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Monday, June 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

"...Let me learn by paradox 
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision."
- Arthur Bennett in The Valley of Vision *

* This book is available from The Banner of Truth Trust and is copyrighted 1975.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hidden Blessings

The following song is a powerful example of the truth expressed by C. S. Lewis when
he wrote,
"When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place."
Sometimes the suffering we endure in this life is actually God's mercy in disguise.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Looking Back

  June 27th. It had always been just another date on the calendar, another 24 hours to fill with life's responsibilities...just another day...that is, until this one. Yes, this one was different. My father had felt ill for a couple of days. He had been sick like this before, but we shared his assumption that it was related to the construction accident he had experienced more than two decades earlier...that pesky rib was out of place again, causing nausea and dizziness. A trip to the chiropractor would fix the problem...or so we thought.
  The next few hours remain a blur in my memory: a trip to the chiropractor turned into a hasty drive to the hospital, which began a three-month-long stay and a fight to wasn't just the dad could've died...and almost did. 
I can still feel the terror that ran through my 18-year-old body as I stood at the door of the hospital room. I stared at my father's sedated figure and wondered, "How?! Why?! This can't be happening!" I didn't want to believe it. I couldn't make myself accept it. I couldn't take it in. I was frozen - frozen to all things living. I turned a cold shoulder to God, to life. And I allowed myself to die that day. Hope was gone, and I knew it. I couldn't love anymore. I couldn't embrace. No. Not when so much was being stripped and taken from me. 
  Even in the midst of my pain, God chose to work a miracle: my father survived, and we brought him home in October - 98 days after that harrowing drive to the emergency room. But, for me, it was not enough. While I was thankful that my father was alive, anger still bore deep. My "whys" had only increased. Even as his health returned and the months went by, June 27th signified a death of sorts: my death. I was no longer a whole person...and I knew it. I was still frozen by that hospital door. Emotionally, I had never left. There was no joy in my life. No gratitude. No openness. Only painful wounds - wounds that couldn't seem to heal. Oh...what feelings hid behind my smile. So often, I wanted to say to others, "If you only knew..." And yet, I didn't want them to. It was a harsh contradiction. Two sides to a broken self.
   All the while, I thought that, by keeping such despair and hopelessness to myself, I was fooling everyone else...and fooling God. Time, and God Himself, would later show me that I was the one who had been fooled. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galations 6:7). I would discover eventually that I sowed seeds of bitterness, unthankfulness, and resentment for years prior to that one day in June. The events of June 27th merely exposed them. And then came the reaping: the long nights of tears and loneliness, the distancing from relationships with others, the constant weight of failure, unforgiveness, and pain. There was no light. Only that would not leave me until I became open to Grace.
  Somewhere along the way, a change occurred. It was not immediate, nor was it strongly impressed. It just grew slowly into a deeper and deeper realization: I had to move forward with my life. I couldn't be this way forever. I had to find a way to face that person who was left standing at the door of the hospital room.  
    The process of working through the effects of the seeds I had sown were anything but pleasant. It took great courage, coupled with humility, to admit to myself, to others, and to God that I had been so wrong. The truth about my angry, bitter heart was, at times, almost too much to bear. And yet, with each revelation, with each confession of my foolishness, a bit of hope returned. There might still be some light that could penetrate my darkness. Perhaps I could learn to live again...
   Even more time passed, and I continued to grow through the pain. Slowly, I began to let go of my hurts and allow the Savior to touch and bind up the wounds in my soul. Ever so slightly, life began to raise the dead. I started to move past the hospital door and on to healing. But one thing was still missing: joy.
  True joy didn't reach me until I put something else into practice: thankfulness. I thought I understood what appreciation was, but I realized that I knew little of what it meant to thank the Giver Himself! In little things as well as big, I had to learn to notice His gifts of grace - to acknowledge the numerous blessings around me and, in so doing, to acknowledge Him. Him who loves me unconditionally. Him who gave everything that was His to redeem and restore what was so broken in my life. He promised to grant life after death - He was waiting to do the same in me. I only had to open my heart and watch the miracle begin. It was a startling revelation: thankfulness brings joy!
   How could I have missed this for so long?! I was blind to the one thing that could have cured the spirit of anger and bitterness within. I had rejected Grace, been closed to God, walked away from His love and, only now, saw my need for these things.
  Thankfulness has since become a way of life for me. I can't say that I have mastered it by any means, but it has changed who I am. Joy has returned. For the first time in years, I feel like I am no longer standing at that door. I am journeying towards Life. I am rejoicing in the love I have been given. I am discovering Him.
  June 27th. It is no longer my "death date." While I cannot deny the painful path that day  began for me, I can look back and be grateful. I can thank - because that day is the beginning of how I learned to live again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

"From the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself
as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or opened."
- C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Initially, I blamed God for the pain in my life, but slowly I started 
to hear the whisper of his grace. I didn't know it then, but God broke
me to fix me because he loved me. Author C. S. Lewis said, 
'God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but
shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.' 
Because of this, I was finally ready to listen."
- Jefferson Bethke in Jesus > Religion *

* This book is available wherever books are sold and is copyrighted 2013.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When You Pass Through Deep Waters...

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep
over you."
- Isaiah 43:2

The following song is a beautiful expression of this truth.
Here is country singer, Sunny Shipley, and her husband Jordan, to sing,
"Don't Let Me Sink." 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Becoming Like Him

  It's a season of new life around here: the woods are bursting with the sights and sounds of God's creation - of newly-hatched little birds trying out their wings for the first time, of the old teaching the young how to sing, of the flowers shedding winter's gloom and opening up to the sun. New life is everywhere...
  Just the other day, while up in my room, I noticed a flash outside my window. I went over to see what it was and, to my surprise, I saw a baby bird testing out its wings. It would sit on the ground for the longest time, then would get up the courage to try. It would spread its wings and flap feverishly, making it several feet in the air, then would float back down again and rest. 
Later that same day, I saw yet another bird that was trying to test its wings. It sat on the edge of the roof of my house, teetering. It looked over the ledge, contemplating whether or not it should take the leap of faith and try to fly. Eventually it did, making it over to a nearby tree. 
  As I watched these two birds, I came away with a fresh insight into my own life: spiritually, I am just like these two birds. I am trying to imitate my Creator, to learn how to spread my wings, to take the leap of faith, and to fly with confidence. As I make my journey further with Grace, there are days when I fly on wings so strong I think I could go on forever. Other days, there is much flapping and little progress. In those moments, it sometimes seems futile to try again. Failure appears to be staring me in the face. But even when the thought of quitting seems the most attractive, a God-given courage fills me with hope. Maybe this time, I will succeed. I will try again...
  The effort of attempting is what He will honor. He will bless the fact that I am desiring to be like Him, to fly on the wings of faith, to make my song sound like His. Perfection won't be attained in this life, but I can strive for it. I can try my best to reach higher, to become more and more like my Creator. One day, my wings will hold me up, and I will soar on the heights of His amazing grace.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Humorous Example of An Important Truth...

  When we try to show love to others and "help" them when they're hurting, sometimes they don't want an answer - they just want you to listen. Loving doesn't always mean "fixing" the problem. Love often just means offering the gift of your presence. This humorous video illustrates this point well:

   Enjoy the laugh...

Friday, June 20, 2014

How To Love Someone In Their Pain

 As a follow-up to yesterday's post, this song by Jason Gray expresses well what it means to truly love someone who is hurting. May each of us "find the cracks and pour [ our] heart in."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Binding The Wounds

I would like to relate a short story:

  "Once, there was a traveler who went on a long journey. While part of the way to his destination, he was robbed. The thieves stripped him naked, beat him, wounded him, and took all he had, leaving him for dead. Now the traveler clung to what little strength he had and fought to stay alive, hoping a compassionate soul would stop to help him. 
   After awhile, a religious leader came by. When he saw the man who had been robbed, he went to the other side of the road and kept on going.
   Later, another religious leader came by. Unlike the first one, he at least stopped to look at the hurting fellow. But he also went to the other side and kept going.
  Still later, a foreigner came by but, this time, his heart was moved with compassion. Putting his own travel plans on hold, he stopped to help the man who had been robbed. He poured oil and wine (known for their medicinal properties) into the stinging wounds of his "brother" in pain. Placing him on his own means of transportation, he took him to a local B&B. After caring for him further, he told the owner to look after him. Putting the wounded's expenses on his own bill, he left the man in the owner's care."

 Some of you may recognize this as a paraphrase of the story of the good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37. Often, we use this as an example of what compassion looks like. I certainly agree and yet, recently, I began to see a deeper meaning in this parable:
 "Once there was a traveler who went on a long journey." The traveler, the religious leaders, and the foreigner were all journeying somewhere. So are we. All of us are on the road of life. Each is, perhaps, at a different place along the way or maybe travels at a different pace. But we're all there together.
 "While part of the way to his destination, he was robbed. The thieves stripped him naked, beat him, wounded him, and took all he had, leaving him for dead. Now the traveler clung to what little strength he had and fought to stay alive, hoping some compassionate soul would stop to help him." This life hurts sometimes. Along the way, there are those who aren't so kind to us. They want to hurt us, rob us of our peace, our joy, and our strength. They take all that we have emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and sometimes physically...leaving us to die in our misery and despair. Not all who travel this journey have our best interests in mind. Wounded and bleeding, we hope that someone will come to our aid. We need a healing touch...
 "After awhile, a religious leader came by. When he saw the man who had been robbed, he went to the other side of the road and kept on going." Sadly, there are times when the faith community is preoccupied. One would think that those who claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus would be among the most caring. Too many times, however, as followers of God, we aren't willing to enter into someone else's pain. Content to simply offer a "helpful" scripture verse or two, we then say, "I'll be praying for you," before we pass on. Unfortunately, sometimes we don't even follow through with our promise to pray for the hurting. Our churches, our Christian circles, ought to be places where the wounded can heal but, so often, this is not the case.
 "Later, another religious leader came by. Unlike the first, he at least stopped to look at the hurting fellow. But he also went to the other side and kept going. Still later, a foreigner came by but, this time, his heart was moved with compassion. Putting his own travel plans on hold, he stopped to help the man who had been robbed. He poured oil and wine (known for their medicinal properties) into the stinging wounds of his 'brother' in pain. Placing him on his own means of transportation, he took him to a local B&B. After caring for the man further, he told the owner to look after him. Putting the wounded's expenses on his own bill, he left the man in the owner's care." Sometimes, the kind word or caring act we seek may come from an unexpected source. This foreigner not only stopped to listen to the man's horrific story, but he also cared for him and made the man's pain his own. He entered into the wounded's suffering.
  So often, we are like the religious leaders - we only go so far. We are afraid to get close to the broken, to come alongside them and face their pain with them, speaking words of comfort, healing, and life. Much of the time, unlike the traveler, all that the hurting are wanting is the gift of your presence. They don't always want answers. Just someone who will walk through the pain with them so that they do not walk alone. It makes me wonder if that foreigner had faced some pain in his own life and knew what it felt like to be left alone...
  Of course, this foreigner is an example of Jesus and how He deals with the broken: " He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3). He is never afraid to enter into our pain and may even draw closer in our time of need, however far away we think He is. When others fail to provide the comfort we need, He will always be there to offer it. Once He comes into our situation, He does not leave us. He sees it through to completion.
  Jesus and the foreigner have much to teach us about reaching out to the broken. May we take their example to heart and strive to be the ones who enter into another's pain in love. This world has plenty of people who wound. It needs more who will help to heal. Let us not be counted with those who pass on the other side but be willing to tend to the hurts of those we encounter along life's journey. After all, if we have done it to the least of these, we have done it unto God (Matthew 25:40).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

" My heart is the dear God's garden,
And the fruits that I bear each day
Are the things that He sees me doing
And the words that He hears me say."
- unknown

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

God's Garden

  We had stopped by their house to admire the pretty flowers out front. The wife had said to us at church that her garden was gorgeous this year, so my family and I went to have a look.
   As I wandered about and looked at all of the colorful blooms, a thought occurred to me: my relationship to God can be likened to that of a gardener and his or her flowers. God, the Master Gardener, has filled His garden with countless flowers of various colors, sizes, and styles - people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures who have been "planted" there for their Creator's pleasure. While each has grown in different ways, at different times, all can trace their beginnings back to when God planted in them the seed of faith, thus eventually producing a vital relationship with Him. The more I thought about this, the more personal the idea became to me: as a flower in God's garden, I am made for His glory and pleasure! As I flourish under His nurture and care, I reflect back to Him the praise and gratitude He deserves. The credit for my growth belongs to Him because His masterful touch brought it about. Without the Gardener, the flower is nothing. It will only wilt and die.
   At times, my garden has been filled with weeds: roots of bitterness, anger, guilt, and fear that run deep, choking out the ability to blossom with joy. There have been seasons when He has had to weed my soul, to rip out the roots so that growth can begin once again. Most often, it has hurt deeply. But the end result has been a growth far greater than before. There are moments when I fight the cultivating. I try to tell God that He's done enough weeding for the day; a few here and there won't hurt. I say these things because I have forgotten one thing: I cannot bloom otherwise. I cannot thrive without trials. I cannot grow without pain. The weeding process is essential, and all those who grow in the same garden of His get the same care. I am not alone. 

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once wrote:

"Oh to have one's soul under heavenly cultivation: no longer a wilderness
but a garden of the Lord; enclosed from the waste, walled around by grace,
planted by instruction,visited by love, weeded by heavenly discipline, and guarded by divine power. One soul thus favored is prepared to produce fruit to the glory of God."

And I heartily agree. Cultivate me, Lord, so that I may bloom in Your garden and yield for you an abundance of pleasure.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Why suffering? Why the interruptions of God? Suffering
gets rid of the dross of all the worldly supports we foolishly
invent for our faith. Without realizing it, we often let these 
supports to take God's place. Suffering strips away our assure-
ance that life is under our control and that we are the ones who 
can fix others and ourselves. Suffering brings us face to face with
God. With all the other props stripped away, we learn to trust God
and lean on him alone."
- Rose Marie Miller in Nothing is Impossible With God *

* This book is available wherever books are sold and is copyrighted 2012.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Forgiveness Is A Miracle...

  I first heard this song on the album, "Christmas Stories." Using the example of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus who took God's Son as his own, singer Jason Gray paints a musical picture of forgiveness. Even though it is written as a Christmas song, the words cause the listener to ponder their own journey and what happens when we make the choice to forgive. It gives us a promise of hope that the miracle of forgiveness can change who we are. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Guest Blog: The Power of A Forgiving Act

 I have a dear and long-time friend named Carol. She often works at the voting polls, so I   usually see her when I go there to vote in a local election. About a year ago, this was the case and, as we always do, we got to talking. Before I knew it, she had pulled me aside into a separate room and was sharing with me a recent experience. It had to do with forgiveness. I was so touched by the story that I asked her to write it down so that I could share it with others at a later time. Her reflections on forgiveness are the subject of today's guest blog. Here now is Carol's story:

" The Lord's supper, known to me as Communion, is a time I look forward to because I consider it truly holy. Before partaking of the elements of tiny morsels of unleavened bread and the tiny cups of grape juice that represent the body and blood of Christ, our minister offers the congregation a warning. He asks his flock to search their hearts to see if there is anyone we have erred against or if there is anyone whom we have not forgiven that has erred against us. I sat smugly waiting for my turn, feeling my slate was clean. A gentle nudge made me decide to ask: 'Lord, I can't think of anyone. I don't think I'm harboring any unforgiveness, am I?'
Instantly, within my spirit, I heard the name, Annie, an old college roommate. 'Annie? What about it?' And then a flood of memories washed through my mind. My pride quickly came to my defense. Oh sure, sure I would reluctantly forgive her, but I wasn't going to like it. I did my duty, took Communion, and hoped my Savior would let me skip the part where I must make amends. Well, the answer was 'NO.' 
   I tried to sweep the whole incident under the rug in the recesses of my mind, but my heart felt like a heavy bowling ball was inside it. I began to argue with the Holy Spirit.
'How can I make amends? I don't even know where she lives anymore; maybe she has moved. I don't know her phone number or e-mail, or...' All lame excuses because almost anyone can be found these days, one way or another. Still, I dug in my stubborn heels and tried to busy myself to keep from thinking about it. Nope. It just wasn't going to happen.
  Monday, I went to pick up the mail and there was a package from my college. 'Hmm,' I thought, 'What in the world could this be?' I opened it in haste, and there was a directory of former students dating back into the '70s when I graduated. When I opened the book, the first name my eyes saw was Annie. There was her current address, phone number, and e-mail. My heart sank. No more excuses. This meant only one thing: I HAD TO MAKE AMENDS!
  Truthfully, I astound myself with how I want to argue with the Holy Spirit. Okay, I was given the information needed to contact her, but I still argued. 'I have no idea what I am going to say to her. She is going to think I am some long lost freak bringing up old stuff that she has probably forgotten. So I tell her I forgive her. Then what?' The bowling ball was getting heavier. My thought was maybe she wouldn't answer when I called, and then Jesus would know at least I tried. He wasn't buying it.
   The weight within my heart was growing more uncomfortable than the fear I had over the confrontation, so I started to cry. I was being a brat, and I confessed it, and then something wonderful happened: my heaviness disappeared. Next thing I knew, I was punching in the phone number and listening to the phone ring. Part of me still didn't want anyone on the other side to answer, but there she was: 'Hello?'
   'Annie - it has been a long time since I saw you. How are you?'
She recognized my voice.
   'I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to pick up the phone and call you! I have breast cancer. We lost our youngest son two months ago in a car wreck. My whole life is falling in on me. Will you pray for me?'
    We prayed, we talked, we wept, and we healed. We vowed to keep in touch, and we have. If I had not been obedient to forgive, I would have missed this terrific opportunity to receive and give love."

I am grateful to Carol for her willingness to share this story. I hope that this inspires all of us to be open to God's leading when He asks us to let go and forgive someone. We just may find that He is doing far more than we imagine in the situation. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quote of the Day

"...When you hold on to old hurts, you only give power and control
to those who hurt you, but when you forgive them, you cut ties to 
them. They can no longer yank on your chain...Don't worry about
what your forgiveness does for the antagonizers and hurtful people
in your past. Just enjoy what forgiving them does for you. Once
you've adopted an attitude of forgiveness, you'll lighten your load
so that you can chase your dreams without being weighed down by
baggage from the past."
- Nick Vujicic in Life Without Limits *

* This book is available wherever books are sold and is copyrighted 2010.

Forgive - No Matter The Cost

  Several years ago, Christian singer Matthew West heard a most remarkable story. A woman's teenage daughter had been killed by a drunk driver, and he was facing a severe sentence for his actions. In spite of how contrite he was, justice was served as he was locked behind bars.  And yet, for the mother, something was missing. The woman still felt resentful. She was still angry. Even though the criminal had been dealt his consequences, she couldn't let go. 
  But God spoke into the pain of her grief and anger. She realized that she had to forgive...and that merely doing so in her heart wasn't enough. So, she began to reach out to the young man. Eventually, the day finally came when she met him for the first time. In that moment, she told him that she forgave him for taking her daughter's life. She told him that God could forgive him, too. Months later, because of her example, he surrendered his life to God and became close friends with the woman who had showed him such amazing forgiveness. 
  But that wasn't the end of the story! This incredible mother went on to appeal his sentence and to request that it be shortened. The appeal was granted, and the criminal was freed, having served less than half of his sentence. Amazingly, just days before his release, while on stage at a Matthew West concert, he joined the mother of the girl he had killed. They related their story together of the power of God's forgiveness and His ability to redeem. They have continued to share their story since then...
  Because of this powerful story, Matthew West's song, "Forgiveness" was written. It has since given hope to many through its message of redemption and grace. I share it with you now: 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Paying It Forward...

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have
against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
- Colossians 3:13

Monday, June 9, 2014


  Forgiveness - that Divinely-given grace. Humanly-speaking, it is an impossibility...
Growing up in a Christian home, I thought I understood what forgiveness was. It was demonstrated. And yet, I didn't come to know the depth of this concept until I got older...until I came to truly know my own sinful heart. 
  I have learned that you cannot forgive until you know what it's like to be forgiven. Because God has displayed such unmerited mercy to me in spite of my cold-heartedness, I have no choice but to be merciful to others. To refuse to love, to show grace, to show God, is to reject His acts of undeserved kindness and blessing to me. It is to cut off His cycle of grace. It is to reject His healing that He offers to a dying world.
   God, with whom all things are possible, teaches what it means to forgive, to let go. He set the example Himself when, as He hung on a cross for the sins of mankind, He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).  After this event took place, a follower of Jesus - Stephen - imitated Christ's example when he prayed, " Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" ( Acts 7:60) as he was stoned to death for his beliefs.
   Forgiveness can only originate with God. We cannot will ourselves to forgive. Grace must be given to do so. We cannot make ourselves let go of bitterness and anger. Love must be greater than all of these. 
   Learning to live in forgiveness took some time for me to grasp. But, with each choice that was made, with each person I decided to forgive, a bit of strength and freedom came to me. It soon became hard for me to imagine why I had held on to those feelings for so long. I regretted that I hadn't forgiven sooner. 
   Forgiveness really is an impossibility apart from the One who alone can give it. It is a miracle. It is a demonstration of Grace. Each of us, were we to look deeply at ourselves, can probably find a root of unforgiveness somewhere. It is in all of us. And yet, if we belong to God, we do not have to hate, to be angry, to be bitter, to refuse to let go. Like Stephen, we can take the path of restoration and make the choice to move forward in love and forgiveness...even if it is never returned. We need to be forgiven just as much as the person who wronged us because our own heart is so quick to  offend God Himself. But, when He bids us to come and experience what only He can offer, when He grants to us far more than we deserve, who are we to refuse such grace to another?! He loved us first; therefore, we love. He forgave us first; therefore, we must forgive also. In so doing,  others can be led to the place where they, too, can be given His amazing grace.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Faith is used not only for our entrance into grace, but also for our
continuance and progress through all temptations and difficulties.
Faith and prayer must be as the breathing of our souls to keep the 
heart alive. We must trust the Lord in every change and condition 
of life. I will lay the weight of my sinking spirit on the free grace 
of Christ."
- Elias Pledger in Voices From the Past *

* This book is available from Banner of Truth Trust and is copyrighted 2009.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Good Read

  I read a very inspirational book recently that I wanted to share with you. A relative of mine first alerted me to this women's story, saying that she had seen this lady interviewed a short time earlier. When a magazine I subscribe to advertised this book, I realized that it had to be the same person my family member had been talking about. I purchased the book soon after. Once I started reading it, I could hardly put it down, finishing it in just two days. The book is called Prepared for a Purpose by Antoinette Tuff.

 It is the story of Antoinette, an elementary school staff member, who helped to avert another possible Sandy Hook situation and saved hundreds of lives in the process. But what makes her tale so riveting isn't just the suspense of how she handled the potential shooter that walked into her school one day but also her own long journey of pain that led her, ultimately to faith in God's love and forgiveness and allowed her to extend the same to the young man she feared would take her own life and the lives of others that August day. 
 I loved reading this book! It helped to not only renew my belief in God's ability to redeem the hurt of someone's past but also made me view differently the way we reach out from the pain of our own journey toward that of someone else's. At times, we may not always understand the reason why we go through certain things in life but, in time, God may reveal a bigger plan at work, a purpose we have been prepared for - one that we could not have accomplished without going through the hard times. This book really drove home to me that anyone can be used by God, sometimes even in the moments when we are hurting the most. 
 This is an amazing story of courage in the face of almost certain death and, more importantly, of God's grace in the face of great personal pain and struggle. 

* This book is available wherever books are sold and is copyrighted 2014.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Jesus' love never disappoints. We may not get what we want or think
we need, but if He withholds it, it is always to change our misconceptions
about himself, life, and our relationship to him. Finding our rest as we live
in the presence of God comes as we give up our misconceptions about God
and what he should do for us."
- Rose Marie Miller in Nothing Is Impossible With God *

* This book is available wherever books are sold and is copyrighted 2012.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Always By Our Side

 Life takes us many places...sometimes places where we do not choose to go. There are moments when we wish things were different; there are times when we desperately seek answers, and there are none. Yet, even in life's most trying journeys, there is One who never leaves us alone. He is forever at our side. His hand is outstretched to take ours and draw us closer. We must cease fighting those Hands of Mercy and must be willing to go where He leads, knowing all the while that He will not leave or forsake us...even in the loneliest nights we face. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Never Ending

" Before the mountains were created, before the earth was formed,
you are God without beginning or end."
- Psalm 90:1

Monday, June 2, 2014

When the World Stops

  Her tiny hand wrapped around her father's finger. Hand so fresh, so new, touching that of one that has saved lives and felt lives slip away. The innocent feeling the war-beaten. We gazed into the eyes of her petite face. It was just the three of us: the baby, her father, and myself, a friend of their family. It seemed as if the world stopped. This was true living - full living. I marveled at the scene: so simple, yet so rich. It was complete trust and beautiful in every way. I thought of our friendship and what it has weathered: these same strong hands brought comfort to me on one of the worst days of my life; they have stroked the sweaty foreheads of soldiers who fought to come home alive; these hands have seen and done a lot. Now, they once again comforted, stroked. They assured this new life that she is protected. They communicated love. All things dead, now forgotten in the past, we tried to touch the eternal, to see a human picture of the Master - Him Whose hands also comforted, stroked, touched death, and now reach down to touch ours. They, too, communicate love. We wrap our fingers around His. We call Him Father. He calls us child. Relationship. Life. Abundant Grace coming from His heart to ours. We are protected. We trust - completely. The perfection of Him enters into the imperfection of us. The love flows. And, in that moment, the world stops.