Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just Make A Decision To Do It!

How did you wake up today? Did you wake with a smile or did you roll over and say, "Ugh.."? Each and every day we make tons of choices. Some are tough and some are pretty easy for us to contemplate, but for most of us the hardest decision of all to face daily is our attitude. You might ask, "Well, how is an attitude a decision?" Our attitude can warm people. It can encourage friends. The very attitude we possess has the ability to bring people to know Christ or to move them away from Him.

Think about it. We call ourselves Christians, but how much more important are the very actions we possess each day more so than our words of, "Yes, I'm a Christian"? It's our actions that people remember. We can say one thing, but do a turn and do something totally different.

We make snap judgements about others. Most of all in how they look. We listen to gossip and say, "I knew there was something I didn't like about Julie", when in fact, the words that just entered our ears were way off base. We speak before we think. We act before we pray. We spend our days looking at others and seeing what is wrong in this world, in our city, in our town and in our very church. But how often do we think of our attitude?

We can wake up and spend hours thinking of what if's and just maybe's. We can ponder our regrets and get caught up in what could have been if we only made a different decision. We cannot change yesterday. There is nothing at all that we can do to bring it back or change the way it was. Why is that so hard for us to comprehend?

So, today I came across scripture that made me sit straight up and set my coffee cup down.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as, in fact, you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

We cannot change others. What we can do is pray. We can cover every person we meet in prayer. We can saturate the floors of heaven with prayer. That girl you don't like, well, instead of saying something bad about her, saturate her in prayer. Think of something you do like about her and concentrate on the love of Christ toward her. We are a work in progress. You may not like her, but her life is just as valuable as your life.

We simply just have to make the choice of doing what is right. When we have our eyes totally focused on Christ nothing can move us away from Him. We must make the choice to encourage others. In doing so we are encouraged.

Each movement creates a movement. In moving in a Christ-like way we can begin to change our heart. It must be a conscious effort on our part. I find that when I am alone I am on fire for Christ. Really, I can dig into God's Word, I can encourage and I can move about my day just thinking about Him, but put me in a room with others and if I am not careful my whole attitude can change.

All it takes is one text, one phone call, one disappointing moment in time and everything can change for us in our walk. We can either fall into that gossip, grab hold of that anger, and twist ourselves so tightly and righteously that we begin to walk away from Christ in the blink of an eye.

Everything is a choice. A decision to be made. Just how we base those decisions will not only effect us, but those around us. No choice just effects one person. Our actions can either bring others closer to Christ or move them away inch by inch.

We can wake up sad or angry or we can wake up inspired and motivated to move on Christ's behalf. We may not have tomorrow. We may not have the next hour, but we have right now. This very moment we can make a valid choice to do what is right. It doesn't matter what others think. It doesn't matter if that choice is accepted by those around you. What matters is how Christ sees your action. Our choices need to line up with His Word, not the crowd. Sometimes all it takes is one person to make a difference. One person can change the world. Look what Christ did for us. Look what He did with just twelve disciples. Heaven and earth were moved by their actions in following God and His Word.

Stop looking to see what your neighbor is doing. Don't look at yesterday as the means of what today will bring. Today is a whole new day with new possibilities. Every decision is an opportunity to shine for Christ. It's all up to you. So, what will you choose for today? Our very first decision should be to look to Christ. With our eyes on Him, each decision for today will be based on His will and after all, isn't that what we are searching for?

The very seeds of your decisions today can take root and blossom and spread to others. In just what grows all depends on your decision of what to plant.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

First Things First..Lets Pray

How many times have we been at an intersection in life that has us at a road block and we don't know which way to turn? How many times has a trial come along out of the blue and there is nothing we can do to fix it or change it? Do you know what we say to ourselves and even to others? "Well, all I know to do is pray." We might even say, "I wish there were more I could do for you." Really? As a Christian, as a woman of faith, should this be our response? Shouldn't we say instead, "Let's pray, dear friend", or share with that person calling upon us, "The first thing we need to do is pray and then let's listen for God's whisper."

Why is it that we say, "Gosh, I just don't know what else to do but pray"? Shouldn't that be our first response to every situation in our life? You know, something I am realizing is that if we are so totally focused on Christ, we don't even have to ponder good or evil. With the Holy Spirit living in us and with us following Him we are going to always do good. Evil will not come from our lips or our actions. When we are so caught up in Christ, He is the first person we go to not just in our times of trial, but in our times of joy.

From Him springs life, love and joy. From this world springs death, hate and sadness. So which should we be focused on? My mom listens to a scanner all day. She has this little contraption on all the time. So, she is hearing everything that goes on throughout town. She hears the sirens go off and if her scanner isn't on she is on the move to turn that puppy on as fast as she can. First thing of the morning she goes and turns the news on and has her coffee. Now ya all, when I'm having coffee the last thing I want to be watching is the news. But in this state of mind, my mom finds herself worrying and always thinking the worst is about to happen. This is her focus.

But just what if she woke each morning with her Bible in hand along with her cup of coffee? What if she turned that scanner off for a bit and opened up the shades to let the light in and scatter across her living room? Her focus wouldn't be so distraught every time she heard a siren go off. She might even have herself a giggle and smile more often. Instead of focusing on the bad of the day or what could happen, she could change her focus and live in total hope. It's in the hope she could find peace that when she heard that siren go off, she would know that no matter what, her family or not, God is in control.

It just seems like prayer is our last resort. We talk it over and think of ways we can fix it. Well, if your a fixer like me, you know that stepping in isn't always the best thing to do. In fact, it can make issues much worse. There are times we cannot change what is going on in our life and in the life of those we love. What better way to approach a trial than to be in prayer?

The best way to fight our battles and our fears is on our knees. When good comes into our lives we need to be shouting praise. It shouldn't be any different when trial comes into our lives. We stand and shout at God and say, "Why? Why me, God? Why did You let this happen?" Just maybe we need to be in praise for those trials, as hard as it may be, God still has something in store. Everything that touches our life goes through His hand first. That should give us comfort. It should give us the peace we need at night as we lay our head down to sleep to rest in His mercy. He is there when watching over us as we sleep. Do we really believe He would leave us uncovered by His protection and grace? I think at times we do.

We begin to have the attitude that we aren't good enough to have a relationship with Christ and who are we for Him to really listen to us? If you believe in Christ, my friend, you are a Child of the King of kings, Lord of lords. There is nothing impossible for Him. There is nothing too big for Him to handle. He loves us and wants to have an intimate relationship with us.

He is always trying to get our attention. In our busy lives we continue to push Him away. That's why when trial comes we don't think to pray first and we often get to the point of, "Well, I don't know what else to do, so I will pray." Friends, we must pray first. When we are in prayer we are all about Him. When we are in fix it mode we are all about us. So why not pray to the One who can fix it? Now, is He going to fix it according to our wishes? Probably not. He has our best interests at heart and He knows exactly how the problem needs attention. Sometimes it isn't the problem that needs fixed, but us. Sometimes it our lack of faith that is the very problem.

We must learn to change our attitude and trust Him completely with every aspect of our lives. Not just the parts we want to give Him. Not just the pieces we don't know what to do with, but everything. See, when my mom turns that scanner on, she's only hearing one side of the story. She doesn't know what happened first or what is about to happen next. She doesn't have the whole story so that she can fully understand. God has the full story. He has the wide screen before Him. He sees not only the right now, but what has led up to this moment and what will happen ten years from now because of this very moment.

Pray. Pray. Pray. It's His will we are after. Let us set aside ourselves and lets lay our fears down at the foot of the cross and give it all to Him and simply pray. He will answer. In His perfect time He will answer and He will complete what He has begun. Don't lose hope. Don't lose sight of the big picture, because there is much more to the story than you are seeing. So just simply go to Him in prayer.

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quite life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension."
1 Timothy 2:1-8

"Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you."
Mark 11:24

"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. and if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him."
1 John 5:14-15

"…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective"
James 5:16

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7

Saturday, January 28, 2012


This is my first book I have had the pleasure of reading from author Amanda Cabot. This is the first book in her new series, "Westward Winds". When I opened the first pages I can tell you I didn't think I was going to like the three characters that first popped out. Gosh, they complained and were a bit selfish. But then again, they were on a stage coach.  

I continued reading and you know what? I couldn't put this book down until I finished the very last page! These characters turned out to be so real and to have such personalities that are so common with us today. We get to see them follow their heart, struggle with real issues and to fight their flesh. We see the consequences to our actions when we make the wrong choice and just how greed can take a heart and make it mean. Ah, but then there is that sweet grace of the Lord.

The setting is in Laramie, Wyoming and the attention to detail is remarkable. Amanda Cabot took her time with research and it shows. I love how the characters interacted with one another. 

What nugget of gold can I take away from this book? To simply listen to the Lord. When He tells us to move, we better move. In listening to Him we never go wrong. It's His path that we are to be on and He has a way of sending us right where we are to be. I tend to question Him instead of just following. Abigail Harding, listened to the Lord and her gut and went to visit her sister. She found that by listening that was exactly where she was to be. The rest you will have to find on your own as these pages come alive before you.

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

Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, and Tomorrow's Garden, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the cofounder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


“God’s Timetable”
Writen By
Diane Craver

Around three years ago, my husband Tom said to me, “I think we should sell our house and land.”

“Why do you want to move?” I was surprised because we had built our Cape Cod house after we bought ten acres. At this time, we’d lived in our house for twenty-one years. I had no desire to move. Both of us had saved labor expenses by doing some of the work inside ourselves. With raising six children in this house, we had created tons of family memories.

“I want to downsize. I think we should buy a ranch. Or we can build a one floor house on our land.”

Although only in his late fifties, Tom already had one hip replacement and arthritis in several joints. I understood why he didn’t want to continue taking care of our land. At one time, he’d farmed our back fields to raise crops for our chickens and pigs. Without livestock and doing farming any longer, he was ready to downsize.

I didn’t get on board with this idea at first, but then agreed with him that it was a good time to downsize to a smaller house with less land. Instead of having six children at home, we only had two daughters with special needs living with us. We started looking at ranches and found a brick house with five acres. Tom and I loved it. With three bedrooms, the house would be perfect for our family of four. A large portion of the land was wooded so would require little mowing. We happily wrote a contract and listed our house with a realtor. No one bought our house so we were unable to buy the ranch. We decided it wasn’t God’s plan for us to have the house. Eventually, we wrote contracts on two other houses but lost both to other buyers. After no success with a realtor, we tried to sell our house ourselves.

When we couldn’t buy a house and sell ours, Tom and I decided to build a ranch style house on our own acreage and sell our present home with the least amount of land possible. Tom had the zoning person for our township look over our possible land site and building plans. The zoning guy seemed sure that our application would be approved to build on our land. Tom and I picked out house plans and signed a building contract. We paid the $200 fee to the township trustees and were excited about our floor plans for our new house. We were shocked when the township rejected our application. The township trustees informed us that we might win against their strict building requirements if we hired a lawyer. We decided not to spend money on a lawyer with no guarantee we’d win.

God always knows best. Tom and I are glad our house didn’t sell when we had it on the market which would’ve caused a move to a smaller house, because our twenty-four-year-old daughter, Emily, moved back home last September. We never saw this coming.

After graduating from college with a degree in microchemistry, she took a year off to work in Columbus, Ohio and to apply to several optometry programs. She was accepted at several places, but her dream was to live in a warmer climate. She happily decided on Nova University in Florida. We moved her in July to Fort Lauderdale to start her education to become an optometrist. Because of her decision to live on campus and not wanting to take her older car, we tried to sell the Honda Civic. In the past, my husband has always sold our vehicles quickly. We were surprised when no one bought it. It ran great and was reasonably priced. I starting realizing that God knew Emily might need her car again, and told Tom that we better stop trying to sell it.

Emily hated working on cadavers which was required in the beginning of her program. She also disliked other aspects in this field of study. She received an A on her first exam but still felt like she had made a huge mistake. However, she tried to stick it out. After experiencing panic attacks, she withdrew. She’s now living at home with us to save money so she can pay off her college loans. Although she was only there for forty days, she’s responsible for several thousand in tuition and board plus her undergraduate college loan.

If we had sold our house, we could have made it worked and had our daughters share rooms, but it’s nicer for each woman to have her own space upstairs. Emily’s working and her schedule is different than her sisters. Another blessing is that we didn’t sell Emily’s car. Obviously, she needs it to drive to her job at University of Cincinnati.

Without feeling any urgency to move, we’ve taken the for sale sign down. Tom’s happy because the study I used for my writing is now his. He has his own “man cave” with his favorite chair and antiques in here. J I’m sure someday we still might downsize to a smaller house with less land, but I’m confident it will be according to God’s timetable for us. Not ours.

Life is so much easier when you trust God’s journey path for your life. As it says in Psalm 23:3, “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

Diane Craver enjoys her life with her husband, six children, daughter-in-law, and new grandchild in southwestern Ohio. Diane has published through a variety of houses, including Booklocker.com, Samhain, Desert Breeze, Whimsical Publications, and Victory Tales Press. She writes fun and inspiring stories filled with memorable characters. Diane gives thanks to God daily for all her wonderful blessings. To learn more about Diane and her writing, visit her website & blog at: http://www.dianecraver.com/ and http://www.dianecraver.com/blog.

Diane is the author of, A Christmas Gift, and The Proposal, out now! Friends, check out Diane's sites. She is a gifted writer and a sweet woman of God.

Diane, thank you for sharing with me and my readers. What a wonderful illistration of God's wondrous plan for our lives. He is forever showing us He knows best. I am still learning to quiet myself and allow Him to take the lead. I hope you return to share more of your heart and God's Word. Blessings to you sweet friend:)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do we really appreciate all He does?

Do we really appreciate Jesus for all He is? Does it really come down to what He does? Now there is a thought to ponder. We can walk close to Jesus when gifts are coming in every form and all is good in our life, but what about that moment when everything changes? Does our walk then change too? There have been times I have caught myself taking a step back when things seem to fall apart. I find myself wondering, "Okay now, we were having a great walk, now where did You go?"

Come to find out later on, He didn't go anywhere. I'm the one who moved. I'm the one who was lacking in my faith just because I didn't see the blessings as they were. Jesus was alive and well. He was working and those moments that I thought my blessings were going to others? Well, turns out even in those times where I thought things were falling apart, Jesus was hard at work. It would be later that I would reap those blessings.

Appreciation for Jesus changes according to our circumstances. We tend to look for something to see, when in fact, Jesus isn't looking for our approval. He isn't playing hide and seek with us. We need to focus on Him instead of our circumstances and our needs. Isn't that so true? The moment I take my eyes off Jesus is when I see those needs that are not being met. I see my circumstances that are not changing for the better. Folks, there are times we gotta go through the fire to see the light. Sometimes that no answer is the best answer we could ever hope for. We just don't realize it until that later yes comes along. It's then we begin to thank Jesus for all He is doing, but what about that no we received? We too should be thanking Him for that answer. It's from that no that a yes came. We cannot see all that Jesus sees. In a way, that's kind of awesome. It gives us an opportunity for our faith to grow and our witness to mature.

Take a look at John 4:4-54. This is the story where Jesus brings healing to the son of a nobleman. This again is one of those stories where the people want to see a miracle. This man's son was close to death. He was very sick. Jesus had just turned water into wine (John 2:1) and now the people are looking for more. Isn't that sad how what we have is never enough? We are always looking for more. When one blessing comes we are asking for another before we can fully appreciate the one before us.

People had seen Jesus perform the miracle of turning water into wine. Now, in this crowd, people are looking for more. Are they really seeking a Jesus as a Savior or are they searching for a genie in a bottle?

My mother in law is one of those folks who is never satisfied. She is always left wanting more. She is on the search for that great find, only to find it and yet again go search for more treasure. Yes, that ever present attitude of, "Gimme more". When we are not content with who we are or what we have we are left seeking. That can make for a lonely life and it can turn others away.

One year I gave her this beautiful bathrobe for Christmas. Oh, it was lovely. Gave my mother one just like it only in a different color. My mother loved her gift! My mother in law? Not so much. She even said to me, "This is nice, but I would have rather had another color". When your the giver and you get that after searching for that perfect gift, well, it leaves you feeling as though your not good enough and your gift giving skills could use some work.

For her birthday one year I searched for the perfect gift. I knew in my heart what it was. She loves flowers and plants. She didn't have a fern. That is exactly what I picked out for her. This was the biggest fern I had ever seen. It was gorgeous! I gave it to her with her card and she smiled. A few days later I went over and do you know she gave that fern to a friend? Yes, she gave it away. It was as though my gift wasn't good enough for her. It left me heart broken.

How do we think Jesus feels when He gives and gives and gives and we look at Him and say, "Um, this is nice, but I would have preferred ______". Jesus is the ultimate gift giver! He know the perfect gift and the perfect timing. He gives gifts that keep on giving.

This nobleman was asking for a miracle. It wasn't that he had faith, it was that he was in need. He was focused on the need, not the Savior before him. This man was begging Jesus. Have you been there? I know I have. I have been on my knees begging Him with everything I have. Tears falling and heart on my sleeve, just as this man. This father who is begging for his child. What this man didn't realize was that his very child was too the child of God. Jesus knew his need before he spoke it. Jesus knew what needed to be done. Can you envision this scene as this man is begging Jesus to heal his child? The man is telling Jesus to hurry before his child dies. Really? Does Jesus need to be told to hurry? Where was the faith?

Although we do not always see Jesus at work first hand, He is always at work. When we receive a blessing out of no where, isn't that special? Doesn't that make us shout glory to all of heaven? We shouldn't expect any less from a Savior who did give ALL for a people He loves.

He always has our best interests under control. We often focus on the need instead of our Savior. That was what was happening here. But, Jesus healed the child at the very moment this man was crying out for help. This man goes home and hears that his son lives! What a blessing. It was at the moment when the man asked when it was that his son was healed and then he knew. It was the very time he was speaking to Jesus. Because of this not only this man, but his whole household came to faith.

In spite of our neediness and our lack of faith Jesus still shows Himself mighty and glorious before us. Isn't it sad how we continue to ask for more? I find myself doing the very same thing. I need to appreciate what I have and I need to appreciate the One who graciously gives me the very best of Himself.

Being Content

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."
Philippians 4:11

"Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently says, "The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"'
Hebrews 13:5-6

Giving Praise

"Because Your loving kindness is better than life, my lips will praise You."
Psalm 63:3


"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ."
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
Matthew 21:22

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life."
Jude 20


"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 1:13


"Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."'
John 20:29

"They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."'
Acts 16:31

Lord, today let me learn to appreciate You for who You are. Help me to be content in all things and when I think something is not as it should be, help me to simply trust in You. Thank You, Lord for your many gifts. For those gifts that keep on giving. Your grace covers all. Help me fight those temptations to complain and to ask for more when all I need is right here before me. Amen

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's not just who you rep, but how you rep!

When my husband was working for a company a few years back he had to wear a uniform. In that uniform he represented his company. When people saw him they knew just by the uniform who he was representing. If he did a good job that brought in more customers. If he had done his job poorly, customers would have gone and went elsewhere for their business. It wasn't just who he was representing, it was how he was representing.

When I was in high school I went to a Catholic high school. I put on my uniform every morning. Usually I wore a skirt. Now, my skirt just happened to be a little shorter than what it was suppose to be. When people saw me in that uniform they knew where I went to school. It was evident by my uniform. My actions were not always proper. I not only represented that school, I was representing God. At the time I was not doing a very good job. I was more concerned with having fun and doing what I wanted. You can't very well represent God if your motives are for yourself.

Sure, I was a kid. A teenager in fact. I wasn't even Catholic. But I still knew right from wrong and in my flesh I chose wrong instead of right. I was not only representing my school and God, but my parents. A very wise youth pastor shared with me once, "Your reputation will be made known." Those were wise words and words I have never forgotten. My reputation in no way stated that I was a good little Catholic girl, but the very opposite.

Look at Tim Tebow. Ask me today who he plays for and I couldn't tell you. I would have to ask someone. I can't give you any of his stats or even tell you where he is from. What can I tell you? He's the guy who prays before each game and each time he walks out onto the field. He's that guy who points heavenward when something good happens. His reputation is being made known.

Sure, you have people saying how we shouldn't even be talking about Tim Tebow. I think they are wrong. I think he is representing his Savior and in all the attacks, I'd say he is doing a pretty good job of it. I would hope that when people speak my name, whether they know me or not, they would say, "Oh yeah, she's that Christian girl who writes". I would hope that in my walk, that is the first thing others see.

Think about it, Moses came and he represented God. He too represented His Savior that was coming. The disciples represented Jesus as they spread the gospel. As people surrounding them witnessed their walk, they knew they walked with Christ just in their speech and in their actions. Jesus came to represent His Father in heaven. We can look to many in the Bible such as David, Danial, Paul, Ruth, Naomi, and the list goes on and on, of men and women who spent their whole lives representing God.

So, what is our motivation? Where do our words and actions take us? What are people seeing when they get a glimpse into our lives?

We should be thinking about the very things that point to the way we live our life. What do we stand for? How do we treat others? What do we wear? Where do we spend our Friday nights? During the week when we are out of our pew what would people find us doing? What would you be doing two towns from where you live if you knew no one knew you and no one really cared what you were doing?

When others see us, do they see the image of Christ? What is our image portraying?  What exactly is our life sowing?

"For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
Galatians 6:8

Everything we do we should be considering the effect it has on eternity. Remember, our lives can either bring others to Christ or turn they away from Him. What is your life saying today? Is it saying, "Come, come seek the Savior that lives in me?"

"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness. carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Galatians 5:19-21

We are to put OFF all of these things. We are to stay clear of them and we are to be so close to Christ that when these temptations enter our mind and our flesh, we should call to Him for strength to overcome them. When we are TOTALLY focused on Him we are not going to sin. It's that moment we take our eyes off of Him that we then fall into our own flesh.

Just as we are to put off those very things, there are things we are to put on and wear so that others can see Christ in us and through us.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
Galatians 5:22

When we walk in this way we are giving others an opportunity to see Christ in action. Our bodies belong to Him. We are the temple for the Holy Spirit. We are to surrender to Him and allow Him to live through us. That calls for obedience. In that obedience we find love. A love for Him that is greater than the love we have for ourselves.

In my younger years I didn't know Christ. So therefore my actions didn't reflect Him. How could they if I didn't walk with Him? Today I do walk with my Savior. My actions should follow my talk. I should be walking the walk and talking the talk. I am a representative of God. I am called to a higher standard than this world calls for. I am to be different and to step out and beyond the walls of my flesh.

"But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the Spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which created of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth."
Ephesians 4:20-24

How are we to live this new life? God gives us all we need. We are impacted with the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things and in all ways. To help us in our daily battle we must put on the armor of God. This is our protection against this world that tries to hold us down and attack us at every angle. We can read all about the armor of God in turning to Ephesians 6:10-24.

We must renew our minds daily. Sometimes from a moment to moment basis. We must be aware of our surroundings and what we allow into our lives. We must be conscience in every area. Satan knows our weak places. He knows what will trip us up. He too knows our strengths and will try to attack, but when we are ready and fully armored we have nothing to fear!


Chasing Mona Lisa was an awesome book and Trica Goyer ROCKS!! She is having a contest right now. I am giving you all the links so you can sign up. She too is having a party on Facebook!! Come and follow the links and see what the contest is all about!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Choosing Words Wisely

Do we really seem to pay that much attention to the words that come out of our mouths? As a parent, if our child says something mean we say to them, "Now Johnny, that isn't nice at all. You shouldn't say such things." But a few minutes later the phone can ring and we grab it only to catch up on the latest news in town. "Hi Sally, did you hear what happened to Kay? Her kids left home and she is checked into a hospital for drug addiction."

Now for starters, that mother is right. It's not nice to talk mean to others. But what happened to this mother's same virtue when it came to herself? It's like that phone hits our ear and something crazy happens to us. We just can't get enough. I just wonder how many phone calls, emails and texts are sent each and every day involving gossip? I know, I wouldn't want all of my messages recorded for others to hear or see.

As I turned on the news this morning I had my Bible open getting ready to study. My Bible was turned to Ephesians 4 and as I am reading I hear the news anchor say, "Gossip? Is it really bad or could it be good for your health?" Ah, the Lord was speaking to my heart loud and clear. At first I thought, goodness, people are nasty, aren't they? But then I realized God wasn't concerned with those others this morning. He was speaking to me.

A few days ago I felt that I was attacked by another Christian. Mistaken words? Misunderstanding? Wrong choice of words? Sure, it could have been. But just the use of one word turned an opinion into a mess. Why did I feel attacked? There was no encouragement or inspiration in the words being shared. I didn't feel love at all. So, what did this Christian girl do? I could have let it go, but I didn't. I was down right angry. So, my words went pounding right back. Sure, I tried to be respectful and say what I thought had to be said, but there was no doubt anger in my words reflected back. In hindsight, I know I should have just let it go. I shouldn't have replied back at all. I should have been more concerned with my character than the faults of the other person's words. But, it stung. When we are hurt by words, we hurt back with words.

My son is that young man who makes mistakes, just like his parents. He is not perfect and he will tell you without a doubt that his behavior is not always Christian like. For me, I admire his honesty. He isn't one to pretend he is someone he isn't. Like me, he tries to walk as the Lord calls him, but on this journey we make mistakes. It's through those very mistakes that we learn the lessons in life. As my son has shared some of his mistakes over the last summer, he has gotten more gossip and mean remarks that have stained his heart than he ever thought he would. As he was being honest he thought he would receive encouragement. Words expressing a love for him. Since his sharing of his summer failures, I think his heart has been more hurt by those very people he expected more from.

When Christians gossip about other Christians we are displaying to the world around us that we are no different. When in fact, it should be just the opposite. We should be cheering one another on with words that edify. We should be encouraging one another through prayer. This world attacks enough. We shouldn't be receiving it from the very people who call themselves Christian or family.

"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, so that it will give grace to those who hear."
Ephesians 4:29

Could the Word be any clearer? We are not to use unwholesome speech. Unwholesome is rotten. It is foul. It is unpleasant. We don't want anything unwholesome entering our mouths. Just maybe we should be more concerned with what is going out of them.

"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."
Ephesians 4:30

Can you imagine our Father when unwholesome words come from our mouths? In Him we are changed. We have become new and our old ways are gone from us. Just because we are a Christian it doesn't mean we are not going to falter, but it should mean that we are more aware of our self because we represent our Father in heaven. Our words can either bring people to know Him or turn them away from Him. When the world around us hears us gossiping, what are we saying to them? This is the very reason the world looks at the Christian realm with the idea that we are hypocrites and nothing about us is any different.

"But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth."
Colossians 3:8

Goodness, think about it. What do we do when we are angry? We spew words. We take our anger out on that person by sharing with others just what they did to us. Have you been there with me? There have been times when I have sat back wishing I could take back my words. We cannot take them back, but we can open our heart and humbly apologize. We can take those words and give them to the Lord and say, "Lord, I have really messed up here. Please take these hateful words and use them to glorify Your holy name. Hey, if God can take ash and turn it into to beauty, He too can take our words and change us to look more like Him, by simply just humbling our hearts and being honest.

Isn't that they key here? Being honest? Is it really our business to give our opinion about everything? No. There are times we need to be quiet. There too are times we need to stand and tell others to quiet themselves. When we enter a room of gossip we have three choices. We can either take part and then spread what we hear. We can leave the room or we can stand and speak up. Whether we leave or speak up is the Lord's call. We just need to be so close to Him that when He speaks we hear Him and we follow.

Our speech should be instructive, encouraging, uplifting, and suited for the moment. Ouch! My words are not always edifying and I know the Lord looks down upon me and wonders, "Child of Mine, what are you doing here? Listen to Me. Follow Me. Use the gift of words I have given you to glorify Me."  Too often my words tear down another. I need to be watchful over my own mouth.

"And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the enter body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and had been tamed by the human race. But on one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison."
James 3:6-8

Think of that small spark that starts a forest fire. Think of just a little poison that kills one who has been bitten. Think of the spread of germs that comes from that one infected person who enters a room. Gossip is a wild fire out of control. Gossip is a poison that will kill a friendship. It is the very sickness that can overtake a church. All done with one word.

We must be accountable for the words that come from our mouths. It's easy to blame another person. Friends, if we are not part of the problem or the solution then we need to butt out! The problem is the very fact that we make ourselves the solution. We think we need to speak out on a matter, when in fact what we really need to do is just hush. It's when we speak when we shouldn't that we are now part of the problem and in speaking we have just made the problem much worse.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."
Ephesians 5:1

Isn't that simple? Just imitate our Savior. If we are always focused on Him, we are going to be mindful of what comes out of our mouths. If gossip is coming from our mouths it is a reflection of our relationship with Him. Another huge, OUCH!

Every word we speak should be in love. Our words should be prayed over. We can begin each and every day with a prayer to God, "Please Lord, fill me with Your Spirit. Give me Your words. Help me to encourage and inspire others today to bring a pleasant fragrance to Your holy name."

"That I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."
Colossians 4:4-6

"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips."
Psalm 131:3

Salt adds flavor. It brings out the other flavors to make the whole meal more inviting. Just a little salt goes a long way. Salt is used to protect and preserve. Salt is a flavor enhancer. Pure salt cannot be defiled. It's when other things are added in that the pure salt looses it's flavor. We need to make sure our words are pure without defilement. When our words are spoken in love the person who receives them will feel that love. They will find grace in our words and will respond in love. It's when our words are spoken without prayer and in anger that all goes wrong. May we use our words to inspire and edify one another.

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men."
Matthew 5:13

Lord, make my words, Your words. May I encourage and inspire through the words I choose to use. May I be a light to this world and a reflection of You. Help me not to speak out of turn and to hold my tongue when anger comes pouring over me. Help me to choose my words wisely and before I respond, please pour Your wisdom and insight over me, that I might speak in love and not in anger. Forgive me when I have faltered. Lift me up in Your Word today and may I walk closer to You, knowing just important my words are and the impact they can have upon another. Amen

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Okay friends, this is the first time I have ever read a book penned by Ann Shorey. It will defintely not be the last! Wow! Wow! Wow! For me to say that I LOVED this book isn't describing it enough. From the first page until the last, Ann Shorey, had me hooked.

This is the first book of her new series, "Sisters at Heart", and I must say, I cannot wait for the second book to come out!

The story line is amazing and the characters are vibrant and just so relatable. On some level I felt I could connect with each of them. This story takes place post Civil War, in a small town of Noble Springs, Missouri. Now, coming from Missouri, maybe this is just another reason I could connect with this story. There is such rich history here and I feel that Ann told this story with passion. Each chapter just flowed and I was never stuck or left wondering what happened. She has this gift of telling the story, adding detail, but leaving enough room for your imagination to take hold.

What  love is that we learn we can't run from our memories. Even though this life brings us heartache, it too brings blessings. If we aren't careful we can be too focused on those heartaches and we miss out on the blessings right before our eyes.

This is one of those books to treasure and to pass around to those who love Historical Fiction and Romance. I even hate to put it into that category because it is just so much more. Even though it's historically based, it is a book we can relate to in today's world.

I am now a huge fan of Ann Shorey. I cannot wait to read more of her books!

Ann is having a contest right now! Follow this link for details on how to enter! http://www.annshorey.com/contest.html

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

Ann Shorey is the author of The Edge of Light, The Promise of Morning, and The Dawn of a Dream. She has also published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul. Shorey lives with her husband, Richard, in Oregon.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Am In Love With Georgie Designs!

If you know me well, you know that I am that girl who loves bracelets. Part of being a great girlfriend is sharing our newest finds. Girls, have I got a place for you! First of all, have you ever heard of etsy? Well, if you haven't been there, you are missing out, sweet friends! You can find anything and everything and most of the gems you find are all hand made designs.

So, as I am on etsy one day I come across Georgie Designs, by Robyn Klauer. Robyn, designs bracelets, rings, ear rings and necklaces. Her designs are sleek, simple, elegant and breathtakingly beautiful. I love them because they are just me! I have quite a collection growing. I have silver bracelets and gold bangles that go with everything. If I want to dress it up or just be casual, which you all know I am, I just put her bracelets on and yes, I feel special.

Robyn, is just so sweet and to chat with her, well, you'd think you have known her for years. She is a family woman, a mother and a military wife. For that, I think she should be celebrated. She has been designing jewelry for years now and her business is growing rapidly. I can totally see why. When I contact Robyn she is so willing to help me. She goes far beyond anyone I have ever come in contact with at a store. With Robyn it's personal and you can tell she enjoys designing jewelery and making others smile.

I wanted to highlight Robyn and Georgie Designs today because I just love sharing great finds. If you are looking for that perfect gift I would encourage you to check out Georgie Designs. Robyn can take a stone you like in a ring and design it in a bracelet for you. She will design something special just for you. I think that's pretty amazing!

You can find Georgie Designs on facebook too! Just follow the highlighted links and it will take you right to Robyn and her designs. I wish I could show more pictures for you, but you will just have to check out her site and see for yourself. See, this little package with the pretty pink bow? This is how she sends these little gems to you! I love when one of these packages come and I get to unwrap it. There is literally something here for everyone. 

For you men out there, your wife, daughter or mother would love something from Robyn's shop. She will fit her designs according to your size. Once you place your order, she goes to work on designing it and sends out to you usually within a few days. Yes, I have become a huge fan of Robyn. Just as I said, when we find a great treasure, we just gotta share it with our girlfriends! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's my One Word for 2012?

Last year I share with you all my One Word for the year was Surrender. I struggled with surrendering. This, "Fix it girl", gets in God's way. He is constantly nudging me out of His and reminding me that He doesn't need my help when it comes to fixing things.

I learned to surrender all to the Lord. The good, the bad, and the ugly. In other words, I learned to totally trust him. I think He had been waiting on that one for a while now. So yes, as I surrendered, I grew in faith. Whenver I lost my place I turned and remembered my One Word. That One Word remained with me all throughout the year.

So, now it's time to choose my One Word for this year. I have it. I have prayed over it and my One Word for this year is, Breathe. I want to breathe in ALL God has for me. In each breath I take in I want to bring glory and honor to Him, just as when I breath out, I pray my words inspire and encourage. I want to enjoy each and every moment and learn to slow down. Not just to slow down, but to enjoy the pace. I want to take in all the little things I pass by every day while waiting for the big thing to happen. Do you do that too?

I forget to breathe when I'm anxious. When I am in a rush and yes, when anger clouds my vision. If I can just stop and remember to breathe, God will remind me that He's got it all under control.

Come join me and choose your One Word for 2012 and allow yourself to grow in Christ. Allow your heart to be opened in ways like never before and keep your focus on Him. He's got this, friends! He's got your back. All we must do is breathe in ALL He has and trust Him as we Surrender ALL to Him.

I encourage you to check out the One Word community and the Grit and Glory blog. Both are great blessings jam packed with people just like you, trying to make a difference for the Kingdom of Christ.


Snow Day…Every Day
written by
Jessica R. Patch

“Snow Day!” Myles was thrilled to stay home.

Bailey grunted, "Just one more day we'll have to make up later." She's so positive.

As I poured my first cup of coffee, the best cup of the day, Myles begged me to go out and play. Bailey's too proud to beg.

"I don't care." I had no intentions of going out. I silently hoped they wouldn’t ask me. I’ve never offered myself up on the altar of frozen toes and fingers. I'm quite happy looking out the window, drinking my coffee, staying warm from the fire. No sireee, I am not an outdoors woman.

They didn’t ask, but as they ran off to gear up for the rare southern snowfall, I hear Bailey say, "Can't wait till Daddy comes home."

Daddy likes snow. Mostly, Daddy likes pelting his children with hardpacked snowballs and watching them drop like flies. I enjoy watching from the window as they scream for him to stop.

A new cup of coffee later, the kids barreled out of their rooms, layered up for the endless snowplay.

"Mom, Bailey says not to eat yellow snow. What's yellow snow?"

I explained and she laughed while opening the back door. The gust of icy wind reminded me why I wasn’t going out.

"Have fun," I called as they took off, Myles slipped on the patio but jumped up. "I'm okay!"

By my third cup of coffee, the backdoor opened. "Look, in or out. I'm not having you drip all over the floors and freeze the house out." I walk into the living room and see Myles, already on the couch with a bowl of Cheetos and Bailey picking up wet clothes.

"What's going on?"

Myles looked at me and stuck his feet out. "I got frostbite."

"You haven't been out long enough for frostbite."

He shrugged. "Have you been out there?"

I got his point. "Bailey, are you going back out?"

"Maybe later."

That was a no. I reheated my cup of coffee, came back into my room and sat at my desk to finish the last page of a Bible study and it hits me.

We, as Christians, are a lot like my family on a Snow Day. We spend a lot of time talking about playing in the snow. I like the idea of it, but I'm not willing to even try. I enjoy the comforts of my own four walls. My kids go, but don't stay out long enough to build anything. They spent more time gearing up than going out.

The world around us is forever like winter. Cold. Bitter. Icy enough for us to get bitten, but we must venture out and DO something. The four walls of our churches are too comfortable. Some talk about going. Some spend all their time gearing up and never going. Some stay inside without ever venturing out and knowing they never will. Some go out but don't stay long--never laying foundations, building relationships with people who need Jesus, or suffering the frigid temperatures to get it done.

It doesn't feel like fun.

Only a few go out and stay out long enough to no longer feel their flesh or their noses run. They work hard. They build. They smile as they do it. They inspire. When they come inside, accomplishment glows from their rosy cheeks and cracked lips. Something wonderful has happened! It's time to come in, get warm, get a bite to eat and a drink then go right back out.

My kids never made it back out. They talked about it throughout the day.

"Maybe tomorrow."

The sun came out. And it melted the snow away, right along with their opportunity.

Don't let your opportunities melt away

Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she writes contemporary inspirational fiction. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency. When she’s not glued to her laptop or sneaking off to movies with her husband, she enjoys embarrassing her teenage daughter by wearing pajamas to take her to school, beating her seven-year-old son at board games, and inventing ways to get rid of her irksome dog (she hasn’t actually tried any of them…yet).

You can connect with Jessica here just by clicking on these links:

her blog http://jessicarpatch.blogspot.com/ 

Jessica, it has been an honor to have you join me at my Nest. I know my readers have been just as blessed as I have today. I can relate to this story so very well. I think we probably all can at some point. What a great reminder to get out there and live for Christ! To get out there ready for all He has and to encourage others to do it with us! Blessings to you sweet lady. I hope you come back and visit.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Have you met Cathy Richmond? Here's a look at her newest book

10 Things a Homesteader Knows About Romance

Welcome! My name’s Jesse. I’m trying to make a go of it on a claim southwest of Fargo, Dakota Territory. Let me share with you a few things I’ve learned since mail-ordering for a bride awhile back.

1. Tell your story. A woman wants to know who she’s dealing with, what his values are, where his priorities lie. She wants a man who will tell her how he got to this point in life and what lessons he’s learned along the way.

2. Draw out her story. This might take patience - a bushel of patience - as she decides if you’re someone she can trust. Believe me, she’s worth it.

3. Don’t ignore her pain and fears. This world has plenty of ways of knocking us off our feet. Do what you can to ease her suffering, like offering back rubs. Let her know, none of those scars and bruises from her past makes her any less in your eyes.

4. Ask her to join in your work. You can put out fires a lot faster with her help pumping water. God’s been preparing her for your life together, so let her surprise you with all she’s learned.

5. Treat her like a queen. Well, not having much experience with royalty, I’d best say, treat her with all the kindness you can muster. The temperature’s fine for you, but is it comfortable for her? You’re not hungry, but when’s the last time she ate? And even though you’re wide awake, doesn’t mean she’s not exhausted and needs sleep.

6. God knows your prayers and promises, but your wife needs to hear them, too. Stand up before Him and let her know you’re committed to her. Then worship together. Raising your voices together in praise leads to sweet harmony at home.

7. Kiss gently. Shave off those whiskers if they’re pricklier than a porcupine. Take a bath - you know you need one.

8. Let go of those daydreams about how your wife will look and act. Don’t measure her by how your ma cooked and kept house. Don’t weigh your marriage against anyone else’s. And she’s battling ideas of her own. Best if the two of you can leave all those notions behind and know God provided best for you.

9. Remember how lonely you were before and be grateful. Tell you you love her. Thank her. After all, she didn’t have to marry you.

10. Trust God to provide for the two of you. It’s not all on your shoulders. I’m here to tell you, this was the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn. Could’ve save myself a pile of trouble if I’d figured it out sooner.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5 that we’re supposed to love our wives like Christ loves the church. Now that’s what I call setting a high standard!

Jesse Mason is the hero of "Spring for Susannah" by Catherine Richmond.

Doesn't this sound like an amazing read? If you love Historical Fiction this is a book you will enjoy. I love sharing great books and gifted writers. Goodreads is having a GIVE A WAY right now for, "Spring for Susannah", by Catherine Richmond. Come join, Cathy, and you just might be the blessed winner of this gem that will take you back in time and leave you with a blessing.

You can find Cathy just by following these links:




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