Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Journey Of Searching For A New Church

Do you ever feel the Lord calling you to move? As in move churches? I have been the member of the same church for twenty years. This is the church that grew our family. Our children were baptised in this church. My husband was baptised here when he was only thirteen years old. I was baptised here after my husband began bringing me to church for the first time in my life. Our oldest daughter was married in our church. This is the church that holds such memories for us. Sweet memories that have helped create who we are today.

I have served for almost twenty years in our church. This is the church where I made new friendships and was mentored by grace filled women. If you were to ask me my favorite place to be, I would have shared with you that church was it. My heart was changed forevermore in this church. 

So, when I heard the Lord calling me to move, this was terrifying. I began praying months ago. I began to see that my heart was becoming stagnant. I had become comfortable in the pew that held our family for years. Too comfortable. It was no longer home. It was no longer my favorite place to be. I knew something was wrong when my family was no longer excited when Sunday morning came. I did a lot of praying. A lot of waiting. I can tell you, the Lord is teaching me patience through this process. It is definitely a journey I never quite thought we would be on. But here we are searching. Isn't that what it's all about? Searching? I am to be where the Lord is calling me to be. Many times that means moving out of the comfort of our circle of friends and out of our comfort zone. Way out.

For almost nine months we have been visiting churches in our area. I must be honest and tell you, no church feels like home yet. I find myself comparing every church to our church of twenty years. I must stop this. Comparing churches is definetly going to hold me back from seeing the new the Lord wants me to grasp. I am learning each church is unique in it's own way. Each church responds to the Holy Spirit differently and well, it's not easy walking into a new church. You feel awkward. You almost feel out of place. I think the scariest thing is opening yourself up again. Building trust with new people. Allowing others to see you for who you are. But most importantly, letting go of all your inadequacies and allowing the Lord to move your feet in the direction He is calling.

Why am I sharing this with you today? Because I know there are many out there who are on the same journey. It's important to be part of a church. To have a home church. We are to be in fellowship with other believers. We are to attend church to worship, but we too are to serve. This is an area that I am so passionate about. I want to serve. I want to teach and be a part of women's ministry. I want to see our community grow and come to have a sweet relationship with the Lord. Jesus changes everything. He brings people together. Hearts change and love seems to spring forth when we are focused on Jesus.

It would be easy to simply find a church and worship. But this isn't what the Lord is calling me to do. He is calling me to serve. To be active in my communtity and to reach out to others. I want to be used of God. I want to be His vessel. I want to be part of group of ladies inspired and moved.  I want to be surrounded by people passionate about His Word. A place where I can dive in with others who are studying the Word. I want to belong to a body of believers. These are things that God has instilled in me. A church body should encourage one another. We should inspire one another. I totally want to be in a church who accepts me.  A church where I feel the love of Christ. What about you?

I want to see the Lord move. Most of all in my heart. I want to be challenged and motivated. Our walk with Him is a continual journey. It's a season of growth. It's learning more about Him and as we do we learn more about ourselves. It's using the gifts He has given. It's feeling as though you are a part of a body.

A wise woman once told me, "Rob, you must get to the place where you can just come to church and worship and forget all the junk." These were words that touched me greatly. Is it easy to go to church and forget all the junk? No, it sure isn't. But this is all about where our focus is. It shouldn't be on anything except worshiping Christ. It's all about Him. It's letting go of all the junk. Yes, those hurts that come, we are to let them go. We must remember, no church is perfect. Every church has issues. We are an imperfect people. That perfect church does not exist. If we are not careful we can allow those hurts to turn to bitterness and cloud our view of the church. This isn't what the Lord intends. He wants His people to gather and fellowship.

I'm not looking for that perfect church. I am searching for the church the Lord wants me to attend. I am looking for that church home to add to my journey with the Lord. I must say, I'm not looking for a church to so much fit my needs. I am searching for the church the Lord is calling me to. I know when that time comes I will know without a doubt this is the one. This is where He is calling me to be for now.

I love the church I have attended for the last twenty years. But I don't want to live a content life just going through the motions. I want to be on fire for Christ. I want to be surrounded by others who are not focused on the junk, but focused on the One who is calling us to serve. We are to bloom where we are planted. I just want to bloom. My heart is searching and I know the Lord will send my feet in the direction I am to go. It's been a challenge to follow Him. It would be easy to just remain where I am or to simply not go at all. But that's not what He is calling His believers to do. He wants us to be so on fire for Him nothing else gets in the way.

Friends, Satan doesn't check himself at the church door. He walks right on in. Sits down in the pew next to us and tries every way he can to distract us. This is the place where he can attack and win a great many battles if we are not careful. We must be on watch and on guard. We must protect ourselves by being aware and keeping our focus on Jesus. When He is our focus the junk doesn't get in the way.

Are you on this same journey? Search your heart. Seek the Lord. Don't grow content in your pew. If your finding yourself going through the motions maybe it's time to do a heart search. God has so much for us. He instilled big dreams in us for a reason. In faith we can step out of the pew and know that where He sends us is where we are going to make an impact for Him. Stay on course. Keep your feet grounded in the Word and follow His calling. This is an adventure where I am learning so much about my relationship with Christ. I'm learning to surrender to self and open up every part of me to be used of Him.

"Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." Hebrews 10:19-25

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

"For you were called to be free, brothers, only don't use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love." Galatians 5:13

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, February 25, 2013

You're Made For A God-Sized Dream by Holley Gerth

This is the second book from Holley Gerth that I am blessed to review. The first was, "You're Already Amazing". (check out my review)

Holley has a gift of making you feel comfortable. She lets us know that we are not alone. In fact, in reading her newest, "You're Made For A God-Sized Dream", I feel as though we are friends. Yes, inspiration from a girlfriend who has been there. Throughout Holley's books, her spirit is contagious. She is that cheerleader you want in your corner.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Holley:

"God-sized dreams are invitations for you to get on board with him and go places your heart has never imagined. And there's only one way to get there-by being right by his side."

"Every time we choose to listen to love more than fear, our faith grows. We learn to trust more, to see God act in new ways in our lives, to let him take us places beyond where we could have dared to go before. The sound of fear can also be an invitation. It can be a signal that God is asking you to go somewhere new with him, to get outside your comfort zone, to be part of an adventure."

"God-sized dreams are mysterious. We catch a glimpse of where we're headed only to have the vision disappear like a mist on an early morning. God-sized dreams don't cooperate with checklists or agendas. They defy our timing and often our logic. The more we seek to control them, the quicker they slip beyond our grasp. And yet, we can't let them go. We're compelled to continue the pursuit."

This is a book for every woman, daughter and granddaughter. Probably every man in your life should read it too. At the heart of every woman is a dream that God has placed there for us to uncover and for him to gain glory. Great book for a small group study, even a Sunday school class.

This book is jam packed with profound thoughts and encouraging words. One of my favorite chapters was, How to Stop Sabotaging Yourself. Holley reminds us over again that we have a limitless God who loves us. Yes girls, this one is a keeper!

This book was a gift from Revell for my review.

Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already Amazing and You're Made for a God-Sized Dream. She's also cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Holley lives with her husband, Mark, in the South. Hang out with her at

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander

I feel like I have just boarded a wagon and am leaving Belle Meade Plantation. I must tell you, I am sad to leave. I have enjoyed my stay there. It's a place you will want to visit and one I hope to return to again. To Whisper Her Name is one of the loveliest books I have read. The writing flowed so well I lost track of time as I was reading.

The characters were off the chart encompassing. Tamera Alexander gives us such spectacular detail that you can close your eyes and envision the family dining before you. She  provides us with a vivid picture of what we can only imagine. We not only see Belle Meade, but we see the characters come to life before us. Their emotions are portrayed so clearly, it's like your having a conversation with them yourself. Really, this is superb writing. I was totally captivated by Olivia Aberdeen and Ridley Cooper. Characters so different, but yet they have so much in common.

There are many characters for us to meet and fall in love with. 1863 in Tennessee is a time of unrest. The Civil War has impacted all. Ridley and Olivia find themselves caught in the middle of this war. You can't help but cheer them onward. They have been through so much. Their paths cross at Belle Meade as they are reaching for new beginnings. They are trying to leave their past behind and start new, but all is uncertain. These two characters want so much much just to move on. As we see, everything is possible when they let go of yesterday and grasp hold of the blessings that today hold.

Tamera Alexander is one of the  authors that led me to fall in love with historical fiction. She writes with such passion. Passion that allows you escape to another time and place. This is one of those novels you are going to love.

I found the cover of this novel to be  gorgeous. Olivia in her gown and a beautiful horse right outside the window. Capturing beauty, fear and freedom all at once. I love when I pick up such a lovely book and get lost for hours upon hours. When you close the last page of this novel you feel as if it were an honor to read it. It's a story that will allow your heart to soar and Belle Meade and the Harding family will feel like home.

This book was a gift from Zondervan for my review.

Tamera Alexander is the bestselling author of numerous books, including A Lasting Impression and The Inheritance. Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide. Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award. Tamera and her husband recently returned to her Southern roots and now make their home in Nashville.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Stop Fencing Yourself In

Do you ever feel unworthy? Ever feel like you just can't get it right? Do your mistakes seem to keep piling up? Life just not as you expected? Dreams are forgotten and you get caught in the doldrums of each day. Just going through the motions until the night closes and you go to bed,  only to wake and do it all over again. Sound familiar?

You search for a happiness to fill your soul. You reach into the depths of all you know and nothing is satisfying. Struggle seems to be at every corner and you feel as though you just can't catch a break. You feel judgment from all those around you. It seems there is always someone pointing out what your doing wrong.

What if you were surrounded with encouragement? People who just loved you for who are you and not for what you do or what you can give? Sometimes I feel as though I just can't get it right. Just about the time I think I'm finally getting there I see that I have a long way to go. But it's when I look back I see the journey is worth it. No matter if I have a friend standing by me or if I am all alone, it's worth it. It's worth trying over and over again. Why? Because I am a child of the King of kings! I am loved! I am loved! I am a work in progress. He isn't finished with me yet. He isn't going to toss me aside. He isn't so much concerned with what I can do or what I can give. He only wants my heart. He only wants a relationship with me. See, even if I look around and I see no one encouraging me, I see my Lord and Savior on the side lines cheering me on! Every obstacle in our way only makes us stronger in our walk.

I'm not that same girl I was at 20. Praise Jesus! Not even at 30 or 40. I can honestly tell you once I gave my heart to Christ everything changed. Forevermore I would be a girl after God's own heart. I would be a girl who would still make mistakes. A girl who would walk away and who would return. By the grace of God I am changed. That old me is no longer there. Oh, she likes to creep in at times, but I am reminded, she is changed. Her old ways no longer play a part in who she is. Jesus has a way of lifting my head and showing me I am worthy and He has a plan for me. He wants me to face the day with a new attitude. What He first began in me He will complete it!

As long as I keep my eyes on Jesus everything will be okay. Yes, those days I wake as a crab. He can turn those crabby days into days of glory. Those days I get mad? He too can rearrange those to bring about a humble heart in search of peace. When my spirit feels like crawling under the blankets, He is there to lift me out of bed and transfer me from a girl in need to a girl who is soaring on the wings of grace. When I feel like I can't get it right, He is there to give me strength to try again. On those hard days when I feel like giving up, He is there to remind me there is more. I can find Him even in my biggest mess.

He can use every circumstance to bring about glory. Yesterday is gone. There is nothing I can do to change yesterday, but today, yes, I can change today. I can control my actions and reactions. With Jesus there is nothing that can hold me back from doing His will and way. For me, I can be my worst enemy. I am a thrower of the biggest pity party's. I can let bitterness settle in and I am in for a day of remembering each hurt that has caused me pain.

Friends, let it go. Let the hurts go and let God heal them. We are so glued to the past aren't we? We hold those hurts and in the end, we are only hurting ourselves. I can look back and see how things could have been. How things should have been. But you know what? When I chose a different route, God always brought me back. His mercy is always there. His forgiveness can change a heart. It changed mine.

Here's the thing. Until we come to the moment we can totally surrender nothing is ever going to change. When we come to the moment in life where we can know that we are forgiven and redemption is waiting, everything changes! We find Jesus when we fall face first into the dirt. He washes us off with His grace. He delivers us from our shame and we are clean in His righteousness.

There is nothing here on this earth that can hold us back. Nothing except ourselves and our own fears. We fear letting go. We fear trusting another. We fear placing our lives in the hands of another. But friend, who else better to trust than the One who created you? The One who gave His live for your life? He paid your reward in full. Not so you could live a mundane life, but so that you could have life abundantly!

It doesn't matter that I'm not the greatest cook in the world. It doesn't matter that I struggle keeping my home spotless. He loves me no matter what! He has blessed me with gifts to share. It's through those gifts that I have learned more about myself. It's giving Him control over my life that has freed me from trying to live a life of perfection. It's never going to happen. I can live freely knowing that the Lord All Mighty has great things planned for my life and it's sometimes through my greatest messes that I find out what humbleness is all about. I can't grow without a humble heart.

Jesus is my refuge. He is my strength. I am redeemed! The old is no longer and through Jesus I can embrace today. I can embrace every facet of who I am. I am learning to keep trying and never give up. Sometimes it's hard. Oh, don't I know it. Just as a coach goes over the films of a game with his players, I too can look over my past and even in my greatest defeats I can learn. Even when I didn't know Him, He was still there. Leading me to the end zone. Showing me how to catch the long pass and run with the ball with all my might!

Have you ever seen a breathtaking horse in a small fenced in area? He gets tired of going in circles. In that small area there is only so much he can do. All he wants to do is do what he was designed to do. Run. Ever see a horse running wild and free? It's beautiful.

Friends, there is so much more to do than focus on yesterday. Don't allow Satan to drag you down to a pit of despair. ALL things are possible. Hold on. God's getting ready to open the gate. Coach doesn't want you on the bench. He wants you doing what you were designed to do. Open the gate and run!

"Don't you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne." Hebrews 12:1-2

"He gives strength to the weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; will will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:29-31

"The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected." Proverbs 18:10

Little Critters With Wings And A Lesson In Giving

I am fascinated with birds. Yes, I am that geeky girl who has feeders that I continuously keep full. I love to provide seed for the birds, but even more so, I love watching them. Over these winter months we have had every kind of Missouri bird come to our feeders. It has been wondrous just watching all these birds interact with one another.

I enjoy the sight and sounds of these beautiful creatures with their delicate wings and hungry bellies. Colors that light up our snow covered ground. They flit from tree to tree, branch to branch. One of my favorites is the Turtle Dove. We have six couples. Yes, couples. Turtle Doves mate for life. I find this to be one of the sweetest treats in bird watching. The cardinals are so protective of their female companions. The chickadees flitter about as if they are so happy they just need to spread the love. They remind me of little energizers, "Did ya see it, did ya, did ya? Come on, lets go, lets go." And yes, we have three different types of majestic Wood Peckers. They are spectacular to watch. The Finches come in their yellows, reds and purples. The little Nuthatch glides down the tree, head first, with little effort. What amazes me is that that all coincide with one another. A community of birds coming together to dine on the feast before them. And me, standing at the window with coffee in hand, in awe of the sights before me.

Just a few days ago we arrived home after a day out and seen the mess at our feeders. They were totally empty and seed was tossed all over the snow covered ground. I wondered how in the world the birds ate all the food I had just placed for them that very morning. So, after putting the groceries away, out to the feeders I went. Filling them and spreading seed and adding more suet. Then them came. Starlings! Everywhere were Starlings. As I watched in horror, they would push on the feeders and knock all the food out. Just one or two would be at the feeders doing this meanness. But as they tossed the seed to the ground here came their friends devouring what the other birds were wanting so badly. I was mad. I thought, how could these mean birds be so...well..mean. I was ready to be grab a BB gun. I know, some of you are thinking I'm horrid, but when the tiny birds cannot get to the food because of these larger, mean birds, well, it's unsettling.

But that's when I heard the Lord. As clear and precise as ever. "They are hungry. Let them come." Here I am arguing with God. I know, I know. But I am saying, "Lord, do You see what they are doing?" I hear His reply, "Yes, I see all. Let them feed." So, what do I do? For a while I ignore the Lord's instruction. I know. Your thinking, "Why wouldn't you just listen?" Well, because I see what they are destroying. I am refusing to let the other birds be bullied by these mean creatures. But then I get a closer look. I take the time to watch a bit longer. Are they mean? They seem to be, but they are hungry just the same. The only difference in these birds is what I think of them. Yep, I am judging them and I am saying, "Take the food away! Why feed these mean birds?"

Again, the Lord continues to speak to my heart. "Let them feed". So, I finally surrender and say, "Okay Lord". I just watch and then as a few come closer I see something my eyes have never caught before. They have beautiful coloring. Such detail. It's in their nature to be mean, but even as they are, the other birds give them room. The other birds still remain. It may not be their perfect idea of dining, but dining is what they do. Together. As one group. They endure these birds.

I am no longer seeing birds, but God's people. How many times do we only want to dine with those who are like us? How many times to we shun those who are different? Those with more money, less money? Those with a big house or a small house? Those who seem to have a lot to offer and those who keep to themselves? Those who serve and those who do not? Those who do not live by the covenant on the wall? Those who come to church just once in a while compared to those who are there every Sunday?

We see people in need and ignore them. After all, they made their own bed, right? How many people do we turn away because they don't fit into our perfect circle? Maybe they disagree with us. Maybe they attend a different church. Maybe they have never been in church before. We make people feel like criminals. When we push people away because they are not like us we give room for Satan to move in. Not only in those we push away, but in our hearts. Because yes, we have the attitude that we are better. We should be dining. In fact, the table should be laid out for us with a red carpet to lead the way.

My husband loves the bright color of the male Cardinal. I love the coloring of the female. One year at my mother's house we came home after a day out and found the entire yard covered with yellow finches. Absolutely breathtaking. It was then I fell in love with these lovelies of the air. Maybe I have always been fascinated with birds, but what I am learning is that all of God's creatures can teach us great life lessons. They gather with their broad band of color, their different shapes and sizes, different songs and different personalities. They gather to feast.

Do you know the revival that would break out if we simply feasted with all those different than ourselves? When we take the time we see past the difference and we have a new appreciation for life. For God's creation. We don't all have to agree on every subject. We don't have to see eye to eye on every biblical issue. What if we just met to feast in the glory of God? What if we all came to dine together, leaving behind indifference and embracing those around us? To put it simply. We allow indifference to separate us. When in fact we should simply be coming together in the love of Christ.

People are pushed away enough for being different. People feel lonely and sad. They feel no one understands them and no one is willing to accept them the way they are. We sin, we falter, we stumble, we face temptation, we get off track, whatever you want to call it. When we do so there is always someone in the waiting to tell us just how wrong we are. We hold grudges. We look at those different with judgement. It seems we are always waiting to kick someone off the feeder and tell them they are not welcome.

What if we embraced all who are different and just loved them. That doesn't mean we love and embrace sin, but friends, may we move past our own ugliness and fears and embrace those around us. What would Jesus do? He would feed them. He would lay out a dinner before them. Before all. He calls ALL to know Him. Unless we step out and get uncomfortable we are never going to reach the lost. All they need is love. Not a worldly love, but a Christ-like love. We are to love like Christ.

"For God so loved in this way: He gave His One and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that he world might be saved through Him. " John 3:16-17

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Himself as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. God presented Him to demonstrated His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:23-26

Friends, in order for the this world to see the love of Christ we must embrace those around us. We must show love. Let us dine with those who are different and maybe have a mean streak about them. May we never give up and may we keep our feeders full so that others find us forever inviting. This is how we are going to be a light to the world around us. One feeder at a time we can change the world. One seed planted, is one heart changed.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Afterlife by Hank Hanegraaff

Hank Hanegraaff brings us a book, "Afterlife",  that answers many questions. After all, he is the Bible answer man, right? I was eager to receive this new book. What caught my attention was the subtitle, What You Need To Know About Heaven, The Hereafter & Near-Death Experiences.

I tell you, if there is an author I could choose to have coffee with, Hank Hanegraaff would be the one. He has a unique way of bringing question and answer together just as if you were talking face to face. He doesn't shoot over your head. His writing is very clear and precise. He brings forth question after question in this amazing book and gives us scriptural answers. He gives us scripture and directs us to the Word to seek the answers ourselves.

Hank brings questions such as, Can natural explanations account for near-death experiences? What happens to a person who has never heard of Jesus? Does God know who will be in heaven? Will angels ever rebel again? Do animals go to heaven? Will there be sex in heaven? Are there degrees of reward in heaven? Yes, Hank brings all of these and many more. He also has added quotes from C.S Lewis, Joni Eareckson Tada, Peter Kreeft, Phillip Yancy and many more. He isn't afraid to dive into any question. After all, these are questions we have that we are sometimes afraid to ask, right? He even tackles the question of ghosts.

Seriously, this is one amazing book, jam packed with great insight and wisdom. This isn't just Hank's opinion. It isn't a book like that. He uses scripture to point us to the truth. That is one thing that I admire about him. He doesn't just give an answer. He gives scripture and encourages you to seek the answer in the Word.

All those near-death experiences we hear about. You know, the books being written about near-death experiences? Hank tackles those. He warns us to be careful. Again, in all of this he points us straight to God for the answers.

I enjoyed this book very much. It is one to pass on and would make a great gift.

This book is published by Worthy Publishers and was a gift to me by Glass Road for my review.

Hank Hanegraaff  is host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, heard daily throughout the United States and Canada via radio, satellite radio Sirius-XM 131, and the Internet. He’s author of the runaway bestsellers The Prayer of Jesus and The Complete Bible Answer Book—Collector’s Edition. He and his wife, Kathy, are parents to twelve children.

Moon Over Edisto by Beth Webb Hart

Oh friends, I found this to be such a lovely read. Life lessons through each chapter are to be learned for the main character, Julia Bennett. Life as she knew it all changed and that is a frightening thing. Through Julia we see the picture of what happens when we finally give it all to Jesus and let Him do the leading.

Picture this. A lovely, close knit family and one day it seems everything changes and that family you felt so secure in is now making you feel as though you just want to run. Julia wants to escape it all and she does. She leaves her family behind, but trial comes and Julia is facing the issue of what to do. She can't run any longer. With grace and tender mercy she returns and life as she knew it changes forever.

So, you could say this book is about change and how we react to it. Change will always come. It's evident in life, but it's what we do with that change that matters. Through Julia we see that with Christ all things are possible. Healing, letting go, forgiveness and grace.

Marney shows us humility. She is in need of grace and forgiveness. Life is changing for her. The end is coming quickly. Marney has children and is now in a place where she much humbly ask for help. There is nothing she can do about the doctor's report, but beyond that, what happens lies within her choice as how to react. Marney had made mistakes in the past, but now her future is all but changing abruptly and she finds that she cannot do it on her own. She lays it all down and turns to Julia.

Margaret is the sister with anger. She has a bitterness inside that is eating her alive. Little sister is not happy Julia is returning home. Yes, there is a character we can all relate too on one level or another. They are so real and raw. Within this gripping read are three precious children, Heath, Etta and Charlie. They are caught in the mix of things, but it is these very children that seem to bring everyone together.

Mary Ellen is that mother who wants to hold on to her family. Everything seems to be slipping and all she wants is to have her family reunited. I can so relate to Mary Ellen. As this story begins Mary Ellen, Marney, Margaret, and Julia all have a brokenness inside. Healing of some kind needs to take place in order for them to move on. As life brings forth change we see God create in these women something of beauty that goes far beyond what they had wished for. Through trials that have touched them, God brings new. The old is forgotten and the new is embraced.

In the opening chapter we hear the words, "Lord, have mercy", come from the lips of Julia. As the book ends we also hear these same words. Words that now hold a different meaning to an all different kind of woman, holding a sweet mercy of her own.

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for my review.

There Is More! by Randy Clark

It's rare for me to have a hard time with a review, but this one that has given me a struggle. It's rare that I don't enjoy a book. This too would be one of those times. I tried to get into this book. I wanted to enjoy it. Most assuredly, I wanted to learn from the penned words, but it left me wanting.

"There Is More" is a book about impartation. I found that the first chapter is the only chapter that delve into the explanation and definition of impartation. I kept waiting for him to explain more. I wanted Randy Clark too lead me further into the Word of God, but I was left there at that first chapter wondering. The words after the first chapter are mostly about Randy Clark and his beliefs about impartation. He shares about his ministry Global Awakening. We get to hear from those who have been at Randy Clark's revivals and have been touched with impartation and they share their testimonies.

Why did I have a hard time? It was that this book was mostly Randy Clark's opinion. I felt as though I was following Randy Clark instead of the Lord.

Let me be honest. I know about being filled with the Spirit. This happens at the moment we accept Christ as our Savior. When we accept Christ the Holy Spirit is alive and living within us. He guides us and calls us to move. For this Baptist girl, I struggled with Randy Clark's words.

With this being said, you may pick up this book and be totally blessed! You may have found what you have been searching for to help you along in your journey with Christ.

The cover is amazing. The title is captivating. There is more, but what I found was that after closing the pages of this book I had more questions than answers. I was a unsettled as I read these pages. For me, to bring about a bright note of this book is the fact that is has me diving deeper into the Word of God for answers.

This book was a gift to me from Chosen for my review of, "There Is More!"

Randy Clark is the founder of Global Awakening, a teaching, healing and impartation ministry that crosses denominational lines. An in-demand international speaker, he is the leader of the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening and travels extensively for conferences, international missions, leadership training and humanitarian aid.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Take It All In And Find A New Freedom

I hate wearing my glasses, but if I want to see what's in front of my face I better keep them on. If not, I'm going to miss out on something. Something big! Our vision is a beautiful gift. One that we take for granted. Have you ever tried to just close your eyes and go about your day? Even just a few minutes is difficult.

I always take Daisy out for a late night walk before I finally crawl under the quilts. The cool night air feels so lively. It wakes me up from my sleepiness. I look up at the night sky and I'm in awe of God's vast wonder. The stars have always captivated me. Even as a child I would go outside late at night and just star gaze. Lately, they capture more of my heart than ever. I look up and I can't possibly take it all in, so I bend my neck and lean my head back as far as possible.

There are times I whisper to God. Not sure why I whisper. Maybe in the quietness of the night there is a peace I don't want to disturb. I utter the words, "Beautiful, Lord. Just beautiful". The clear night sky takes my breath away. In it's completeness there is a new trust in God that I find. If the Lord can possibly place each star in the night sky and captivate mankind, there is nothing impossible for Him.

I find a grace that goes beyond anything I could possibly do on my own. A mercy that tenderly blankets all. In the night sky there seems to be a right that corrects all wrong. Yes, within the vastness of the stars I find a sure strength. This is what my heart desires. To see God and to know Him. It doesn't matter what I have faced during the day. I can spend a few moments or hours outside and I feel the Lord's gentle guidance telling me that He has it all under control.

It's like I look up in the night sky and I want to share it. I wait to see a shooting star. I ask for God to show me one. But there the stars are. Strong, steady and permanent. Another sureness from God. You know, on these nights I just want to wake up everyone and say, "Come. Come see what gift God has given us on this night." There are times I call my husband when I know he is driving miles away from home. I ask him if he sees it. He always replies, "Yes, it's amazing". To know that miles separate us, but we can look up at the night sky and be connected as if we were there together brings comfort to this wife's heart.

I feel so small in my whisper. Tiny among the bounty of stars. It's as though I can reach out and touch them. I feel that way with the Lord. So vast and so big, but so available to me. He makes me want to take everything in. In all His glory I want to reach back as far as I can and absorb all of His majesty. Yes, that's it. It's like God is saying, "See, My child. See, what I have created just for you?" It's an intimate time for me. Just in those few moments God does a wonder in my heart.

So, this is where I am today. I am bending as far as I can to see all that He has for me. This God chick who is forever in awe of the God who creates wonder. In the scheme of the night sky everything seems so small. All the problems that I think are huge at the moment seem to fall into place. The worries that take my sleep captive seem to disappear and find peace. My heart finds a God who is bigger than any Goliath that enters into my world. He is bigger than anything Satan throws my way. The night sky says it all. How can one look at the stars that cover the heavens and not see a mighty God?

I don't want to miss out on anything. I want to be focused. I want everything to be in perspective. If I'm not careful I forget all the promise the night sky holds for me, and I get taken captive by one thought that drowns out all the rest. It's terrifying to me how the wrong thought can hold me captive. Fear steals away peace. 

Friends, stretch beyond yourself. Get uncomfortable. Remove yourself from the circle. Step out of the doldrums and see the opportunities of glory before you. Don't allow this world to destroy your sight. Get focused. Breathe deep. Live out the life before you with God vision.

"He is the God of limitless resources-the only limit comes from us. Our requests, our thoughts, and our prayers are too small, and our expectations are too low. God is trying to raise our vision to a higher level, call us to have  greater expectations, and thereby bring us to a greater appropriation."  A.B Simpson

"But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God's love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life."
Jude 1:20-21

Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson

If I could only purchase one book this year, this would be it! You might as well toss your highlighter aside, otherwise you are just going to have to highlight the entire book. Yes, it's that good. It's marvelous. It's wonderful. Need more? Susie Larson has a gift for making you feel as though your sharing coffee. She's like the dream girlfriend you can share everything with. She has penned such beautiful words of wisdom. Within these pages holds freedom and peace from much that invades our hearts.

"Your Beautiful Purpose", is just that. Susie shares keys to finding our purpose and what to do with it once we find it. This book is loaded with scripture and quotes that set your heart soaring. Her words are so heartfelt as if she truly knows your pain and circumstance. Her penned words seem to have come from a deep place of empty where God has restored to complete fullness.

You could read this book in many ways. Read it as a whole, as a Bible study or even a devotional. I have read through it for my review, but will read through it again, one chapter a day. You don't just get washed by Susie's warm words. The Lord soothes your soul here in these pages.

This book is going to stretch you. It's going to bring you to the place where you meet the Lord and seek your purpose. These pages are filled with passion and God's promise. Chapter after chapter, Susie blew me away. It was as though she was speaking straight to my heart. This is one book I can tell you without a doubt will bless you in finding your higher calling.

"Your Beautiful Purpose" was a gift by Bethany House for sharing my review.

Susie Larson hosts a daily radio talk show that airs across the upper Midwest and contributes a weekly feature heard nationally on Moody Radio. Active in local ministry as well as International Justice Mission, she has authored six previous books and been a guest on national TV and radio programs, including Focus on the Family. Susie and her husband, Kevin, have three adult sons and live near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more at

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wings Of Glass by Gina Holmes

First I must say that Gina Holmes blesses me. Every time I pick up a book she has penned I walk away truly blessed. She has a rare gift of drawing you in and making you part of the story. Your heart is so connected to the characters that you begin a journey to another place and time.

The cover is exquisite. It's so poignant to the story. The title captures such delicate beauty. On the front cover it says, "The best way not to repeat history is to know it. Having no one to lean on but God. It changes a person. It sure changed me." This is Penny's story to her son, Manny. A story of a journey to freedom.

"Wings Of Glass", is a beautifully written story that brings us to the depths of abuse. Once I began reading, I couldn't put this novel down until the last page was turned. Holmes is brilliant. The characters are so real you forget your reading about someone else. I fell in love with Penny, a young girl, trapped by the man she is asking God to change. But what Penny learns is that God cannot change someone unless they are willing to be changed.

This is such a poignant read. Such valuable life lessons captured within these pages. A story for every woman to read and then pass on to her daughter. This is a powerful story. It is filled with every emotion. I was just captivated by this story. I cannot say enough good things about it. Except that I cannot wait to see what Gina Holmes pens next!

We see friendship at it's best. Honesty from women who have been there and know. They read in between the lines. They know the signs of abuse.  Penny spends much time denying the truth. It all changes when she becomes pregnant. Yes, a baby changes everything. I adored Penny's friends. Penny connects with two women from different worlds. The strength of these women impacted me greatly. We grow to know how Callie Mae and Fatimah become such strong women. They reminded me of friends I am blessed to have. God places people in our lives for reasons and these two ladies were placed in Penny's life to help her to freedom.

We see Penny's husband, Trent, go through his own battles. We get a glimpse of his past and what has brought him to the place he is now. Penny struggles with leaving Trent. We see God at work here. In His perfect timing we see Him move in areas where Penny feels there is no hope. But in faith, there is always hope to be found.

I leave this story with wanting more. I want to know about Manny's life and how Penny is now. I want to know more about Callie Mae and Fatimah. Yes, this is brilliant writing. Writing that leaves you wanting more.

"Wings Of Glass" was a gift from Tyndale for my review.

Gina Holmes
Bestselling author Gina Holmes is the founder of the influential literary site Novel Rocket, regularly named one of Writers Digest's best sites for writers. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Christian Book Award finalist and winner of the Carol, INSPY, and RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest awards, as well as a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and Publishers Weekly Religion bestseller. She is also the author of Dry As Rain, a Christy Award finalist, and Wings of Glass. Gina holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose. To learn more about her, visit

Monday, February 4, 2013

Does The Bible Fit?

Last night after having a long day I was resting and flipping channels. I was channel surfing and came across an episode of, "Friends". I came in at the very end of the program, but what I caught was enough to bring a lesson to my heart. Isn't it funny how God can teach us in the places we least expect?

So, during the episode, Phoebe is having contractions and she remembers she has a book to tell her what to do when this time comes. So Monica tells Rachel to go and get the book. Rachel runs and grabs the Bible and hands it to Phoebe. The scene ends in laughter. My heart was not laughing. Yes, in my judgmental heart I thought, "Okay, now just where did that Bible come from because it totally does not fit in the lives of these people." Ouch! I know, right? To look at the characters and the show the Bible just seemed out of place.

It was as though I could hear my Savior asking me, "So Rob, if someone was to come into your home and see all the Bibles you have in different places, would they think it out of place?" Double ouch! What does my life show? Do my actions point toward Jesus? Do my words inspire others to look to Him? I must be honest and say, not always. There just may be times where people would be shocked that I am a believer.

The five minutes of this show that caught my attention really had me searching. I don't want others to see a life where there is no Jesus. I want my life to line up with what I proclaim to believe. Yes, I am a sinner. A sinner in need of grace. A sinner forgiven. Praise Jesus!

But see, here's the thing. I am not to look upon others and judge, "Where is Jesus in your life?" I can hear the world already. "So, you call yourself a Christian, but wow, you sure aren't showing it right now." What the world may see is the moment where I stumble. What they don't see is when I come to my Savior asking for forgiveness. What they don't see are the tears after I have made a remark out of anger. They don't see my brokenness over my actions the night before. We live in a  world sure to point out every wrong. We must come to a place where we show the world the grace of God. We must come to a place where even in our brokenness the world sees a sinner who has been saved and is washed by the grace of God.

I don't want to hide my faults from the world. I am growing in a place where I want the world not only to see when I fall, but even  more so,  I want them to see my Savior lift me up and set me on higher ground. I want the world to see the sweet grace of God. I am to measure my walk agaisnt the Word of God. When I falture I am to be honest and humble. This creates character and a beauty that can only come from seeking God.

So, yes, there are times when my home isn't the picture of a girl with an open Bible and a heart after God, but the Lord is able to take every single factor in my life and make it for His good. Yes, failures and all. Just like the five minutes I watched of this show. God took those five minutes to open my eyes to a place where I could examine my own life. My own life! I don't need to examine the lives of every person I come in contact with. What I do need to do is show the same grace and mercy that the Lord shows me daily. It's through my real life that this world will see Jesus. Not through a fake window. Not through a girl who claims, "I'm not like that" and "How could she?" attitude. It's when we are real. It's when we let down our guard. It's when we come to a place of humility that the world sees a God of hope. They see a God who will love them no matter their past. They see a God who sees past the failure and chooses to take that ash and turn it into beauty.

So, as in this episode I found it an odd place for the Bible. It just didn't fit. I mean, where was the evidence it was even there? If Rachel hadn't grabbed it I would have never realized there was one in their home. Does this hit home for you? It does me. I want God's Word to be evident in my life.

"Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believer in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

"In the same way, encourage the young men to be self-controlled in everything. Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching. Your message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be ashamed, having nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:6-8

"For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Titus 2:11-13

"Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children." Ephesians 5:1

With all this said, I am not to look at others in a pious and self righteous way. But if not for the grace of God there go I. I am a sinner saved by grace. That is what I am to show the world I live in. I am not better than any other person. We are all on level ground at the foot of the cross. I am however to be the example God is calling me to be. That means examining my life, my actions, words, and deeds on a daily basis. I do not want to be a stumbling block for others, but an example as to what the grace of God can do for a girl who desires to walk with a heart like Christ.

May I See Myself As You See Me, Lord

I'm standing in my mother's living room and I see my sister I haven't seen in a few years. Before any hello is spoken she says to me, "Wow, your fat!" I can tell you those words hit me hard. I felt like a bulldozer just knocked me down and rolled right on over my heart. I reply to her, "What? I'm the same size I've  been in the last ten years". She looks at me with a smile and says, "Oh, I don't mean to make you feel bad, you just look fatter."

I wanted to scream to her, "I'm the same size 8 I have been for the last ten years and when I just weighed I was 125 pounds! I wanted to cry. In this instance and on the drive home I began to doubt myself. I was telling myself, "Okay, I'm 5'4, should I be smaller? Have I gained weight and I just can't tell?" Girls, you know too well don't you? Every thought possible entered my mind. I went home and cried. I shared with my husband, who replied, "Your beautiful".

I have always struggled with body image. In my high school years I was anorexic and bulimic. I took every diuretic possible and I watched every single nugget that entered my mouth. I felt unworthy. I felt ugly. The thing that hurts the most is that no one knew. I'm not sure if I kept it so well hidden or my family and friends just didn't really know me as well as I figured they did.

So, as you can see, these words were crippling to me. They brought me back to a place I didn't need to be. Words not expected and words never before heard by my ears, only my heart. The inner me who never quite saw myself as others did. I grew angry. I thought, "How could she?" That was downright mean, but then I hear my Savior. His sweet words say to me, "Dear daughter, hurt people, hurt people".

My sister had just lost her love. He had died from a long battle of cancer. She lost her home and was now staying with my mother. She was hurting. Her world was now upside down. Everything before her was shattering and she is now left trying to sort out the pieces.

Her words were not soothing to my ears and because she was hurting didn't give her reason to hurt me, but that's what we do, isn't it? We take our hurt and use it as plaster for the hearts of others.

I didn't confront my sister. I chose instead to turn to my Savior. He soothed my heart. He removed my anger toward my sister. I began praying for my hurting sister. I made the choice to reach out to her and see if there were any way I could help ease her pain and bring comfort to her life that has been thrown into disarray.

I am sharing this with you today because we struggle with body issues. Women face the mirror and instead of seeing the beauty God has created, we find every single flaw and point it out. It's as though it's the first thing we see. We measure ourselves to other women. We go by size and weight. We save those skinny jeans and soon they are outdated.

Hurtful comments are often not even directed to us. It's empty words from a hurting heart. A heart in need. Those words hit my heart. Yes, my heart that is often insecure, inadequate and misunderstand. See, Satan knows our weakest points. He knows where we are most vulnerable. He sees those and seeks to destroy us by those very assumptions we have about ourselves.

I had to come to the point where I began seeing myself through the eyes of Jesus. Not through the eyes of this condemning world, but through His loving eyes. He created me just the way I am. Instead of me being critical of myself, He wants me to look in the mirror and in gratitude, praise Him for His wondrous creation in me. I am the only me. Think about it. That is pretty cool.

I have a daughter who takes my breath away. I cannot tell you how many people have come up to me and said, "Wow, your daughter looks just like you". If I am to criticize myself, I then am criticizing my daughter. She is gorgeous in every way. There is nothing about her I would change. I look at my granddaughter, who brings my heart to a stop when I see her. She takes my very breath away. You guessed it. This little beauty looks just like her momma, who in turn resembles me. How could I criticize what the Lord has given me?

Yes, this forty-six year old woman is learning to be grateful for every wrinkle, every curve and yes, I am accepting that cellulite that comes along with being a woman. As I age I look to younger women. I must be honest and say, I wouldn't want to go backward for anything. I like who I am today. I am growing into the woman of beauty God has created me to be. I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin. It's about time. But for women, this is a journey. It's a growth road of coming into who we are to be. If I'm not accepting of myself, what then am I teaching my daughters and grandchildren? I want them to see themselves as I see them. Beautiful. I too must learn to see the beauty in myself.

After all, I am created in the image of my Savior. I am created by the hands of my God. He knew me before I took my first breath. He created ever intricate part of my being. He gave me my blue eyes and short legs. He didn't stop there. After that He took the time to plan every day of my life.

When I go to the mirror each morning I look into those blue eyes and say, "Thank You, Jesus". Thank You, for my life. For all You have given me. May the beauty You have created today shine forth and bring glory to Your name. Lord, continue the work You have begun in me. Change me to look more like You today. Help me to accept myself in every way. May I not worry about the thoughts or comments from the lips of others, but may I continue to see myself through Your eyes.

Friends, it's not our shape or size. I had to come to the place where I simply stopped comparing myself to others. I had to put down the magazines of Hollywood and remind myself  that I am a child of the King of kings. I am a beautiful woman of God and there is nothing no one can say to take that away.

Be healthy in this beautiful body God has given us. Do not allow the lies of this world to get you down. Don't allow anyone to tell you, you are not beautiful. You are a unique woman of God, created for a purpose and a plan. So ladies, put on your God goggles and see yourself for who He sees you as. Beautiful beyond description.

Lord, it is You, that makes me complete. There is nothing about me that You do not know. Create in me the woman You are calling me to be. Allow me not to fix my eyes on what I think this world calls beauty, but in what I know You call beauty. Sweet Jesus, help me to overcome myself and my doubts. Fill me with a clarity that gives me peace. Beauty begins in the heart and is an outward flow. Lord, may my beauty shine for Your glory. As I see myself, may I see my Savior and all the love You have for me. Amen

"For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began." Psalm 139:13-16

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8


Friday, February 1, 2013

There's Room For More

I'm waking today to a brilliantly shinning sun. I walk out to fill the bird feeders. I take care of Gunner, our bloodhound, and take Daisy for her morning walk. I feel energized as the cool air hits my cheeks. I know that they are turning red from the cold, but it feels so wonderful. I breathe in and simply share with the Lord, "It feels good to be alive today".

I look up to the heavens and ponder all today holds. Yes, the Lord knows what will come in the next hour and how my day will come to a close. He is all knowing. I like it that way. That makes me feel secure and it brings comfort to this girl who is forever wondering, what next.

It's one of those days I get to spend with my husband. We have our coffee and watch Andy Griffith. Don't you just love that show and all it gives to the heart? I open my Bible and turn the pages. I take a few moments and breathe in the words of my devotional.

I come across the verse, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8

I close my eyes and I picture this day. The day where my Savior gives me a crown. A crown filled with jewels. One that I will return to Him and lay at His feet. Oh, what a glorious day! I am imagining what this day could hold. Then a question comes to mind. To heart, I should say. Just what if Jesus has a crown for me that could hold fifty jewels? Fifty breathtaking jewels, but all my crown holds is five. There is room for more. But in the time that He has given me. In the work that He has created me for, I regretfully look back at this time and realize that there was so much more I could have done. This thought breaks my heart.

Could it be that at this time we will be able to see all that Jesus held for us here on this side of heaven? Will be see how we lived our mundane lives day after day, passing by the opportunities He so wanted us to see and capture? I'm not sure about that, but what I am sure of is that I don't want that video played in front of me. I want to make the choice to unwrap His gifts. I want to see with His vision. I want to live a child like faith filled with wonder. Don't you?

I can't tell you how many times I wake up and just get busy. I look at my list and begin the quest of checking off each to-do. I'm going about that all wrong. Before I get to "My" list, I need to seek my Lord and see what He has planned for me today. What if I gave more time to Him? Just think of the possibilities. What if I listened more intently for the Holy Spirit? I mean, really, what if I just simply opened up my life for all that Jesus has for me?

I don't want to miss out on anything He has for me. I want to serve Him willingly. I want to give all of myself to Him. I don't want to stand before Him on the day He gives me a crown and it doesn't hold all of the blessings that it could.

"Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been hold of by Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12

I want to live determined. I want to seek my purpose. I don't want to live with excuse, but I want to see every opportunity Jesus places before me and gladly take on the mission at hand. I want to encourage and inspire. I want my life to be His. I want to seize the day with all that it holds.

Goodness, do you know how much time we waste? We hear the Holy Spirit call and we quench it. We turn either in fear and doubt or just in plain old selfishness. We are busy with what we want to be busy with. Plain and simple. For me, it's time to change that. I want every minute to count. Even if it's a time of rest. I want to rest because I have been busy doing what the Lord has set before me. Whether I'm doing the dishes or the laundry, I want to do it as if I'm doing it for the Lord. With that kind of attitude, nothing can hold us back. We do our chores with joy. We have a giddy up in our step. Jesus changes everything!

Think of it. He has already equipped us with everything we need. There is nothing to hold us back from experiencing everything God has for us. We each have different gifts. He has uniquely created each of us to work together for His glory. Look at what could happen if we all got busy in His work! As one comes along and gives his portion, another comes along and adds to the blessing. We were created for a purpose higher than what we could ever imagine. When the Lord sets a task before us we are to be eager to accomplish it. Not for ourselves, but for the Lord. We should make every effort, taking hold of every offering. Opening our hands and hearts, setting before this world a life of service in the Lord, so they may take hold of the glory of God.

It may be something as simple as sending a card to a friend, making a meal for a family in need, or just giving a rose to that friend who inspires you. I think for the most part, I just need to live love. I need to not only say I love my neighbor, but I need to show it. I need to express the love of Christ through every action and word. I need to get busy in the Lord. Friends, it's whatever the Lord is calling us to do. Lets take this day He has given us and make the best of it.

Lord, open my heart up to all You have for me today. Open my eyes to all You wish me to see. Open my ears to the Holy Spirit's calling. May I look past myself and see a world in need. A world in need of a Savior. Take my life, Lord and use it up. May Your grace and mercy abound from my walk. May my path be direct and full of purpose. Never wasting a  moment. Thank You, Lord, for today. May my actions and words bring beauty and glory to Your holy name. Amen

The Runner by A. Wayne Gill

I didn't know quite what to expect when I picked up, "The Runner", by A. Wayne Gill, but I am pleased to share with you that I sincerely enjoyed it. Michael Knight is the kind of guy everyone wants for a friend. He's a preacher's son, football player, and a dreamer. He has the perfect girlfriend and a family who supports and encourages him.

Michael's family and girlfriend have an idea of what they want and expect from Michael. They have almost lifted him to stand on a pillar. Of course, no one can meet everyone's expectations and the dreams that our family hold for us are not always what we have in mind.

What I enjoyed about this novel was the very fact that Michael didn't hit those expectations. He goes off and shoots for his own dreams. This Christian kid learns that it isn't what his family expects from him. It's not at all what a girlfriend dreams of having with him. It's not even his own wishes, but what matters most is the plans the Lord has for him.

Michael takes a dive and hits bottom in a world that sucked him in with deception. It is so encouraging to read a book where life isn't perfect. We see God's grace and mercy weaved into this novel. Redemption comes to all who embrace the Lord and see Him for who He is. Our Savior.

The characters of, "The Runner", are real. Michael comes from a family who too must learn that the Lord works outside of our wishes and He moves in our lives when we are ready to except that those we love are not perfect. Family and friends will make mistakes, but we are to be ready to forgive and embrace those we love dear. We meet a hand full of characters in this novel that will draw you in until the last page it turned.

This novel is published by Iron Pillar Media and was a gift from Glass Road Publications for my review.


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