Monday, December 26, 2011

For What Reason?


 The day after Christmas, sometimes, brings shoppers back out the door for a fabulous deal at the mall or their favorite store.

Me? I breathed a big sigh of relief and am now hanging out at home with my daughter. For the first time in months we have a day with absolutely no expectations of us and we are thoroughly enjoying it.
From the time we woke up on Thanksgiving morning, until last night, at the end of Christmas day, our life seemed to be a whirlwind.
Besides my birthday celebration and the fun book signings, added to the normal activity was, number one, shopping for those perfect Christmas gifts, and then there were the fun Christmas parties we attended.
There are also a lot of things to go see around town. There are lights here and lights there and lights everywhere. Who wants to miss seeing them? No matter where you go it’s a beautiful sight to see Christmas light exhibits.
But in the midst of all of that fun and frenzy, there is a greater light that shines brighter than any Christmas light display. And a great reason to celebrate.
The Bible has a record of some Shepherds watching their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to them and announced good news that would bring great joy to all people. “The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
They were told they would recognize the Savior, the Messiah by a sign. “You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth, to those with whom God is pleased.’”
After the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds took off to Bethlehem to see if this thing really happened that the Lord had told them about.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, there He was. A babe wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger. The Messiah, the Savior.
The shepherds went out and spread the news. And all who heard were astonished.
That’s what it’s really all about.
It’s about Him.
It’s about Jesus.
All of this celebrating started then. The shepherds had a wonderful message to spread that the angels said would bring great joy.
Why?
Because…
 “…God LOVED the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
I am blessed to have one daughter. I couldn’t imagine loving anyone so much I’d give her up for them? Could you?
But God really loves all of us people on this earth that get up every day and try to make a living, raise families, do hobbies, exercise, etc.
He loves us.
And that, to me, is a reason to celebrate during this holiday season.
May you be filled with the joy of the knowledge of His love for you.
Scripture references Luke 2: 8 – 18 and John 3:16 NLT

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

After a wonderful day of spending time with family, before turning the light out to go to sleep, I'd like to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads my blog.

I hope your day was wonderful and you were with someone you care about.

My prayer for you would be, no matter where you are in your walk of faith, that God reveals Himself more and more clearly to you. And you are able to see one blessing after another throughout your day. And that God would perfect all that concerns you today.

And if you are a Black Friday shopper, may you be blessed!

Happy Thanksgiving!



Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Enemy Roars

It was a beautiful morning. My daughter and I stepped out the door to be greeted by a fall breeze and a touch of sunshine. The air smelt fresh and the leaves were finally falling from the trees. We both were in awe as we started the walk to our car.
When we reached the spot on the sidewalk near the very active bee hive in the ivy, our perspective changed a bit. We covered our heads and moved quickly to the car. Just a few days before a bee from the nest had landed in Sarrah’s hair and stung her finger as she fought to get it out. It was not the best experience for us and we had learned to cover and move fast.
As soon as we were safe in the car and relieved none of the enemies, (Mr. Bee) didn’t sting us, we started to enjoy the beauty of the morning again. I mean it was an incredible fall day. Leaves in the colors of red, orange, and yellow hung on the trees, some of them had fallen to the ground and lined the streets. And the air was nice and crisp.
We didn’t stop talking about it until I dropped her off at her classroom door. We kissed goodbye and I walked off enjoying this wonderful start to the day.
Upon returning home, my smile turned to a frown when I noticed the bees were getting a bit more aggressive. I called the exterminator. After I described what was happening with these bees, he let me know we had a ground cover hornet’s nest. Hornets are very protective of their territory. He would be out the next day.
Later that day, after picking up Sarrah from school, we were looking forward to going on a bike ride, but instead we were surprised to discover the exterminator showed up a day early. He stood in our yard dressed in protective clothing should any of the hornets decided to attack. He also used other tools to get rid of the nest.
He instructed us to come back in about half an hour. With a warning - toward evening time, the returning hornets would be angry when they discovered their nest had been messed with, so we were to stay inside and not go out for the remainder of the day.
Well, there went our bike ride and we weren’t able to finish the rest of the afternoon enjoying the weather. Our plans had been interrupted by the enemy.
Isn’t that the way life can be? Filled with interruptions? It can be so frustrating. I’m not talking about the things we bring on our self, but the things that somehow just seem to step into a person’s life and mess it up.
The Bible says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brother throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
But just like the exterminator had special clothes to put on to protect himself, so do we as followers of Jesus Christ to protect us from the enemy.
When Paul wrote to the Ephesians while he was under house arrest for preaching the gospel, he used the description of the uniform the guards wore.
10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…13 Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Just like the exterminator knew how to put on his covering and use his equipment, it’s important for us as followers of Jesus, to know how to put on our armor and use the weapons given to us. It’s also important to put each article of clothing on to protect you during the day.
It doesn’t mean the attacks won’t come, because they do. It means a person is prepared for the attacks.
Some attacks can be so harsh. Isn’t it worth the time spent reading the Word of God and in prayer?
Charles Stanley was the pastor who led me to the Lord. He explains putting on the full armor of God very well. Here is a link to his website.  http://www.intouch.org/magazine/content/topic/dressed_for_battle

Bible verses from 1 Peter 5:8 and Ephesians 6: 10-11 and 13 – 17

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

FRIEND AT THE FENCE

Today, visiting us at the fencepost is a fellow OakTara author, Sherri Wilson Johnson.


Sherri Wilson Johnson is a former homeschooling mom, a writer and a speaker. Writing has been a hobby of hers since she was a little girl. As a young adult, Sherri began writing Inspirational Romances, which quickly became her favorite pastime and grew into a calling. Her debut novel, To Dance Once More (OakTara), is a special project originating from her love of pure romance. It is set in Victorian-era Florida, bringing the romance of the beach and debutante balls together. Sherri hopes to prove that true love still exists and that it is worth the wait. She speaks candidly of the purity of not only her heroine but of her hero, as well, and desires to point others to Jesus through her words.

To Dance Once More
April 1886 -- Debutante Lydia Jane Barrington lives a carefree, protected existence on Live Oaks Plantation in Florida. But while her sisters happily learn the traditional tasks of women and talk of courting, Lydia dreams of adventure and independence. Even her friendship with handsome Hamilton Scarbrough isn’t enough to hold her back.

Then one day Hamilton opens Lydia’s eyes and her heart to love. But before they can receive permission to court, Lydia overhears a secret conversation about an unscrupulous business deal. Worse, it has everything to do with her and her future. Now she’s faced with the biggest decision of her life—to concede or to fight. Either choice will require great sacrifice…and, perhaps, countless rewards.




I hoped you enjoyed getting to know Sherri as much as I have and that you enjoyed seeing the trailer of her book. Her book is available on Amazon.com, OakTara.com, Christianbooks.com
For more information go to http://sherriwilsonjohnson.com/

Monday, October 31, 2011

It’s time for the Spook's

Today many people dressed up in costumes before they headed off to work. Many are planning to attend parties and lots of kids are looking forward to trick – or – treating this evening.
Along with all of this fun, comes the scary side. Witches, skeletons, goblins and ghosts are hung up as decorations. Haunted houses are visited around town. People walk through them and they are scared out of their wits by things jumping out at them in the dark. Usually, a person will leave one of those places, exclaiming, how in one way or another, something terrified them.
It’s a time to tell stories that make your skin crawl or watch a movie, that can even make a grown man, not want to turn the lights off at night. The holiday is full of the spooks.
I used to love to get scared. I would spend this time of year at the scariest haunted houses and watch scary shows. If anyone was into a super terrifying movie, it was me. At the time it was exciting.
All that spooky stuff lost it for me years ago. And it’s something I don’t spend my time focusing on anymore.
See, one day I started learning about the greatest power there ever was, is, or will be. This One has the power to give and take away the very breath I breathe. Yet, He is so filled with love; He made a way for me to live eternally.
I read that yes, there is a spiritual world, but even the demons are afraid of Him and submit to Him. This One has all authority to tell the demons to be gone.
And the demons that are so evil, and do such horrible things, have a horrible place to go to at the end of time. And the One I follow, is going to put them there.
And although, Jesus is so powerful, the message He gives His children is, “Do not fear.” And His perfect love CAST out all fear. His word says to meditate on things that are pure, just, holy, true, praiseworthy, knowledgeable and of good report.
This very One I follow, rules over all of those things, that try to terrify us. The very One I follow, doesn’t want me to fear. He wants me to walk in peace and love.
He leaves a comforter for those who love Him. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. And yes, the enemy does come and strike and try to mess with our lives, but the One who has called me and all those who follow Him as His own, has sealed us. We are His.
His word promises, that as His child, absolutely nothing could ever separate me from Him. "...not death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
So, now I’ve learned to spend time, enjoying the day the Lord has made. And enjoying the very one’s, He has given me to spend time with while I’m on this earth.
Now, I like to carve out a pumpkin or two. Hang with friends and eat candy. I MIGHT dress up, but then maybe not. This year I’m joining my daughter trick or treating around a neighborhood.
And instead of paying attention to evil things, I’m going to pay attention to the good. Like my daughters funny costume, or the smile on her cute face when she gets candy added to her bag. Or something my husband, parents, or sister might say.
I hope you have a Happy Halloween. And I pray you can walk in peace knowing, that Jesus. who loves you more than anyone ever could, says, “Do not fear.”  


Friday, October 14, 2011

A New Twist on the Changing Season


Fall is normally my very favorite time of year for one reason: in the Pacific NW, some of the trees turn beautiful colors of orange and red in the midst of evergreen trees that stay green all year long. It's incredibly beautiful, especially, when you take a drive down the gorge, around Mt. Hood area or even up around the Olympic peninsula.

Not that a person has to go for a drive in those areas to be in awe over the beauty during this time of year. Pretty much each street will be painted in vibrant colors as the leaves change color before dropping.

Besides being beautiful, fall is so cozy. The weather cools just enough to be able to wear old comfy jeans and, at night, to put on a favorite sweater or sweatshirt.

And high school football is underway. So a person can have fun huddling with other fans on cold rock-hard bleachers on a chilly night watching the game. I have some sweet memories of doing that when my nephews played football and when I was in high school. Now some of my friends have boys at that age.

People start to be indoors a bit more. New Bible studies start, and classes at school begin. And then, right after this wonderful time of year, is the holiday season.

But this year, I had a hard time letting go of summer. It's said quite a bit around the Pacific NW that we didn't really get a summer this year, and technically it's true. This year, the temperatures didn't blast us with heat, where a person was forced to go from one air-conditioned place to another or stay in a pool of water.

For me, though, it was perfect. Many busy days were spent outdoors and at the pool enjoying my daughter and her friends and my own friends without getting scorched. The days were busy and fast, and when school started I wasn't ready for the end of the season. I wanted more active days of summer, because it was my favorite summer in a long time.

Now that fall is here, I'm starting to enjoy it. But I still really miss those summer days. In fact, I can think of many seasons in my life that I just didn't want to let go of, but I had to, because it was time to move into another season of my life.

One of the hardest changes of seasons for me includes friends. One year a very dear friend of mine announced that she and her family were moving to another state. It hit me right in the gut. I thoroughly enjoyed this friend. Because of the type of group we had met in, she was a friend I could tell anything to, even if I was completely thinking wrong. She'd listen, her wise words would help straighten my thinking, and she'd encourage my faith. She was fun to shop with, go to movies or out to coffee with.

Then the day came when she was gone. I cried for three days straight and stayed sad for quite awhile. I still get excited when I get to see her in person, which isn't often. We have the opportunity to talk on the phone. But it's not the same as being there.

I've had to do this with quite a few friends over the years. When I was in elementary school, it seemed every year my best friend moved, and I had to find a new best friend. One year I moved.

It's hard to let go of a season of daily interaction with a friend and move into a season of phone calls or an internet social site to keep up the relationship.

Another season of change in relationships I've dealt with is saying good-bye to friends or relatives who pass on. It's especially hard if I've watched them battle an illness such as cancer, and I pray and pray for them and know there are many others battling for this person's life in prayer also. And then one day, that person is gone. Sometimes I've been in a store or a church and there, in front of me, will be someone who closely resembles the person I'd known who passed away. Seeing that person's face brings back such sweet memories that I have to curb the impulse to go up to that lookalike, just to make sure.

Truth is, nobody ever replaces anyone in my heart. People leave such huge holes when they're gone. But gradually a new way of living without that person directly in my life starts to build. The next day it's a little stronger. Though the picture of the loved ones is gone, it still hangs on the memory wall of my heart.

But I'm starting to think of the seasons this way: Going from the fun season of summer, to a comforting and sometimes changing season of fall, to a long, cold, bitter, hurting season of winter, always leads to the promise of spring, and a new season of rebirth. Through the changes of the seasons, God is consistent to bring about new life and new hopes, no matter what we go through.

This fall, as I cozy up to my computer, or sit over a cup of coffee with a friend, or dress in a comfy sweatshirt and jeans and hang outside with my family, I'm learning to enjoy the moments I have in each season.

Seasons change, things in life change, so I take time to build my life on the one "not changing" foundation: Jesus. He is never changing. The same yesterday, today, and forever. And that is what I build my life on.

(edited by Ramona Tucker)
This post can also be seen on http://blogs.christianpost.com/bindings/2011/10/ by OakTara where you can read some other incredible blog postings.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Friend at the Fence

Today, visiting us at the fencepost is a dear writer friend of mine, Sylvia Stewart.



Her book "Kondi's Quest" has just been released by OakTara. I can tell you first hand Kondi's Quest is a great book. So enjoy.





In 1946, a few days before my sixth birthday, I landed in Stanleyville, The Belgian Congo. I remember the palm trees flying by as our old propeller plane taxied down the dirt runway. We stepped out into muggy heat as we crossed to the terminal.

From that day, Africa has been my second home – as dear to me as my birth home in Oregon, U.S.A. As I grew up, my one desire was to “go back home” to Africa.

My mother taught me first and second grade. Then I went to Rethy Academy, 350 miles and 10 hours’ drive from my parents. I began to learn to think for myself, to be independent and to rely on my heavenly Father.

I especially remember one moonlit night, lying on my back in my dorm room’s top bunk. Loneliness crushed my heart until I could hardly breathe. I’m alone – all, all alone! Just then a jackal began to howl not far away, and I wanted to howl with him. Tears trickled into my ears and I clapped my pillow over my head to stifle the sobs that shook my slight frame. I didn’t want the other girls in the room to hear me crying, and think I was a baby.

In the stuffy darkness under the pillow, with even the moonlight cut off, God spoke to my heart as clearly as if His voice had been audible: “I’m here. You’re not alone – I am here!”

Throughout my life, God has been “here” for me. In the ups and downs, in the thick and thin, in the joys and sorrows, He has been the Solid Rock to which I’ve clung. I learned this lesson early in life because I had to be away from my parents at such a young age. God is WITH me and will help me through any issue that I face.

Kondi lives in Malawi, East Africa. She will show you much about her culture and the African way of life. Kondi is the composite of a number of Malawian girls I knew. She has poignant, tragic and funny experiences. She’s artistic, smart and loving. She’s also afraid.

Will this same promise also holds true for Kondi in Kondi’s Quest? Will God be close to her in all her troubles and her efforts to please God and her earthly father? Will she learn that living for God meant He was with her – even when He seemed to be distant?

It is my prayer that Kondi’s story will touch the hearts of pre-teens around the world and help them know God loves them and that they will experience His presence when they are most vulnerable and in difficult circumstances.

You can have a chance to get to know Sylvia better by clicking on the link to her website; http://www.sylvia-stewart.com/.





Monday, October 3, 2011

The Shepherd


The LORD is my shepherd I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
I remember lying in bed as a young girl trying to memorize the 23rd Psalm. Every night before I went to sleep I worked and worked on memorizing it.
Finally, one day it stuck in my head. I’ve repeated it often and I’ve heard it often since that time.
It’s a very comforting verse, as are quite a few of the Psalms.
Now many years later, I am doing a Bible study on the author of that Psalm, David. And during part of the study I looked up this verse again.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1. I know the LORD is my shepherd. He watches over me, protects, feeds and steers me. I have no doubt about that.
The LORD is my shepherd - very comforting words.
I shall not want.  REALLY?
Okay, if only I could say, I didn’t have a want list. It’s hard in this world, and the way things are in our economy, it can be hard to not have a want list.
I’ve been in times where I didn’t think about the economy and how it affects me and still I had wants.
And now during these tough economical times the list of wants can grow rather quickly. When I have those moments where the wants became something that causes anxiety or envy I grab onto His word.
Life can be hard. But when walking and looking to the Shepherd to guide, comfort and lead we can rest without all the wants causing us anxiety.
Jesus told a parable about a sower who went out to sow his seed.
"A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rocks; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold."
When he later, explained the parable to the disciples, he told them the seed is the Word of God.
He explained the seeds that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to  maturity.
It’s so easy for my mind to meditate on the cares of this world. The problem is, it can mess up my faith walk. It’s more important during the times that the cares of this world, seem extreme, for me to spend time focusing on Him.
I try to make it a practice to bring all my thoughts to him and to pray without ceasing. When life gets to tough for me, I call a friend who prays or knows just what to say to encourage me back on my feet.
I firmly believe no person is meant to be on an island. God didn’t go through all the animals he created and bring them in front of Adam, to see if any would be sufficient for his companionship for nothing. And when all the animals were presented and a proper companion wasn’t found, he made Eve.
And the Bible says we are all part of the body of Christ. Each person has something they are gifted at to encourage and help build the believers.
Look how many letters Paul wrote while in captivity in prison. And people went and visited him.
No one is meant to walk their path alone, especially, during the hard times.
The Lord is the shepherd of many not just one or two.
When I read the “shall not want” I realize if that list is messing with my faith or my emotional well being, I need to spend some time to just draw near to him and trust he will give me what is needed.
It may not be the economy that makes your want list grow; it may be it has to do with your health, a relationship, a loved one’s decision, a move. No matter what it is the Bible says, to “Cast your cares upon Him.”
Why?
Because, He cares for you.
Bible verse from NKJ version

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fascinating Peter

The apostle Peter's life fascinates me.

From the day that Jesus approached Peter and said, “Follow me.” Peter did. He just dropped his net and followed him.

Peter was one of the three who escorted Jesus into the house of the little girl that died and Jesus rose from the dead.

He also was the one who, one minute had the right answer, Jesus is the Christ. And soon after he pulls Jesus aside and rebukes him for what Jesus is talking about. Jesus tells him to get behind him, Satan…

Still, Peter is one of the three who witnessed the transfiguration and was afraid and wanted to make a tabernacle for them.

And my favorite, it was Peter who got out of the boat and walked on water to Jesus. Yeah, he stopped focusing on Jesus and stopped walking. Instead he began to sink. But as soon as he called for help, Jesus hand was immediately there to help him. And then Jesus walked him back to the boat.

Peter just put himself out there in his walk with Jesus. And in putting himself out there he messed up quite a bit. But at least he followed the passion in his heart for Jesus. He didn’t sit in the boat like the others. He got out of it and experienced the power of God allowing him to actually walk on the water.

How amazing is that?

And Peter was the one who denied Jesus, not once, but three times. Jesus warned him he would, but Peter responded with a no way, I will not deny you. Jesus even warned him that Satan asked for permission to sift him, and that Jesus had prayed for him that when he returned he would strengthen his brethren.

After Peter denied Jesus the third time, Jesus made eye contact with him. How awful would a person feel in that situation?

And after he denied Jesus, he went and cried about it. Big time.

But when he heard Jesus rose from the dead, he didn’t let his failures stop his relationship with Jesus. Instead, he ran to the tomb.

Another time when they were out fishing all night and hadn’t caught anything, Jesus stood on the shore and told them to put the net on the other side of the boat. When the net got full of fish Peter recognized Jesus and dove in the water. He swam to shore to Jesus.

That scene really touches me.

His eagerness to be with Jesus and not ashamed to go to him, despite the last thing he did before Jesus died was deny him.

And Jesus was there for him. He asked Peter three times if he loved him. And all three times Peter said, yes. He wasn’t too happy about Jesus asking him three times, the Bible says he was grieved because he said to him the third time, Do you love me? And he answered him, “Lord, you know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus told him to feed his sheep and then told him what his death would be like.

Uh, eew, I wouldn’t want to hear that.

And typical Peter wanted to know what would happen to another disciple, but Jesus basically said, “What is that to you? You follow Me.”

And Peter did. The day of Pentecost he spoke to a crowd and three thousand people came to believe in Jesus as their Savior. He went on to do some powerful things in Jesus name. Even after being arrested, once he was set free he went right back out and kept telling people about Jesus.

Yeah, he wasn’t perfect even after that. But he has a powerful testimony.

Why?

To me, his life testifies how loving and merciful Jesus is. No matter how many times Peter failed, he got right back up and kept hanging with Jesus. And Jesus let him. Jesus included him in the group of three that seemed to witness certain special things that Jesus did.

I can see through his life, that Jesus is consistent with his love. Jesus is merciful, welcoming, and forgiving.

Not only does the Bible say, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1 but it shows it through the life of Peter.

The Bible also says if we confess our sins, He is faithful and true to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
It is obvious I can believe in how forgiving Jesus is just through this one life.

 I know it can be easier sometimes to just beat ourselves up. Like well, Peter didn’t get a divorce, Peter didn’t yell at his kids, Peter didn’t steal, Peter didn’t tear his whole family apart, or…..Peter made his own mistakes and Jesus forgave him, loved him and USED him to bring people to eternal salvation.

Wow. No matter what, if a person believes and walks with Jesus, walks in His love, who knows how he could use you in the life of others. No matter what kind of mistakes a person has made.

Bible references - NIV

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thy Will Be Done

Whenever I read the story about the crucifixion on Good Friday, it makes me sick to think of all Jesus endured.

Even if I don’t read the part about them beating him, or putting a crown of thorns on his head, the whole crucifixion in itself is bad enough. Just the fact that He actually had a nail pounded into his hands and feet is enough to unnerve me and break my heart. Not only that he hung by those nails. His back had open wounds and rubbed against the wood on the cross. The whole thing is unthinkable and I’m just giving a mild picture of all he suffered.

When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane he was in deep anguish. He knew what would happen to him after he got arrested. Since Jesus was in a body just like ours it must have been horrible for him to face the reality of that whole torturous scene. Yet, he did face it. He said the words, “Let your will not mine be done.” And then submitted himself to be taken away by the Roman soldiers. He even healed one of their ears when Peter cut it off with his sword to protect Jesus.

When I watched the movie the Passion, what really struck me was the tormentors had Jesus blood on their bodies. And then soon after that he hung from a cross shedding his blood for the whole world. The tormentors included.

Jesus was in anguish while he prayed. Then he submitted. And it was so horrible. But then, in God’s perfect style, it turned out to be amazingly one of the most terrific things that could have happened for everyone who chooses to believe.

Jesus rose and walked among us and then ascended into heaven. He’s going to come back someday for all of those who believe in Him. And eternity will be spent with no pain, death, illness, or sin. How awesome is that?

I am learning that when I pray, it’s okay and peaceful, to let go and say, “Your will be done.” I mean sometimes a person can pray and pray and still stay in tough situations. A person can wonder, why God? Why don’t you answer me?

Sometimes silence is the answer. Not because he’s ignoring us. He promises not to do that. But I think it because, for some reason, we have to go through, whatever thing it is we don’t want to go through before, we move to the next season of our story.

That can be a hard fact when in the midst of trial, but God really, really, loves His people. He let Jesus go through all that suffering for His people. He loves Jesus. And God is good and perfect.

In the waiting, in the trial, and during the pain, we can know and believe He loves us so much and He is right there with us. And He understands, because there is nothing we could go through that compares to what Jesus went through for us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Blob Of Clay

There was a time in my life when I was more active than I am now. I ran, played tennis, and rode bikes.

I still remember when I first started running and had certain goals to meet. It would seem the last stretch would be a killer on my body, but I knew if I didn’t quit, the accomplishment would be worth it. So I’d press on.

Then after being involved in a car wreck I wasn’t able to do those things like I did before. I’ve had to work at building physical strength and agility.

Sometimes, while I’m working at the physical goals I re-injure an area I had hurt before and have to back off, only to have to start over again.

Because of that and how busy life is the progress has been slow but steady.

It reminds me of when I first became a Christ follower. I’d enjoy learning what the Bible said about God, I loved singing the songs, getting to know the people, and watching amazing prayers get answered.

Then something happens in life where the answers from prayer don’t come so quick. Or the answer is a no that hurts deep.

I remember one time after such an incident that hurt really bad. I opened the Bible and read, “God is good.”

It was a time where I had to decide to believe, or say, “If he’s so good then….”

It was a time I had to figure out how to trust Him during a trial with my hurt when He could’ve stopped the pain.

It was a time I had to learn to say, “You are the Lord.”

Was it easy?

No. It was a season of growing in a relationship with the God of all creation, who knows all, sees all, and is everywhere.

It was a season of trusting that what He said about Himself is true and that He is the King.

During loss, or seasons of waiting, the Bible says, “God is good.” It’s during those times of trials the Bible says our character is being shaped.

There is a verse in Isaiah about Him being the potter and we are the clay.

I can remember when I took a pottery class. (It was very boring to me.) But I still remember how important it was to keep the clay wet. And how easy it was for the clay to get all wobbly, I had to be careful to keep my hands a certain way to shape it into what I wanted it to be. I had to cut off extra pieces that weren’t necessary for the object I was making. I wasn’t very good at it at all. My things normally ended up being, well, nothing worth talking about. Then it had to be fired before I could paint it and try to make my blob look halfway decent.

The good news is, I can look around and see how talented God is. The sky, mountains, oceans and even the people are beautiful.

So as a piece of clay, I’m glad He’s the potter that is molding me and shaping me.

During those times He has to cut off those pieces that don’t fit or put me in the fire, yeah it hurts. But I’ve been learning to trust what He’s doing and remember how loving and talented He is.

Isaiah 64:8

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm Waiting

There was a time in the Bible when the apostles couldn’t cast out a mute spirit from a guy’s son. When Jesus appeared, the man explained what had been happening to his son since childhood. It was some pretty horrible things. The man ended with saying to Jesus…"But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Jesus didn’t rebuke him for his unbelief rather he rebuked the unclean spirit. He helped his unbelief.

Ever been in a place in your life where you believe in Jesus with all of your heart. I mean you don’t doubt that Jesus can take care of the situation, but…you’ve been praying a long time and you’ve suffered loss in the waiting for an answer. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus could speak and there would be healing, everything would be fixed, if only…and as you wait it’s so easy to waver, it’s so easy to wonder why, or where is He? It’s where a person’s faith gets stretched and…Lord, help my unbelief!

It’s not a matter of not believing in Him, it’s just, sometimes a person can be stretched so far past where a person is in their faith. A person can even reach the point of asking "Haven’t I been stretched enough?" And then there is that moment where faith grows. Unbelief is helped.

I had one of those moments recently in the waiting period…"Lord, help my unbelief during this tough time." The verse that went through my mind was from what is called the Lord’s prayer- “give us our daily bread.” Jesus was teaching the apostles how to pray, “give us our daily bread.”

What is your need for today?

Then I was reminded of Jesus saying, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Wow, that is a difficult thing to do, but I’ve discovered the key to waiting, is to take care of today’s troubles and trust God with the tomorrows. What can or should I do today?

One thing I can do today is, cast my cares upon Him and bring all my anxious thoughts to Him so that the peace that passes all understanding through Jesus will fill me.

I can praise Him for all the things He does and is going to do.

Another thing, I can follow the example of all of those people in the Bible doing their faith walk.

Abraham believed God – I can believe Him.

David had a heart after God – I can have a heart after God.

Joseph never compromised – I can be sure to not compromise.

Joshua didn’t fear – I can turn from fear.

Caleb believed God was bigger than the giants – I can believe God is bigger than the giants.

Peter trusted God love for him when he failed – I can trust God’s love when I fail.

Paul was content no matter what situation he was in – I can be content no matter what situation I am in.

There are so many things I can do today. The moment I am in, is the moment I can live for, and do, all that I can, to make the right choices and keep my heart toward Him.

I’m not saying I don’t wake up panicked, I don’t get frustrated, or wonder when?

No, I’m saying these are the things I can practice doing while I wait and trust God during the trial.

I know, though the answer hasn’t come yet, the Bible PROMISES all things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

I can trust in the promises God makes, because He never lies.

Monday, June 27, 2011

One Man's Sin

Chapter seven in the book of Joshua starts out right after a huge victory over Jericho. God did an amazing thing for the Israelite army.

Then, the Israelites went and spied out the region. They sent a couple thousand men to go whip “Ai” and instead they got trampled on by the small amount of men in Ai.

They cried out to God and tore their clothes, asking, why He would bring them out to this place to only let them get delivered into the hands of their enemies.

God answers by letting Joshua know that someone had gone against his commands and now they couldn’t be victorious until they had removed the sin from among the people.

Wow! Joshua and his army went from seeing victory, because God was with him, to defeat. Joshua didn’t know that one of his men had disobeyed God’s command and all the Israelites felt the effects of his sin.

Some sins are just plain obvious and some are secret. Hidden sins that nobody knows someone has done or is in the act of doing.

How do these secret sins affect a person and those around them? How does the guilt of secret sins affect people?

Quite a few years ago, I hurt my back. According to my chiropractor, I had twisted vertebrae #L4. I was in quite a bit of pain. My right arm would go to sleep at night to the point that I couldn’t feel it and then it would ache all day.

Along with my arm falling asleep and aching, my head, my face and even my eye area would tingle. I also had a headache and was nauseous; I thought my TMJ was going crazy.

Upon further examination, it was discovered that not only was I suffering from a twisted vertebra in my neck but, also my hip was out of whack which caused my legs to hurt, it felt like I was having muscle spasms on the tops of my feet.

I was very uncomfortable and unable to function as I normally would.

During my trip to the Chiropractor, he massaged out my tight muscles and put my hip and L4 vertebrae back into place. I felt better after that visit, although I was still achy and nauseous from having everything out of whack.

The next morning when I woke up I pretty much was back to normal. I tried to be careful and not overdo anything so that I didn’t cause everything to go right back into a chaotic state.

In a way, when someone is caught up in secret sins or the shame of secret sins it can play out the same way in their life. Let’s say that I am a L4 vertebra, I’m messing up, weak and stumbling. And let’s say I don’t go to the person who can fix me. Imagine how that would affect the people around me.

I know from personnel experience how guilt and shame can make you feel inside and affect relationships.

When I finally went to the person who could fix me, all that stuff just went away. Jesus promises in 1John 1:9, that when I confess my sins He will cleanse me from ALL my unrighteousness. Guilt and shame have no place there because Jesus washed me clean. The hard part can be, believing it, letting go of failures and walking away from it.

When I get dirt on my hands, I know that if I pick up a bar of soap it will clean my hands and when I turn on the water it will rinse away the dirt and my hands will be clean. If I don’t pick up the soap - my hands will stay dirty. If I don’t turn on the water - I won’t be rinsed clean.

The same thing will happen if I don’t believe in Jesus promise to confess my sins to be cleansed; I will carry the weight of my sin.

Jesus told the lady in John 8:11 that He didn’t condemn her and to go and sin no more.
Jesus forgives sins.

But wonder if I fall again?

Jesus forgives sins.

Will I ever fall again? Yes. But Jesus promises to give us the Holy Spirit to teach, council, guide, comfort, and strengthen me. And His word renews minds.

Psalm 119:11-12 NIV
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord! Teach me your decrees.”

Don’t hold on to your secrets, go to Him. He promises to cleanse you from all your sins.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is God Asleep?

Standing outside the doctor’s office door, my heart tore to pieces as the screams of my, then, two-month-old daughter filled the hallway. Unable to stand it any longer I rushed into the small office. There she was on her Daddy’s lap. My husband had the tough job of holding her while a nurse gave one shot after another. For the first time in her life she was being introduced to unexplainable pain.

I walked over and touched her face, when she looked up at me, I could see relief fill her eyes as she recognized me. The screams started again as the nurse did another injection.

I cried while she suffered, but knew that it would be worse if I interfered. She had no way to comprehend why her Daddy and I were allowing this to happen. She couldn't comprehend that the injection, causing her confusion and extreme discomfort, were meant to protect her from far greater suffering than what she was experiencing at the moment.

With no way to explain all of this to her, I waited for the first opportunity to hold her to bring her comfort.

As much as we hated it, we had to allow this into her life and she had to walk through it. We stayed with her for support and comfort.

Many times in my life I have looked to Jesus wanting relief, but instead I’ve had to walk through the pain or trial.

In the book of Luke, chapter 8, Jesus and the disciples are in a boat going to the other side of the lake. While they sailed, Jesus went to sleep. It says, “a great squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.”

The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying they were going to drown. Jesus stood up from his sleep and rebuked the wind and raging waters. The storm subsided and all was calm.

Then Jesus asked his disciples, “Where is your faith?”

I thought, their faith motivated them to run to Jesus, but obviously there is more to it, or Jesus wouldn’t have said that to them.

I think the faith action, would’ve been if they had realized, if Jesus is asleep and not bothered by the storm, they were going to be okay. Otherwise, he would’ve gotten up and quieted the storm without them having to wake him up. I believe He knew they were okay and were going to make it to the other side. It just looked very scary.

That’s how it is in life sometimes. It looks scary, but I’m going to be okay. If Jesus isn’t doing something to run to my aid, it’s because He knows I’m okay. And when He comes in and takes care of it, well then He needed to take care of it.

How nice it would be to just rest and trust in the fact that He will do what is needed when it is needed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Walking The Wonderful Path Of Forgiveness

About 12 years ago, if I knew I had to stand in front of a group of women with a microphone in my hand, it would have terrified me. I’d be picking myself apart and I’d believe that everyone would see all of my flaws.

For many years I led worship for children, or participated in the puppet skits either by being the actor or a puppet. Even though it was fun, getting in front of the kids and teachers was very stressful for me. Up until the very moment I stood in front of the children I would be fretting and going over and over what I had to do.

Now, God has brought me to a place where I can’t wait to get the microphone in my hand. It’s exciting to me, to be used by Him, to encourage others.

What made the change? Let me start around the beginning.

Right after I prayed to ask Jesus into my heart twenty some years ago I had an overwhelming love for God. When I heard God calling me, I came from a really messed up place. I was amazed and grateful that God would call me, Linda, from the dark hole I was in and wash me clean of all my sins for eternity.

Not only did He wash me all clean, He loved me and wanted to be a part of my daily life! I could never understand how He could love me so much, but He did and I loved him back. I played praise music as often as possible, talked about him, read about him, went to church to learn about him, hung out with people who talked about him.

Soon, I was involved in ministry and even though I knew God loved me and God forgave me, I believed, all of those never did anything wrong, have everything together people, in the church, wouldn’t want me around if, they knew the truth about my past. I mean they’d kick me right out of ministry and stop hanging around with me. So I kept my past a secret.

I began to be filled with shame and worked hard to keep my secret.

Then one day I went through a biblical healing group and my whole perspective changed. I learned some very valuable things. First I had to forgive myself, for my short comings and my past. Jesus did.

Second, the first night of the group, ladies that I participated in ministry with (the never did anything wrong, have everything together people) and kept my secret from, walked in and were part of the group. They were hiding their own secrets.

In God’s word it says ALL men fall short of the glory of God. ALL MEN, and that mean's women too. Not one person can stand before the Father cleansed white as snow without first believing in His Son Jesus. Not one. Why? Because we are all sinners, whether we rate them as big sins or little sins, a sin is a sin. Everyone fall’s short and needs Jesus.

After I forgave myself, and gave other’s a chance to get to know me, the real me, I realized it’s a testimony of how loving and merciful God is, that I am a part of his kingdom. That He would call ME by name and seal me as HIS.

Now, that He took the shame away and the insecurities I get to share with others about how wonderful He is. How He came into my dark world and shined His light so bright and put me on a new path to live.

As a woman, I know, we have lots of things to be insecure about. Our weight, hair, makeup, kind of clothes we wear, if we are a good housekeeper, good mom, wife, the list goes on and on. But when we take God’s word and let it go from our heads down to our hearts and believe it. It takes away those insecurities and feeling of shame.

The truth is, in God’s eyes, we are special. When He forgives us, He doesn’t bring it up again. Even in those times we have to face the consequences of our sins, He’s still loving us, helping us get through it.

Even with Adam and Eve, when they had to leave the garden, He dressed them. And then put a guard with a flaming sword in front of the tree of life to protect them from eating from that tree, so they wouldn’t live forever knowing good and evil.

And then He sent His Son to pay the price for all the wrong things everyone did.

What kind of love and forgiveness is that?

It’s wonderful! And every day I get to walk in the peace of knowing the price is paid for all the mistakes I’ve ever made.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful Dad who is always there for me and shows me love everyday! I love you!
And Happy Father's Day to my husband who is a wonderful daddy to our daughter!
Also, to my brother's who do an incredible job with their kids!
All of you are great at being Dad's and your kids love you!
I love you too!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Distorted View

One Sunday morning at church, our pastor showed the congregation some pictures. He prefaced showing them with an assignment, we were to determine which one best signified our personal view of God.

To start out with there was a picture of a child held safe and lovingly in her Father’s arms. I immediately thought that is how I see God.

A few scenes later, a little boy sat in a corner, and his arm covered his head as if to fend off a blow. It surprised me when my heart pounded and I realized this picture portrayed my true perspective of God. I was waiting for Him to let the other shoe drop.

My husband and I had been through a tough season with a bunch of trials where one thing happened after another and without realizing it, my view of God had become distorted.

I took another look at who He really is in the Bible. One day, he showed me something in the very familiar story of Adam and Eve. I doubt there are many people who haven’t heard Adam and Eve’s story. Most know Eve ate the forbidden fruit after being tempted by the snake and Adam followed right along and ate some of the fruit also. After that choice death came into the world.

Before they made the choice to eat the forbidden fruit, God created a beautiful garden, and this is where Adam and Eve lived. They took care of the garden and were over all the animals. Adam and Eve didn’t know about death or pain and they interacted with God. This was God’s design from the beginning.

He also gave Adam and Eve the gift of choice. They could eat anything in the garden except the fruit from one tree. When the snake came along and tempted Eve, she made the choice to eat from the forbidden plant.

Since then death, pain, and other things that come from sin, came into the world.

We live in a world filled with wrong choices that we often feel the consequences from.

But, that isn’t God’s choice for us. God’s choice was life in the garden. That’s how He designed it. Now that sin is in the world though, we go through some really painful things. But God has never left his creation. He is always with us. When circumstances are really hard or painful, I can walk knowing God is walking through the storm with me, or He is going to take care of the storm, or stop the storm.

And someday things will go back to how He designed it to be. Someday, when we are heaven, He will wipe away our tears and we will live in a sinless world where there is no more death or illness.

But for now I’m in a fallen world and when things do drop into my life, He is there with me.

He promises that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remember Them

My dad’s younger brother, Bobby, was a marine in the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it home. He died the day before my sister’s eleventh birthday, on October, 26, 1965, at the age of 18, fighting for the freedom of others.

Even though my memories aren’t clear of that day, my heart still remembers the news. And since that day, I’ve always believed my Uncle Bobby to be a hero.

It affected my family, like it affects the millions of Americans who lose someone in a war. As I’ve grown older I’ve been able to hear how it affected my grandparents, when they were informed of the news their son had died, and how it affected my parents, older sister and my cousins.

About six years ago, my sister went to Washington D.C and she went to the Vietnam Veteran Memorial. It was a very emotional time for her to see our Uncle’s name on the wall.

The next year, my parents went to Washington D.C. with my brother and his family and they were able to see my Uncle Bobby’s name on the Memorial.

The Korean War memorial held a special interest also, since my dad’s older brother fought in that war. He fortunately made it home and lives near us. My dad is very close to his brothers. My Uncles, whether they live close or far away, always play a big part in my life.

The very next year, I made the trip with my sister, and I had the opportunity to see the Memorial wall also. I couldn’t believe how many names there were on that wall. My sister searched for a few minutes and then there was my Uncle Bobby’s name. It is hard to describe, the feeling of loss, mixed with the feeling of pride, when I saw his name.

When you lose someone, the desire to have one more moment with them is strong. I have some great Uncles who I really love and I’ve had some wonderful moments with them. However, I often wonder what my life would have been like if Uncle Bobby could’ve been a part of it, all these years?

Those questions run through my mind sometimes, but since that is not possible the memories, though faint, become very sweet.

Freedom isn’t something to take for granted. This freedom we have comes with a price. Someone always seems to be lurking about trying to steal it from another person. And our Military Service personnel fight hard to protect it. Behind the names and titles on the memorials is a family missing a son or daughter, brother or sister, nephew or niece, uncle or aunt, dad or mom, husband or wife, or grandchildren.

For me personally my husband, dad, brother, uncles, brothers-in-law and few friends have served in the armed forces. Today, I remember you along with many others, with heartfelt thanks for fighting or being willing to fight for the freedom that I have today.

May God, who gives us freedom through His Son, Jesus, be with you and bless you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Name Tags

Usually when I go to an event I am handed a name tag to wear. Sometimes I’m handed a pen and told to write my name down and then I put the sticker on my shirt.

My husband and I were having a discussion about when we introduce ourselves to people and say our name, sometimes we are quick to blurt out our label. Such as,“Hi, I’m Linda. I’m having a bad hair day.” Or “My dress is tight.” Or “I don’t feel comfortable.”

Labels can become our identity. I’m divorced, out of work, drive a hot car, drive a beat up car, live in a big house, live in a small house, wear expensive clothes, shop Goodwill, yell at my kids, had an abortion, have a college degree, don’t have a college degree.

If you were handed a pen, what would you write down on the name tag. What is your description of you?

The other day, I was reading my favorite book, and it said that we are loved. John 3:16. Is that my first description of myself?

I am loved.

It also said I was fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14. When I look in the mirror do I believe that?

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I read about how I am so loved that when I failed, my failures were taken care of. Romans 5:8.

I am taken care of.

I read along and discovered that no matter what comes up in life, God has equipped me to handle it. Philippians 4:13.

I am equipped.

It also said that God put a seal of the Holy Spirit on me. Ephesians 1:13 – 14.

I am sealed.

Are these the labels I am quick to say, that is who I am? Are these the labels you are quick to say?

Spending time in the Bible is like sitting at Jesus feet, being able to hear His love letter to us. The more time I spend listening and receiving, the more I will erase the negative labels I may wear and replace them with the loving labels of God. And there are plenty of loving things God has to say to His children in His Word.

So what label are you wearing today?

And what label would God put on you to wear today?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Things That Are Good In A Tough Day

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brother, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right; whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. NIV

I was reading Philippians this week and came across this verse. I remember this verse from when I first began memorizing scripture and learning to apply it to my life.

I had a new job. Newly trained and moved over with my boss to his new office. I soon discovered pretty much everything I had learned in training was not applicable to what I would do at the new place.

On top of that my boss wasn’t the easiest person to work with, at all. He was highly intelligent, quick on his feet and quick to react, very work driven and spoke directions in quick mumbled tones before he would turn and leave to do what was next on his list.

Many times after he had left I would go over and over what I thought he had said to me in his mumbled tones. He had made it clear to pay attention because he didn’t have time to go over things again and again. It made it a bit nerve racking when I could hardly understand him.

The situation was hard. Many times I wanted to grab my purse and say, “Adios.” And his actions would bug me throughout the day. Except on the days where, I would repeat this verse over and over in my head, and not meditate on his negativity, but rather on good things, like the challenge the job held. And how much I actually enjoyed what I was doing in spite of how difficult it was to relate to my boss.

One day after much prayer and crying in frustration, I brought a mini tape recorder to work and every time he opened his mouth, I clicked it on. I wasn’t sure how he was going to respond to me doing this, but I didn’t care. Then I listened to it over and over again, writing everything down, to figure out exactly what he wanted so I could do it correctly without a lot of questions. If I had questions after listening to the recorder I would approach him.

I found he respected the effort I did by bringing the recorder and he slowed down a bit for me and started being open to my questions. Pretty soon I didn’t need the recorder I could understand him and we started having a pretty good working relationship.

After other’s were hired on in the office he would tell them to follow the example that I did and get a recorder and write everything down. He would do the same mumbling and running out the door tactic he did with me but, I was able to understand him, so I was able to help them out.

At the time, this verse helped me, to not focus on just the bad thing going on in my day. It helped me to see the good in the midst of a troubled situation.
Reading Philippians this week reminded me, when a day is tough and negative stuff is just right in my face, take a look around and meditate on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and excellent or praiseworthy.

It’s an easier way to get through a tough day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

So today is a wonderful day! It's my Mom's birthday. I promised not to write about her on my blog, but I can't help myself today. So Mom, I'm breaking my promise just to say, I hope you have a wonderful, Happy Birthday!

My mom is so full of energy and keeps herself healthy. I really appreciate, that I can trust how well she takes care of herself and my Dad. When I was growing up she was the same way, very energetic and on top of things.

I love you, Mom, and so blessed to say Happy Birthday to you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

At The Glass Door

Clunk.
Scratch, scratch, clunk.

I glanced up from my reading, to look toward our sliding glass door to see what on earth was making that noise. I caught a glimpse of something, but couldn’t make out what it was, before it dropped down. Thinking to myself, it was either a bird hitting the window or a pine cone falling from one of the evergreen trees I went back to my reading only to be interrupted again by the noise. By the time I looked up I missed what was causing it.

Then I saw a bird fly up to the gutter above the door. Oh, the bird must be getting things off the cement of the patio for its nest and hitting the door in the process. The bird flew over and sat on the fence surrounding the patio and started chirping. Then she surprised me and flew directly into our sliding door. She hit her beak at the door and flapped her wings. She worked hard to get through that window.

She stopped and flew back to the fence only to try again and again. I imagine she couldn’t possibly know what was keeping her from getting from point a to point b, since I doubt she knows what glass is. The poor thing probably wondered, if I can see my destination why can’t I get there?

Wow, if only she knew how awful her life would be if she did get to the other side of that glass. She would fly into a place that’s nothing like her normal life. A place that would confine her, she’d probably panic. And after knocking over a few dishes and hitting against a few walls, feel a bit trapped. To add to her distress, she’d have to deal with the people who lived here screaming and ducking as she flew around while trying to get her back outside where she belonged.

Hmmm, another thought went through my head. How many times do I see a goal and for the life of me, no matter what I do, I can’t get there? It’s out of my reach for some reason or another.

In pushing that a bit further, like the glass protecting the bird from going somewhere it wouldn’t be happy, at those times, the Holy Spirit who I cannot see, but can feel, may be the very one from stopping me from making a big mistake in my life. Though it looks harmless, and inviting, it might be harmful for me. It might not be a place where I would want to be once I got there.

The Bible tells me that God knit me in my mother’s womb. He knows my days, when I lie down, when I rise, words before I speak them, even thoughts before I THINK them.

God used that little bird today, to take a look at my life. Is there anything I’m striving for and just can’t seem to make it work? Maybe, it’s not supposed to work for me. Maybe, it wouldn’t be in my best interest and like that bird, I need to fly away from there and just go some place else.

Psalm 139

Friday, April 15, 2011

Turning to Him

One morning while doing some reading and prayer time I came upon something interesting in the book of Haggai. During this time of experiencing unemployment in our home I am constantly throwing up prayers for provision and a blessing of a good income with job security. I am always amazed at the continual answers to those prayers of provision.
In the book of Haggai, God said so many interesting things to his people, regarding the work of their hands, in that one particular thing stood out to me today. It was at the end of a sentence…”yet you did not turn to me.”
I thought to myself. I pray. I turn to God all the time. So why are we having such a hard time with job security? Then a really interesting question came to my mind. Do I really turn to God?
I pray.
But then I tend to still worry and fret over things. I sometimes get anxious and fearful, then find myself laying awake stewing over everything.
So when I pray, do I really turn to God? Do I trust Him? Do I stand knowing and believing He will take care of the issue at hand? Did I really cast my cares upon Him?
Do I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding, but in ALL my ways acknowledging Him and He will make my path straight?
Yes, I turn to Him and pray and bring Him everything, but then I turn back around and turn to worry, fear and anxiety.
When I completely turn to Him, I will resist being fearful, anxious and not worry. Rather I will rest knowing my life is in His hand. And all things work for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is a very special day! My dad is 79 years old. My family is getting together at the end of the week to celebrate.

Normally, Sarrah and I go over to my parents house and see him on his birthday. I wanted to bring him over a chocolate sundae but, my daughter had a cold and we stayed home.

Special moments like that are hard to miss and can hurt the heart, but being able to say "Happy Birthday" and "I love you," to my dad, even over the phone is very wonderful.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful man to be my Dad.

If you happen to catch this blog, "Happy Birthday Dad and I love you."

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Author Of Life

One of my favorite past-times is to listen to a good story, read a good book or watch a movie. Normally, I get emotionally involved and love it when I get to laugh and cry over what happens to the character in the story.

As an author, myself, when I write a story, I get attached to the characters. It may sound funny, but I cry while I write a scene that affects one of my characters negatively, and I laugh and clap my hands when an exciting or good turn of events is happening. Even though I want all of the people in my stories to have sweet happy endings it really wouldn’t make a realistic story. I write with the belief that every fiction story has a grain of truth in it and I also take true life experiences and work them out through the pages of fictitious people’s lives. My stories may not really happen, but they could happen.

I just recently finished one of the most difficult and painful scenes I’ve ever written. The first time I worked on it, it was so emotional for me I just wrote the bare skeletons of it. I cried with the characters and it bothered me for days. I had to revisit this scene quite a few times to add to it and give it the finishing touches. When I read it one last time to make sure it seemed realistic and was as gripping as I wanted it to be, I experienced everything right along with each character.

A women’s bible study group I’ve been in is just finishing up studying Revelations. Throughout the book is an incredible example of how the Author of Real Life gets personally involved with the people He has created. Although, the story is often times overwhelming and scary, and the enemy comes in with a vengeance against the Author’s Real Life people, in the end all of His people, after going through the journey, end up safe and sound.

I’ve been thinking over a few things since writing that scene and studying Revelations. The way it is for me when I write a story and what each person goes through. I get a story in my mind and soon a fictitious person’s life unfolds.
God writes each person’s story and gives them choices along the way to follow His path or their own. Now, my characters don’t get choices, they just do what I say. But God has given people, choice.

Sometimes after we’ve made the choice to follow the Author of our life, something will happen and although we come to Him, sometimes over and over again, it can seem there is no answer from Him. For example a sick loved one who is not getting better, job loss with no new job in sight, a financial crisis, a relationship gone south. Even though a person may pray and pray and pray it seems there is no answer.
Sometimes the answer I found is simply, “Thy will be done.” For some reason there are times He decides the answer to our prayer is simply to trust Him through the circumstance, no matter how it looks, or how it feels.

It’s during those times, creation bows to the Author of life, the King, believing that in the end, although the path is horrible, He promises, “All things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

From A Cup Of Coffee

I read a saying on a coffee cup; Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles it empties today of its strength. Hmmm. Then this story came to mind. It’s a very familiar story to me.

Once upon a time there was a girl who couldn’t sleep because she worried about the next day. God said to her, “Do not worry about tomorrow.”

The girl was so delighted to hear God say those words, she decided to listen and rolled over and went to sleep.

The next day everyone heard the good news God had said to the girl. Do Not Worry. She skipped through her day. Eventually, everything worked out, not how she planned, but it worked out.

Months later, the girl couldn’t sleep because; she worried about her troubles again. God said to her, “Do not worry about tomorrow, be still and know that I am God.”

The girl was delighted, choosing to believe she didn’t need to worry, rolled over and went to sleep. The next morning she reported to everyone about what God had said.

That afternoon she opened a letter that arrived in the mail and sat down to worry over the news this letter had brought. Then she heard God say to her, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.”

Delighted she decided to believe God and went about her day. When her husband came home that evening his shoulders hung low with the heavy burdens of the day. The girl barely finished dinner because she worried.

Then she heard God say to her, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.” She nodded her head, “okay” and went slowly to bed wondering how she could not worry.

The girl woke up during the night worrying about all that had happened the day before. God said, “Do not worry about tomorrow. Lie down in peace and sleep.” The girl rolled over and tried hard not to think about her troubles, until she finally drifted off to sleep.

The next morning the girl received a phone call, the situation had worsened. She stopped cleaning her house and instead worried about her situation, until God said, “Do not worry, I am your provider.”

The girl nodded her head and went through the day, unable to accomplish much, because, she continually found herself lost in thought and worry.

After a fitful night of sleep, she got up the next day and started making calls and appointments to fix her problem. She put off all of her normal responsibilities and didn’t have much to say to those around her.

God came to her and said, “Do not worry. Trust Me.” But she didn’t hear him. She was too busy fixing things.

Months later, exhausted and feeling depressed she threw herself before God in tears. “Where are you? I have been doing all these things and nothing is better. Why is this happening to me?”

God said, “Do not worry, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The girl didn’t stop talking in order to listen. God repeated, “Do not worry. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Finally she heard the words. “Do not worry? Look what is going on in my life. It’s a mess. I can’t keep up and everything is falling apart.”

“Have things turned out any better while you worry? Do not worry about tomorrow. Trust me.” God replied.

The girl got up and halfheartedly went about her day. That night she lay in bed, unable to sleep, worried. “Do not worry about tomorrow,” ran through her mind, along with, “Lie down in peace and sleep.”

For some odd reason, she thought about a time, many, many months ago, when she had a very serious problem. She had heard God say, “Do not worry about tomorrow.” She recalled how she believed God when He said she didn’t need to worry and was able to sleep, work and enjoy those around her. And everything eventually worked out.

The girl wondered, “How would things look now, if I trusted and believed God’s word, do not worry.” She was a tired and emotional wreck ever since she chose to continue to worry. Her neck hurt, and she had headaches. Being so discouraged, she didn’t feel like working out, so she had gained some weight. Her house was a mess due to lack of energy and she barely talked to her husband because she was too stressed out.

Hmmm. She considered something different. What would it be like to trust God with this problem and stop worrying? I bet I’d start feeling better.

The girl opened her Bible and read some Psalms. She fell upon one that was perfect for her.

She read it out loud as a prayer. Psalm 69, “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.”

“Do not worry about tomorrow. Trust in the Lord,” went through her mind.

“Okay.” She made a decision, no more worrying and to trust in the Lord, then she rolled over and went to sleep.

The next morning the girl felt better after sleeping the rest of the night through. She went through the day and a knock sounded on the front door. The messenger had bad news. The phone rang and the person had bad news. She opened the mail and the letter had bad news. Her husband came home and he had bad news.

But…his shoulders didn’t droop and he smiled and hugged her. He had decided to stop worrying and trust in the Lord.

She smiled back, because, even though she had received bad news all day, she too had decided to not worry and trust in the Lord.

That night she went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night. Out of habit she started to worry over all the bad news she’d been given during the day. Then she stopped herself, and prayed over all those things instead, because she had decided not to worry. It hadn’t made things better, it hadn’t solved her problems, as a matter of fact, her life had only gotten worse.

So the girl decided to believe God and not worry because she would trust Him. She rolled over and went to sleep.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

And that came from a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Believe The Report Or Believe and Don't Be Afraid?

When I opened my Bible today my eyes fell on some words I had underlined, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Then I read the entire sentence. “Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Who did Jesus ignore I wondered?
When I reread the passage I realized it was the story of Jesus walking with Jairus to his home because Jairus’s daughter was dying. Jairus had pleaded earnestly to Jesus, to please come to his home and lay hands on his daughter, so that she will be healed and live.
So Jesus, his disciples and Jairus are on their way to Jairus home. Jairus is bringing home the answer to his little girl’s illness. He knows if Jesus lays his hands on her, his little girl will be fine.
But, then they are interrupted.
A woman in the crowd had touched the hem of Jesus garment and received healing. Jesus stopped wanting to know who touched his garment. His disciples were like, we’re in a crowd anybody could have touched your garment. Still, Jesus stopped and took time to interact with the woman in an encouraging way.
I wonder? How did Jairus feel waiting for Jesus to stop talking to her so his little girl could get the help SHE needed. For a moment did it feel as though Jesus was attentive to Jairus?
Then WHILE Jesus was still speaking to this woman some men came from Jairus house and let Jairus know his daughter was dead.
I wonder if Jairus shoulders dropped a bit and if his knees went weak. Was he frustrated at the interruption that came from the woman? I mean he pleaded earnestly to Jesus because his daughter was dying. He knew if he got Jesus to his little girl she would be okay. Then this woman went and touched Jesus garment.
But then I wonder, if he even had time for all of that because, it said Jesus ignored what the men from Jairus house said and told him not to be afraid, just believe. Jesus was right back to Jairus side and continued walking to the house.
Jesus made everyone stay back except a selected few. When he entered Jairus house the people laughed at what Jesus said about the girl. He sent them out and then he held the little girls hands and told her to get up.
She did.
There are times in everyone’s life where we know God is there with us. He is working for us. We can feel His strength, His presence. And then…suddenly a big hole is under our feet. It seems there is no solid ground.
“Don’t be afraid, just believe.”
How on earth do you do that? How do you say okay, I’m going to believe in you Jesus because, you told me to, even though, right now at this very minute I just got news that took the air right out of me, I feel all alone and I just want to curl into a ball and…
And I will be honest, it is hard to not listen to the bad report, or believe the bad thing going on in front of my eyes sometimes, but…the truth is, Jesus promises to never leave or forsake us. He will be with us always. It’s those times that are the times, to choose to believe, all of Jesus promises for us.
The Bible says no weapon formed against us shall prosper. If God is for us, who can be against us?
As hard as it can be sometimes, in the darkest, loneliest moments of our life, there is a choice to, not be afraid, but to believe.