Wednesday, July 27, 2016

If all you can pray is Jesus, this one's for you!

Sometimes it just doesn't seem like prayers are being answered. Sometimes we are reduced to uttering, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!" Sometimes we are reduced to moaning, "Jesus, Jesus! Jesus!" Sometimes we can only cry out, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus," in the middle of the night, the night of deep sorrow of the soul. The night that breaks in to an unknown day.
Jesus, do what's best for our loved ones. All of them. Jesus send them home to You again, Jesus.
 Jesus seal up ungodly entrances that they've allowed into their lives, Jesus.
Hedge them in, Jesus. Show a way where there seems to be no way, Jesus. 
Sin is sweet for a season and then the sour sets in. The utter nausea of regret comes, the "How could I do this?
 "How could I sink so low?"
"How could I break my Savior's heart?"
"How could I turn away from my family?"
Show us how to live, today and live well. Show us how to love today and love well. 
Thank you, dear Lord for this promise: "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" Romans 5:20.Show us how to live, today and live well. Show us how to love today and love well. May Your grace forever win in our lives, today.
When I speak of sin for a season it is not from the point of view of someone who was never in that position. It's from the point of view of a woman who has many regrets and would like to spare others from that.
Studying about sin for a season here today:
Those who live for the pleasures of this world may think they have all wisdom but the reality is that they are naïve and they lack understanding not realizing that they are literally playing with fire. They are willing to sacrifice their eternal future for a few years of wanton pleasure. To sacrifice the eternal for the temporary does not show true wisdom but shows the spirit of folly of one who has no understanding. Every person in this world attends the funeral of someone we know and it is at that time that it should get us to think of our own mortality. Unfortunately, the spiritually dead do not think upon eternal things, only the things of this transitory life.
Prov 9:17 (KJB)
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
Those who live for the pleasures of this world will turn into the harlot because she claims that stolen waters are sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. There is pleasure in sin for a season. (Heb 11:25 KJV) Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Moses knew that it was better to suffer in this world and live eternally with the Lord than live in all the sensual pleasures of Egypt for a short season. The enticement of sin is that it always claims no consequences. The enticement is that there will be pleasure and enjoyment. This is the call of sin to every human being but it is the wise person who can hear beyond the call and see beyond the present picture. (Heb 4:13 KJV) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
 God sees everything and nothing is hidden from His eyes. There is no such thing as secret sin. (Isa 29:15 KJV) Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

“Every Bride Has Her Day” book review

You'll laugh till you cry when you read Janice Thompson’s “Every Bride Has Her Day”.
This is the third book in the Brides with Style series and Janice hits a lot of topics besides wedding planning, such as family drama, parents taking in grandchildren, and church division. Even the WOPer's prayer group goes dysfunctional for a season. Small town life that seemed so idyllic before is threatened with hostility and taking sides right before Katie's big day. The day that everyone else wanted to plan and then when Katie finally learned how to stand up to them still seemed to be bombarded with chaos.
Janice's series reminds be a bit of the Pot Luck Club style with characters you'll love and the real Southern flair, even if it is based in Texas. I admit, I'd loved to have had a future mother-in-law plan a wedding at the Gaylord's hotel but every bride has her own thoughts and at least the brides in this book  do. Trust me there were several and they  weren't anywhere near the Bridezillas on TV. Loved Eduardo and his flare and style, wooing Aunt Alva to the altar; there were many surprise journeys in this series and especially this last book. Romance was on the move in the most unusual places, it seemed.
Just when it looked like a disaster for a wedding, came some of the most beautiful vows I've ever read: "...In joy and pain, in adversity and in celebration, I will love you. Who you are. Who you will be. Who we will become together.  My love will never fade. No matter where God takes you on your journey, I will be the one with my hand in yours, walking beside you. Listening. Learning. Loving. Your joys will be my joys. Your sorrows, my sorrows. Your faith, my faith. My heart has waited a lifetime for these words: I am your and you are mine. Always. Forever. Together."
I got a jump on my summer "fiction vacation" with this book and trust me I needed some comic relief from the stress of life. Janice, I've become a fan with this series and pray you'll take your humor and characters further in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

"It cannot stay, if heaven disagrees," From THE SINGER by Calvin Miller

There have been times in my life that I've felt like I had a label burned into my flesh or branded upon my forehead. Maybe you have, too.
 "But know this my little friend,  no man may burn a label into flesh and make it stay when heaven disagrees....It may be hard to give me all I ask. Not long ago, in the name of love I gave you legs. Yesterday that very loved demanded mine. But the Song is all that matters. It may be you will have to sing it where the crowd will shout you down and demand your legs or life. But it would be far better to give them both than to surrender up the music in your soul. Some will hate you for the song you love.  They will seek to stop your singing. But no matter how they treat you, remember that I suffered everything before you. And if they should brand you with a name across your face..."
"It cannot stay, if heaven disagrees," she finished up the statement. From THE SINGER by Calvin Miller
The faith chapter always compels me to reevaluate my expectations of life. I've found through working a program that a lot of unhappiness can be avoided by not looking to certain people or things for my expectations. I think back over my life and see how blessed I am regardless of what I'm going through at the moment. I ponder the wonderful people God has allowed me to meet, some were just lovely friends along my path. Some were prophets, authors and preachers; thinking of the quote above I think how privileged I was to meet and actually share a meal with Brother/Pastor Calvin Miller and his lovely wife. I think of the beautiful Margie Holmes who was with me that day and bought me a copy of his book, The Unfinished Soul. I think of Brother C. L. Moore the prophet who in spirit and personality reminded me so much of Calvin Miller. Why would God allow someone such as me, to mingle and even host the Moores in our home several times? I was so humbled by Cec Murphey and the first time he gave me a scholarship to the Florida; it felt like the doors of heaven opened there. I was able to give the awesome Robert Benson a hug at that conference even though I didn't take the time to introduce myself. I wasn't one of the big name people there so why bother, I thought. Yet the words he spoke were so profound and touched my soul so, that I knew that he would be kind to me, if I'd been brave enough to do it. 
I've been among greatness and some of the great people have been sisters among you. Some have been family who have endured hard situations and like the Timex watches, “took a licking and kept on ticking." I think of the pain my husband endures daily and am grateful he is pressing on. I survey greatness daily in our common life. I think of our children and grandchildren and I press on with a deep love in my heart. Sometimes this scripture is painfully near, "As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul." Luke 2:35
When I'm down I need to remember the great mercies of the Lord towards me. Yes, today and for the recent months I've felt like I'm living hell on earth but I need to recount the days that life was peaceful and love abounded. I want to learn to LOVE WELL and hope that can be said about me one day when I’m no longer here on earth. (In fact, put that on my gravestone, SHE LOVED WELL.) LOL!
I can't even begin to name all the people who have made me feel like a blessed woman and many of those the Lord would say "the world is not worthy of them."
  "Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
24-28 By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff. By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going. 
32-38 I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . . Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
39-40 Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. Hebrews 11 The Message
I'm posting the lyrics to a song and the scriptures that came to me this morning.
Another heartbreak day 
Feels like you’re miles away 
Don’t even need no shade 
When your sun don’t shine, shine 

Too many passin’ dreams 
Roll by like limousines 
It’s hard to keep believin’ 
When they pass you by and by 

I know your heart been broke again 
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet 
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left 
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so 

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes 
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet 

Echoin’ inside your head 
Are the words that your sweet momma said, 
“shoot for the moon, my dear” 
So you took aim out of this atmosphere 
Between high stakes and pump fakes 
You’re feelin’ like you can’t buy a break 
I can hold your hand, but I can’t turn your eyes to freedom 

I know your heart been broke again 

I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet 
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left 
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so 

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes 
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet 

Hold on, hold on 
Lord ain’t finished yet 
Hold on, hold on 
He’ll get you through this 
Hold on, hold on 
These are the promises 
I never will forget 
I never will forget [x2]

I know your heart been broke again 
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet 
it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so 

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes 
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet.

Toby Mac

When you feel that you've been labeled wrongly, remember that's not your name. Secular song, but it works for me sometimes and I used to love to Zumba to it.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Is Your House on Fire? My thoughts on Burning House by Cam

Is Your House on Fire?

"I've come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already ablaze!
Luke 12:49 International Standard Version

"Burning House" is a song with a haunting melody and poignant lyrics that has gotten stuck in my head. I researched it, played it a lot, and found how the lyrics came. It was through a dream, thoughts a woman was thinking before she went to sleep that night, about how to make a relationship right. The song became an apology Cam was making to her former boyfriend.

"I had a dream about a burning house
You were stuck inside
I couldn't get you out
I lay beside you and pulled you close
And the two of us went up in smoke"

I feel that many families can relate to some of the lyrics when they are in a family crisis and are trying to find their way out of it. We may feel like we are in a burning house, suffocating, trying to get out, trying to breathe, and trying to save our loved ones. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the battle to save someone else. Can I get a witness out there to that? Amy Tan once said, “I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.” Sounds like she knows what it means to be dreaming of a burning house.

Are you dealing with someone's mental illness, drug addiction, or chronic pain issues right now? If you're one of the few who isn't, thank the good Lord for His mercy. And if you are dealing with those issues, thank Him for His mercy also because we know that He is the one who can "take what's lost and broke, and make it right." Most mornings I cry out to Jesus and say, "Show me what mercy looks like for my family today."

Some days, mercy is that we make it through another day without someone dying or being arrested. Some days an arrest might be the mercy He sends to save a loved one from themselves. Some days that mercy is an opening for a bed in a rehab or hospital. Some days, mercy shows itself through a friend calling, coming by, or sharing a meal.

Some days the joy of just watching a little child whose world has fallen apart through no fault of her own, dance wildly, boldly and without care is enough mercy to get me through the day.

Many of you are in the battle of your lives trying to help someone who seems hell bent on destruction through their lifestyle or choices.

"I've been sleepwalking
Been wondering all night

Trying to take what's lost and broke
And make it right
I've been sleepwalking
Too close to the fire
But it's the only place that I can hold you tight
In this burning house."

I think the last part of the lyrics the part about "it's the only place that I can hold you tight, in this burning house" strikes the core of my heart because when you come right down to it, the thing we as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends want to do is hold them tight from the pain of life and bad choices. Sometimes it's only in our dreams that we can do that, hold them tight, hold on to the memories, and hold on to new dreams for our loved ones. My house feels like it is on fire lately, does yours?

Credit given to the songwriters:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Be Born in Me; Hope for the Last Days

This is the song that was in my head this morning:
Yes, I know it's labeled a Christmas song, but the title, "Be Born in Me" is something I pray every morning, that the Holy Spirit will be more in me, be born in me, be more than the day before in me.
Prayer requests, hurts, pains pour in from families every day. It brings us to our knees, it makes us say, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus," as we wonder how long will He tarry? As a people in a country that has gone Godless for the most part, we wonder how long even America can last. Yet so many things go along with the scriptures about end times.

 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)
The same verse in The Message labeled, Difficult Times Ahead:
 "Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people."
Wow! I really didn't mean this post to turn to an end/time slant but when people all around us are hurting their own families and things seeming to go from bad to worse each day for many, the Word of the Lord will be our only hope. Yes there are words of doom but also words to encourage and I hope to end with some of that, too.
“He won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won't disregard the small and insignificant, but he'll steadily and firmly set things right.” Isaiah 42:3 The Message
Lord, set things right for our families today I pray as we take the next best step, do the next right thing and look to You for help, relief and comfort.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Broken and beautiful!

As I can, I like to post about speakers, books or people that have encouraged me along the way. 
Today I want to spotlight Cynthia as watching this video really really blessed me. I've seen her twice at Winning Women for Christ at St. Simon's Island and loved her more each time. She is a very caring, compassionate woman. Broken into beautiful, for sure. For such a time as this for me and maybe you. She's available to speak at churches and conferences. 
Bring Cynthia back Winning Women!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A book for an Amazing You!

You're Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth is a great book of encouragement and coaching. I’ve always wanted a personal trainer and although I consider I have one named Jesus, Holley steps in with loads of advice, wisdom and plans.

This book is a companion to the book, You’re Already Amazing that Holley wrote previously but it is also a good stand-alone book to use for study. There are sessions listed: Who God Created Us to Be, What’s True No Matter How We Feel, Our Amazing Journey with Jesus, God’s Plan for Our Relationships, God’s Purpose for Our Lives, and How We Can Thrive for a Lifetime.

A favorite quote that I love is this, “I used to tell myself, ‘When I can just improve this part of who I am, then I’ll let people into it.’ Have you ever said the same? Eventually I realized God wasn’t asking for my life to be an immaculate mansion before I shared it with others.”(Holley Gerth)

 I felt the same way for years and came to realize that the Lord used broken and bruised vessels to minister to the hurting much more than He uses immaculate mansions. Thanks Holley for your labor of love to women. We all needed this reminder to look for the amazing things within us.
 I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Revell) in exchange for my honest review. I was not told to give a favorable review (but was happy to) and the opinions given are my own.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A new children's book by Julia A. Royston

I just read the book, "Grannie, Grandpa and Me" by Julia A. Royston and illustrated by Derrick Thomas. I must say I loved it and it is a very beautiful book of poetry and pictures. Thank you so much Julia, for a much needed book. I've walked in these shoes and wish I had a book like this to read to children a long time ago.
One of my favorite things about the book was it was so real. It starts with a page with grandparents in a courtroom as that is how many grandparents obtain custody.
Going through the ages and stages of this child's life was so very poignant. This book displays the very best of scenarios as sadly not all grandparents are able to be up the task so easily. Some deal with heavy financial and medical issues and many families have a lot of resentments about why they are in the position they are in. "Grannie, Grandpa and Me" shows the beauty of loving grandparents who stepped outside of their own plans for their lives and gave a wonderful life to the next generation.
The only thing I’d liked to have seen included was the grandchild when getting married, might have wanted to adopt or be a guardian ad litem herself as a way to give back to the world, what she had been given.
I must say hats off to Derrick Thomas, those illustrations were truly beautiful. In fact beautiful, beautiful, beautiful are my main words for this book written for such a time as this. My husband was getting his coffee and I tried to read him the last page of the book and couldn't for the tears.
Thanks Julia for writing this and for your work of service to schoolchildren. I’d give it ten stars if that was possible. Write on.
I was very grateful to receive a Review Copy from the publisher through BookCrash. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A new prayer, for a new day.

Some days the only thing we can do is pray:

Lord, You alone, know how overwhelmed we are. Please give us some help and hope. When we are afraid help us to trust in You. When we can’t see give us Your vision. When we need HOPE be that for us. Give us direction, give us wisdom which You said You would never deny if we asked for it. Help the weary ones today, help the perplexed ones, help the needy and help our souls to cry out to You, living water, Living Hope and our great restorer of the song. We need a new song Jesus. We need manna from heaven for this day. WE NEED A TOUCH FROM THE MASTER’S HAND.

We cry out to You. We seek You, we cling to the hem of Your garment and we will be dragged along in the dirt if You don’t reach down with a tender touch. You are our tender touch today. You are our smile. You are our help. Help us. Help us, Help us please Jesus. 

Send journeymates to those who need them, resources help and friends. Take care of our loved ones, our children, grandchildren, the young and aged, also. Be the shine in the eye, the sparkle that we need, the kindness that we crave. Be our everything today we pray. We praise Your name, we love Your Word and we look to see You one day in glory! This is my prayer today to the One I love.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

12 weeks today; For this I have Jesus.

12 weeks today; For this I have Jesus.
Yes, once again I've waited way too long to update my blog. Sometimes just looking at the subjects in my emails would give me subjects for a blog, such as this one: "Your brain and memory are failing..." or "Dad catches cupcake thief red-handed." Who are these people and how do they know me so well? LOL!
One of my favorite old commercials I've updated to fit my life, is "My face has fallen and it won't get back up!"  Stress does make me wonder where my brain and memory went as the last 12 weeks have been incredibly sad and stressful. I can see the age creeping up each time I look in the mirror and yes, I need to do so many things but sometimes getting out the door with my hair combed, such as it is, may be the miracle for the day. Aryel's hair is more important. She's doing well at the new school and I'm so grateful that she not only has Shirley Temple's hair but her personality for the most part. She loves to sing and dance and watch old reruns of Full House. Especially when her mom comes over.
I'm incorporating my book review of Andy Lee's new book here. I love Andy, having met her at FCWC and felt a kindred spirit right away. All I have to do is look at her sweet, smiling face and I'm comforted. I was so honored that she would send me an advance copy of her book to review. I wish I could afford to buy you all one, it is that beautiful. I would've loved to have copied and pasted paragraphs all over facebook of some of her quotes as they meant so much to me.
Here it is:
A Mary Like Me is one of the few books that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again. Andy Lee is a poignant, loving woman and her books and writings are the essence of her spirit. Holy Spirit, that is. Andy is well qualified to write this book with a degree from Eastern Nazarene University and has taught Bible studies for over twenty years but I have to say it's her heart that draws me to her writings.
 I loved when Andy described original Greek words that acquaint us with this book and scenarios of the stories. There are resources in the back of the book and also an invitation to start your own Mary Group. The meaning of the name Mary/Miryam which is: bitter, rebellious, defiant, beloved, gift of God don't even seem to belong in the same sentence let alone meaning, but in a way, it was comforting to me.  Haven't we acted at times, like all of those meanings?
This quote is one of the reasons I so fell in love with this book, "Some of the most fearless, determined, and brilliant women I've met have struggle with mental turmoil. I've often found myself beside them, begging them to give up and go home. But they didn't surrender the situation until they won the battle or became too weary to continue. The truth is, when a woman has been forced to fight for life---whether in a bad family, bad marriage or mental illness---this person, more times than not, becomes a survivor." From beautiful Andy Lee in her book, A Mary Like Me, Flawed Yet Called
I thought of several women when I read this and some that I'm hoping will learn to survive soon. Some that I love dearly and anguish with the thoughts of their torment yet sometimes the choice is beyond what we can do to help. The choice is theirs. My thoughts from reading this book: make good choices today, people, it affects more than just yourself. It affects the whole family and generations to come.
Another quote that I want to include is:
 “There is no one that Jesus does not want to heal and cannot use for the furthering of the Kingdom of God. There is no one who is worthless, or incurable, or unusable. May it be noted the gospel of Jesus Christ resurrected was first proclaimed through the lips of a woman to men. God never intended to silence half of his creation in proclaiming his gospel.
          Perhaps if Peter had hung around long enough at the tombs that day, he would have been given the opportunity to tell the Good News, but he didn’t. Mary did. God is an equal opportunity employer. May we employ our mouths today as Mary did, no longer affected by the rejection of others but unswervingly, undeniably convinced of the life of Jesus.”
Andy Lee has done a wonderful job of expressing who the many Marys in the Bible were; women like many of us.