THE Arrival

In this Holiday season, I pray you all are keeping your devotion time going. Often we put them aside when we’re busy but that’s when we need them the most. We’re distracted and busy…and a prime target for the enemy. And, this Holiday is about Christ anyway, right? Let’s keep our focus and the flame of our love affair with Him burning bright. Do an Advent study/Devotion this season and worship Him. Grow deeper and closer to our Savior. 

And I think you’ll find keeping Christ in Christmas will help your busy Holiday time go much better! Also important: We see a lot of people this time of year that we don’t see regularly….as well as stores packed full of strangers. What a prime opportunity to share Christ and His Gospel. Remember why you’re here ūüėä

Arrival. That is what the word ‚Äúadvent‚ÄĚ means. Only the Advent we are celebrating here is not just any arrival. It is THE Arrival.

This is Advent: the coming of hope to the hopeless, the arrival of peace, the long-awaited exhale of freedom for generation after generation gasping for air.

Advent is the elaborate yet stunningly simple plan of God to descend to His children, to become like them in the most unexpected, unglamorous, fully human way….and He’s coming again! 

Expect Him. Watch for Him. 

This is the beginning of a great ransom story. And you’re in it. 
Merry Christmas!

Come out, come out wherever you are….

‚ÄúWhatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord….”‚Ä≠‚Ä≠

Colossians‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭

We are all in missions. Some are called to foreign lands. Some are called to the jungles of the workplace. Wherever you are called, serve the Lord in that place. Let God demonstrate His power through your life so that others might experience Him through you today. View your vocation as means to worship Him right where He has you. 

Don’t play hide n’ seek any more. 

Stand up. 

Step out. 

#MarketplaceMinistry #StandUp #StepOut

When fear comes knocking….

  

….for you are with me… Psalm 23:4

Your peace is a weapon. There are many opportunities created in this world to rob us of our peace. Your confidence in the God of peace declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. The first step in authority is to have peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the enemy, He didn’t confront him with His emotions. Knowing he was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any other voice than God’s. His peace overwhelmed the enemy; His authority shattered the lie and sent the enemy fleeing.

This week, that trickster tried to stake a claim. The peace of God overwhelmed and he fled. Praise You Jesus! God is always so very close. mmmm……yes, He is.

There is a place of walking with God where you simply fear no evil. David faced a lion, a bear, and a giant. In this Psalm he stood in the shadow of death itself, yet he feared no evil. Our trust in the Lord is what brings peace, not trusting in our abilities. 

‚ÄúYou prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies‚Ķ‚ÄĚ Psalm 23:5a

Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory and become a meal for you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually. 

‚ÄúPeace I leave with you; my peace I give you.‚ÄĚ I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

The source of God‚Äôs peace is God Himself. If fear has been knocking at your door, begin to face that fear with God‚Äôs peace. It‚Äôs God‚Äôs secret weapon to destroy fear. 

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Why Is This Friday So Good? 

  

For so many reasons, I love having a little one in the house again. I love teaching her all about my Lord. Seeing Him come alive for her is beautiful. I love her sweet questions and her awe in Him. I love the way her eyes shine when she tells me things He is teaching her, and the way she runs to Him in prayer about anything is especially good for my heart. That’s my job….pointing her to Him. 

One question she asked is, “Why is this Friday so good when it’s a day Jesus died? We love Him so much, why do we call it good that He died?

Friends, this is why we commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross by calling it Good Friday: 

Without His death, we don’t have the Resurrection. And without His Resurrection, we don’t have a Savior. Without our Savior, we don’t have salvation

Because Jesus died and rose again, we have victory, forgiveness, mercy, grace. We have a home in eternity with Him. 

If the Resurrection didn’t happen, then nothing about Jesus is true. Since the Resurrection did happen, everything about Jesus is true. Jesus Christ is our risen Savior, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born on this earth, died on the cross for our sins, rose again, and is alive. He’s alive!

It all ‚ÄĒall of this. Here. Now. You. Us. Our purpose. Our reasons. Our why’s, how’s and when’s. Our eternity‚ÄĒ hangs on the death and the resurrection of the Son of God. 

What appeared at first to be a tragedy was in fact a triumph, because by His death on the cross, Jesus purchased our salvation. We are separated from God because of our sin, and because we are sinners, we have no hope of eternal life. 

You see, God is pure and Holy, and even one sin ‚ÄĒjust one‚ÄĒ would be enough to keep us out of Heaven. But Jesus, my dear, sweet Jesus. By His death on the cross He became the perfect and final Sacrifice for our sins. And because of that, Heaven’s door is now flung wide open to all who put their faith and trust in Him. 

That’s why we can call the day on which Jesus, the Love of my life, died “Good Friday”. In fact, it was the greatest Friday in the history of the human race because on that day, Jesus won our salvation. 

At one time, the Bible says we were “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But, now we have hope because Christ died for us. 

The nails didn’t hold Him to that cross, love did. 

Take a moment and relish in this one fact: death could not hold Him. 

They will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him with a whip, and kill Him, but after three days He will rise again. Mark 10:34 NLT

I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me, even if he dies, will still have life ~Jesus, John 11:25

It. Is. Finished.

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So, What Is Palm Sunday?

  

It‚Äôs Palm Sunday! 

So, what is Palm Sunday anyway?




Palm Sunday is the day Christians remember and celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. Today is also referred to as ‚ÄúPassion Sunday,‚ÄĚ and marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

Today, we remember that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, knowing full well that this trip would end in His sacrificial death for the sin of all humanity ‚Äď that‚Äôs you and me. 

In His path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air. Large Passover crowds surrounded Jesus, shouting ‚ÄúHosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!‚ÄĚ (Matthew 21:9, ESV). 


WE WIN!

We remember and celebrate His triumphal entry as His beautiful triumph over sin and death. The gift of mercy and grace gifted to us by our sweet, and oh so loving Savior. WE WIN! All because of Jesus. All because of Jesus, sin lost its hold and death lost its sting. 

Hosanna means ‚Äúsave now‚ÄĚ. Jesus can save you right now by becoming your Savior and Lord. Won‚Äôt you ask Him now? Don‚Äôt worry, He‚Äôll say yes. But, you have to first accept this gift. 

There are two parts in gift giving: the giving, and the accepting. 


Jesus has already given His gift of Salvation by the giving of His life for yours, and now it‚Äôs your turn to accept His gift of Salvation. It‚Äôs free. No strings attached. No way to earn it. No way to lose it. 

Thank you Sweet, Sweet Jesus! 

Feel free to message me with any questions. 

(The Biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19)IMG_2824

Waiting For My One True Love

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I ¬†am not a patient person. I want to know it all. And, I want to know it NOW! I am the girl who flips to the end of the romance book to see if they end up together. A die hard romantic. I just can’t wait long enough to find out their ending or should I say their beginning with their one true love.

In high school, I decided not to date. To just cool my jets and fall in love with my God. It was a time to focus my attention on God. He said that He would bring the man he had for me in HIS timing, not mine. So that’s what I did.¬†

I waited.

That time of wait was not always easy. However, I have a best friend who had the same commitment, so the waiting wasn’t nearly as hard as it could have been. During those years, we laughed so hard our sides hurt. Pulled pranks. We went on adventures that would make you cry from laughing so hard. We were (and still are) inseparable!¬†We decided to dance our way through this time of waiting.

In the meantime, she had an older brother who I thought was the bee’s knees! He was everything I was looking for in a guy. When I say everything, I mean e v e r y t h i n g: a Jesus loving musician with a heart for people, level headed, calm, cool, collected, an amazing servant leader. The list goes on and on and on! Except there was one problem: He was my best friend’s older brother!¬†

So I kept it a secret.

I didn’t tell my best friend. I didn’t want her to get mad. And I didn’t want her to think I used her to see her brother, which wouldn’t be anywhere close to the truth.

This went on for years.

And years.
 
In the spring of 2012, I finally told her at a stop light in our small town. It was rather comical. As it turns out, she knew and had been waiting for me to tell her. She wasn’t mad, and it didn’t go as I feared it would. I was so relieved!¬†

I had brought my feelings to God numerous times. With graduation looming, I felt my time of no dating was coming to an end and this guy was no stranger in my prayers! During that Spring, the situation looked bleak. He was interested in someone else! I was devastated to say the least. I prayed and asked God what I should do. I loved Brandon and wanted only the best for him. No matter what or with whom that would be. 

The only response I got from God was, “Wait.”¬†

What?

Wait?

Again?? 

Really????

That was not the answer I was wanting. I wanted an immediate answer to the problem!¬†But, I knew God loved me deeply and had a purpose, so I decided to trust him and wait……but this wait was for God to bring someone else. I planned to squash my feelings for Brandon and just see him as a friend. That’s all. I tried. Honestly, I did. I almost believed the lies I told myself too.¬†

Later that fall, I got a text from HIM. Brandon only asked me a simple question. No big deal. But to my amazement, we kept talking. And talking.

This went on for 7 MONTHS people! I was so impatient! He never gave me any clue if he liked me or not. Not a single one! Ugh! I was just getting down right mad at this point. I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted a definite answer! Either ask me to be your girl or stop texting me!¬†

I decided to take matters into my own hands (never a good idea). A couple of people had tried to set me up with their friends and I had always turned them down. This time I decided to just meet them. Why not? Brandon wasn’t going to do anything anyways. I got to know them a little bit. Before I could even finish asking God what he thought, I got a resounding NO! I thought I had heard wrong. Surely, I had. But no. I had not. So I dropped it. Never to be picked up again.¬†

A bunch of us ended up going to a birthday party at the zoo. On April 20th 2013, at the Nashville Zoo by the tiger exhibit, Brandon asked me to be his girl. FINALLY! I was completely surprised. I honestly had no clue if he was interested in me or not. As it turns out, he had had his eye on me for years! He had been praying about me late into the nights and told no one. 
 
I was walking in the clouds that day. And I haven’t come down since. God had a plan and a purpose. Of course He did. One greater than I could have imagined. Those years (and YEARS!) of waiting were worth every second. I wouldn’t trade them. They make our love story especially sweet. God prepared us for each other in HIS timing and not ours. Never have I been so grateful for the word wait.¬†

If you are in a waiting season, take heart! God has not forgotten you, just like he never forgot me. God stretches us the most when we can’t clearly see the way ahead. We may not always understand His ways, but God is God. We have to trust Him to make known to us the paths of life. In my lifetime, God has made me wait. He has taught me so much more in the times of waiting than when I have had everything I wanted. You may be waiting for something different. It may be a job. Or a home. Or maybe it’s your one true love as well. But the waiting is the same. Enjoy the ride! Roll down your windows. Drink in deeply the sweet presence of God. Dance through your times of waiting. You can learn a lesson from my story: Don’t push it. Don’t rush it. Just let God bring it to you in His timing. It works out better that way.

For I know the plans I have for you,‚ÄĚ declares the Lord, ‚Äúplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

 
Love,
Morgan

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Autism Speaks: A Beautiful Reminder Part 2 {finding Joy in the midst of Despair}

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In Bill’s last entry, he presented an overview of his ongoing recovery from Asperger‚Äôs Syndrome and how he overcame that to become an occupational therapist. This time, he talks in detail about a key turning point¬†a couple months after he listened to that Paige Armstrong song.</em

 
In life, we have moments where we are on cloud nine and we feel invincible.¬†We can forget God has a hand in getting us there.¬†However, we also have moments where we hit rock bottom. We will question why God places us in such situations.¬†We can forget God is in His master control room watching our every move….
 
 
I found the song Desperate by Joy Williams when I was a sophomore in college. It was a time when I got exposed to Contemporary Christian music for the first time. At that time, I overlooked this song because I purposely wanted to fill my music library with upbeat and positive songs.
 
 
That fall I was attending a students-only occupational therapy conference in Louisville, Kentucky. On the surface, my emotional state was a lot more stable than it was a couple months earlier. My classmates slowly noticed the happy-go-lucky me was coming back. Deep inside, however, my mind was still filled with doubt and hopelessness. This was understandable at the time because I knew I could not fail any more clinical internships when I resumed them in the latter part of the school year. I was worried. As for the conference itself, I had little expectations for it aside from having a few planned moments with Jaclyn, my former opponent in an election for a prestigious student leadership position a few months earlier. 
 
On the first day of the conference I arrived at my hotel (which was also where the conference was taking place) a few hours early. I was waiting for fellow occupational therapy students from USC to arrive so that we could hang out together. Since it was cold outside, I sat in the hotel lobby alone with my USC beanie on and listened to music. Half an hour or so went by when I suddenly saw a girl waving at me. Seeing her luggage tag, I realized it was Jaclyn.

Jaclyn dropped her luggage at the hotel and we chatted for another half hour before going to lunch together. After that, Jaclyn had to do one of her many things during the two-day conference. As she left for her duties, I felt I got my money’s worth already because I was happy that she spent quite a bit of time with me.
 
I had a great time overall during the conference. I got to meet students from other occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant programs across the United States. I was also surprised that my name was mentioned during the conference opening address along with Jaclyn. Because of that, some of the students at the conference realized that I should be someone that they needed to connect with. Yet, I felt a hint of sadness because I knew the doubt and hopelessness would return once I flew back to Los Angeles.
 
God saw that and set up a miracle. The day after the conference concluded, I was ready to fly home to Los Angeles. Knowing that it was the Breeders’ Cup weekend, I arrived at the airport two hours early. Everything went smoothly as I went on to board my plane on time. However, a message from the pilot came notifying the passengers that there was a computer problem for the plane and the passengers were given the option to wait at the gate and reenter the plane once the problems were fixed.
 
I went outside with some other passengers. Anticipating the wait to be long, I listened to music in the lobby. I was so focused on my music that I missed the reboarding time. I was bummed because I was sure it would be very difficult to fly back to Los Angeles on that day because of the many people wanting to return home from the Breeders’ Cup. Fortunately, I was able to secure a return back to Los Angeles by that evening. However, I had to wait four hours for that flight.
 
Knowing that I screwed up, I was determined to not listen to music any more. I was able to find some conference attendees to get through my first hour of waiting. But, I was wondering how I pass time waiting for three more hours. 15 minutes after I had that thought, I saw Jaclyn passed by my gate. So, I went up and asked her about her flight. Her gate was nearby and she was two hours or so early herself for her flight. We satt at my gate and started chatting for almost two hours before we went our separate ways.
 
During that time,¬†I¬†vented to her what I had been going through since founding out about my diagnosis of Asperger‚Äôs Syndrome. After¬†I¬†was done venting, she gave me a pep talk. The thing¬†I¬†remembered from that pep talk was, ‚ÄúI had respect for you before we even met in person a few days ago for the first time. Now that you told me what you are dealing with, I respect you even more.‚ÄĚ
 
As I reflected upon what she said to me on my flight home, I thought, “Did God just set this up so that He can talk to¬†me?¬†Did He provide¬†me¬†with someone who is so kind to help this lowly person? If I have a chance, I am more than willing to do what Jaclyn did to whoever You feel will need my help, Lord.”¬†I¬†was convinced of it because I knew the probability of this happening to me was very slim. Moreover,¬†my¬†doubt and hopelessness began to fade away.
 
Since that pep talk, I have done some extraordinary things in the occupational therapy world. Especially for an autistic individual. While I did not get all of the opportunities I wanted, the fact that I attempted these things and have achieved some successes got me a lot of respect from my occupational therapy peers and those who know me well in the autism community. Moreover, I felt the moment also motivated Jaclyn, too, because she has continued to achieve amazing things that leave me speechless!
 
To The Point:
We constantly need God in our lives. In times of hardship and despair, we will need God a lot more. Thing is- are we ready for God to speak to us during these times? Are we listening? Will we know that God is showing us the way through those around us? Will we be confident to march boldly on in our lives when God has spent time and spoken to us?
 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

The song: Desperate by Joy Williams:

Don’t go, I’m a homesick child
Just stay and talk to me
Even if it’s just for a while
Oh, I’m afraid of the dark
But You are the light
Stay by my side
Lord, without You …

I get a little desperate
Reaching our for Your love
I get a little desperate
To feel Your touch from above
I get desperate
Far away just won’t do
I’m hopelessly, honestly, constantly
Desperate for You

Oh, Lord, when You hung on that tree
You showed once and for all
That You were desperate for me
And I know You’ll be coming back soon
I hope time will fly, I’ll survive
But in the meantime …

I get a little desperate
Reaching out for Your love
I get a little desperate
To feel Your touch from above
I get desperate
Far away just won’t do
I’m hopelessly, honestly, constantly
Desperate for You

Don’t know what I did before You
Never really lived before You
And I want You to know that …

I get a little desperate
Reaching our for Your love
I get a little desperate
To feel Your touch from above
I get desperate
Far away just won’t do
I’m hopelessly, honestly, constantly
Desperate for You

I need You more in my life
I am hopelessly, honestly, constantly
Desperate for You

Blessings,
Bill Wong

#Autism #AutismSpeaks #Overcomer #Asbergers #AdultAutism #JoyInDespair

Speak.

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No subject is unsuitable for discussion with GOD. Our tendency is to avoid certain subjects with GOD even though this not taught to us in scripture. 

It doesn’t take long when reading in the book of Psalms to discover a writer that went to GOD about everything. The good, the bad, the ugly. Even anger and vengeance. The anger expressed is intense and graphic – directed at GOD because they are intimately aware of GOD’s justice.¬†Vengeance – or action taken as a result of something they have done – is to be carried out by God (Proverbs 20:22, Romans 12:19).

In Psalm 59, we see David’s angry outburst against Saul’s pursuit. The Man After GOD’s Own Heart never took personal revenge on Saul. He always freely spoke His mind to GOD, having confidence that He could sort out what was meant and what was felt. Pray with that same confidence – GOD can be trusted with your heart.¬†

Some of you haven’t suffered intense cruelty on a personal level, but love someone who has. And it hurts. Bad. Your heart breaks because, through no fault of your own, you weren’t there to rescue them when it happened. And you just want to stop their pain. You want to go back in time and rescue them. Just thinking of what your loved one endured stirs up so much emotion and grief.¬†

I’m holding your hand and saying I know. Boy, do I know. Let’s stand strong together and pray for GOD’s intervention.¬†

Speak. 

Yell. Whisper. Scream out to God if you want to. He can handle it. He can be trusted with your heart. He knows the real you and how you feel. No subject is unsuitable for discussion with God. Speak up for them and advocate for them now (Proverbs 31:8-9).

Some of you have suffered such intense pain and hurt inflicted by others that you can’t breath…and still….years later….you are awakened by the same frightening nightmares. Like King Saul in Psalm 59, they chase you. The scars you bear are deep and wide. Your past isn’t your past because it’s right here. Right now. In your present. You’re dying inside. Your body physically can’t handle the secret anymore. It impacts everything about you – how you relate to everything and everyone in your life.¬†

I’m holding your hand and saying, I know. Boy, do I know. Don’t hide anymore.¬†

Speak.

Don’t keep quiet. Bring it out into the Light. Drag it kicking and screaming if you have to. Speak out. Scream it out with God if you want. No subject is unsuitable for discussion with God. He’s a big boy. He can handle it. He can be trusted with your heart.¬†I see you. More importantly, GOD sees you. You will¬†sing songs of victory over this. I’ll be even do a Jesus jig with you.¬†

Do not fear the scars. Do not fear the victory. 

When GOD heals you – and He WILL if you let Him – don’t be ashamed of the scars of life that GOD healed for you. When Jesus appeared to His disciples, He showed His scars openly. No one escapes suffering in this life. Even the innocent. Jesus was innocent. He connected with the disciples…with¬†us…through His scars. He brought redemption through His scars.¬†

We all need to offer our scars to the world. Not only as proof of what we’ve been through, but as tangible proof of the healing power of Christ in our life. To show not only that we are human, but that we are healed.¬†

Someone is waiting right now for you to speak out and speak up. We connect to others through our scars Рthereby connecting them to Christ through our scars. 

Speak.

We think we have to pretend the scars don’t exist and that we have it all together. Wrong. Lies. There is something intrinsically broken inside everyone. Jesus comes as the Great Physician. Jesus is redemption. The Rescuer. Restorer.

Sometimes He heals the scar completely and it isn’t seen anymore.

Sometimes He allows the scar to be seen as a reminder.

Someone is waiting to connect with you – and Christ – right now.

Speak.

Show them your scars. 

GOD still listens. 

GOD still answers.

GOD still heals. 

GOD still forgives. 

GOD still leads.

GOD still directs.

GOD still cares.

GOD still loves.

GOD is still here.

GOD is alive!

(Some of you are the very ones inflicting pain on others. Verbally, physically, emotionally, whatever. Stop. Now. Remove yourself. And run. Run to a professional. A hospital. The first police officer you see. Get away and run for help not from your problems. Run to GOD. Grace was made for people like you (Grace was made for all of us). He knows all about it anyway, and vengeance is still His. But, I’m standing here telling you that I’m having none of it. Stop what you’re doing and step away from that precious child, that precious girl or precious boy. That precious woman. That precious man. Whoever. I love them, and what’s more…GOD loves them. They are not yours to vent on, abuse, hit, take your own hurts and frustrations out on, or whatever else you are doing to them. Seek help. Seek a professional help. Stop. S.T.O.P. GOD will forgive you. But, you need to stop.)¬†

{Equip} Link Up for the Best Selling 100 FREE eBooks on Faith!

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We are constantly influencing those around us. Whether our sphere of influence is a church, a Bible Study group, co-workers, our spouse, children, family, online and social media community, or a class – we owe it to those around us to equip ourselves with great tools to love and lead them well.

Leaders are readers.

I highly recommend that you arm yourself with loads of encouraging, equipping, and empowering books on faith that inspire you to stretch yourself. To help you love and lead like Jesus.

However, we don’t need to read a bunch of books about the Bible instead of actually reading the Bible. I love a quote by Charles Spurgeon: Visit many books, but live in the Bible. There’s nothing, nothing, nothing like reading God’s Word.

There are lots of tools you need to be successful in the new year and save money doing it. Yesterday I told you here about 16 free books by one of my favorite teachers, Beth Moore. There are links in that post for iPhone, iPad, Nook, Kindle, ePub, and more. That offer is only good through January 10, 2014 so be sure and hurry over to that post for all the links to grab those jewels. Don’t forget to pass on my blog link for others to enjoy.

Today I have more goodies for you:

Amazon has posted 100 BEST SELLING books on faith for FREE on Kindle.

For those of you that do not have a Kindle, don’t fret. There is a free app for Kindle in which you can download all Kindle eBooks just as someone would do on a real Kindle device. And, just because I love you…and I want you to get these books…here’s the link to grab that app

This is 100 FREE eBooks, friends! Even better – it’s 100 FREE BEST SELLERS ON FAITH! What a great big, toe tipping kiss from Daddy! I’m not sure how long this deal will be going on, so run on over with this link and get them while you can.

Don’t worry, we’ll get back to posting devotions and Bible studies here. I just had to tell you about these delicious finds and couldn’t dare keep them for myself!

(FYI: I in no way receive any money for recommending these to you. I haven’t been solicited by Amazon to tell you about it. There are no affiliate links in this post. I just love you all and want to bless you with my finds ūüôā )

#Amazon #Free #ebooks #Kindle #Christian #faith

16 FREE Beth Moore eBooks! Nook, Kindle, Android, Tablet, or Computer! Offer Ends 1/10/14

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There are loads of tools you need to be successful in the new year and save money doing it. Here’s a dynamite one for you:

Through January 10, 2014 you can get 16 of Beth Moore’s BEST-SELLING Books on Nook, Kindle, Android, Tablet, or Computer! The link to all the downloads are in this post.

If you’re not familiar with Beth Moore and you’re looking for a great read on Christian living for women, you owe it to yourself to discover one of my favorite Christian teachers.

If you’re already a fan, you know how amazing the news of these FREE books is!

God has blessed me so much through Beth’s writing and teaching in the over 24 years of ministry He’s called me to. I still remember my very first Beth Moore study. Life changing.

Don’t forget: this is only through January 10, 2014….so don’t dawdle. Be sure and quickly spread the word about this offer with female friends and family, Bible Study groups, Sunday school groups, and your church. An easy way to pass the news along is to pass along my blog post since it contains the link for all the downloads ūüôā (Thank you!)

Here are the titles and a little information on a few of them:

Praying God’s Word Day by Day

Regularly $9.99‚ÄĒget it for FREE

Praying God’s Word is Beth Moore’s best-selling release to date! Now the wisdom provided in her book is available to you in a convenient devotional. Learn to pray fervently and directly from Scripture with Praying God’s Word Day by Day!

Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long

Regularly $9.99‚ÄĒget it for FREE

Do you take God at his word, or simply believe in him? Believing God is one of Beth Moore‚Äôs best-selling books‚ÄĒand this latest update offers an uncomplicated day-by-day reading plan explaining how God‚Äôs plan for his believers‚Äô lives spreads the gospel to all. Get this thought-provoking devotional and learn to develop an understanding of God‚Äôs plan for your life.

Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking in Liberty

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Throw off the chains that bind you and gain power over sin and doubt. Breaking Free Day by Day empowers you to cling to the freedom found in Christ and uses the truth of God’s Word to help you identify and overcome the enemy’s strongholds in your life. This devotional packs the most powerful content from Beth Moore’s bestseller, Breaking Free, into a daily-reading format to start your day off in God’s presence.

Check out 10 other FREE Beth Moore books:

A Heart Like His
Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds
Further Still
When Godly People Do Ungodly Things: Finding Authentic Restoration in the Age of Seduction
Believing God
Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender
Feathers from My Nest
The Beloved Disciple
Things Pondered
To Live Is Christ
Jesus, the One and Only
And 2 more in Spanish! Be sure and pass these along to our Spanish speaking darlings

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I Can’t Handle God

Ever have that time with the Lord? You know, that time. When His presence is so thick and He is absolutely skin to skin? Beautiful. Breathtaking. Wonderful. Speechless. Grateful. Wow.

I crave that. I love it with all of my being. Nothing I like more. No thing.

I love it so much and I want to walk in it constantly. I can’t stand it when it fades. I say, “No! Stay a while longer!”

I began asking the Lord why we couldn’t stay like that

“Why do You come so close, and then fade?

Why can’t I stay cheek to cheek with You?”

I asked Him this everyday for a few days every time it happened. I am SUCH a Daddy’s girl (Daddy in the sense of my heavenly Daddy. My favorite name for Him). I love crawling into His lap and cuddling. I love watching Him work in His dynamite power. I love everything about Him. Every part. I am sold-out-head-over-heels for Him

One morning, not long after, I was in the shower and I was singing and worshipping my heart out when He came so close that my Spirit was so full and was crying sweet tears. Know what I mean? When your spirit is so close to the Lord and you weep without crying? I LOVE IT EVERY TIME!! I wasn’t even taking a shower anymore as I stopped and just wailed and worshipped the King of Kings and my Daddy. Sweet. Powerful. Lovely. Breathtaking. Nothing like it.

Then God said….see, daughter, this is why you can’t stay this close to me….you are a hot mess! Can you imagine how you could be useful in this world like this? You wouldn’t get a thing done and would be on your face all the time! You can’t handle it.

God says, I can’t handle Him…..
that close….
all the time….

I just lay everything down. Stop what I’m doing. My spirit can’t be that close to my maker without stopping and reveling in it….rolling around in it….bathing in it. Just can’t. He has to move just far enough away, and cover me with His hand because I just can’t stand it.

When I’m that near, I’m consumed and on my face.

Couldn’t you just picture seeing me at a restaurant? You walk by and see that poor waitress trying to understand me as I sit with my face down on the table, crying, and saying, “I’ll haaaaave an i i ice waaaterrrrr with leeemoooonnnnn.” Wouldn’t I look hilarious scooting around with my face on the ground?

However, He’s always close…..He never leaves me. I’m always in His presence. There is no escape from God’s presence. Isn’t that WONDERFUL?! That just sends me flying!

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10

Ahhh, David sure knew how to adore God didn’t he? He’s a master Jesus-jigging dude! When we see in 2 Samuel how he danced and whirled with all his might before the Lord we can take note that he was indeed a Jesus jigging master and said he would “become even more undignified than this and lose all dignity even to the point of embarrassing himself for his Lord”!

I would not be embarrassed and would gladly become undignified for my Lord. He is right that I can’t handle being that close all the time. I would explode! But, thank God He never leaves me, and He forever speaks. He’ll always be enough–always blow my mind and flip me out–always bamboozle me and I LOVE IT!

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I love you deeply. Walk in worship with the King.

Stop Wearing Those Christian T-Shirts!!

I was in a conversation the other day that got me thinking. I love it when that happens.

We were talking about our influence and purpose here on earth….you know just a little light hearted chit-chat.

The subject got on Christian apparel and the fact that we should stop wearing them

Not like this:

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This one really cracks me up and reminds me of my Dad…pre-Jesus because he was an alcoholic and used to drink that brand of beer but kicked it and found the Lord (Praise You Lord!)
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But like this:
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The point was IF we are here to bind up the brokenhearted….release from darkness for the prisoners….comfort all who morn…provide for those who grieve….bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes….the oil of gladness instead of mourning….to rebuild the ruins and restore….instead of shame and disgrace, there will be rejoicing (Isaiah 61) and tell all of a God who heals and restores and forgives us of all our sins

Why would anyone approach us, or allow us to approach them with the message of their sin on our chest accusing them???

I’ve never had an abortion (but I’ve certainly sinned!!) , but I have worked a lot with a wonderful crisis pregnancy ministry and I know if I walked in wearing that t-shirt (not that I ever would) the clients would leave running!

What about wearing them to church…in the public?

If that christian wore a t-shirt that said something like:

alcoholic fathers are losers who hate their families

I know my dad would have NEVER went to that church or talked to that pastor and gotten saved, and restored.

Maybe you’ve never had an abortion, or never been an alcoholic, but what if someone invited you to a church and the pastor or elder had on a shirt listing your sins and how disgusting they were? Yeah, that’s right……..the one you just thought of.

The point was this: Would Jesus wear those kinds of shirts to our church or in our community? The kinds of shirts that speak loudly about what we hate er go a message that would translate our hate of that person.

Do they accomplish the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20? Would the woman at the well have listened to Him that day? Would Rahab have felt welcomed or loved there? Would Mary….an unwed mother? I know she wasn’t an abortion minded person, but what about a shirt screaming about waiting until marriage…or about pregnancy before marriage? What about loud mouthed and lying Peter? Or Paul, who indeed was a murderer?

Believe me when I tell you I am a definite advocate of all things Jesus. He is my life and breath and my focus in ALL that I do. Ministry is what I do. Every day of my life is spent loving and caring for people. I do indeed deeply love each and every one.

But, his point is are we really doing a modern twist on this:

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At his, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:3-11

If our sins were written on a t-shirt, would we wear that one too? Even after we’ve gone and left our life of sin? I don’t think so. And, I don’t think we would have been open to anyone claiming to have a message of forgiveness and a Savior while wearing a shirt telling us they hate what we’ve done.

What do you think?

Colossians 1:5-8


the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphrus, our dear fellow servant, who is a a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
Colossians 1:5-8

Faith, hope and love is a familiar “Paul” formula that he speaks about often. The basis of the Colossian believer’s faith and love is their hope in heaven…their minds were on the next life….their focus is on the next life!

From the day they heard the gospel and truly understood God’s grace — that means grasping truly how they received something they did not deserve from God, which is forgiveness and the right to enter eternity with Him forever — it bore fruit and grew amongst the people. They couldn’t dare keep this blessed hope to themselves! Just try and stop them! You can’t!

Because of their focus on the next world, they are making a big difference this world

Ahhh….yes….we are introduced to the faithful “man of the hour” who planted this church and is reporting to Paul about them….Ephaprus. What a guy!

Ephaprus is ONE man who changed his world. One. It just takes one. You. Me. We are just one. We qualify.

Oh, that our minds would ever be on the next world, stirring a blazing fire in us to walk in faith, hope, and love to make a difference in our world! Our world….where we go day to day….just everywhere we are. This is where our work is…..wherever we are right now. Now. Right now.

This changes how I deal with the day-to-day and the people woven in. I realize it’s not about me. It’s not even about that thing that just happened that made me mad, sad, distracted, or irritated, or glad, or fed up, or worried or anything. We aren’t wrestling with the flesh and blood of life, but the powers of dark and the forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). The enemy wants us to check out of our real blessed goal and focus on the big fat distraction he just plopped into it.

Nope! Not anymore! We are going to put our Ephesians 6:10-17 armor and make a difference in our world. Thank You God….and thank you Ephaprus…man with a funny name who became the change you wanted to see and inspired us to do the same!

Lord, thank You! Thank you for the blessed hope I have in heaven. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. Help me be the change and make a difference in my world, where I am and right now. Set Your Holy fire ablaze in me that Your gospel spread like a wildfire of faith, hope and love in all that I am, everywhere that I am and to everyone I see. For Your glory forever and ever.
In Jesus name, Amen.

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Beauty For Ashes

Then the Lord said to me, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north”
Deuteronomy 2:2-3


So often in life we circle around our own personal hill country. We circle and circle, and circle, and circle. God says enough! We have circled our hill country long enough and it’s time we turn north!

We need to get our BUTS out if the way. Yes, we do need to get our buts out-of-the-way! “I know I need to let go, but…..” or “I know I need to forgive, but…..” and maybe, “I know I need to move on, but….” how about, “I know I need to make a change, but….”

God says to us in Isaiah 43:19 that He is doing a NEW THING

Christine Cain recently said, “Often, what stops us from stepping into the unknown is what we DO know. Don’t let what you know stop you from discovering what all you do not know!”

Lord, thank You that you make beauty from ashes! Thank You for Your direction. Thank You for doing a new thing in me. Give me the courage to step out of this pit and into Your plan of a future and hope for me that is GOOD. Thank You that You not only heal but You restore. Turn my mess into a message of hope and restoration for Your glory forever. I accept it, I receive it, and I do treasure it! In Jesus name, amen.

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Colossians 1:1-4


Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by God’s will, and Timothy our brother: To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers. Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints.
Colossians 1:1-4

As we start a study in the book of Colossians, we see in the greeting that this letter is written by Paul to the church in Colossae. Timothy is with him. Paul is Timothy’s father in the faith, meaning he led Timothy to Christ.

They have heard testimony from someone else about this church’s genuine faith in Christ and the love they have for one another. Paul is encouraging them and letting them know that they pray often for them, thanking God for them. Here we learn that faith in Christ and our love for fellow believers are the hallmarks of genuine Christianity.

Faith in Christ and love for one another = genuine Christianity. This is how we know.

Lord, we thank You that You are a faithful God, worthy of our trust and love. May we be found faithful to You, lifting up our thanks to You for each other. Help us to remember in our busyness to pause to encourage and show each other our genuine love for them. In doing this, we show love to you. In Jesus name, amen.

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Knock knock


She was usually a very easy child that loved to nap. This day however, she had other plans.

I put her in her bed and she laid down as usual so I quietly left the room and shut the door.


Hard at work at my desk, I think I hear faint knocking. I got still and quiet and heard it again…that gentle knock, knock, knock….and then a faint, “Mamaaa.” I rushed to the bedroom door to find my funny girl standing there with her gorgeous big blue eyes dancing, shirt off and hanging around her neck, hair a mess…and she squeals, ” I FOUND YOU!!” and jumped in my arms. We washed each other in floods of hugs and kisses as if the 5 minutes that passed had been 5 years! It was delicious!

In the midst of our blissful reunion my heart was caught and I prayed, “Oh, Lord may she always look for you and find You in joy. May her heart be always searching for You in all that she sees and does. May she always open the doors You knock on and jump wholeheartedly into Your arms.”

“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”

Wherever we are….there He is. Knocking. Open the door now and JUMP!

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His mighty hand…

It’s such a different call…being the one here at home while my husband and daughter are away serving in Haiti. I have gained a whole new respect for all my loved ones that I left behind to go to South America. I am deeply consumed with intercessory prayer for them. My faith is strengthened. I am serving and working on things, but still in constant prayer for them.

Our family has always been tightly woven by the fingers of God. We have often heard the need to pray for one another while separated in service and work; sensing their need at that very moment, and having that confirmed afterwards as we would talk about it. It’s surreal really and has been a normal thing for us our whole marriage. God’s glory forever.

One day while they were in Haiti, and as I was working, a sudden urgent need caught me quickly in my spirit specifically over danger with my husband. It was so strong and heavy as I dropped what I was doing and immediately prayed long and hard…..LONG AND HARD….until I sensed the danger had passed. It was so huge and powerful. Two prayer warrior girlfriends of mine were also praying. I felt my daughter and her friend were safe but we all prayed heavily for them too. I asked God for a verse, and this is what He gave me:

The Lord will protect him and preserve his life; He will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes
Psalm 41:2

My husband called me a few hours later and I learned that on a path he was walking on, he was suddenly met with four men….glaring, snarling, sinister, men. He felt their intentions strongly and was praying as they were held in their spot. This was happening at the SAME TIME as when the Spirit snatched me up in prayer for him. The grateful tears washed like a river as I thanked God for His hand! My prayer warrior sister prayed Psalm 91 over them all. God’s glory forever. Wow! GOD ROCKS!

When God brings someone to your heart and mind….pray sisters and brothers. Pray because the prayer is powerful and effective (James 4:16b)

This has nothing to do with any person (I mean that with a full conviction and am so serious about that), and everything to do with our powerful GOD Who is at work in and around HIS children.

Don’t ever doubt that you’re on HIS mind and heart….HE loves you, HE cares about you and HE’S powerful….

Now to him who is able to do IMMENSELY MORE than all we ask or imagine according to HIS POWER that is at work within us
Ephesians 3:20 (emphasis mine)

HIS power and HIS glory forever and ever

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2 Chances To Get It Right

In the book of Jonah, we see a God who is merciful contrasted with the prejudices of his people.

Nineveh had been a wicked thorn in Israel’s side, infecting terror and cruelty. Jonah didn’t want to go preach the message of judgement to them because he knew God would be merciful to them (4:2). God is quick to teach Jonah that His compassion and forgiveness extend far beyond what Jonah expects or desires.

It’s never a good idea to run from God. God is a God of second chances (3:1) and just as God heard when Jonah called from the stomach of the great big fish, and Ninevah when they heard Jonah’s message, He offers us second, third, and fourth chances to call on Him and be saved.

No one is beyond God’s forgiveness and love. God will deliver ALL who call out to Him….regardless of your background, way of life, ethnic group….ALL who call on the name of the Lord will be saved

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.”

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Haiti Update #4

Yesterday they went into homes and the communities to teach the Word, encourage the people, and do a prayer walk. They are the first EVER to do this. They took turns teaching and everyone did great. Js message touched the local spiritual leader in a special way.

God blessed J with his first cold water of the week and it did much to help him. Their water is slowly filtered and is hot by the time they can drink it. This was a huge thing for him. I am in deep gratitude to Daddy for blessing my man with it.

Today they will work HARD at the campus. They desire to get a lot accomplished in repairs and fixing things. They are the very first team there and they’d love to get the compound fixed up so the next team can spend most of their time outside with the people without concerning themselves with working on the compound. Among many other things, they will be repairing a fence with no tools…by hand….this means heavy strength for pulling, lifting, etc…..in that heat. Ahhh…the things we take for granted!

I know from experience that today and tomorrow is very deep internally for them. They’ve experienced so much and their time is drawing to a close. They will go through some culture shock as they come home tomorrow. They will be processing for days and perhaps weeks. As friends and loved ones, our role is one of love, encouragement, listener, and support, as they talk about it….and rest….and are energized all at the same time. It’s EXCITING!! SO EXCITING!!!

Specific Prayer Asked for:

>Water pump is fixed!! Yay Jesus!! Dance with me and praise Him!
>Supernatural strength and energy
>Supernatural rehydration
>Supernatural Health….no passing out!
>Supernatural time to accomplish much for future teams coming
>Any and every need God lays on your heart for them as you pray

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Shhhh….look!!

God knows how to get my attention….especially when He uses my own devices against me. I love it!

When my children were really small, I decided on a new way to get their attention while we were in a crowd, both at home and when we were out and about. We were always in a crowd….still are. I didn’t want to be loudly calling their names over the noise. It always annoyed me when Moms would do that.

Have you ever noticed that no matter the situation or crowd, someone can say “shhhhh” and people pause and look at the person saying it? I decided to use that as my tool to get my children’s attention. No matter how large the crowd, I could say “shhhh” quietly and their eyes would immediately be on me. It was magical!

For several mornings now, that’s how God has been waking me up! He wakes me up every day very early in the morning. I love it with every fiber in my being! Every night I get excited thinking about our time together the next morning and thank Him ahead of time for it. Several mornings now, I hear myself saying “shhhh” and my eyes pop open! It makes me laugh! He just tickles me!

In Matthew 4:19-20 Jesus says, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” and we see in verse 20 that immediately they stopped what they were doing and followed Him. Also, John 10:27 Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow Me”

Has God been calling? Listen. Shhhhh…..He is speaking to you even now. Look at Him.

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Haiti Update/Prayer #3

The Lord is moving with our Haiti group. Yesterday they were up in the mountain regions of tent city where they met and served food to the pastors and missionaries working there. J shared with me some things he learned that even now I cry about. I’ll let them share details. Braden and Sara went to a neighboring house and helped some ladies with their chores, and played some games with the children there. They also went to the orphanage later in the day and loved on those precious children. I’ll be surprised if Braden doesn’t come home with one in her bag!

Today, they go out teaching in homes and the communities, and praying. I know from experience this is a mighty day. Not only does the work they’ve been doing and continue doing help the people in practical ways, teach them teamwork (major lesson they need), and please the Lord, but it also builds favor to God’s glory. Pray with me for them. Don’t just pray….. BELIEVE with me for them, pausing and doing so every time the Lord brings them to your mind and hearts:

Now in him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us. TO HIM BE THE GLORY in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen
Ephesians 3:20-21 (emphasis mine)

They go with a message on their lips and big hearts to share with all.

Prayer requests….pray believing:

>Water..water in the mountain region…BIG TIME (I’ll let them share details)
>For people to receive and understand the Word and comprehend what they are saying
>hydration for the whole missionary team.
>strength and energy for the whole missionary team.
>Water pump went out and needs fixing.

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Haiti Update/Prayer #2


Yesterday was full and busy for our little gang. I talked to them at separate times, so I’ll give you what they each gave me. This picture is from Sunday.
The girls worked hard and got tons done at the clinic by organizing A LOT. They also worked a lot with the kids by doing skits and object lessons about germs, teaching and giving shots. Braden loved laying hands and praying for a woman that came in. Sara was taking a shower when we talked so I didn’t get to talk to her much but got from Braden that Sara is fantastic. As I said yesterday, this is of absolutely no surprise. Sara is always fantastic (LOVE that girl!).

Here’s a pic from yesterday. In the first picture, Sara is to the left of the Haitian woman, Braden is kneeling in front of Sara with her hands on her praying. The last picture is of the children at the Shiloh school where they worked (picture courtesy of Brent Gambrell Ministries).

Braden went on and on about the food. She loves it and is eating things she never eats at home. She told me she didn’t know what she was going to do when she gets back to America after eating their food. I said the same things when I was in South America. Of course, you guys know that something funny always happens with the girls. Yesterday as they were walking the path, a little girl comes to them. This isn’t unusual as they are fascinated by them. Braden learned a little of the language and greets them. This particular little girl came up and started talking to them and saying words in her language they didn’t understand. This little girl looks at them like they are insane! When their interpreter came up, the girls asked him what a certain word meant. The interpreter looks at them like they’re insane and has no idea so he went to the little girl and asked in Creole what she wanted to say to the girls. Immediately the interpreter and everyone around starts laughing as they find out she was speaking ENGLISH to the girls the WHOLE time and they didn’t understand her! Haha! Of course Braden and Sara crack up in themselves too.
Braden sang for worship last night. When I asked what the favorite thing of the day was, it took a few minutes because they loved everything. Finally, it was when they were walking back from the morning work to eat lunch (which is about like walking from my house to Springfield in rough terrain) a group of kids came by and they all started giving them high fives and giggling. This was so special because they knew they were connecting with the locals. Remember, no one has served this area yet besides nurse Jenny! The kids go to school in two shifts. This means the teachers are there teaching from 7am-7pm. It was a new shift of children that was coming by.
Today they go back to the clinic to work and then on to the orphanage. They are excited to go there! They are doing a craft where they are taking pictures of each child, helping them frame them to take them home. To understand the significance of this, read my previous post titled “Mirror Mirror” written by Brandon about an encounter J had yesterday.
When I talked to J, he was full of things to tell me too. He also went on and on about watching his daughter Braden jump in on things. He called her “on fire” and loved watching her work and embrace the kids, the adults, the other missionaries. He loves how she doesn’t even think about how she impacts people and just jumps in. He took pictures of her giving the kids shots. She has never been squeamish about needles and the like, but this fascinated him because he hates them. He went on and on about her singing last night and her volunteering to do tonight’s devotion with the missionaries. He said Sara is jumping right in too and is doing extremely well. He is so proud of both of the girls.
He loves the food as well. He loves working with Nurse Jenny and mentioned she reminded him of a sweet missionary woman named Gladys Farmer that we both new as children. Any of you reading this remember her? AWESOME woman of God! She touched so many people everywhere she went. Nurse Jenny was a nurse in New York City that came down to Haiti with Brent two years ago, heard God’s call and moved there. She is doing so many good things there.
After spending the morning at the clinic, he stayed at the compound after lunch (by then, the Haitian guys were back from that 6 hour trek to the market getting the supplies that he told them to get!) and started working there. Not without first giving the men going with the girls STRICT instructions on watching his girls…where to walk so he can see them at all times, etc….even made him promise! Ha! And this was an american missionary! Ha!
He and his team are building decks, doing plumbing, fixing faucets, putting locks on the dorms, etc. There are two Haitian women doing the cooking for them all. He said right after one meal, they start preparing for the next one because it’s all from scratch. They have a spot under a tree they like to go to sit and start meal prep. He was busy working when these women came screaming and yelling because 5 snakes were after them. J and his men took care of them but it made him laugh so hard! His laugh makes me laugh. Oh how I love that man!
He mentioned a conversation he had with the locals about the local “law”. He learned that all they need is three witnesses saying you did a certain thing, and the law enforcement would come shoot you. Especially over stealing. Interesting. Wow.
His favorite part of the day was building the deck, watching all the kids at the clinic and the encounter he had on the path with the lady and the camera. Read my post titled “Mirror Mirror” about that.
Today, he finishes the decks, plumbing for the bungalows, builds sink supports. They have a generator for about two hours a night so he is going to do some plugs for them.
Prayer requests:
All of them mentioned rehydration. They are drinking, but it’s easy to get busy and forget….and they are sweating more than usual so they’re losing more than usual. I sent them with some rehydrating powder to put in water and drink. Pray for their health and rehydration. This can be dangerous for anyone but especially for a man with a stint. Also pray for opportunities to share His love and message. Pray continuously as you think of them.

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Mirror, mirror…


It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But have you ever thought about how much a reflection is worth?
My Dad is in Haiti on a mission trip. He was walking down a path when two children came running out of the bush. Their mother followed, running after them. They were excited and asked my dad to take their picture. Some people there like for you to take their picture and show it to them because they don’t have mirrors and wonder what they look like. She was so joyous to be able to see what she looked like!
So the question is, “How much is a reflection worth?” To Americans it may seem simple, but to a Haitian it is worth a lot. We get up every day and look in the mirror. To a Haitian that is a luxury that is far from reach.
Imagine never being able to know what you look like until you meet a total stranger and ask him to take your picture. Imagine how much a reflection is worth to them.
This reminds me of what the Bible says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever‚ÄĎincreasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

My friends, Christ equals freedom, life, and liberty. Everyone is looking for these in some way.
Remember that when we look at people we are looking at someone who is searching for a reflection that means more….that means life. Let’s show the world what, or rather Who, we are made of. Lets show them our Love, Savior, and Redeemer. Let’s reflect Christ. Let’s be His mirror. Let’s be love.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a reflection worth? Eternity.
My friends… live life reflecting Christ. It really is a life and death matter. Some people don’t know what they are missing until they’ve seen it.
Remember that true freedom is found through the cross. When He said it is finished he meant it! We are not made of this world! We are made in God’s image
This post is written by my son, Brandon.
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Haiti update and Prayer request

On Saturday, (R to L) my husband J, daughter Braden, and friend Sara, left for Haiti to serve with a ministry called A Door To Hope with Brent Gambrell. This is a picture of them at the airport just before we left them at the gate.

This is the area they are living for the week. I have talked with them several times. God is doing amazing things. They sound different every time they call. I love it!
They are pioneering a new work in the clinic, school and orphanage in the Grand Goave area for this ministry. There’s a whole other aspect to this trip that I will publish next week as I don’t want to freak people out while they’re gone. You’ll understand better when you read next week ūüôā

They are staying in bungalows near the ocean that a group from Canada built for the area a while back. They are there to help a nurse named Jenny who came there to serve some time back, and has since moved there. They have two guards there.

Today, Braden and Sara will be working at the clinic helping nurse Jenny and then at the orphanage where she will teach. Braden is having the time of her life. She is embracing all the hardships like a trooper and has a joyfulness in her voice that says she is soaking up every minute with a smile on her face. She is eager to get to work and explains every minute of her time. I love it! She says Sara is doing GREAT which is no surprise at all because she is always great!

J has been placed in charge of the men there. He is directing projects with the Haitians and other missionaries there. Today, he goes for the morning with the girls and assesses and works on the school and will help at the orphanage. The school, the church, the clinic and the orphanage are near each other but about a 30-45 min (rough!) walk from where they are sleeping. After lunch, the girls will go with a team back to the orphanage and J will stay on the compound with some Haitian men and direct the rebuilding of the walls, securing the bungalows, etc. he spent yesterday afternoon talking with the Haitian men about what they need to gather on their THREE HOUR…(ONE WAY…THAT MEANS 6 HOURS)….trek to the market area. (I will remember this next time I complain about my terrible 10 minute DRIVE to Walmart! Ugh! We are so spoiled!). J is so moved by the people and the conditions there. He tells me every minute of his day too as he is so touched by them. The people are curious about them. He is a strong leader with a huge heart. I know he and Braden are going to fall in love with those children today!

Prayer:
Pray for safety today as they work. Pray for supernatural protection, strength, wisdom, and love to and through them today. I know and pray as He says in Isaiah 52 and 58, He will go before them and be their rear guard. It looks like the humidity is at 91% today so pray for their supernatural comfort as they serve. Pray for the opportunities I know God has for them to share His Gospel as they serve. I know God is going before them and preparing hearts for the message. Thank God for each person that came before my family and friend got there and built those bungalows, the clinic, that school, that orphanage and that church. Thank Him for nurse Jenny and her work there and for Brent and A Door To Hope as their work there. God’s glory forever. Pray for the people there.

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BAM! HE’s got you!

My heart is so full as I write today. I start my husband and daughter on malaria meds today in preparation for their first overseas mission trip. I’m so excited in an extraordinary way. The intricate things God did in this sends me soaring to the moon with excitement! Our family has done a lot of mission work here in the USA but this is their first time overseas.

In the beginning stages of planning, I was to go on this trip with our daughter. I’ve been a missionary to South America and wouldn’t hesitate to go. In fact, my hubby originally said that in order for our daughter to go, I must go. In my heart, I knew this was his trip. I had major neck surgery earlier this year and right at the time of confirming flights, etc I had a big set back. I knew this was a God thing to move things around. I prayed and my hubby said he would go. BAM! There are some things I can’t share right now about my daughter specifically that I see God doing (I want her to hear from God with no influence from me first), and have been praying about it. We were soon after notified that their assignment changed completely for this trip and they are now pioneering a new area for future missionaries. This correlates so much with those things I’ve prayed about. BAM! God gave her a job that helped prepare her for this. BAM! My husband had God speak to him in a mighty way while on a retreat two weeks ago. BAM! Their financing for this trip came in faster than I’ve EVER seen on a team I was on, or a team I have led. BAM! God began calling our family in a special way to orphans. BAM! BAM! BAM!

For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Trust. We say, trust God. How can anyone ever doubt God after the ways he sees to our needs IN SUCH DETAIL?? God has you. HE has declared that HE has you…a promise that will not be broken. You are HIS beloved. Ask HIM anything…tell HIM anything….bring HIM anything. HE loves you deeply…..grasp how wide, and long, and high, and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 2:18)….for YOU

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Draw Near

I’ve just returned from a four day retreat. Ahhhh! Feel my smile? I had such a powerful experience that my soul is resting so peacefully in! I’ll say it again…..ahhhh! I am so glad it happened when it did because October is an extremely busy month. God told me back in late summer that October was going to be an increase and a speeding up in things for my family…..and He wasn’t kidding! Our home is usually hustling and moving. All of us here work hard and serve hard in several areas of ministry. So far, my husband, son and I have each been on one trip separately at different times to different areas, two members of my family will be leaving the country on a mission trip, then three members are leaving for two different trips out, I have two conferences I’m serving at, and one I’m speaking at….all this in addition to our usual things we do, like working regular jobs….all in October!! People are at my house throughout and the security cameras and alarm systems stay on.

It is so important to stay grounded and close to the Lord at all times. In busy times it’s tempting to skip out on our quiet time (I like to call it cuddle time) and studying of the Word with Daddy. It’s tempting to sleep in juuuust a little longer. Don’t fall for it! We have to be on guard at all times, especially in busy work…even if that work is for the Lord. I began telling my family several weeks ago that October was going to be extremely intense with activity so stay close to His Word and communication with Him. Along with the busyness we need to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. James 4:8

Everyday Urgency

I’m sitting here in the Pittsburgh airport anxiously awaiting a couple flights which will land me in Mexico. Me and 12 other young adults are on our way to do some missions work in San Luis.

Why is it that missions trips create a spiritual urgency in us? We pray harder. We prepare. We go with expectation believing for miracles and transformed lives.

But when it comes to the every day, we coast. We’re comfortable. We have our ministry down to a science. We don’t even have to pray that much. We just do it.

Consider this verse from the Acts 20:22-23:

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.”

You know what stands out to me here? In the face of pain and difficulty, Paul was compelled to go. He wasn’t concerned for his own well-being – he was sold out to the cause.

Every day was a new adventure because He was following the Holy Spirit.

What about you?

When you’re following the Holy Spirit, you feel compelled. There’s a burning in your heart to do what He calls you to do – go where He calls you to go – and be who He’s called you to be.

What if you approached your worship leading this Sunday like you would a missions trip? What if you were “on your toes” – prayed up, expectant, focused, and believing for the miraculous?

Because God is always up to miraculous work – saving the lost, healing the sick, awakening lifeless hearts. And He wants to do that through you.

Are you ready?

Praying for you and your ministry, Christy.

David
davidsantistevan.com.

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David Santistevan
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Copyright (C) 2012 David Santistevan All rights reserved.

David wholeheartedly gave me permission to use this email that he sent out. I wanted to share this because I too have felt this way about our mission field being wherever we are right now….and not saving that urgency for when we get on that plane. I’ve done missionary work here in the U.S. and in South America….as well as everyday serving where I am. There shouldn’t be a difference in our “spiritual urgency”. There is a battle going on all over this planet, and people needing the Savior everywhere. Stand up soldier, and rise to your call. Let’s be on our faces praying for our fellow brothers and sisters who are serving all over this world, and in our own churches and neighborhoods. If you’ve ever asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, you are a missionary right now and have received the call, see Matthew 28:19-20.

The following is a tag I use with my email signature:
We are free-ist when we obey…..tallest when we’re kneeling…..most alive when we die

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Take The Lid Off Your Church

I recently had the privilege to preview an eBook written by Tony Morgan called Take The Lid Off Your Church: 6 Steps To Building A Healthier Senior Leadership Team. Below is the review on Amazon and also a link to purchase it. Believe me brothers and sisters….go read some of the other leader’s reviews and grab it too…you won’t be sorry! I truly wish I had this book YEARS ago! So glad it’s here NOW! It’s a very easy and pleasant read.

Amazon review:
My son is in the very beginning stages of planting a church. When I received the notice that I was chosen to read and review this eBook I was ecstatic. If you are beginning a ministry, this is a must have for your library. Tony Morgan gives clear steps on how to choose the leaders right, right from the start. Consider this an important “how-to” for building from the ground up. Placing the right people on the right team can truly bless the health of the ministry. Healthy leadership=healthy ministry.

If your a church that has some issues or “something just isn’t right”….this is for you. Maybe you’ve noticed things aren’t moving in your ministry as you envisioned it, some gaps, or ill-placed people on your team….. this eBook is great for you too. This isn’t the first ministry our family has started/helped start and I guarantee you this will be brought to the table every time.

I advise this for all my friends and family in any ministry no matter where you are on your timeline!

Go NOW and purchase it here: Take The Lid Off

I am gifting this to some people I know personally! You should too!

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Appetite satisfied…..

Since you have heard about Jesus and learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted through deceitful desires. Instead, let the spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:21-24

When this hard, rebellious man walked down the isle at his church and got saved it seemed we could feel all of heaven clap in praise….and so did the entire congregation. Tears flowed long and hard in rejoicing over this man. I know I cried a mess all over another mans suit that day! You see, this man was loved so much and prayed about by everyone for so long. He had been at death’s door several times. He had lived a hard, sinful life. He had hurt a lot of people in his lifetime. BUT….then he met Jesus! The day he met Jesus he was transformed radically. A modern day “Saul to Paul” transformation. He gained a ravenous appetite for God and His Word that was impressive. He shared Jesus everywhere he went. Because of his background, he was able to reach people that others couldn’t….all but one area….his family. He called one day hurt about this and said, “I know the Lord saved me and forgave me. They all know this. Why don’t they accept me now?”

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there at the altar and go, be reconciled to that person and then come offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

You see….Jesus had indeed forgiven him of all he had done. However, he had burned some bridges with others in his family, and with friends. That wonderful man left that conversation with me and spent the next several weeks going to each person he had ever done wrong and apologized in detail to them and asked their forgiveness. He died a short while later, and while at his funeral, lines and lines of people told me how after years had passed between them, he showed up one day telling them he was sorry, and how Jesus had transformed his life…..friends, family, and even his ex-wife! What a blessed example of a man transformed at the cross and used for God’s glory!

This man was my father. A man radically and boldly changed; who now has all of his hunger satisfied, feasting at the table of His precious Jesus.

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What’s that boy doing??

As I walked by the window that day, I saw them. Over my front yard were birds. Lots of BIG birds….circling. I thought, “Awww, something is dead and they are circling before they feast”. As my eyes followed the line in the sky from the birds to where they’re circling over my front yard I see their target…..MY LITTLE SON is laying on the ground, arms and legs stretched out and very, very still! By that time, the birds were close enough to him that, had I been where he was, I could have thrown a rock and hit them! If you knew how far I can throw a rock and hit a target, you’d know this isn’t very far! Immediately, I open my front door and call out to him loudly…..ok, that’s a nice way of saying I opened my front door and screamed his name loud enough to not only shock those ravenous birds, but every tree around shook as birds fluttered away at the sudden high pitched shriek…as if they all collectively jumped and said, “WOAH….DUDE….let’s roll out of here!”

And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Romans 12:1

In the Old Testament, when sacrificing an animal a priest would kill the animal, cut it into pieces, and place it on the altar. Sacrifice was very important, but even in the Old Testament God made it clear that obedience from the heart was far more important. God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals, as living sacrifices. It really is about the heart. Daily as we lay aside our own desires to follow Him—-putting all of our trust in Him to guide us–because He has pleasing and perfect plans for us….our minds will be BLOWN! As we lay ourselves outstretched for Him to have His way with us, He draws near…SKIN TO SKIN….and dazzles us. To be that close to the very definition of Love and Power takes my breath away! Out of all the magnificent things I’ve witnessed God doing…..the most miraculous thing is the way He changes and lifts me…ME….He has transformed my mind and heart so much, I scarcely recognize myself. You see, this is true worship….because He gave His Son to make our new life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices for His service.

The way my son laid outstretched that day was very indicative of how he would grow and live his life with our Lord and Savior….just a giving of his life to follow Him with everything in him. God is not like those birds, circling and waiting to devour us. To the contrary…..He is came to give us new life!