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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, October 29, 2010

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

Country girl Mercy Land  chooses to leave her back-woods upbringing to work as an editor's assistant in Bay City, Alabama. Set in the 1930's, Mercy works for Doc Philips, the publisher and Editor of the local newspaper. One evening a mysterious book appears on Doc's desk that shows the lives of everyone in Bay City. All the decisions made through life are revealed in its pages. The two are intertwined, as they try to solve the riddle of why the book came and how they are to use it.

It's a story of living life to the full with no regrets. We are unable to change the past. Our lives and the choices we make each day affect those we meet.

This free book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers

Monday, October 25, 2010

God Knows

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

I'm thankful how God uses people in my life when I need it the most. I've been thinking today about the many blessings God bestows on us, often when we least expect them.

I've been on an emotional roller coaster the past week or so for various reasons. Through my ups and downs God has blessed me with a dear friend who surprised me with a dozen roses. I enjoyed a long walk with a different friend. I've been blessed through phone calls and women coming alongside me to uplift me in prayer. I have a wonderful husband who supports me. My youngest son blessed me today through an understanding hug and comfort.

I am so thankful God knows our hearts and our needs. I'm thankful for His loving care and concern. He blesses me through many individuals and I am grateful.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Burden Carrier

"Two are better than one,
       because they have a good return for their work:

 If one falls down,
       his friend can help him up.
       But pity the man who falls
       and has no one to help him up!

 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
       But how can one keep warm alone?

 Though one may be overpowered,
       two can defend themselves.
       A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


I praise God for a dear friend of mine. God brought her into my life when I was in need. It's funny, because we had been acquaintances for years, but never anything more than that. But at a time when I was having a number of struggles, she reached out to me. It forged a new beginning for us.

I know I quoted these verses in my last post, but it still rings true to what's on my heart today. I praise God I have a friend who comes alongside me and carries my burdens. She is a great listener and burden carrier. She can't change things or make my situation better. But I know she cares and is traveling the road with me. She prays for me. Somehow in the sharing and praying together, my burden is lifted. It isn't solved, only God can do that, but it becomes more manageable.

This is how it should be. We also experience this when we give our struggles over to the Lord for Him to carry. I'm so thankful He knows what is best for me. I praise Him for this dear friend who chooses to help carry my burdens. Thanks friend! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fellowship and Accountability

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12



"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25


I lead a woman's Bible study. I have for quite a number of years now. Many different women have been involved with it through the years. Two have remained constant and faithful throughout each topic I taught. We are a small group, only four of us, but God has brought us together in such a unique way. We have drawn close to each other as we are open and share the struggles we each face.


We share a common bond of loving the Lord, and desiring to learn how to be more like Him. Studying His Word strengthen our ties to one another. I'm thankful for these women because we share so much laughter and joy when we meet, although there is a lot of that too! But more than that, we share fellowship and accountability. 


God has meshed our hearts in a way I've never seen with each of the groups I've led. I don't know if it's because we are all in need of each other, or what. But through this relationship I continue to learn of the importance of having accountability in my life. Someone to ask you those hard questions. Another woman who sees your actions and examples and loves you even when you fail. A person willing to come alongside you and carry the load you bare.


The scriptures written above remind us of this need to rely on other people. It can be a scary thing. At times you can get wounded. I believe we need to seek God's wisdom and be careful. It's hard to know when and who you can trust. But don't be afraid to step out in faith and let someone into your life when you feel God prompting you. Don't miss out on a potential blessing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When's the Last Time You Checked Your Face?

When was the last time you checked your face? I don't mean, when was the last time you looked in the mirror, but instead, when have you taken note of your countenance? Even though you may have experienced heartbreak and sorrow, does your face show you have no hope? Or do you instead have God's peace?

Philippians 4:7 says, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 goes on to say, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

So today I'm asking, "When was the last time you did a face check on yourself?"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gratefulness

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There is so much to glean from these three little verses, but what hits me the most today, is to give thanks in all circumstances. I couldn't help but think about this after meeting with a dear friend for breakfast yesterday morning. As we talked and shared together, I was reminded of how much this world is missing the importance of gratitude and being thankful.

I recently experienced the death of a family member. I know of a dear friend who is dying of cancer. Another friend has a scary doctor report. The list could go on and on of the struggles we face each day. We often are surprised by life, but God never is. He knows what's going to happen before we do.

I was thinking how we need to focus more on being grateful - expressing it to God and to others. I wondered if perhaps you could look at each thing separately - joy, prayer and thankfulness. But the more I consider the possibility, I can't help but wonder and believe these three are intertwined, or need to be in our life. When we continue to pray and express our thankfulness, no matter what we are facing, we also experience joy. Coincidence? Definitely not!

So for today, why don't you experiment with prayer, thanksgiving and joy. Perhaps the more you work these into your life, the more joy you will experience. When was the last time you had joy? When did you pray? When was the last time you experienced gratitude and told someone? What can you do to improve?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Night to Remember - Part Two

Continued from yesterday........

"What do you think it means?" Nathaniel questioned.

"I think we'll find the answer in Bethlehem as the angels proclaimed," David said with awe.

Another shepherd replied, "David is right, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'

"How can it be?" David's mind protested. But as he approached the young mother and father, he knew in his heart this babe was special. Even though his mind couldn't comprehend, his heart recognized that this was the Son of God.

David looked at the flushed face of the child and the tiny hands. The baby opened his brown eyes and gazed directly at him. A small smile flitted across Jesus' face, before his eyes closed in sleep.

Years later, David remembered the night with clarity. He knew it was the Lord's hand guiding them to the small stable behind the country inn. He and his friends spent the next few years sharing their story with whomever would listen. David knew Jesus would change his life in a dramatic way, but it would be many years before he fully realized what it entailed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Night to Remember, Part One - Just For Fun

The black velvet sky began to come alive with the twinkling of countless stars. All lie quiet on the soft rolling hills surrounding Bethlehem. The sheep slept with only an occasional bleating interrrupting the stillness of the evening.

David stretched, pulling his cloak closer as a shield to ward off the coldness. He poked at the embers of the fire, causing a sudden warmth to flame upon his cheeks. He glanced at his fellow shepherds, who were still dozing. It was his turn to have night watch duty. He often found it difficult to stay awake, but tonight was different. He glanced over his shoulder, anticipating something.

"It must be my imagination," David murmured to himself. "The sheep are quiet tonight."

The hours passed. As David prepared to awaken Nathaniel for his shift, a bright light filled the night sky. David shielded his eyes, reaching for his staff.

"W-Who goes there?" he called, hating the way his voice cracked.

David continued to stare at the brilliant light. He squinted, wondering if he saw the shape of a man with wings. He blinked his eyes, straining to see.

"I must be dreaming."

"What is it?" Nathaniel asked, joining him.

David was ready to reply, when a voice from the heavens interrupted him.

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

The skies were filled with a multitude of angels and in one voice they proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men whom his favor rests."

As quickly as the angels appeared, the skies were now deserted. David observed that all of his friends were awake and saw the glorious sight.


To be continued............

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gorgeous Day in PA

We have been having such gorgeous weather in PA the past couple days. It's been quite welcome after having three days of dreary, overcast and rainy days. Although I find that I also enjoyed the dreary days too. I like being able to sleep in a little later since it was more dismal. I like curling up with a good book, drinking something hot, having Christmas carols playing and a candle lit. Gotta love that! But I also enjoy the sunshine. Also love the snow, but we won't go there.....YET! :)

It's to be wonderful tomorrow too, for which I am thankful. My dear friend from Georgia and her husband will be visiting. Unfortunately they can only stay for about 16 hours or so, but we are going to make the most of the opportunity since she doesn't often make it to PA. We'll celebrate her 50th birthday together.

I don't have any deep or even light spiritual truths to share today. Just glorying in the beautiful day God has given us. What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Power of Story

I find words to be interesting, perhaps why I enjoy writing them. I also like the sounds of different words. Take the word ruminate. Dictionary.com defines it as: to chew the cud, as a ruminant, or to meditate or muse; ponder. This word accurately describes my thoughts as of late. I've been pondering the power of story. What a coincidence my current writing assignment also deals with this topic. Or is it?

How interesting that Christ often used the gift of story to spread His truths. Somehow a story can break through the lines of defenses and crack the armor that people use to guard their hearts. The words of this old hymn by H. Ernest Nichol reflect these thoughts.

We've a Story to Tell to the Nations

We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.

Refrain
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.

We’ve a song to be sung to the nations,
That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
A song that shall conquer evil
And shatter the spear and sword,
And shatter the spear and sword.

Refrain

We’ve a message to give to the nations,
That the Lord who reigns up above
Has sent us His Son to save us,
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.

Refrain

We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,
Who the path of sorrow has trod,
That all of the world’s great peoples
Might come to the truth of God,
Might come to the truth of God.

Refrain

We are affected by story through the books we read, those we hear and also watch. What type of story are you telling with your life?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Security in Who I Am

I've been thinking about this old hymn by Daniel W. Whittle and James McGranaham entitled "I Know Whom I Have Believed." Perhaps because I've been thinking about some of the events from this past weekend.

I'm thankful I have a God who loves me no matter what. Even though I am unworthy, He still chooses to pursue and seek me. What's so wonderful, is He does this for each of us! I'm thankful for this truth today!

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

Refrain
But I know Whom I have believ├Ęd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

Refrain

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

Refrain

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

Refrain

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

Refrain

Monday, October 4, 2010

Comfort for the Soul

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

It's rainy, cool, and dreary outside, but warm and calming inside. I have a pumpkin candle burning and Christmas music playing in the background.

It was an off weekend for our family. My husband and sons went to Virginia to visit my in-laws while I headed to my mom for a viewing and funeral. I think we all returned home a bit battle-bruised and weary and in need of recuperation.

I decided when I woke up this morning that my son and I would have an abbreviated school schedule today. He suggested putting on some Christmas music. We always start playing it early in our household, and decided today was the day to start. The only other things that would make the day perfect would be for my husband to have the day off, and for it to be snowing! :)

I'm thankful today for the comfort God brings through music and time together.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

I loved the characterization Karen Witemeyer created in her new book Head in the Clouds. This book was set in Texas in the late 1800's, which happens to be my favorite time period.

Adelaide Proctor takes a job as governess on a sheep ranch. Her employer, Gideon Westcott is not your typical cowboy, but instead an aristocrat from England. Throw in a five-year-old girl, Isabella, who doesn't speak and a governess who desires a story-book ending. Along comes mystery and intrigue to make a delightful story. I highly recommend Karen's new book.


A free review copy of this book was sent to me by Bethany House Publishers.

God's Not Surprised

Today has turned out differently than I had planned. By now I was to be in VA with my husband and sons, visiting my in-laws and celebrating some birthdays. But yesterday we received a phone call that a family member had died. Funeral plans weren't known at that point. Less than an hour before we were to leave this morning, I received word that the times were set now, and the services would be much earlier than we anticipated.

It was a difficult decision, but my husband and sons continued on with their plans to travel to VA while I opted to stay home and attend the services tomorrow and Sunday afternoon. I continue to remind myself God is not surprised when we often are. I am thankful the call came before we left for VA, thus allowing me the opportunity to change plans. I praise God who is all-knowing. He is worthy of our trust!