowing what the next page will reveal, but knowing whatever it holds, God is already there. He wrote my script. The pen is still in His hand. We should find great comfort in knowing He is in total control. Total control even when we are out of His will. He has a way of bringing us back in as our character continues to grow.

God's Word begins with a great love story. God creates man and woman. He loves us. He wants to be with us. His Word ends in love too. Revelation closes the chapter on book one and leads us on to the second book of the series. One that we should be yearning for. One that we should be excited about and waiting for it to hit the stands. It will be unfolded before our eyes. Just as in the Old Testament they didn't have our bible in front of them. It was being written as they lived. As they faced trial and tragedy. As they walked with God and moved away from Him. We now have their story in our hands to learn from and praise the mighty God who brings it all together for us.

It doesn't matter what we face today, we can do so knowing we have the power and might of the Holy Spirit living within us. We can face that fear head on know that even though we may fall short, with Christ in our lives we can stand tall and conquer all that comes our way!

"For everyone has sinned; we fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He declares sinners to be right in His sight when they believe in Jesus." Romans 3:23-26

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into various problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope does not disappoint. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love." Romans 5:3-5

"Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone destroys this temple. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple." 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

God didn't give us the Holy Spirit and all of our spiritual gifts to remain hidden. He wants to expose all to His glory. As He is writing our story, don't be afraid of what that next page holds. Don't fear what we don't know. So many times that is exactly what I do. I fear the very things that haven't happened. My faith needs to be alive and well for me to succeed as a child of God. Success is not worldly treasures, but releases all that God has for us and watching it grow. I am always going to fall short. No doubt about that, but in my short comings, God shows His might. He conquers those big things in life that overwhelm me. He casts out all fear just by His presence.

Before you think of what is going to happen in the next scene, take time and enjoy the chapter your in today. Even if it holds the unexpected. Pay attention to detail. My husband jokes and says that I miss everything that is above 5'3. Friends, that is why God made tip toes. Stand in excitement. Sit on the very edge of your seat ready and empowered by Him to take that leap of faith into all He has created just for you. Sure, there might be some chapters we don't enjoy. There might even be some that we would like to skip over. To that I say, don't close your eyes in fear. Read on, my friends. God isn't finished with us yet. Our story is still being written, and our Creator knows just how great that last chapter is!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A deep reservoir

As I sit here tonight I am thinking about the woman at the well. (John 4:1-38) We know of her. She is so much like you and me. The Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well. That well just happens to be Jacob's well. A well that runs deep. Why is it that Jesus met this woman at the well? He knew of her. He knew of her story. He could have met her any where along the way. It was as though Jesus went out of His way to meet her. Sound like your life? It does mine. He went out of His way to meet me. It seems He had been trying to reach me for years. I may not have known it then, but I do now. I can see how He planned meetings. He was there just in case my heart was ready. On the day that I accepted Him as my Savior, He knew before I ever took those steps forward that it was going to be the day. I am sure the angels in heaven were already singing before my heart fluttered.


The woman at the well has a past. She has had husband after husband. She now is living with a man who is not her husband. Does she carry shame? As she carries her watering jar to the well, what is she really thinking? There are no other women around to talk to. She isn't walking with a friend. But in fact, she walks alone. I think that kind of gives us a glimpse of her life. Her heart. You can almost know she was hurting. She was ready to release the past and the pain. I just imagine her heart fluttered just as mine when she finally accepted Jesus.

They talk, but what I find beautiful is that Jesus isn't condemning. He isn't just listening to her words, but to her heart. There is a difference. When we are in need we don't need a friend to tell us how wrong we are. We need a friend to show us the right way in love. Jesus was her friend at the well.

As deep as this well is, I am sure that is how deep her pain is. Jesus asks for a drink. He shares with her that He is the Living Water. She has to reach down deep. She must drag that water up. This is not an easy task. I see more here in this story than ever before. She must reach down deep and bring up her pain. She must bring it up before she can release it. It is as though we can feel her freedom in this single movement.

Jesus has a reservoir that never runs dry. Once we drink from His cup we never thirst again. Have you ever walked by a cool stream? You can breathe in the freshness. It is as though you can you taste it on your tongue. Just to sit along a flowing stream brings comfort and solace. There is a peace in just the sound that never ceases. The love and forgiveness of Jesus is ever flowing. His love never ceases.

Through some of the toughest trials in life springs up a beauty we never knew possible. If we can only give our pasts to Jesus, we will be able to see Him turn our deepest struggles into shimmers of gold that reach far beyond anything we could imagine. Remember, we have a God who can turn ash into beauty. He has done it for me. He too will do it for you.

As we sit along the shore and look out upon the water, maybe a ripple has begun, we see the sparkle that shines like light casting off light. If we look we can see a reflection. It's there. That tender reflection as if He is looking back at us. Have you seen it? It seems we must let those ripples flow and once they stop it's then we see.

"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


"He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." John 3:30


The less there is of me the more there is of Him. Just the same, the more I see of Him, the more He allows me to see of myself. A reflection of Him. He didn't judge this woman in anger. He gently showed her the way to life. He was showing her Living Water through giving her room to release her past so she could fully accept the present with Him.

"I tell you the truth, those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death to life." John 5:24


We can try to drown our sorrows. But what comes of that? Only more pain. At least for me. I believe when Jesus asked this woman for a drink, He was encouraging her to bring up her past and pass it to Him. As He took her past she could take His future. She drank the Living Water on this day and what did she do next? She went to share. This woman who went to the well alone, now had the courage to let everyone know the special blessings she had uncovered. A ripple that would now touch others and would teach the world to drink from the Fountain of
Life.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A surprise arrival to be waiting for

How much time do you spend getting ready for a guest? Oh, we clean for days before they arrive. We make sure they have everything that will make them feel right at home. We take time and prepare. Sometimes we even pick them up from the airport. We make arrangements to do special things with them when they arrive. Oh, we are so hospitable to those we love, aren't we?

"God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." 1 John 4:9-10

We have a party and we sit down with our pen and paper in hand pondering who to invite. We search our brains until they are on overload for the guests we want in attendance. We send out little cards with RSVP included. We want to know if they are coming. You know and if they aren't we are sometimes upset that they are not there. What could be more important?

"Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

We roll out the welcome mat and make our favorite dinners and clean above and beyond our usual duties. We know they are coming. We sit and watch out the window eager to see their face. We are anxious for a visit we have been waiting on for years. Sometimes we make it a weekend escape. Every Saturday we may get together with our favorite person just to spend a little time with them.

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. 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 14:1-4

We know the Lord is coming. He is preparing a home for us right now. So, don't you worry about those markets and housing prices. He will take care of all that. He is preparing a mansion of all mansions just for your arrival. He has been taking His time making sure everything is just right for you. He is preparing for a long stay, not just a weekend visit. He is rolling out the red carpet just for you! He is so excited to see you. He has sent out RSVP's and He is still waiting for replies. Some are slow in replying, so He is giving extra time so no one misses out. He asks us to invite all we know, even those we don't. His house is big enough for all of us and oh, the food on the table awaiting us! As a friend says, "He took six days to complete this world and all that is in it. He has been preparing your home for over 2,000 years." (Love that, Darin) You just gotta know the excitement in that!

"For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

We know He is coming, but are we ready? Are we excited beyond all emotion? Do we wake in wonder, "Lord, will it be today?" Are we walking throughout our day focused on His arrival? What are we doing to prepare? Have we invited everyone we know for His return? Just where is our hospitality for our Lord and Savior?

"So you, too, must keep watch! For you don't know what day your Lord is coming." Matthew 24:42

I must tell you I have been pondering these thoughts. How much of my day is spent on me and how much am I truly giving to Him? I think I just might be more concerned with where I am going most days than when He will return. Sure, we don't know the exact time. We don't even know the date, but one thing we do know. We are to be waiting. We are to be looking for Him. I can tell you when I walk Daisy at night I look up into the night sky and wonder, "Is it tonight, Lord?" But even in that pondering heart of mine I know I have not invited enough people for His return.

"So we are Christ's ambassadors, God is making His appeal through us." 2 Corinthians 5:20

Think about it. We wait for the latest styles to come out for fall. We stand in line for the return of our favorite movie. We search for the best sales. We get tickets in advance for those sports events that make us stand up and shout. The thing is, we call all our friends and tell them about the goings on that are exciting to know about. Picture that big shopping mall or the huge stadium we will gather at with screams and shouts. How many do you think are awaiting His return? How many will be standing and shouting praises to His name on the day of His arrival? Our Lord is humble, but shouldn't we make Him feel like the King He is?

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon." Philippians 4:4-5

We get so excited about the small stuff in life. Sure, it doesn't take much to excite this girl, but shouldn't I be completely overflowing with joy and excitement at the return of my Savior? To be caught up with all those who believe should be a thought that is always on our mind. Not somewhere on the back burner after our lists our complete, but on the forefront of every thought.

"Since you have been raised to life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." Colossians 3:1-2

Do you ever wonder about what you will be doing when He calls us home? He tells us He will come in the blink of an eye. What happens when someone knocks on our door at night while we are sleeping? We aren't too happy they have interrupted us. Shouldn't we be excited for the Lord to interrupt our lives? Might we be preparing for the greatest gathering of our time. This will be the one reunion you won't want to miss out on. Get to inviting and lets get those praises ready!

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before He made the world, god loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son." Ephesians 1:3-6

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stop putting off the hard stuff

I have started making a list. Why, you ask? Well, I seem to take a look at my chores and put off all the hard work, doing all the easy stuff first. Why is that? Now, I am not lazy at all, but I can make up excuses when the hard stuff needs done. Isn't that usually what we do? We make excuse after excuse, but you know what? We are busy with what we want to be busy with. Think about that for a moment. If I want to take a trip to the Muny or the movies with my son, I have all the time in the world. If a girl friend calls and asks me to go shopping I am your girl. Lets go! But have those wood floors staring at me and that toilet that needs cleaning. Ugh! I tend to turn and look the other way.
Is our spiritual life so different? We tend to read our bibles as if we are checking it off our list. Yep, got that done for today. We go to church on Sunday and again, check. Wednesday night? Um, let me see what my schedule is calling for. Yes, I see it listed. My favorite show in on at 7pm. Sorry. Guilty, guilty and guilty.

"Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as high as it will." A.W Tozer

Ever hear that God won't ask us to do the big stuff if we can't even do the little things? Oh, has He been speaking to my heart lately. I tend to do the easy things, but when He asks something big of me I tend to turn the other direction. Isn't there someone else more qualified? Maybe, but He is calling me. Would it be easier if someone else did it? Possibly, but He isn't asking, Sue, He is asking you.

Why do we do this? Should we really be putting off God? I mean, when we call upon Him, don't we expect Him to answer? Oh, and of course we want our answer in our way. Goodness, just who do we think we are? For me, I know many times it is fear. Yes, fear of what if I fail? What if I say something wrong? What if...If we live with what if's are we ever going to accomplish anything for God? Isn't that what it's all about? Him?

"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." Chuck Swindoll

A few days ago I found myself thinking and I am just gonna be totally transparent. I thought, "Wow, I wish I could have more time for me." Now before you begin thinking, well now, that is selfish. There's more. I thought, ya know I have lived almost twenty-four years dedicated to my children, almost twenty-one dedicated to my husband and now I find myself dedicated to caring for my mother. The list goes on and on. Now, these are dedications I love. I couldn't imagine my life not being dedicated to those I love, but do you ever just wish you had time for you? When do we get to live just for me? When do we just wake up and think, "Well now, what is it I want to do?" As my selfish heart was pondering thoughts the Lord spoke. I don't think He was very happy with His child. This child that is very blessed. This child that is not wanting of anything. I hear His voice say, "Daughter, is it your life your living for or Me?" Talk about a heart check. My life belongs to God. I am to be totally, 100% sold out to Him. It's not my life 89% and give Him the other 11%. Life is about giving. The more we humbly and honestly give the more blessings we will find along the way. Just where is my treasure?

He has called me to a higher purpose. He has set before me things I cannot do alone. The more I have set before me, the more I am calling upon Him to accomplish them. Ever think about it that way? When life is easy, do we really call upon Him as we should? Could that be why trial after trial comes into my life? I believe so. We are not to be without trial.

"The disappointment has come - not because God desires to hurt you or make you miserable or to demoralize you or ruin your life or keep you from ever knowing happiness. He wants you to be perfect and complete in every aspect, lacking nothing. It's not the easy times that make you more like Jesus, but the hard times."   Kay Arthur

He has called us to do the hard things so we can clearly see, it's not us, but Him accomplishing them. He calls us to the harder things so we can grow in faith. He didn't create us just to settle for the small things, those easy things in life. He calls us to be set apart and to make a difference in this world. Will we build a legacy for Him by sitting on the sidelines or by being in the trenches knee deep?

"Let's be diligent in giving, careful in our living, and faithful in our praying." Jack Hyles

We gotta put one foot in front of the other. I recently started running. Well, more like a walk/run. I have tried to do at least 1-3 miles. A few days ago as I was running I came in just spent. I thought, "Why am I doing this? It is so hard." I found painful blisters all over my feet. So, for me, it will be flip flops for a while. Now, this doesn't mean I stop running. It means I take a rest and I get back out there. I put on better shoes and I increase my stamina daily. It would be so easy just to give up, wouldn't it? God calls us to higher standards. He have a high calling because He is our Savior. He didn't take the easy route. He didn't have to crawl upon that cross and give His life for us. He didn't have to have a ministry where most turned away. He was in for the long haul. He was going all the way and doing the hard stuff first. How did He do it? He called upon His Father for strength and courage.

"No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us. Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquillity, and hindering our communion with God. If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it. " Alexander MacLaren

Do you have hard things before you? Don't keep putting them off. Dive in and you will find treasures beyond anything you expected. God is the God who gives the unexpected and gives strength for those times in which we find ourselves looking for a way out. Instead of looking for a way out, look for a way in. God is always opening a door for us to step through in faith.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Everything looks different in the dark

Well, it was another weekend with my husband traveling to Chicago. You know, I am quickly falling in love with this city and the people. In meeting up with my husband on Sunday night, around midnight, I found myself once again lost. Yes, I seem to find myself lost all the time. Well, let's not say lost. Just maybe taking the wrong turn. I seem to know about where I am, but just can't find the right turn to take me to where I need to be.

I shoot my husband and call and say, "Um, I have made a wrong turn somewhere." He knows me all too well. He ends up saying to me, "Just stay where you are and when I get there you can follow me on in." I cannot tell you how much comfort that brought to this girl that is forever making wrong turns. Now, why didn't I just think of that in the first place? Why not follow the one who knows the way? Why do I forever try to do it on my own when the way doesn't seem familiar?

"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 24:4-5

Do you find yourself making the wrong turns in life like me? I seem to think, "I can make it just fine", and right about that time I find myself at a dead end and trying to find a place to turn around.

Now, my husband has a built in GPS. The man is never lost. Even if he makes a wrong turn, he can simply get back to where he was and correct himself. Me? I am not blessed with that. It seems I can go the same road quite a few times and still find myself going the wrong direction. Especially at night. Everything looks different at night.

"You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God lights up my darkness." Psalm 18:28

Once coming back home on Tuesday morning, he says to me, "Look hon, I will show you how to get in. I know, everything looks different at night." He showed me and said, "Now, where did you make a wrong turn?" I couldn't even tell him. I had no idea where I messed up. Just like my life where sin sneaks in. It comes in when I'm not looking. It sneaks in when darkness is around. See, where I must meet my husband there is no light. No light at all. So, it's very easy to miss the turn. How many times have I done this in life? Goodness, too many times to count. Just one light would make all the difference in the world. When there is light, everything in darkness is illuminated! We can find our way by following the light.

Now that I have been shown how to get there in the light of day I believe I can find my way in the dark of night.

"The Lord is my Light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?" Psalm 27:1

When I make a wrong turn I find myself coming to tears in fear of where I am going to end up. My husband is teaching me to just be still and calm while I think about my grounding. What is my grounding? To trust in the Lord. Trust in His guidance and keep focused on Him and Him alone. It's when I seem to take my eyes off of Him, my destination, that I lose my way.

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

When I can't seem to find my way in life I am learning to just stop and pray. Stop and seek out my Lord who knows my path and knows just what road I need to travel to get there. Now, not every road is as scenic as another. Some journeys seem to make us smile and others we find ourselves pondering how in the world we got there and now, how in the world are we going to get back to where we were. It's when we slow down and remain calm that we can notice all the detail around us. Even though the scenery is different, we don't have to panic. We can still take great joy in the journey.

"Those who fear in the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children." Proverbs 14:26

The Lord will illuminate the path before us when we have our focus open Him and not the circumstances around us. My husband asked me, "Honey, why in the world do you get so upset when you can't find your way?" That took me some time to ponder. Is it the complete and utter fear of the unknown? Maybe not finding my way back to where I began? To that I must tell myself, I cannot fear the unknown. I must trust in the Lord to guide my path and all that comes before me. There is no faith in fear. If I trust in Him, He will always light my path. No matter where I am, He will guide me back to Him.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." Proverbs 2:5-6


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