Thursday, December 31, 2015

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, 2015 Edition Understanding God's Message in the Last Days By John Hagee Published by Thomas Nelson

This is one pretty amazing Bible. It's in the NKJV translation so it's not only precise, but easy to understand.

I have the hardback version of this Bible and it's made well in the hardback. It also has a jacket if you prefer to keep that on for protection.

This Bible holds so much valuable information that gives us such a great aid in studying God's Word. John Hagee gives us great tools for going deeper into the Word.

The features of this Bible are outstanding!!

  • Introduction to Bible Prophecy 
  • Index to Prophetic Passages
  • Top 20 Questions about Bible Prophecy 
  • Diamonds for Daily Living
  • God's Great Promises
  • God's Great Salvation
  • Evidences 
  • Spokesmen for God
  • Bible Insights
  • Bible Prophecy Charts
  • Full concordance
The concordance is a great size and helpful. The Charts and Spokesmen for God sections are my favorite tools. There too is a great section on the five different views of the rapture. This entire Bible is filled with extraordinary information that helps one grow in their journey with Christ.

The Evidences section is another amazing section that answers so many questions for the believer. The new believer or the Christian who has walked in faith many years. This is a Bible that you will love and enjoy!!

The Diamonds for Daily Living gives us so many treasures for living our daily lives for Jesus and keeping focus on Him and not the distractions that Satan sets up for us.

The introductions are spectacular too. Everything about this Bible is outstanding. It's a great one to have for study to combine with your favorite study Bible you are using now. This just may become your favorite go to study Bible!!

This Bible was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

John Hagee, author of the bestsellers Jerusalem Countdown, The Battle for Jerusalem, From Daniel to Doomsday, Life Lessons to Live By, and The Financial Armageddon, is the founder and pastor of the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, and president of Global Evangelism Television.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I Want to Recognize Him Everywhere

I opened my devotional today and found these words:

"O Lord, where did I see You yesterday...and didn't recognize You? Where will I encounter You today..and fail to identify You? O my Father, give me eyes to see, a heart to respond, and hands and feet to serve You wherever You encounter me! Transform me, Lord, by Your Spirit into a servant of Christ, who delights to meet the needs of those around me. Make me a billboard of Your grace, a living advertisement for the riches of Your compassion. I long to hear You say to me one day, "Well done, good and faithful servant." And I pray that today I would be that faithful servant who does well at doing good. In Jesus' name I pray, amen." Max Lucado

Tears began to flow as I pondered how often in the past year He was present and I refused or neglected to see Him. How many times did He want to use me as His vessel and I passed up the opportunity because I was too busy with me? 

I want today to be different. Oh, we say things like that. We have good intentions, but then what happens? We get busy. We get angry. We get wounded. Life happens and we put God and all He has for us aside not even thinking that if we made Him the focus everything would change. 

Each person who walks into my path isn't just by happenstance. There isn't any such thing as coincidence. God places people in our path for a purpose. Sometimes it is for us to bless them and others it is for them to be a blessing to us. 

We waste so very much time don't we? For some reason we think we have all the time in the world. We put off things for tomorrow. We give up on yesterday. We wish away our tomorrow by always wanting something more, something else, something different than what we have already. Where is God in that {me} stuff? 

We expect so much, but we are willing to give so little. We expect others to be everything we need. We expect others to forgive us. To do the impossible for us. We live in a world where Jesus isn't accepted and when we choose to place Him first in our lives we too become unaccepted folks by those who refuse to recognize Him as Savior. 

But see, that isn't to matter to us. We are to walk in faith. To be those lighted billboards that shimmers Jesus to the world. We are to live grace and mercy. We are to be His light-bearers to the world around us.

We live for others. We live to be noticed and appreciated. It's easy for us to live always wanting more. We have become people pleasers afraid to say the word NO to people, but in doing so that leaves no room to say YES to God. I wanna be the girl who says YES to my God and does so with a willing and excited heart to anticipate ALL He has for me in the journey. I wanna live expecting to see God's glory all around me. We are so amazed when we see God do something. Really? What else would we expect from our God? I don't mean to live in such a way that we are not in awe of Him, but let's stop being so shocked when we hear He has done something wondrous. After all, this is the God who created us and loves us. He wants nothing but the best for us. What are we willing to give to Him? Maybe this year we shoot for giving Him our all and always looking to Him to show us the way, to give us the opportunity, and to equip us with all we need for the purpose to bring nothing but glory to Him.

"When we fail to choose to live our lives fully awake, the ashes will extinguish the beauty, the mourning will smother the joy, and the despair will end our praise. When we sleep to the dreams inside our hearts, the message of love will become nothing more than a nice idea. Yet when we awaken to the dreams God has placed inside of us, our very lives become the beauty, magic, and wonder that the world needs." Joel N. Clark

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Family Encouragement Goes A Long Way

Family encouragement means so very much doesn't it? If we have it we are soaring in our mission to live out God's plan for our lives. If we are missing out on encouragement it squashes the spirit and causes one to question themselves.

Encouragement from family sets a fire underneath us and gives us courage to spread our wings and fly. We gain such inspiration from those who give us encouragement. It's hard enough at times to have confidence in ourselves. When we are doing what God has called us to do there are times we must face our fears and would so love for someone to be at our side with us encouraging us with hope. 

I  have a family member who thinks what I do, writing and sharing Jesus,  is a waste of time. They believe that I spend too much time writing when I should be spending time doing other things. Yeah, that hurts deeply. I work so very hard at everything I do. When I get time to write it's like an escape. An expression of my love for Jesus. Writing is not just a passion for me. I know without a doubt that this is what I am suppose to be doing.

God instilled dreams in all of us. I want nothing more than to bring Him glory from the gifts He has so graciously given me. It's so amazing to be able to share those dreams with family and friends. To just tell someone, "I hope your day is blessed", gives a strength that is needed to face the trials of the day and it shares how much they are loved." How wonderful it feels to be thought about, prayed for,  and encouraged, right? 

Having family believe in you gives the heart great encouragement. It's having cheerleaders at your side. It doesn't matter what we are called to do. Encouragement for our journey is huge. It's crushing when family doesn't believe in what you are doing. When we make the choice to lift one another up it stirs the heart to joy and gives such a powerful strength for all that we are doing. We face enough obstacles in this life without destroying the dreams of those we love by not believing in them.

"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." Ephesians 4:29

"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as in the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25

There are times I feel like giving up. I begin to question myself. When those times hit me I pray. I ask God to show me the path and to allow me to see the way forward. He is good to give me strength and wisdom. He fills me with everything I need. Whether or not anyone believes in me I know without a doubt that He does. After all it is God that placed this passion within me to use for His glory. 

How about you? Do you have the encouragement you need? Are you surrounded by family who believes in you? My husband is my greatest cheerleader. It makes my heart smile to hear him say, "Rob, you're doing a great job". To have a church family behind you is a treasure. To have friends praying for you is a wondrous gift that will leave behind a legacy that points to Jesus. But even if I had no one believing in me, Jesus is enough. I know He understands. He too had family that didn't believe in Him and didn't encourage Him in His ministry. 

In John 7:5 it says, "For even His brothers did not believe in Him". I have been pondering what life was like for Jesus at home with His siblings. Of course He had encouragement from His parents, Mary and Joseph, but His siblings didn't believe in Him. Jesus knew they didn't believe. The world hated Him, but don't you think it even hurt more to know that His family didn't believe?

"The world cannot hate you, but hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil." John 7:7

"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the wold, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18-19

Every year around the birthday celebrations of my children I love going back and envisioning their arrivals. I often share the details of their grand welcoming into the world. What was that like in the home for Jesus? I mean did Mary and Joseph make a difference? Of course each child was loved and wanted, but the birth of Jesus kind of stands out among the rest, right? Did the other children enjoy hearing the story of the night in the manger or were they sick of hearing about it? 

We know how Jacob made a difference in Joseph and his brothers. They hated him. They hated the difference and the favoritism that their father held for baby brother. {Genesis 37} But we too see that God had a HUGE plan for each of them. The day did come when Joseph's family believed, not only in Joseph, but more importantly in God.

James is the brother of Jesus. From this brother we get the Book of James. He didn't come to believe during the ministry of Jesus. It would be later that he would believe and come to preach in the Jerusalem church.

"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." Acts 1:14

"After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles." 1 Corinthians 15:7

"Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?" Matthew 13:55-56

Did you catch brothers? So, more than one came to believe. Don't you know this was the hope of Jesus all along? Everything in God's perfected time. We don't always understand when family doesn't believe, when they don't encourage us in our journey of living out our life for Jesus, but friends, I believe in God's perfect timing. There is never a prayer that dies. When we continue to live Jesus and do the passionate gifts He has bestowed upon us we leave behind a legacy of trust, hope, and faith. Although not every family member may give me encouragement, but in return I continue to give them love and grace.

"Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 4:8-10

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Never A Stranger Does He Meet

Jericho was about to have Jesus come and walk among the people. The gossip was a buzz. Could it really be? The streets began to crowd with people. Some with anticipation others with curiosity. Zacchaeus hears of this news and wants to see who this Jesus is. 

Do we wait in anticipation for Jesus? Do we wake expecting to see His glory? Zacchaeus is curious and pondering this Jesus. Wait, is He approaching? He can't see. Oh, if only the people would give room for him to witness this King of kings. He doesn't want to miss out. Could Zacchaeus be expecting Jesus to be all he has heard about? He surely isn't giving up on getting a glimpse of Him. He runs ahead and with his short legs climbs a sycamore tree. 

Zacchaeus sees Jesus, but did he expect Jesus to see him atop that tree? Jesus looks up. Their eyes meet and Jesus calls to him.  Can you imagine this moment? Did Zacchaeus look around puzzled as if to say, "Me? Are you speaking to me?" He was just wanting to see Jesus, but here Jesus looks up to him and calls him by name. Oh, my friends, a stranger has Jesus never met. It stirs my heart to ponder all that Zacchaeus must be feeling. This time was planned in advance by a Savior who all along was preparing the heart of  Zacchaeus.

"Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house." So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. but when they saw it, they all complained, saying, "He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner." Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:1-10

I love how Scripture shares with us that Jesus knew his name. It makes their meeting intimate even in the midst of a crowd. Zacchaeus climbs down from the tree and there is Jesus waiting. What a glorious sight to ponder. Not a chance meeting at all, but one that was planned for this sinner to meet his Savior face to face.

Zacchaeus had everything monetary. He was a wealthy man. Even though he had everything, was there something missing? I love that Zacchaeus was curious and wanting to see the Savior. He wasn't worried about what others thought. I mean as he climbed the tree what were others thinking of him? Zacchaeus was about to find out those around him would judge and point fingers, but he was in the presence of the One who would change his life forever. No one else mattered at the moment. The Savior was calling. Zacchaeus answered the call.

Can you imagine Jesus wanting to come to your house and stay the night? Zacchaeus was a tax collector. A schemer to deceived others to make his wealth. A sinner in need of forgiveness and grace. A home that needed the presence of Jesus. It mattered not to Jesus that Zacchaeus was a sinner. Jesus was welcomed and Zacchaeus was hospitable.

A short man in a tall tree. What does this say to me? Jesus always makes a way. He provides a vision. He prepares the way. Nothing can keep us from our Savior when He is calling. There is no distance He will not cross. The crowd too deep. Jesus makes way for a tree top. He will always give room for us to see if only we are willing.

But get this. Zacchaeus wasn't the only tax collector who he asked to follow Him. In Scripture we also meet Matthew. As Jesus was walking He passed by the tax collector's office. Again, not a chance meeting. Jesus sees Matthew through the window and calls him out. He speaks and says, "Follow Me" {Matthew 9:9-13}. Jesus goes to the home of Matthew and sits with many tax collectors and sinners. Once again the people didn't understand why Jesus and His disciples would be within their company. Jesus explains, but just today many didn't care to understand at all, but those with willing hearts were ready to accept. Don't you just love how Jesus steps out and makes way for us? Don't you love that Jesus isn't afraid of sinners?

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17

People didn't understand why Jesus would dine with a sinner. I believe many of us today wonder the same. How often do we dine with sinners? How often to do we invite them into our home? When was the last time we invited the Savior in to dine with us? We tend to leave Jesus out and we cast aside the sinners. I'm just being real here. In church I was taught to surround myself with only Christians. We were taught to not have relationships with sinners, with those not saved. I look back and see that my life was empty of people who didn't know Jesus as their Savior. How was I to share Jesus with the world if the world wasn't invited into my life to witness Him in my own?

Like Zacchaeus and Matthew there's a world out there filled with people searching for more. For something to fill the emptiness. Jesus provides a sycamore for every sinner. Just like Zacchaeus, Jesus made a way for me. He had set in motion long ago our meeting. He planned and then hoped in patience for when that day came I would be anticipating His call. I came as a sinner. He met me as my Savior.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God has passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." {Romans 3:23-26}

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Glory In A Trash Dump

Golgotha. How do we envision this place where our Jesus was crucified? Even the name sounds dark and unwanted. After reading, "The Comeback", penned by Louie Giglio, this is a place I have yet to get out of my mind. Louie brings this place straight to the heart. He took me to the cross and I haven't been able to leave.

We can envision our Jesus being crucified. But somehow I think we try to make it a pretty place where our Jesus gave His all between two criminals hanging side by side Jesus. But this place was anything but pretty. Our Jesus gave His life freely in a trash heap. A city dump of Jerusalem. Think of our trash dumps today. Let the smell linger in your senses. Is this any place for our Savior to be? Our Savior who lived a sweet aroma of love and grace gave His all in a trash dump for each and every one of us. 

This was the place where crucifixions took place. Where sinners died for their crimes. After people were crucified they weren't taken down from the cross immediately. No, they were left there hanging in this trash dump to only be taken down and tossed into a heap where they would rot. No one would come to claim these loved ones in fear that they too would soon be laying in the heap of rotting flesh.  

Why is it that we try to make this day of Christ's crucifixion something less than what it really is? Because I don't think we want to envision our Jesus in a place where He didn't belong for us. In the place where people threw out the unwanted, Jesus came to claim the wanted by giving His everything. 

"Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink." Matthew 27:32-34

"And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take." Mark 15:22-24

"There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him. and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."" Luke 23:32-34

"And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put in on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS." John 19:17-19

My Jesus suffered and died for my sins. Way before I was born He prepared a way for me to live life eternal. He allowed these men to bring Him to a place not fit for a King to stand, but our King of kings didn't just stand. He gave His life. His precious life given freely to intercede for me and you. 

Today we can turn on the news and see babies being tossed in the trash, unwanted and unclaimed, as they were nothing. We see this and tears come. We can't understand how or why. All we think is, "I would have loved that baby? How could one not love that baby?" 

When we think of Jesus suffering in agony for us what is it that our heart feels? Do we wish we could have been there? His death is something I cannot understand. If it were not for Joseph of Arimathea coming to ask for the body of our Savior would Jesus too have been tossed in a heap of bodies? 

"After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus." John 19:38

Our Jesus born in a manger, no room in the inn for a King, would give His life in a trash dump and bring glory where glory was unexpected. But then again, that's our Jesus. 

I can be honest and share that I never knew that Golgotha was a trash dump just outside of Jerusalem. Now that I know I will never again look at the cross the same. This great and mighty love of Jesus is a love I in no way deserve. I find myself at the cross and see my Jesus. In the moment I believed His unconditional kind of love sealed me with everlasting life. 

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." Romans 1:7-14

We can see in Christ's undeniable love for us that He is willing to meet us where we are. He met us in a trash dump at the cross to give His life for ours. There is no limit to what Jesus will not do for us. He will be in our presence. He will be side by side us sinners. He will never give up on us, those in which He chose to give His life. 

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know." John 14:1-4

Monday, December 7, 2015

Are You Ready? (A Guest Post by Debbie Dillon)

I gathered up my plans for the weekend, one by one. The few precious days stretched out long before me and I knew exactly what I was going to do. Had it all figured out. It was going to be great. Fun. Beautiful. New. Delicious. Exciting. Perfect!

And just as quickly, one by one…each plan, each exhausting effort crumbled, shattered to the ground leaving me spent and very frustrated wondering why God would allow me to waste my time and energy for absolutely nothing.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)

Are you ready to gather up all your hopes, ideas, dreams and thoughts about how your life should look and place them firmly in the hands of Jesus? One by one, day by day? It's like gathering all the important elements to create the perfect floral ensemble. We strive to create the perfect contrast in color and texture and maybe we hand Him one stem at a time when we're to hand over the entire bouquet. It's His. Only He can assemble the perfect balance of such things.

It’s a process. Doesn’t happen overnight. We can’t just flip a switch and suddenly know how submission works. It’s painful. Uncomfortable. Unsettling. Handing over full control…as if it ever belonged to us in the first place…takes our obedience and His faithfulness.

I’m learning to praise God when that thing I’ve wished for, hoped for, prayed about comes back to me broken, unfixed and unrealized like God saying, “No, child. Not this one – not this time.”

I’m learning to praise Him in the “no” and in the failed attempts because they aren’t really failures at all. They’re just me taking bigger strides up the mountain trying to own my chunk of it. It’s just me stretching my limits and reaching my arms out farther to embrace my vision of achievement and all the while I’m growing my need for a Savior.

When darkness falls on my plans and all the little pieces struggle to come together as I think they should, I’m learning to shout, “Praise, you, Jesus! Thank you for this challenge and this experience! I know that you have something far better planned! My plans, hopes and dreams couldn’t POSSIBLY compare to what you have in store for me and I trust you! I will praise you regardless!”

With all that I am I submit and surrender it ALL to God! All that I truly own in this life is the surrendering of my will to His. The commitment of my plans and dreams. All my tomorrows. All belong to Jesus.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)

Debbie Dillion is Founder/Publisher of CW Voice Magazine. She has been married to her husband, Matthew for just about 27 years. She's also a mom, church secretary, writer for local newspapers, serious coffee drinker, chocolate devourer and dog lover. She loves to cook and work in her garden, but she's most passionate about sharing the love of Jesus with women all across the country. Visit her at her blogs: and her new food blog (where she shares the recipes that come out well...the others get fed to her chickens, LOL)

Getting Unstuck with Jesus

Have I mentioned we have a new pup in our home? Stanley is our seven month old Dachshund. He's a cutie and 99% good as gold. But where there is trouble you will find Stanley in the mix of it.

"I will not leave you nor forsake you." Joshua 1:5h

As you know with a pup you must keep your eyes upon them at all times. It only takes a moment for something to happen and let's face it. A pup can destroy a room if left alone even for a bit.

"Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy." Psalm 33:18

This morning I was studying and Stanley had been laying on his blanket at the foot of my bed. I got lost in study and took my eyes off of him. After all I thought he was sleeping. Playing opossum is more like it. I called for him. He didn't come. I searched and didn't find him. I heard his whine and then knew..this tiny fella had found his way into the box springs. Yes, he was caught in the springs. Each leg seeming to be hanging in a different place. He must have found a small hole in the fabric and then hopped on up to see what adventure he could find. Little did he know that he would get stuck.

"In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works." Psalm 86:7

Oh, let me mention that Stanley is just now healing over a leg injury. That injury was caused by him jumping on the love seat and falling off backwards and landing on his leg. Oh, mercy! I told you. He's a great pup. Super smart. LOL Yes, he really is smart. But obviously he can find his way into trouble.

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 40:10

Now, how was I to get him unstuck without him hurting himself worse? (Can you just hear our Savior saying the same about us?) I grabbed my hair scissors and began to cut away all the fabric from the underneath of the box springs. Stanley just remained there stuck, but watching every move I made. I cut enough away to get him out. I had to make my way underneath the bed. Oh, what a sight it must have been. But I was on the rescue and knew I had to help Stanley.

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

I moved his tiny legs from being unstuck and held on tight as I pulled him out from underneath the bed. He sat on my lap, not moving, but looking at me as if to say, "Whoa, did you see that? That bed just about ate me!!" He was terrified. In his second of thinking he would explore unknown territory, he wasn't thinking of or prepared for the danger that lie ahead. Isn't that so much like us to just go off on our own not thinking about the consequences of our actions?

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

Stanley isn't unlike me. Oh, the times I must have set out on adventure only to find trouble. I still find trouble or it tends to find me. But there is my Jesus, ready to rescue.

"God is our refuge ans strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

He leads me in every way. Warns me from danger. He forever wants me to be safe. He doesn't want to see me hurt. But in my disobedience and curious nature I set off on my own and there I am...stuck just like Stanley. Jesus is faithful to rescue me. He goes before me. He never leaves my side. What I have learned is that I never want to go anywhere where my Jesus is not. He promises not to leave me. His eye is always upon me. When trouble is before us all we must do is call out for our Jesus and He will hear our cry. He is forever present with us.

"The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry." Psalm 34:15

There are a great many ways we can get stuck. I've been there feeling stuck and not knowing what to do. Friends, if you're feeling stuck today call out to Jesus. He will make a way. He will set you on a new course and give you a new vision.

"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12

I think Stanley has learned his lesson. But then again he may be like me and it'll take him a few stumbles of getting stuck before he gets it. After all he is a pup. As for me, I'm just a Jesus chick still growing and learning my way through getting unstuck in this world that would so love to keep me there. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Study Bible for Women: NKJV Edition, Printed Hardcover by B&H Publishing Group

Okay, if you keep up with my reviews you know I am a HUGE fan of B&H Publishing Group and the Holman study Bible, especially the Women's Study Bible. I have been super blessed to review this Bible in the HCSB translation and now I am so excited to have it in the NKJV translation!! These are my two favorite translations and to have them both makes my study extraordinary.

This is the hardback version and I must say I am really impressed. Hardback usually isn't something I go for. My preference is leather, but this hardback is gorgeous inside and out! I'm not a huge fan of purple, but this purple works so well and is so inviting. The soft purple hues on the inside are delightful.

If hardback isn't your first choice there are many different beautiful editions of this study Bible in this translation that are coming out soon. I encourage you to visit B&H to check out all of your choices. You are bound to find the perfect Bible for you.

Now, why do I love this study Bible so much? It literally has everything under the sun for a great study. Word studies and hard questions bring the reader to ponder the Word. The essays give us great wisdom on many different subjects. There are over 6,400 study notes. The book introductions are spectacular and full of information. What I love the most are the character profiles and the charts!! The time lines are also a great feature. These are tremendous for giving the reader every possible tool for understanding scripture.

I love how this study Bible brings the reader to have a better understanding of time and place. With all the information given it gives the reader a great visual for learning. One could make a study out of the character profiles and the charts. Full color maps are a delightful aid too. Everything about this study Bible is amazing. This study Bible has many outstanding features. The concordance is a super aid in finding scripture on specific subjects.

If I were searching for a women's study Bible as a gift for my daughters this would be the study Bible I would gift them. This would make for a wonderful Christmas gift! I have had the pleasure of reviewing many different women's study Bibles and non compare with the Holman Study Bible for Women. Take your pick in the translation. Whatever choice this is the best of the best.

This Study Bible was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

God is With You Every Day by Max Lucado

Max Lucado is a favorite of mine. His books have helped this Jesus girl grow in faith. His wise words are a balm that has soothed my soul. He takes every day issues, adds scripture and readies the reader  for an adventure of limitless possibilities for a day lived  in Jesus.

He helps the reader to focus on Jesus, not the circumstance, but Max shows us how to take that circumstance and trust Jesus every day, knowing He is in total control.

This is a dated devotional for men and women of all ages. It would make a great for the one you love. This would be a perfect gem if you work in an office and have space to set out books. A great beginning for a family to read before they head out the door or for a night's reading to ponder while heading off to dreamland.

Max brings subject matter that we face on a daily basis. These devotions are all taken from Max's previous books. I love having all of these snippets of gold from each book all together in one place. Seasons of wisdom for every soul. You can never go wrong with a book penned by Max Lucado. This one is a keeper.

This devotional was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

Max Lucado
More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church

365 Devotions for Peace by Cheri Cowell

This is a great devotional for women. First, I love the coloring. The soft pink hues make it very inviting. This is a hardback that's very sturdy and one that will sit very easily on my desk.

This devotional is dated for 365 days. There are many aspects to having a dated devotional that I like. It keeps me on track and there have been many days where that daily reading was exactly what my spirit needed. God's perfect timing!

This entire devotional is centered around peace. A subject that every heart desires, especially during this time of year.

  • Peace for the New Year
  • Peace and Love
  • Peace and Justice
  • Peace with God
  • Peace in the Workplace
  • Peace at Home
  • Peace Within
  • Peace of Mind and Heart
  • Peace in Times of Trouble
  • Peace to Calm the Storm
  • Peace with Others
  • Peace through Thanksgiving
  • Peacemakers
  • Peace for the Future
  • Peace for the World
As you can see there is a subject of peace for every aspect of our daily lives. perfect for on the go. Perfect for just having a few minutes each morning. This would be great to read before heading out the door for that drive to work. A peace devotional to ponder for the day ahead.

There is so much here. Little devotionals that get the heart started to pondering just how one can focus on Jesus for the day and bring a new peace to the day. Great nuggets of wisdom to share with others throughout the day as circumstances and our path meet face to face.

What I love most about this devotional is that it sets me on a course to pray for peace. This would make for a great Christmas gift. A great book to place where others just might want to take a peek and then you have a great conversation piece about walking in the peace of Christ.

This devotional was a gift from Zondervan for sharing my review with you.

Cheri Cowell, an author, speaker, and sidewalk theologian, is the author of several books including the Bible study Parables and Word Pictures. A graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, she shares her passion to help others apply biblical principles to the sidewalk issues of life. Through her nonprofit organization, Living Parables, she is able to put this faith into practice by offering micro-loans to faith organizations filling unmet charitable needs in their communities. Learn more about Cheri at

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Being Still

How are you at being still? I'm not always so good at it especially if there is a circumstance I'm facing that I think needs {fixed}. You fixer-uppers like me know exactly what I'm sharing here, right?

We see an urgency to move. We can't possibly just be still and allow things to happen before us without doing something. I mean just who would we be if we kept still for a time? Well, if we take out our flesh and our {fix it} attitude and simply trusted Jesus we would be walking in complete faith. You know what? He doesn't need our help. He is capable all on His own. And in fact, He knows more about the entire situation than what my eyes are able to see.

A week ago our little Dachshund, Stanley, hurt his leg. Poor fella slipped off the love seat and terribly injured it. Oh, the yelping broke my heart. He was in such pain and there was nothing for us to do until the next morning. I just wanted to help him. I just wanted to do something. We would have a long night before us. Morning could not come quick enough.

Stanley is doing well now, but that's because I have been working around the clock to keep him still. Let me tell you that this has not been an easy feat. Stanley is a wiggler and he absolutely loves people. So when my hubs or son walks through the door he is ready to fly through the house as fast as possible and jump as high as his stumpy legs will take him. He loves adventure. If he isn't finding trouble, trouble is quickly finding him. My eyes had to be upon him at all times. No jumping, no running, no stretching, no movement of any kind. Simply still quiet.

As I was working hard to keep Stanley still and quiet I was pondering how often Jesus is wanting me to simply be still and how hard He is working on my behalf to keep me still, to keep me from trouble and harm.

Stanley didn't understand why he had to remain still. All he understood was that I was keeping him down when all he wanted to do was play. If I would have allowed him to run and jump it could have injured Stanley for life. It could very well have created more of an issue than what he was now facing.

Often we don't understand God's call for us to remain still, but in being obedient we later reap the blessings of listening to the Father quiet our frenzied spirit. There is much we face every day that causes us to fret and worry. Does any good at all come from our anxious hearts? It is better for us to remain still and trust God.

Jesus if often calling me to be still and I want nothing to do with it. Remember, I'm that {fix it} girl and if something needs my attention I am there to do all I can. But see, that isn't giving God the room He needs to work. I'm moving in and in doing so I'm saying, "I can do this. I know what needs to be done". With this attitude I am forever limiting God.

I can share that I am much better today at not jumping in ahead of Him. I'm still in the learning process just as Stanley is still in training. I am a work in progress. God understand my stubbornness. He knows my personality. He knows how passionate I am. He doesn't want to squash my spirit. Not at all. He wants to protect me. He is trying to keep me from harm. Yes, He is trying to teach me to listen first to Him and not first act on my own immediate thoughts that rush in and get me stirred into a frenzy. It's easy to do, isn't it? Too often we act before simply being still and listening. But as we know, as I know from taking care of Stanley this week, being still isn't simple at all. If it was so easy I don't think He would continue to remind throughout His Word. This is something we must learn with time and patience.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 7a

"My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:5-8

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Are you facing circumstances today that are causing you to be anxious? My friend, be still in Jesus. I'm learning right along with you that being still is us surrendering our flesh, opening our hands to Jesus, and trusting Him with all. When we choose to be still we are being obedient to our Savior. He will call us into action when we need be, but before He does He wants to prepare our hearts. He has work to do and although we want to step into action we first need to be still and wait for His voice. 

He will quiet us, calm us, and sustain us, during those times we so need to remain still. It is this time we learn such life lessons that will carry us through circumstances to come. Once we learn to be still the more we will act upon that instead of first acting on our own and regretting our actions later. 

Everything in His perfect timing. As Stanley is healing and beginning to run again it gives me great courage and hope knowing that the next time I'm called to be still I can know without a doubt that there is a purpose and plan that will only grow me to experience all of God in this adventure of a life.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A New Hope

Carrie walks out the door with her purse in hand. She climbs into the car and starts the engine. Tears are streaming down her face as she turns to look back at the doorway. There stands her four children all smiles and waving goodbye at their momma. Only momma is ready to break. She is flustered to the point nothing makes sense and a fear has covered her where there was once peace.

Just where is she going? Maybe a drive will help? Maybe a new outfit? Just a chat with a friend? No. She wants to be alone. She is never alone. There is noise that surrounds her every moment. Life seems crazy and her husband? He is trying. He is giving everything he can to bring her happiness, but it just isn't enough. Not even an outfit will help today. She hates to look into the mirror anymore after having four children. Does anyone see her as pretty? Carrie sure doesn't. She knows her heart. The pain and anger that is there.

Oh, how she wants to be  happy. She has everything a woman could want. A husband that is faithful, children who are precious and a home that is far above anything she ever dreamed of. Others would look at her and think she had it all. But, she is missing something. Can she even see it? She complains constantly. Little hand prints on everything she has cleaned. Boot marks on the floor at the door. Forever laundry to last a life time. She hasn't slept through the night in years. She can't even remember the last day she spent out with a friend. She finds herself in everything to keep her busy. That way she just doesn't have to think. Why think? Too much is there that is haunting.

She remembers her dreams and they were nothing of her present life. She dreamed of being a nurse. Maybe even someone who traveled the world. Now she is home taking care of children and never even has time for herself. She feels like those dreams were just that dreams never to be.  She asks herself,"What is wrong with me?Why do I feel so alone? So down? Just simply so nothing?"

Carrie pulls out the drive with the windows down. The air feels almost freeing on her face as the tears fall fast. Should she wipe the tears and just forget everything or should she really think? Life just seems so confusing. She has lost herself in everyone else and she is wondering if she can ever be found again. She turns her cell phone off and the radio up. As the tunes play a song comes on that makes her drift away thinking of a perfect day, a day where she is smiling and all is well. Could it really happen?

She has searched her life trying to find peace, something of happiness that really fills her. She thought after leaving her childhood home she would chase her dreams and find all that life could give. Never to walk into a church, Carrie passes one. A small church where she sees a pastor outside waving. Something tugs at her heart. Something like never before. Should she stop? That is just a crazy idea. As she continues to drive she cannot get this pastor out of her mind. She turns around and pulls into the parking lot of this country church. Should she really go in? She isn't dressed for church, but something is calling her, pulling her.

As she walks in she takes a look around and even though the church is so small it feels so much bigger than her. In the bigness of it all she sees someone at the altar. Isn't that what it's called? She sees a woman, kneeling, crying out to God. She dares to walk to closer. The woman turns and smiles. Carrie thinks, "How can she be smiling through all those tears?" The woman says, "I was waiting for you." Now it's Carries turn to begin letting the tears flow. What is going on? The woman turns and takes Carrie's hand. She joins her at the altar.

This woman, who has lived many years, begins to share her story. She tells of a time long ago when she was a mother and wife. When all seemed perfect until one day when life all seemed to end. Her husband and four children were killed in an accident. She lost everything. In one second life changed forever. She couldn't pay her bills and lost her home. This woman lost everything she ever dreamed of. As she shares her heart, Carrie, is sitting so still her breath is silent.

The woman, Karen, tells her what could have happened. She could have fallen into despair. She could have let go of life, but she decided to call upon the Lord she had walked with since she was thirteen. The Lord filled her in ways she never knew possible. He used the lives of her family as a platform to bring glory and honor to Him. Their lives tell a story of faith, love and hope. Life had not ended for Karen, but a new journey began. It wasn't until she lost everything she had that she knew just how blessed she was. In her loss she found great gain in Christ. It was His love that set her free. After finishing her story, she turns to Carrie and says, "Go home. Love your family. Be thankful for each moment. Enjoy each day given and never take one moment for granite." Carrie stands and as she looks back the woman is gone.

Carrie kneels as a new woman. A woman who now sees life different.She prays for the first time in her life. Is it okay, if she just talks? She isn't even sure how to pray, but the words just seem to flow.  She leaves the church to go home and walk through the door as her children are running down the hall. She smiles and hugs each one. She takes her husband by the hand, seeing him as though for the very first time. That very next Sunday she woke and dressed her children. Picked out a new tie for her husband and pulled her hair up. She found herself sitting next to her family in a church pew where the preacher with the smile was speaking on contentment and thanksgiving. She found freedom in a place she never looked. She drove by this little church everyday and never thought about stopping, but the Lord knew exactly the right time to call her. He knew she would answer. He knew she would reach out to Him. She was ready to let go and let God.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-4

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

The Giving Season

December is here. Christmas is just around the corner. What is it this season that you are hoping to receive? Do you love gifting to others? We make so much of this season about the material that it leaves the heart empty. Just what if we gave in such a way that we made the heart full?

"In every way I've shown you that by laboring like this, it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, 'It is better more blessed to give than receive.'" Acts 20:35

It is the season of gift giving. Oh, the packages wrapped so beautifully with bows and ribbon that will lay beneath our Christmas trees. Who doesn't love a great gift? I know I love them. Birthday gifts are the best to me. My birthday is on the 30th of December. You winter birthday people will understand. Yep, most of my birthday gifts growing up were tossed in with my Christmas present. I gotta tell ya that I didn't enjoy that much growing up. I envied those kids with birthdays in the summer. 

"Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning." James 1:17

When we think about the message here that is more blessed to give than receive, just what are we thinking about? Is it the gift giving of presents only? I'm not so sure that's what Jesus was sharing with us. At least for me I gain something totally different here. I love going deeper and if I do I am convicted of not always wanting to be the giver, but the receiver. 

"Each person should do as he has decided in his heart-not reluctantly or out of necessity, for god loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7

I love giving gifts to family and friends. It is a true blessing for me. But giving gifts is easy. What about the giving of gifts that doesn't come wrapped, but comes from the heart? Yes, those gifts are not always so easily given, especially when they aren't received well and they aren't returned to the giver. But then again, we aren't suppose to worry about how it is received or if we too will receive a gift in return now are we? We are simply to open our heart and give. Give until it hurts. Ouch! 

"A gift opens doors for a man and brings him before the great." Proverbs 18:16

Jesus gave. He gave us the ultimate gift and we are to follow in His example. Could that be why there are so many verses about giving? If giving a gift is so easy would Jesus continue to share with us so much about giving? I don't think so. That's why I think He's going much deeper here. 

"Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don't ask for them back. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them." Luke 6:20-32

What if we gave love even when it wasn't reciprocated? What about forgiveness when it isn't asked for, but so needed? We don't seem to give much of our time any more. Grace and mercy do so much for the spirit when they are given from one who so desperately needs them too. Prayer is a gift that is lasting. Once that prayer is spoken it remains. Can you imagine if we thought of gift giving in a much different way all that is possible? 

"And forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matthew 6:12

In this season of giving life can grow hectic. Family can be separated. Drama seems to sneak in from every corner of our lives. We are wounded. We hide away from everyone. We expect others to treat us a certain way, but we aren't willing to treat others in how we too want so badly to be treated. We expect so much from one another. We fail at being perfect and we aren't willing to forgive or accept others as they are. We are always wanting more. That perfect gift that's wrapped perfectly. Those are ultimate failures. Every time we expect perfection from people we set them up for failure and we too don't make it easy for ourselves. We lose so very much in expecting such a great perfection from others. Don't you agree?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

If our focus was off of what others can do for us and placed on our own giving without expectation we would walk with peaceful hearts. Hearts giving, not because we have to, but because this is who Jesus is and this is who we are to become. Giving may not come easy, but with forgiving ourselves comes grace for others. Having a merciful heart is loving another unconditionally and living in gratitude changes our attitude. 

"Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God." 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Looking for perfection in people is a trap that only leads to a wounded soul. How can I expect so much from others when I myself am not perfect? I simply want to love the people around me. Let me tell ya not everyone makes that easy. But loving without expecting something in return is a love that goes far beyond any gift wrapped with a red bow. That is an unconditional love that can only grow and leave behind a legacy. 

"Love is patient, love is kind." 1 Corinthians 4

Praying is a mighty gift. If I know people are praying for me I am so over the top blessed and thankful. In this season of giving I continue to pray for all those I love. Prayer brings us together. Not every relationship is easy. But friends, an honest love, a love from Jesus, is greatest gift we can share with one another. May this season we think less about the gifts that are wrapped so tidy, and ponder those that are a bit more messy. If we are willing to open our hearts and give, Jesus will take that messy heart and create a lasting gift of beauty that will light up all of heaven.


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