Saturday, September 23, 2017

Music and God's Faithfulness

Last night I attended an evening of worship and fellowship for women.

A beautiful friend sang a beautiful song that moved through my heart. As she sang, I remembered painful days of years ago. Days of wondering where the hope was. Days of determining I would trust God even when I could not see the light of day.

As she sang, I was reminded of God's extreme and epic faithfulness.

My mind went to other songs that ministered to my heart and spurred me to "dig in" and trust God.

And as she sang, I felt the most amazing peace and calm. I praised Him for being who He says He is.

What I didn't realize, is a sweet friend that worshipped with me was experiencing the very same thing. What a beautiful time of sharing we had as we talked of God's gentle way of wrapping His cosmic arms around a small soul and whispering "It's going to be okay, because I am with you."

What a big God we serve.

My pea-brain can't begin to grasp the hugeness of His never-ending love.

I am sure there were many others present last night who experienced the same thoughts and emotions. I am certain, there were some there who are in the middle of a dark night and, one day, when they hear the songs of last night again, they will praise God for His faithfulness!

How can I know this?

Because I know God. Oh, don't misunderstand. I do not know Him in entirety. But one day, when I get to heaven, I will see Him and know Him fully. Until then, I will trust Him to teach me and show me glimpses of His glory.

Won't you walk with me on this journey of getting to know Him better as we trust Him more? Evidence of WHO He is can be seen all around us. Evidence of His love and patience is everywhere.

Thank you, Lord God, for the gift of music. Music that rings with Truth. Music that sings of Your presence and faithfulness. Music that praises You because of Who You are!


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lamp Unto Her Feet by Paula Mowery


 My friend, Paula Mowery, has just released her new book Lamp Unto Her Feet. I know I have many blog readers who gobble up this genre. Let's share in Paula's excitement of this new work!
Here's my interview with Paula. Read. Learn. Enjoy!

What genre is Lamp Unto Her Feet?

Christian romance with a bit of suspense thrown in.



What do you enjoy most about the genre?

Christian romance and Christian romantic suspense are my favorites to read. I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to worry about profanity or explicit sexual scenes. I also like that I’m reading stories about characters who are Christians like me or some who discover Christ. Just like I enjoy reading those type of stories, those are the type I like to write and provide for my readers.



Where did the idea for Lamp Unto Her Feet come from or what got the wheels turning?

My paternal grandmother’s Bible was the inspiration for this story. One day I was flipping through her Bible and noticed many underlined and highlighted verses and passages. I was especially drawn to some verses she had underlined in succession in 1 John. Upon closer inspection, these verses were all about reasons John had for writing his letters. These verses actually became the basis for why I write.

After this, I wondered about what kind of story I could create in which a young woman gains her grandmother’s Bible and the verses and commentary from her guide the young woman. Thus, Kenzie’s story was born.



Were you close to your grandmother? What was she like?

My paternal grandmother, Mamaw Smith, died when I was quite young. But I did get the opportunity as a girl to know her. When my brother and I stayed at her house, she would play hide and seek with us. She also taught me much without even knowing it. When we would rest, she would sing the nursery rhymes. I can still sing those from the memories from those moments there. Sometimes we would go to her house for Sunday dinner. She always had fried chicken, mashed potatoes with peas in the center of them, and bread. She also always made red jello with fruit in it. She was the epitome of the verse about being a gentle and quiet spirit.



Have you considered writing a series using the characters in this book?

I have thought briefly about it, but I’m thinking it will remain a stand alone.



How did writing Lamp Unto Her Feet strengthen you in your faith?

Honestly, writing this story reminded and cemented the idea that the Bible is God’s Word and He guides us through it. We can rely upon it and know it will never fail us.



Why should someone who normally doesn’t read romantic fiction pick up a copy of Lamp Unto Her Feet?

Readers will also find a bit of suspense in this story. Since the hero, Trevor, is a police officer, there are scenes related to his work that become quite intense but are very real compared to today’s headlines.



Paula is a pastor’s wife, mom to a college student, author, acquiring editor, and speaker. No matter hat she wears, she strives to honor God’s plan even if it means going out on a limb and leaving comfort zones. Reviewers have characterized her writing as “thundering with emotion.” Her book, Be The Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award in the novella category. Paula enjoys reading and reviewing Christian fiction, writing Christian romance and devotionals, and helping other authors realize their dream of publication.  

 Learn more about Paula and find other places to link with her on her blog at www.paulamowery.blogspot.com




Friday, September 8, 2017

God Is...


God is Truth.

God is Holy.

God is Mercy.

God is Grace.

God is Patience.

God is Good.

God is the creator of all nature. He set laws of nature into motion.

I can confidently say, God did not cause these storms. He is not playing some cosmic game of chess, as Satan would have us believe.

Can God stop these storms? Of course He can. Why doesn't He? I do not know.

What I DO know, is God longs for a relationship with each and every human on earth. His love is big enough and his grace is wide enough. Over and over and over again, scripture teaches us of His love that leads to forgiveness and everlasting life.

Scripture is also clear that all of nature calls out to the existence of God. Not just the bright sun and the birds that sing. The rainbows and flowers, the trees that clap their hands and the rocks that cry out--they are not alone. Even the thunder that pounds through us after lightening rips through the skies, the winds that howl and the storms that swirl--they, too, call out to the existence of God.

But before we, as puny and limited humans, point our tiny fingers at the great Creator of all that is and accuse Him of sending massive heartache and destruction, we should pause.

Yes, I said pause.

Pause and search the scripture, for that is the truth we hold in our hands, for the heart of God.

God is Kind.

God is Healer.

God is Light and Life.

God is Restoration.

God is Peace.

If you know Him ... if Jesus is in your heart and welcomed in your life ... He will never leave you and His promises are kept.

If you do not know Him ... seek Him while you can. Message me. I would love to tell you more about His faithful love.

God is Holy.

God is Truth.

God loves you.

O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

Thank you Haley White for use of your beautiful photo!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Expect the Best ...

A few nights ago, I dreamt of my dad.

He stood with his arms crossed. Faded plaid shirt, expertly cuffed up to his biceps in military fashion.

And he was smiling.

He didn't say anything. He just smiled.

Dad's been gone for many years now. And, just like my siblings, I miss him every day.

Dad had many stories to tell and his penmanship was unique with it's distinct loops and lines. So in the early '90's I bought him a journal. It has an eagle on the front with Isaiah 40:31 printed at the bottom. I asked him to use some of those long Minnesota winter days to record his stories. Time passed and I forgot about the journal and my request.

Until my sibs and I were together to say our goodbyes.

There sat the journal. I picked it up, excited to see what treasure it held. And the words my dad penned, I imagine with a grin on his face, were:

Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

That was it. No stories.

Dad was highly opinionated and we didn't always agree. I never argued with my dad over our differences. I respected the man even when we were miles apart in our view of stuff. Maddening? Oh, sometimes it was. But we agreed on the stuff that mattered most.

God is holy.

The American flag is to be cherished. 

Respect the men and women of our armed forces.

And the Stranger of Galilee is our Savior.

I often think about what kind of conversations Dad and I would have if he were here to see the political and social climate of today ... I have to say I'm glad he isn't here to see it all. These days it's an uphill climb to expect the best.

Dad's final note of advice for me is biblical. God has told us to think on what is true, honest, and just (expect the best). He has also said to be as wise as a serpent (prepare for the worst).

The pain of goodbye and the longing to get one more hug lingers. I'd love to smell his aftershave and drink a cup of black coffee with him one more time. As much as I miss my dad's smile, I wouldn't want him to trade eternity with Jesus for another day on earth.

So here's the plan for today and every day, until I see my dad's smile and my Jesus -- I will expect the best but prepare for the worst. And as I live life, I think I'll write things down for my grandkids to read should Jesus tarry.

I feel a story coming on ...



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Are We There Yet?

Our almost 3 year old granddaughter isn't very happy when we have to wait for the light to turn green. She's not the best at patience. Her dad and mom recently drove her up a mountain to a family reunion. I'm told she's already asking "Are we there yet?"

For those of us who believe in the power and promises of God, the answer to that question is "No, we are not there yet."

We all have our struggles and challenges. Yupp, even the ones who show up to church with the I've-got-it-all-together face.

It's not easy to pray for the people we love and then truly leave the concerns with only One who can bring hope.

Everyone deals with the weight of past disappointments and pain. And ... well ... weight.

Let's just be real and admit to one another, we are not there yet.

While we wait, we can know that we know that we know we can be strong and take heart because we can trust God to be who He says He is.

If you don't know who He says He is, it's easy to fix! Open your Bible and study Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus said "If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father."

No, we aren't there yet. But we are living in exciting times, full of opportunity and promise. We know God is real and faithful. We know His love endures forever. We can trust Him.

Thank God, we are not there yet. But one day ... one day ... we will be!

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Being Good is Overrated

Being good.

Mind your manners. Be nice. Don't break things. Eat you green veggies. Don't talk back.
Do your homework. Pick up your toys. Wash behind your ears. Go to church on Sundays. Never tell a lie. Don't cuss. Read your Bible. Take out the trash. Follow the rules. Pray every day. Work hard.  Play harder. Earn your way. Listen. Smile. Drive the speed limit. Be generous. Leave things better than you found them. Tell the waitress she's doing a great job. Come to a complete stop before turning right. Wash your hands. Take your vitamins. Wear sunscreen.

And ...

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

And if the attitude of the heart is wrong ... none of the above things is pleasing to God.

A person could be good his entire life and never see heaven. Read the scripture ... Jesus never said "Be good."

I am going to choose godliness. Godliness is this: an attitude of the heart that focuses on pleasing God.

Many years ago, I learned the most important thing I can do is choose to please Jesus. I learned it's more than what I say and do ... it's also what I think.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer!

We were never told to be good, but scripture is clear ... be holy, because I am holy.

Holiness is godliness. Godliness is an attitude of the heart that focuses on pleasing God.

Instead of being good, let's choose to be godly.

I love that God gave us the ability to choose to know Him by spending time with Him, by reading His words and by praising Him. I'm thankful He never said "be good." 

Poor Santa Claus ... he's got it all wrong.

Dear God, May the words I speak and think please and glorify you. In my life Lord, be glorified.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Flip Flops, Full Bellies and a Loose Tooth

It's almost time to close the chapter of VBS 2017.

So.Much.Work.

So.Much.Fun.

I don't think it's possible to put into words exactly what happens during the week we call VBS.

But, is it possible to keep the focus among the hundreds (yes, thank God, I said hundreds) of little faces that passed by multiple times a day?

Is it possible to keep the focus by Thursday, when adults and teen helpers are fatigued?

Is it possible to remember we were all together last week for such a time as this--to tell the good news of the great Gospel of Jesus?

Yes. Yes it is.

Easy? No. Never easy.

I love that I am blessed to have the birds-eye view of what takes places 9:00-12:30, Monday through Friday during TOBC VBS. (I know the same things happen at thousands of churches across the nation)

Children get fed snacks and lunches. Their thirst is quenched by ice cold lemonade.

Children wearing shoes too small or too large find themselves offered a pair just their size.

Lord, when did we see you naked and clothe you or hungry and feed you?

Vacation Bible School.

As we poured into the lives and hearts of these kids, we overcame fatigue and irritability for the sake of the gospel. We taught the children they were created on purpose and with purpose, by a loving God who wants a relationship with each one of us.

We sang songs about God's love that will ring in their hearts all year long.

We learned amazing biblical truth--seeds planted in willing hearts.

I watched as adults prayed together, laughed together, and built new friendships.

And yupp, there was even a loose tooth pulled after Mom gave us permission.

What happens now that the decorations are down and the materials ready to pass along to another church?

What happens now that the volunteers have gone back to their daily routines and the kids get ready to begin another school year?

My prayer is each one who came in contact with The One True God--volunteers and kids--would be changed because of it. Each person, ready to be UNCOMMON in their lives.

My prayer is for the volunteers to crave to be used by God to help others know him and love Him.

My prayer is for the children to want more...more of Jesus.

I love VBS.

I love my Jesus.

I love what God does that week.

And I can't wait to see what He is doing because of it...