Monday, May 18, 2015

Plain and Simple

Do you ever just get in one of those funks where you just don't want to spend time in God's Word? Times where sleep, zoning out in front of the TV or your phone, or whatever else just seems more  appealing and requires a lot less effort? This place is frustrating! You know you need to be God's Word and spending time with Him. You know you are sorely missing intimacy with God. You know you are sorely missing God's best for you. You know, You know, You know!!!! feel stuck and lazy, like you can't get out of the rut you are so deeply in.  You feel so guilty and condemned. You feel just yuck and wonder why God would still want to hear from you. You think how can I make it better, so I don't feel so far away, so disconnected from God. It is so overwhelming to know how far backwards you have gone, and to feel so defeated that you can't 
even begin to push yourself forward back to where you need to be with God. It's just easier to stay in your rut, you think. Hmm, but is it really easier?  Is that self-condemning weight a piece of cake to shoulder? Is the disconnect from God so simple to hold on to? Does the empty ache for intimacy with God just roll off your back? The answer to all that is a big fat NO! How then do we reconcile what we know we need, time with God in His Word, and fufilling that need without all the outrageous expectations we have of ourselves?  We think if I do this I must be perfect at it.  This unachieveable goal defeats us before we even begin, and it's so much easier not to try and to zone out with the TV or phone when our quiet time of day arrives.  So awful that we do this do ourselves because it feeds right into the enemy's plan to separate us from our God.  The only place we can begin again is where we are right at this moment. We don't have to be perfect before we come to God.  We have to come seeking Him just as we are, and He gladly takes us into His love, warts and all.  He doesn't require perfect because Jesus makes us right and true in His sight. He just wants His child to come stay awhile in His presence soaking in all of Him, love, mercy, grace, compassion, wisdom, and on and on and on.  You see, He just wants you plain and simple. Begin there and He will guide you the rest of the way in His ever-abiding love.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Esther: Royal Beauty" by Angela Hunt Book Review and Giveaway

                     (photo courtesy of Family Christian Stores)
 Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt is a historical fiction account based on the book of Esther from the Bible's Old Testament.  Angela Hunt weaves fictional aspects into the story of Esther to create an intriguing and exciting read.  She tells the story from 2 different perspectives. The first is that of Hadassah, a young Jewish woman who later changes her name to Esther to hide her Jewish heritage for her own safety.  The second is that of Harbonah, the personal servant to King Xerxes, the Persian King.  From these 2 perspectives, there is an added emotional stirring that captivates your interest.
  The story begins with Hadassah as a young Jewish girl living with her cousin, Mordecai, in the Persian city of Susa.  She is raised with love and with the Jewish Torah imprinted on her heart.  However, Hadassah is a fanciful child, always dreaming of living like Persian nobility.  She eventually has an encounter with Vashti, the queen of Persia, in the streets of Susa.  This encounter fuels Hadassah's dream of living like Persian nobility. Little does she know that her dreams will be fulfilled, when Xerxes strips Vashti of her position as queen of Persia.  Xerxes searches for a new queen from all the beautiful virgins in Persia, and he chooses Hadassah, who now calls herself Esther as a measure of personal protection.
  Her dreams of this noble life crash down around her, as she sees the harsh reality of being married to a king that maintains absolute power by any means necessary.  The worse comes when Xerxes' chief counselor, Haman tricks Xerxes into allowing him to issue a decree to kill all the Jews in the Persian empire.  Mordecai, Esther's cousin, hears of this evil decree, and sends her messages through Harbonah, the king's personal servant, whom he trusts with Esther's safety.  He urges Esther to plead with the king to revoke this evil decree, but Esther fears for her safety and doesn't know what to do.  She then remembers the words of God imprinted on her heart, and she knows she must save her people despite the threat to her own safety.
  Esther gathers her courage and reveals her Jewish heritage to Xerxes.  She goes on to tell him of Haman's decree that all the Jews in Persia are to be killed.  Xerxes heeds Esther's words and orders the immediate revocation of the evil decree.  He also punishes Haman for his deceit and strips him of his position as chief counselor.  Esther saves her people through her faith and trust in her God.
  As you can see, Angela Hunt writes the story so eloquently that you can't help but be drawn into Esther's journey from fanciful child to a faithful, obedient woman of God.  You find that you cannot put the book down until you know how her story ends.  Angela Hunt creates a more personal and intriguing account of the book of Esther by weaving fictional aspects into the story.  If you are looking for an exciting fiction read, this is the book for you!
Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt is available to order online from Family Christian Stores.  Follow the link below to purchase your own exciting copy:

To win a Family Christian Stores $10 gift certificate, just enter the drawing below!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

VeggieTales Noah's Ark Movie Release Event!!!!

Local Family Christian Stores:  
VeggieTales Noah's Ark Movie Release Event 
Saturday, February 28th, 2015!!  

The event kicks off at 10:00 AM with a viewing of the new VeggieTales Noah's Ark Movie in the children's section of the store.  

In addition to the movie, there will be lots of games and good times for the kiddos.  What fun for a Saturday morning!!  

Plus, Family Christian Stores are making it even better by having a Mega One Day Sale for 30% off all items in the children's section.  

Wow!! Best Saturday ever for kids and VeggieTales fans alike.

Be sure to come to your local Family Christian Store on Saturday, February 28th at 10:00 AM!!  You don't want to miss the fun!!

Need help finding a local store? Follow the link below.

Too excited to wait until Saturday to purchase? Family Christian Stores have got you covered! You can pre-buy the VeggieTales Noah's Ark DVD for $12.97 and pick it up at your local store on the day of the event.  Follow the link below:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review "Before Amen" By Max Lucado

   We all struggle with prayer in our walk with Jesus, we feel like we have to have this grandiose speech all planned out every time we go to pray.  This feels daunting to us leaving us thinking "how am I going to do this?" We have made prayer so complicated and created it to be a burden that is so heavy to bear.   We get so weighed down with this burden that we lose sight of our Jesus, as we become so focused on carrying this burden. Yuck!  This is not how our prayer walk with Jesus was ever intended to be.  Max Lucado writes about how to bypass all this complexity of our own making and come back to the heart of biblical based prayer in his book, Before Amen.

(photo courtesy of Family Christian Stores - )

   We aren't alone in our struggle with prayer.  Max notes on page 3, "The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance.  In fact, the only tutorial they every requested was prayer."  Max further writes on page 6 about what Jesus taught the disciples, "He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer.(Luke 11:1-4)."  He continues on page 6 & 7, "Could you use the same?  It seems to me that the prayers of the Bible can be distilled into one.  The result is a simple, easy-to-remember, pocket-size prayer: "Father, you are good.  I need help.  Heal me and forgive me. They need help.  Thank you.  In Jesus' name, Amen.""  Umm, wow!! A concise prayer without all the pomp and circumstance, this is what we need to renew and revive our prayer life with our Jesus.  We can begin again and simply talk with our Savior.  

   To help us further, Max breaks down the "Pocket Prayer" into chapters that provide us with the biblical background and knowledge to understand the hows and whys of this prayer.  He also encourages us more by providing study guide questions for each chapter to help us grow deeper in our understanding of prayer.  How wonderful that Max gives a biblical place to start with prayer, one that is simple and not complicated like we make it to be.  He points out we just have to begin and the rest will fall into place as we pray. We can rest in that comfort and easily pray to our Jesus because He so wants to talk with us. Max has simply written a beautiful book that enriches the lives of all who read it.  

Check it out!! Before Amen by Max Lucado is Family Christian Stores' 2015 Book of the Year.  You can purchase your own copy from Family Christian Stores on sale for  $9.99 now through Thursday, January 29, 2015, just follow the link below!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Darkness and the Light

"This is the way God works.  Over and over again, He pulls our souls back from certain destruction, so we will see the light-and live in the light." 
Job 33:29-30 The Message

"Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light.  No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.  I provide plenty of light to live in.""
John 8:12 The Message

Darkness and light seem to speak loudly this time of year.  As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, the darkness seeps into my soul.  I feel this desire to hide away in my snug, warm home rather than face the darkness and cold that seem to be in abundance.  However, this is just not possible, I have to step out into the dreary winter and search for the glorious and scarce sunlight.  In the same way, God shows the world that darkness may seem overwhelming, but the Light has come in Jesus. He pursues us fervently and without ceasing from the darkness of sin and death to the ravishing love Light that is Jesus. Jesus conquered sin and death, we can freely walk in the His abiding love, ever-flowing grace, perfect peace, and complete forgiveness, if we just accept Jesus with our whole heart and allow Him to be the Lord of our heart.  With Him, darkness begins to fade, and we can bathe in the glow of of His love forevermore.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Jesus Calling Bible Storybook" by Sarah Young

fell in love with "Jesus Calling Bible Storybook" by Sarah Young, as soon as I picked it up.  She has done such an amazing job sharing the Bible in a way that young children can understand.  Her language is simple, but beautiful.  I read the stories to my preschool age daughter, and I have her full attention. This Bible storybook is such a wonderful blessing and resource for us parents that want to train up our children in God's ways.  I can see my daughter just absorbing these God truths into her little heart.  This  is such a comfort to me knowing I make a God-sized difference in my daughter's life by reading God's Word to her from the pages of this incredible storybook.  I so highly recommend this Bible storybook to anyone. I want to buy more copies to give as gifts to other families, it just impacts little lives that much as they hear the Heart of God through the written words of Sarah Young.  

You can purchase a copy from your local Family Christian Bookstore or online using the below link (it is on sale this week, what could be better!):

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Lies of Perfection

“You’ll take delight in God, the Mighty One, and look to him joyfully, boldly. You’ll pray to him and he’ll listen; he’ll help you do what you’ve promised. You’ll decide what you want and it will happen; your life will be bathed in light. To those who feel low you’ll say, ‘Chin up! Be brave!’ and God will save them. Yes, even the guilty will escape, escape through God’s grace in your life.” (Job 22:26-30 MSG)

Fear of failing has kept my feet nailed to the floor more times than I care to think by the perfection myth.  I logically know perfection is not physically or mentally obtainable, but I still hold myself up to that expectation too often.  It is the "if you can't do it perfect, why try?" mentality that leaves me in bondage  of fearing failure.  I so want to be brave and throw those lies of perfection and fear to the wind every time they grasp me, but I don't every time.  In those weak moments of believing the lies, I Lose big time.  I lose because I don't trust that I'm enough because of Jesus willingly dying to save me.  I lose because I stay stagnant in my rut of self-preservation missing opportunities that God placed in front of me to grow and to better.  I lose because I'm playing it safe by not putting myself out there to serve others denying myself deep connections with others.  I lose because I'm being disobedient to God throwing away the blessing He so lovingly wanted to give.  I lose because I don't share Jesus with others, whether through words or by example.  I flat out lose all the way around and so do those God wanted me to bless because of my selfish fears.  That is the thing that grieves God's heart the most.  You see, God already has equipped me to be brave and to do what He asks of me.  He has provided every strength and provision for every task He is calling me to do.  God never once asked perfection out of me.  He only asks me for a willing and faithful spirit because He's got the rest.  There is no room for fear when He fills my soul and guards my steps of faith.