0

Not Before, Not If, But When

Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”

Not before, not if, but when.

Brenda and Todd

I will never forget the day when my six-year-old son, Todd, walked into the room and said, “Mom, I might die when I’m young.”  I said, “Todd, don’t say that; I don’t want you to die when you’re young.”  He calmly replied, “Well, if God wants me, He wants me, and there is nothing you can do about it,” and he walked out of the room.

Just a few weeks after his sixteenth birthday, his words proved to be true.  After a seven-month battle with a rare cancer, Todd met his Savior face to face. (Today, May 10,2018 is the 5 year anniversary of Todd meeting Jesus face to face)

It’s one thing to say you trust God and agree He is good when life is going according to your plans, but it’s another thing to say that and believe it when the storms of life rage around you. What we believe about God in the storms of life reveals what is truly in our heart. After my son died, the Lord had a lot to show me about what I honestly thought about Him versus what was true about Him.

I had always assumed if I prayed, God would answer my requests—you know, like I had my own personal genie. When Todd was first diagnosed with cancer, friends, family and even strangers immediately prayed for his complete healing. Everyone thought Todd’s recovery had to be God’s perfect plan—it was unfathomable to accept anything less.

After my son succumbed to cancer, I was devastated. The peace I had at the beginning of Todd’s diagnosis seemed to depart, and I no longer understood a God who didn’t answer my prayer—a request that seemed to have been so reasonable—a boy is sick and near death; he should be healed. I questioned if He was good and if He even listened to my prayers at all. When I finally stopped fighting against His plan and sat still before Him, He began to reveal Himself to me. In the process I stopped looking at Him through my own eyes—what I thought He should be like—and began to look at Him through His Word. I learned that the Lord never promised to fulfill my man-made plans, but He did promise to be with me through trials, and He promised comfort and provision. He was true to His Word because when we received Todd’s cancer diagnosis, even though it was devastating, God’s peace was there for our family and especially for Todd just like He promised. It was a peace I had never personally experienced.

Psalm 23:8 says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

His goodness isn’t based on whether or not He gives me what I want. He is good because His Word says He is good. He promised to hear and answer my requests…but according to His will, not my will.  He cannot act contrary to His Word.

How I miss my precious son and honestly wish God had chosen to let him live, but I choose to trust in a Master plan that I cannot see or understand. I still believe God is good, and I will never forget his undeniable presence during Todd’s illness and death. I have a promise from the Lord that because Jesus died on the cross to take the penalty of our sins and because Todd had trusted Jesus as His Savior, that he is alive and well today in the presence of the Lord, and I will be reunited with him one day.

After Todd died, several people encouraged me to write a book about our journey. I definitely felt the prompting of the Lord to do so, and I told the Lord that if He would help me, I would share all the ways God had taken care of us during the most devastating storm of our lives. I wanted to show others that even though our trial was devastating, God used people to bless our family and walk with us and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I wanted to have a tool to place in the hands of someone else who might have to walk this difficult journey. I felt compelled to show others that if God allowed them to pass through the fire or the flood, He would be with them—He promised and He fulfilled that promise to me. How can I not share this amazing story?

To purchase a copy of Your Eyes Saw by Brenda Lurtey and learn more about this amazing story, see the links below. To contact Brenda you can find her on FB or email her at brendalurtey4@gmail.com

Amazon (paperback and Kindle editions), Barnes and Noble (paperback and Nook editions), iBooks, Advantage Books, and Ingram (wholesale distributors only)

A note from Kim (AKA Midlife Domestic Goddess), Today my heart is heavy for all those who have lost a child. Mother’s Day is just a few days away and I can not imagine how hard it will be for those who know the pain of loosing a child. Today I am going to ask that you would say a prayer for Brenda and for all those who have lost a child. 

I can not imagine the emotions Brenda will feel today. As stated in the post, it is the 5 year anniversary of Todd going to meet Jesus face to face. But today is also a day of celebration for their family. They will watch their daughter graduate from high school today and it will be a very proud moment for Brenda and her husband. I wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to Brenda for sharing her story and I hope today is filled with so much joy as they celebrate with their daughter. To learn more about this beautiful story your can order a copy of Brenda’s book in the links above. Have a blessed day, Kim  

 

 

 

0

The Importance of Staying Connected to Christ’s Body

Van Bradeen, Living Stone Church and Author of LIVE LOVE

Even though Jesus is our savior and His perfect word transforms us, our Christian life is not complete without other believers. Jesus designed His church to be devoted to each other’s spiritual maturity. Yes, sometimes we are afraid to let others see our issues, or even to evaluate ourselves against the perfect word of God, but resisting our call to be a vital part of God’s church can lead to pride and self-righteousness. It runs counter to God’s requirement that we become humble and vulnerable—necessary qualities to grow into one of another.

When a jagged rock falls into a creek, years of water washing and rubbing against other rocks eventually make it round and smooth. God designed us to be members of His church where we learn to function together, gradually smoothing our rough edges.

In the same way, pulling a burning stick from a campfire extinguishers the stick’s flame. It doesn’t burn well apart from the other sticks. The same goes for us. Rarely can we can make it apart from a local church; we become too easily deceived and the flame of the Holy Spirit eventually goes out.

Being joined together is more than just an act of our wills, however. As followers of Christ, we supernaturally become members of Jesus’ church through the Holy Spirit, being called as members of one another. Membership into His body is foundational to everything we will do in Christianity. It is essential for understanding the heart of God and His intentions for His people.

Just as one body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

The biblical definition of member is derived from the differing members of the physical body. Each member has a God-ordained function that supports the functioning of the entire body. Yet, we can only function as a spiritual body if we submit to God and His design for the church, being joined to each other in the spirit of unity. If, as a member of Christ’s body, I purposely neglect my connection with others, I am telling God and my fellow Christians:

*I don’t need them.
*I don’t want to be what God designed.
*I’m fine on my own.

There are many reasons Christians hold these attitudes and stay disconnected from a local body of believers.

*Fear of vulnerability.
*Guilt and shame.
*Past hurts and fear of trusting people.
*Thinking they don’t need help.
*Want to be left alone.
*Rebellion to the call of God.

We are more than saved beings walking alone with God. We are truly our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We are to look out for each other, help each other, pray for each other, speak the truth to each other, and build each other up. There is never a time in our Christian life where we graduate out of God’s body.

For more of Van’s wisdom, grab a copy of his book Live Love on Amazon and you can also listen to his Easter Sermon, “The Four Wounds Of Christ” but clicking here.

Van can also be followed on Twitter  and FB,

Have a Simply Blessed day 🙂

 

0

Mentoring For All Seasons…By Janet Thompson

Mentoring For All Seasons

I grew up in Southern California where, with few seasonal exceptions, the weather was consistent year round—sunny and beautiful. Sunny and hot with morning fog near the beach in summer. Sunny and warm with occasional Santana winds in the fall. Sunny with a few storms, rain, and overcast days in the winter, when the temperatures might dip into the 60’s. Sunny and colorful in the spring. Those were our seasons.

Then we moved to Idaho where we have four extremely distinct and different seasons, each one lasting about three months, except last winter’s snow went from November until a few snow days in April! The biggest difference I’ve noticed about the four climate “seasons,” is that the year seems to fly by in Idaho!

We’re continually coming out of one season and going into the next completely different season—a great metaphor for our life seasons. Many of you have experienced the blessing of having a mentor in the changing seasons of your life, or long for a mentor to help you through a new life season. That’s when those with experience in a life season can reach out and offer counsel, support, prayer, and God’s wisdom to a woman in a season we’ve experienced. Mentoring is that easy.

When we moved to Idaho from Southern California, we had never lived in the rural mountains year round. We had a lot to learn and there was always someone willing to mentor us; all we had to do was ask and be receptive to what they had learned from living here. Now that we’re a bit “seasoned,” we can help others moving here too.

So that’s my challenge to all of us, let’s look for those women and young girls God puts in our path and share what we’ve learned from our life experiences and how God and His Word helped us and will help them too in whatever life season they’re going through now. And if you’re going through a difficult life season or are new in your faith, ask God to help you find a mentor. Mentoring for All Seasons encourages women to intentionally share their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. I’m not just talking about women; we need to mentor our tweens and teens too!

Mentees come from all walks and seasons of life, ages, and spiritual maturity. Even if a mentor doesn’t share the exact life experience of her mentee, the mentor can provide spiritual guidance, do research, and pray about how to address the specific issues her mentee is encountering. Some mentees might even be seekers or brand new believers who need to know how to live as Christian women today.

In Mentoring for All Seasons, sixty-five women share their mentor or mentee testimonies, along with my own personal experiences, helpful tips, and suggestions will guide women in how to connect and nurture each other through mentoring relationships, as a mentor or a mentee from tweens to twilight years. There are Scriptures for each season to help guide the discussion to God’s Word. Mentors don’t have all the answers, but God does!

I pray for Holy Spirit inspiration for some women to become mentors. I pray for courage for others to take a step of faith and seek out a mentor. I pray for all to enjoy the blessings of trusting God and watching how he honors your obedience to becoming Titus 2:3-5 women.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of nineteen books including her latest, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, available at all Christian bookstores, online book stores, Amazon, and signed by Janet at her website store, where you can see more of her books.

She is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Janet and her husband Dave relocated their empty nest from Orange County, California to the rural mountains of Idaho, where Janet writes and they love watching the deer frolic in their yard.

Sign up for Janet’s Monday Morning Blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.

You can also visit Janet on Facebook and on LinkedIn 

A heartfelt thank you to Janet for sharing with us today.  I hope you have a Simply Blessed day.

 

0

Don’t Go Through Life Naked…By Susan Mead

There is a culprit…

And he comes to steal, kill and destroy each one of us, yet many of you are totally unaware of him, his timing, tactics and tendencies to take you out when you are down. It is time to take him out of your life.

In today’s world, where a generation – or two – is more absorbed and intrigued by the paranormal than the supernatural power of God, it is harder than ever for us to realize – or communicate – there is a culprit with an agenda to steal, kill and destroy us. Yes, all of us.

How can this be, you ask? We pray to God when we remember, if we remember, or dare I ask, if we even know to pray to the God of all creation?

For many of you have unwittingly created a standing invitation to the enemy with wide-open access points. Like open doors to your homes, there are open doors to your souls.

Here’s the deal. The enemy loves an open invitation to step into your life, wreaking havoc. And the one who enters may be that sneaking thief, that serial killer, or that defiant destroyer of old – with a legion of foul fiends – laughing at the easiness with which they distract, deceive and destroy you…and others you dearly love.

When was the last time you heard prayer for protection on the playground, at the ballpark, over the speaker at school, on TV, or in the halls of justice? When was the last time you EXPECTED an answer, an immediate answer, to the prayer, if you heard one prayed?

Yet there is a book that answers your growing desire to be shielded from the enemy of your life. The very best book is the Bible – the very Word of God, yet Don’t Go through Life Naked: How to Clothe Yourself in God’s Power focuses on scripture with new insight and revelation that is easy to implement.

Don’t Go through Life Naked has been designed to help you resolve your daily battleground questions and help you equip or re-equip your war room with powerful prayer strategies and tactics. This book is for people who feel overwhelmed, outwitted and under resourced for the good fight of faith. Your faith is there – yet so is the enemy! And he’s gotta go…

Remember, Jesus himself tells us in Revelation 16:15, “Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.”

Are you ready?

About Susan B. Mead:

With over 22 years in corporate American, 2 million airline miles under her belt, 2 Christian Literary Awards on the shelf, an MBA and a Certificate of Ordination hanging on the wall, as well as a Doctor of Theology candidacy in process, Susan B Mead shares her expert teachings on business, grief, spiritual warfare and relationships. A master storyteller and award winning, best selling author, Susan leaves audiences motivated to live a life free of regrets even though she has done the hardest thing any parent can do – bury her youngest son, Kyle.

Susan has been described as a solid, comforting voice in a messy world. Whether speaking to business professionals, women’s conferences, industry leaders or writer’s workshops, Susan’s insightful wisdom inspires audiences, empowering them to make healthy mental u-turns to help them find calm in the chaos.

Connect with Susan on her website at SusanBMead.com where she writes each Friday, on Facebook and Twitter where she posts daily inspiration or on Amazon where her award-winning book, Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace and her newest book, Don’t Go Through Life Naked: How to Clothe Yourself in God’s Power, is available.

Are you looking for a free mini-course to deepen your faith? Text DanceWithJesus (all one word) to 444-999, then reply with your email to receive 6 days of Biblical encouragement.

 

A heartfelt thank you to Susan for sharing with us today.  To order her books simply click on the book titles above. Have a Simply Blessed day.

 

0

Can You Trust Me with your Children?

Guest post by Karli Reed, licensed minister with the Assemblies of God.

Parenting is one of the most honorable responsibilities given to us to discourage with grace and love. From the moment that they are born and take their first breath, we are scared out our wits – oh my word! What have we here!?! What am I doing and have I lost my mind? What do I do next? Next, we take a deep breath and say “Lord God, teach us each day every step we need to take to raise this one up for your Kingdom.

IMG_0214When each of my children were born, I would wait until everyone has left to go home for the night and then stand before the hospital window facing Spokane twinkling in the night. I would raise up each one and pray and give thanks for this promised child. “You gave me the vision of three children and you have kept your promise. Here is this one. Guide me to raise them for you and for the calling that You have destined to.” You would ask me if it was all piece of cake and I would say no it wasn’t. Each child you have is uniquely different and need to be raised according to who they are. As Parents, we will have moments we regret and wish we could do it over again but, we can’t. I just have to remind myself that parenting doesn’t end even after they’ve starting their family.

There is always an opportunity to change your parenting if necessary as long as we surrender it all into His hands. As we face the days ahead of us, it becomes necessary to teach your children how to walk and live the Godlike life. Teach them how to pray along side you so they learn how to communicate with the Lord.Teach them how to worship before God to learn intimacy with God.Teach them the word of God and how to read it, study it like a student with a Teacher beside you. Never underestimate your children. They can do it. Teach them ministry with you but be wise on how they can handle ministry and guard them from the harm done in ministry. Tell them about the hard stuff when they are ready. Let them see you walk it out and the teach them that it is ok to ask us about why things happen the way they do. Always keep Jesus in the center of everything you say and do.

The most important lesson to learn is this : “Can you trust Me with your children? Trust me enough to leave them in my hands so that I may do a work in their lives before I release them?”

Parenting goes through its different seasons and each season affects the next one. Each season has its sunrises and sunsets along with it changes. Parenting also goes through its storms such as bullying, suicides, death, rejection…..this list goes on. By trusting in God to carry us through the storms, we become seasoned parents ready to come along side with younger, new parents. Parenting is a life cycle with God walking beside you every step of the way.

Looking for a speaker?  view my profile at Christian Women Speakers or go to Christian Women in Media Speakers Bureau

0

Out of Practice

Today’s guest post is by Deborah Thomas, Eye Sights BlogDebby with short hair

Everyone knows that practice is not optional if you want to get better at something. I just talked with a seasoned piano teacher about the possibility of teaching a four-year old to play the piano–can they do it? She said that to the degree that the parents make the child practice is how well they do. With discipline and regular practice, they progress solidly. But parents that do not require their child to practice see them struggle.

The same goes for any skill. I used to take private dance lessons to learn how to country swing better. I had no boyfriend so practicing alone in between lessons was almost useless. Line dancing practice a la solo worked better, as long as I did not forget any of the moves.

In Christianity, we have moves, also. I call this practice. If we are out of practice, today is a new day! Christianity does not end at conversion; that is only our birth. We must go on with Christ, a life time with Him. We need to get smart!

Whoever learns how to throw hardball while sitting on the sideline? Who learns how to suffer without bleeding or injuring a body part? Who knows grief unless there has been loss of some life? Who can swim well without practicing strokes or treading water a long time? Can anyone really practice being kind until they are shown unkindness in their face? The Lord is not going to hand these things to us on a gleaming platter. He wants us to practice and exercise our spiritual muscles.

1 Peter 1: 6 & 7 declares: “…now for a little while, you may have…to suffer grief, in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Trials come to give us practice; if we practice, we prove our faith. God wants to know if our faith is the real thing. Authenticity matters. You cannot just say you are a Christian. Your life has to prove it. Practicing your Christianity brings forth outstanding results: praise, glory and honor to Christ.

I do not want to be out of practice, as I walk in faith before the Lord. Suffering? Grief? Unkindness? Trials? Yes, they are there all right. But they are just the backdrop on which we practice our instruments for Him. Amen?

To read more of Deborah’s posts go to Eye Sights.

0

#WhenMomsPray: A Call to Moms to Pray for Their Daughters


By:
Erin Bishop

The world seems to be getting darker with each new generation. Kids are engaging in reckless behaviors and are becoming entangled in the enemy’s snares at an alarming rate.

None of our daughters are immune to peer pressure and temptations.

It can be daunting.

As a result, mothers can feel hopeless and weary. Exactly where the enemy wants them.

I know what hopeless and weary feel like.

I know what not wanting to pray feels like, too.

But a mother plagued by hopelessness and weariness is a distracted and ineffective warrior.

When we keep our eyes on God, not the storm, we have hope.

And hope is the birthplace of victory.

How do we get there?

On our knees.

When Moms Pray SquareYou see, a mother’s most effective battle position is on her knees before the throne room of King Jesus.

“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)

Last summer, when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenges were all over social media I found myself wondering:

What if moms prayed for their daughters? Not just the quick ‘help her_________, Lord’ type of prayers, or the afterthought prayers I feel so guilty about praying, but really prayed? If all these people are willing to throw ice water on themselves to raise awareness for a horrible disease, surely there must be some moms out there who would be up for a prayer challenge.”

And I was right. Hundreds of moms from around the world joined us and prayed for their daughters every day of the school year.

As I was organizing the prayer challenge last year, I came across a verse in Paul’s letter to the Romans (1:8) that I could not stop thinking about. I still can’t.

“…your faith is being reported all over the world.” There is such significance in these nine words.

This letter is said to have been written around A.D. 57, and was likely transported by ship to Rome by someone Paul knew. This was long before mail, phones, email, YouTube, texting, Twitter and Facebook.

Yet, he wrote:

“…your faith is being reported all-over-the-world.

I just took a quick writing break to comment on a friend’s video that she took today in Israel and posted on Facebook. She replied to my comment within minutes. From Washington State to Israel and back. It’s astounding how much communication methods have transformed since Paul wrote to the Romans.

An Invitation:

“Whatever ground is gained for Christianity in one generation can be totally lost in the next if the former generation fails to impart passion for the things of God to their children. So parenthood is a great blessing-not only to us but to God as well-because through our children the hope of God’s people taking dominion and advancing His kingdom in the earth can live on, growing with each generation. “ Mike Shreve

Will you join me, and hundreds of moms across the world in praying over and activating God’s promises for our daughters? May news of our faith and intentional prayers for our daughters be reported all over the world.

“Once promises are known, believers do not need to beg God to
do those things He has already pledged to do.”
– Mike Shreve

This year’s prayer challenge will be launched on September 1 and go through June 17.

How it Works:

We make it easy to participate by providing you with daily, guided prayers for the duration of the prayer challenge. You can sign up to receive the daily prayer challenges emailed to you, by clicking “HERE”, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to view these prayers daily. You can also join our private prayer group community where you will receive encouragement and prayer.

Will You Share and Invite?

Please invite all the moms of daughters you know to join us in this sacred place. Let’s pray that the words Paul wrote to the Romans will be used to describe our prayer movement. The our faith would be heard of all over the world, and that Jesus’s name would be glorified for generations to come.

Recommended Resource:

65 Promises from God for Your Child: Powerful Prayers for Supernatural Results by Mike Shreve

 

Erin Bishop is the founder and president of the Whatever Girls MinistryThe Whatever Girls mission isScreen Shot 2014-06-17 at 1.34.33 PM
“intentional moms and intentional daughters”. They strive to empower teen girls to choose God’s best for their lives by exemplifying the pillars of Philippians 4:8. Erin lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and their two children.

 

0

The Heart of a Father

Today’s guest post is by Barbara Hollace.

Barb-headshot14-2.76170342_stdYesterday (Sunday) Pastor Alice’s message was about “The Heart of the Father” – our heavenly Father and God’s love for us… so amazing the depth of His love for you and me.

This morning I experienced a visual demonstration of the heart of the Father. My friend Sharon and I were on our Monday morning walk in Mirabeau Park and as usual we were walking, talking, and praying while keeping our eyes open for what God had in store for us.

We had been in the park for less than five minutes when we saw two very small chipmunks (3 inch body plus the tail) running over tree limbs on a tree that had been struck by lightning a couple of weeks ago. They ran and stopped and then chased each other some more until they ran out of sight. We moved on.

Along the way we pointed out rabbits and magpies and other small birds darting here and there, we hadn’t gotten to the part of the trail where the quail and butterflies and baby dragonflies hang out. On the trail we caught a glimpse of the ‘regulars’ (walkers and bikers) and then many others who decided to take the opportunity to enjoy this second day of summer.

As we approached a turn in the road where the river is closer to the path, our silence was broken by Sharon’s voice, “Is that a rabbit in the fence?” I looked to my right and saw a rolled wire fence with 2 inch x 3 inch openings. There was a rabbit stuck in the fence. The front part of him had made it through but the back end and his legs were still on our side of the fence but his feet were not touching the ground.

My stomach dropped. “Sharon, it doesn’t look like he’s moving.” My greatest fear was that the rabbit was dead.

Sharon replied, “No, I just saw it move.” I could see that he was moving a bit. Likely trying to figure out how he could make it out.

I climbed up the small incline off the trail to where the rabbit was stuck, talking to him as I came up the hill. Speaking words of peace and that we wanted to help him. As I got closer to the fence, I could see how stuck he really was and the wire near his right leg was ‘cutting’ into his leg.

“Sharon, he’s really stuck.” At that moment I knew that if we couldn’t help him get free, he would die right there before our eyes. My tears began to flow as I felt helpless. A cell phone and keys and driver’s license and a $5.00 bill weren’t going to save him. I had no tools that would help this rabbit.

I reached out to the rabbit to see if there was any way we could get him free and the rabbit cried out in pain and distress. My heart was breaking. Without the right tools, any attempt by us would only cause more pain.

Sharon from the path below said, “We need to find someone who has some wire cutters to get him free.”

There was a house close by so Sharon volunteered to go get some help while I stayed to tend to the rabbit and watch and pray and speak calming words to this frightened creature. If he tried to fight the fence and get loose, he would only injure himself more.

Sharon walked down the fence line and then jumped over the fence that was about 5 feet high. Wow, was I ever glad I had such an athletic friend! She walked over to the house and I waited and watched the rabbit and prayed. His body shook from shock and fear. Inside, I wasn’t doing much better.

I reassured him that help was on the way and watched his rapid breathing. I saw Sharon keep on going past the house running down a driveway… the first place must have been a dead end. I watched and I prayed. I was afraid we didn’t have much time left since I didn’t know how long he had been caught in the fence. The rabbit shivered less and less. I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. I moved from one side of him to the other to see if his eyes were tracking with me. I needed to see some sign of life… some movement to know that we were not too late.

What seemed like a long time… but likely wasn’t, I saw Sharon coming back down the driveway with a man in his early 30s wearing a blue t-shirt, they were intent on their mission. As I saw them coming, I told the rabbit, “Help is on the way, they’re almost here.” Once more the rabbit tried to get free and then stopped.

Both of them vaulted over the fence and came to join me near the rabbit. Sharon introduced us, “Adam, this is my friend, Barb. Barb, this is Adam.” I greeted him with a smile of thanksgiving. I noticed he had wire cutters in his hand… yay! I’m not sure what his t-shirt really said, but I saw the word “Courageous” maybe it actually said ‘Cougars’, honestly, I don’t know. But God showed me “Courageous”.

Adam moved toward the fence with a calm manner like someone who cared about our friend in distress and also knew his way around fencing. He examined the situation and the rabbit was not afraid. He stayed where he was and Adam began making some strategic cuts. With one last clip and a gentle push on the rabbit’s foot, the rabbit was free. The rabbit jumped away from the fence and ran for freedom without a limp, as if the spot where the wire had cut into him did not hurt.

“I’m free! I’m free! Praise God, I’m free.” That’s the message I heard in my spirit. By this time, tears of joy were flowing down my face. God had sent help to save one of his beloved creatures. Adam turned to leave without fanfare. Sharon shook his hand and thanked him and Adam wished us well on the rest of our walk. I had no words, only tears. My heart was full and overflowing in that moment with the heart of the Father.

Sharon and I walked back down the incline to the trail below. We stood there for a moment and cried and held each other in a hug. What had we just witnessed? What had God called us to be a part of? We did not know. But we knew that God was there.

As we resumed our walk, we cried and prayed asking God what had just happened. I knew that we had witnessed the very truth Pastor Alice spoke of yesterday… the love of God the Father for us. The rabbit would have died without our help. Sometimes we are that rabbit. We are ‘stuck’ because we tried to go somewhere we did not belong and did not fit.

But it was more than that, we saw the problem and we wanted to help but we didn’t have the right tools to solve the problem. We too needed to ask for help, a willing soul who would help us to free the rabbit not someone with a cold heart that saw it just as the way nature works, some live and some die.

And God sent “Adam” – the irony of his name was not lost on us. Who else but God would send a willing soul to answer the distress call of a stranger? And he just happened to have wire cutters coupled with a heart of compassion for a wounded rabbit? Only God.

Three strangers came together to save a life… all of us were touched by the experience and I believe that the rabbit lives on. The Heart of the Father… my heart broke as I saw that rabbit stuck in the fence and knew that I might see him die if we didn’t get help. How much more does my heart break for my fellow-man who doesn’t know the Lord? May God break my heart for what breaks His. His heart breaks for people who are ‘stuck’ in life situations that will result in death unless they are set free and so should mine. I cannot do it alone and neither can you.

The empty fence was where the rabbit was set free. The empty cross is where Christ set us free. May the love of the Father live on through us. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. (If you would like to hear the message about “The Heart of the Father” (6/21/15) you can listen to the replay at www.spokanedreamcenter.org)

Barbara Hollace is not only a beautiful writer, she is also an amazing editor. For more information on Barbara go to www.barbarahollace.com

 

0

Stepping Out In Unseen Faith

Stepping Out In Unseen Faith by Brenda L Yoder. MA

IMG_1886edcr Brenda roundThere’s a voice that’s been nudging me. It’s name is Faith.

I’ve heard it in a message about Abraham. God called him to sacrifice his son. Abraham obeyed, having faith God would provide or raise him from the dead. Abraham obeyed and believed in the unseen. That’s faith.

I’ve heard it from a friend who said her God’s bigger than circumstances that seem insurmountable.

I heard it from a small voice saying, “Do you believe me?”

Three situations for which I’ve been interceding. Each different. Each filled with pain that drives you to panic.

What will the outcome be? Each filled with fear.
What if?
Each filled with questions. What next?

I hear a small voice saying, “Faith is believing me for what you don’t see.”

I’m challenged by Abraham. The only thing he saw was his son, an alter, and firewood. There was no other option for obedience in sacrifice. He obeyed down to the final moment when God said, “Abraham! Abraham!” (Genesis 22:11).

He believed in God’s goodness even though the situation dictated God was playing some cruel trick.

Have you ever felt God was playing a cruel trick with your life circumstances? Have you ever held your hands on your hips and said, “Really, God?“

I have more than once, and more than once recently.

When anxiety creeps in and lies of the enemy invade my mind, I’ve had to take my thoughts captive, dwelling in scripture and believing what I know is true.

God is bigger than the circumstances. He sees the outcome. He desires good, not evil. His power is greater than my unbelief.

Do you need to hear that?

I do. I need to hear Abraham’s faith as he talked to his son – “God himself will provide.” In three situations, I’ve been taking small steps in faith, trusting God that He will provide. With each step, there’s nothing guaranteeing my faith. There’s no promise that everything will turn out “just fine.” There’s not a contract saying, “if you do this, then….”

But there is a covenant relationship saying, “I love you, just as I did Abraham.” It says, “If you believe I am good, you can trust what you don’t see.”

This week, I’ve been walking in faith into the unknown, casting out my fears and sending them to Jesus for Him to bear. He says He intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). He says He’ll carry our burdens (1 Peter 5:7). He says His power is perfect in our weakness. In our weakness, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9)

It’s been a hard week, but I’m trusting God in new ways. I’m walking in confidence, as Abraham did, believing that God can do immeasurably more than I can ask or image (Ephesians 3).

Walking in faith, trusting in the unseen, taking God at His word.

Where do you need to walk in faith, trusting God for the unseen?

Father, thank you for being bigger than what we see. Thank you for allowing us to trust your character above all else. Thank you for loving us and fully working in situations we have yet to see. Thank you for being trustworthy. Amen.

 

A heartfelt shout out of thanks to Brenda for being a guest writer.

Brenda is a freelance writer and speaker with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She’s been a stay-at-home mom, teacher, and is currently a school counselor with a private practice. She was twice awarded the “Powerful Connection award for teachers.

She’s a parenting columnist for 10 To 20 Parenting, Choose Now Ministries, and Whatever Girls. Brenda has been featured in Chicken Soup For The Soul:Reboot Your Life and will release first book, Magnified, Finding Gods Best In Busyness in 2015. Her ministry, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, can be found at brendayoder.com where she writes about faith, life and parenting beyond the storybook image. Brenda is a wife and mom of four children, ranging from middle school to college-age.

Brenda is also active on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and I hope take sometime to look at some of the many other wonderful things she has written.

0

The Reward Will Come

By Traci Mertens

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 10.59.44 AMEver since I can remember I have wanted to be married, have four kids, a dog, a cat, and a picket fence. That’s every girls dream, well maybe not every girl but quite a few! I had it all planned out. I would meet my husband in high school or college. We would get married and have all of our children by the time I was 30. Guess what. My plans have not come to fruition! I turned 31 this year and have never had a boyfriend, thus no husband or children for me. I do have my precious cat Piper but that’s about it from my dreams so far.

When I am frustrated that my plans are not working out I have to cling to my life verse, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for a hope and a future.” God has me in the palm of His hand and He knows the end result of my life so I don’t have to worry.

It is so important to remember all the blessings that God has given you inScreen Shot 2014-10-13 at 11.06.31 AM life as you are going through the trials and the waiting. Trials will come to all of us, big and little, but we are blessed no matter what!  He cares about us more than we can even fathom.  Last year I had the word “blessed” tattooed on the inside of my left foot. I had been planning on getting a tattoo for quite a few years before I actually did it. I choose the word “blessed” because looking at my life I can see so many ways that God has blessed me. This summer I was working at a camp and heard a sermon on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. The Beatitudes teach us that we can rejoice NO MATTER WHAT because our reward is not on this earth, but is in heaven and we get to go there someday!

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 11.14.22 AM

My next tattoo (for my right foot) will have something to do with “no matter what” because I choose to declare that I am BLESSED, NO MATTER WHAT. This will be a declaration that I will choose to be blessed no matter what happens in my life but also a tribute to one of my best friends and one of the strongest women that I know. My friend, Danielle, is fighting stage 4 breast cancer but her devotion and unwavering faith is the epitome of being blessed, no matter what. When I lack faith I just have to think about her and the battle that she is fighting and her example increases my faith.   I am so grateful for her example in my life. We are praying for a miracle but know that God’s plans are already made. He is doing great things through her.

I encourage you to look at your life, reflect on the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you. When the trials come, be blessed. When the good happens, be blessed. In all things, be blessed. Our Father is preparing our reward for us. Please, while you wait in anticipation for your heavenly reward rejoice in the blessings that He has given. -Traci

-This midlife domestic goddess is so blessed but the words of my sweet friend.  She has so many amazing gifts to offer.  I hope you have enjoyed what she wrote and that you will never forget that God has great plans for your life.  Hold tight in the promise that the reward will come 🙂

Please be sure to check out Traci’s beautiful work on Facebook at ABC Blanket company.