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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Friday, May 28, 2010

Showers of Blessing!

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.
  • Refrain:
    Showers of blessing,
    Showers of blessing we need:
    Mercy-drops round us are falling,
    But for the showers we plead.
There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.

There shall be showers of blessing;
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honor Thy Word.

There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.
* Daniel W. Whittle and James McGranahan
 
I just arrived home from meeting a friend for lunch. She only had a brief time before she had to return to work. We had been in the habit of walking together once a week, but that isn't an option right now due to my foot issues. So we came up with another plan - meeting for lunch instead. This allowed us time to be able to catch up on what has been happening in each of our lives.
 
After our short time together I found myself humming and singing this old hymn written above. God filled my cup to overflowing this afternoon by having this fellowship time with my friend. Our time together was a real blessing and inspiration to me.
 
I smile as I remember our hour of sharing. I'm in the midst of writing a homeschool article about communication and the telephone. Even with the advent of all kinds of technological advances, there is nothing that replaces the beauty and encouragement of face to face communication. So today, I praise God for my friend! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Throw Off the Hindrances

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

This verse came to mind this morning, perhaps because I have been burdened lately. It struck me of the physical reality of throwing off the things that are hindering us. Now, sometimes that can be more literal than figuratively, depending upon the circumstances or situations. Perhaps from time to time we need that visual reminder of actually throwing weights off our shoulders that have accumulated.

I realize that this often is a continual process. Satan is subtle about returning the weights to our shoulders when we are unguarded and not watching. Before we know it, we are burdened again. Sometimes it may need to be a daily occurence, of asking God to take those weights from us.

So for today, I rest in the truths found in Hebrews and also here in Matthew 11:28-30. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Last Christian by David Gregory

I found The Last Christian by David Gregory to be a fast-paced book set in the year 2088. Missionary daughter, Abigail Caldwell, emerges from the jungle after spending her entire life in a remote village in Papua New Guinea. The sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed all her people, Abigail chooses to return to America, after viewing a curious request from her grandfather. Much to Abigail's surprise, she discovers a nation where Christianity is nonexistent, leaving her as the last Christian. Multiple threats loom on the horizon as she chooses to be a witness even with the threat of potential repercussions.

When I heard the title of this book, it immediately intrigued me. It is not the typical book that I would pick up and read, but I found that I enjoyed reading it. It was hard to put down at times. I recommend it.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

To purchase this book: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400074976

Monday, May 24, 2010

Top Ten Struggles That Christian Women Face - Update

Almost two years ago I questioned women on what were the top ten struggles that they faced as a Christian woman. This posting continues to be one that is hit almost daily on this blog, often from women all over the U.S. as well as the world.

I wanted to let you know that I am in the process of finishing compiling this information, and hope to soon have it available in some type of written form. If you are interested in learning the results, please either email me or post below.

Blessings to you!

Sore Feet

I had my follow-up appointment with the podiatrist this morning. It was a painful appointment. The doctor administered a cortisone shot - ouch! I also ordered sneakers that are hard on my wallet - $115, not counting the cost of the doctor visit! He's hoping that good shoes, perhaps specialty inserts, and perhaps another injection will do the trick. He isn't overly confident that it will help. If it doesn't, then we will have to go the surgery route. For now, I'm to take it easy, and have my feet up (be off them) as much as possible! I guess once the shoes arrive, I'll be living in sneakers for a while! I'm not to go barefoot, or be in shoes without pretty stiff soles. So much for sandals! :)

The not being able to walk is a hard prescription for me. I love being able to walk - for many reasons. I love being able to enjoy nature, as well as that special time alone with the Lord. I also enjoy the benefits of walking by being able to maintain my weight. Since I have been unable to walk regularly, a few pounds have snuck back on the horizon! Sigh!


I guess now is the time for me to keep my eyes on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Half Way?

Almost two weeks ago on May 11th, I turned 45 years old. My birthday passed without much fanfare, as we were en route to Pensacola, Florida to pick up our oldest son from college. Since we were traveling in the car that day (for many hours), I had the opportunity to think quite a bit. I don't know why, but I couldn't help but wonder if this year is the half way mark in my life. All right, I realize that only the Lord knows how many days we have on this earth, and perhaps the life expectancy isn't even close to 90 years old, but this was the path my thoughts were taking me that day.

At the age of 45 I wondered how much I had accomplished in my life. What did I have to show for it? With my husband's help, we have raised two boys that know the Lord. In only two years, our youngest will likely be leaving our nest, and expanding his horizons. Our oldest has already spent his first year away at college. I couldn't help but look beyond to the time when they both will be gone. How will I fill my days? What is it that God is calling me to do? How can I make a difference?

I have shared recently on this blog, of my desire to write, and how I feel God is calling me to actively pursue this endeavor. I read the following words in my Bible this morning, and couldn't help but think about this passion God has given me.

"...for the special work to which I have called them." Acts 13:2b
"We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy." 1 John 1:4

I pray that in the years to come I will be faithful to each thing that God places on my heart to do. I pray He uses me to encourage others, and inspire them to have a deeper walk with Him. I don't want to do things half way, but wholeheartedly. Ephesians 6:7-8 encourages, "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free." This too is the cry of my heart.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Transformed Lives

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

This verse was part of my devotions this morning. It is one that I have often read through the years. But somehow, it struck me a bit differently today. I couldn't help but think about how much this short sentence, changed the world as we know it. I'm sure when the disciples responded, they had no clue of how much their lives would be transformed.

I can't help but feel that God offers the same invitation to us too. When we accept Him into our life, we are just on the brink of great things. If we allow Him to change and mold us into His image, we begin to touch the lives around us. We alter the world, hopefully to be a better place!

This topic has been on my heart since Monday. Each day God reveals a little bit more of what it means to live a transformed life. My heart's desire is that others will see Jesus in me, with or without any words that I speak.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rest for the Weary

Today was a busy day for our family. My husband had a procedure - a peripheral nerve block to help him with the pain he has experienced in his leg since his ski accident last March. It was one of those days that required patience. We were delayed arriving for his appointment because of bad traffic on the highway. We arrived a few minutes late, to learn that they couldn't get to the procedure until at least an hour and a half later than originally scheduled.

So we sat and waited for a while before his name was called. It was to take five minutes. I didn't see my dear husband again for at least another hour. Since we had an appointment at a training hospital, everything takes a lot longer than planned.

My husband was not allowed to drive afterward, so I was the elected driver. I was quite exhausted by the time we arrived home this afternoon. I crawled into bed and slept for at least two hours. It was a blessing to have a break where I was able to get some much needed rest.

Since my podiatrist appointment on Monday, I have been experiencing significantly more pain in my heel, which is making it very difficult to walk. The extra pain I find has been very tiring. On top of that is still recovering from the exhaustion of our whirlwind trip to Florida and back home again.

I love Matthew 11:28 that says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I can just picture myself crawling into my Heavenly Father's lap, and resting my head and falling asleep. I'm thankful that He provides rest when we are weary - all we have to do is ask! Are you in need of some rest today? I know I am!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back Home

We finally made it home from our long trip late Saturday evening. It was a whirlwind journey, and very exhausting. I will try and post a few times this week. I am finding that I am very fatigued and have at least five deadlines to complete over the next couple weeks, before next Friday. Never a dull moment it seems.

Even though most of our 'vacation', if you can call it that, was en route to Florida and back home, we did manage to stop off and visit two lighthouses along the way. After the second one, I realized how out of shape I am. My legs, knees and feet were complaining of the 700+ steps I had traveled within a couple days time.

My brain is fried, so I will keep this short today. For now I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "There is no place like home!" :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm On Vacation

Just wanted to let you know that I'll be away for about a week as we head to Florida to pick up our son from college.


I look forward to writing when we return late next week!

Blessings!

Happy early Mother's Day!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Praise and Portion

In the night I remember your name, O LORD,
       and I will keep your law.
 This has been my practice:
       I obey your precepts. 
You are my portion, O LORD;
       I have promised to obey your words. Psalm 119:55-57


I have been doing a bit of thinking since my Bible study group met last evening. We have been working our way through Lysa TerKeurst's DVD Bible study Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. The session that we viewed talked about each day receiving the portion that God has for you for that day. At times, it can be so easy to rush through your devotions, and then perhaps check it off your mental 'to do' list. You read through the passage of scripture, but don't wait to have God whisper to you. You go away, unchanged by God's Word.

This is a powerful message for me to remember each day. I desire to seek out what God has to show me. I want my eyes, ears, and heart to be open so I don't miss it. I can't help but wonder what this world would be like, if each Christian did this. We could go around and ask each other, "What was your word from the Lord today? What has He shown you?" Don't you think the world would take notice of that? What if we didn't get up from our devotion time until we heard His voice?

With that said, my word from the Lord today came when I read Psalm 104:1a, which says, "Praise the LORD, O my soul." I think I often overlooking the importance of taking time just to praise the Lord. At times I get so wrapped up in my requests, that I forget the need for praise and thanksgiving. I guess like any parent, God likes to hear us be grateful instead of always hearing, "Can I have...."

This is my portion and food for thought for the day.
 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blurry Eyes

"They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly." Mark 8:22-25

This passage has been on my mind this morning, perhaps because I have been experiencing some difficulties with my eyes. After my laser procedure a week ago, I experienced blurriness, dryness and some pain. I had thought that given time, the symptoms would go away. For some reason, they have remained.

I must admit that it has been a bit frustrating. Now is a time when I most need my eyes. The work that I need to accomplish over the next several days, requires quite a bit of reading and working on the computer - both which have been difficult. I can only do these for limited times, before I need to rest my eyes because they become too blurry.

On Saturday, I rested my eyes longer than I anticipated - I fell asleep for almost three hours! I go this afternoon to see if something is going on with my eye. But even in the midst of blurriness, and inconvenience, I choose to turn my eyes on the Lord. He is my hope and refuge!

Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh details her journey in life to trust God. Through using examples of various Bible characters, Sheila examines the struggles that others have also gone through as well. Difficulties with trust is something that we all can identify with to some degree or another.

I found this book encouraging and uplifting. Sheila's openness and honesty help the reader to see that they aren't alone. The in-depth Bible study at the end of the book allows readers to learn more on this topic. It could be gone through as an individual or a group. I highly recommend this book to anyone that would like to learn more about trust.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program.

Plan B by Pete Wilson

All of us face disappointments in life - times when we don't understand what God is doing. Perhaps we feel that everything we relied on is crumbling before our very eyes. We may be confused and unsure of which direction to proceed. Pete Wilson's book Plan B explores how Christians handle these scenarios.

I found this book to be extremely challenging, encouraging, and inspirational. Wilson states that, "God does his best work in hopeless situations." God uses these times to change, shape, and refine us, as long as we allow Him. The author goes on to say, "So maybe it's fair to say that while God doesn't need our tragedies to transform us, he certainly uses our Plan Bs to bring about change in our lives."

This book was poignant to any circumstance that a Christian is experiencing in their life. Wilson encourages the reader to examine their relationship with the Lord, and to allow God to teach them through the process of their Plan B. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has faced struggles - which is all of us.


I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Radical by David Platt

I just completed reading a book by David Platt entitled Radical. It is subtitled Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream. In it, he describes how the typical American Christian has strayed from the life that Jesus portrayed in the Bible.

Overall, I felt David Platt gave a fairly accurate description of the average church goer in America. This book is a call to a deeper relationship with God. He encourages readers to be actively involved in prayer, reading God's Word, participating in church, as well as reaching out to the needs around them, both local and global.

There were many good things that David Platt expressed. Some would view him as an extremist in his ideas. This allows the possibility of his words being misconstrued, and perhaps do more damage than good, particularly if some approach his ideas too legalistically.

In some ways the ending of the book was the most poignant for me, for several reasons. Although Platt pointed out troubles with the 'American Dream', he also stated that he is "grateful to God for the freedom and resources [H]e has given us in the United States." Platt goes on to encourage the reader to use the "freedoms, resources, and opportunities God has entrusted to us for his purpose in the world...."

I was especially touched by Platt's encouragement of a college student to remain in school and finish her degree. He was also an advocate of having the reader use their profession, or area of expertise, to reach out to the needs around them. "Consider what happens when the church is not only sending traditional missionaries around the world but also businessmen and businesswomen, teachers and students, doctors and politicians, engineers and technicians who are living out the gospel in contexts where a traditional missionary could never go."

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

To purchase this book:
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601422217

The Radical Question: What Is Jesus Worth to You?

The Radical Question: What Is Jesus Worth to You? by David Platt, explores what Jesus meant when he said to 'take up your cross daily.' This 64-page booklet provides thought-provoking insight into how followers of Jesus should live. The typical American Christian appears to have strayed from Jesus' example, choosing the comfortable life, instead of being radical in their faith.

I found this booklet to be an easy read. Readers can expect to be challenged in their thinking. Although poignant, I did not always agree with David Platt's explanation of the context for some of the Bible verses used within the text.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


To purchase this booklet:
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601423214