Are You In A Dead Zone?

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 2.05.23 PMCan you hear me now? How about now? Those words are spoken from time to time by anyone who has ever used a cell phone. Even with more and more cell towers going up and the latest coverage offered, there are still many dead zones.

At our family lake cabin, there is a clear difference between which carrier has the better coverage. I have watched many people holding their phones with an outstretched arm on our patio looking for a bar of coverage to make a call or send a text. It’s entertaining to watch.

When I have not been able to get service, I have been bothered about it. How about you? In reality, is having no phone coverage for a little bit really a bad thing? We are so worried about checking our text messages, our Instagram, Facebook, and emails that the idea of being stuck in a dead zone seems to be cause for alarm.

In our desire to be connected to the world with our phones, we have become slaves to technology. Just before I started writing this, I was working on my Bible study and I got a text. I was going to reach for my phone to tell my husband, yes, I can talk now, and then it hit me… I was in my quiet time with God. There was not an emergency and my husband would understand if I finished my study before I called him. I almost chose to set God aside to answer a text.

That knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone and forget about my time with God was a reality check. How many times a day do I reach for my phone to check social media? Am I more concerned about how many bars I have, who is posting what, and what is trending than I am with God? What about you? Are you more concerned with those things than your relationship with God?

Finding the best coverage when it comes to our cell phone seems to be an important thing. However, shouldn’t we be more concerned about finding the best coverage for ourselves? It should be much moreScreen Shot 2015-02-03 at 2.12.47 PM alarming to be in a dead zone that applies to our salvation rather than our phone, and sadly for many, that is not the case. At the end of our lives, the number of bars we had, the number of texts, tweets, and posts will mean nothing. What will matter is, are you covered in the saving blood of Jesus?

He offers the best coverage for us in the long run and His coverage is free to all who seek Him. There is unlimited coverage and you will never experience a dropped prayer like you do a dropped call. With Jesus we all become sons and daughters of God, which means as far as plans go, there is no other family plan like His. Okay, maybe that is a bit cheesy, but it’s true… Jesus is the only way to avoid the dead zone. In John 14:6-7, Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” (NIV)

I challenge you to put your phone down for a while each day and spend time with the Lord. Dig into your Bible, take time to pray, go to church, and fellowship with other believers. Get to really know Jesus so that you will know the Father as well. Being covered in the saving blood of Jesus Christ is the best coverage there is. It is the only way to avoid a dead zone. Put God first! I am not saying to avoid your phone and social media just that God should be our first priority. And, by all means, share that coverage with others. Don’t let those you know and love be lost in a dead zone when they could have eternal life.


Beautiful: My Story


Thank you to “Photos by Heather”

By Taler Ray

Photo Credit: “Photos by Heather”

We all long to feel beautiful and somehow those 9 letters are the epitome of worth to most women around the world. Have you ever thought about how important in essence the word beautiful is? This word either empowers or destroys. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there, we probably all have and if we are honest we base our level beauty and worth by what culture says. Today we have social media, magazines, commercials etc. to thank for “idols” that clearly and visually, state clearly how little our hearts and passions matter.  Because to the world we are how we look the definition of who we are depends on it.  But friends….”beautiful” really isn’t an adjective that supports the noun. Being beautiful is a verb.

Beauty by social standard has destroyed and woman’s heart and I am a victim. 

Unknown-5Yes, I finally said it. I have been a victim of society and the media when it comes to feeling beautiful, but not until recently did I realize how deep these influences have affected my heart. For so many years I have tried to pretend I knew what it felt like to love myself, to feel completely confident and pretty-but I was so very wrong. My standards of beauty have been skewed by the world and the devil. He is always seeking to destroy. I have struggled with my weight and outer body image my whole life, but didn’t address it. Instead I allowed the devil to capitalize on my insecurities but worse was the denial that covered them.

I neglected the aching in my heart to feel beautiful and shoved my insecurity to the depths of my soul, hoping no one would ever find it

But, Jesus did. He found & revealed them. Jesus dug out my deepest insecurities and put them on display. Ultimately, he showed me that I failed to realize that my struggle with being beautiful was keeping me from being the truest version he created. I had been lying to myself for years, but lie I will no more.

Being pre-diabetic since high school, I have never really been healthy. Loosing weight was hard, no matter how healthy I ate. Returning from my first year of college heavier and more in denial than ever I was headed for type 2 diabetes which is hereditary. I knew that I had to make a change, but I just felt trapped in these chains of self-pity, guilt and frustration. I started baby steps and took the advice of my dear friend Claire and started approaching exercise totally different. As an act of worship. It was during one of my runs in early May that I finally surrendered my burden of self-image to Jesus. I surrendered the lies that Satan and culture. My chains were broken and set free through Jesus.

Being broken is not fun, and I am slowly beginning to be made “WHOLE” in the Lord. For so many years I had failed to understand that my body is a temple and when I neglect it, I neglect my relationship with Jesus. Following him means I must also honor my body; for it I do not I am dishonoring the Holy Spirit whom dwells within me. I’m learning that only when I surrender my flesh can I begin to be shaped into something new.  The new that is revealed through God’s glory and grace.

I love the message version of 1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20 which says

“Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

As I close I can admit that for so long I let my insecurities and society define me as unworthy of being a beautiful creation. But through the convictions, trials and triumph I can hear the Creator whisper to me, saying:

Beloved, you are my masterpiece.”Unknown-3

Choose to live life as a beautiful verb because we are not called to let others define our worth. We are called to live as he has defined us: beloved. 

In Christ Jesus,

Taler Ray

To read more of Taler’s awesome posts you can go to a New Adventure Each Day.  God has his hand on this young lady and I look forward to having her back again to share her wisdom.

Thank you to “Photos by Heather”  or on Facebook


Trusting God in the evil of the world

My heart has been so heavy as I see the news of women being raped and children being beheaded.  Photos of the violence tells a story that many don’t want to have to think about.  People with guns to their backs and their heads is hard to look at.  I saw a photo of the smoking guns that were fired in an act of evil on Facebook.

This violence is happening and yet so many are not even aware of it and if they are they seem to say nothing about it.  We get upset, we mourn and we share the tragic stories of celebrities.  We are quick to hit the share button, the favorite button and the re-tweet button when a celebrity speaks.  I saw a post last night about people being mad at Rosanne Barr for making a tweet about Robin Williams actually being alive.  She used the death of an amazing actor as a joke for her gain and people were outraged.  I think they should be. It is not a joke. A man died and that should never be taken lightly.  For that matter the deaths of those by the ISIS group should not be taken lightly either but it seems to be getting sweep under the rug.  Rosanne made an out of line remark in regards to Robin Williams and it hits the social media sites.  People got fired up about it. Yet, hundreds of people are raped, shot, and beheaded and we seem to accept it like that is just part of life.  Among these people are children. Innocent children and we hear very little about it.

Why is it that we can so easily accept the fact that someone can be killed for his or her religious beliefs?

I have been praying for those who are faced with persecution. I have been praying the God would supernaturally take the pain away that they are facing. That He would give them strength that only He can give as they face the evil acts of violence.  I pray the God is would catch the tears of the women who are raped and that He would comfort the parents who mourn the loss of their children.

In my humanness it is easy to question God.  I know I should not question because God because He is in control but it is hard not to. Thankfully God knows I will fall short from time to time.  Why? I ask Him.  Why is this happening to people who put their faith in you?  Why are you letting this happen God?  I pray that they are given a special crown when they enter the gates of heaven.  I pray for the violence to stop. I pray that people would get fed up and say something.  I pray that our Government would do more.  I pray and I seek for answers as to why evil happens.

Today I choose to open my bible and read whatever page I landed on. Habakkuk 3 was where I landed.  It is a prayer by Habakkuk the prophet and something I have never read before.  God never stops amazing me.  Here I am after days of praying and questioning and all I had to do was open the bible and let it speak to my heart.

Lord, I have heard of your fame; 
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. 
Repeat them in our day, 
in our time make them known; 
 in wrath remember mercy.

God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens
 and his praise filled the earth.

His splendor was like the sunrise; 
rays flashed from his hand,
 where his power was hidden. 

Plague went before him;
 pestilence followed his steps.

He stood, and shook the earth;
 he looked, and made the nations tremble.
 The ancient mountains crumbled
 and the age-old hills collapsed—
 but he marches on forever. 

I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
 the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
 Was your wrath against the streams?
 Did you rage against the sea
 when you rode your horses
 and your chariots to victory?

You uncovered your bow, you called for many arrows.
 You split the earth with rivers;

The mountains saw you and writhed.
 Torrents of water swept by;
 the deep roared
 and lifted its waves on high 

Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
 at the glint of your flying arrows,
 at the lightning of your flashing spear 

In wrath you strode through the earth
 and in anger you threshed the nations. 

You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
 you stripped him from head to foot.

With his own spear you pierced his head
 when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
 gloating as though about to devour
 the wretched who were in hiding.

You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters.

I heard and my heart pounded, 
my lips quivered at the sound;
 decay crept into my bones, 
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.

Though the fig tree does not bud
 and there are no grapes on the vines,
 though the olive crop fails 
and the fields produce no food, 
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
 he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
 he enables me to tread on the heights.  (NIV)

Habakkuk’s prayer was praising God for answering his questions. God showed him that evil wouldn’t triumph forever. God is in control and this reminded me that we can always trust Him to vindicate those who are faithful to him. God will ratify the evil that his people have faced. I believe that God will give those who suffer because of their belief in Christ the strength to make it through the difficult times. I am not saying I can accept what is happening to them as okay, I am just saying I believe that God is with them.

The notes in my NIV study bible said this: “God will give his followers surefooted confidence through difficult times.  They will run like deer across rough and dangerous terrain.  At the proper time, God will bring about His justice and completely rid the world of evil.  In the mean time, God’s people need to live in the strength of his spirit, confident in His ultimate victory over the world”.   It also said, “Habakkuk saw his own limitations in contrast to God’s unlimited control of all the world’s event.  God is alive and in control of the world and it’s events.  We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do.  But we can be assured that he is God and will do what is right. Knowing this can give us confidence and hope in a confusing world”. (NIV Life Application bible, Page 1479)

That was just what I needed today as I tried to wrap my mind around the evil that is happening. My heart still breaks that society and social media has such a skewed idea of what is really important. I will continue to pray that what breaks God’s heart would break the heart’s of people too. I will pray that more people will speak out against evil and I will trust with all my heart that God is in control. I will trust that God will vindicate those that were harmed by evil.  That He will ratify the wrong.  In God’s perfect timing He will have victory over evil.