Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible Review


I am a fan of Lucado and was interested at how his writings would be incorporated as an addition to the Bible.  His writings have long been a staple on the shelf and a continual addition to the collection.

I would view this more as a Devotional Bible rather than a Study Bible though that may simply be semantics.  I have found Lucado's writings thought provoking and challenging.  Having his writings in a devotional setting tied to scripture is great.

This Bible offers Lucado's Life Lessons on the sidebars of some of the pages that take passages of scripture and give them modern day application.  There is a topical index at the front for those who are looking for scripture for direct issues in their lives.  Written in the New King James Version, there is also  30 Studies for New  Believers at the back to help those new to Christ get started with their devotional walk. 

I always feel Lucado pointing people back to God and the purpose of why we are here: relationship with Him.  What better way than this combining the two.  I realize that Lucado is not Scripture, and I don't treat his writings as such.  I'm using it for my devotional time and love it!

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

YOU CAN BE EVERYTHING GOD WANTS YOU TO BE...

This "gift" book, in Lucado style, is a jam packed book in a small package.  As Lucado does in all of his works, he speaks truth to the value of each and every individual. 

This isn't just for the graduate seeking to find "themselves" or their career.  This is for each person who needs a reminder of our true God given purpose for being alive.  I love that Lucado is always engaging.  His writing style seems that he knows me personally.  Laced with compassion and care, Lucado drives home that we were created for more.  More than what we assume, more than what we picture we could be, and more than what we are doing now.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

MAX ON LIFE...


Max Lucado has been a staple on my bookshelf over the years.  He has long been a fatherly voice for my heart bound on written pages.  His perspective and wisdom is profound and noteworthy.

In Max On Life, it's another resounding handbook of hope.  He gives answers to some of life's most plaguing questions.  from suffering, death, peace, finances, and doubt to salvation, purpose and forgiveness.  There is a comfort that comes with Lucado's writings.  It is bathed in Truth from Scripture and is drenched in love.  When I read the answers to many of these questions, I was struck by the amount of compassion that oozes from the white canvas the words are printed on.

I love this topical edition on wisdom from Lucado.  I appreciate the addendum of the scriptural and topical indexes for quick reference.  This is a great "go-to" for those who counsel, pastors, teachers and believers who struggle with the relentless daunting questions that the enemy seeks to weight us down with.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Free Book...

Yes, it’s the title of the book. No, it’s not free. But Brian Tome’s desire is to communicate freedom in Christ for every believer. While Tome says early in the book “we don’t need another book on the cross,” this one is more about Jesus and the combined effect the cross can have for every believer.

Strongholds and distractions are apart of everyone’s life. What do we do about it, and how do we confront the issues that seem to remain vaguely discussed at best? Tome did a great job of taking the “Christian-ese” of answers to life, it’s challenges and disappointments, and showing them for their true value, which was minimal at best.

Tome has a confrontational edge to his writing, though it’s not in an unapproachable manner. He takes the over-spiritualized and breaks it down… painfully to the reality and the options of freedom.


I loved the edginess of his personality and the way he was in this book. His personal stories made it more relateable and easier to understand his perspectives on how to live a life a freedom that can only be found in Jesus. I appreciated the scriptural basis and how He uses this as his framework, rather than his own thoughts.
All in all, Free Book, though not free, is a definite read. Tome’s thoughts aren’t “new”, but the reminder is necessary for many of us.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'M STILL THERE

The elderly woman wheeling down the hall
She declined after the horrible fall
Her mind scattered and words fleeting
Yet in her, my heart is still beating.
Though she has aged and lived well
She may ignore me, but I’m still there and within her I dwell

The grandmother playing with the little child
Remembering the days when her’s were just as wild
Her heart still expectant but something’s missing
She left with only searching and reminiscing
Though she’s laughing and loved well,
She may ignore me, but I’m still there and within her I dwell.

The mother shuttling her kids to school
Stopping, yet again, to ensure the minivan has fuel.
She’s running in a million different directions
And divided her heart into tiny sections
Though she’s busy and juggles well
She may ignore me, but I’m still there and within her I dwell.

The young woman living day to day alone
Fighting to make sense of it all on her own.
Filling her days with work and friends
Wondering when the pain will end.
Though she’s smiling and managing well,
She may ignore me, but I’m still there and within her I dwell.

It’s the quiet moments you realize I’m there
Or in the moments in your rage and you just don’t care
The times when you are overcome by fear
And the times all that you have are salty tears
Those moments where guilt clouds your heart
And shame tells you that you played a part.
It’s there, that’s my voice, and I’m trying to yell
You are ignoring me, but I’m still there and within you I dwell

I’m the little girl that wants to be heard
To have a voice in the form of words.
It is I who needs to be set free
From the bondage and agony.
It is I that longs to be held
And to find the love that’s been withheld
Keep fighting and we will get through what’s left undone
To find contentment in the journey you begun
Though we will fight for the words to the story we’ll tell
No more ignoring, I’ll still be there, but together we will dwell.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Buried Alive...

This is a chilling and captivating account of one man’s will to survive. In 2004, Roy Hallums was kidnapped from his office in Iraq at the Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company. It’s easy to forget this unseen side of war. It is an eye opening tale of military imprisonment and torture.

The story is written in such a way that you are with Hallums the entire way. From being pulled from the office to the concrete pit, you journey with him as he endures the worst of circumstances. It is a tale of the heart, both for survival and love. Hallums family dealt with this trauma from the States, never giving up on his safe return home.

The story is gripping. From the beginning, the book grabbed my attention and endured throughout the book. The first person narrative makes this book choice intriguing as well as a quick read. As you read this account of one man’s journey, you’ll be enlightened and encouraged.

Comment

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

White As Snow...

On January 29th of this year, five inches of snow fell. Definitely one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. Since then, it’s snowed twice, each providing its own beauty that is hard to tire of. I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks about what is about the snow that I love so much.

It’s simply magical to the youth, and a rare peaceful stillness for the adult. It falls gently and quietly. I’ve never seen lightening or heard thunder in a snow storm. If you aren’t looking for it, you could miss it. It seems that when snow comes around, life tends to slow down. Things that seem important get pushed to the back burner. Appointments that were set are canceled. Activities are postponed till another time. Things you can’t do when snow isn’t around become higher on the priority list. Executives play together in the snow with their kids. Snowfights and snowmen are erected out of the imagination. Others of us could be found nestled by a fire soaking up the beauty that is outside. That’s me… I think that there is absolutely NOTHING like fresh untouched snow. No footprints. No snowmen. No snowfights. Just the simple blanket of snow covering the earth.

To me, God is the snow. He comes quietly. If I am not looking for Him, I will miss His arrival and His presence. He comes and covers me. There’s nothing I need to be or have for His arrival. He covers the corners of my heart and the daily traveled roads with His blood just as the snow covers the pavement and the stray grassy patches. He doesn’t arrive to condemn my heart’s current state. He doesn’t require me to have my junk together. He covers it as it is. He knows the conditions of my heart. He knows what lies beneath the covering.

The untouched snow is amazing. I’m definitely a fan of admiring the layer of beauty for a good while before it is trampled on or playfulness gets its hand in it. This time when I saw the snow after a snowball fight, I wondered if that’s what my heart looks like sometimes. God comes and covers it with His blood, and I come and pick up chunks of it and throw it aside leaving the matters of the heart exposed. It’s easy to let God into some parts of our hearts and try to keep Him from other areas. The reality is… He desires to have ALL of our heart. Not part of it. I was amazed as God reinforced this message to me. That night as I went back out to view the beauty in moonlight, all of the places where we had disturbed the snow and all the exposed ground was recovered. Not just to a small degree, but each hole was refilled to the level of the untouched snow. When we allow God in, He covers completely and fully.

I’m praying that I can be more open to the covering of God’s blood. I don’t think I intentionally close God off to certain areas of my life. I think many of us try to get our “junk” together before allowing God in. I’m realizing more and more each day that He knows my heart in and out, even more than I do. I desire what David prayed in Psalm 51, that with the washing of Christ’s blood, that I, too, will be washed whiter than snow. I pray that as God covers every aspect of my heart that I will reflect the beauty and work of God in my life. I pray that I will reflect purity and completeness as He continues to cover me on a daily basis as I seek Him.

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

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Jesus Lives...


Sarah Young’s Jesus Lives is a topical devotional book geared toward the reader realizing the potential of the real power of Christ in their life. With over 180 different topical devotionals, there’s something that is applicable to everyone. The daily reading is a quick read, though it is packed with insight and thought provoking words.

Sarah Young’s writing makes me feel as though Christ himself is speaking. Accompanied with her book Jesus Calling, this book is icing on the cake. This book is a tool to fulfilling Ephesians 3:16-19. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

The simplistic message in each devotional hits you straight where you need it. Powerful and revealing to see where God’s power is in your life. If you’re struggling at any level, this devotional will help you find traction back to the peace in which He calls us to.

Comment

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, December 25, 2009

BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY...

The Christmas season is festive and bright,
Yet for some of us, there's no hope in sight.
Among the parties, gifts, and jingle bells,
There is a message that Christmas Day tells.

It was LOVE born on Christmas Day.
Love so divine only He could portray
Dying for us on the old rugged cross,
That everything else is counted as loss.

It was MERCY born on Christmas Day.
Mercy to meet my needs in every way.
To hold us and sustain us in this life.
Protecting us from decisions causing strife.

It wasn't Santa born on Christmas Day,
The seasonal man with a magical sleigh,
Whose gifts are based on "bad" and "good"
And love only if you act as you should.

It was GRACE born on Christmas Day.
Grace sufficient every step of the way
Giving us blessings we don't deserve
Nudging us to You, the One we serve.

It was HOPE born on Christmas Day.
Hope not found in the futile words we say.
That there's more to life than just living.
Like serving, loving, being, and giving.

It wasn't Santa born on Christmas Day.
The seasonal man with a magical sleigh.
Whose lightfooted reindeer define his grace,
As we age each year, hope loses importance.

Without the miracle of Christmas Day,
There would be no reason to celebrate.
When Jesus came to earth as a baby,
It wasn't based on a bet or just a "maybe".

He was a gift promised for many years.
A gift so treasured it brings us to tears.
The message that Christmas longs to tell you,
Is that a baby was born to make you NEW!

He came with gifts especially for you.
Grace, mercy, peace, love and hope are a few.
Remember when you're down and you dismay,
IT WAS JESUS BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FRESH START...


If someone told you that accepting Christ would make your life a cake walk, they were wrong. Sometimes the journey gets a little rocky, and other times, we simply get stuck. Ever felt that way? Just wanted to start over? Have you ever struggled with figuring out where to start over? Struggling to make since of what’s gone wrong? Doug Fields, Saddleback Church pastor, offers 224 pages of his exposed thoughts on pride, rejection, anger, conflict, your past and pain. He addresses prime problems of being “stuck” and the underlying issues that need to be tackled before a true “Fresh Start” can occur. Though many of his books are youth focused, benefits will be reaped from readers of all ages and stages of faith.

This book is practical and raw. Each chapter has examples, many personal of his own experience, and shows practical ways based in biblical foundations to move forward. Being stuck is something we either have all faced, are facing, or will face. With the reader diving in and being real, reflecting with God on the real condition of his/her heart, connectedness with Christ and His Word can nudge us out of our “stuckness” and into the “Fresh Start” you’ve been looking for.

Remember to walk in Faith, and trust the One who started the journey.

Comment

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Friday, October 30, 2009

WHAT'S YOUR ISSUE?

I recently heard someone talking about the teaching of the sick woman in Mark 5. You've heard it before, but let me remind you of the passage:
21 Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22 Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, 23 pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” 24 Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. 25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. 30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” 31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.
After I got home that night, I opened my Bible to this passage and began to read it again. I had a discussion with a local pastor prior to this where we talked about the Blood of Christ - it's power, it's meaning, and the grace behind it. Still contemplating this discussion and this passage, God began to reveal something to me.

As I read it, I was struck amazed all over again with the immediate healing power. The woman in this passage suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. The KJV states it as an "issue of blood". I can't image what this woman was suffering from. I can't image the physical issue, let alone the other issues that surrounded that physical one. She had been to many doctors. Seeking an answer to her condition, something to make her well. She spent everything she had. According the Levitical Code, she would have been unclean for those twelve years. That label meant that she couldn't worship in the Temple and isolated her from society. Anyone who touched her became unclean for the rest of the day.

Sick. Ashamed. Alone. Broke. Concerned.

That was her heart. She had more than an issue of blood. That issue carried with it a label that defined her by society's standards. She was more than her "issue of blood". She had a condition of the heart, a condition, of the mind, a condition that only Jesus could heal. Her faith… wow… amazes me. "If I can just touch his robe…" She believed with everything in her that healing lied within Him. So much that just a touch would heal her. Just a touch. No miraculous prayer, no laying on of hands, nothing extreme. Just a touch.

Jesus was on his way to Jairus's house, whose daughter was dying. His request was for Him to come and lay hands so she would live. His compassion lead him on a journey to his house. On the way, the instant she touched Him, he knew. He knew that power had left him… healing power. A trembling woman emerged from the crowd to confess that indeed she had touched His robe. His confirmation speaks volumes to me…
Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.
We all have issues of blood. Not like this woman… but we all have matters of the heart, the soul, and the mind that simply need the Master's healing touch. Issues of life… divorce, drug addiction, a sick child, parent or spouse, a death of a friend, domestic abuse, bad decisions, a child's wayward actions or attitude, a job loss, etc. Regardless of the title, each of these can leave us financially destroyed, emotionally bankrupt, isolated, and seeking answers. What we want to hear is "Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” There are times, in all honesty, don't we just want the situation to end? It's not that easy though. This woman had faith. FAITH. Hebrews 11:1 says "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". Faith in WHO God was and what He would do for her. She was healed immediately. When He spoke to her, he didn't just say your condition is healed. He told her that her suffering was over. Suffering… ended.

How I've needed to hear this in my own heart. There are days I struggle with the labels given to me by society. Some of the decisions I've made in my life haven't been the best or God honoring. I've lived with the labels that society imposes. I, like this woman, have an issue of blood - an issue only the Blood of Jesus can handle. The question lies in whether I can have faith in the promises of His word. God is who He says He is and will do accordingly in my life and for His glory. Healing isn't just for the physical. He seeks to heal every part of my life; mind, body, and soul.

I will continue to seek Him, in faith, knowing that the same power and Spirit that raised Christ from the dead gives me life and healing as well. (Romans 8:11)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

GRANDPARENTS...

Today is Grandparents Day. I had amazing grandparents. Louis and Louise Asbell. I just went a couple of weeks ago back to Missouri where they lived. Days like today, I miss them so much. I have sweet memories of the farm with my Grandpa, fishing at the ponds, and grocery shopping with my Grandma. Other memories of my Grandpa trying to convince me to have some of his "chewing gum" which was actually chewing tobacco. Ugh, disgusting. Other memories with my Grandma of cooking with her, on the green "stool/chair/ladder". I miss walks with Grandpa on the farm, and watching country/western movies with him. I hate country/western movies, but with him, it was different. I felt safe at their house, and with them. I miss them.

So for Grandparents Day today, I now look to my parents, who are Grandparents themselves. Every year at Danielle's school, they celebrate Grandparent's Day with an open house type of event. My parents came to pick me up at 5:45a.m. And we traveled to Chapel Hill to see the sweetest 2nd grader on the planet. She was ecstatic to see us! There are cookies and orange juice. She drank mine and hers. Somehow I knew that was going to happen! Dad's still struggling with his Bells Palsy episode, so some discussion was to be had as to "what is wrong with Grandpa". He is refusing to wear his eye patch (as noted by the picture). Once his eye began rolling and became very red and irritated, I insisted on him wearing it. I was a little afraid the kids were going to freak out. His eye doesn't need to be exposed, and so with a little "daughter" persuasion and insistence, he put it on. I had to guide him through the halls. We practiced his pirate voice, and Danny thought it was hilarious!

Danny told me she had a hard time going to sleep last night... She wanted us to come to be with her, but she didn't know if we were coming or not. We saw her artwork for the day, and her poem just for my Dad and Mom. I love that kid... and so do my parents. I love to watch them love on her and on Rebecca. I just wish it could happen more often.

Today I honor them... as Grandparents who love well. Thank you Mom and Dad for loving both of my nieces, individually and as amazing children of God. Thank you for desiring for them to know about Christ. Thank you for loving them despite how well they did in school, in spite of how well they do "in the world". Thank you for the example of marriage that sticks through it - still together after 40 years. Thank you for loving well.

Danielle had a great time with you both on Friday. I did, too.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

DEAR GWEN...

 
Dear Gwen:

Today you turn 4!  I can't believe how fast you are growing up!  Just seems like yesterday your mom was telling me she was pregnant with you...  and when she went to the hospital.  Time flies when we aren't looking.  You are quite the little one with a big personality!  I hate that I'm many miles away and can't spend more time with you.  I love that you are great with your new baby sister, Alicen.  You are a great Big Sister, and I'm so proud of you!

Mom tells me stories about what you're doing, and even sends pictures so "Auntie Bo" doesn't feel quite so far away.  I have enjoyed watching you grow up!  I'm awaiting great things for you.

God has a special plan awaiting you, and I'm thankful that I get to watch His plan unfold in your life. 

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

FEARLESS by Max Lucado...


In Max Lucado's newest release, Fearless, insight is given to some of our everyday fears that we face. Appropriately titled, he gives practical biblical approaches to some of the specific fears that individuals face with the ultimate desire to abandon fear and live with confidence that Christ has overcome all.

Received a rattling diagnosis from the doctor? Lost your job? Investments dwindled by the economy’s havoc? Do your circumstances cause you to ring your hands in fear and worry? In classic Lucado style, he engages you with the realization of fear and the biblical stories. The reality is that fear is a part of our world. I deal with fear, and if you’ll admit it, so do you. We are human, and fear exists. Many times, I know I have fear of certain things, several addressed in this book specifically. Then it’s a matter of dealing with that fear. Do I sit and fret? Analyze till there’s nothing left? Contemplate until I have worry lines?

2 Timothy 1:17 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Through reading this, I’ve been challenged to attack fear more intently. The call rings louder to be vigilant about the fear that grips our lives in various ways by attacking them with Scripture and Worship of the Father.  This book will challenge you to acknowledge fear for what it is without being swept under the current.  It will help you to know fear but encourage you to take an active role in your walk with God and battle fear for what it is.

Fearless is an easy read. Find out more from The Fearless Times Site or from Thomas Nelson.

Comment

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ON MY MIND...

Tonight on my mind rests this little girl and her family...

If you don't know her, this is Kate McRae.   When I see her pictures or videos of her, I smile.  She fills my heart with joy, and reminds me of childhood innocence.  Then I'm reminded of how I came to know of Kate. She is 5 years old, and she has an amazing story.  In late June, this little girl was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  I have followed the journey of this girl's fight with cancer since I heard of her diagnosis from blog friends of mine.   

I've seen her parents be overjoyed at the small triumphs, and though I don't know them personally, I rejoice with them.  I read their journal entries of rough days of chemotherapy and a 5 year old little girl who has lost her hair with concerns of what others will think of her, and I pray for strength and courage.  Tonight I read the journal entry that consisted of tears, and I can't help but cry with them.  I ache for them.  I ache for a girl who should never know what cancer is or what chemotherapy or brain surgery is.  I ache for her parents who only want wellness and healing for their child.

Kate is teaching me many things about God and the unity of the body of Christ.  The McRae's live in Arizona.  It is unlikely that I will ever meet them.  It is unlikely that they will ever know that I exist.  I'm okay with that.  The importance in not in being known, but in WHOM we know that unites us.  The courage and strength that this family is walking with is a pure testimony of God's provision in the most difficult times of life; those time that we simply want to throw our hands up in the air and scream at God: WHY?  I'm sure the McRae's have shed their share of tears, and asked God their share of questions.  But they are also pleading at the foot of the cross for their daughter's body to line up with the Word of God.  They are praying for the ultimate healing and the total disappearance of this ugly thing called cancer.  And on the other side of the country, I'm going to stand in faith with them, in agreement.  As the three in the fire, may she come out unharmed and giving all glory and praise to God! (Dan 3:25)


Some have said this is extreme.  Believe what you may.  I chose to believe that God is bigger than any tumor.  He is bigger than any financial distress, any job loss, any destroyed marriage, any wayward child, any diagnosis... and deemed hopeless event.  He is our hope. 

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

AUTHENTIC AND UNCHANGING...

It's the wee hours of the morning, and I'm awake again. This has been a trend for about three months. Even with Ambien, I'm not even close to catching the much needed Zzz's my body and mind are craving. Alas, I'm here, writing what's racing through my heart and mind.

Yesterday, I went to crosspoint.tv for the 11:45 service. Little did I know what God had in store for me. I was there a bit early and arrived during the prior service. I had resolved to just wait in the great cafe or one of the wonderful comfy chairs outside and just pray and prepare my heart for what God was going to say to me through worship and through Blake as He spoke through him. The longer I sat there the more I felt I was suppose to go in the service. I hate going in late to places. Okay if you know me, you know I'm practically late for almost everything. Just know, internally I'm beating myself up for it, and I despise being late. It's something I'm working on. Hence that I was SO early for this service that I was early enough to arrive during the previous service! Hop off the rabbit trail... As I felt like I was suppose to go into the service, I realize Blake had already begun speaking. I felt like God was telling me that there was something that was going to be said that morning that I was going to need to hear more than once. So I knew I needed to go in. I thought it'd be awkward to walk in while he was speaking, but eh, it's crosspoint.tv, and they're pretty laid back. At that moment, I think... I've seen kids doing cart wheels during Pete's messages before, surely I can walk in a grab a seat. So I did.. in the very back of the auditorium. I don't have the guts to walk in front of what seemed to be a thousand people to find a ton of empty seats up front.

Moses was our Rewind Character of the week. You can hear the entire message here. Something he had said in his teaching that morning was "God takes your mess and makes it your message." I had previously sat down with Blake and he'd briefly shared his mess, and I knew that God used it as his message. What I heard in the message intertwined with Moses was a message of grace, love, and forgiveness. It was more than the blood on the doorpost as we discussed Passover. And it was great watching him reach for the top of that doorpost! he he!

See, he told the rest of his story during the service that morning. He was as authentic as it gets. In the midst of his authenticity, he gave me a glimpse of hope. See, he spoke of how a man without judgment received him in love, and restored him to grace. I'm not talking about Jesus. I'm talking about his father-in-law. He spoke of his daughter who, while he wept in forgiveness, confirms him in love. A wife who continues to love and affirm him. I heard hope. See, it wasn't Jesus who loved Blake in his mess. It was a man. It was a daughter. It was a wife. It was here. It was now. It was Jesus through each of them... in an authentic way. In a mess, people at their best.

It was hope for me.

I looked in my Bible to something I had written a while back. Someone had asked me a question... What do you do when you're down?

I've been asking myself that for the past couple of months... The world seems to be crashing down all around my shoulders and the cares and concerns burden me so heavily that I don't think I can lift my head to pray...

I move past what I THINK.. and I rely upon what I KNOW.

God is unchanging. I lift my head anyway, and continue to take my cares and concerns to Him. I praise His name for the wonderful this He is doing. I praise Him and thank Him for His faithfulness. He alone is my Tower and Refuge.

I climb into that Tower and look to the Hope.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

FREEDOM AND CHOICES...

As I'm listening to fireworks from downtown Nashville and from Brentwood kickoff, I'm reminded about freedom. From backyard picnics, lake house leisure, and community gatherings, celebrations all across the nation will take place to honor our freedom in this great nation. With the many symbols of freedom, my appreciation and gratitude deepens as I remember the ultimate price that was paid.

I'm thinking about freedom and what it gives me. Choices.

Choices that make up the sum of my life. Some are simple... Will I choose to hit the snooze on the alarm clock today? Or will I even set it? What will I have for dinner? Paper or plastic? Buy or lease? Okay, maybe the buy or lease needs more analysis than paper or plastic, but... Choices are an everyday thing, sometimes a moment to moment thing. The enemy would love to taunt me with some bad choices I've made over the course of my life. And in all honesty, there are days that I struggle to not live the life of the sum of those negative choices. Thankfully there's something so much more available.

I'm reminded that I've been given an ultimate choice with a life changing opportunity with it. A choice to live an abundant life for Christ or chose life my way. The past couple of months have been quite a journey for me. I've had quite a few questions. Crosspoint was going through a series called "Questions". How fitting? As I sat there each week, I was challenged... This last week Pete Wilson tackled a multitude of questions from the folks there, all on the cuff. While most of the questions in the mass audio/video of all four services weren't MY questions, it gave me a basis to search out some answers in the Word. I went home that night, pouring my heart out to God with my questions, I realized, it's okay to ask questions. The peace God gave me was that the questions aren't the issue. It's knowing that whatever the answer is, He will be in it.

The real question that we were left with on that last day was "What will you do with Jesus?" In Luke 9:20, Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" I don't think in the midst of my questions that I'd thought about the question He asked of me. I was convicted again... Do I honestly believe Jesus is who He says He is? Do I wholeheartedly rest in the confidence of His Word? Do I believe that the Christ of yesterday is the same today, and that He will be the same tomorrow? Do I hold on to my sin, questions, concerns, and burdens because I fear that God will fail me - that He WON'T be who he said he was?

Here is my ultimate choice and where I get to exercise real freedom. Will I let Christ free me from religion, guilt, the past, sin, and many other aspects of my life that I try to hold on to. Galatians 5:1 says "It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set you free." The gift of salvation and grace was not a one time thing. His grace sustains me and covers me daily. I cannot live under a regiment of rules, even if they are biblical. God desires relationship from me. Each day, each moment. One on one love relationship with the one who died for me. The ultimate freedom comes when that relationship becomes a lifestyle...

I'm in a process of allowing Christ to free me of the past. Though I am confident of His ability, this is an immediate thing for me. Don't be discouraged, He CAN do that for me, and He can do it for you too. He's teaching me some key things that I need to learn in this process. The process requires I let go, learn of Him and others, and let Him use my life, my bad choices for HIS glory.

I'm amazed that God would pursue me like He has over the past couple of months. I'm seeking Him. His word remains true - If you seek Him, you WILL find Him. I am finding Him, just as He promised.

I'm thankful for the freedom that I've been given in my country, but ultimately, I'm forever grateful for the freedom that Christ has given!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WELCOME ALICEN!



Don't you just adore the lip curl?


Very sweet feet!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

IDOLATRY...

So I've been thinking a lot about God... and a lot about me and God. Thinking about His goodness, grace, mercy, understanding, love, peace, joy, faithfulness... I could go on and on and on.. Well, you get the picture.

The statement of Jesus is either Lord of all or He's not Lord at all. This has hit me like a ton of bricks. I've been my own judge and jury. I've judged everything I've ever done. I hate myself for the decisions and for who I've become because of them. I hate that I chose those things. I hate they they had terrible consequences. I just hate myself, period.

My issue has many layers. If you aren't comfortable reading this... Now's a good time to say a prayer and close the window. It began because I needed to feel real on some days. But other days, I felt everything but couldn't identify any feeling whatsoever. It became a release of all of the things happening that I didn't/couldn't understand. Overtime it's become an addiction to a degree. Don't get me wrong... Those reasons stated above still apply. I still did it for those reasons. More than those though, it was my punishment. It was my payment for what I had done. I'm the Queen of my own land... The kicker is... I'm the only one in my land. I don't want people in it. I don't welcome most in, and those that do get welcomed in usually don't stay long. I'm alone. Really alone. No one joins me. No one truly understands. The land I live in is dark, depressing, and dreary. No one visits. Alone. So alone I continue to be and continue my depressing life every day. I am playing God...

Guess what...? A lonely queen can be wrong once and a while. What God began to stir in my heart is that I'm not allowing Him to be God. I'm now accepting His gift. See... My blood was more important than His. My blood was better to cover my sins and iniquities. My blood was valued more than His. That is NOT Lordship. That is IDOLATRY! I'm choosing my blood over HIS! His sacrifice is in VAIN! My blood is temporary and provides little cleansing. It is temporary. That feeling of release, punishment, and being alive fades quickly. The pain comes back. The anger returns. The memories flood in. The flashbacks become more obtrusive. The shame. Oh, the shame. There will never be enough of my blood. I have to keep going back. It never completes things. It really never makes me feel better long-term. What I'm coming to "get" is that His is TOTALLY cleansing. One drop covers all... He bore scars for the sin of man... He bore scars for my sin. He bore scars for my scars. He completes the pain. He gives it meaning. He gives peace in the midst of the storm. 1 Peter 3:18 ~ For Christ died for sins ONCE FOR ALL, the righteous and for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." (emphasis mine) Once for all... For me? YES. I get that He died for me. I don't get why He wants me. I don't get why He's willing to take my sin. I'm in awe and wonder of the cross.

As long as my spirit remains in this flesh, I will ALWAYS have a reminder of the sin of idolatry. At the cross, I'm no longer queen. I'm a child of the King. I'm in a new land now... the PROMISED LAND. I'm in a land with FULL ACCESS to the King. No special treatment to see Him. No need to make an appointment. There are no inconvenient times. There are no interruptions when I meet with Him. At the cross, I am whole. At the cross, my ransom is paid. At the cross, I am shadowed by his outstretched arms. At the cross, his height of holiness stands as tall as the sky. At the cross, it makes sense. At the cross, I can ask questions, and I don't need an answer. At the cross, He IS the answer.

I don't know that I could right now define what the cross exactly means to me... I guess because it's changing. It is still all the things I learned in college. It's all those things I learned in Sunday School. It's still a very wonderful testimony of God's love for us. It's becoming more than the cardboard cutouts and felt illustrations of my childhood. It's becoming to mean more to me.

As for now... I'm working on killing the things of the flesh. Moment to Moment....

Galatians 5:19-23
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you , as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of god. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Here's the struggle straight from Paul's mouth... Romans 7:21-24
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

I failed this aspect of walking with Him today. I'm praying THIS moment is different. I'm praying tomorrow is different. I'm crying out to Him anyway I can..

Thursday, June 11, 2009

LOST IN ALL YOUR GRACE...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

FREESET BAGS...

If I've been stopped once, I've been stopped at least a couple of dozen times about the latest bag that I've been carrying. It's a Freeset Bag made in India. It has a story, and it's below for those that want to know. More than the look, I bought it because I thought, what a great cause. That's something that I can support here at home, and have an impact across the world. They are made of jute which is a natural fiber, and is eco-friendly. They also manufacturing bags from synthetic materials such as p.p. non-woven. So, eco-friendly, giving her a job and a purpose. There are many designs and looks that they have, and you can even custom design your bag. Here are several websites that sell their products. Yes, these are made in India, but they partner with three specific companies here in the US to sell their products. There are others that sell them, i.e. on Ebay, but these are cheaper, at least as I've found.

Asha Imports
Better Way Imports
Freeset USA

The Freeset Story

Freeset Bags was founded in 2001 and employs women who once worked in the notorious red-light district of Calcutta, providing an escape from a life of virtual slavery. They utilize locally-available and sustainable jute fiber to craft unique, eco-positive bags. Childcare, health care and literacy programs are provided so artisans can earn a fair wage in a healthy work environment, while building a better future for themselves and their daughters.

Each Freeset Bag tells a story of one woman's journey to freedom. She used to stand with 6,000 other prostitutes in a small but well known area of North Calcutta. She didn't choose her profession; it chose her. Poverty does that. It robs people of their dignity and children of their innocence.

She still lives in the same area, but instead of selling her body she makes Freeset Bags. Now she has choices, the choice to work decent hours for decent pay, to re-establish her dignity in her community and to learn to read and write. Now her daughter won't have to stand in the street selling her body like her mother used to. Freedom has been passed on to the next generation.

By purchasing a Freeset Bag, you become part of the story of freedom. Thank you!

Menaka's Story
*all names have been changes*

Menaka was born in Bangladesh, when she was 12, Menaka and her family were forced out of their homes along with other Hindu families They managed to escape to a refugee camp on the border of India.

Menaka made friends with a 30 year old woman in one of the nearby houses where she used to sneak in to use the toilet. The woman often asked Menaka to go to Calcutta with her. Menaka always refused, until one day, she had a fight with her sister and without telling her parents, left with her friend for Calcutta.

Menaka’s friend took her to Calcutta’ largest red-light district and sold her to a brothel owner for 1000 rupees (US$22). The brothel owner’s sister was furious, “Why have you bought such a young girl?” she yelled at Menaka’s owner. “Send her back now!” But if they sent Menaka back her family they would know what had happened. So Menaka waited while they decided what to do with her.

At this time, a man took a liking to Menaka and negotiated a price with her madam – 500 rupees: Menaka was a virgin and worth a high price. The man took her to a room, locked the door and sat her down. He drank whiskey, she drank Coca Cola - she’d never heard of it before but accepted and drank. She began to feel groggy and realized that she had been drugged. As the man began to make advances, Menaka tried to run, releasing one door bolt but she couldn’t reach the top bolt. Twelve-year-old Menaka was raped.

Over the next few months, Menaka was moved from brothel to brothel to avoid detection by police looking for underage girls. Eventually she was abandoned in Ram Bagan a small red-light area where she stayed. It was there a notorious local gangster took an interest in Menaka. They began to live together.

When men approached Menaka for sex, the gangster would chase them away, even beat them - he had fallen in love. He wanted her to stop selling her body. Looking back now, Menaka says: “He stopped me - and I stopped him.” Today Menaka’s husband has abandoned crime; he’s a mild-mannered man whom Menaka has learned to love. They both still live in the main lane where many girls stand in line waiting for customers but life is very different now.

Over the years, Menaka’s parents tracked her down but the shame surrounding her situation meant there was no communication. Since Menaka joined Freeset, she has been given tremendous hope- she has learned to dream of seeing her family again.

Menaka’s father died some time ago but she has visited her mother in Bangladesh, whom she hasn’t seen since she was 12. They have begun the process of restoration. Freedom is on its way.


Shyamali's Story
*all names have been changed*

The years Shyamali spent married as a young girl were filled with agony and shame- Shyamali was barren. She found little understanding from her parents, who also blamed her for the barrenness and divorce.

Forced from her home, Shyamali went to live with an aunt. There, while sitting at a local tea shop, she was introduced to a man who asked where her husband was. She poured out her story to the stranger. He listened, and appeared to understand. When he offered to take her to Calcutta and find her a good job, she thought that someone finally cared enough help.

Telling her aunt she was going to see her mother, Shyamali left for Calcutta. As soon as she arrived the man took her to Sonagacchi and sold her to a madam. On the first day she was treated very nicely. On the second day she was given a very short skirt – she asked what to do with it. “Don’t you know where you are?” her madam replied. “Wear this and go on the road and wait for customers.” Shyamali refused. Her madam said, “OK – you pay me my money back. If you don’t, all the pimps will beat you up.” It was then she discovered that the man who brought her to Calcutta was a pimp.

Afraid, she put on the skirt. They cut her hair and forced her onto the road. Her madam, still unhappy with her response, beat her so badly that the scars on her head remain today.

Sick of her outbursts on the street, Shyamali’s madam sent her to her daughter’s brothel. There, she and many others were kept indoors, with the customers brought to the womens’ rooms. None of the women were allowed out of their rooms at all. They never saw the same man twice, just in case a customer took a liking to a woman and tried to release her.

A year later, while the brothel-keeper was in hospital, one of the women told Shyamali to run away while she could. Shyamali stole 4 saris, a box of money and caught a bus to return to her aunt’s. Once there, she learned that her mother was worried sick about her. It was hard to go back home, but Shyamali missed her mother, too. She found her mother in a state, with a broken wrist. Using the stolen money, Shyamali paid for her mother’s treatment and nursed her.

Having few options, Shyamali went to work at a brothel in Asansol for few months, where she met a woman who took her back to Sonagacchi. Her new madam treated her well, and even when she moved to an area close by would visit and check that she was OK.

Five years ago Shyamali met a man who has become her partner. She has new hope for the future. Today she doesn’t have to stand in line, waiting for men to use her. She has a stake in a business in Calcutta. Although she has only recently learned to sew jute bags, her progress is rapid. Soon she might become a supervisor and perhaps one day she will count other women who she is helping as her children – the ones she never had.


Bashanti's Story
*all names have been changes*

Bashanti was born into a loving but poor family in Bangladesh. Her parents arranged her marriage to a local 16 year-old boy.

Her new family treated her as a slave. Athough she was only 7 or 8 when she married, she was expected to fully participate as his wife. At fifteen, she bore a son who died 18 days later.

Her grief and shame forced her back to her father’s house. She remembers her father sat crying while they fetched her mother to tell her the news.

In Bashanti’s second marriage, she was also abused by the family. There abuse turned to torture when her second son also died. Again she ended up back in her father’s house.

Bashanti then had a series of jobs where she found herself sexually harassed. When she declined a proposal for marriage, in fear of it ending like the first two, her job was terminated. It was while she was working in a rice field that she was offered a sewing job in Calcutta by a another women. That is how Bashanti ended up in Sonnagachi.

Bashanti remembers her first customer like it was yesterday. She was chosen from the many women who stood in line. Having negotiated with the man, her madam said to her “boste dow” (it means, in Bangla, give him a seat), so she did what she was told and asked the man to sit down. After 20 minutes of sitting and waiting the man became furious. “How long will I sit,” he demanded. Banshanti hadn’t realised that “boste dow” was street language for sex. She couldn’t bring herself to do it. She fought and screamed and the man eventually gave up and left in a rage. Her madam, furious at her loss of income, beat her.

Bashanti learned she was going to be moved again. She hoped they had given up on her and would let her be a housemaid. But her new “home” proved to be the place where she would give in. The house was full of girls from Bangladesh, all of them prostitutes. She remembers their advice: “We got trapped, too, but we had no choice. We had to compromise and so do you if you want to survive.” That night Bashanti gave up.

She says she always imagined, even after her divorces, that one day she would be a housewife with a husband and children. Now her nights were no longer for sleeping – there were customers, and tears.

Bashanti spent many years in the trade, moving around different red-light areas of Calcutta. But though she was trapped, she always remembered her responsibility towards her family. She managed to arrange for her two younger sisters to get married, and her focus today is to care for her elderly parents and little brother – along with her 2 ½-year-old daughter and a new man who looks after her well.

Bashanti was introduced to Freeset by a friend who also had been a prostitute. Freedom was something that she had forced herself not to think about. Now, she has completed 3 months training and is ready to sew export-quality jute bags.

In a way, it brings her back full circle: She came to Calcutta with the promise of a sewing job. Many years later, she’s doing just that – and not just sewing. Freeset is about freedom. Bashanti sews bags for freedom.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

FINALLY HOME...

MY AUNT MARY KILLMER

She had quadruple bypass surgery on March 18th. The surgery went well despite the complications of her receiving two pints of blood that weren't her blood type. After surgery, she was transferred to the ICU as expected. Due to the mismatched blood transfusion, they were watching her closely. Around 8:00 that night, she had to have emergency surgery to repair an internal staple and graph that had come loose causing internal bleeding. In ICU, she was on a ventilator, and other life support machines to keep her body going. We were relieved after this that she was somewhat stable but still very critical. Over the course of the next several days, her state deteriorated. They never gave her pain medication for the surgery, and the only response she ever gave to voice was that her eyes rolled to the ceiling. She really never regained full consciousness after the surgeries. It was determined on Friday from an MRI that after her surgeries, she suffered multiple strokes on both sides of her brain, leaving her unable to communicate.

Based on the MRI results, it was decided that the machines would be turned off. Aunt Mary was taken off of life support around 11:30 a.m. on March 28, 2009 and passed away at 2:51 p.m.

Though I am sad that she departs from this earthly life, I rejoice for her more anticipated homecoming. My aunt Mary is HOME, and I can't be more thankful! While I remain here on this earth, I will cherish the memories I have with her, and look forward to my own Homecoming and the time when I will be reunited with her once again.

God has consistently shown Himself in this situation, and He's not done. I'm watching the good that He's promised come from this situation, and I'm trusting Him with what seems like loss to the flesh man to be gain to the spiritual man. Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

I serve an amazing God. He has ordained every step and every part of our lives including our death. I'm trusting Him with the faithfulness of His Word.

Please rejoice with my family as we rejoice in the homecoming of a sister who's gone home to be with our Abba.



Mary Killmer daughter of the late William Wesley Asbell and Grace Davis Asbell, was born on October 1, 1934 near Bloomfield and departed this life in the St. John’s Regional Medical Center at Joplin on March 28, 2009 at the age of 74.

Mrs. Killmer was a Charter Member of the Friendship Baptist Church in Dexter, the former secretary for Dr. Harold Poe and a resident of Dexter.

She was united in marriage to Loren “BUD” Killmer on November 11, 1960 at Dexter. Mr. Killmer preceded her in death on November 9, 2003.

Survivors include one son and daughter-in-law, Rick and Elizabeth “Libby” Killmer of Pittsburg, Kansas; by one sister, Virgie Wilson of Dexter; by three grandchildren, Mary Elizabeth Mowdy and husband Greg of Pittsburg, Kansas, Cody Lee Killmer and wife Amity of Enterprise, Alabama and Colt Wesley Killmer of Pittsburg, Kansas; by one great granddaughter, Heather Mowdy of Pittsburg, Kansas.

Besides her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by three brothers, Walter W. Asbell, Alfred Asbell and Louis Asbell; by two sisters, Iva Jane Asbell and Ruthy May Barker; by two nieces, Karen Wilson and Lisa Rogers Smith; by one nephew, Ronald Walter Asbell.

Friends may call at the Rainey-Mathis Funeral Home in Dexter from 5:00 until 8:00 P. M., Friday, April 3, 2009. Funeral services will be conducted at 10:00 A. M., Saturday, April 4, 2009 in the Rainey-Mathis Funeral Chapel with Rev. Mike Watkins officiating. Interment will follow in the Chalk Bluff Cemetery.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A FOOL...

"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliott

Sunday, November 30, 2008

JUST A FEELING...

I've had this week off for vacation for the Thanksgiving Holiday. This time has afforded me the privilege to really reflect on those things for which I'm thankful. I've thought about quite a few things, quite a few people and quite a few experiences. I come to realize that being thankful is more than just a feeling, it's becoming my attitude in life.

I haven't always been thankful for these things... but with Christ, I'm realizing that I'm truly thankful for it all.

First and foremost... I'm thankful for Christ. Through Him, I am able to have relationship with God. He's done so much in my life in the past four years. I'm thankful for the amazing restorative and redemptive power that encompasses who He is. I look back on my life four years ago, and I'm in a completely different place. God is so good. He restored an addict. He healed the brokenness in my heart. He's shown me life... more abundant. I'm thankful for His unconditional love. Even when I don't live for Him, and I fall into the flesh, He's there to hear my plea of forgiveness. When idolatry is the sin of choice, His love is greater than my sin. His grace is more than enough. He's all I need.... Quite honestly, He's all I have.

I'm thankful for my family. This year, I went to my parent's house for Thanksgiving. We've not always had the best of relationships. Circumstances in each person's life seemed to breed bitterness, anger and resentment. What I've come to see is that without taking those things to God, we end up taking out those things on each other. We've recently come out of a "spat" that lasted about six months. Is it true that distance makes the heart grow fonder? I'm not sure, but what I do know, is that God is doing some amazing things in our lives and the family. Granted, we still argue. We still fight. But this year... I told my dad I loved him for the first time in probably a decade. Love has found it's way back into the family. Not to the level which it needs to be, but it's there. It's all God. Each year, I've made arrangements to have Thanksgiving with friends and such sometime in the evening because after a couple of hours together, things usually get a little on the rough side. This year... eight hours after arriving, I was dreading leaving. For the first time in many years, it was more than a meal, it was a reason to celebrate. God is good.

I'm thankful for the people God has placed in my life. Over the past two years, I've been blessed. Blessed in so many ways. God has brought people into my life that have met needs that they didn't know I had. From mortgage payments, hospital bill payments, to eye glasses, to laughs, to hugs, to love... and even rebuke. They've all helped me grow and see God for who He is. It's not about the people, other than the example of being willing and available to be used by Him. They've shown me that I can make a difference by listening and obeying God, no matter if it seems ludicrous. They've been a true example that "God loves obedience more than sacrifice."

I'm thankful for my health. This year's been rocky with a few minor issues. I'm believing God for healing. He is my Jehovah-Raphe. I'm thankful that with a couple of great God-fearing doctors, treatment has begun, and I've been feeling much better. He instantly healed my ankle last year. I'm thankful for the God that heals.

I've got a list about a mile long, that I won't bore you with. I've come to appreciate the small things... The big things are easy to be thankful for. Those things that we need are easy to be thankful for. What about the difficulties that challenge us? What about those things that we didn't need, those that ultimately change the course of our lives? What about the unexpected things? I've come to understand that I may not understand it all at the moment... and I may not be thankful at the moment... but gratitude in every circumstance is what Christ desires from me. It's those difficult places, those challenging times, and unexpected circumstances that I find at the top of my list.

I'm thankful for each of you. God bless.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

SHAKEN TO ASSURANCE...

I'm home tonight a little on edge about my doctor's appointment tomorrow. Why? Not sure. I'm certain that God is in control. My steps are ordained by Him. He knew this day would come before I was born. He has everything planned out for my life... from birth to death.

The uncertainty of tomorrow and what it holds could drive any of us mad. From finances, jobs, relationships, and health, trusting in my understanding and the reassurance that I create, I fall apart. Intentionally, I don't try to make it on my own, but when I depend on my own resources, I forget the hand of provision on my life and the fact that He will take care of my concerns. He will see me through. I sometimes relate the outcome to whether or not God took care of it. Reality is, He is in control no matter what the test results say, no matter what the bank statement says, how much I like or dislike my job, or whether or not I am married, single, dating or not...

My circumstances do NOT change God's promises! How reassuring! Whatever I'm facing, God remains the same. What shakes me does NOT shake God. He is my rock and my fortress! (Ps 18:2)

I'm holding to Zephaniah's words tonight...

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

I am choosing to let God quiet my heart. He hasn't given me a spirit of fear. I will rest in His love regardless of my circumstances... and in that rest in His arms as he sings in delight.