Friday, January 18, 2019

Revisiting Praying Like Pooh Bear: What is Your Prayer Character?

Today I was reminded of one of my favorite posts, from 2009. And if you don't mind, I would like to present it to you again today as a good read. Hope you enjoy this "test" to see what your prayer character is. Follow the link below to read this post.

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Perfect App for the New Year

Even if you got everything on your Christmas list, you may still feel the ache for something…more. Maybe you wish you could have some peace and quiet in this noisy world or escape the noise in your head. Or some wisdom—for that job change, relationship, or parenting dilemma. The cozy blanket Grandma made is wonderful, but it doesn’t comfort emotions that jab like barbed wire.

Let’s face it, when everyone goes home and we pack away the toys and electronic gadgets, clothes and gift cards; when we take down the Christmas tree and decorations, it can be a bit of a letdown. When the presents and tinsel melt away, the house feels bare and January looms bleak and cold.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  There’s an app to fill the emptiness. It’s something you can get yourself—guilt free—for New Year’s. It doesn’t wear out, it’s appropriate for all ages, and there’s no assembly required. It never goes out of style and doesn’t need batteries. It’s an app you can use every day—even if you don’t have a smart phone or I-pad.

The Bible, the printed Word of God, will meet your deepest needs and start the New Year right. It answers every dilemma. It teaches through story, humor, and pithy sayings, and builds faith in our God who still heals, rescues, and gives us victory over temptation and heartache. More than information or entertainment, this app is meant to be applied to our hearts and minds so God’s transforming power can change us from the inside out. 

We may do most of our reading in private, but the Bible is a social app. It prompts us to encourage others, improve our relationships, examine our motives with new perspective, and sprinkles into conversation like savory spices. 

Last Thursday Becky and I talked about King Jehoshaphat and his unwise alliance with King Ahab. We agreed it’s easy to make stupid decisions, thinking we’re helping someone, when in reality they’re using us. Like King J, we put ourselves in needless danger and it can tragically affect others.

On Friday, Trish asked me what I made of a puzzling verse from Jeremiah. So we looked it up in several translations to try and decipher the meaning. I ended up doing some digging and we had fun learning. And yesterday our small group discussion on Revelation fifteen challenged and energized me to keep fighting the good fight.

The Word of God puts oxygen in our veins! I encourage you to use it every day this year. I still like my printed Bibles best, but electronic ones have amazing features that open new worlds of understanding. They not only offer multiples translations, but provide study helps, videos, side articles, related devotionals, and commentary. 

So, whether you’re reading in a coffee shop, looking up a verse to share with a friend, want to listen while you’re on the road, or decide to download something for your kids, here are some great apps to consider. Whatever form you choose—printed or electronic—God’s Word will draw you closer to the One who knows and loves you best in the coming year.

Bible apps:
You Version Bible:
Bible is—read, listen, see:
Olive Tree Bible—resources for study and reading plans:
Logos—reading plans, study, multiple translations, devotions:
For Kids:
Superbook—scripture, games, Q&A, introduces people of the Bible, videos and more:
You Version for kids:

#bestappever #Biblereading #didn’tgetforChristmas #NewYear #applytheBible #perfectgiftforeveryone

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Open the Gift

I’d taken great care to choose just the right Valentine’s card. I strove over my message, hoping to touch her heart. Things had been rough between us the previous year. I longed to comfort her, but she continually made choices that brought us both pain. I poured my heart out—telling her how I loved her and always would. When I found the card unopened, months later, it was like a physical blow.

There is no pain like trying to love someone who continually pushes you away.

Christmas is almost here. It is a day to celebrate God’s Valentine to us—He came to earth in human flesh, to be with us and show us His tremendous love—yet so many leave His gift unopened. Christmas songs and movies no longer mention Jesus. They say Christmas is all about Santa, presents, family, and fuzzy feel good traditions. Employees now hesitate (are even forbidden) to wish customers a Merry Christmas, wishing us Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings instead. 

Nativity scenes are scarce.

Can you feel God’s pain in this passage?

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
    I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations…
  who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me.’”
Isa. 65:1-2, 5

God spoke those words to the nation of Israel; now our so called “Christian nation” is pushing Him away as well. My heart grieves.

But why would any of us choose not to open God’s gift? Have any of these reasons kept you, or distracted you, from accepting Jesus?

Fear—This is too good to be true. What will I have to give up if I open this?
Anger—God let my brother/sister, friend, husband/wife die; He didn’t save my marriage; He didn’t heal me when I asked Him to. I don’t want His gift!
Rebellion—I don’t need God; I can fix my own problems. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do. I refuse to open this!
Ignorance—I didn’t know this gift was for me; I thought it was for someone else. How do I open it?
Busyness—I don’t have time for God. I'm too busy to read the Bible or pray or go to church.

Yet the angel announced to the shepherds God’s gift was “good news” of “great joy for all the people.” They said He was “a Savior…Messiah, the Lord.” And when a whole company of angels joined in (probably because they couldn’t stand it anymore) they said this gift would bring “peace on earth.” A phrase we blithely throw around at Christmas. However we miss peace is for “those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:10, 11, 14).

We can’t celebrate the good news and experience great joy if we reject the invitation—or go to the manger, but leave the gift behind. The shepherds had to quit what they were doing in order to see Jesus, and they left rejoicing, forever changed.

In the same way, peace on earth cannot rest on those who won’t stand still. We must seek peace and pursue it—peace with God before peace with men.

I love Christmas and presents, both giving and receiving. I love the music and decorations and movies and programs. But most of all, I love the Savior we celebrate. I don’t want to miss opening His gift of love and salvation; I am astounded by His peace that defies explanation. I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you will pause and open God’s gift to you, and celebrate this Christmas with unbridled JOY.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Cor. 9:15

Merry Christmas!

#Christmas #openyourpresent #reasonforseason #Jesusgift #Luke2

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Surviving the Wreckage

Kelly's truck

There shouldn’t have been any survivors. Witnesses, ambulance drivers, EMT’s, doctors and nurses were all shocked there were no fatalities. But because of God’s intervention, two people emerged from the debris virtually unscathed.

My husband’s first words on the phone at 9:00 last Monday night were, “Don’t worry; I’m okay, but my truck is totaled.” It was cold and rainy, and he was three hours away on the side of the highway. 

He explained, “I was passing another car on the divided highway and hit a lady head on. She was driving the wrong way with her lights off and flicked them on just before we hit. I had a split second to steer toward to the median. If I hadn’t, she wouldn’t have survived. I drove over the top of her car and rolled four times before I came to a stop.”
the other driver's car
We got off the phone and I began texting family and friends to pray. The ambulance drivers arrived and convinced him to go to the hospital. I got ready to meet him there, so thankful our daughter offered to go with me.  Her presence was a comfort, and she made sure to update family and friends as much as she could during the hour and a half drive, mostly out of cell service. Our Salem daughter and her husband, my parents, and my sister and brother in law beat us to the hospital and kept us informed. 

The blood was all cleaned up before I got to him in the ER, but it was still shocking to see my Kelly in a neck brace surrounded by medical paraphernalia. They had already run tests and a CT scan—no concussion, no brain damage, no deep gashes, no broken bones; only a head wound from the impact on the third roll. He had counted; he said “Everything felt like it was in slow motion”

already laughing and joking with the medical staff

It wasn’t long before they released him to go home. We were astounded both Kelly and the other driver survived. The more details we’ve learned in the week since the accident, we are convinced this was all God’s doing. He was present before, during, and after the impact and rescued both drivers in order to accomplish His plans.

  • The lady he hit was filled with a cocktail of alcohol, meth, and oxycodone; driving with a suspended license, and arrested after the crash. This may be the wake up call she needed to get clean and sober.
  • Kelly’s truck flew 70 feet in the air after running over her car, before it landed and rolled. 
  • The accident happened in a small section of road where there’s a grassy median with no posts or wires, guardrails, or hills—which would have done significantly more damage in the roll.
  • Even though the median is narrow, his truck didn’t cross into oncoming traffic on the other side. 
  • Kelly was able to kick the door of his truck open, escape the crushed cab, and make sure she was okay before help arrived. 

      The morning after the accident, I picked up where I’d been reading—“Daniel in the lion’s den” in Daniel chapter 6. My Wiersbe Bible Commentary said this: “God saved Daniel because it brought great glory to His name and also because he still had more work to do. God’s servants are immortal until their work is done.” (emphasis mine)
Wow! Nothing can harm us until it’s our time. God doesn’t always rescue His followers from death, injury, financial collapse, failed relationships, persecution, or trauma to body and soul. He decides to rescue from the storm, or give us strength to get through the storm based on two things:

#1, that He will be glorified through the situation
#2, that we will fulfill our role in His plan 

Whether you’ve also been miraculously rescued, or are in a "wrecked" situation, it’s your decision what you do next. 

Will you give God the glory for your rescue, or for how He’s getting you through each day? Can you tell others you have a peace that passes all understanding? Are you surrounded by prayer support and the love of the Body of Christ? Give Jesus Christ the glory!

Secondly, ask Him how He wants to use you. Does He want you to be an example for someone else? Will your perseverance encourage their faith? Is this situation opening opportunities to tell others about your hope in Christ? How can you pray for those around you?

Daniel survived the lion’s den because God wasn’t done with him yet. He lived into his 80’s, passing every test and temptation. He provided counsel and wisdom to four kings, and lived a pure life while in captivity in a foreign land. He received prophetic visions that reveal God’s plan for Israel and the final days of history for all mankind. Who knows what God has in mind for us. 

Determine to make the most of every opportunity. 
when we bought the truck last spring
#ourpurposeinlife #carcrashunharmed #survivor #immortalityofbelievers #danielinlionsden #Daniel6