Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bustin' My Buttons

I'm proud of my husband and want to take this opportunity to say so! He's been a licensed minister in our denomination for 33 years, but soon he will be ordained. As a matter of fact, today he is being interviewed by the credentialing committee in preparation for the May ceremony.

He's a down-home country boy who felt God's call on his life when he was still a teenager. As a young person, he preached in his church and youth group. During church services, he played the piano and sang like Jimmy Swaggert.Even his first job out of high school was as a summer chaplain at a state park near his home.

We met and married at Bible College with high hopes and noble dreams of serving the Lord in ministry.He was granted ministry credentials while in Memphis Tn, with less than 2 years of formal Bible training and entered his first pastorate at the ripe old age of 21.

Some would not consider him "good enough" because he lacks a seminary degree, but over the years in ministry, he has studied hard on his own. If he were to earn college credits for his life experience and self study, he'd have his master's degree or better. He's an accomplished speaker and a good administrator. He still plays the piano like Jimmy Swaggert - some things never change...

I've waited (and sometimes nagged to no avail) to see him take the step toward ordination for years. But he always said he didn't need it because the only difference between being licensed and ordained was that an ordained minister could hold positions of leadership in the
denomination's hierarchy. Being a plain old country boy, he just wasn't interested.

But God does all things well. He knows how to prod my DH when I can't. With all the things happening in our lives, this is an important step - one God knew he needed to take. It will be exciting to see what God has in store for us and how He accomplishes it all, but today I'm just thanking Him for all that He's doing in our lives.

Congratulations Dan! I'm so proud of you!

"If I'd abandon all that seeks to make my faith informed and chic, could You, would You, show Yourself to me?"~ Nichole Nordeman~

He sat in his wheelchair in the middle of the frozen food aisle, his mouth twisted in a grimace. Spittle dribbled on his chin, as he cocked his head to the side and gazed up at the many flavors of ice cream. The air circulating in the large store failed to whisk away the slight urine odor that clung to his clothing.

Modern day Pharisees walked down the same aisle, filling their carts with frozen foods, giving the man a wide berth. No one stopped; no one bothered to ask if he needed help. He was a nonentity, a nothing in their eyes.

The real question is: “Would I recognize Him if He did show himself to me?” He shows Himself to us every day. It’s easy to see Him in the beautiful things like nature and music. We can see Him in the well-crafted story or in the painting of a skilled artist.

But do we recognize Him in the poor, the lonely and the needy around us every day? Whenever we feed, clothe, bathe, comfort, visit or help someone who is overlooked or ignored, we are seeing and ministering to Him. (Matthew 25:40 The Message)

If I abandon all that makes my faith fashionable, popular, sophisticated or “acceptable”, then and only then will I be able to really see Him and minister effectively to Him.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Weeping for the Children

I have a special pair of earrings, given to me by a missionary friend that I wear sometimes when I write.I got them out today because I needed a reminder of why I write.

These earrings are special to me because they were made by young women overseas. Many of these young women were stolen from their families at a young age or promised a better life in the cities, then forced to become prostitutes in the slums and brothels with no hope of ever working hard enough to "repay" the debt for their food and clothing.

Through the compassionate gifts of Christians worldwide, a small percentage of these young women have been "bought back" out of the terrifying clutches of sexual predators, and given a life of hope in Christ. They are given skills to live and their lives have meaning, purpose and dignity again through the love of Jesus. But there are so many more...

When I think of the plight of these children, I see two pictures - one a loving Christ who weeps as He holds the broken, battered body of a misused child and the other of a Savior with fire and anger flashing in His eyes for those who would care so little for the lives of these children.

The Lifetime network aired a movie last evening (Sunday) about this kind of sex trafficking which reminded me of the terror and hopelessness of the children's situation. Like my special earrings, it reminded me to pray and do what I can to spread His message of love and redemption.

As writers, we never know who our message will touch or how God will use our words to make a difference in the kingdom of Christ. That is my heart; my desire to make a difference in the Kingdom of God - it's why I write.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The case of the missing S

A dear friend of mine gave me a picture she had made one year for my birthday. She's a talented artist and had cut a rectangle from a nicely grained piece of scrap paneling.

She sanded the shiny side of the wood and painted a picture of a cottage doorway with a brick sidewalk, potted geraniums and trailing ivy.

To the left of the picture, she hand-lettered the following verse:
The Lord who opens doors for you
And ask you to walk through,
Will always be there by your side, Walking close to you.

At the bottom she wrote the words for Revelation 3:8, "See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut."

To finish the picture, she created a frame from pieces of old molding, painted it green and distressed the edges. It really made a wonderful gift.

But one day several years later I noticed it - there was a missing letter S in the verse - in the second line, the word "ask" should have been "asks."

Being a writer, it really bothered me, knowing the S was missing. Every time I looked at the picture, all I saw was the missing letter. I didn't see the friend who lovingly created it, I didn't think about her encouraging message - only the missing S!

I studied the picture from all angles and tried to think of how I could fix it, but there was no room to add an S in that spot. It would have been too obvious and ruined the picture if I tried to sand off the word and redo that. So I had to learn to DEAL with my discomfort or stash the picture away somewhere.

The picture hangs above the desk where I write now, a reminder of how much God loves us, in spite of our fault_, flaw_, and _ins. It also reminds me to pray daily for my friend who is going through a difficult place in her life. The missing S isn't nearly as important as the person who missed it.

Thank You Lord for Friends!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Is It Done Yet Lord?

My heart was so blessed as I found the following quote this morning in the blog by Darlene Schachts - founder and editor of Christian Women Online e-zine. It was written to her by a friend, Stephanie Fries, who is editing Darlene's latest book.

Stephanie's original advice to her friend was, "your writing shouldn't be done, until you arein love with every word of it."

As Darlene's book progressed, Stephanie wrote back to her saying, "God's fingerprints are all over the pages of your book, and just when you think you've got all ideas in place, He stops you, and whispers softly, 'Not yet my child... This time, its not done until I'm in love with every word of it.' "

Many of you know I am involved in writing a devotional book called Basking In The Son Room. The rough draft is done and I am now in the process of reading, editing and rewriting.

It has been such a unique experience for me as I have sensed His loving hand so powerfully on the project as I wrote. Through Darlene's blog, I was reminded to continue leaning on Him through the editing process. "It's not done until He's in love with every word of it!"

Wow! What an awesome word for all of us as Christian writers.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What Do You Need?

God spoke to Solomon, "What do you need from me? Ask and I'll give it to you." 2 Chronicles 1:7-12.

Wow! If God asked you today what you needed, what would you ask Him for?

I'm not sure how to answer that question because it's always been hard for me to look at my personal needs and feel like they are important. From the time I was small, it was drummed into me to please others - to please Daddy, to please my teachers, to please the adults around me, to please God. You do that by being meek, obedient, compliant. Never be a nuisance! Never have needs of your own .

So as my relationship with the Lord deepens and He looks at me with tender eyes and says What do you need from me? I don't know how to answer Him. I need so many things. Yet He's asking - what is it at the core of my being that I need?

I need a voice and the courage to express the words that have been stifled for so long. I need wisdom and strength for each day to relate to the world and others around me.

But at the very core, I need a relationship like Adam had at first with Him - to be able to walk with Him intimately; to laugh with Him and know He approves of me; and I need to be able to share that wonderful relationship with those around me.

What do you need from Him, today?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Reading Writing and Chocolate!

"Those who read fast reap no more advantage than a bee would by only skimming over the surface of the flower, instead of waiting to penetrate into it, and extract its sweets."~Madame Jeanne Guyon~

Now, I know most of you out there like chocolate to varying degrees, but the question is: How do you eat your chocolate?

Do you eat the Hershey bar in three bites and find yourself longing for more? Do you eat it in smaller bites, still rather quickly? Or do you savor it – taking time to allow it to slowly dissolve in your mouth?

Unfortunately, I’m a chocolate chomper. I tend to love the stuff so much, I’m in a hurry to devour it before I have to share (I had three children who also had a sweet tooth…)

Well now that the kiddos are gone, I find myself relaxing somewhat and trying to savor my chocolate. Unfortunately it usually turns out like the old Tootsie Pop commercial – “How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop? One, Two…Chomp - Three.” I can only savor it for so long before I have to finish off the rest of the bar in one, maybe two bites.

Being a chocoholic chomper is indicative of other aspects of my life as well, like reading. I used to hungrily devour books, skimming them but not really reading them word for word. In College I did well enough, having a kind of inner radar for the important sentences.

But the practice continued after the kids were born. Perhaps that’s a Mom thing, too, when you don’t have as much time as you’d like to sit down and really savor a book, considering its depth and tasting its sweetness. At least I might use that for an excuse. But the kiddos grew up – no more excuses.

Is there any hope for chocolate chomping book scanners? Maybe. What helped me is the process of learning to write. As I wrote my first novel, I wanted to sprint to the end, but ended up with only 50 pages. Not good.

So I had to take time to savor the story, really get to know my character and share scenes in a way that mattered to her. Just as emotional healings take time in real life, hers did too and I began to see the amazing way God worked things out in her life.

She mentored me through the process of learning to savor life. Through her life, I learned to slow down and read the words, experience the emotions and to live. What an amazing discovery.

At times there’s still only three licks to the center of life’s Tootsie Pop, but when that happens, I stop, go back and take a second slower look at things – I really read the words. At last I’ve learned to taste life and see that the Lord is good!

Monday, February 19, 2007

On Writing What You Know

Write what you know is the advice writing instructors give to their students.

"But I don't know anything," I used to lament whenever I heard that statement. "What can I write about?" It's taken the Lord a lot of time and energy to help me realize those lies of the enemy firmly rooted in my mind since I was a young person.

For example, I find myself believing that the things I know are common knowledge and not important. But God keeps reminding me that things I've learned and take for granted, may be totally new concepts to others. Seeing it from His point of view really blows me away.

I've done children's ministry for so many years, it is easy for me to look at an object and immediately come up with several uses for it. I create weekly lessons and scour the Internet for craft ideas which I routinely adapt to my needs, sometimes coming up with entirely new projects or new ways to put those ideas together.

When I share my ideas, I routinely get positive feedback. If I would only write them down, I'd have a Christian education idea book ready to publish this very moment and probably a large audience for it.

He is a God of unlimited creativity and in spite of my insecurities, He gives idea after idea after idea! Thank You Lord.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Shining From The Inside Out

"Writing devotionals is more beneficial to the writer than they will ever be to those who read them." Whoever made that statement was right on!

I recently was invited to write one of a series of devotional books for those who want to deepen their relationship with Christ over an intense six day period. Being a writer, I'm not one to turn down an opportunity like that - so I quickly accepted, praying about the focus for my particular book.

The ideas began to take shape under the guidance of the Spirit as I began running into Christians who had just gone through hard trials, loss or illness and were in the recovery process. How could I help them "regroup" their spiritual and emotional energy to get back into the daily groove of life?

As the outline began to unfold and the writing progressed, I found my own soul being nourished and strengthened. Burdens I didn't realize were so heavy began slipping away. Unforgiven hurts were brought to light and healed. With the completion of the rough draft, I felt a renewal of purpose and spiritual energy inside myself. WOW! God truly blessed my heart through the writing.

Of course, now comes the work of editing, perfecting and polishing the first draft, but if I know God, He will use this editing process to continue the work in me, perfecting and polishing until I shine from the inside out.

God is sooooooo good!

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Heart Of A Mentor

This week, I've been grieving the death of a dear friend and counselor. Her life touched mine so deeply during the time our paths crossed.

In many ways she was a mentor for me. She had been on the journey to wholeness a much longer time and had won many victories along the way. Because she had overcome through the power and care of the Lord, I knew I could too. She listened to my struggles and offered encouragement and wonderful hugs.

I like to think of her as a kindred spirit for we had very much in common - even our wedding anniversaries were on the same day. We also shared a deep love for Jesus and a desire to minister to hurting women.

She taught me how to touch lives, how to make a difference by sharing of my story. By listening, she helped me find my voice. Though our paths only crossed for a short season, her life impacted mine for eternity.

I haven't seen her for a long time, but when I learned of her death, the pain was as fresh as though I'd just seen her yesterday.

We will renew our friendship in heaven, but for now, I'll treasure the memories of this woman of God who held out her hand to me and helped me over some of the roughest places in my life.

Lord, help me to extend my hand to others who are in the rough places of recovery from the hurts of life, just like Penny did for me. Amen.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Got lemons?

My seven-year-old granddaughter is a real entrepreneur.

When the toy catalog arrived at their house the other day, she grabbed it up and began to peruse its pages.

"I'll get this for Jack," she said. "And Abby would like this." On and on the litany went for several more moments with her wish list growing by the second. She picked out something for every member of her family and her friends as well.

"How do you propose to buy all those presents?" her mom asked.

Looking up at her mom with that "well, duh" look, she said, "With the money from my lemonade stand, of course!"

So now it's become a home school project, to teach her how business works. My daughter plans to loan her the money for start up costs, take her to the store to purchase supplies and help her set up in the driveway as soon as the weather turns nice enough where they live.

For the time being, she's busy building her booth, making signs and dreaming up ways to "advertise" her new business venture. If all goes according to her plans, she may even have to hire her brother as extra help.

If I lived closer, I'd be her first and best customer...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Have A Little Heart..

What a wonderful surprise - a dear friend gave me a gift for Valentine's Day!

Betty sells Avon and always presents me with little gifts for special and "just because" occasions. This time it was a pair of loopy earrings. (Oh, how I love loopies!)

But I'm not sure which I like better - the earrings or the box. (It doesn't take much to make me happy!)

You see the earrings came in this wonderful little heart-shaped box. It's covered in pink fabric with hearts all over it. When you untie the ribbon on the front, it splits into two halves to reveal a smaller heart inside (a little box where the earrings lay nestled on a piece of heart-shaped foam).

Being a children's church teacher and speaker at women's meetings, I immediately began to envision all sorts of object lessons I could create with this box! (They affectionately call me Bonnie the Bag Lady when I bring my bag full of sermonette illustrations.)

I could demonstrate how our hearts can look good on the outside but be full of dirt on the inside (in a little baggie of course so I don't get the heart messy) ...

Or what about placing one of those mini Bibles inside to illustrate hiding God's Word in our hearts...

Or I could place a mirror with Christ's picture on one side into the heart and talk about how having Jesus in our hearts helps us reflect His nature in our lives...

Hmmm! I'm just getting started. I think I'll wear the earrings while I ponder this some more...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Passing it on...

When we share the story of our journey to wholeness, we never know who it will touch – but as we yield to Him, He carries it to those who need it most.

That's the neat thing about stories, especially our true-life stories. They cause our ears to perk up and our hearts to become attentive. The sharing of our stories brings healing, encouragement, love and a sense of community.

I was privileged to discover this first hand as a group of abuse survivors met together each week to share. It was there I met Penny, one of the moderators for the group. I was struggling to cope with the damage done by the abuse. Penny invited me to become part of the group.

What really put me at ease about it was that she had been there struggling with the same issues.. She knew and understood what I was feeling.

As we met together each week and shared our stories and our struggles with the issues of abuse, an amazing thing happened. We learned how to cope better with things. We learned how to trust again, to laugh again and to love ourselves again. We were able to see ourselves as lovable and valuable to God, reaffirmed each week by the encouraging words of the group. Penny's story and the story of the other gals touched me.

The amazing thing about God is that He never wastes an experience in our lives. We may consider it to be a horrible experience, but God always has something to teach us and uses even the worst things in our lives to help us grow.He heals us, through His own intervention as well as through the care and the stories of others.

Their stories touched me, strengthening and healing me.Now God has been helping me to share my story, through my book Daughter of Lot and through speaking to women's groups. So the healing continues. We never know who our lives will touch when we give God our stories.

Thank You Lord for this kingdom principle!

Monday, February 12, 2007

What would you do?

What would you do if admitting you loved Jesus meant an immediate loss of employment and all benefits? You'd be branded a fanatic and an outcast. No one would dare hire you.

To make matters worse, There would be a contract on your life - family members could kill you and no one would bother to investigate it as a murder. Your wife and children would be forcibly taken from you so you couldn't corrupt them.

To me it almost sounds like a plot in a Christian novel, yet it's a true story. Hearing about such a modern day martyr really challenged my heart. What would I do if writing about Jesus became illegal? What would I do if writing and speaking about Jesus meant certain death?

I'm not sure I could answer those questions unless I actually found myself in that situation. I'd like to think I'd be strong and face persecution head on...

What would I need to change about my faith in a situation like that? How would my praying change? Would I be able to forgive, immediately and completely as Jesus did on the cross? "Father forgive them for they don't know what they're doing."

I don't know how I would react. I DO know, I must be thankful for the freedoms I have and pray for those whose lives are in danger because of their faith. I know I need to strengthen my faith to be ready to meet life's challenges head on because it is too easy to simply slip away...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Blessing Journal

God is amazing! Since the beginning of this week, He has been showing my daughter and her husband that He will take care of them in many little ways.

They have four small children and because of circumatances beyond their control, it appears his job may be in jeopardy. He's not even sure there will be a paycheck in the coming weeks.The situation has become critical, especially financially for their family. Though Lis feels discouraged, she still cares and wants to see God bring a healing to their church.

This week, God met their needs in so many small ways: a reimbursement from a credit card company; a lowering of their interest rate and monthly payment amount on their vehicle;a refund from their doctor's office; and payment for a wedding and counseling services her hubby provided.Josh even found a $10 bill on the ground which had been run over many times in a municipal parking lot.

She cried at God's provision because she wasn't even sure they could afford to buy groceries this week for the four children.

"Write these things down," I told my daughter. "When you're tempted to get discouraged, go to the journal and read what God has done!" Not only will it serve to remind her of how God provides, it will be a witness to the enemy that God is in control and as long as Lis and Josh are walking in His will, He will take care of them - even if the conflict persists in the church.

When we get discouraged we tend to forget the things God has done. It is easier to look at the problems rather than God's provision. By keeping a "Blessing Journal" we can look back and remember what He's done for us personally and how we felt about His provisions. It will encourage us and go a long way toward fighting off the discouragement and depression that the enemy tries to throw our way to get us off track.

Start your Blessing Journal today!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Hey you - with the hind's feet!

One of my favorite books is one a friend gave me over 30 years ago called Hind's Feet In High Places by British Author, Hannah Hurnard.

It's an allegory, written in a similar style as John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, detailing the journey of the shepherdess, Much Afraid, to the high places When she "arrives" at the end of her spiritual journey, she receives a new name exemplifying her new inner nature free of fear. Her crippled feet are whole and her disfigured mouth healed. Best of all, she can run freely in the mountains of the High Places with her Friend.

I had not read it for many years, but as I began work on my latest devotional project, I felt the need to revisit it. I think it's because I identify so strongly with her journey.

At the very core of my being, I have battled with insecurity - fear that I'd never really be good enough and God would "use" me and then drop me if I was too needy or demanded too much of His time or energy. For the "Mrs. Valiant's" of this world who have never experienced this, it probably seems like an insignificant or silly fear.

"Just trust Him." I've heard people say. But for one whose trust was damaged at a tender young age by the ones they ought to be able to trust, well, isn't an easy task.

But God is patient! He lovingly works with each of us to overcome those damaged parts of our heart - our old nature - until we can release the hurt, the pain, the shame. Until we can finally reach our own High Places of intimate life with Him. He constantly works to remove any and all spots from His Beloved until we are a perfect match for Him!

I thank God for His gentle reminders of my own past journey away from fear - it helps me be more patient and compassionate for others as I become a mentor on the way for them.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Answers To Age-Old Questions

Which came first - the woman or chocolate? Not quite as debatable as the chicken and egg thing, but it still stirs up quite a lot of chatter!

For instance, when I asked a group of women at a meeting , the room was clearly divided. Some felt the woman came first because chocolate was man made. Others felt the chocolate came first as God created each individual ingredient. Man just put them together later.

Here on the Blog polls, it's pretty well unanimous - the chocolate (in its original state from the cacao bean) of course! Though there were some differing opinions as to when the chocolate came about specifically....

Well, I have it on good authority that God created chocolate on the first day of creation, when He made the heavens and the earth. In an article written by Robert C. Cowen in the Christian Science Monitor dated October 26, 2005, NASA is credited with discovering interstellar "chocolate!" (just in case you want to check it out)

Apparently when God created the heavens, He created "nitrogen-carrying aromatic hydrocarbons" in abundance in outer space - one type is the same molecule which is the key ingredient to CHOCOLATE!

Kinda makes you wonder what He was thinking...

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Which Came First?

It's February - The month dedicated to Love!

Because I've been thinking a lot about this topic lately, especially about God's love for us as women, I need to ask a pressing question - one that has weighed heavily on my mind.

Which came first the woman or chocolate????????????

Now, I'd like to take a reader poll, so if you'll just leave a comment and give me your opinion, I'll be sure to let you know the poll results and my answer tomorrow!

See ya then!!!!!


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

May I Help You>

“Mom, when Daddy brings the pizza home can I be the server? I want to practice serving.”

Not sure what her daughter meant, Allissa questioned the child. “What do you mean?”

“You know, I want to practice being the one to give out the food and seeing what everyone wants. Maybe if I get good enough at serving, I can go to one of those places where they feed people and help give out the food.”

Allissa realized her seven-year-old daughter meant a homeless shelter. They had spoken about visiting to help out as a home school project during the Thanksgiving season, but because unforeseen circumstances, they were unable to follow through with the idea.

Months later, the desire to serve was still strong in her daughter’s heart. In her childish mind, practicing would help her become “good enough” so she could one day serve the way she wanted.

When was the last time you asked your Heavenly Father if you could practice serving? There's plenty to do – He just needs a few “good servers” who purposely look for ways to meet the needs of others.

May God place the desire to serve in our heart so strongly we will look for ways to meet needs, even if it means going outside our comfort zone!

Monday, February 5, 2007

A Song For The Day!

Have you ever awakened in the morning with a song in your heart?

What a wonderful way to wake up. The song that hugs my heart this morning is an instrumental I heard on called Secret Places. I think this song is embedded in my heart because of the project I'm working on right now, a devotional booklet called Basking In The Son Room.

Each time I listen to that particular song, it transports me into that "Son Room," that safe, quiet place where it is just Jesus and I. There I can worship Him and find the rest and peace need to face the day (not to mention the peace and wisdom I need to finish this writing project by my March deadline!)

I am learning to rest in His presence and enjoy His company. It's a lesson I need to relearn every so often because the cares of this life tend to weigh me down when I get my eyes off Him. Those are the times I need to return to that place where it is just my Lord and I - to regroup and rest for awhile.

The neatest thing in the whole world for me is to share a good laugh with Him. I serve a joyful God - one who laughs! We talk together, laugh and cry together during this precious time.

I've heard it said that the writing of a devotional book benefits the writer more than it can ever benefit the readers and I think it's true. I thank Him for the lessons He's teaching me each day as I meet Him in the Son Room!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Happy Carrot Cake Day!

Happy Carrot Cake Day!

Yup! Today is National Carrot Cake Day - at least according to the one greeting card site I visited. Sounds quite tasty - maybe I'll bake up one today....

I just realized I missed some other important holidays as well, according to the card making magazine.

Did you know...

January 13 is National Dream Come True Day?

And what about National Hugging Day on January 21st? I'm really sorry I missed that one - I coulda called in all the hugs owed to me by my grand kids...

Then there was Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day on January 30th. Nothing like a good piece of bubble wrap to ease the stresses of life!

Well, no matter. I don't need a special day to let my friends know I appreciate them. I can always send a card to encourage them during the dark times in life. I can visit with a loaf of homemade bread or chicken noodle soup. Phone calls are nice too, especially on snowy days when the roads are slick and I don't really want to venture out.

So to all my family, friends, readers, and friends I haven't met yet, I appreciate you! I'm praying for God's richest blessings on your life and thank you for your prayers as well!

God bless you all!

Hmmm, now where did I put those carrots?

Friday, February 2, 2007

Coming Soon

My husband grew up in a community not too far from Punxytawney, PA where the infamous groundhog, Phil the Prognosticator, lives. So he's familiar with the February 2nd antics of this famous weather predicting rodent.

I'm also from PA and of German ancestry so I grew up watching each February 2nd to see if we would have six more weeks of winter or not. It really never seemed to matter if the groundhog saw his shadow, we'd inevitably have wintry weather until Easter when we were finally allowed to don our new clothes for the Easter sunrise service. Somehow, that was always the start of spring for me.

The old farmers read the almanac and watched the animal behaviors to determine weather patterns.Today we have dopplar radar. Nothing is 100% accurate, but we still watch the signs (or the TV) to see what the day will bring weather-wise. Whether we get six more weeks of winter or an early spring as Phil indicated, we still keep busy with our day to day lives.

In the same way, we watch the heavens, the predicted signs (weather and natural disasters), the interactions between people (wars and rumors of wars) as we wait for the Lord's return.It seems inevitable that it will be soon, though we don't know exactly when.

With the advanced technology of our weaponry, huge areas can be devastated in a single strike. With the trend of global warming, it seems the storms are becoming more frequent and fierce. There are more earthquakes of greater intensity. Really makes one wonder how much more this old world can take?

Yet as we wait for His return, we as Christians have at least two tasks - to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to those who have yet to hear and to "occupy" or go about our daily Christian lives, praying ans ministering as usual until He does come. Whether it's six weeks form now or 60 years, He is coming soon. Are you busy, but ready?

Thursday, February 1, 2007


I met Lori through a network of pastor's wives. In addition to being a great singer, she is a missionary to Mexico.

In a recent blog, Lori spoke of a missions visit to a coastal town in Mexico. Just two days before they arrived, there was an eruption of guerrilla warfare and a man was murdered. Fear kept the villagers in their homes.

As a singer, part of Lori's ministry involves giving open air concerts. A few hours before she was to minister, she had to battle fear. What if there were another problem? What if she died? But God gave peace and courage to minister and one woman even gave her heart to the Lord in spite of all the fear and small crowd.

As I read Lori's testimony, I listened to a song she wrote and recorded called "Secure." What a wondrous message. We can lay down and sleep at night, knowing we are secure in the One who makes us secure! We can minister for Him, even in the face of danger because we are secure in Him!

To read more of Lori's testimony and to hear her music (Music is available to download for $1 per song and proceeds will be used toward their ministry in Mexico) go to: