Monday, December 31, 2007

I Will Be Gone Until January 4th

Today, I saw a this bulletin from Lou Engle on myspace. For those of you that don’t know who he is, please check out his link because I don’t have time to go into detail. Just read the bulletin that I got today (and also, check out the blog entry he wrote about Huckabee as well as the “Face the Nation“ videos from yesterday featuring Mike Huckabee):

Dear Friends in the nation,

I am speaking now for my own personal perspective and not from any ministry I lead.

A year and a half ago Bobby Connor, a strong prophetic voice in the nation called me concerning an encounter with the Lord. In the encounter the Lord told him that if the church would pray the nation would be sustained in dark days by a president who would come in a brown bag and his five loaves and two fish would be more than enough. For a year and a half we have prayed for this. We thought it might have been Brownback but our application I believe was wrong. I believe the brown bag speaks of the common and humble container that the candidate would come in – not in the robes of professional politicians but in a surprising common man container. And so I was stunned when watching Fox News as they interviewed Mike Huckabee where they asked him how do you explain your sudden surge in the polls when you have had such little money and few staff in Iowa? His answer: “We have thousands of people praying, it’s the only way to understand it. It’s the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.” I believe that the churches prayers are unleashing a divine influence of kingdom promotion. I am not saying that it’s the word of the Lord, but I am taken by it.

And now just a few weeks ago Chris Berglund, my prophet friend received another dream about Mike Bickle and myself. The dream reads:

I was watching you two interact and you were forcefully or adamantly sharing with one another your conviction that you would not be as those who did not consider the miracle of the loaves (Mk 6.52). It was clear you had come into agreement to take a stand together, the disposition of your heart was one of faith. The scene changed (but this could have been a separate dream?) and now I am standing at a river bank looking into a river that just a day earlier had few fish in it. Yet, over the night the rains had come and now a day later the river was teeming with fish. As I watched the fish, one large fish seemed to be out of place in the sense of its size and its actions. This fish would come to the surface and open its mouth wide, it looked as if its whole body became a mouth. The smaller fish unaware that they were swimming right into the large fish were consumed by this large fish. I looked to those on the shore and suggested we shoot the large fish with an arrow so the other fish would no longer be in danger.......

I believe the dreams are clear. Mike and I which I believe is the prayer movement must not be those who would move in unbelief while considering this multiplication of the five loaves and two fish in this election moment. The fact is in the last 2 weeks the media and other candidates have been blasting Mike Huckabee and his polls have dropped. I believe that the big mouth is a spiritual attack on the promotion of Mike Huckabee and the people of Iowa must discern it. We are not to doubt! The arrow is a clear picture of a prayer assignment that is being given to us. For the last 3 years we have called our assignment “the arrow of the Lords victory against abortion.” We are to move into an offensive prayer and fasting stand and declare in faith that the power of the media is broken and the favor of the Lord will rule over the thoughts of men and women. In the light of this crisis and in the light of Bobby Connor’s dream, IF THE CHURCH WOULD PRAY, I believe we are in an Esther Moment and I would strongly encourage believers across the nation to enter into a 3-day Esther fast on January 1st-3rd for the pulling down of any Hamans and the raising up of God’s Mordecai who will break the death decree off of the nation.

I have made a vow similar to James Dobson that I can never vote for anyone that is not pro-life. Psalm 94 makes it very clear, Shall a throne of iniquity that devises evil by law have fellowship with you. They gather together against the life of the righteous and they shed innocent blood. A throne of iniquity is a governmental administration that legalizes evil. We are told that we cannot have fellowship with such government and I believe that voting for such thrones is having fellowship with them. Scripturally speaking the two basic foundational issues of a throne of iniquity are anti-Christ philosophies that seek to destroy Christian principles (they gather against the life of the righteous), and thrones that legalize shedding of innocent blood (abortion).

Secondly 2 Samuel 23 declares that one who rules over man must be just and must rule in the fear of God. I cannot vote for anyone whose moral life does not reveal the fear of God and who is not just. Abortion I believe is the foundational justice issue facing our nation. We are not to vote democrat or republican, we are to vote for whoever is just and carries the fear of the Lord.

I am not saying that I know that this is a clear prophetic word but I believe that Mike Huckabee lives out these two requirements as a leader and who will also resist the two foundational issues that comprise thrones of iniquity. He will stand for the righteous remnant in the nation and his top policy value is pro-life. I believe that the nation should rise up and support this man. It is so important that the churches keep crying out to God for supernatural assistance in these elections and that He would promote the humble and the righteous. Let us pray for favor on the one he has chosen to exalt before the others. Thank you for listening to my heart. I am just one voice among many but I bear on my shoulders in intercession along with you the future of our nation and the future of our children. We have 5 days to pray before the primaries. Let us not render to Caesar what God has not rendered to Caesar. Prayer can shape history.

I am bearing Iowa on my heart deeply. I have been in days of fasting and prayer. Let us take our stand in the heavens where angels wage war over the promotion and demotion of kings. Thank you for making the Lord happy with your intercessions.

In Faith,

Lou Engle

I am most definitely going to be participating in this. I will fast beginning when that clock strikes 12 p.m. tonight and I will not have anything but water until midnight on January 4th. The future of this nation is important, and I also want to start this new year off right - focusing on the things that I need to. Therefore, I will not be on here to check my messages, post blogs, or have any conversing with anyone online for these few days so I can take a break, pray, read the Bible, read some books that I need to read, etc. I will be back on January 4th. However, if you do need to talk to me for whatever reason, those of you who know me closely have my phone number. I’m not totally off limits or anything and not trying to shut anyone out. If you need or want to call me, PLEASE don’t hesitate to do so!!

I encourage you all to join with me in this effort. I realize that not everyone can fast on “food” so, just choose something else to fast from - like pop or sweets, or tv, or internet, or whatever. Just give something up in order to focus on God and to pray for our nation, this election, God’s will, and everything!!! Let’s all start off the new year right!! It reminds me of what I read in my Bible today. This particular verse in Psalm 78 spoke to me: (verse 41) “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” You know why that spoke to me so much? It’s because it says they “limited” God. Their sins and refusal to be repentant and surrendered to God “limited” what God could do for them. Not because God’s can’t do what He wants to do or that anyone can stop Him from being God, but because their hardened hearts prevented them from receiving His blessings. That is how America is (and how much worse it will become) if we do not rend our hearts to God and follow His will. We will limit what God can do in our lives if it becomes all about us and how WE want to do things. We will refuse God’s power, rely on our own, and destroy our lives!! God is a gentleman, and He doesn’t “make us” choose Him. WE have the choice!! WE can choose to want God in our lives and let His power make things better in the world!! That’s what these next few days will be all about; making our lives (and this nation) better through God’s amazing power through our humble submission!!

So……..are you with me?? Are you ready for change?? Are you ready for His outpouring?? IF HIS PEOPLE PRAY………IF!!!!! Let’s make that “if” a reality!! Let’s stand together and make things happen!! Prayer moves the hand of God!! I want to be a witness to that. How about you? PLEASE PRAY!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Celebrating This Year And Anticipating The Next!!

So………are you ready for the new year? I am!! I LOVE celebrating the new year!! I love the optimism and the newness of it all. I love how everything seems fresh and new!!

I sure have a lot to look forward this upcoming year. Let’s see,….tomorrow is new year’s eve, followed by the next call for life on Friday (and sanctity of life week later on this month!) Then, in a couple weeks, the new Veggie Tales movie comes out. Also, Horton Hears a Who will be coming out and so will the next Chronicle of Narnia Movie - Prince Caspian!! But, aside from all the positive and enlightening entertainment, this is also an election year. Yeah, some people view politics as a headache, but I see great opportunity. I especially see that in Mike Huckabee - and his chances of winning the republican nomination (and the presidency) look very good to me!! I’m praying for him and advocating him the best I can and I can only hope other true Christians will do the same.

In addition to all of those things, I have another very important thing to look forward to…..Steve, Susan, and their family are going to be moving up here in a few weeks!!! OH YEAH!! SO EXCITED!!! God blessed them with a house in a town close to us and they will be moving into it very soon!! I am beyond grateful that God would bring our family and their family together and that He would bless us so intensely with their friendship!! He knew that we all needed each other!! I look forward to all the great times that we will have together, and also to all the things that Another Chance Ministries will accomplish once the ministry gets started here in Indiana. We love you guys and we are praying for you!! We hope that God brings you here safely and that He will provide for all your needs as you prepare to make your journey. We pray that God will give you the strength and endurance that you’ll need to make it through it all!! May you be abundantly blessed!! We can’t wait to welcome you HOME!!!!!!!! OXOXOXO

Thinking about those who are so much a part of our family (and ARE family to us!) makes me think about what Chad talked about at church today. There wasn’t a long sermon today. It was just simply a day of remembrance, reflection, and thanks for all the people who serve and help out in the church.

Every servant of Christ does their part to be make up the body of Christ. It’s all about people reaching people; meeting them where they are and making disciples - not simply “converts.” People encounter Christ through those of us that exemplify His love and goodness. We need to be good ambassadors for Christ so others can be brought to Him. And, that doesn’t just mean “going to church” and going through the motions either. Chad reiterated that point by saying, “we don’t ‘go to church’ we ARE the church!” Yeah…..THAT’S RIGHT!!

So, with that in mind, our church’s personal mission is to make disciples who Reach Up to experience a life of faith; Reach Out to share the hope of Jesus; and Reach Around people with the love of Jesus. We certainly have a LOT of people at Life Church who do that!! They had people from various ministries within the church say a few words, and they posted names of those who serve on those teams on the screen. WOW!! There are a lot of great servants!! My kudos and thanks to everyone that shares their heart, time, and talents in order to help other people take their next step towards God!! Thanks to all the obedient people who serve really do have the “Love God; love others” mentality at heart!

I try to do that very thing as well - and not just solely through involvement with other brothers and sisters in Christ at church, but on a daily basis!! Of course, anyone that reads these blogs knows that. And so, I want to thank all of you who continue to read these entries. I pray that you are blessed and that your heart it touched by God. It’s why I do what I do. It’s all about building His Kingdom, being a part of it, and getting others to know the joy of it as well! I always feel like if my experiences and what I learn from them can help someone, then it is so worth it! It’s like what Karen (the counselor at Life Church) said today when it was her turn to share….she said that we’re always the leader of someone, as well as the leader of ourselves. So, we ought to be a good leader and be led by Christ so we can lead others to Him as well!

Another thing that she said (which I just loved!) was that when you’re broken, you’re teachable. No doubt about it!! More often than not, a person learns the most when they are vulnerable and in their darkest of moments because we are more receptive.

Another couple sayings that I like are ones that Kent always says: “Life isn’t fair. People are weird. Love’s the bottom line” as well as “Feel the heat. Face the fire. Find the gold!” All of that adds up to persevering through the tough stuff to find the silver lining to it all. Go through the test to get to the testimony so you can share your story with others!!

Well, happy new year everyone! Just remember, when that “ball drops” pick it up and run with it!! It’s just like Chad talked about last year…..don’t start off the year by dropping the ball. Take that ball and run with it! Make the most of your opportunities and make a difference this coming year and always!! May God bless you all and keep you safe!! See you next year!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

For Optimal Performance, Please Read All Instructions Before Proceeding!

As you might have read from my last entry, I had a very meaningful and enjoyable Christmas this year. And, in addition to the gifts I mentioned, I received another very nice and much needed gift this year: a digital camera!! That’s right people, …..I will no longer be using film and I will now be able to upload the numerous and wonderful pictures that I take, quickly and easily, without having to wait for my pictures to get developed. LOL So, all you people who have been picking on me for being old school can stop now (you know who you are!!). So there! LOL Thank you Dad and Lauri for the camera!! OXOXO And, thank you to Janelle who told me about the one that she had so I could get the same one with all the cool features that it has!!

The main reason I am choosing to blog about my new digital camera comes from an inspiring analogy that God brought to my mind as I was learning to figure out how it works. Yesterday, I was reading the manual and testing things out, and showing my cousins how it worked. They were comparing it to their cameras and asking if their cameras had a color accent feature like mine does. I told them I didn’t know, and that they should check out their manuals. One of my cousins said that she had no clue where her manual was and that she probably lost it a long time ago. I asked her what good was it to have such a valuable piece of technology with all its features if she didn’t know how to utilize it. What a sad waste!

I know that people don’t always like to read directions (especially MEN! LOL) and that they like to figure things out on their own, but how much sense does that really make? Why not make things easier on yourself by reading the instructions (as well as the safety precautions and warnings!) from the person/persons that created that piece of technology so you can use it to its full potential - effectively and safely! Are we really that prideful to say we don’t need instructions and we can “figure it out” ourselves without the proper guidance right at our fingertips?

That got me to thinking about life and how we have an instruction manual right before us to tell us how to make the most of our lives. That instruction manual is the Bible. The creator of life itself provided it for us so we could have the fullest life possible and live it out to its greatest potential. So, why would we not want to read HIS instructions; instructions on living the life HE created? What good is our life if we don't implement the wisdom and guidance we find within His words? How much is God’s “manual” going to help us discover all His wonderful features and power if it sits in a drawer untouched or gets lost? How tragic!! It’s specially tragic considering the fact that there are many out there that are literally “dying to get their hands on it.“ How foolish it would be to ignore such a wealth of information from the EXPERT CREATOR THAT KNOWS BEST!!

How will we make the most of the life and gifts that God has given us if we don’t know about all the things God has made available to us as children of God? All power and authority is given to us by Christ so that we can make an impact for Him in this world. Yet, some are still clueless as to the bigger picture of God and that there is a whole lot more to Him than just the “basics.“ That’s another thing I realized as I looked at the TWO manuals that came with my camera: the basic and the advanced manual. The basic manual is so you can learn how to functionally operate the camera at it’s minimum potential. Sure, you can “get by” with it, but you’ll be missing out on so much more that it has to offer!! To get the most out of it, you have to want to go deeper and get more “advanced.“ But, I suppose it’s intimidating for some, because it’s seems “too hard” or “complicated.“ But, it doesn’t have to be! You can take it one step at a time and gradually work your way into more knowledge. The manual wasn’t meant to be read all at once and digested in one sitting. It’s meant to be broken down into smaller chunks. You aren’t going to know everything overnight.

I am still learning about my camera the same way I am learning about God. I can’t possibly absorb every nugget of wisdom and information all at once. It comes in “chunks.” But, every little byte (sorry, had to use the pun! LOL) increases my knowledge and broadens my perspective. And, the more I practice what I learn, the more adept I become and the more helpful it is to me!

I can’t tell you how many times I have been “wowed” by all the sides of God that I had previously not known about before!! Over the years, I went from a Methodist-raised-basic-knowledge-of-God Christian, to a Christian who started seeing that God was much more than His Bible stories or church doctrine. I started seeing Him as the “multi-faceted” God that He is and learned that there is so much more to God than what people accept Him as!! He STILL does miracles!! He STILL works through us!! His Name STILL casts out demons and evil spirits (oh yes, and they still exist people!! The devil never took a holiday!). Jesus is the same TODAY as He was yesterday and as He will be forever! He is faithful and unchanging!! Just because we have changed, and most of society believes that God isn’t the same God that He was then, doesn’t mean that He’s not. He’s very much so the God of the Bible; then, now, and always!! All we have to do is GO DEEPER and explore all the glorious aspects of Him!! There is SO MUCH MORE! We don’t have to settle for “basic” or just “go it alone” and “get by” with whatever we can.

Like I said, I have experienced God more and more over the years and have seen just how miraculous and wondrous He is! I have seen the manifestations of His power through me and through others. He still blesses us with dreams, tongues, interpretations, and miraculous healing power as well as authority over demons in HIS NAME!! (And that is only the tip of the iceberg!!).

On this closing note, I would like to point out that while my cousins' cameras didn’t have some of the “features” mine did, that aspect doesn’t apply to any of us. We are ALL given access to God and have all the same benefits of His power that all the rest of our Christian brothers and sisters have. The only “features” that are different are the “features” that He gives specifically to all of us. We all have different gifts, but they are all used to make up one body that works together to accomplish its goal. We all have a unique function and purpose, and we got to do our part. But first, we got to know what our “function” is, take our place, and do our part in completing the body!! And, just because one person functions different than another, it doesn’t mean that you are any less “functional” or special than another. Even though my cousins’ cameras didn’t have the same assets as mine, they were no less special or functional than mine. There is no reason for them to think that their cameras aren’t as good or important as what mine can do. It doesn’t lessen their purpose or functionality. Each camera still accomplishes the same goal which is to take pictures. That is the same concept with all of us as children of God. Just because one person SEEMS to be “better” or have more “functions” than we do doesn’t mean that you are any less important or essential!! We all have different gifts and purposes, but the objective is the same and that is to glorify Christ!

So, read your “manuals” everyone!! DON’T SETTLE FOR “BASIC.” There is SO MUCH MORE that you don’t know, but once you choose to learn, it will wow the socks off of you!! Then, you’ll wonder why you didn’t bother to discover it before and will wonder how you ever did without it!! Don’t waste so much time only to discover “oh, why didn’t I learn this sooner?!” Discover it NOW!! GO DEEPER!! GO ADVANCED!!! READ YOUR MANUAL!!! GOD BLESS YOU EVERYONE!!

Cherished Christmas Blessings That I Will Always Remember!

These last few days have been busy and eventful - and I have much to share!! I have been so abundantly blessed and I have been eager to blog about it and share my heart with everyone.

This is a Christmas I will never forget. I don’t even know if I can possibly name all the reasons, but I sure will mention several of them. The first one being that Christmas is always special and memorable because of what we are celebrating in the first place: the birth of Christ. Over 2,000 years ago, God sent His Son to redeem the people of the Earth. He sent His son to be born; knowing full well that He would die for our sins. Wow! Can you imagine looking at baby Jesus in the manger; knowing that He is the Savior and that He would one day die for the sins of the very people that He created!! What a Savior! What a wonderful God! It’s a truth so real and awesome that it’s sometimes hard to really comprehend and take in!! Thank you Jesus!! Happy Birthday!! I pray that you have received many Birthday presents this year and always - the gift of peoples’ surrendered hearts, giving to others in your Name, and telling others the truth of Your story!

The miracle of Christmas is what gives way to more miracles. God’s gracious gift and the celebration of the life of Christ enables us to have the joy and love in our hearts to love and give to others. That’s the spirit of the season. And, it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. I get far more joy watching my children, friends, and family, unwrap what we give to them than I do unwrapping my own gifts. It’s a beautiful thing to witness when you realize that something you gave to someone touched their heart, fulfilled a need, and made them smile. It’s priceless!

Some such moments came when my kids opened their gifts. I was happy to see how joyful and thankful they were when they opened their new little Bibles and Christian DVDs that we got them. In fact, they are watching their “Gospel Bible Songs” video right now! It always pleases me to see how these positive media choices influence their character and behavior. Sometimes, I hear them repeating things that they see and hear from the videos. It’s especially touching to hear them say “God made you special and He loves you very much” (as a result of Veggie Tales) or hear them make up their own prayers at dinner time as a result of watching children pray in the Boz the Bear videos. And, it’s also nice to hear them repeat from memory Bible stories and Christian books that we read to them. Even as I speak, Gianna is looking at the worn out Bible that is falling apart from so much use (which is why we bought new ones) and saying prayers. It’s just so touching!! You can’t put a price tag or a bow on a gift like that!!

Of course, they got so much more than that. We have LOTS of people in our families, and they are always showered with toys and clothing and things. We all have so much, and I am so grateful for everything that everyone shares and gives to us and for all the people we have in our lives!! We are SO BLESSED - and not just at Christmas, but all year round!! I only wish everyone could be as blessed as this. I feel badly for those that don’t have as much and it makes me all the more grateful for what I have and makes me want to share and give to others even more.

In addition to giving, I also received a lot of special and meaningful gifts. I received the gift of being with family and friends as well as the blessing of material gifts. I’m not going to list everything, but I will talk about two things that particularly touched my heart. The first item is a beautiful heart necklace with diamonds and rubies. Mitch surprised me with it. We had already got each other things months ago as early presents and so we weren’t going to get anything else. However, Mitch wanted to express just how much he loves me with a special surprise that he picked out all on his own and chose especially for me as an expression of his heart. It was particularly meaningful to both of us, because we have been through a lot together this year. So, that necklace that he chose for me was a symbolic expression of how he was giving me his heart; which God has truly transformed into something even more beautiful and new this year! And, the fact that it has my birthstones in it too, makes his heart my heart as well. I just see so much meaning in that gift. It’s beyond every girl’s dream of receiving jewelry on Christmas. That necklace meant so much more and says so much!! The meaning and the memories will be forever connected with it! It speaks to me of a heart that was changed, prayers that were answered, and the promise of a lasting love and enduring marriage that was ordained by God. You just can’t put a price on that gift either! It’s untouchable!! The best gifts are the kind that no one can touch or destroy; the things that aren‘t purchased in dollars. That is why God tells us to store up treasures in heaven; the things that moth and rust never destroy…..the things that the enemy can never steal or take away from us. Material things (even that necklace) will get old and tarnish, but the true wealth of it will remain forever!!

Another surprising and meaningful gift that I received was a new winter coat. It was something that I truly needed and had been putting off getting for myself because the kids and Mitch needed one more than I did. Plus, I reasoned that it wouldn’t be worthwhile to get a new coat since I will be continuing to lose more weight. So, I figured I would wait until next year………again. ;) LOL Little did I know that my Dad and Lauri had seen the need and decided to bless me with such a warm and beautiful coat!! I was so happy I cried! It’s just overwhelming and touching when someone sees a need in your life and then blesses you with it!! You just can’t put your thanks into words and it speak volumes of love to you! That’s how I felt as I put it on and let the beauty and warmth wrap around me as I contemplated on the love and generosity behind the gift.

It was that gift of a winter coat that made me think of how God must have been thinking about us when he sent Jesus. He saw our deepest need. He KNEW that we needed Christ!! He gave Him to us because He loved us and wanted to bless us with salvation and eternal life. Even though it meant giving away HIS most precious gift and sacrificing so much to give it to us, He did it because he loves us and because He knew and seen our deepest need - even if we didn’t.

So, that’s my own “Christmas” story! ;) And, speaking of Christmas stories, our Christmas Eve drama (“A Christmas Tale”) went VERY WELL!! I enjoyed performing, and everything progressed nicely!! It’s amazing, because we all overcame a lot of obstacles to be able to do that drama. There were a lot of glitches and changes and a lot of hard work on the part of the cast, director, band, and tech team. I appreciate everyone’s hard work and sacrifice, and am glad that I got to be a part of it!! When I get the DVD, I will be sure to upload it online so that all of you can see!

I know that Christmas has been a hard time for many of you this year. But, I pray that the joy and love could be found in the midst of the turmoil. Regardless of our troubles, there is much to be thankful for. Compared to many around the world, we have it so easy!! I’m just glad that we have a Savior we can count on to ease our burdens and be our comfort and strength!! So, to my two best friends, you know how much I deeply love, care, and cherish you. I am always thinking of you and praying for you!! I’m always here for you!! Hang in there and remember you always have a friend to lean on…….as well as leaning on the “everlasting arms” of the Father!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! OXOXO

God bless you everyone!! I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and that the New Year will be full of amazing blessings for all of us!! May God direct and guide our paths and keep us safe always!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Emmanuel: "God (STILL) With Us"

The anticipation is building as I think about the Christmas Eve service tomorrow (which I will be performing in!). As I expressed in last night’s blog, you are all invited to come and see it at 2:00 or 4:00 p.m. tomorrow! But, for those who can’t make it, I will see if I can upload it to You Tube once I get the DVD of the service. ;) But, of course, it will be much better LIVE,…….PLEASE COME!!

Meanwhile, I will just enjoy the events of today; which so rightly begins with today’s church service…..

Chad had a unique way of talking about the Christmas story today. He shed some light on the fact that so often, that’s all it is…..just a story. He said that sometimes, “Jesus gets stuck in His stories.” We read it, hear it, talk about it, but we don’t always take it in or really experience God. Many times, that’s the only way we really connect with God is through visiting the “stories” on Sunday and we keep Him at a distance. We go back into the past and spend our time thinking about how things were and who God was THEN rather than bringing Him forward to the NOW.

However, that isn’t how it is meant to be. In Matthew 1:22-23, the Bible says: “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Do you see that? God WITH us!! And, just like Hebrews 13:8 says: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” He was here in the beginning, He was here 2,000 years ago, and He is STILL here NOW!!
Jesus is meant to be known and experienced NOW! He didn’t simply exist “then.” He has always been here. He’s the beginning and the end; as well as the “middle” that we live in right now.

Chad shared a few stories about how Emmanuel, “God with us”, is still here today. He STILL works wonders!! He explained that by talking about a missionary named William Marcus Young. He went to a remote part of Burma in the 1890’s with the intent of reaching a specific people group with the gospel. However, while he was there, a different people group ended up really coming to God! To make a long story short, when they encountered Mr. Young, they said, “You are the one we have been waiting for.”

Similarly, another tribe was seeking out God and the leader of their tribe saddled up a horse and told his tribe to follow the horse to see where it would end up and then bring back whatever they found there. He said that he and his tribe would be praying that the God they knew had to exist, but did not yet know, would guide that horse where it needed to go. Amazingly, that horse ended up coming to the place where William Marcus Young was, so that tribe also received and accepted the one true God into their lives as well!! AMAZING ISN’T IT??!

There are lots of amazing stories of lost and wandering souls coming to Christ through miraculous circumstances. Some were actively searching for a God that they knew had to exist, but didn’t know how to find Him. Others encountered God when they hit their lowest point in life and didn’t know where else to turn. And then, there are others who wanted nothing to do with God and yet, God was able to break through the hardness of their hearts to reach them and bring them to Himself. I personally know people who have testimonies that fit into each of those categories. Indeed, “God with us” is STILL as relevant and real today as it ever was!! God IS with us and drawing us to Him!!

There have been many testimonies that have touched me in my lifetime. I am continuously awed about the way God transforms peoples’ hearts through their encounters with Him!! Some of these testimonies include that of my best friend, Susan Stafford (visit her myspace and website and/or watch her videos on my page), Brian “Head” Welch (formerly of the band Korn….whose testimony I just watched yesterday), and that of another close friend of mine who used to be a hard-core atheist (sorry everyone…I don‘t have a link to this one - yet - ….I wish I did!!).

All of these stories fully illustrate the fact that God is STILL with us and working among us! He is STILL changing lives! In fact, my friend, Jasmine, shared her own testimony at church today. I can’t WAIT until she writes a book on this one! My gosh, she has been through SO MUCH!! She didn’t grow up in a very loving home, and she doesn’t even have contact with them anymore since she became a Christian. There are just so many things I could tell you about her, but wow…..there is just so much to tell!! I don’t even think I could possibly articulate her testimony as well as she can! But, needless to say, she overcame a lot of pain, darkness, and anguish in her family to be who she is today. Praise God for His love!! (I love you girl!!)

Well, I have a family get-together to go to today. Then, I suppose we will come home and let our children open their Christmas presents. Everything we got them came from the Christian bookstore. I’m sure we’ll be seeing the fruits of their Christmas presents for years to come!!

I hope you all have a blessed Christmas!! I hope to see many of you at the Christmas Eve performances tomorrow!! God bless you all!!

Late Night Christmas Musings

It’s nearly midnight, and I have finally finished wrapping Christmas presents. All the while, I was watching “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe.” (It’s one of my most favorite movies ever - and I can’t wait for “Prince Caspian” in a few months!!).

I was just trying to take in the movie as I was pondering about all the upcoming events - as well as the events of tonight. Today, we had one of the first of many family get-togethers. And, a very SURPRISING get-together with my brother from South Carolina; who surprised us yet again by showing up on our doorstep tonight!! LOL Oh, and one more thing (not to seem “atopical” - as one of my teachers would put it lol) but I noticed that my pictures and comments were posted on the “Windshields for Huckabee” blog. ;) So, if you haven’t seen it, and aren’t familiar with it, check it out!! (Scroll down a little bit when you visit the page).

Even though this time of year can be full of fun and joy, it can also be a very hard and stressful time as well - predominately if you are an adult. (Children seem to be oblivious to the fact that we adults have so much on our shoulders!! LOL Oh, if we all could be like them and SIMPLIFY!!). It’s hard to try and enjoy the numerous events surrounding the season when there is so much to do and think about sometimes. But, it doesn‘t have to be so bad; not if we concentrate on what really matters: God and family.

Watching Narnia tonight only further reminds me of just how wonderful the reason for celebrating truly is. C.S. Lewis so beautifully illustrates powerful Biblical truths in his books; and having them brought to the big screen solidifies them even further. Watching this movie always speaks to my heart and works on me. I just can’t even begin to explain it (but maybe I will in a future blog).

Anyways, the concepts of Narnia has softened me up to the joy of the season again. Just thinking about God, His love, His sacrifice, and just the miracle and joy of it all gives me peace amidst the chaos.

Tomorrow, we have another family get-together after church. Then, Monday, it’s Christmas Eve and I will be at church ALL DAY!! Why? Well, I am in the Christmas drama at church and we will be going through it a few times before our two performances at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. So, if you live around here, and you can make it to one of these services, I hope I will see you there!! I have singing and speaking lines… won’t want to miss this!! LOL But, if you do, I will upload the video of it to You Tube later when I get the church DVD.

I hope that all of you have a blessed Christmas!! I know that it will be rough for some of you. I know there are those who are going through various hardships; whether financial, emotional, or physical. It’s also hard for those who are alone this Christmas; or have an “empty chair” at the table where a loved one had just sat last Christmas, but sadly, will not be there to fill that space. There is sadness, pain, and lots of voids. I have some specific friends in mind as I write this - you know who you are…..and I am PRAYING FOR YOU!!!!!!! You know how much I truly love you. I am always here for you!! Here’s to hoping that God will be your strength, comfort, and provider….and that He will fill every emptiness, void, and need and be all that you need Him to be!! He loves you…….and so do I!!

To all of you, I wish a very Merry Christmas and pray that the joy of the birth of Christ will be a cause for celebration in your hearts. I pray that His peace and comfort will rain down on all of you, bless your hearts, and draw you closer to Him. And, if you have yet to behold the joy of knowing Christ personally, let me know and I will be glad to introduce you to the wonder and joy of being a child of God!! May God bless you all!! Have a safe, joyous, and blessed Christmas!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

From Beholding to Becoming: Final Week

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Here is the last installment of the “Beholding to Becoming” Christmas prayer calendar!! I hope you have enjoyed it and that the miracle and blessings of the birth of Christ will be at the forefront of your mind - this season and always!! God bless you!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. - Hebrews 13:5

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. - John 14:18

Pray for those who are lonely this season. Pray they know the reality of Jesus’ love. Be Jesus to them.

Monday, December 24, 2007


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. - Revelation 1:5-6

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. - Revelation 1:17-18

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. - Revelation 1:7

Pray for the salvation of the Jews and peace in Jerusalem.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. - Revelation 5:5

Give Jesus all of your sorrows - trusting He is able to overcome all disappointments in your life.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. - Revelation 16:15

Ask for a greater ability to pray that you might stay awake to the voice of Jesus and the needs of those around you.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. - Revelation 22:3-4

Ask the Father to bring this aspect of the Kingdom to Earth - that you might see His face.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. - Revelation 22:5

Behold the reality of this. How can this change you?

Monday, December 31, 2007

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12

Commit to living this next year with an eternal perspective.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Choice" on Earth?! You have GOT to be kidding!!

Planned Parenthood continually hits new lows all the time!! When is America going to get fed up with their agenda, their mockeries, and the way they degrade and defame purity, Christianity, and morality?

Here is the latest report that I got from American Life League… can also watch the short video report by clicking here.

Planned Parenthood’s “Choice on Earth” cards offend

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Planned Parenthood’s ‘Choice on Earth’ holiday cards are its latest assault on Christianity,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American life League. “By changing the word ‘peace’ to ‘choice’, Planned Parenthood is effectively implying that Mary should have considered aborting Jesus.”

American Life League’s latest video report exposes Planned Parenthood’s continued assault on Christianity. The report goes from ‘Choice on Earth’ holiday cards to Planned Parenthood’s involvement in a 1973 comic book that depicts a sacrilegious rendition of Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman posing as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“King Herod sent soldiers out to slaughter babies because he wanted to kill Jesus,” said Sedlak. “Two thousand years later, Planned Parenthood is still doing all it can to kill babies. That is what their motto ‘Choice on Earth’ really means.”

“Planned Parenthood continues to flaunt its anti-God, secular humanist agenda in its products and in our schools,” Sedlak concluded. “It is time for all Americans to stay away from this organization.”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Melissa's Year End Review!!

I composed my own personal "Year in Review." If you want to read it, you can read it on my myspace blog link below. God bless you all!! I pray that you all have had a good year and that next year will be even better!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Beholding to Becoming: Week 3

Here is the prayer calendar for this next week. I pray that you are enjoying these daily inspirations connected with this Christmas celebration.

I especially hope that if you have been running from God that the joy of Christmas will draw your heart to Him. It’s never too late to come to Him (or return to Him if you already know Him but have gone astray) - that is, until you breathe your last breath….and none of us know when that will be. He’s waiting for you with open arms!! He STILL loves you!! He always has and always will!! He wants you back!!

For Jesus’ Birthday, give Him the best you could ever give Him: your heart!! In exchange, He will give you eternal life and all the joy and blessings that come with being a child of God!! This is one “gift exchange” you don’t want to opt out of!!

May God bless you all!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. - Psalm 139:4

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
- Psalm 139:24

Ask for a cleansing of the heart before you speak hurtful words or do hurtful things.

Monday, December 17, 2007

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. - Matthew 7:3-6

Repent of judgmental attitudes you have toward others so you can see them more clearly with Jesus’ eyes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; - Matthew 27:51

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16

Praise Jesus you have access to the Father because of His death and we may come to the throne of grace confidently.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. - Matthew 8:2-3

See Jesus as one willing to heal you. Ask Him for healing.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. - John 14:27

Behold Jesus as the peace giver. Receive His peace into those stressful places in your life.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.- John 17:24

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. - Hebrews 7:25

Give thanks that Jesus is praying for you.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. - Matthew 18:10

Give thanks and pray for the children in your life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

She Made the Top 10!! :)

Guess what everyone?!! Susan’s adoption story (both her written testimony and video) made the list of finalists for Mark Schultz‘s adoption story contest!! Thank you to everyone who has supported her with their votes!! Now, you can now go to Mark Schultz’s website and vote for her stories in this final round before the winners are announced!! All you have to do is go here to login. (If you haven’t already registered, you will need to do that and wait a day or two before you can login and vote. Voting ends on the 18th). Then, after logging in, click on “vote for the top ten finalists in video and in story!!” On the “[Poll] top ten stories link” she is story #4. On the “[Poll] top ten videos” she is #6.

So, that’s it! That’s all you have to do!! Thanks for supporting my best friend, everyone!! I know that it is all in God’s hands and that win or lose, it’s all for His purpose and glory!! I just think she is beautiful and brave to have shared all she has with the world because it’s a painful story to have to tell. Yet, she continues to do so if only for the sake of ONE SOUL that would give their life to Christ because of it!! She’s in this for advancing God’s Kingdom, and not her own. Susan, you have a heart of gold!! I love you so much!! God bless you! I can’t wait to see what all God has in store for you with this and so much more!! Win or lose, you are ALWAYS a winner to me!! You’re a powerful witness in this world and your story, courage, and love always touches my heart!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! OXOXOXO

Sunday, December 9, 2007

There's 'A' Word on the Street...

Ok, I know I’ve already been telling you all to vote for Susan’s adoption story video (please see my past blog for information on how). Now, I got another friend for you to vote for - and this is pretty quick and easy.

This is a short film documentary from my friend “Aborted Artist” on myspace. Please check out his page, story, and videos. He is trying to be the next “Breakout Filmmaker” and he entered his video ‘A’ Word on the Street on this site:

So, please check out this site and register. Login, then select the documentary from the genres drop box at the bottom and then watch 'A' Word on the Street. Then, VOTE!! You can vote 15 times per day.

This is a very eye-opening video. It’s just jaw-dropping to see peoples’ reactions and responses. Thanks for taking the time to watch and vote!!

Finding Christmas in the Chaos

What would Christmas be like without a cute little children's play at church? It's sort of a Christmas tradition. Therefore, we were treated to that very tradition today. Of course, our church likes to shake things up a little bit when it comes to that. It wasn't the standard retelling of the Christmas story with everyone playing a part in the nativity scene. What we were privileged to watch was a creative and adorable presentation of C.S.I: Christ Scene Investigation.

In this Christmas play, the kids were exploring and wondering where Jesus was in the midst of the Christmas chaos. They searched everywhere! They had archeologists, oceanographers, astronomers, even church goers trying to find Jesus in any way they could. It wasn't until the children's ministry leaders came out and reminded them where to look that they actually found Jesus. They told the kids that if you really want to seek and find Jesus, all you have to do is look in the Bible.

It's easy to get lost in the season and forget what Christmas is really all about. In fact, the kids (and my High School science teacher on the guitar! LOL) sang a song called "'Tis the Season Loca" to the tune of "Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin.

'Tis the Season Loca

It's Christmas shopping season, It's time to hit the malls
Consumer-driven reasons, To trim the tree & deck the halls
Santa comes but once a season,
On a sleigh thru the drifting snow
Cold nights, my toes are freezing',
But twinkle lights are all aglow

Shoppers frenzy like piranhas,
They school from aisle to aisle
But-don't-you-wait-to-shop until manana,
Or you'll lose that festive smile

MasterCard and Visa add to your financial strain
Then January's bills come and your overspending's plain:
It's enough to pop your brain!

Upside, inside-out 'Tis the season loca
It will turn you 'round 'Tis the season loca

Chill you to your bones, Like a Starbuck's frozen mocha
Turn your smiles to frowns, 'Tis the season loca
Livin' the season loca, 'Tis the season loca

It's called the Christmas season,
But where's the Christ in that?
We spend our yuletide focused,
On a man in a red suit, jolly & fat

The fruitcake sits uneaten,
But the eggnog's nearly drained;
Then January's mail comes,
And your credit limit's drained:

It's enough to rot your brain!! Ewwww…

Upside, inside-out 'Tis the season loca
Crush you to the ground, This spending season's loca

Turn-your pockets inside out, Yes, you will soon be broke-a
Where's Baby Jesus now, in this season loca?
Livin' the season loca 'Tis the season loca

Does that describe your Christmas madness? Is that what this season feels like to you? I must admit, that is what it sometimes feels like to me because that's all one ever sees. That whole song describes every commercial, advertisement, and shopping center in sight! It's sickening!!

However, it's in those quiet moments where one can truly enjoy what it's all about (if you can get a quiet moment!). It's SO IMPORTANT to take the time to be still and just think about what matters; so you can keep things in perspective and experience the real joy of it all…..not the joy of busy-ness, presents, food, shopping, etc. but of reflecting on the gift of God and sharing THAT gift - that priceless and precious gift - with others.

Remembering that is what makes Christmas special to me. I just try to envision what it must have been like to witness the birth of Jesus; to be a shepherd or traveler that sat there and beheld a humble and beautiful baby in the manger of a stable…..marveling at the fact that, "Wow! This is the King of Kings!! THIS BABY is the HOPE of the world!! He is what we have always waited for; the promised gift of God!" Can you imagine what that must have been like?!

Even though we weren't physically there to witness it, we are STILL real witnesses to the birth of Jesus Christ because we experience our own rebirth when we accept the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ into our hearts!! Our faith becomes a witness to the world that we have beheld Jesus, the Messiah, and that encountering Him transformed our lives and we will never be the same!

We can take a moment to reflect and thank God for what He has done for us. We can stand in awe of the fact that He sent His one and only Son into the world as a precious and innocent baby; who was raised into a man who sacrificed His own life for the salvation of ALL mankind! He is the Savior whose blood paid the ransom for our sins and saved our souls so that we might escape what our evil deeds deserve. He saved us from having to experience eternity away from God in the condemnation and torture of Hell!

As the program closed, we sang "O Come, All Ye Faithful." It's a truly beautiful song of joy, awe, and celebration. It's an invitation to us who believe to come and behold Him!! Look at what God has done!! How joyful and triumphant!! Come and see!! Come and see!! Look!! It's Jesus!! Hallelujah!! Praise God!! What a miracle!!!

I hope that every element of Christmas, whether quiet or chaotic, can speak to all of us in a way that touches our hearts and draws us closer to God. Take it all in and breath deeply as you ponder the things God wants to tell you. Take it all in; every family gathering, every meal we are blessed to eat, every act of good-will that we give or receive, and even every Christmas carol sung. Sing the words from your heart and ponder them deeply. When you sing "Joy to the World" think about the joy that truly is in the world because of God's gift to us!! When you sing "Silent Night" think about how awestruck and speechless the wise men must have felt as they followed the bright and shinning star to worship the King of all Kings; born of a virgin. Think about it…….really think about it, and allow the wonder, joy, and miracle of it all to sink in as you worship God for what He has done! Then, share the joy of God's gift with the world and "Go tell it on the mountain…..over the hills and everywhere, that JESUS CHRIST IS BORN!!"

May the Lord that always touches my heart touch yours as well!!! May you have a truly merry and blessed CHRISTmas!! GOD BLESS ALL WHO READ THIS!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


A while back, I told all of you about my best friend, Susan Stafford, and her amazing adoption story video that she made for a contest for Christian music artist Mark Schultz. Now, I would like to give you an update on that.

Voting, for both her written testimony and video, is still going on until midnight on December 10th (EST time). After that, the votes for each group will be tallied and the top ten finalists from the video and written testimony groups will be put into a finalist group to be voted on from midnight on December 11th until midnight on December 18th.

All you need to do is to first REGISTER on the site and then, within 24 hours (you may or may not get a confirmation message of registration due to a glitch in the system) login to the website and login to the site to vote for her!! And, if I may suggest, try to vote as close to the deadline as possible so that she can get those “last minute” votes and have a better chance of winning. Then, if she wins, she will be one of the finalists to vote for and if she wins THAT, her story will stay on the site for a couple months and get all the more exposure and touch peoples’ hearts….and it’s all for the glory of the Lord! That was her sole motivation for doing this; not to win concert tickets or talk to Mark Schultz or anything like that (though the prize is nice of course). Believe me, this was a painful thing for her to do and she wasn‘t sure if she wanted to go through with it; but many of her close friends and I encouraged her to do it. And, of course, she opted (as always) to bless the Lord’s heart by sharing her heart and testimony with the world in order to bring people to Christ and touch other peoples’ hearts! She’s so selfless, brave, courageous, and beautiful! I just can’t even begin to express how much her story has touched ME every time I see/hear it. (Have the tissues ready people!!) It’s so amazing, breathtaking, and unique!! The world just has to see it/hear it!!

So, if you would, please register on the site ASAP and then, vote for her stories as close to the deadline as possible - if you can. DON’T FORGET!! You can vote in BOTH categories! So, once you are registered, use the username and password you signed up with to login here.- the log in button is right above the forum topics. Then, click on the topic “Mark wants to hear your adoption story.“ On the next page, find and click on the topic that says “[Poll] Group 12” (Susan’s testimony is story #1 and the button to vote for it is at the top). Then, go back to the “Mark wants to hear your adoption story” page and vote for her video testimony by clicking on the topic that says “[Poll] video’s to vote for” (it’s the topic right below poll group 6). Once you click on that, vote for VIDEO #2 by clicking on the vote button at the top!

Ok, I know that sounds complicated, but it’s not. Just follow those instructions that I gave you step by step. I’m sorry that it couldn’t be further simplified….but the way the site set it up is beyond our control. Please know that Susan is very grateful for the time and effort that everyone is putting forth to vote for her, and that a vote for her testimony will be helping advance the Kingdom for Christ and will touch the hearts of so many people!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

From Beholding to Becoming: Week 2

Here is the prayer calendar for next week. I hope you have enjoyed the first week. I think this calendar from our church is a great way to keep Christmas in perspective and the true meaning at the forefront of our mind. May we all “behold” and cherish the true gift of Christmas: Jesus….who is the reason for Christmas itself!!

Oh, and one quick note: if you haven’t listened to that sermon from our church (that I so emphatically encouraged everyone to listen to) you can listen to it RIGHT NOW! Don’t pass this one up!! You will absolutely love it!! I certainly will carry this one with me forever!!

God bless you everyone!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. - 1 Corinthians 13:12

Rejoice that you are fully beheld and known even now by Heaven.

Monday, December 10, 2007

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. - Luke 1:31-33

Pick a phrase and ponder all day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. - Luke 2:10

Offer praise and thanksgiving for the good news of great joy that has come into your life through Jesus.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. - Matthew 13:3-23

Ask for creative ways to sow the seeds of good news this season. Pray for the growth of those seeds.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.- Luke 1:38

Where do you need to say yes to the Lord? Make Mary’s prayer yours.

Friday, December 14, 2007

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. - John 1:14

Give thanks for the grace you have receive in Jesus. Where has His truth changed your life?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. - Luke 7:36-50

Behold Jesus as one to forgive all sins. Lay all sins at His feet and then worship Him for His forgiveness.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Just a Reminder...

Today is the monthly call for life!! Just thought I would remind everyone!! :)

I pray that more and more people will get involved with this! It can, does, and will make a difference! It's not that hard, and doesn't take up much of your time. The simple actions of so many will add up to a lot!! So many little ones are depending on YOU to be their voice, so please, take the time to make a difference!! Aren't they worth just a few e-mails and/or phone calls a month out of your life? Don't underestimate your impact!! Don't hold back!! THEY NEED YOU!!! PLEASE PARTICIPATE!!

Thank you and God bless you!! :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Responsible For Our Own Responses

I was uptown today taking a few pictures of the Christmas decorations (and nativity scene) today when I recognized an acquaintance of mine. She looked a little sad and upset. I watched as she walked down the street and then sat down on the step of a local business.
By that time, I had walked back to the van and sat there for a moment. My heart was troubled and I felt like I should say something to her. I didn’t want to waste an opportunity if God was giving me a chance to help someone, so I ventured out to see if there was some way I could comfort her. I wasn’t sure how she would receive it, but the last time I had reached out to her when she was in need, she had accepted my help.

I went up to her and sat beside her for a moment and asked how she was. I got the standard “fine” response. She didn’t look fine to me. I told her I wanted to make sure she was ok and asked if there was anything she needed. She snapped and insisted that she was fine and that I was bugging her. So, I just politely said that I considered her a friend and that I only wanted to see if there was anything I could do for her. Then, I stood up and said, “Merry Christmas” and walked away.

As I sat in the van, I felt stupefied. I wondered if I had had any business trying to do anything in the first place. Was it God or was it me that wanted to talk to her? Had I forced myself into doing something that I wasn’t meant to do in the first place? It certainly wasn’t in my “comfort zone” to begin with, so one would think it was God prompting me to talk to her. Well, I was a little confused, hurt, and even a tad angry. I guess one feels that when something like that comes about, and being the Christmas season, people are just going to respond well and accept your good-natured spirit and everything will work out just like in some kind of sentimental Christmas special. Obviously, that wasn‘t the case this time.

So, after I uttered some prayers for her, I pulled out of the parking space and headed for home. All the while, I was teary eyed and even a little blown away as I listened to the announcer on the Christian radio station talk about living for Christ by loving people and doing good for others. Now I was the one who felt like snapping and saying, “Are you kidding me?!! Geez!! I just tried that and it didn’t do a bit of good!”

As a thought about it a little more, I realized that it couldn’t possibly have been a waste. You never know what impact you make; even if it seems like there is none at all. And, besides the fact, I felt like God impressed upon me that “How you respond is your responsibility. How THEY respond is theirs.”

As I thought about it, it also hit me that Jesus didn’t always get favorable responses from everyone either. People snapped at Jesus too. It’s not that God’s message is ineffective (because it’s NOT!) it’s just up to the receiver what they want to do: accept or reject it.

I am only responsible for my own response to God’s heart. I’ll do my part, God will do His, and everyone else is responsible for their own reaction to what God is telling them. I’ll do my best to be obedient and act upon what God lays on my heart, but the results are up to God because it’s not in my control. So whether this blog touches anyone or not isn’t my responsibility. God does all the touching of hearts; not me or anything I say, do, or write. All I have to worry about is touching God’s heart; just like the Jeremy Camp song “Give You Glory” talks about. So, here’s to hoping that God touches your heart!! God bless you!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

We Can't Let This Go Unnoticed!

Last week, I posted some news alerts from American Life League about the “It’s Perfectly Normal” book, which is a graphic and sexually explicit book endorsed by Planned Parenthood (and is marketed to children!). Today, when I was on, I noticed a featured article about it. Reviews of the book, from some readers at, were also included; one of which will particularly shock you and break your heart - which is why this book should never be in the hands of children!!

So, I encourage you to read this article. And please, start talking about this!! We need to shine the spotlight on stuff like this and expose it for the trash that it is!! Social and parental awareness is what’s needed in order to keep our morality intact, and to keep this book out of the hands of children so that they are not corrupted with a godless agenda!! And, as one of my good friends pointed out, this book needs media exposure so people are aware of this. It would also be interested to see where our presidential candidates stand on this: especially the “if it feels good, do it” democrats. What do you think they would say if they were asked if this book was suitable for young children to see in order to learn about sex? I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mike Huckabee wouldn’t support this. Do you think Hillary Clinton would? Hmmmm, I wonder…… sure would wake up the nation to see what kind of integrity, or lack thereof, their political leaders have!!

How God Used A Christmas Tree To Touch My Heart!

Last night, we finally put up our new duct-tape-free Christmas tree (the one we had been using for the last couple years was falling apart LOL). Well, at least we attempted to do so before we realized that the new pre-lit tree that we bought was a four footer and not the six footer that we wanted. LOL So, I had to pack it up and take it back to Wal-Mart and exchange it.

I almost didn’t get the tree that I wanted. A Wal-Mart employee and I searched all over (and he even checked inventory and all that) to find what I was looking for. However, they didn’t have the six foot pre-lit white tree with white lights - only the one with colored lights. So, just when I thought I had to settle, the Wal-Mart employee generously offered to pack up the display model for me; it was the last one. He said he had other projects to do, but that as the customer, I was more important. For some reason, that was just a breath of fresh air to me because these days, you don’t have store employees going out of their way to help you; and without feeling like you are some sort of burden or obligation to them. This guy seemed genuinely sincere in seeing that I got the tree I wanted. I thanked him generously for his Christmas spirit and goodwill, and he packed it up and took it to customer service for me.

I took the tree home and we put it together and proceeded to decorate it with all of our special ornaments from Christmas past and the ornaments that we purchased for this Christmas. This year, we fell in love with a set of gingerbread people ornaments. Each one had the name of a family member on it: Dad, Mom, Son, and Daughter. So, after I put our special light-up nativity ornament in the center of the tree (and my old favorite: my baby’s first Christmas ornament from 1982 LOL) we put our new family ornaments in a cluster at the top.

As I look at those ornaments, I think of just how special this Christmas is. Every Christmas is special, but this one seems even more memorable. There have been a lot of ups and downs for all of us this year. Sometimes, you wonder how you get through it all. But, because of God, you always make it through!! That “gingerbread family” sticks together just like we do!! If any one of those little gingerbread people were missing from that little cluster of ornaments, it just wouldn’t look the same! It’s nice to have that complete little family; a family that people always compliment us on - and probably even envy!! This family is truly a wonderful family, and I am so grateful for it!! Every time I look at those gingerbread people on our tree, I will think of just how special each member is - even me. All of us, together, make this family complete; with God being the invisible glue that holds us all together.

I was also struck by just how lovely the tree looks. Mitch had a look in his eyes as he looked at the finished product and told me how much he really liked it. It made my heart glad as well, because at first, I had thought that the tree I was looking for was out of reach. So, I almost settled for one that I didn’t truly want; just because it was “there.” But then, that Wal-Mart employee stepped in. He put everything else aside to help me and to see to it that I didn’t have to settle. He saw my needs and he went out of his way to make sure that those needs were taken care of. It just touched my heart, because I saw Jesus in him last night. I saw how He is always there for us, even when we think that maybe He is too “busy” with other “projects” to care about our silly little needs. We don’t want to “bother” or “burden” Him, so we try to take care of things ourselves and just “settle” for the best we can get. We “settle” and then live with the consequences. I’m sure if I had taken that other tree, I would be sitting here in disgust, right now, as I looked at it; regretting my purchase because it truly wasn’t the one I was holding out for. But, because I allowed the employee to help me, I was able to acquire the desire of my heart.

God knows the desires of our heart, and what we are seeking. And, if it’s a desire in line with His Will, He will provide for that. We don’t ever have to settle for less than God’s best for us! He’s never too busy to hear us and help us! Just like that unselfish Wal-Mart employee said; as the customer, I came first. And, as God’s children, we are His first priority as well. He’s always there for us!!

God truly hears the cry of our hearts. He definitely heard it when He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins! Even if we didn’t realize our deepest need, He did. We don’t often know what we should truly desire, and we settle for whatever fills the “void.” But, God has always known our deepest needs; after all, he created us! He KNEW we needed Jesus!!

Christmas is about celebrating the birthday of Jesus: God’s gift to the world!! Praise God that we have Him, and that we don’t have to “settle” for the empty void of eternal death!! In Christ is eternal life, and when we accept that gift, and refuse to settle for a life without Him, we gain life forever!!!

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to settle for a life without Christ!! He is what completes my being, and I wouldn’t be the same without Him! God bless all who read this and I pray that if anyone reading this wants to receive the most blessed gift they will ever receive in their lifetime, that they will pray and ask Jesus into their heart. And, as always, I am always here to help and to be a good friend to talk to!

May the blessings of Christ’s birth (as well as the blessings of His death and resurrection to life) touch your heart this Christmas, and each and every Christmas, as well as year round!! Amen!

Monday, December 3, 2007

From Beholding To Becoming

Our church is having a 24 hour weekend of prayer on the 15th and 16th. Mitch and I both signed up for our hour on the 15th. Being in the prayer room at church is always a great experience! If you have special activities like this at your church, we encourage you to get involved! It helps keep the holidays in perspective….it gets us to think about what and, more importantly, WHO we are celebrating!

Also, our church has issued a special prayer calendar for December - in honor of Christmas. So, I thought I would share the prayer calendar with everyone. It's just a short verse and thought for each day. I was going to post a blog each day, but I decided to do it week by week instead. So, here is this week's. I hope you use it and enjoy it. With all the “busyness“ of the holidays, SURELY we can all take a little time to at least pause, pray, and reflect on at least ONE verse a day! Remember, it‘s all about HIM!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:18

Holy Spirit reveal Jesus to us that we might become like Him.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2

What needs removed in your life to behold Jesus?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, - Ephesians 1:18-19

Ask for the eyes of your heart to be opened to behold the Hope of the season.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.- 2 Corinthians 4:18

Seek to behold the unseen eternal this Christmas.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. - Revelation 3:20

Invite Jesus as your honored guest in your season festivities.

Friday, December 7, 2007

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. - 1 John 3:1

Behold the wonder of being a child of God and give thanks.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. - 1 John 3:2

Imagine your new self.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

God's Beautiful And Flawless Diamonds!!

It always blesses and humbles my heart when someone tells me that something I wrote touched their heart; and that they passed it on to others. It encourages me that I am making a difference and that what God gave me (because GOD is the author of all I write - I’m just the vessel He uses to pen His words of wisdom) is blessing others. I’m honored that God would gift me with what He has; and that He would use a person like me to minister to the world!! It’s just AMAZING how he multiplies the blessings; how He touches one heart which, in turn, touches more. The chain just keeps branching out!!

And so, the chain continues with today’s blog…..which I will begin with a bit of clarification…..

I was asked by a few people at church if I was going to write today and I said, “oh yeah!” They also asked me if they could forward it on to others, to which I said “absolutely!!“ No one needs special permission from me to do that. These words aren’t mine; they are GOD’S and He can do what He wants with it!! Everything I write is for the glory of the Lord and in the hope that peoples’ lives and hearts will be touched, changed, and transformed by the love of Christ. I want people to be blessed, and that’s more important to me than staking my claim on my writings, copyrighting them, or seeking credit and glory for myself. I’m just happy to be used of God! So, feel free to copy and paste, forward, and direct people to this blog. (I wholeheartedly encourage it!) I am not in this for me. This is all about HIM! So, everything I write is HIS. It’s inspiration from God’s heart,…. to mine,…to yours. I write what is impressed upon me, and it‘s all God’s doing - believe me!! I couldn’t come up with anything I write on my own. Sometimes, I even read past blogs and feel God touching my heart all over again. Only His Holy Spirit can do that! That kind of power and conviction isn’t my own. Therefore, I declare that every single letter and syllable belongs to God and pray that all the glory will be attributed and accredited to Him. May every word bring honor and glory to His name and I pray that I can be a good ambassador for Him and a good bearer of that precious name.

With that being said, it brings me to the topic of today’s message which (as always) you can hear on our church’s website. Last week’s message, that I emphatically encourage everyone to listen to, is now available for you to hear!! PLEASE, don’t miss this one!!

Anyways, today’s message was about our quality and worth. I know I have had issues of unworthiness and condemnation. I think we have all felt that way sometimes; though some (like me) have had it to the extreme. Thankfully, I was delivered from that last Sunday! We don’t HAVE TO feel that way!! We are children of God, and because of the blood of Jesus, our mistakes are erased and we are perfected!! Romans 8:1 declares that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ! We are meant to be free and to claim our worth in Him!

I suppose that is why I enjoyed Chad’s message so much today (as always!). Chad cleverly compared the subject to diamonds. He spoke of Charles Lewis Tiffany, who was the founder of Tiffany & Co. Now THERE is a man that knows worth, right? I mean, when you are talking about Tiffany diamonds, you are talking about the best there are! Chad said that the New York City newspapers even named him "the King of Diamonds.” (Although, when I looked it up in the wikipedia, that title was attributed to another “founder”: Philip Nathaniel Manning).

Chad proceeded to talk about how a diamond’s presence shows its value. Its presence reflects its worth. He even compared it to when he gave his own wife an anniversary diamond. He said it felt like it was a representation of himself and his own worth. He knew that the diamond wasn’t a perfectly flawless and expensive one, but it was “him” and she loved the diamond just like she loves him.

Chad also talked about the “four c’s” of diamonds: cut, color, clarity, and carat. For cut, you have either an ideal, fine, shallow, or deep cut. For color, you have colorless, near colorless, faint yellow, very light yellow, and fancy yellow. For clarity, you have internally flawless, very very small inclusions, very small inclusions, small inclusions, large inclusions, and imperfect. And carat, well, that’s the weight. Those are the categories and descriptions, and I won’t get into all the particulars. It’s better when Chad explains it, so you can listen to it for yourself on the website, if you want, when the sermon is uploaded.

The bottom line of it all is that we are all a different kind of diamond. And, I’m sure a lot of us probably feel like there’s no way we are a perfectly flawless and colorless diamond. We all have imperfections; whether they are visible to the naked eye or not. There are a lot of inner imperfections that the world doesn’t often see. However, God sees them all. The good news is that God isn’t looking to exploit and point out all of our “flaws.” Actually, that’s more Satan’s job than anything - because he wants us to be embarrassed and ashamed of ourselves. God’s intention of examining our imperfections, however, is not to magnify our flaws and expose us to the world for judgment. All He is looking for is signs of blood: His Son’s blood. And, it’s because of the blood of Christ that we are cleansed and purified. I like how Chad said that the King of Kings trumps the king of diamonds. ;) Indeed! He is more than we can ever be on our own. The worth He gives us because of His sacrifice is more than we will ever be worth without it!

So,….why the blood? Well, the simple fact is that LIFE is in the blood. (Leviticus 17:11) Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. (Hebrews 9:22). Because of His blood, we have forgiveness for our sins. (Ephesians 1:7) God forgives us not because of His immense love for us, but because of the blood sacrifice that makes atonement for our sins. It’s our faith in the blood of Christ that cleanses and saves us. (1 John 1:7), (Romans 3:25)

We are all flawed diamonds. However, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us of our impurities and makes us into that perfectly flawless and colorless diamond so that His light can shine through us and He can be magnified for all the world to see!! In Him, we become a quality diamond gem that reflects His light!! (2 Corinthians 5:21), (Romans 3:22) In the words of Tom Felger, God is “multi-faceted.” And, as His precious diamonds, we can show the world the many facets of God!

I know I have already blogged plenty, but I still have a couple other things I wanted to note in closing…….

Today was also baptism Sunday. Two teen girls were baptized, one of which is a girl that I know (and am performing with in our church’s Christmas Eve drama). I was especially touched by her testimony, and I liked how she described “dying to self” so that you can “live for Him.” Chad further nailed that point when he told her to let God’s forgiveness motivate her obedience. WOW!! That really caught my attention!! When you are forgiven much, you love much and obedience is the fruit of love.

I’d like to leave you with this video by Matt Redman. He’s singing the song we sang in church today that always leaves me in awe: Nothing but the blood. Listen to the words. Maybe the part where he says “not earthly confidence…it’s only by Your blood” will hit you the way that it hit me today. I was just thinking about how we aren’t confident and bold enough to step up to His throne and declare our worthiness. But, by the blood of Christ, we have that boldness. Our earthly confidence does not, but the confidence that we have in the blood DOES!!

May God bless you all!! Don’t forget to check out last week’s sermon!! Have a great week and remember, Jesus loves you…..and so do I!