Follow by Email

"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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Search was my first book to read by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I found it delightful and riveting. The author wove threads that intertwined the lives of Lainey O'Toole and Bess Reihl. Lainey made a split-second decision fifteen years ago that affected several lives. When she returns to Stoney Ridge her prior choices begin to unravel, threatening to ensnare Bess Reihl, a young Amish girl visiting her grandmother for the summer.

This book kept me spell-bound until the final page. I highly recommend it.


Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Link to buy the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Search-Novel-Lancaster-County-Secrets/dp/0800733878/ref=sprightly-20

This book was provided for review by Litfuse Group.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer tells the story of Edythe Amsel on her first teaching assignment in Walnut Hill, Nebraska, 1882. She's a feisty, headstrong, independent woman who has unusual ideas and methods concerning education. She's determined to make her own way and is enthusiastic to share her modern views with her young pupils, in spite of the town council's opinion of her.

Sparks fly when she encounters Joel Townsend, the uncle of two of her students. Will she be able to stick to her decision to remain single?

I found this book to be quite enjoyable and appreciated the humor included in it. I recommend it to all who enjoy historical fiction.

This book was provided for review from Bethany House Publishers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Finally!!!!!

After numerous winter forecasts predicting heavy snows to fall on our area, it finally is happening!! I'm sure we won't end up with anywhere near the 12-36 inches I'd like to see, but I'm happy with the thick covering on the ground and the flakes flying in the air. Have I mentioned that winter is my favorite season of the year? :)

Nothing deep and spiritual today. Joy, thankfulness and reveling in the beauty God created outside my window today.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shelf Life

"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, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I keep thinking about something that happened this week. I joined a dear friend of mine for lunch. We meet each week, and bring our own meal. We spend time sharing our lives and praying together. It's time I look forward to and am always blessed by our time in fellowship.

On this particular day, my friend opened up her yogurt container to find that even though it had been sealed, mold had formed inside. From the outside, it appeared to be fine, but the inside was spoiled.

I realize the verse written above is actually the opposite of what happened, but I still can't help but think of the parallel between these matters. Sometimes we appear like nothing is wrong on the outside, because people can't see how much we are hurting on the inside. This verse mentions us wasting away on the outside, referring to our physical bodies. We waste away, but God is able to renew us day by day.

So my question for you, is how is your shelf life? Are you a pretty package on the outside that is concealing all the hurts and struggles you are facing? Is bitterness and hurt festering inside? Or are you choosing to be renewed each day, taking your problems to God and asking for his help? I pray we can lengthen our shelf life by keeping short accounts, and choosing to be in right relationship with God.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bring On The Snow

  “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
   says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
   they shall be like wool. 
Isaiah 1:18

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 
Psalm 51:7
The forecast this evening is calling for three to four inches of snow. Personally I wish it was more like 12-24 inches, but I'm grateful for any snow that covers the ground. Most people think I'm crazy because of my love of this frozen precipitation. For me, whenever I see snowfall, I am reminded of these verses in scripture. I think of Jesus being the sacrificial lamb, who chose to take on my sins and die in my place. He takes all of the ugliness in my life and makes it as white as snow. Snow is a joyful reminder of God's love for me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Slipping Through My Fingers

I just searched the Bible online and plugged in the word 'time'. There are almost 900 entries using this individual word. My first immediate thoughts refer to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which state:

 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace. 

I find it difficult to believe we are over half way through the first month of 2011 already. I feel time slips through my fingers and before I know it, a new day is dawning, a new week, month, year....

Ephesians 5:15-20 tells us to make the most of our time. 

  Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,  speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I praise God for each new day and pray I will be productive at following His will for my life. May I not allow the days to slip through my fingers, but instead follow the directives God places in me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Notice Me!"

He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. Luke 19:3-4

It’s been over twenty-three years since I student taught in a second grade classroom. I still remember the unbridled enthusiasm of the children, bouncing in their seats unable to contain their excitement. One arm helped to support the up stretched one, waving in hopes of being acknowledged. Lips pierced tight, to prevent from calling out the desire to “notice me.”

Zacchaeus, in the account in the gospel of Luke, longed to see Jesus. His desperation caused him to climb a tree, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the revered man. His heart cried out for Christ to make a difference, but I doubt he had faith that anything would happen that day Jesus entered his home town. Perhaps Zacchaeus didn’t recognize or identify his need, because it was buried deep within his heart. Hope, fear, and impetuosity characterized Zacchaeus’ decision.

Similarly in the New Testament, a woman who suffered with bleeding for twelve years sought out Jesus. She was driven to elbow her way through a crowd of people, desiring to touch Jesus’s cloak. She knew Jesus could make a difference in her situation and heal her.

I can’t help but notice the correlation of these two stories in the Bible. Both individuals were in need and crying out “notice me” without using words. Even though they were calm on the outside, on the inside they responded the same way the students had in my classroom many years ago. They were bursting with eager anticipation of Jesus seeing them, recognizing and meeting their needs.

I find myself no different than these two Bible individuals. How many times do I get busy, burdened, and overwhelmed by my circumstances and forget to call out to my Heavenly Father, “Notice me.” God knows my heart and situation before I even ask, and is waiting for me to cry out like Zacchaeus and the bleeding woman, “Notice me!”

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Diligence

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

I've been thinking about diligence today as I've been busily working on writing my novel. The end is beginning to be in sight, even though I still have about 12-13 chapters remaining. It's one of those things I know in my heart is going to happen at sometime soon in the near future. If all goes according to schedule, by this time next month I will be typing my last words.

I heard a lesson this morning about Abraham as he waited on God to fulfill his promise to give him a son. He waited many years before he saw fruition of that hope, dream and promise fulfilled. He remained steadfast and didn't waver in his trust and belief in God.

My prayer for this year is to remain faithful to the things God has shown me and called me to do, even when the path may seem uncertain at times. May I have the diligence to press on to the goal that God has instilled in me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Choosing Gratitude

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:15-17 

We live in a society with a 'me first' attitude of thinking. Even as Christians, it can be hard to break away from this mentality. With a new year beginning, it's a wonderful time to concentrate on choosing to be grateful. For almost a year now, I've been making a point each day to come up with something for which I'm thankful. Sometimes I think of it as a journal of things that bring me joy.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 encourages us to "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." Not always easy to do, but possible.

I pray I will continue to grow in this area this coming year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Time for Everything

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." 
Ecclesiastes 3:1 

I usually try and write down goals when the New Year begins. I don't know I would call them resolutions, but more so the direction I feel God is calling me to go. It's been an off year already, in that I still have been unable to write these out on paper yet. They have been rumbling around in my head, waiting to be inked. I guess it didn't help that we were away for four days, and returned home a little under the weather. I am thankful I decided in advance to take this week off from our homeschool responsibilities. It is allowing me extra time to get caught up with things and not feel pressured.

I guess one of the key items I'd like to learn and implement this year is a healthy balance of the things in my life. This is only attainable when I'm seeking God's face to know the priority He desires for me to take. I love this verse in Ecclesiastes that tells us that there is a time and season for all the activities. Of course the key is getting direction from my Heavenly Father.

As I look at the year ahead of me, I feel the need to be intentional with the areas of study I'd like to pursue. Two that stand out uppermost in my mind right now is craving God and learning more about His unconditional love. I find it helpful to have a course of action. Proverbs 29:18a says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I'm excited about the journey ahead.