Friday, July 30

A Storm in Little Valley

Little Valley lived among the verdant hills that stood tall and proud. Each tree, each flower on the hills stretched out in service for its created purpose. A true testament to their Creator.

Although delicate wildflowers and sweet-smelling honeysuckle adorned Little Valley, the artistry of the hills intimidated her. She compared herself to the regal hills and thought poorly of herself, “What am I amongst these majestic hills of the Creator? Nothing but weeds and stones cover my terrain. I have no beauty with which to serve and magnify My Maker.”

One day, dark billowing clouds as black chariots of doom gathered across the sky. On the hills, the flowers closed their petals, the trees folded their leaves in terror. The sun disappeared, leaving no ray of its existence upon anything.

Little Valley shivered in the foreboding gloom and swirling winds, as the calamity wrapped itself around her shoulders as a sinister black cloak.

The hills trembled under the mighty power of the tempest as its violence ripped at its beauty. The proud hills crumbled under the oppressive weight.

The silence of the hills contrasted with Little Valley’s bemoaning of her situation. The storm struck at her heart, leaving a gaping hole in her landscape. The birds disappeared; their songs of praise gone with them. And all the other valley creatures departed for homes unknown. She cried great tears of grief for her loss.

In her mourning, she cried out to her Creator. “Save me, Master. I’ve been torn asunder. All is lost.”

Whispering back, He answered, “My sweet field of pleasure, My Little Valley, nothing strikes at your heart except it is sifted through My loving fingers. You do not see now but you will see later the beauty born of suffering. You will bring great glory to Me. Do not compare yourself with others. Trust in My Word. Trust in My promises.”

Little Valley sighed and rested in the knowledge that the Master Creator knew best.

Though they eventually ceased, the tears Little Valley shed filled the gaping hole and a beautiful pool of water emerged. The calm waters belied the rugged rocks lining its depths.

Water lilies began to appear on the pond’s surface. A profusion of multi-colored blossoms poked their heads up around the water’s edge. The grass grew the most beautiful shade of green and flourished everywhere. The birds returned to nest in newly formed trees.

Little Valley reveled in the results as she blossomed with new strength and beauty, born out of the suffering as the promise of the Lord. For the rest of her days, she knew she would serve her Master and bring glory to Him.

Though God has gifted you and set a purpose for your life, do you feel unworthy, untalented, or lacking in some area to serve Him because you compare yourself with others?

Just as the hills and valleys each have their own beauty and their own purpose, so does each child of God. Each of us serves to glorify the Lord in our own capacity, which is honoring to Him and beneficial to others. Whether you minister to large numbers or you minister to your next door neighbor, it is all serving the Lord. No one ministry is greater than another.

You are worthy to serve because Christ lives within you, so “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,” (Col. 3:17 NIV) as “though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Col. 3:23 NLT)

I pray you know this…“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zeph. 3:17 NLT)


Monday, July 26

Chip Off the Ol' Block!

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of
God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Gen. 1:27 NIV

The Father says we are His family, His sons and daughters: “I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:18 RGT)

Created in our heavenly Father’s image, we become His children through the shed blood of Jesus and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, just as the disciple John tells us, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12 NKJV)

Matthew Henry said, “A sanctified soul bears the image of God, as the child bears the image of the father.”

Are you a parent? Do you have sons and/or daughters? Who do they look like? Who do they act like?

Do they say of your child, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”? Or “He’s a chip off the old block”? Or “She’s the spitting image of her mother.” What do they mean? They mean he is just like his father, and she is just like her mother. Just a smaller version.

When you look at your child, do you see yourself, your spouse, or some other family member? Does your child have your eyes, your fingers, your build, your hair, your nose, your toes, your mouth, or does he or she have your mannerisms, talents, same interests, and so on? Then that child is like you, in the same manner, the same character.

Does your little boy follow Daddy around like a little shadow, wanting to imitate and pattern everything after his father – to walk like him, talk like him, act like him? Does your little girl dress up and pretend she’s grown up like Mommy? Little kids love to imitate. That’s how they learn.

When God looks at you, what does He see? He sees you as His child made in His own image. Paul said, “Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].” (Eph. 5:1 Amp)

So, how do we do that? We manifest the Father’s character in our daily lives, as Paul said, by living “soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” (Titus 2:12 NKJV)

Paul said that we also imitate our heavenly Father by putting on behavior marked by “tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of (ourselves), gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].” (Col. 3:12 Amp)

Only by close interaction and contact with a parent will a child pick up the same habits, tendencies, likes and dislikes, and character of a parent. And so it is with us. To learn to be like God, we must be constantly in His presence, following Him around like a little shadow. (Or is that in His shadow?)

The Father desires His children to imitate Him, to listen to Him, to obey Him, and just to be with Him. But until we sit at the feet of our heavenly Father, we will not resemble Him nor our Elder Brother.

Jesus gave us a model for imitation. He said, “I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do.” (John 13:15 Msg)

He beckons us, “Follow Me!” But do we?


Thursday, July 22

Do You Know Your Calling?

Do you know you have a call on your life? Maybe you probably already know that. Or maybe you don’t know that. Or maybe you’ve been sensing that the Lord is calling you to something but you don’t know what it is. Or maybe you are searching for that calling.

Whether you are searching or not, you are called. As Christians, we are all called.

Paul says that God “called you to become His child” (1 Thess. 5:24TLB) and that “You also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:6 NIV), “called into the fellowship of (God’s) Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9 NKJV).

So, what does the Word say about being called? We are…

* to “be all the more eager to make (our) calling and election sure.” (2 Peter 1:10 NIV)

* urged “to live a life worthy of the calling (we) have received.” (Eph. 4:1 NIV)

* “called to liberty.” (Gal. 5:13 NKJV)

* to be holy, “as the One Who called (us) is holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 Amp)

* to be “flooded with light so that (we) can see something of the future He has called (us) to share.” (Eph. 1:18 TLB)

* to be “of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that (we) were called to this, that (we) may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9 NKJV)

Not the specific kind of calling you were looking for? Well, if we cannot step into the callings listed for us in the Word, how can we seek our life’s specific calling that the Lord desires for us to share with others?

God does have a distinct plan and purpose for our lives, a calling that only each of us can fulfill. So, how do you find out what it is? Think about what fuels the passion of your soul and what sparks the fire in your heart. What do you love to do that you would do even if no one thanked you?

God has called each of us to do certain things, to be His hands of help, comfort, or assistance to others in one capacity or another. If we are called according to His purpose, we share that calling with others. But if we do not do for others what God has called us to do, we hinder the fulfillment of His purpose. How are we then profitable to the Kingdom if we refuse to function in our calling?

Whatever your call may be, “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom. 11:29 NKJV) They are without change of purpose and bring no regrets.

Each calling is a ministry to others. The Lord called me late in my life to write for Him, something I would never have guessed. It is now my passion and I wholeheartedly and humbly obey His call.

In your seeking, you may find a surprise calling on your life, at any time of your life. It may merely be to witness to your next door neighbor or serve the homeless at a local shelter. God’s list is endless.

Rest in the knowledge that the Lord will tell you at just the right time, so that “you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Eph. 1:18b NKJV)

Whatever God calls you to do, “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Col. 3:23 NIV)

May you be blessed as you obey God’s calling on your life and may others know the benefit of your obedience.


Monday, July 19

Who's Your Faith Hero?

Whenever the question is asked…Who is your favorite biblical hero of faith…most people pick Paul. However, my heroes of victorious faith are those in the Old Testament, those whose faith held to the backside of the cross, having the faith to see what was yet to be. They had no anchor of hope in Christ as we do.

Abraham is probably my number one hero of faith. When Paul wanted to convey righteousness through faith to the Romans, he wrote about Abraham, telling them to “walk in the way of that faith which our father Abraham had.” (Rom. 4:12 Amp)

Then he said, “It is clear, then, that God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was not based on obedience to God’s law, but on the new relationship with God that comes by faith.” (Rom. 4:13 NLT) All he did, the Bible says, he did by faith.

From the beginning of God’s promise of his son Isaac to Abraham until the time of fulfillment was about twenty five years. Then, Abraham’s faith was tested to the max. When he obeyed to the point of nearly sacrificing his own son, a Ram in the thicket was provided.

That thing dearest to his heart he released to God and received it back multiplied times over. Abraham’s faith seed was planted there on Mount Moriah, and his seed produced seed upon Seed, and all of us have been blessed and rewarded since that time.

Look at the results produced from that one extraordinary act. If we follow this out, we will see the culmination of a progression of a life of faith, obedience, and sacrifice, from the seed of Abraham’s obedience, to David’s purchase of the threshing floor, to Solomon’s building of the Temple.

As the hill of these sacrifices and obedience, Mount Moriah (meaning ‘seen or vision of Jah’) is the same area, and thought by some scholars to be the very sight, of the greatest sacrifice ever, the crucifixion of Christ.

Our faith walk should be like Abraham’s, for he knew God kept His promises, “He drew strength from his faith, and, while giving the glory to God, remained absolutely convinced that God was able to implement His own promise.” (Rom. 4:21 Phillips)

When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he wrote about living by faith as Abraham, “It is [really] the people [who live] by faith who are [the true] sons of Abraham.” (Gal. 3:7 Amp) Therefore, “Those who are people of faith are blessed and made happy and favored by God [as partners in fellowship] with the believing and trusting Abraham.” (Gal. 3:9 Amp)

Paul also said of Abraham, “No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God.” (Rom. 4:20 Amp) His words of praise strengthened his faith, connecting Him to God’s power.

Paul said, “Therefore, [inheriting] the promise is the outcome of faith and depends [entirely] on faith.” (Rom. 4:16 Amp) He said our faith should rest “in the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:5 NKJV)

When you come before the God of the universe, do you believe that He is the God of all creation, that He is able to do what He says, that He will be with you in whatever you are going through, and that He rewards those believing in Him?

*Is there an Isaac in your life that you need to release by faith?
*Does your praise empower your faith?
*How long have you waited for an answer to prayer or the fulfillment of a promise from God?
*How do you walk, how do you behave, while you are waiting, in faith or doubt and worry?
*Do you rest in the power of God?

Does Jesus say to you, as He did to Peter when he began to be overwhelmed by the waves, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31b NKJV) Or does He say to you as He did to the woman that came to Him on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire”? (Matt. 15:28 NKJV)

If God is looking for victorious faith in His children, does He find it in you?


Friday, July 16

Praise is the Devil's Death-Knell

photo courtesy of kxande2 @ flickr

Today, I share with you a portion of something the Lord spoke to me some years ago. As always, His words changed me. From His heart to yours…

“Every time you have an intense trial or you wonder where I am, you must learn to quickly realize that the devil knows that something good is about to happen - that I am about to bring about some great thing into your life and he is going all-out to thwart My every plan and purpose.

This intense time must be spent repeating My words and praising Me. This is your only way out. This is a break-through time and it must be spent concentrating on Me. The devil will do anything to bring you down and he especially preys on these intense times because he knows that, if he can get you to stop praising, then your focus is shifted away from Me and onto your problem.

Learn to quickly see his hand at work and to even more quickly begin to praise Me more. Praise is the devil's death-knell (At which point, He told me to look up the meaning of knell, which means to ring in a slow, solemn way, to sound ominously or mournfully, toll, warning sound, extinction or failure of something, any sound announcing the death of a person or the end, or the sound of a bell rung slowly as at a funeral. Then, He continued.)

Now you understand how important it is to praise Me. Praising Me brings the devil to his knees and is excruciating to his ears. When you praise Me, you bring glory to Me and he cannot stand in My glory. He intends to bring you down but I intend to bring you up - up with Me. The more intense the pain and suffering, the more intense should be your praising.”

Praise gets the attention of both God and the enemy! It becomes a two-edged sword.

After the Lord rescued David from Saul and his other enemies, David wrote, “I will call on Jehovah, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” (Ps. 18:3 Masoretic Text)

If we express that verse according to its definitions, it might say, “When I summon Jehovah by Name, Who is worthy of being celebrated in praise, I shall be safe, preserved, rescued from and have victory over my enemies!” How great is that? All because God’s glory in praise prevails over darkness!

The Lord told Moses, “When you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then blow an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.” (Num. 10:9 Amp) Our praise is that trumpet of alarm preparing the path for God to deliver us from our enemy.

David knew his praises of God would bring down his enemies and said to Him, “From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Ps. 8:2 NIV)

The worst sound in the ears of the enemy is praise from the lips of one of God’s children. The enemy hates it.

I have learned to praise God no matter what. 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) Amen!

How about you? Do you still praise the Lord no matter what the circumstances?

May the Lord’s intimate words seep deep within your being and rise up as the oil of praise and be poured out upon His head.


Wednesday, July 14

A Grandmother Leaves Footprints on Souls ~ guest post

(The photo is of Wanda and her two grandsons making Footprints through The Valley of Fire, Las Vegas, NV)

Today, I am excited to bring you a post by Wanda Winters-Gutierrez. I know you will enjoy it. You can visit Wanda at her site The Journey.

A Grandmother Leaves Footprints on Souls

I am on a year long journey, before I turn 65, to discover who I really am. In my first blog covering this adventure, I wrote, “During this year, I want to connect more to the solitude deep in my spirit where God lives. I want to find my lost childhood and see God, and the world, through unwounded eyes. I want to have fun. Actually, I want to find out what fun is! Not just what others think fun is but what is fun to me? I want to be Wanda, who ever she might be.”

One incredible fun thing I am discovering is the power of a grandmother to impact the lives of future generations. I am grandmother to fourteen beautiful children between the ages of seventeen and two. Lately, I have awakened to the fact that although our family members, including me, have done some pretty stupid things in the past, there is still a heritage of faith that runs deep and strong through all of us. There are footprints laid out in time that they can follow.

Ten year old Matthew spent a few days with me last month. We had a wonderful time doing things he wanted do and in between times Grandma told him family stories. Stories about the times God had performed miracles for us. The first story was about his great grandfather Sampson Eli Church.

Grandpa Church was a coal miner during the early part of the 1900s when his sister, Aunt May, developed cancer. When the doctors operated, they found that the cancer had totally destroyed all her female organs and stomach. Her abdomen was an empty cavity, so they stuffed her with cotton, sewed her up, and sent her home to die.

They called Grandpa out of the mines to say goodbye to his sister. But Grandpa was a great believer in prayer and instead of saying goodbye, he laid his coal blacken hand on her head and asked God to completely heal her. And He did. Instantly, she was made totally whole. Her insides were replaced by the power of God to the degree that, later on in life, she conceived and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Right now, your eyes may be as big as Matthew’s was when I told him this story. All I can say is it is 100% truth and I will tell you what I told Matthew...never limit God...He can do anything.

I told Matthew the story about the time his Uncle Chris, my son, fell two stories through the open frame of a house he was building, onto concrete head first. He was 18 and working in Texas. I lived in Kentucky and got the call from his brother, “Chris looks really bad...he is bleeding from his nose and mouth....he’s hurt bad.” When something traumatic happens, I get really quiet inside and try to hear what God has to say about it. So, after a moment of listening I KNEW my son would be fine. I was to speak healing...I was to believe God.

I said, “Take him to the hospital and do whatever they say BUT KNOW this...God is about to do a miracle and Chris will walk out of that emergency room TODAY fully and completely healed. Do you understand me?” My son took a deep breath and said, “Okay.”

Every fiber of my being was vibrating with the certainty that God would do whatever it took to heal my baby. There was not a doubt in me anywhere. An hour later, I called the emergency room in Texas and asked to speak with anyone with Chris. When his brother got on the phone, I asked, “Okay, how is he?”

“Well...” he said, “ask him yourself.”

When I heard Chris’ unmistakable Texas drawl saying, “Hi, Mommy,” I started laughing and asked, “Chrisie…what happened?”

"Well, I reckon, I just fell on the hardest part of me.”

That day my son walked out of the emergency room healed.

When I finished that story, I looked into the wide brown eyes of my little grandson and saw a footprint on his soul. Forever he will have a touchstone of faith to stand on when life’s impossibilities hit him. That footprint proclaims, “God is big...and He loves us...and He hears our prayers....and miracles happen.”

I also told Matthew about another kind of miracle. When his daddy was about two years old, he fell on a glass bottle and laid open his little face clear through the cheek to the inside of his mouth. We rushed him to the emergency room where the ER doctor shook his head and said, “I can’t fix this. If the nerves and muscles are not connected right, he will be paralyzed on that side of his face.”

At that very moment, another doctor walked in and said, “Let me see. Oh, no problem...this is what I will need...”

The new doctor just happened
to be THE BEST plastic surgeon in the state and he just happened to stop off at this hospital on his way home and just happened to walk into the ER at that moment when one of God’s Little Ones needed his specialized skills. Michael’s cheek healed perfectly.

Charles Spurgeon said, “A Christian is a perpetual miracle.” I believe it.


Ever since the Haiti disaster, our family has done whatever we could to help. We prayed, gave, and reminded our friends to give. My son Michael organized a band concert in Las Vegas that raised thousands of dollars to feed children there. Last week, my 17 year old granddaughter Donna went with a missions team to minister in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Her Uncle Michael said, “Well Mom...the family now has a footprint in Haiti.” Indeed we do...

A friend, Jax Shows, sent this definition for FOOTPRINTS, “The action of one step that sets the world toward a better one or many.” That works.


Tuesday, July 13

What the Bible is All About for Moms blog tour

Today, I am happy to bring you an interview with Kathy Pride, the author of
What the Bible is All About for Moms: God’s Loving Promises for You and Your Family.
If you’ll leave a comment at the end of this post, you will be entered in the drawing for the book give-away.

So, tell us a little bit about how the book is laid out, and who is Henrietta Mears?

The book is inspired by the writing of Henrietta Mears, renowned Bible teacher from Hollywood Presbyterian Church in the 1940’s and on. She believed in making the Bible accessible to everyone and wrote her hallmark publication, What the Bible is All About, and was the founder of Gospel Light Publishing, Regal’s (the publisher of this book) parent company. So Regal has now published two devotionals inspired by her writing.

The book is comprised of 66 chapters, one for each book of the Bible, each one bite-sized for busy moms.

Each chapter starts off with a brief section entitled “Snapshot from Henrietta” which serves as a basic overview for that particular book of the Bible. It is then followed by selected scriptures, also inspired by the writing of Miss Mears, with one specific scripture from among her selections highlighted. This scripture is one that has particular relevance to moms.

A short one sentence synopsis precedes each story under the heading, “Momento” and then is followed by the story under the heading, “Mama Mia” which focuses on a mom or mom theme.

Each story is followed by an encouragement, “Lightening the Mother Load” and then closes with questions for reflection under “Musings for Moms.”

Tell us a little about the stories; some of these titles make me laugh.

I am so glad they make you laugh. Every mom who has gone through labor can relate to labor pain. Well, it says there right in the Bible, women will experience pain in childbirth, so E is for Eve (the grande dame mama) and epidurals.

Then there are others, like, “Bath,” Is That for Bathing or Bathsheba? (being noticed and admired); “White Teeth and Plastic Surgery” (paying attention to appearances); “Mean Girls 101” (raising great daughters); and “Too Much Idling Will Ruin Your Engine” (gossiping).

But the stories are relevant, honest, and will result in many nods of recognition. I am simply the scribe (oh, and experiencer of most of the stories, which are all true, although some names have been changed).

Is this for all moms, or just young moms?

The challenges that moms face are really universal throughout their lifetime. It may be a different story, but ultimately it is the same script. It may be sleepless nights with a colicky baby, but problems and not understanding what is wrong continues with your kids through a lifetime (sorry, if you have young kids you probably didn’t just want to read this).

It includes single moms, young moms, older moms, and moms who aren’t yet moms. There are struggles in yearning to be a mom and God’s answers and timing that are also written about with bittersweet honesty.

What kind of feedback have you had so far?

You know, it’s been really encouraging. Moms are relieved that they are not alone, that there is someone else who will acknowledge that they don’t have it all together (and don’t drive a clean car, either). I have had so many women remark that they felt like I was just chatting with them over coffee, that the stories are so real to life. And that’s what we need isn’t it? Encouragement from others that we journey through life together. God loves us, will redeem our mistakes, and then enable us to share with the next sojourner on the journey of life.

What else would you like to share?

I would love for people to join the conversation, come by for a visit at my website:, also known as The Mennonite Diva. Friend me on Facebook, (although there, I listed my full name for some unknown reason, Katherine Pride, so formal), follow my blog on the home page of my website, and just hang out.

Wait just one minute…did you say Mennonite Diva? Tell me about that.

Sure. First of all, my message of encouragement to women is that they all need to release their Inner Divas. They are Divinely Chosen, Inspiring, Valued and Amazing. I worship at a Mennonite Church where I also serve as the Outreach and Missions Director, and I love pink and having fun. So please drop by!

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by the author in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at for more information about blog tour management services.


Monday, July 12

Summer Daze

photo courtesy of bruna camargo @flickr

“It’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it!
Do all you want to; take in everything,
but realize that you must account to God
for everything you do.” (Eccl. 11:9-10 TLB)

The Baby Boomer era is said to be the years between 1946 and 1964 so that would include me. I belong in the very first year of that group, born in 1946. So, now you know how old I am!

Each year, when summer comes and the kids are out of school, it always makes me reflect on my childhood summers that seemed to last forever. I think about all the wonderful days I experienced growing up. We had so much fun.

But we had no idea we were so deprived.

Deprived? Yup. We didn’t have things like…

* air conditioning
* computers
* videos or DVDs
* chat rooms and social media
* plasma screen TVs
* cell phones and texting
* text messages
* iPods
* and the only blackberries we had came out of grandmother’s garden!

Forced to be outsiders, we actually got exercise by running around playing tag, kick ball, or roller skating. We circled the neighborhood subdivision on our bikes until dark and the bugs hit our teeth or Mom rang the bell to come home.

To cool ourselves, we played in the hose in the backyard and, yikes, we even drank from the hose! Going swimming was a real treat. We made forts, either outside or inside the house. We played games like Mr. Potato Head, Pick Up Sticks, or Clue. And Saturday mornings brought fun cartoons.

We respected our parents, our teachers, and other grownups. We said things like “yes, ma’am,” and “no, sir,” “please,” and “thank you.” Being mean, stealing, or hurting someone was not part of our personalities. Well, not most of us anyway.

Almost everyone went to church on Sunday. All the stores, except for a few restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, were closed to honor the Lord’s Day. And it was the law.

Every night, we ate dinner together as a family at the kitchen table. Except Sunday night. On Sundays, we raided the fridge for leftovers and gathered around the black and white picture tube in the family room to watch Superman and Ed Sullivan.

The family car, left in the driveway or on the street at night, appeared exactly the same when the sun came up.

Having a lemonade stand at the end of the street existed without the risk of its owners being abducted.

On clear nights, we would lie on a blanket in the backyard, waiting for the house to cool for bedtime. We would gaze up at a bazillion stars sparkling against the black velvet sky.

Ah, those never-ending summer daze (daze…to overwhelm or dazzle)!

Let’s see…we were deprived of what?

This is part of the One Word Blog Carnival at Bridget Chumbley's site.


Friday, July 9

The Discomfort Zone

photo courtesy of imelda

God sometimes requires me to do something that appears to have obstacles and seems beyond my power to accomplish. Or it is downright scary! The situation lurks before me as a rushing river, barring me from the new territory of promise on the other side.

One of the scariest things the Lord has wanted me to do is write. As many who know me, even a little, know that writing was not my idea. Six months after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2000, the Lord whispered to my heart to write for Him.

“Ummm…’scuse me, Lord. Write? Me? But I don’t know anything about writing.”

Silence…just the confirming impression to write. Talk about getting out of the boat and walking on the water! In obedience, yet not having the faintest clue what I was doing, I started writing a book on the topic that He led me to research.

My desk chair became my discomfort zone. Sometimes, my torture chamber. Physically and mentally.

Being an introvert and shy, I was hesitant to venture out. It is scary out there. Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh my! Submitting those first dozen or so articles and devotionals for magazines and websites was excruciating…as I waited…and rejections came to my inbox.

And then there’s the road to book publication. It is fraught with all sorts of intimidating gremlins and rejections. I worked on my book for ten years and it will soon see the light of day and have that fresh aroma of real pages!

I don’t think about the scary parts any more. I just continue stepping out into unfamiliar territory. I won’t fall. The Lord is there. And even if I do fall, He’s there to pick me up, brush me off, and send me on my way again.

Writing is now my passion, my purpose, and my permanent project. My discomfort zone has mellowed, except for an occasional uncomfortable lump of rejection in my chair. I’ll continue to write until the Lord tells me to stop.

We all have our easy chairs, our deep, comfy recliners of complacency that keep us in our comfort zone. No matter what name we assign these situations, whether rejection, doing something we’ve never done before, or obeying God in some new area of life, if we do not get up out of our comfy recliners and step out in faith, these things bar us from receiving all that God has for us.

He does not part the waters of any barrier until we take that first step forward, as the priests did at the river Jordan, “As soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap.” (Josh. 3:15-16a NIV)

When we hesitate, the view of God’s promise on the other side drifts off in the distance. Sitting on the river bank in our easy chair, we cling to our old ways. Only when we dare to get up and step out into that rushing river does God make His power and resources available on our behalf.

When a rushing-river circumstance enters your life by whatever means, what do you do? Do you stick with what is safe, remaining on the river bank, pushing back in that comfy recliner? Or do you step out in faith, plunging your foot into the water?

Whether in writing or any other area of life, if you never take a chance to forge ahead in faith, the writer of Hebrews says that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb 11:6 NIV) And isn’t that your heart’s desire…to please God?

The Lord wants to do something new in and through you. Are you too comfortable to let Him?

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”
(Is. 41:10 NLT)

(This post is part of a blog chain of writers from as we write on The Discomfort Zone. If you’d like to check out the other participants, the list is on the right at the top of the sidebar.)


Thursday, July 8

God's Healing for Life's Losses blog tour

Today, I am happy to bring you a post on God’s Healing for Life’s Losses: How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting by Dr. Robert W. Kellemen.

In his role as Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries (RPM Ministries), Dr. Kellemen writes, speaks, and consults about Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling and spiritual formation.

Dr. Kellemen is also the Executive Director of the Center for Church Equipping for the Association of Biblical Counselors. Additionally, he serves as the Launch Director for the new Biblical Counseling Coalition. Bob writes the biblical counseling book reviews for the Gospel Coalition. He also pens reviews on a wide variety of topics for Discerning Reader.

Leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in a drawing of twelve recipients gathered from all the blogs who will receive a free book.

God’s Healing for Life’s Losses: How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting

By Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC and BMH Books
A GriefShare Book

Readers quickly grow weary of Christian books that pretend. They’re tired of Christian counselors and well-meaning friends who dispense far too much “happiness all the time, wonderful peace of mind.” They’re also gravely disappointed when the answers to their questions about suffering reflect more of the wisdom of the world than of the truth of God’s Word.

There has to be a better way. Christians long for an approach that faces suffering honestly and engages sufferers passionately—all in the context of presenting truth biblically and relevantly. We need to be able to face life’s losses in the context of God’s healing. Jesus did. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

God’s Healing for Life’s Losses offers no pabulum, trite platitudes, false promises, pretending, or “easy steps.” It is real and raw as it enters into the abyss of suffering and empathizes with the gravity of grinding affliction. And, like the Apostle Paul, it deals simultaneously with grieving and hoping (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

We live in a fallen world and it often falls on us. When it does, when the weight of the world crushes us, squeezes the life out of us, we need hope. New life. A resuscitated heart. A resurrected life with resurrected hope. God’s healing path is a personal journey. Dr. Kellemen uses God’s Word as the sufferers GPS: God’s Positioning System. He traces God’s pathway through grief to growth so that readers learn how to face their suffering face-to-face with God.

Written in “gift book” format for the person facing suffering, God’s Healing for Life’s Losses includes two built-in application/discussion guides (including a journal section). Perfect for individual or group use, persons suffering any type of life loss (job loss, illness, divorce, church conflict, the empty nest, death of a loved one) will benefit from the real-life wisdom they discover in God’s Healing for Life’s Losses.

Find Hope When Your Hurting—Biblically and Relevantly

You’re tired of quick quips (“Just trust God”) and false hopes (“Time heals all wounds”). You’re ready for real and raw, honest and hopeful conversation about suffering, loss, and grief—from a Christian perspective. You’re longing for real answers, for real people, with real struggles. You’ve come to the right place. When life’s losses invade your world, learn how to face suffering face-to-face with God. Learn how to journey:

From Denial to Candor: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
From Anger to Complaint: A Lament for Your Loss
From Bargaining to Crying Out to God: I Surrender All
From Depression to Comfort: God Comes
From Regrouping to Waiting: When God Says “Not Yet”
From Deadening to Wailing: Pregnant with Hope
From Despairing to Weaving: Spiritual Mathematics
From Digging Cisterns to Worshipping: Finding God

On my website at people can find and download a free sample chapter of the book. Also at my website, people can order the book at 33% off. Additionally, I offer seminars around the country on God’s Healing for Life’s Losses. People can find my speaking schedule at the website. If a church or para-church group is interested in seeing if I could speak for their group, they can contact me at


Monday, July 5

Leaning Upon Your Beloved

photo courtesy Mollivan Jon @flickr

"Who is this coming up from the wilderness,
leaning upon her beloved?”

Wandering in the wilderness, I languish. I yearn for my Beloved. I suddenly become aware of His tender presence.

He’s there, awaiting my nearness.

I draw close.

He reaches out His nail-scarred hand to greet me, drawing me to Himself. He accepts me, no matter what my mood or attitude.

“Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.” (Ps. 23:4 TLB)

He is my divine Beloved.

“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” (SOS 6:3 NKJV) I lean in, resting my full weight upon Him. I hear His heartbeat. My heart quickens.

He supports all my weight. He lifts the wilderness burden I carry. He brings me up out of Lodebar, that dry, pastureless place of lack and want. “He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength.” (Ps. 23:2-3a TLB)

My heart quickens again. “Joy rises in my heart until I burst out in songs of praise to Him.” (Ps. 28:7 TLB)

*Are you in a wilderness wandering?

*Do you draw close to Him while you are there? “And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you.” (James 4:8 TLB)

*Do you realize your Beloved is there with you, for you to lean upon? Are you “Leaning back against Jesus” (John 13:25a NIV) as the beloved disciple John did?

*Do you allow Him to carry your burden upon His shoulders? “Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them.” (Ps. 55:22 TLB)

*Is He your Beloved? Or does your love for another fill your heart more than your love for Him?

In your wanderings, take the first step to draw close to Him and He will draw close to you. Lean upon your Beloved. He awaits the weight of your burdens.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 NKJV)


Thursday, July 1


***Well, I guess this may become my annual birthday post. To commemorate this occasion, I am giving away $100. If you would like for your name to be put in the pot for the drawing, leave a comment at the end of this post or in the comment box in the sidebar. May you have a safe and fun holiday weekend!***

As I worked on what would be my next post, for some reason, which I’m sure was the Lord, a detour sign raised up and lead my thoughts to birthdays. Not only is it our country’s birthday on July 4, but it is my birthday on July 5.

My birthday, I can forget. Our country’s birthday, I cannot forget.

I thought about…celebrating our country’s birth day. I know there will be numerous blog posts for this occasion, but, as I thought back over the years, great memories came flooding back.

I thought about…when my parents were alive. They belonged to several groups of friends, but one group in particular had been friends since before World War II began. Most of the men joined some branch of the services. My dad joined the Navy and that is where he met my mother. Dad played the trombone for the Navy band and Mom was a secretary.

This group of friends always gathered for special occasions and July 4th was no exception. After several years of it being held at different homes, it finally settled on my parents to hold the celebration at their home.

This was usually a huge gathering of families with some having four generations attend. My mother loved to go all out with the decorations for the tables. Red and white checked tablecloths, blue napkins, flags, flowers…everything red, white, and blue. One of the men, whose birthday was on the 4th, always shared a large cake with me. He’s no longer with us either.

I think about…the year this country celebrated the great bicentennial and watching on the television the awesome festivities, which included an international fleet of tall ships in New York City’s harbor and the beautiful array of fireworks over the Statue of Liberty.

A wave of patriotism and nostalgia swept over the nation. People decorated practically everything from the front doors of their homes or businesses to their mailboxes and even fire hydrants.

Flags hung everywhere or were painted on. Trains were painted in stripes of red, white, and blue. NASA painted the flag and the bicentennial symbol on the side of its vehicle assembly building.

Commercial products by the score displayed packaging of red, white, and blue. Many paid a fee to use the trademarked bicentennial star. Some the TV coverage lasted for fourteen hours. Disney went all out, even changing the theme of their nighttime parade.

I remember all the celebration but I don’t remember the stories of the pilgrims, the ones who started it all. If there were stories, they didn’t stick in my memory.

So, I thought about…the reason that the pilgrims embarked on such a dangerous journey to leave their home to settle in some strange land.

The pilgrims were a religious group who left England as they had been persecuted by the Church of England. As they were about to set sail for Holland, John Robinson, as the pastor of their church who was staying behind, preached before they left on Ezra 8:21. Ezra 8:21-22 says, “When I declared a fast while we were at the Ahava River so that we would humble ourselves before our God; and we prayed that He would give us a good journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled.” (TLB)

As they also found their religious liberty curtailed in Holland, they decided to go back to England and set out for a New England. They left Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620, sailing for a new world of promise.

Aboard ship, they found that the sailors resented their daily prayers, hymns, and scripture reading sessions, but, in the end, the sailors admitted that the pilgrims were strong and brave.

When they disembarked and stepped on shore at Plymouth Rock, they knelt in prayer and held a prayer service. Prayer was the basis for all they had done and all they would do.

I then thought about…those prayers of the pilgrims that undergirded the foundation of this nation and brought about the reason for celebrating Independence Day.

I thought about…
the great freedom of religion this country has enjoyed through the efforts and courage of those 102 people. However, are our rights and privileges as Christians in this nation being eroded? Have prayers for this country ceased?

I thought about…praying as the first settlers did. Do we bend our knees for our country? Do we pray for our President and all who are in authority? Do we pray as Paul instructed Timothy, “Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all He is going to do for them. Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord” (1 Tim 2:1-2 TLB)?

I thought about…all the precious souls who put their lives on the line for this country that we might enjoy the freedoms and privileges that we do. God bless all of you!

I hope you will watch this wonderful video of Red Skelton and his pledge of allegiance…

Happy Birthday, USA!

~~Happy Independence Day, everyone!~~