Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where's the cherry?

From Family Pictures
Eight years ago today, I lost the one person I thought I'd grow old with. The person who knew my past better than I did, my present and we'd share the future.  The person I could just glance at and he'd know what I was words were even needed.  On this day, I lost my big brother (Joe as he was called after he left for college; Joey as I still call him).  He had a short and fierce battle with cancer (that word still causes my chest to ache)...the same cancer that took my grandfather when he was 61:  cancer of the esophagus. The thing about esophageal cancer - by the time you're diagnosed with it, you're typically in the final stages of it.  Or, at least that's what happened to my grandfather and my brother.

Life is a funny little thing...even when bad things happen, you still have to move forward.  Time keeps moving.  Losing a family member is no different, no matter how gut wrenching and unbelievably hard it is, you have to readjust and march on.  Time doesn't necessarily ease the pain ~ perhaps it numbs it.  I still go to call Joey.  I long to hear his voice.  A lot of things have happened since he died that I wish he had been here to help me with.  Sometimes, though I know it wasn't his choice to die from cancer, I get mad that he left me to handle it all.

My life is ok (fine, good, etc.), but it is missing something (someone) and that is not going to change.  No matter how great things go for me in this life, something (someone) will always be missing.  It's like having an ice cream sundae w/o having the cherry on the top.  It's still good, but something is missing.

From Family Pictures
On this day, I get a little melancholy.  
I miss my brother and I'll grieve for the hole his death left in our lives.  It won't be a sad day, just one with a few ups and downs.  I rejoice in knowing he was a Christian and I will see him again.

You never know what life will throw at you.  Enjoy your sundae with the cherry while you have it.  Embrace your loved ones and let them know you love them.  Treasure those God has placed in your life.

(If you have a long time to read, I invite you to check out an earlier post where I share more about my brother and my testimony.  It's pretty lengthy.  Joey's life verse: "I will never leave you nor forsake you.")
Monday, March 22, 2010

The Lord Within

The Lord Within
From Extraordinary Women

March 22, 2010

By: Julie Clinton, M.A.
"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God."

My son Zach looks a lot like his dad. And, of course they love sports. Especially baseball. Tim has pretty much coached Zach since he was four years old. One thing I learned as a mom was that Zach had to hit, field, catch and throw the baseball on his own. Tim couldn’t do it for him. In order to learn, Zach had to do it alone.

Even still, Tim will always be there cheering and coaching Zach whenever and wherever he needs him.

The Lord calls each of us to do infinitely more than we can even imagine. He also teaches us, through His Word, how to accomplish what it is He has called us to do.

Your effectiveness and success in your family, work, ministry, and relationship with the Lord is dependent on His grace and His sufficiency. God is your coach! But, you have to get in the game. When you do, know that He is always there…cheering you on to do great things for His kingdom!

Heavenly Father, I am tired of trying to “do” life by the power of my own self-sufficiency. I confess that I cannot do it on my own and that I need your grace and sufficiency within me. I invite you now into my daily rounds. Teach me O’ Lord to rely on Your strength and may I be completely energized by You. Thank you for freely offering Your strength to me. I receive it now and ask that You help me to rely on You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bible Readings for the Week Ahead:
Monday: John 10:27-29
Tuesday: Romans 8:38-39
Wednesday: Philippians 1:6
Thursday: 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Friday: Jude 1:24-25
Saturday: Isaiah 40:26
Sunday: Ephesians 3:16, 17

My response:
I am loving the scripture references.  So relevant to what all is going on with me right now.  God is good like that!

*Picture was found here.
Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kaleidoscope by Patsy Clairmont

Kaleidoscope Seeing God's Wit and Wisdom in a Whole New Light

By Patsy Clairmont

Acclaimed author and Women of Faith speaker Patsy Clairmont causes womens' hearts to leap and their hopes to lift in this quirky, straight-to-the point look at the Proverbs.

Understanding the Christian life and the Bible can be a daunting task. But maybe God didn't mean it to be so hard. In Kaleidoscope of Proverbs, Patsy Clairmont pieces together some powerful messages from God and reveals new facets of beauty, inspiration, and instruction. Written for busy women, Patsy offers brief, powerful chapters that address the key aspects of their lives, hearts, and relationships.

In the Proverbs, God gives us small gems of hope and truth, and in Kaleidoscope of Proverbs, Patsy Clairmont unveils them for readers with her trademark humor and insightful teaching.

About the author:
Patsy Clairmont:  Petite, profound, and playful. These words help to describe her size, her message, and her humor. She has a command of God's word and with her quick wit and fast Patsy Clairmont paced humor she will keep everyone laughing. This light touch combined with scriptural knowledge makes Patsy an unusual package. You find yourself laughing God's truths right into your heart.

Patsy comes from an uncommon background. Her years of suffering as a prisoner in her own home, a victim of agoraphobia, have given her a deep appreciation of God's healing power. God has pulled together the emotionally fragmented pieces of her life. From her emotionally troubled background God has combined her humor and her knowledge of His word to remind you that imperfect, "cracked" Christians are God's specialty.

My review:
I enjoyed this book.  Each chapter is short enough to use as a daily devotion, as each chapter is based on a verse from Proverbs.  They are also short enough that if you just have a few minutes, you can pick it up and just read a few pages.  Ms. Clairmont has a very easy to read writing style and she's witty!  Each chapter ends with reflection (Bits and Pieces) and various Bible verses to ponder on.  I would recommend adding this book to your collection and giving one to a friend.

Thank you Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

If you'd like to purchase this book, click here.
Thursday, March 18, 2010


I feel certain I've seen this before, but I really needed to see it today.  It's almost 9 minutes long and you'll probably need some tissue.

God says it is our job to be outrageously loved. He loves you 100% as you are right now. A powerful word spoken by Graham Cooke and music by Jonathan David Helser...believe truth about how God sees...

Lent Day 26: The Book of Acts

God says, what My Son began through His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, He now continues.

You are not alive in this world in order to experience Me or to enjoy the blessings of a comfortable life. If that were My purpose, I'd have brought you into My Presence in heaven the moment you were forgiven and adopted into My family.

Your purpose until you die is to reveal a new attitude toward suffering and a new agenda in prayer that flows out of your new purpose in life that makes sense only if you claim your new hope of resurrection.

You are now free from slavery to the demands of self: for recognition, for life to go as you want, for good health and prosperity, for freedom from emptiness, and for the experience of fullness.

You are now free to advance the only plan whose promise of joy will be kept.

You are now free to tell people the full message of this new life.

You are now free to really live!

From from 66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God that Invites You into His Story by Dr. Larry Crabb, ©2009
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Break Through to Clarity and WIN Contest!

From NLT -- Break Through to Clarity and WIN Contest!

Go on - enter - what do you have to lose?

Visit and click on the tab that says “Sweepstakes”

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Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the third milestone
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Apple iPad 16G and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the New Living Translation Fan Page hits the second milestone
Retail Value: $499.00

5th Prize Will be awarded when fan count hits: TBD
Apple iPad 32G and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the first milestone
Retail Value: $599.00

Prize Eligibility – Recently updated to include more countries

Sweepstakes participants and winner(s) can be U.S. residents of the 50 United States, or residents of any country that is NOT embargoed by the United States, but cannot be residents of Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India. In addition, participants and winner(s) must be at least 18 years old, as determined by the Company.

Sweepstakes Starts
March 17, 2010 @ 10:24 am (PDT)
Sweepstakes Ends
April 30, 2010 @ 10:24 am (PDT)

Wait, there’s more!
Visit for a chance to win a trip for two to Hawaii!

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Choose one of six passages of Scripture from the New Living Translation and consider:

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How does this passage apply to your life?

Submit your answer and you’ll be entered to win.

Just for signing up: Everybody Wins! Win a Free .mp3 download from the NLT’s new Red Letters Project. It’s the dynamic, new presentation of the sung and narrated words of the Gospel of Matthew. You win the download just for entering! Or choose to download the NLT Philippians Bible Study, complete with the Book of Philippians in the NLT.

Every day, one person will win the best-selling Life Application Study Bible!

The grand prize: One person will win a fantastic trip for two to the crystal clear waters of the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore in beautiful Hawaii.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Who Am I Really? by Christine Caine

I'm catching a recurrent theme here...I'm starting to catch on to what He is telling me.  Are you?  If you would have asked me two or three weeks ago what I felt God was trying to impress upon me, I would have said two things -- He loves me and He delights in me.  I still believe that, but I believe He just might be trying to get me to say the same thing about myself.

I received this in my email on Saturday or Sunday but I've just now read it.  Not wanting to forget about it or lose it, I'm going to post it here.  Plus, it just goes along so well with the recurrent theme.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me.  It means more than you'll ever know.  Your kind words and prayers are like a balm to this sometimes weary soul.

Who Am I Really?
by Christine Caine
"What is man that you are mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:4a)

This week's devotional is adapted from Can I Have And Do It All, Please? by Christine Caine, who appears on LIFE Today this Thursday.

My daughter Catherine knows who she is and has no problem displaying it.

Catherine had just started school at the age of five, and one day she had an argument with another little boy from her class. I think it was over a global issue like who was going to take the teddy bear home that night! At one point in the argument, the little boy grabbed the teddy bear from Catherine’s arms and said to her, “Catherine Bobbie, you are dumb and ugly.” Later that day, Catherine’s teacher relayed the story to me because she was stunned by Catherine’s response to the situation. She watched as Catherine, having just been insulted, put her shoulders back, looked the little boy squarely in the eyes, and confidently asserted, “No I’m not, my daddy says that I am beautiful and smart.” She then proceeded to take the teddy bear back and walk away. I absolutely love this story not only because my daughter ended up with the teddy bear but because Catherine displayed the power in knowing what her daddy says about her, which is exactly what your Father in heaven thinks about you! Empowered by knowing what God’s Word says about you, you can refute the lies of the enemy when they come.

Just like that little boy, the enemy comes to us on a regular basis, not only to try to snatch away the things in life we want, but also to make us believe we don’t even deserve those things. He tells us we are unworthy, unlovable and unable, as he throws insults and doubts at our minds, trying to make us believe we are far less than we really are. But if we can learn to possess the bold, childlike faith of Catherine and simply (and deeply) believe we are who God says we are, and we can only achieve this through the Word of God…and nothing else!

I encourage you to write down the following Bible verses about who you really are in Christ. Take out your post-it notes. Copy these Scriptures, and stick them on every possible surface. Put them on your mirror so you can reflect on them as you’re applying lipstick or brushing your teeth, adhere them to your steering wheel for when you are stuck in traffic. They will remind you of who your Father in heaven is, what family you belong to, and your true identity altering your perspective on who you are.

I am a child of God.
“But as many received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the wil of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

I am saved by grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

I am alive to God and dead to sin.
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)

I am sanctified.
“For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:19)

I am a new creation.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

I am a royal son or daughter.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

I am reconciled to God.
“That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)

I am free.
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

I am justified.
“Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)

I am chosen.
“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)

I am adopted.
“Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Ephesians 1:5)

I am accepted.
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)

I am forgiven.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

I am predestined.
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

I am raised and seated in heavenly realms.
“Raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)

I am created for good works.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

I am called to eternal glory.
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

I am more than a conqueror.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

I am an overcomer.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I am never forsaken.
“For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” (Hebrews 13:5, AMP)

I am the righteousness of God in Christ.
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:22)

Without truly knowing who we are in Him, we will always struggle, attempting to gain our identity from “having and doing it all,” as opposed to getting our identity from Christ.

This Week
Take a long look who you have thought and felt yourself to be. Is that who God says you are? Adjust your focus so that it’s on who God says you are.

“Lord, thank you that I am who you say I am. Please help me to truly find my identity in you, and to display it in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Verse of the Day

This is a key verse in So Long Insecurity. Well, the first part is - I just now saw the second part of the verse.  Considering how topsy turvy things are for me right now, I love the second part of the verse too.  God's word is so good!

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)

When  I feel burdened today, I'm going to remember I am clothed with strength and dignity. The enemy cannot take that from me!

(Picture is NIV and from here.)

Enter to Worship - Exit to Serve by Ronald K. Gray

Enter to Worship - Exit to Serve by Ronald K. Gray (Xulon Press)
This book is intended to help the local church realize its destiny. There has been a severe deterioration in our worship and the Church's place in the world. The Body of Christ is struggling today in many places. This is not God's plan for His church! These Biblical principles from the book of Nehemiah can help us grow into the people God intended us to be. I urge you to read and allow the Holy Spirit to make these truths real to you. Apply them in your life and the life of your church and you will see God bring restoration to your life, just as He did to the walls and temple in Nehemiah.

About the Author
Ronald Gray serves the Kingdom of God through sharing the uncompromised Word of God. He has been faithful to his call since 1974. He is on the board of International Outreach Ministries and Charles Simpson Ministries. He is the Director of Mission Growth for IOM leading short-term teams to various countries in the world. Ronald began his ministry with Gulf Coast Teen Challenge in Pensacola, FL. He has served as an Associate Pastor and Senior Pastor. Ronald and his wife Sharon, have lived in the Mobile, AL area since 1995. He and Sharon have two daughters and four grandchildren. Ronald has traveled extensively in the United States and in over 38 countries, spreading the message of the Kingdom of God. Many people have received salvation, healing, restoration and deliverance in their lives. 

My review
I really enjoyed this small yet powerful book.  When I was in India, God broke my  heart for the overall state of the North American church and how lacking we are in our worship and service.  Mr. Gray captured many of the feelings I had but was unable to put into words.  If you will read this and put the words into practice, I believe you will start to grow nearer to our Father and experience a more powerful relationship with him.  This isn't a self-help or legalistic type of book, but it is one that has the potential to change your life, but experiencing more of God. 

Thank you Ronald Gray for providing me a review copy of your book. 

Click here to purchase the book.
Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm standing on His promises

What promises are you leaning on? (Most of these are from the LPM blog but I need them to penetrate my mind and my thoughts.)

Do not be afraid of the enemy;[earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes. Nehemiah 4:14b Amplified Bible

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….Since you are precious and honored in My sight and because I love you... Isaiah 43:2-4a NIV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Ex. 14:13a-14

"So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isa.41:10 NIV

"Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated..." ~Isaiah 54:4

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." ~Isaiah 40:29-31

"The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deut. 31:8 NIV

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7 (NKJV)

"The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1
Sunday, March 7, 2010

Prayer for the Lost and PS

Prayer for the Lost by Kaye Johns.  God knows this request can be used by almost everyone for a family member or loved one. I am no exception.  Pray it for your loved one, pray it for mine.  Let us stand strong in God's Army and be protected against the things not of this world. 

Father, hear us as we ask You to rescue the lost from the domain of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of Your Son. You alone can draw and enable them. You alone can send Your Holy Spirit with power to convict them of the sin in their life and their need to repent and believe in Your truth--that Jesus is the only way to You, that He alone is the way, the truth and the life.

Father, we ask you to forgive the sins of the lost. We come in Jesus’ name to demolish the strongholds in their minds that those sins have allowed. We come in the authority of Jesus’ name to overcome the power of the enemy in their lives, to ask You to bind evil spirits away from them in the name of Jesus and the blood of the Lamb through the word of our testimony.

We come against the blinding of their minds and ask that You send someone to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light; help us to be willing to go. Father, don’t let their hearts be hardened, but open their hearts to receive Your truth. Rip away any veil that covers their hearts, any false teaching that confuses their minds. Help them to hear your Word with power and conviction as the Word of God and not the word of man. Give them understanding, so that Satan will not be able to steal Your Word from their hearts.

Father, help them see their need for a Savior, to know they must confess their sins, repent and believe--or they perish. Help them choose Your mercy and Your gift of faith, to believe with their hearts and confess with their mouths, Jesus is Lord. We ask in Your will, that not any should perish. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Today is also Prayer and Share (PS) time at Holley's blog.  P.S. I shared this post on Heart to Heart with Holley.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So Long Insecurity...

Two different blogs I read are biblically dealing with insecurity right now.  Is this a coincidence?  No. I don't think so either.

Heart to Heart with Holley is on Part 8 of her series entitled OUT of INsecurity.  If you haven't taken the time to visit Holley's blog - I believe you will blessed once you do.  The other blog is Living Proof Ministries, as its founder, Beth Moore, has written a book called So Long Insecurity.  I might have mentioned it before.

I'm on Chapter 6 of So Long Insecurity, where we're really digging into the reasons for our insecurity.  Fascinating!  (Not my insecurity, of course, the reasons.)

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, because I wanted to share part of my heart with you.  Many of you (all 3 of you) who read my blog have asked me to pray for you and it is my honor to do so.  (Nothing like bridging the gap between a friend and our Father.)  Well, I need prayer too!  After I share my heart, will you pray for me? 

Or, maybe you're struggling with insecurity and think you're the only one.  If so, you're not alone AT ALL.  Maybe at times we all struggle with some insecurity, but I think we'd be surprised to find out just how many women struggle and battle insecurity.  Does my response to Part 8 of the OUT of INsecurity - reasonate with anyone else?

I'm just struggling right now. Is it because I'm trying to find the roots of my insecurity (I'm reading Mama Beth's book!)? Is it because I'm tired of hanging on to it like a baby holds on to a blankey? I don't know what the reason.

I laugh at the people who say (well, not laugh AT them, I laugh when they say) "You don't seem insecure". I tell them I'm just really secure with my it because I've just let it be such a part of me?

I don't want this part of me. Am I grieving this part as I try to remove it because it's been a part of me for so long? I seem to be grasping on to it for all its worth but pushing all my loved ones out of the way as I pass by.

Prayer and more time with God. This is what I need to remove the blanket of insecurity.

Part of my reading this morning was from Psalm 18 - Let's pray these words:

I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
You are my rock, my fortress, and my savior, in whom I find protection.
You are my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
I call on you Lord, who is worthy of praise, and you saved me from my enemies (my fears, my doubts, my insecurities, my pain, my sorrows, my needs).
In my distress I cried out to You Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help.
You heard me from Your sanctuary; my cry reached Your ears.
You rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but you, oh Lord, supported me.
You led me to a place of safety; You rescued me because YOU delight in me.
You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
In your strength I can crush an army (of my enemies); with my God I can scale any wall.
Your way is perfect. All of Your promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.
You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.
You have defeated my enemies – all I had to do was ask.

I praise You, oh Lord, for your faithfulness. Your word never fails and your promises never cease. By the blood that washed me clean as snow, I offer up my prayer in Your son’s Holy name. Amen

*I found the picture here.