Saturday, November 28

A Thank You Note to All My Readers

Since this is the time for giving thanks…well, every day is the time for giving thanks…I wanted to take time out and thank all my precious readers…the faithful, the occasional, and the rare-visiting ones…even those who just pop in and pop back out again.

When the Lord called me to write, I had no idea where He would take me. What He gives to me, I give to you…from a full heart. I always pray that my words will touch someone’s heart and I have found that the Lord always has at least one person in mind for each post, sometimes several people, and other times, everyone.

It is my heart’s desire to write for God’s glory and for others’ comfort, encouragement, and whatever else the Lord has in mind.

It is all for YOU!

I have not always been able to respond to your wonderful comments, so I wanted to apologize for that and will try to work on it.

I want to thank all of you for being so faithful, loving, and encouraging. I couldn’t do this without the support of each and every one of you!

I am asking now for your input. What can I offer you? What do you like or dislike about this blog? How can I improve it? Please let me know your thoughts and ideas. I love hearing from you!

From my heart to yours…

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:16-19 NIV)

May the treasures of the Lord’s storehouse fill your hearts and lives and meet your every need this blessed season.


Tuesday, November 24

When Thanksgiving Gets Stuck in Your Throat!

Not everyone will have a happy Thanksgiving…especially this year. Many are out of work, have issues relating to health, children and family, finances, loss of a loved one with this being the first year without them, grief and other loss, divorce, separation, depression, not being able to go home, a family member broke the law, addictions, or any number of other things.

What happens to thanksgiving and praise when peace disintegrates into chaos, when a husband loses his job and finances are cut off, when a child is in a car wreck, when the repo man stands knocking at the door, when buying Christmas presents is a vague recollection, when pain strikes the chest and there is no insurance, when the roof overhead is in jeopardy of being taken away, when the cupboard holds no more than the cup?

I’ve been through all this. So, what happens to my praise and thanksgiving when my day is darkened with a multitude of problems that need to “take a ticket, take a seat,” and the songs of my heart begin to stick in my throat, do I still sing to Him anyway? You bet! When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, do I still look to Him and praise Him? Absolutely! When chaos invades my world, do I still claim His peace and praise Him? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB)

I have learned to transform my attitude into one of gratitude as Habakkuk had. In the closing words of his book, the prophet asserted his faith in God and promised to praise Him, even if all else failed, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18 NLT)

Paul’s statement is now mine, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want.” (Phil. 4:12 TLB) And this statement has taken up residence in my heart, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 TLB)

Are life’s fiery darts aimed at your life, attempting to puncture your heart? What seeps out of your heart?

Whatever is going on in your life, there is always room for thanksgiving! It is the sacrificial gift of your heart. What does it cost you?

A true, sacrificial gift costs you the surrender of your money, for you give sacrificially, as the widow who gave her two mites. It costs you the surrender of your time, for you sacrifice it to put God first. It costs you the surrender of your heart, for you sacrifice your love to those who hate you. It costs you the surrender of your lips, for you sacrifice your praise to God when all seems lost.

Though you may be going through some really rotten things right now, praise the Lord anyway. Praise and thanksgiving may not change your surroundings but it will change your attitude.

Thanksgiving is not a once-a-year, special holiday for being as overstuffed as the turkey. Thanksgiving is an eternal season of the heart, an overflow of the heart’s gratitude for all that God has done and is going to do and for everything one possesses, no matter how much or how little that may be.

Will you have Habakkuk’s attitude this Thanksgiving season? Don’t let Thanksgiving get stuck in your throat!

May the Lord touch you in a special way this Thanksgiving. May it become an eternal season in your heart.


Friday, November 20

The Shoes

Hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving story...

The dark, gray skies overhead threatened an early snow. Rushing shoppers, all bundled up to ward off the cold, crowded the sidewalks, lost in their to-do list for Thanksgiving. Oblivious to their surroundings, no one noticed a small, shivering boy standing in front of the shoe store, his nose pressed against the window, barely dressed and only flip-flops on his dirty feet.

However, one man did see him and stopped, dead still in his tracks, causing others to bump into him. He didn’t notice the bumps and grumblings, but he did notice the small boy because he had a son about the same age. Thinking how he would feel if this were his son standing there, barely clothed, the man quietly slid next to the boy, the man stood there for a moment, and then said, “They have some nice shoes here, don’t they?”

“Yeah,” came the soft reply.

“Which ones do you like?”

“That pair over there…the cool running ones.”

“Oh, I’ll bet you can run fast, can’t you?”

“Yes sir. I sure can. Like the wind!”

“You know, I have a little boy just about your age.”

“Oh, yeah? I’ll bet he has shoes like that.”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, he does. But I have an idea.”

“Yeah? What’s that?”

“How ‘bout I take you into the store and buy you that pair of shoes?”

The boy stood there motionless. After a few moment, with tears in his eyes, he looked up at the man. “You want to buy me shoes?”

“I sure do. Your feet must be freezing and I’d love to buy them for you.”

The boy couldn’t even answer. The man took the boy by the hand and walked into the store. Finding the manager, the man described the pair of shoes and asked the manager to please get a pair in the boy’s size, along with some socks. Then, he said he and the boy would be in the restroom and would he please bring the shoes and socks in there.

The manager gathered the shoes and socks and, upon entering the men’s restroom, found the man on his knees washing the young boy’s feet.

“Can’t stick dirty feet into clean, new socks and shoes, now can we?”

The young boy just stared as the man lovingly washed away all the accumulated street-dirt and gently dried his feet.

Feeling he was intruding on a very special moment, the manager quietly placed the shoes and socks on the floor without saying a word.

After placing the socks and shoes on the boy’s feet, the man stood up, and with hands on his hips, said, “Okay. Let’s see how they look. Walk around.”

The little boy couldn’t move. His feet felt glued to the floor. He looked up, tears now streaming down his little face, and said, “Mister, are you Jesus?”

The boy’s words took the man’s breath away. So overcome with emotion, the man could barely speak. Finally, he muttered, “No, son, I’m not. But I know Him very well. And this is a gift from Him.”

“This is the greatest Thanksgiving ever. Would you tell Jesus thank you for me?”

“Well, let’s go for a walk and I’ll tell you how you can do that yourself.”


Thursday, November 19

Christmas Miracles blog tour

Today, I am privileged to be a part of the blog tour for Christmas Miracles by authors Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson, with the foreword by Don Piper, published by St. Martin’s Press, ISBN: 978-0312589837 and retails for $14.99.

Award-winning writer Cecil Murphey is the author or co-author of 114 published books, including the NY Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He’s also the author of When Someone You Love Has Cancer and When God Turned Off the Lights, both 2009 releases. Murphey’s books have sold millions and have given hope and encouragement to countless readers around the world. For more information, visit

Marley Gibson is a young adult author whose first published books in the Sorority 101 series were released by Penguin Group in 2008 under the pen name of Kate Harmon. She has a new Ghost Huntress series with Houghton Mifflin written under her own name. She can be found online at

Wouldn’t you love to take home this amazing basket filled with Christmas goodies galore? This amazing gift basket contains everything you’ll need to make your Christmas holiday a success.

Inside you’ll find a stocking stuffed with hard candies, kitchen towels and oven mitts, seasonal potpourri, holiday-colored candles, stuffed animals that talk, snowman candle, nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, gift bags, gift tags, gift bows, ornament hangers, Christmas cookie cutters, a Merry Christmas doorstopper, a picture frame, Christmas cards, Santa ear muffs, and not just one, but two copies of Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson’s Christmas Miracles – one to keep and one to give away to someone special.

If you’d like a chance to win the gift basket, leave a comment at the end of this post.

I bring you a conversational interview with Cec and Marley:

I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity today to talk to my friend and co-author, Cecil “Cec” Murphey, and to chat about our upcoming book, Christmas Miracles.

Marley: Cec, thanks for spending some time with me today.

Cec: Marley, it's great that you could take time away from important things like making a living to spend a little time with me.

Marley: I’m so jazzed about our Christmas Miracles book that’s coming out soon. I’ve had a lot of questions from folks wanting to know how we met, what brought us together, etc. So, I thought we’d do a back and forth on how it all came to be. Of course, I have to give props to our amazing agent and friend, Deidre Knight, for bringing us together. For those of you who don’t know, Cec co-authored the runaway New York Times bestselling hit 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper.

Cec: I have to say thanks to Deidre Knight as well. Between Deidre and my assistant, Twila Belk, I've been able to sell quite a few books. 90 Minutes in Heaven has been my big book. I'm also proud of a book I wrote in 1990 called Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. The book has never been out of print and has hit close to four million in sales. Early this year, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the made-for-TV film version.

Marley: That’s amazing! You are truly prophetic and definitely “the man behind the words.” Now, people ask how we teamed up. Sadly, there was a personal tragedy that brought Cec and me together as friends.

Cec: True. In early 2007, our house burned and our son-in-law died. Aside from the grief over Alan, we lost everything. Deidre and Jan, my-then-assistant, sent the word out of our tragedy without telling me. I'm immensely grateful for every gift people sent, but I probably wouldn't have admitted I needed help and wouldn't have asked. They taught me how much we need other people.

Marley: Deidre put out a call to other clients of The Knight Agency, to help Cec and his family out in any way in their time of need. At the time, my company was moving and we were cleaning house. We had a ton of office supplies that we were either going to throw away or give to some of the charities the company worked with. I got my boss’ permission to send a large care package to Cec…full of office supplies for him to re-stock his writer’s office. You name it…post-its, staples, paper clips, pens, pencils, markers, white out, ruler, scissors, paper, notebooks, notepads, envelopes, a laptop case, tape, glue, folders, binder clips…etc. A veritable potpourri of office delights. I was hoping that it would help Cec have a sense of getting his office back so he could keep working.

Cec: Marley's gift was the most unexpected I received. We hadn't met, although Deidre Knight had spoken of her many times and kept telling me she was wonderful. I wonder if you can imagine what it was like for me to open that box from someone I didn't know. I saw all those practical things for my office and yelled for my wife. I felt as if I were reading a first-grade book. "Look! Look and see! Oh, look!" I was overwhelmed by the gift and even more to receive it from a stranger. Those supplies were the most practical gift anyone could have given me. I'm still using black paper clips and red folders from Marley.

Marley: Awww…thanks, Cec! I didn’t have to think twice about doing it. Writing is such a solitary “sport,” but the writing community always astounds me with how they help their own. Not long after that, over plates of spinach and Gouda omelets, Deidre introduced me to Cec in person and I was thrilled to finally meet the man behind the words. Deidre knew we needed to work on a project together and thus began our brainstorming. What did you think of that first meeting, Cec, and cooking up the idea to work together?

Cec: Deidre and I had already spoken about a Christmas book and I had some idea about what it should contain, but nothing had come together. One day Deidre told me that Marley was coming to visit her and she wanted us to work together on a Christmas project. Marley and I talked before we ate and again during the meal. Everything felt right to me. I knew my strengths and Marley knew hers (and Deidre knew both of us). Everything clicked. Marley, a far better networker than I am, immediately sent out the word for submissions. Within days she had almost four times more than we could use. (She read every one of them!)

: I was truly impressed with the submissions we received and it was hard narrowing it down to the ones we chose for the book. We’re fortunate to have such a go-getter agent in Deidre Knight. Cec, can you share how the whole idea of Christmas Miracles came about and what you thought of the project originally?

Cec: For me, it actually started while I was on the rapid-rail train from the Atlanta airport when I listened to teens talk about Christmas and it was mostly about gifts. I had the idea then, but nothing really came together. Months later when Deidre I and had a meeting, she brought up the idea of a compilation and mentioned my working with Marley. I've been Deidre Knight's client since 1997 and I've learned to listen carefully when she comes up with an idea. I said yes before she gave me all the information.

Marley: That’s the truth about Deidre! Getting back to those submissions, I want to say we got more than two hundred submissions for Christmas Miracles. So many wonderful stories to read through and select for the book. It was a challenge to pick and choose which ones were right for the book, but I loved every minute of it. After I chose the entries that would go into the book, Cec toiled long hours editing the works for a unified voice. What was the biggest challenge you found in the editing process, Cec?

Cec: I've been a ghostwriter and collaborator for twenty-plus years and this was a switch to give the book a unified voice—which was mine. It would have been easier to stay with each writer's voice, but the book—like many compilations—would have been uneven in tone and quality. When I discussed this via email with our delightful editor, Rose Hilliard, she was (to my surprise) familiar with my work. She told me she liked the warm tone of my writing and that I don't waste words. "That's the voice we want," she said. It still wasn't easy, but it was an exciting challenge. After Marley and I agreed on the stories and gave them that unified voice, our editor pulled six contributions. Although different, Rose felt they were too similar to other stories.

Marley: Can you give our readers a preview of the book? A favorite story perhaps…or one that moved you to tears? (I have to say the little boy who wished for nothing but to be able to read a book all the way through because of his stutter had me bawling when I read the submission.)

Cec: That's not fair! I liked them all. The one that touched me most, however, is the last story in the book, "Sean's Question." We had almost finished the book and I was teaching at a conference in Florida. I felt we needed one strong story at the end. Despite all the good ones, I didn't feel fully satisfied to conclude the book. On the last day of the conference, I met a conferee named Sara Zinn for a consultation. As we talked, I mentioned Christmas Miracles and that I still needed one more story. "I have a Christmas story," she said and told me about Sean. As I listened, tears filled my eyes—but, being the macho type I am, I was sure it was an allergy. Sara wrote the story, and it became the one I sought.

Marley: Oh yes…that one is an emotional one all right. It was meant to be in the book because of how you met at the conference. Now, you and I have both had challenges in our lives that others might have found too much to take, but we are both very strong in our faith and our relationship with God. How do you think Christmas Miracles is going to help others feel closer to God and experience His miracles in their own lives?

Cec: Awareness and appreciation are the two things I want readers to grasp. Awareness means for them to realize that they're never totally alone in life. Those unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary events remind us of that. Appreciation means to be thankful for what we already have. Too often, and especially at Christmas, we focus on what we'd like or what is supposed to make us happy. Christmas Miracles gently reminds readers of both.

Marley: In this day and age when our country is fighting two wars, unemployment is high, and a lot of people have a lack of hope and faith for their future, what do you want readers of the book to take away from Christmas Miracles and how can the stories in our book help provide comfort to those struggling?

Cec: I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural (as in one of Marley's stories). I call myself a serious Christian. For me, the world's greatest miracle began with the birth of Jesus. Regardless of a person's religion, this book encourages readers to think about life during the Christmas season and see that life as more than gifts and celebrations. It's also a reminder that God loves us and hears our needy cries.

Marley: Beautifully put, Cec, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Can we share what’s next after Christmas Miracles?

Cec: Why it's the Cec and Marley show, of course. Because of our go-getter agent and our enthusiastic editor, we've already received thumbs up for The Christmas Spirit. This will be stories of people who express the true spirit of Christmas by acts of love and kindness, for release in the fall of 2011.

Marley: And I can’t wait to start working on that project! Thank you so much for your time, Cec, and answering my questions. It was a privilege and honor to work with you and I look forward to our future projects together. You’ve helped me along during a trying time and I appreciate your friendship and support.

Cec: I liked this project because Marley had to send out the word, collect submissions, read them, and discard the weaker ones. I get to see only the better-written stories. (Don't tell her that I have the better job.) Although I mentioned only one story, all of those in the book touched me because of the poignancy of their situations and the miraculous answers. I won't say the stories increased my faith, but they increased my appreciation for the delightful mix of human need and divine intervention.

Marley: Thanks again, Cec! God Bless! And to our readers, please be sure to pick up a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, out October 13, 2009 from St. Martin’s Press. It’s a great stocking stuffer or gift basket filler. We hope you, too, will discover your own Christmas Miracles in your life.


Tuesday, November 17

The Kingdom

This is not any theology and is by no means complete. It is merely a thought-provoking illustration that I thought you might enjoy…

In days gone by, a king sent his son to represent his kingdom in a foreign land. When a king or a sovereign of a country wanted to spread his authority and influence to a new territory, he sent his son or an ambassador to set up a foreign mission office or embassy.

The reputation of the king reflected on his subjects and vise versa. The king appoints or chooses those whom He desires to represent him to other nations. Jesus said to the disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” (John 15:16 NKJV)

An ambassador is a citizen of a country and is chosen or appointed by the ruler of his country. He is sent to a foreign land to represent his ruler on an official mission to establish a base of operation for transacting business for the home government.

During his stay, he lives in the embassy, which is the site of all official business conducted for the government it represents. The embassy is a gated community, the ambassador’s safe haven from any enemies or intruders.

Unless invited, a citizen of the foreign land (as an enemy) may not enter the sealed off district without the consent of its ambassador, because the representative of the kingdom has control of the gate.

Therefore, to enter the front gate, a citizen of the foreign land must first get permission or be issued an invitation by the ambassador. The ambassador has been given the keys of authority to lock and unlock the gate.

The ambassador is sent to represent the traits, customs, and so on, of his ruler and his country. Where the embassy of the kingdom exists, the language of the kingdom is spoken. The ambassador’s speech then reflects on the king. The land of his birth can be distinguished the minute he opens his mouth. His accent and language are a give-away, for he is speaking the language of his kingdom, his homeland tongue.

While on this foreign mission as the ruler’s spokesman, he carries the authority of the word of the ruler of his country, upholding the commands and laws of the homeland. He is critical to the ruler’s efforts of establishing a forefront of the ruler’s presence in a foreign land.

Ambassadors cannot be detained or arrested, or, in other words, the law outside the compound of the embassy has no jurisdiction over the ambassador. He has diplomatic immunity, but while in the foreign land, ambassadors are obliged to refrain from meddling in the host country’s internal affairs.

Our personal application: We were all “aliens from the commonwealth” until we became “naturalized,” or citizens of the Kingdom. We are not illegal immigrants. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].” (Luke 17:21 Amp)

This is our embassy here on earth, in our hearts, for we are “fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,” living as outposts in a foreign land, in the land of the enemy. (Eph. 2:19 NKJV)

Our Sovereign Ruler has endowed us with the rights, freedoms, privileges, immunities, and duties of citizenship of the Kingdom. We also have the right to be protected by the Kings’ army to defend us from any enemy that would attack the embassy gate. But we are also expected to obey our duties as citizens.

Within the confines of our gated community, we are protected; it is our safe haven. We have control of the gate. We have the keys of the Kingdom.

Our King is responsible for our upkeep, providing for us and protecting us. You are God’s ambassador, sent on a mission to take care of His business; He is responsible for taking care of you.

We carry the authority of the Word of our Sovereign while we are on our mission for Him. We play a critical role in His efforts to expand His Kingdom to others.

As a citizen of God’s Kingdom, what we say reflects on our King. The words we speak will identify which kingdom we represent, letting everyone know our native Homeland. We are to exhibit the character of the One that sent us, reflecting graciously on the Sovereign of our Homeland.

The law outside the compound of the embassy is the enemy’s territory, and we are to stay out of the world’s manner of doing things, not indulging in its affairs or activities. The world’s system has no place in a believer’s life.

Only the law within the gates of the Kingdom reigns over the citizen of that Kingdom. In essence, we cannot serve two governments, two authorities…either the government of heaven or the government of the opposition.

As we have been chosen and have accepted the responsibility, we carry on the mission of our Ruler amidst diverse and hostile natives. We represent our King as ambassadors to a world of foreigners.

Jesus said, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (Matt. 6:26 Amp) Therefore, having been commissioned by God to do the business of the Kingdom, we are to go to foreign places to represent the Name and the work of the Sovereign One sending us.

We are to make known the dominion of our King, to give His perspectives on life, to show others what life is like in the Kingdom in which we live, and to recruit new citizens into the Kingdom.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” (Rom. 14:17-18 NIV)


Thursday, November 12

The Fellowship of Communion

The Passover meal celebrated the Lord’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt’s bondage and from the plagues God sent on Egypt, including the death plague, which was halted for the Israelites by the blood of a lamb smeared on the doorposts of their homes.

Before the onset of the first Passover, God told Israel, “Every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household,” (Ex. 12:3b NKJV) and, after smearing the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, they were to roast it and eat it in anticipation of what the Lord was about to do.

For us as Christians, because each of us has taken a Lamb into our heart’s home, smearing His blood upon its doorposts, we are able to celebrate communion, commemorating our release as God’s people from bondage, the plagues of life, and the deliverance from the eternal curse of death.

In order for us to partake of Jesus’ life through the Lord’s Supper as a vital part of our Christian walk, we need to understand cleansing and commitment, for sharing in communion is more than just a religious ritual.

According to ancient, Hebrew traditions, if two joined in a covenant and ratified it with a meal, which included the breaking of bread and drinking of a cup of wine, it meant they were eating and drinking of each other.

At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus said, “I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. But those who eat My flesh and drink My blood have eternal life, and I will raise them at the last day.” (John 6:53-54 NLT)

Today, we Christians don’t give enough serious thought to what we are doing when we participate in the Lord’s Supper. In order to have our hearts right before God to take part in communion, we must…

…first, get right with others.
Jesus declared in His Sermon on the Mount, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” (Matt. 6:14 NLT)

We forget that forgiveness is not optional! No right relationship with God can prevail apart from forgiveness of others. If we do not forgive others, then what is the point of commemorating what Jesus died to do for us?

…then, get right with God.
“But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6:15 NLT)

Therefore, we cannot engage in the bread of fellowship or the cup of covenant with an accumulation of unforgiveness in our hearts, as Paul warns us, “So if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, that person is guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup unworthily, not honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.” (1 Cor. 11:27-29 NLT)

We do not take communion to get right with God; we get right with others and God before we place that wafer on our tongue or lift that cup to our lips. Unfortunately, many Christians take communion all too lightly, not grasping the full intent of these verses.

…then, we seek communion at the Lord’s table.
Partaking of the communion table is a physical testimony of a spiritual conversion, affirming that we have bound ourselves to Christ in covenant.

Paul said, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16 NKJV)

If we call it ‘communion,’ does that click in our finite minds what that means? The Greek word for it, ‘koinonia,’ means partnership, joint participation, fellowship, to share in common, intimacy, and so on.

Through communion, we take part in the sacrifice of Jesus’ body and His blood. In sharing the bread and the cup, we share in the intimacy of His fellowship, participating in the benefits of what He accomplished at the whipping post, in the judgment hall, on the cross, and through His resurrection.

What Paul said stands as relevant today as when he said it, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26 NIV)

Oh, please, my Christian brothers and sisters, please see the crucial importance of having a right heart before God that you may share in the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper worthily.

I pray that, after reading this, you will never again enter into the Lord’s covenant meal the same as you did before. May this be life changing for each of you.


Wednesday, November 11

Set Apart

I have another honor today of bringing you an interview with Jennifer Kennedy Dean, author of the new book Set Apart: A 6 Week Study of the Beatitudes. At the end of this post, leave a comment if you would like to be entered for a drawing to win the following items from Jennifer:

*A Set Apart Leader’s Kit (video and leader resources and a student book) retail $79.99
*A copy of Fueled by Faith (retail $19.99)
*Jennifer will have a live web event just for your group

* If you are a leader (small groups, book club, Bible Study, Women's Ministry), please note that you are--you will automatically be entered in the contest.
* If you are a member of one of these groups at your church or community, mention that you are a group member.

This is what has been said of this study…

Set Apart is a Bible Study that will challenge readers to grow in their walk and commitment to Christ. This workbook style text dissects both the Ten Commandments and The Beatitudes while providing deeper understanding of the correlation of both passages of scripture. Holiness, prayer, and obedience are the major themes of living this SET APART life.

We were made for holiness, and this core concept of the Beatitudes is accessed through a praying life—a life lived in the present-tense power of God. It is only when we continually pursue holiness that blessedness comes, and we discover the power and fulfillment of the promise of God.

Here’s Jennifer…

You are known for your extensive research and your fresh insights. Do you have a method for gleaning new concepts?

Of course, the truths are not new, but I think I sometimes am able to frame old truths in new ways. I always find that when I put the words of Jesus into their original Hebraic setting and experience the scene through the viewpoint of His real-time audience, some new little fragment of truth finds its way into my thinking.

I like to let the Scripture breathe. To let it sit in my heart until its full aroma has time to emerge. There’s the hard-core research, and then there’s the marinating. Turn your imagination loose and unfurl your curiosity, and listen to the living Word.

You have a series of Bible studies in the format of Set Apart, designed to be interactive. This series of studies has video series and leader's kits available. What is the advantage to this kind of format?

I try to produce a new Bible study with video series every year. I like the interactive format because I like to pull the reader into the scripture to experience the Word. I like to challenge the reader to interact with the thoughts and ideas and to take the time to absorb them and apply them, rather than just to read.

The other thing I like about this format is that it can be done by an individual, or as a group. In the video series, I like to be able to teach the main points of the material and set the learners up for a productive week of personal study. I love feeling like I get to be part of your Bible study group! The kits have lots of other resources for leading a small group in the study.

Several of your studies have theme songs that go with them, as Set Apart does. How do these songs come about?

I have developed a song-writing relationship with a talented musician named Roxanne Lingle. I write poems, we turn them into lyrics, Roxanne composes and arranges the music, and Roxanne records the songs.

For Set Apart, we have the theme song in the form of a music video, which is a new addition. In the leader’s kit, you have the audio track, accompaniment track, lead sheet, and the music video. The theme song becomes an important and worshipful part of the study experience.

Each chapter includes interactive questions for readers to answer, emphasizing God’s desire to reproduce the character and attitudes of Jesus in each Christian’s life. Along with the Bible study book, there is a Leader Kit that includes six DVD sessions and a CD with bonus material for small-group leaders.

If Jennifer has peaked your interest, you can find Set Apart and her other books at…

*Praying Life Foundation
*New Hope Publishers

You can also find Jennifer at her website


Tuesday, November 10

Mission Possible, Spiritual Covering

Today, I have another privilege of bringing to you an interview with Deborah MacCarragher, author of Mission Possible, Spiritual Covering. After reading Deborah’s interview, if you’d like to be entered in the drawing for her book, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

Tell us a little about your background.

I grew up in a Navy family and moved frequently as a child. I married my first husband right out of high school. That marriage ended in divorce four years later. I remarried in 1982 (to my current husband) and we’ll be married 28 years in January 2010. Seven years into our marriage, I gave my life to Jesus as Lord and Savior. My husband did not.

What inspired you to write this influential book?

I was involved with a local intercessory prayer group at the time and was prompted by God during prayer to write down what He was conveying to me about my husband and his salvation.

The book was quite literally written as I was inspired and without much effort on my part. I just typed on the computer as He led me to Bible verses and topics to write about. I remember writing down the names of seven chapters during prayer time on a tablet - just looking at them afterwards in awe. It was quite a moving experience.

What advice do you have for women who are married to non-believing husbands?

I think the most important advice is to have faith in Who God is and His sovereignty. We can’t “pre-package” our spouse’s conversion experience, and God will always do what will bring Him the most glory. We also have to remember that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. Our spouse (if unsaved) isn’t governed by God’s Spirit, so we have to release them from that accountability. We must have faith that rests in God and not in our own understanding.

What kind of reactions has the book generated thus far?

I have had great reaction to my little book. Some women love it because it is not lengthy, and they can read it quickly, yet refer back to it over and over again. One woman emailed me a testimony that she was nearly ready to leave her husband, but after reading the book, felt that God was leading her to give her marriage another try. That was very humbling and gratifying for me. I just want to help women see that there is an alternative to being miserable in an unequally yoked marriage.

What’s the main message that you’d like readers to take away from it?

I would love readers to discover that God has a plan for each marriage that is in spiritual disunity. It involves us, but it is always done HIS WAY! I want readers to know that it is a process that evolves over time, that we must not put God in a box but give Him room to move in our spouse’s life.
They need to know that, because we are not perfect and continue to sin, satan will harass us (women) and try to influence us to believe that our mission is not possible, but with God, all things are possible!

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Just that I know how difficult it is to be married to a spouse who doesn’t share your love and devotion to the Lord Jesus. I, like many of my readers, get frustrated and disillusioned, but I know God has perfect timing and our best interests at heart overall. He wants our spouses to come to a saving knowledge of Him and embrace a future together that brings glory to Him.

How can our readers learn more about you and contact you directly?

They can visit me at...
*my website
*my blog page
*or email me at


Saturday, November 7

Blush? What's That?

Something has been bugging me. Well, out of the many things, I’ve been wondering about the lack of our ability to blush. Because I care about my brothers and sisters in Christ, I am very concerned about our sensitivity to sin.

When was the last time you saw anyone blush? When was the last time you blushed? I don’t remember the last time I blushed.

Ezra blushed. What caused the blood to rush to his face, giving him that crimson glow? In his remorse at the intermarriages of Israel’s priests and Levites with the surrounding Ites, he lamented, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has mounted to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:6 Amp) Our iniquities, he said, not theirs.

But do we blush when we act in opposition to God’s Word? When we sin, do we grieve over what we have done, as James exhorts us, “Be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins].” (James 4:9 Amp)

After committing a sin, are we in anguish only that we got caught and have to face the consequences or that we have wounded the heart of the Father?

Are we ashamed before the holy God of the universe? Unfortunately, we have become so desensitized to unholiness that sin does not bother us much anymore and we act like the Israelites. God said of them to Jeremiah, “Are they ashamed when they do these disgusting things? No, not at all - they don’t even blush!” (Jer. 6:15 NLT)

Do we ever weep over our sins? David grieved over his sin, saying, “For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin.” (Ps. 38:18 NKJV) He loved God and knew that, if sin remained in his heart, it would offend God and cut off his fellowship with Him. Therefore, he asked God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Ps. 139:23-24 NLT)

Out of our deep love for the Lord and knowing what displeases Him, do we strive to remain so close to Him that any interference, any sin that separates us from Him, is automatically repulsive and avoided? Obeying God has better results than sinning!

But what about those “little sins”? To God, sin is sin, no one sin is considered bigger than another sin. However, we sometimes have it stuck in our finite minds that God has a blind spot when it comes to what we consider little sins. I think it’s the pile-up of the little sins that desensitizes our spirits.

We think little is okay, like nibbling on the forbidden fruit of a little cheating, a little white lie, a little stealing of pens or paper from the company or altering our time cards, a little flirting at work, a little dirty joke, a little gossip, a little peeking at this or winking at that.

We say to ourselves, “I’m not causing any harm. It’s just a little thing.” Or, “Just this once won’t hurt anybody.” Wanna bet? Look what happened because of sin’s one-time nibble in the garden; it spread condemnation to the whole world!

Just one bowing down to lust can ruin a life - or lives - forever. Just one night of sin can result in divorce, AIDS, pregnancy, drunk driving, or the death of a human life. Just one instance of gossip or confidence shared can sometimes rip apart long-time friendships or an entire family.

When we have Godly sorrow for sin, it “brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.” (2 Cor. 7:10a NIV) Do we say to the Father, “I am deeply sorry for what I have done”? (Ps. 38:18 NLT)

But how long does it take you to confess a sin? Thirty seconds? Thirty minutes? Thirty days? Thirty years? The moment you know you have done something against God’s Word, do you confess it only to rush out the door to do it again?

Because David desired to be rid of those sins prowling around in his heart that might escape his attention, he said to God, “But how can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” (Ps. 19:12 TLB)

However, he also wanted to be rid of his willful sins, for he said, “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” (Ps. 19:13 NIV)

If we do not vigilantly guard our hearts against the tactics of the enemy, we leave ourselves wide open to all his assaults. To avoid this, Peter warns us, “Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.” (1 Peter 5:8 CEV)

Do you make yourself lion-bait by flirting around the fringe of the forbidden, causing impure thoughts, immoral desires, or inappropriate actions? Sin’s desire is to take you, to possess you, to gobble you up, bit by bit. The hollowness of hell’s hunger hankers to be filled with God’s dainty morsels - His children! If you hear its stomach growl, watch out!

Live in such a way that no blush ever tints your face!


Tuesday, November 3

The Blindfold

Today, I share with you a story that I received as an email. I tried to find out the author but he or she remains anonymous. This story may be true or it may just be a legend. I found conflicting accounts. Either way, I hope you enjoy it.

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian young male’s Rite of Passage?

The youth’s father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him, and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

During the night, the boy is naturally terrified. He hears all kinds of noises. The wind blows the grass. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. But he sits stoically, throughout the long night, never removing the blindfold.

Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appears and he removes his blindfold. It is then that he discovers his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

Once the youth survives the night, he is a man. When he returns to his friends, he cannot tell them of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

Moral of the story: Just because you can’t see God, doesn’t mean He is not there.

We are never alone. When the howling of circumstances surrounds us and the darkness of afflictions blinds us, we can know that the light of the Son is upon us and that the Father watches over us, sitting on the stump beside us.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”


Monday, November 2

I Want Something Better Than Jewels blog tour

Today, I am proud to be a part of the blog tour for Linda Newton and her new devotional book I Want Something Better Than Jewels: 31 Days of Biblical Insight for a Woman Seeking God.

Linda and her husband, Bruce Newton, pastor Sierra Pines Church in Oakhurst, CA, where Linda has served as a counselor for the past 20 years. As a speaker, author, and counselor, she has a passion to lead ladies to a greater understanding of the abundant life available to them in Christ (John 10:10). You will laugh, learn, and leave feeling closer to the Lord!

Linda, your devotional is full of inspiring stories--one for every day of the month. What made you write a devotional book using stories?

I’ve always thought that stories were powerful. They can illustrate a point and offer an example many times better than just logical explanation alone. I wrote a few that were published in different Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

That’s when I got the idea to write stories like those chosen for Chicken Soup, colorful narratives to make the reader laugh and cry that would help to illustrate biblical concepts. I love how Jesus used stories to illuminate the ideas he was teaching, so I decided to follow the example of the best!

Your stories are authentic and you’re not afraid to laugh at yourself. Is it hard to be that vulnerable?

I try to stay transparent in my writing because I think readers need to see real people searching for solutions to real struggles, not people pretending to be perfect. If we can’t laugh at ourselves then who can we laugh at? I’ve got plenty of material!

Better Than Jewels
has a story about how I accidentally brought bright purple shoes to a speaking engagement to wear with my pale pink and white outfit. I didn’t know the area well enough to find a store, so I slapped on the bright purple shoes and tried to make the best of it. I wrote that story to illustrate Proverbs 31. That’s my best attempt at being this wise and capable woman. The Lord keeps me on my knees, and usually I fall there!

Better Than Jewels contains everyday challenges of being a busy woman in today’s culture. It has insights in surviving the hair-flipping, door-slamming teen years. What mom doesn’t need a sense of humor when it comes to her parenting? If I can bring a smile to someone’s face as she starts her day, that will certainly bring a smile to mine.

What is one of your favorite stories from your book?

Practically every story I share with my readers is a favorite. There are so many about how God came through! One of my favorites, Dare to Dream, is how the Lord intervened to get me from the Deep South to college in California. After accepting Christ while I was in junior high, I started receiving info in the mail from Azusa Pacific College (now University). Right away, I knew that is where I wanted to be. Since my mom was a pretty hostile nonbeliever, I knew she would never go for it. So I prayed.

Two months before the end of my junior year, that little country church I attended in Tennessee hired a new pastor, a graduate from Azusa! Even though my mom had a major mother melt down and I had to go live with my dad in North Carolina, losing contact with my church in Tennessee, my old pastor still made it happen for me to fulfill my dream of attending Christian college in California.

It’s not just a book of stories. Can you tell us how each daily reading flows?

Each day starts with a verse from Proverbs and a brief scriptural insight into that verse, then a story to illustrate the concept presented in that scripture. My goal is for busy women to have a bite-size bit of instruction and inspiration to start each day.

I have talked to ladies who have known the Lord for decades and baby believers who have expressed appreciation for the insight they received into God’s Word from Better Than Jewels. They relate to the situations I present in my stories about “the Lord in the everyday.”

Remind us again about how to use of the Polish Your Jewels section at the end of each chapter?

As a Christian counselor, I want to offer up ways to give the reader something to work on each day. Polish Your Jewels offers questions and suggestions to help you apply the principles presented in the scripture verse and illustrated by the story.

How can folks get Better Than Jewels: 31 Days of Insight for a Woman Seeking God?

Amazon has it and I offer a discount on my website when you purchase more than one book. Better Than Jewels is packaged in such a way as to make a thoughtful gift. I also know ladies who have used is as a small group study, discussing their take away from each story and working through the Polish Your Jewels section together.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Linda’s book I Want Something Better Than Jewels: 31 Days of Biblical Insight for a Woman Seeking God. You can find Linda and her book on her site