Saturday, March 31, 2012

Drum Roll Please...And The Winner of "Illusion" Is..

I am thrilled that so many of you left a comment for a chance to win, "Illusion", by Frank Peretti. I have decided to give my copy away as well. So, there are two lucky winners! You don't have the lucky lottery ticket for billions, but winning a Frank Peretti book is pretty amazing!

The winners are Shelly Faust and Michelle V. Yay! I will contact you both via email and get your snail mail so I get these out to you this coming Monday!

Again, thank you all for leaving a comment. It's always an honor to have folks pop in at my Nest.

Blessings and Happy Reading!

Friday, March 30, 2012

What Do You Do With, Move?

For the last few months I have been hearing the Lord say, "Move". I continue to pray and I keep asking, "Okay, Lord, I hear You, but where do you want me to move?" This has really been hard for me and my family. It is an unsettling feeling. There is an unsureness in the air. I mean, "Move", can mean a lot of things.

Funny thing? That comfy feeling I had? It's no longer comfy and cozy. I feel the need to move, but until the Lord tells me when and where all I know to do is, pray. Most of all, I need to be still. How do you remain still while the Lord is whispering in your ear, "Move"?

I must say, there too is an excitement in my heart. Not sure where or what He has before me, but with Him, it's gotta be good. I have had a great ministry opportunity come before me. One that I see great hopes in and one that terrifies me. Yep, I am allowing those fears to stop me in my tracks. Could that be why the Lord is telling me to move? Does He see my fear holding me back? It could very well be.

I mean, this "Move", has had me question whether or not I need to remain in my home church of nineteen years or move elsewhere. I can honestly tell you, that thought terrifies me. I love my church family. My family grew up there. God changed my heart in that second row pew forever. We raised five children in that pew. We have seen four children baptised there, including myself and my hubs. Hubs was baptised there at the age of thirteen. So, for us to move, is a serious decision and one that we don't take lightly.

We too have been looking at new homes. Wondering if after raising our children here in our home, is it time for a move? Oh, the tears may start rolling now.

Does it mean move right where we are and be more involved? Does it mean move our bodies all together? When you hear something so huge from God, you ask, "Where to, Lord?" It could mean to move physically or spritually. Move closer to Him? That is my heart, to move closer to Him each and every day.

Is there more for us somewhere else? Is there another area He wants us to serve and grow in? I just don't know. That's the unsettling part. It would be nice to hear all of the instructions at once so you could prepare. LOL But the thing is, God gives a little at a time. I think He is growing me in this move. So, when that move comes I will be prepared. The only way for me to be prepared is to be prayed up.

In seeking God's will, I not only grow in Him, but I grow myself. I get to understand who He has created me to be. I must tell you, I keep telling my husband. "I want to serve. I want to reach the women of our community. I want to be God's vessel, but..." Isn't there always a but included? For me, that but is, that I feel so very small. Why could God call me to be part of something so huge? I already know the answer. He never calls us to something small and expected. God is all in the unexpected and HUGE. In the huge I must count on Him and seek Him to find strength and wisdom. I must totally surrender to Him with a humble heart. When it's too big for me, He gets to shine. Because then, it's no longer about me, but all about Him. You know, I love that part!

Are you looking for His will today? Are you searching for where you are to be? There is so much work to be done. He has already gifted us. Yes, He has! We have everything we all ready need for the work. We just have to tap in to His resources.

I read. I study. I pray. I am growing. But even in my growth, I still doubt myself. Isn't that funny? I can see God's mighty hand at work. I know He has a plan and purpose. My faith is right there with Him, but my doubts come when I think of, "Why would He want to use me?" Do you ever feel that way?

I don't want to make the wrong decision or jump too fast. I want to make sure my move is His move. So I will wait and wait, until I hear more from Him. It's kind of exciting waiting for that next bit of information.

Friends, if you are hearing the Lord call you to move today, wait upon the instructions. Allow Him to be the GPS and make sure your map is wide open. Don't jump ahead too quick, but be still and know that when we wait upon His direction, we can't go wrong. He will make His path clear when the time is right.

So, if you are waiting like me, remain in prayer and seek Him totally. Surrender all those fears and allow Him to remove that anxiety of, "Why would He use me?" He wants to use you because He loves you. He designed you for greatness. He wants you to soar.

As I am finding, before we can soar, we must learn to let go and allow Him to take the lead.

"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear; I will help you."
Isaiah 41:13

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
Proverbs 3:5

"Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You."
Psalm 9:10

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Don't let the sting hold you back (Another post from the past)

I don't know about you, but sometimes it is a scary thing to just completely love. Unconditional love means loving without fear. We are afraid of letting go. It is when we let go and release love that we must remember it isn't about us. It is about the other person. It is about allowing Christ to love through us.

I have felt the sting of rejection as of late. It seems I am on the outside looking through a window trying to get a glimpse. The harder I try to see, the foggier the window becomes. The more we try to get in sometimes the door is only open partially. So, what do we do? What do we do with a door open just a bit or a window that clouds quickly? We take that glimpse for however long and rejoice. We peek inside that door and simply say hello. No matter the rejection, we still love completely. It is through that complete love that the door will one day open all the way. Through taking small glimpses and showing Christ like love the window will become more clear and His love penetrates through. Too often we just simply give up. It becomes too hard trying to reach one and it doesn't help with Satan whispering in our ear. Can you hear him? "Your not loved. Your not good enough. You have nothing to offer. Just give up and move on." Oh, his words cut deep and we can find our self drowning in those hurtful words. We begin to believe them. Satan wants to place a wedge between us and those we love. Giving him room only pushes us out of the way more. When we close the door on him, and release our fear of love, is when we can find peace, knowing one day as we will get a great glimpse. We must carry hope within our hearts.

As I sat in my room on Christmas Day the tears didn't stop flowing. I just simply got on my knees and let it all out. Rejection hurts. Being left out hurts. The pain of not being wanted is one that cuts deep. It seems in some cases you are only wanted if you can give something. As I cried out to God for wisdom, He spoke to me. I heard His whisper  write on my heart, "This is how I feel my daughter." See, although my rejection hurts today, Jesus feels it everyday. This whole world rejects Christ daily. He gives, He loves, He serves, He loves unconditionally. He is reaching out as this world turns away. The small amount of pain I feel from a few, He feels from many. He was not only shunned during His ministry, but after giving His life upon the cross, dying, being resurrected, He is still shunned. We find ourselves asking, "How much do I have to give?" Christ gave ALL. Yes, even Christians shun Him. We don't give Him our time. We love with conditions. We look to Him expecting something in return. We want what we want when we want it. If Jesus isn't giving us that, we then turn away seeking it on our own. Every time we disobey. Every time we place something before Him, we shun Him. When we place our fleshly desires above Him, we are shunning the God who gave all. Is it worth it? Is it really worth leaving Him to find it on our own? Is it really love if you only love with conditions? How does this sound, "I will love you as long as you continue to do for me?" It seems we say it more and more. Oh, we don't have to say it with our words, our actions speak louder.

He wants to get a glimpse of our lives. He doesn't want to look through the window, He wants to be in the room. He wants to be in our heart. He doesn't just want a few minutes when we have time. He wants our total attention. He wants to meet with us before anyone else. That should make our day knowing there is One who wants to spend time with us. Ever try to call another and get together? Sometimes that person on the other end says, "Sure, how about today?" But others, well, that is when we feel the sting. We don't hear back from them. We hear from them when they have time. It's almost as though we must make an appointment and then it is cut short because the other doesn't have time. But what happens if you call another and have a great deal to offer? Maybe lunch in the city or a gift waiting? Ah, then the whole picture changes. You know, I am not sure I want to spend time with another if all they are after is something for themselves. Do you think Jesus ever feels that way? We can make Him our personal genie. Asking for all we want, but never quite getting to what He wants for us.

As I felt my tears fall down my cheeks, I thought of heaven's tears. I thought of the times Jesus must simply cry for those who turn away. Once we have been hurt, it is scary to give yourself all over again. We hold back in fear of the unknown. What if I give love and never have it returned? We must not think that way. Jesus shows us how to love. He shows us how to accept. He shows forgiveness. He wrote the book on love. We must love without a list. We must love without expecting. We must give all in love. The thing is, Jesus doesn't hold back. He isn't waiting for things to be perfect. He just wants us to love Him as He loves us. He wants to walk with us and talk with us. If we love with expectations and limitations we make it all about us. That is not love.

As much as it hurts to love sometimes, may we forever remember the love of Christ and how far He was willing to go for love. He shows us what love is and isn't.

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

During my walk with the Lord, He continues to show me, He is enough. His love is enough. So, as I sit before Him I find my heart asking, "Is it really? Do I really believe what I say? He is either enough or He isn't." As long I continue to find my worth and acceptance in others, He is not enough. It's when I totally surrender all, that He is enough. It is when I stop looking to others to complete me and look to Him that I find all I need is right there in my Savior's love.

By holding back we will only miss great opportunities for love. By holding back we not only hurt the other, but we hurt ourselves. When we hold back time escapes us and we might one day find ourselves wishing we would have just taken the chance and loved without fear.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Finding Peace When All Is Not Peaceful

When we are faced with trials what do we do? Well, what we should do is go to the Lord in prayer. I am learning this, but just as you, I don't always do what I know I should do. I follow my heart. When your heart is breaking, following your heart is not a good thing to do. For me, it just gets shattered even more.

A few years back our home was filled with struggles. Those teenage years with our daughters were not easy. Oh, there was love, laughter and joy, that filled our home, but there too were days of pure hell. I don't know any other way to say it.

I wish a parenting guide came along with our children. The problems we face seem so big at the time. Later, as the years pass, you realize it wasn't so bad. Well, it was, it's just that the Lord brought you through it and washed you in His grace. Now instead of looking back you look forward. We grow and we learn with each trial that comes knocking. Sometimes we overcome with great courage and other times we fail in sheer fear.

There were times as a mom I know I rocked it! There too are those times where I wish I could have a do over. In remembering those years that seem like ages ago now, I can honestly see where I went wrong. I didn't go straight to the Lord. Oh, I did my share of screaming and crying, but I don't think I fully trusted Him. Things were not going as planned and I was angry at Him for allowing my family to go through such difficult times.

After all, we were doing everything right. We were in church. We served. We worked. We worshipped together. It was, "We", in our home and we served God with a passion. It seemed like the more I did, the more was going wrong and that was something I couldn't grasp. I couldn't understand how God would allow me and my daughters to go through such trying times when I was so focused on Him.

Then it hit me, I was focused on Him, but I was wanting Him to allow things to go my way. I was surrendering to Him, but I was only giving up what I wanted and holding tight to those things that I wasn't ready to let go of just yet, maybe not ever.

That is a scary place to be. So, what do you do? Well, for me I called on friends for help. I wanted someone to step in and fix things. I needed fixed. I needed someone to point me in the right direction and say, "Do this and all will be well". I shared my heart and they gave advice. Some I ignored and some I chose to follow. I was blessed.  My close knit circle of friends were there every step of the way, but you know what? I now know I didn't need advice. I didn't need someone to jump in and fix things. What I needed was for someone to remind me to stay focused on Christ. I needed  to hear, "Trust Him and He will show you the way."

I needed reminded of my teenage years and the troubles I brought my own parents. How soon we forget our teenage years when our own children are testing the boundaries. I needed to be reminded, "Don't give up. Hang in there and all will be okay. Don't move too soon and never stop praying."

Where had my faith gone? Was it my faith being tested all along? There were moments I was ready to give up on God. I had no idea where He went, but I knew He wasn't concerned with what was going on in our home.

Today, I can tell you, He never left. He was right there all along. I was just choosing to see the circumstances and the trials instead of His faithful presence. I didn't want my daughters to make the same mistakes I had made. I wanted more for them. I wanted to see them soar. As a mom it is so hard to see your children make mistakes. But as a mom, in order for our children to soar, we must learn to let go and allow God to move and work in their lives. It's a journey. A journey that we cannot control. Ouch!

I can tell you my relationship with my daughters is healing. It is much better and that isn't because of what we have done or what has been fixed. It's because of the grace of God. It's forgiveness and growth. It's the sweetness of the bond between a mother and daughter. The road isn't always going to be perfect and you know what? We cannot compare our lives with those of others around us.

It was easy for friends to say, "Do this", when they had never been down the road I was traveling on with my girls. We must be careful with the advice that we give. I think that is a huge lesson I have learned along the way. When friends come to me now, I point them to Christ and pray with them. I listen and cry with them. I go to God in prayer for them, but I in no way can tell them what to do. We are all different and we all are on a different path and all come from different backgrounds. What works for one doesn't always work for another. What is right for us, isn't always  what's right for another. We can't put ourselves in another person's shoes. All circumstances are unique.

There are times in life when we want everything fixed right now and we want perfection. First of all, perfection is what exactly? No family is perfect, no matter how good it looks on the outside. Each and every family has their own struggles they face. We cannot worry about how others will judge us or how they will react to our family journey. All we must focus on is our Lord and Savior. He has our life planned out from beginning to end. Who better to trust? If He knows what lies up ahead, shouldn't we just slow down and wait on Him and His direction? Quick fixes don't last. Sure, they may cover up the issue, but sooner or later that bandage gets ripped off and that isn't pretty. Healing comes with patience and grace. I didn't have to totally understand what was going on, I just needed to trust God and know that He was still in control even though everything around us was out of control.

I now have beautiful grandchildren. God has blessed. We have overcome issues and face new ones as they come. I no longer scream at the top of my lungs at God and run to Him for that quick fix. I have learned to step back and trust. I didn't get there over night. It has taken many years of learning to let go and let God.

I am blessed with the most beautiful daugthers in the world. My life can be seen through the beauty of their eyes and the smile they have that lights up a room. If I look back, tears can flow, at what I wish life could have been. But if I look forward, I can smile and know that without a doubt joy comes in the morning.

Friends, if you are facing an issue this morning, remember tomorrow will come. The clouds will break and God will show you the way. The sun will shine again and when you notice it this time it will be even brighter. Through the trials that have captivated my life I have learned great lessons. Lessons that have prepared me for others that have cropped up out of no where. He hasn't left you. Look to Him and not your circumstances. Trust in His Word and not your heart. Learn to be still and wait upon Him. That pain you feel today will grow into peace. Your journey is not over. Trust Him and He will lead you a place of solace. Pure joy comes when we surrender all to Him. It's there, my friend, reach for Him and see. God has a way of working everything out for the good of those who believe in Him. By trusting in Him we get to see His mighty hand at work. When we surrender to Him we witness His glory through our weakness. We must remember to not see our circumstances as simply pain, but as an opportunity for God to do something HUGE!

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."
Hebrews 11:1

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Don't worry about anything: instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


First I want to invite everyone to the give a way of Illusion. All you must do is leave a comment under the give a way post and you will be entered. The winner will be announced on March 31! Just follow this link, GIVE A WAY, and it will take you right to the post!

Now, on to my review. I was excited to begin reading this novel that I was anticipating the arrival of in a little brown package dropped off by my UPS man who I have grown to love! I started out fast, thinking it would be a one night read for sure, but then I realized, I gotta slow down. If I didn't slow down I was going to miss details that would be important for later in the read. Not unlike life, right?

I have read review after review of this book and I promise not to do what I see others doing. Telling you the entire story! I wouldn't have wanted anyone to ruin this read for me. I can tell you, yes, it's a love story. With the title, "Illusion", it kind of tells itself and with Frank Peretti as the author, well, you know your in for a ride.

I loved this book! No doubt there were some parts that seemed to take forever, but again, it's a slow read. One that goes over the hills and valleys of these characters and you get to see each and every part. Peretti is one of a few writers who masterfully tells a story. He takes us on journey and here we see the effects of trying to find yourself in a world that doesn't seem to make sense and where you feel totally lost as you find your way in the dark. But with Peretti, he shows you the light at the end of the tunnel. As usual, Peretti, builds the story as he pens each chapter. I love picking up a book and I have no idea where I'm headed, but I know the ride is going to be great. That is the gift when you have Peretti in the writing seat.

Have you ever considered time travel? If you have ever wanted a do over, you have. We get to see how loves travels the distance. God's love remains strong and steady. He is unchanging. This world and the evils around us try to change us and mold us into creatures of self, but when you follow the Lord, you see He is always in control, no matter how much this world tries to take it out of His hands.

We are all on a journey, trying to find the real us and it can be hard in a world trying to change us. Too many times we are headed for tomorrow and we totally miss out on the blessings of today. We try to control things around us and change things that don't need fixed. We play God and that isn't how it is to be. We are to follow Him and take His lead. Oh, how sweet life can be if we just seek Him and learn to trust His will for our lives. These are just a few of the things I loved about this novel.

Have you read, Illusion? What are your thoughts? Some are going to love it and some just might put it down. For me, it's a keeper. I am learning to trust what I cannot see beyond and live in this moment, for we never know what the next will bring.

If your looking for a great ride, this is a read for you. Again, it's a slow read and a thinker. If your willing to put in the time you will reap the blessings. May you enjoy it to the fullest!

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Do You Need Rescued Today?

Yesterday while on my drive to town I reached a hill where I saw an ambulance and police cars. My heart skipped a beat. I thought, "Is there an accident? Is someone injured?" I slowed to drive past and said a prayer. God knew the needs. He didn't need me to know the information. He just needed me to be a vessel of prayer.

I arrived at my mom's house and she informed me of what had happened. She had heard the news on her scanner. A young man, the age of 26, committed suicide. My heart sank. I left her home and got in my car to go do her shopping. As I was driving I had my Adele Cd turned up, but then I no longer could enjoy the music that lifts me up. My heart felt that I simply needed to pray.

Finally, on my way home, I passed by the house again. The ambulance was missing, but the officer's cars were still there, but I noticed something more. I could see a large group of people sitting and standing outside the home. Tears began to flow and my heart stirred again to pray.

I thought, "Did this young man wake up today knowing it would be his last day? Had he contemplated taking his own life for days, months, maybe even years?" Then it hit me, "Where was his hope?" What had happened in this young man's life to change everything for him? Then I remembered when I was in that dark room.

My thoughts went back to about seven years ago when all seemed dark in my life. Troubles had grabbed hold of my heart. Every day, no matter what good there was in my life, all I could see was the bad. I couldn't shake the hurt I was feeling or the unknown. In a home of hunters I could take my pick of which gun to place in my hand. I knew where the bullets were stored. Could it really be that easy? Could I really end all of my pain I was feeling? I just wanted the pain to end and I didn't want to think about anyone or anything. In my pain I just wanted to hide.

I was at the end. I didn't want to face what tomorrow would bring. My perfect life was not perfect any longer. My happy home was no longer filled with laughter. It was a night I  was home alone and I walked into our bedroom. I fell to my knees as I felt the Lord take my hand. I felt His strength wash over me and before me I no longer seen the pain, but I saw hope. I could hear Jesus saying to me, "Your work on this earth is not finished yet, daughter. There is so much more you do not see. Be strong. Be still and know that I am your God."

In those few moments my life changed forever. I grabbed on to the hope of Christ and I made the choice to not let go. Was every day easy? No, it wasn't, but instead of seeing the bad, I chose to see the good. Each day was a physical and mental choice for me to reach for God. I learned to trust Him. I learned to wait upon Him. I learned that I did not have control over the choices of others. I couldn't fix everything. I had to totally let go and let God. That meant surrendering ALL. He was not only surrounding me with His strength, but He was teaching me. Guiding me to a new faith. A new day of hope.

Not only was this a huge step for me in my faith, but for my life. Surrendering was not easy. I would give something over to the Lord only to take it back that evening and wonder, "Now, I know just what needs to be done here. I can make this better." Ha! So, I thought. The more I tried the worse things grew. That's when I knew that God's plan was better.

Over the years, those very issues that had almost taken my life, are now better. Life is not perfect, but I had to come to realize, "What is perfection?" Heaven. That was the answer. I long to see heaven. I long to spend my days with the Lord, but I know here on earth there is much to be done. Life on this earth is not easy. Some days are downright heartbreaking and earth shattering. But we must remain in hope. There is much to enjoy. I have to make the choice each day whether or not I am going to choose to see hope and feel joy.

That was where my prayers had grown  for this family. I asked the Lord to show them His hope. To wrap His mercies around them and wash them in His grace. To give them peace when there is no way for them to understand. Their pain was not over.

Friends, we put on so many masks and hide our pain. I had to learn to let go of my pride and reach out for help. I not only relied on God, but my husband and close friends who I confided in, along with my pastor. I was blessed to be surrounded by people who loved me and helped me to overcome.

I know in America there are people who are thinking of ending it all today. I wish I could reach out to all of them and just say, "You have a hope. You have a Savior who wants more for you." Sometimes people just need a hug. They need someone to pay attention. They need someone to listen. When your at the end and you feel like there is no tomorrow, you didn't get there overnight. Healing takes time, but it can begin today if you will turn to Jesus. Healing came for me. It too can come for you with time and trusting in the promises of God.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God."
Isaiah 41:10

"The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."
Psalm 9:9

"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close to me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me."
Psalm 23:4

"Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."
Psalm 55:22

"Then Jesus said, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."
Matthew 22:28-29

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Learning Lessons from Jairus

I have written many posts on Mark 5:25-34. It is the story about the woman of suffering for twelve long years. All this time I have missed another portion of this story. One that goes right along with the healing of this woman.

Yes, I am speaking about Jairus. How did I miss it? It's right here before my eyes. Maybe the Lord was saving this for me to uncover when I needed a reminder that He always has everything under control.

Jairus was a leader in the synagogue. His daughter became ill and was dying. He was out to find Jesus. Jesus is just stepping out of the boat and has come ashore. Jairus sees Him and quickly goes to Him. He pleads with Jesus to heal his daughter. Can you imagine this man's pain and worry? When your child is sick you will move heaven and earth for them. As a parent we must remember there is only so much we can do. The rest we must rely on Christ. Jairus was relying. He knew what faith could do. But something happens after he  tells Jesus about his daughter.

Jesus is following him. He is right behind his steps and all of a sudden, Jairus looks back and Jesus is lost in the crowd. Someone else has captured the attention of Jesus. It's a woman. One who knows suffering. This woman and the touch of His garment captures His attention. He takes His time with this woman. Isn't that a beautiful portrait of our Savior? But what about Jairus?

Jairus has almost reached his home and as he is waiting on Jesus he is told by a messenger that his daughter is dead. I cannot imagine hearing those words. Just the thought brings fresh tears to my eyes, but the story doesn't end there. Jesus arrives. Doesn't He always? We think He is late, but He is always right on time.

He says to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just have faith." Mark 5:36 I love this next part. Jesus brings Peter, James and John along with Him. They get closer to the home of Jairus and they hear the crying and see the commotion. Jesus speaks and says, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn't dead; she's only asleep." Mark 5:39 

The crowd actually laughed at Jesus. Can you imagine? I can. I have been there before just like Thomas. Just like Sarah. Doubt can cloud my mind very quickly and take over my thoughts. What better way for Satan to take hold of our minds than fill us with doubt. We see the laughter in Mark 5:40. Jesus hears the laughter and sees the doubt on the faces before Him and in this moment He makes everyone who was there leave. He takes the mother and father and the disciples inside with Him. Jesus followed Jairus home, but now Jesus is leading them inside. Isn't that just like our Savior? He sees us when we are in need and follows us, captures our attention, so we can then follow His lead.

Jesus takes the hand of the little girl and says, "Talitha koum," which means "Little girl, get up!" Mark 5:41

Now this part really stirs my heart. She was twelve years old!! The woman who was suffering, suffered for twelve years. He brought healing to both. Coincidence? I don't think so. The number 12 is significant in the Bible. Check more about the number 12 out by clicking HERE.

Through this we can see that we should  not worry. Really, at times we worry ourselves until we are completely and utterly spent. It takes a lot of energy to worry. Why do we have such a hard time remembering Jesus has it ALL under control? When we are worrying our faith is absent. It is in faith that we know and believe that Jesus is bigger than any trouble we face. It is through each and every trial that we learn and grow in faith. I can look back through my life and see how Jesus was there in each and every moment.

He has our past, present and future in His hands. He knows what's up ahead, just as with Jairus and the amazing thing is, He is already there, my friends. He knows the need. We just have to have the faith to see it through. Can you imagine the feeling the disciples had at this moment? They had just witnessed Jesus healing two people. One twelve years old and one suffering for twelve years. No matter what we are facing Jesus is there.

Ya know, whether we are that person who sees our cup half full or half empty, we might want to remember we have a cup and it has something in it. Instead of focusing on how we see it, focus on God and our cup will always be overflowing. It's all in our perspective and if we are totally focused on Christ and not our circumstances we will always see the blessings first. We witness daily the astounding works of God. He is always at work and He is always everywhere. Only God can do that. That deserves some praise!

Faith like a mustard seed. Now that itty bitty seed grows into a GIANT tree. Doesn't happen over night. It grows as it is watered and fed. Faith is a journey. Just a little faith goes a long way and is GIANT when your facing the world. Remember little David? With faith he killed Goliath. Whatever Goliath your facing today is no challenge for a faith filled child of God!

Instead of me looking back, like Jairus, to find where the Lord is, I need to remind myself that He is already there. He knows my need before I do. His timing is perfect. Just like me reading about Jairus. I needed that reminder. I get ahead of myself and run before Jesus thinking He needs to follow me. No, I need to get out of His way so He can take the lead.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What if this was all?

Friends, do you find yourself longing for heaven? I must say, I look for Him daily. If we love Him. If we live a life in faith. We should be seeking Him more and more as the days go by. Just what if this was the last day you had here on this earth? Sometimes I find myself pondering what I would be doing if the Lord returned today. Hm..some days He would find me in His Word. Some days He would find me laughing and encouraging others. He would most likely find my nose buried in a book. But, some days, well, I wouldn't want Him to find me in my pity pot. I wouldn't want Him to return as my road rage has caught me as I'm traveling down the highway. Nope, not on the days where I'm a crab and downright sassy. The thing is, we don't know when He will return. We know it's soon. We know He's coming for those who love Him, but what are we doing to prepare?

We make tons of lists. We prepare for the baseball game. We prepare for the coming weeks. Vacation is on our schedule. We wake preparing for work and our daily duties. We prepare for just about everything in life. Think back at those tests you stayed up all night for to receive that appreciated A. I think about how I am preparing for heaven and how I am not preparing. We long for it, but what are we doing to get others prepared? Am I really sharing His love everywhere I go? Do all of my neighbors I see in their yards daily know Him? Does my family seek Him? I don't even want to answer all of those questions, but I know, one day, Jesus just might ask me, "Where were you, My daughter? Why were you not busy in My work? Why are you so unprepared?" To think of that simply breaks my heart.

I want to be totally sold out for Christ. I want to give Him all. I want to surrender to His every call. But here's the thing. What if this was all there was? Nothing more, nothing less. Would I still worship Him? Would I still serve Him and seek Him daily? That kind of places faith in perspective doesn't it? Ah, do we believe just because we are tired of life on earth and want peace in heaven or do we sincerely want to serve and live for Him regardless of the reward? I have to remind myself daily about what my real motivation is.

I was thinking of His love this morning. His love is so real. I cannot imagine life without Him. I feel His presence with me. I know that He is here cheering me onward. I hear His soft whisper telling me to slow down and be still. Too many times I miss all the details when I am trying so hard to see the big picture. It's like going to the art museum and standing before a painting. It captures your senses. It captivates your thoughts. We stand in awe of the beauty before us, but it isn't until we spend more time there, that we notice each brush stroke. We see the intricate detail and that's when we stand in awe of how this master painter designed such beauty.

We are His workmanship. He created every little detail about us and He didn't stop there. He put our life in place moment by moment and set blessing before us to witness and take hold of. He isn't finished with us yet. To think that my name was written in the Book of Life before I ever took my first breath amazes me. He loves me so much and had a great hope even then that I would love Him. That I would seek Him and live my life sold out for Him, that in advance, He put my name in the Book of Life, hoping that I would say yes to His invitation to be my Savior. My name will not be blotted out at the end of my life. It will remain and friends, that gives me a great hope of what is to come and how much I should treasure each moment He gives me here. I shouldn't long for heaven so greatly that I forget there is work to be done. There are blessings to behold and treasures to unfold.

No matter what happens, at the end of the day, God is still good. He is good all the time. There is no love greater than the love He has for you and me. I want to live out my life that even if this is all there is to life, that He would still find me seeking Him just because He loves me, not for what He can give me.

It is my hope today that you too seek Him. Maybe today is a new spring in your life. I hope we can wake looking for joy and not allowing our circumstances to steal away all that He has for us. Look for Him today. Look around every corner and bend in the road. You are sure to find Him and when you do, let the praises begin.

"And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found blameless in His sight."
2 Peter 3:14

"But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn't really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent."
2 Peter 3:8-9

"So be truly glad. There is a wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remians strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Through you do not see Him now, you must trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:6-9

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Hey friends, right now I am reading, "Illusion", written by Frank Peretti. This book is amazing! Total Peretti style. Howard Books is having a give-a-way. That means I have an extra  advanced readers copy to send out to you! If you are a Frank Peretti fan you are going to love this newest novel. If you have never read any books written by Frank Peretti you are missing out, my friend!

So, what do you do to enter the contest? Just leave a comment under this post including your email so I can reach you to let you know if you are the blessed winner.

The winner will be announced next Saturday, March 31!

Click here to find out more about this amazing book out now!

Frank Peretti with more than 12 million novels in print, Frank Peretti is nothing short of a publishing phenomenon and has been called “America’s hottest Christian novelist.” The Oath (Word Publishing 1995), sold more than half a million copies within the first six months of release. The Visitation (Word Publishing 1999), was #1 on the CBA Fiction Bestseller list for four months. Peretti is a natural storyteller who, as a youngster in Seattle, regularly gathered the neighborhood children for animated storytelling sessions. After graduating from high school, he began playing banjo with a local bluegrass group. He and his wife were married in 1972, and Peretti soon moved from touring with a pop band to launching a modest Christian music ministry. Peretti later spent time studying English, screen writing and film at UCLA and then assisted his father in pastoring a small Assembly of God church. In 1983, he gave up his pastoring position and began taking construction jobs to make ends meet. While working at a local ski factory, he began writing This Present Darkness, the book that would catapult him into the public eye. After numerous rejections from publishers and a slow start in sales, word-of-mouth enthusiasm finally lifted This Present Darkness onto a tidal wave of interest in spiritual warfare. The book appeared on Bookstore Journal’s bestseller list every month for more than eight years. Peretti’s two spiritual warfare novels, This Present Darkness (1986) and Piercing the Darkness (1989), captivated readers, together selling more than 3.5 million copies. The Oath was awarded the 1996 Gold Medallion Award for best fiction. Frank Peretti and his wife, Barbara Jean, live in the Western U.S. In spite of sudden fame and notoriety, Frank still lives a simple, well-rounded life that includes carpentry, banjo making, sculpturing, bicycling and hiking. He is also an avid pilot.

Backwords (A backwards word list for gamers) by Cherie K. Miller

I received this book for review and at first I wasn't quite sure about it, but then it hit me. I started streaming through the pages and unlike a dictionary, this book lists words ending in a letter! How cool for this girl who loves word games! I am such a word nerd. This book is perfect for me! This book is filled with words ending in letters from a-z, included are 2-letter words, 3-letter words and 4-letter words.

This book is amazing for gamers, students and just an all around fun book to check out words. If you are a writer this book is a must! It's a great addition to my desk of information. If you love to rhyme in your poetry, this book is a must!

Check it out and other books written by Cheri K. Miller just by clicking here.

This book was a gift from Wisdom Creek Press for it's review.

Cherie K. Miller is the founder and president of Wisdom Creek Press, LLC and works with the Masters in American Studies program at Kennesaw State University. She has published books, written for national magazines and written a newspaper column called Kidding Around for a Chicago newspaper chain.  She achieved her MA in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University in 2007. Miller is the current President of the Georgia Writers Association, a state-wide nonprofit organization promoting authorship in Georgia. For more information about Miller, visit

Writing Conversations (Spend 365 days with your favorite authors, learning the craft of writing) by Cherie K. Miller

I am a lover of devotionals that help get me jump started each morning. Well, here is a new kind of devotional geared toward writers. Each day you can read from great authors wisdom to get you jump started on your writing for the day. Just a little encouragement goes a long way. Each day an author shares a little wisdom from the craft of writing such as how to persevere with those struggling days where your having writer's block and how to grow in your creativity. We usually don't receive rejection well and this book is filled with encouraging words that will help you stay inspired and keep those keys moving. It holds everything from learning your craft, beginnings, to finding story ideas. Great for newbies just beginning their writing journey and those who have lived a life time writing.

This book was a gift from Wisdom Creek Press for it's review.

Cherie K. Miller is the founder and president of Wisdom Creek Press, LLC and works with the Masters in American Studies program at Kennesaw State University. She has published books, written for national magazines and written a newspaper column called Kidding Around for a Chicago newspaper chain.  She achieved her MA in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University in 2007. Miller is the current President of the Georgia Writers Association, a state-wide nonprofit organization promoting authorship in Georgia. For more information about Miller, visit

Sell More Books by J. Steve Miller and Cherie K. Miller

Now, if your looking for excitement you might wanna have that thriller novel next to your bed, but for a dose of revelation on the publishing world, you should have this book handy. I am so blessed that Steve sent this book to me. As a newbie, this book is filled with great insight from people who have been there and understand the hopes you have of selling your first novel. This book contains a wide variety of information.

Sell More Books was named as an Award Winner in the Writing and Publishing category of The USA Best Books 2011 Awards. It more recently won a Pinnacle Award in the How To category.

This is one of those great books that can help set you on the road to publication. It too can help calm those fears and inspire your hopes. In having all the information you need to publication it can set us on a great road to enjoying our writing. The more we know and can understand the better prepared we are for the journey.

This book was a gift from Wisdom Creek Press for it's review.

J. Steve Miller loves to write and sell his books. As founder and president of Legacy Educational Resources, he publishes resources that are used by educators in every state and over 30 countries. His book on contemporary church music was used as a text and translated into Dutch, German, Romanian, Spanish and Russian. His book on personal finance has won multiple awards. Steve has spoken from Atlanta to Moscow. Find him at or

Cherie K. Miller is the founder and president of Wisdom Creek Press and works with the Masters in American Studies program at Kennesaw State University. Until recently, she served as the President of the Georgia Writers Association, a state-wide nonprofit organization promoting authorship in Georgia. She has published books, written for national magazines and written a newspaper column for a Chicago newspaper. She earned her MA in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University in 2007.  For more information on Cherie, visit

Thursday, March 15, 2012


His Gift
Written By
Shawn Boreta

My life in words has been God’s greatest gift to me. For through words, His Word, the words of others and words He fills me with to pour out to pages, I am given reason upon reason to seek Him even more.

There is a treasure in all of us. This treasure resides deep in the recesses of our life - it’s the memories that we can glean hope from, regardless of the circumstances – it’s the smile that came from nowhere when we need it most – it’s the word of encouragement that we hear in the depth of our darkest moments – it’s the hope of an underserved eternity with our Creator.

My Treasure is Jesus, which makes me His treasure.

My life is no longer mine, which makes me His treasure. Now with that in mind, I live my days in amazing hope and recently have found strength I know is not mine at all. Now, think about being the treasure of the One who created all things, it is quite mind blowing, and quite honestly not something that I want to put in earthly perspective. I love keeping it as an overwhelming and amazing gift.

Treasure His Gift!

There are T.remendous assurances in God’s Word, but only when R.ead with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. In the beginning of my faith, but way into my God-journey, I discovered immediately the hope of His gift and the E.ncouragement through His Word. As I set out on learning who I am in Christ, there has been discovery upon discovery of the many gifts I never knew I had. Writing came in an A.mazing way – I was never a writer, in fact, I could not pass the college entry exam due to my writing and comprehension abilities and was encouraged to choose a profession that did not include writing. Now looking at that miracle truly brings a S.mile to the deepest part of my soul. Through writing, I heal, through sharing, what He gives through the keyboard encourages others; as I grow toward healing I too am greatly encouraged. What an U.nending blessing this has been in my life, because through this I have learned to live in manner which truly R.eflects gratitude. There is no other way I would want to live, I have tried the other way, and living in gratitude and E.nveloping all that He has for me has defined truth greater than any other experience.

The moment I chose Jesus, I was H.ealed and I am lovingly and tenderly I.nterceded for greatly and often as I live in this broken world, full of the sick and needy. Now, this assurance and love is available to all, but few will take Him in. And, out of those who believe, most won’t take Him at His word and promises. S.alvation is the beginning and when we wholly and completely realize what Jesus did, what God planned all along for us, it is also the ‘in between’ for what He finished.

Living comes through dying. For me to live completely in G.ratitude for what He did for me, I have to realize what the cost truly is, and the I.mportance of His work. We are F.orever His and that is truly a T.remendous gift.

My life in words has been God’s greatest gift to me. Every day I am encouraged, and my hope daily is that I can honor Him as I write, hope, share and believe even more.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." ~Luke 12:34 (AMP)


Friends, I encourage you to take the time to pop in at Shawn's links and see all the amazing things she is involved with. She is a gifted writer who shares inspirational stories daily. She is a great and mighty encourager. I know she would love to connect with you. She too would be delighted to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave her a message here. I know that would be a great encouragement to her.

© 2012 Shawn Boreta

On Facebook: Personal Page:

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My life is very average, and on occasion extraordinary circumstances or situations arise. In these words, are tid-bits of that life. My name is Shawn Delia Boreta and I am a fortunate woman. God has provided me many gifts, my parents, both sets are just the beginning.

Shawn, what a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing with us today. You are such a sweet, dedicated woman of God. It is clear to see that you are a willing vessel for the Lord. He simply shines through you. You are a treasure to all who know you. We are so blessed to be His children, aren't we? We have such a loving God. We are His workmanship. Created in love to do amazing things with the gifts He has blessed us with beyond all imagine. Through Him there is nothing we cannot do. Blessings to you, Shawn. I pray your ministries continue to grow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bread For Today

Did you wake up this morning thinking about tomorrow? Are you worried that  your husband won't get that job he needs so badly? Maybe you don't answer your phone anymore because bill collectors continue to call at all hours. Find yourself in tears about lunch time because you don't know what you will put on the dinner table tonight? Your prescriptions are at the drug store and your wondering how in the world your going to get them. You go to bed at night and sleep does not come easy. In fact, sleep only comes after you have cried each and every tear you have bottled up. Your heart is full. Your mind is racing. All you can think about is, "What are we going to do?"

How do I know? That was me a few years back. When my husband was laid off work for three years life was rough. Stress was high. Emotions were on the edge. When the savings drew empty and the unemployment stopped short, there was little left. Your pride gets in the way and you really don't want to ask for help, but then life gets to the point of if you don't get help the end is nearer than you ever imagined.

Are you there today? It may not be finances. It might be your heath, your heart, your family, your everything. You feel exhausted and ready to implode. It just seems like everything is ready to fall straight down on you. You are so worried about tomorrow and what is to come that the smallest joy doesn't even bring a smile today.

The Israelites were not much different. They were held captive. Beaten and bruised. Things couldn't look much worse for them, but salvation came. Freedom released them from the bondage of their chains, but the desert wasn't far off. Forty years is a long time to spend in an area they could have been through in just a short time.

During their lifetime they had a cloud lead them in the day and a fire lead them by night. They had the gift of manna. God provided. He provided, but they were so stuck in tomorrow and where they were going they forgot yesterday and the glory of freedom. They forgot everything God had done for them. In one moment they decided to complain about having manna, when not too long ago, that manna would have been cherished.

We forget don't we? I know I did. I had forgotten how God had brought us through every other lay off. He brought us through heartache of many kinds. At some point I had just lost hope and worried myself in tomorrow and what wasn't there. But do you know, my friends, God is already there. He already sees tomorrow and He has it under control.

I can tell you there wasn't one day in those three years we went without food or our needs. God provided daily.

"Then the Lord said to Moses, "Look, I'm going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual."' Exodus 16:4-5

"Give us each day the food we need." Luke 11:4

Friends, do you see here? God isn't saying anything about yesterday or tomorrow. He is saying He will provide for today. This day. Why don't we trust Him? Why don't we look for the manna from heaven? Because we get caught up in our circumstances and allow fear to take seat in our lives. Satan fills us with doubt and we become depressed in our time of need.

"Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

I finally got to that point of peace where I knew all was going to be okay. Not just okay, but that God was going to do something spectacular! He not only gave my husband a job, but a better job and one that he enjoys. But more importantly He changed us! He moved us! He spoke to our hearts and we once again knew without a doubt that He hadn't left us, but in fact was leading us the whole time. We just lost sight of Him because He was no longer our focus, but our very circumstances surrounding us. During these three years I grew so much. I learned to totally surrender all to Him and trust Him. I hadn't done that in a long time. I forgot to look back at all He had done and thank Him. I began praising Him again. I removed my focus off of me and turned it towards others. I could still bless and I could still be used of God.

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

See, it says always! Not just when your plate is full or when you have that perfect day. He says, always rejoice! When is the last time you rejoiced in the Lord? Thanked Him not only for today, but ALL that He has done? Today is a new day. Take this day and rejoice. Thank Him for all He has given and trust Him with all that you don't understand. With that tornado brewing around you, God is still big enough and strong enough to keep you in His hands and set you down on solid ground.

Hoarding Isn't For The Heart

Have you ever watched an episode of one of those shows focusing on people hoarding? Sometimes this is difficult for me to watch. There have been homes where they have found dead animals and people buried beneath stuff. Astonishing to say the least. Is hoarding a disease? I'm not a doctor, but it's clear that something is taking place in the hearts and minds of those hoarding.

As people in general we like stuff. We enjoy accumulating trinkets and gadgets of all kinds. Right now my kitchen is just about to run over with books. I frequent resale shops with my husband and antique shops of all kinds. Mostly we love the history that comes with each new find.

If were to visit my in-laws home you would find stuff and more stuff. Stuff beyond stuff. Lets just say the garage is so full you wouldn't be able to get a bicycle in there much less a car. My mother in law loves going to auctions. She purchases more stuff than she knows what to do with. You could easily pack up ten boxes of stuff and she would never even know. Really, that's how much stuff she has.

We accumulate stuff when something is missing. My parents and my husband's parents were quite poor as children. My mom picked cotton when she was just six years old. They came from big families with great needs. Growing up without many things could be one reason my mother in law loves to collect stuff. Is she fearful those times will hit again? Is she making up for lost time? Maybe that stuff is just comfort to her.

Our hearts can hold a lot of stuff. From anxiety to worry. Anger to bitterness. Jealousy to coveting. Lust to desire of self. We can hold so much hurt in our hearts that it seems impossible to hold more. We can even hoard control. Yes, we like to be in control of things and people. After all we like things our way.

But in some way, aren't all of these things idols? An idol is anything we put before God, so if our heart is filled with anger, it can be an idol. These things we hoard can take over our lives and become our focus. We can become captive in our own heart. We can wear the chains of jealousy and be held under by greed.

Is it possible to have too much of one thing? It is if it is taking over our lives and stealing our joy. Funny how all that stuff can come to mean so much to us. While that Bible on the shelf is gathering dust. I am finding, the more of Jesus I have, the less of this world I need. The more focused on Him I am and the more I grow in faith, the more I learn, this world has nothing that can satisfy. There is nothing eqivelent to Jesus Christ.

Spring has arrived. When we think of spring we think of spring cleaning. Starting fresh. A new season of life. We get busy digging in those closets and removing clutter, but for those who feel so empty inside, that stuff brings comfort and it isn't going anywhere. They just move on past that spring cleaning season into a season of repeat.

If we are not careful with what we allow in our hearts, over growth of idols can take shape and begin to grow out of control. It is a daily battle, isn't it? Some how by keeping hold of that anger we feel in power. But in reality we have lost power long ago when we allowed anger to settle in for the long haul.

Look around your life today and see what's surrounding you. Is it time to give up some stuff? Some idols casting a dark circle encasing your joy? Give it up to Jesus today. Allow Him to remove one thing at a time. Giving it up to Jesus doesn't mean you get to tell Him what to do with it. It means you are trusting Him with ALL. Cleaning is a process. It's a daily journey. I have learned not to clean my home all in one day. It's exhausting for me. I have learned to take one room at a time and go about a pace that I can handle. Jesus gives us the grace we need to let go and let God. He gives us the strength we need to open our hands and our hearts to Him.

The stuff in your life cannot replace the love of Christ. In fact, with the love of Christ you will learn that you no longer need stuff to feel complete. It is in Him that we find completeness. Oh, how sweet the gift of being found whole in Christ.

"Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirments of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace."
Romans 6:12-14

River's Call by Melody Carlson

I just closed the last page to, "River's Call" by Melody Carlson. I was captivated by this book. I was blessed to read the first book in the series, "The Inn At Shining Waters", entitled, "River's Song".

In this newest addition we find ourselves in the 1960s. I had to continue to remind myself of the time period. Things were so different then. I loved the relationship trials and blessings of mother-daughter, daughter-grandmother and grandmother-daughter in law. Generations of women struggling. There is something that hasn't changed in time.

Anna has to the sweetest of all characters I have ever read about. Her first husband has died and she still battles and allows her mother in law into her life and her daughter's life. I wanted to scream at her and say, "Why don't you just tell her to leave?" But she still feels connected to this woman. She isn't one to give up on anyone and after reading more of the story I found that to be a wonderful character trait.

I love the connection she has with her new mother in law. One that I sadly miss. Anna is devoted to her husband and seems to have it all together even though battles are going on around her. That kind of peace can only come from God. Although I can clearly see a peace in her heart, I see her battles within and asking herself, "Did I do enough?" The question every mother asks herself. Every day is a journey for Anna. A journey closer to understanding who she is and the strengths she carries.

While reading this book it opens our eyes up to the trials between mothers and daughters. The battles, the blessings, and all that reap from our choices. Choices that seem to touch all generations. This book is filled with grace and forgiveness. We too experience the importance of friendship.

You feel a calmness come over you as you have this great portrait of a river inn who welcomes all with grace and hospitality. A perfect picture of the love of Christ.

This was a lovely read to a time passed, but a message that is timeless.

This book was a gift from Glass Road Publications for it's review. This book is published by Abingdon Press.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 200 books, including Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon, Limelight, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the True Colors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, Melody is also the author of Homeward, which won a Rita Award. Melody and her husband live in central Oregon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Top 10 Reads

I am so blessed to receive books weekly to review. My shelves are overflowing with all kinds of wonder and goodness. I wanted to share my top 10  favorite books that have been life changing for me. These are books I have spent hours in and highlighted page after page. Some are so good I just had to set my highlighter aside. What a great way to kick off a new spring. A new book that will bring change to your heart, mind and soul.

So many life changing words that my soul has basked in over the last few years. I have found such great wisdom, insight, inspiration, encouragement and joy through these pages penned by people of faith who choose to find God in all.

If you are searching for that perfect book here is a great start to your search.

Disguised and Devastating

While reading, "Great Day Every Day", by Max Lucado, I came across something so profound to me that I am still pondering the thoughts.

"Do you let anyone who knocks on your door enter your house? Don't let every thought that surfaces dwell in your mind. Take it captive..make it obey Jesus. If it refuses, don't think it. Negative thoughts never strengthen you. How many times have you cleared a traffic jam with your grumbles? Does groaning about bills make them disappear? Why moan about your aches and pains, problems and tasks? "Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life."

Isn't that good? We tend to allow all sorts of strangers into our world. Stangers that we should be telling, "Your not welcome here. Just keep on moving", but we don't always. We let them in and blindly entertain them, only to find ourselves in danger.

A few days ago my mother allowed a stranger into her home. He spent three hours sitting at her kitchen table with her and left with a personal check. This man said he was an insurance salesman. My mom has been asking questions about insurance and I am sure when this man showed up at her door she thought it was a good thing, after all, she had been thinking about purchasing insurance.

She sat with this fraud as he played her and walked away with a smirk. After a while my mom thought about it and decided she was going to cancel. When she tried to phone the man, well as you can imagine, nothing. She didn't even have a business card.

Everything is okay today. My mom has gone to the bank, made phone calls and made a report. But just imagine what could have happened. My mom trusted this stranger that was out to do harm to her. His disguise fooled her. How often is Satan trying to fool us? Sabotage all we are doing? Daily. Moment by moment he there in wait for the right opportunity for us to allow a stranger into our world.

When I was a young child we lived in the country of Missouri. Even farther out in the country than I am today. I remember this day just like it was yesterday. My dad had left for work and mom was in the kitchen like always. I was up bopping around and the doorbell rang. I ran to the door thinking it was my dad coming back for something forgotten. My mom beat me to the door by inches just as I was ready to pull on the handle and open the door. My mom stops and looks out the peep hole, only to see two strange men at the door. They knew we were there. They could hear my giggle. Mom says, "Can I help you with something?" The men looked frightening as my mom remembers that day. One replies, "Our car broke down and we just need to use your phone". Well, my mom didn't allow these men in our home this day. Come to find out after talking to neighbors, they didn't go to anyone else's home and there was no car broke down near us. Were these men up to no good? It is a great possibility. Praise God my mom got to that door before me. I would have just opened the door up with a huge smile thinking all was safe.

Friends, it can be our front door into our home that danger awaits or it can be our minds and hearts where thoughts and actions are lying in wait to captivate our attention that will only lead to harm. When we allow junk in, junk is going to come out. Entertaining one dangerous thought can be destructive to not only our life, but the life of those around us. Those dangerous thoguhts can be anthing from music to movies to afternoon treat. It can be that drink you feel you need after a hard days work or that extra pill that will help you sleep. It can be the gossip waiting to roll off your tongue or the anger and resentment putting up a fence around your heart. When we allow dangerous thoughts to swirl about our minds it leads to dangerous actions.

"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:4

We must guard our hearts. What we allow into our lives can be disguised and devastating. We must be on watch at all times and make sure our focus is on good things. Evil has a way of disguising itself to look inviting. We wouldn't send out invitations to our child's birthday celebration to strangers. We wouldn't pick up hitch hikers while driving home on a dark rainy night. Why do we not guard our hearts as such?

"whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8a-9

"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquitiy; and do let me eat of their delicacies." Psalm 141:3-4

When we allow asumptions and "fix it" potions into our minds we are sitting on a time bomb. Our minds begin to run wild with all sorts of ideas and worries that most likely will never come, but in allowing them to intertain our minds we have allowed them to steal our joy.

We must eyes our eyes on the Lord and trust in Him.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

What do we do when evil is knocking at our door? What do we do when Satan is standing there in wait? We let God answer the door. Trust Him to answer all that comes knocking. Allow Him to be there as your guard. Remember to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). Each day I pray for God to place a hedge of protection around my family. Evil is present, but we don't have to allow it in our presence. Be on guard and be ready!


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