Life…Out Loud + #LookingUp

Do NOT Be Afraid!

Something happened to me this year that I didn’t anticipate.

Some of my fears have been miraculously replaced with faith.

Not just faith; but a ferocious form of faith & boldness, that has me struggling to keep a tight reign on my tongue.

Sounds like a miracle to me 🙂

My holding back, being lazy, and blatant disobedience is wilting away.  In it’s place is a brassy boldness instead.  O, this could get me into a lot of trouble.  It actually has already proven itself to work best on a very tight leash!

It has me questioning, “Why Now?”
Why all of a sudden is it hard for me to keep my mouth shut tighter than usual?
“Why is worrying about offending others often kept me from defending what was right?”

Do you feel that way?
Why is it so hard to stand up for what you know is right?
Do you look around and see things that are disturbing, but your too afraid to say something because it may offend someone, or worse yet…make them angry?

A few weeks back I was in Walmart shopping with my family.  We had just left church and threw our communion cups in the trash.

I was in the girls department, rummaging through some items with my 10 yr old daughter, when I hear some loud profanity nearby.  I see a aggressive father threatening his wife and 2 small children with vulgar comments and body language that said he was looking for a fight.  He agitated them by leaning in and cussing.  They obviously was used to this kind of scene…but I wasn’t.

Afraid of getting involved or offending someone, I moved to another area.

He moved along with us.

No filter.  No care.  No regard.  He just kept speaking vile.

Before long his slander, body posture, and course words caused me to get mad.  Instead of walking away a second time, I decided I would just glance at him.  Maybe if he saw me, and knew I heard him, he would tone it down a bit.  Most people can act a fool in private but if they notice someone may see, they put on a prettier show.

I waited til the next mother blank bomb came shooting out…and I tilted my head up and made instant eye contact with the man.

“What are you looking at?”  He shouted across the aisle at me.  I wanted to tell him exactly what I saw, but I reserved myself, and said, “nothing.”

“Then look away,” he demanded.  “Mind your own business!”

For some reason I couldn’t look away.  I don’t know if it was this new-found boldness or a stubbornness I’ve had since I was a kid that wouldn’t allow me to back down.

“You are blanking me off!  He yells!

“I’m sorry, I think you were already mad before I looked at you.”  I stated.
“I also believe you made it my business when you cuss your family the way you do in the middle of a department store!” 

WHOA! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM!?!

My tight leash was let loose just a bit and my tongue started talking.

I could have just walked away, but some part of me felt I must defend his wife & kids from his unruly behavior.  The 20 year old me would’ve cussed him back, the 30 year old me would’ve walked away, but the 40 year old me couldn’t cuss..couldn’t ignore…couldn’t be moved.

And there I was, trying to rationalize with the unreasonable.  That got me nowhere.
But at least I said something SOMETHING.

After a few more big Momma words from him and several sidekick adjectives, he gave me a nice bird, screamed one last farewell and off he went.

Needless to say, my husband wasn’t quite happy when he came back from picking out some snacks for the kids & learned that a strange man screamed vulgar names at me & in front of our daughter to boot!

The whole dramatic scene made me fire-mad.  My heart was rapidly beating & hands were generously shaking.  All the while, I can’t tell you how many people walked by with their heads down while this grown husband/father screamed filthy names at me while I tried to shield my daughter.  I hear all the time how people walk aside while horrible things happen on the street, in their communities, & inside their homes.  I suppose it’s easier to not get involved.

I am not sure what switched, or how my cowardly heart began to take simple acts of bravery.  When I was younger I was loud and boisterous in a negative way; when I became a Christian I somehow started believing that I was to be quiet and look away.  I’m done with that!

I can’t imagine walking past someone hurting another person, burning a American flag, or disgracing a child.  I no longer will act like I don’t see and hear.  It may seem like a simple thing that happened in Walmart but at the time it felt like David taking on Goliath.  It was uncomfortable.  It was intimidating.  It was the right thing to do.

 

I encourage you to speak up for those that can’t or won’t speak for themselves.
There is a difference between being scared & living in fear!

Being afraid isn’t a big deal…being too afraid to do what you should do, is sin. 

Please “like” my facebook page at www.facebook.com/grief2grace

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Listen Learn Love: Book Review + #LookingUp

by Susie Albert Miller

How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less!

Could your work relationships use some fine-tuning?
Are your friendships not quite what you would like them to be?
Does your marital connection with your spouse need revived?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may benefit greatly from reading Listen Learn Love!
This book is written as a practical guide to enrich any relationship within 30 days.  By following Susie’s method, you will see effective results.  Some changes will happen instantly and others will be a continued improvement for a life-long rich investment.  This is a sure way of increasing the value of your relationships significantly.
These tried & true techniques will leave your relationships rich and rewarding!
She uses a simple combination of 3 parts:
Listening, to reduce tension.
Learning your loved ones, to deeper your connections.
Loving others well, to create a level of commitment.
The Author also gives us tips inside these parts that provide us with easy ways to practice as we train ourselves to listen, learn, and love others.
This entire unique guideline sounds easy, and while it is..it is also challenging.  It challenges our hearts to put others above ourselves, and to set our selfishness aside.   The reward is a promising improvement in any relationship whether at work or home.  Each relationship can be transformed by these steps and leave you immersed by positive interaction with all the people in your life!
Pick up a copy today!
ISBN paperback 978-1-939447-74-6
ISBN Ebook 978-1-939447-85-2
Dunham Books
Blythe Daniel Agency

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Praying Upside Down Book Review

by Kelly O’ Dell Stanley 

A creative prayer experience to transform your time with God

 When you talk to God, do you ever wonder if He hears?  Do your prayers feel uninspired or routine?  Do you sometimes feel like you don’t even know how to pray?

 Try praying upside down.

Kelly O’ Dell Stanley uses her history of visual writings & inspirational techniques, to engage with her readers at an artistic level.  She utilizes art and prayer and creates a picture of how to change your perspective when entering into communication with God.
If you have ever had a prayer that has been left unanswered, or felt as though your prayer time was a one-way conversation; you will receive great insight from reading this book.
She suggests that since Jesus was unlike anyone else, we also are free to be unique…and this also applies to our prayer time.  Praying Upside Down is a great reminder that as we serve Jesus, He calls us to do things a bit different.
Jesus tells in Matthew Chapter 5 that His kingdom looks a bit different as well.
He says that the poor will inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Those that are mourning are comforted.
The meek will inherit the earth.
The persecuted will receive the kingdom of heaven.
This all is upside down.
Kelly encourages us to look at things differently and to change our perspective on prayer by moving into a different spot…This change of viewpoint will ignite our prayer life and ultimately transform our time with God.
I recommend this as casual reading and also as a small group study.
ISBN 978-1-4143-8983-7
Tyndale Publishers
Blythe Daniel Agency
269 pgs
8 wk study guide sold separately
 
   
 

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Fearlessly Living Afraid

Everyone has something they’re afraid of.  Some common fears I can list are being scared of heights, big crowds, driving in fast traffic, flying, speaking in public…etc.  They tend to make your heart beat just a bit faster and your palms sweat, bearing witness to your anxiousness.  It is normal to have a fear of something; something that would stretch you beyond your limits.

These are obvious fears, each has his own…I know mine, you know yours.

What about the things that you don’t know your afraid of though, or maybe not admitted that you are afraid of?

These are deeply embedded fears,  Fears that control your life,  your thoughts, and your decisions.  They are hidden, maybe you don’t even realize that you have them stored away.

I went to a Christian Writers Conference called She Speaks a few weeks back.  Two of my dearest friends ventured with me on a long drive across several states to meet up with like-minded women with a passion and fervor to write & speak for the glory of God.  It was something I had been looking forward to for almost a year.

While traveling down the road with the best girls, listening to my favorite tunes, & heading to the opportunity of a lifetime…I hear a question pop into my heart.

“Why are you afraid, Amy?”

Huh!  Where did that come from??  “I’m not afraid,” I thought back.

“Yes, you are.”

I was stumped into silence.  “Lord, what am I afraid of?”

I knew it was Him.  Only He would pose a question to me like that at a time when I thought I could conquer the world.

“Why do you home-school?” (I have kept my daughter home from public school for 5 years)

Well, I had many answers to that question, so I started pitching them all out.

“First off…it’s better.  I mean, she doesn’t have to conform to the world this way.  She is free to learn at her own pace.  It creates a longer presence of innocence.  I can focus on spiritual teachings and help develop her relationship with you.  It limits secularism….”  On and on, I fed Him my rap list of all the right answers.

Blah
Blah
Blah….is actually what it probably sounded like.

“That sounds good Amy, but your lying.”

What! No….how could I have been lying.  I started to check my heart, I don’t want to lie.  What am I missing here?

He posed the first question to me again…
“What are you afraid of?”

Something broke open inside of my heart.  My spirit resonated that there was in fact something I was afraid of and wasn’t admitting.

I carefully whispered through my thoughts back to Him,
“I am afraid she will get hurt.”
My eyes welled up.  My chest felt heavy and tight, I knew that He was exposing something deeper in me that I had hid away.

“I am afraid that you won’t keep her safe Lord.”

And there it was.. the nail was hit on the head!  Truth exposed!  I didn’t trust God to take care of her for me.

Graciously the conversation continued on and instead of leaving me to wallow in my wretchedness, He spoke again.

“Do you believe I created you for a reason?”
“Yes, Lord.”

“Do you believe I created her for a reason?”
“Of course, Lord.”

“They why wont you trust that the purpose I have for her is good?”
 “Why wont you let me use her?”

The decision for us to home-school her was great in the beginning.  It was enriching and we have enjoyed her being home.  In the past, I may or may not have done it for the right reasons, but this year, He showed me that I had based my entire decision on fear instead of truth.

The choice to school her at home this year was not based on what was best for her, but instead it was based on what was best for my heart.

What a mighty stop sign fear can be!

It can put God’s plans for your life to a complete halt.  Fear has the ability to freeze you in place when you are supposed to move.  It encourages you to be comfortable when God wants you to rely on His strength and do something different, daring, or dynamic!

The inner fears that stop you from God’s purpose are an enemy to your existence.  They snuff out the good things God wants you to approach, and you miss out on life altogether.

There is always something that will speed up your beats per minute…but living fearlessly while still being afraid, allows you to feel scared while relying deeply on God to sustain you.

It’s OK to be afraid, but it is not OK to position yourself as a stalemate and not move at all!

Right now examine yourself…ask Him, “What is it that I am afraid of?  What fears do you have that prevent you from being used by God?”

At the She Speaks conference, the Lord revealed to me an entire web of fear that I had tucked away.  He showed me what I was truly afraid of and how it was disabling my life.  I came home a different person; a different mother.

Today I walked her into her first day of class.
My mind was petrified, my heart was still…and God is with her.
I say to my fears…”I trust my God!”

And with that, I know her purpose will be great, because the God who created her is just that…Great!

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At What Price? by s.a. Morgan #LookingUp 7


Thank you Amy for allowing me to share my thoughts, and my poem on this very difficult topic
with you, your friends, and your readers. 

This is a polarizing subject and many will not share or appreciate my point of view, nor will they be happy with the message in my poem… so be it!

How do I write my poems; where do I get my inspirations from? It’s different every time.
Sometimes it’s a beautiful place or an interesting person; it could be a photograph, or maybe,
a single word… or two… or three!
One word:   ‘Abortion’
Two words:   ‘Planned Parenthood’
Three words:   ‘Selling fetus parts’
Shall I go on, or can you see something wrong with this picture? Well I did… and I DO!
I don’t believe in abortion, period. But I also do not believe that it is up to me to judge someone
else on their choices; that’s God’s department. What I would be happy to sit in a court of law
and pass judgement on is, the deplorable act of SELLING for profit, human baby fetus parts, or
any human parts for that matter.
When I originally heard about this travesty, I was speechless.  I’m not any more.
The attached photos are of human fetuses that are both developed to 11 weeks…
Which one pleases you?
Which one makes you smile?
Which one makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy?
Which one will grow up and say, “I love you”?
Two words, 8 letters each; change only 2 of those letters and you get-
Two completely different outcomes:
aBoRtion
aDoPtion
               (click to enlarge poem)
 Thank you for taking the time to read this..I know this poem may have created feelings that make you uncomfortable.  You may even feel that it’s un-called for, or over-dramatized.  I may lose readers because of this post & continue to get nasty comments due to my stand against abortion & the newest claims against Planned Parenthood.  I understand we don’t all see things the same way, I love you either way.
People have always been divided on issues such as this; I know this will be no different.  If you can see my heart in the things I post, I pray that you will stick around and continue to visit me each week.  Please link up if you have a favorite post you would like to share below by going to the link up tab.  I would love to encourage you to keep reading & keep writing!

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Why I Love the Planned Parenthood Videos + Link Up #6

I’ve seen the videos..the information..the evidence.
You have seen them also.

There is no denying what has happened, still happening.  It cannot be denied what Planned Parenthood participates in by the information we now have.

News reports have been out for years, articles of conspiracy and contradiction, portraying their agenda as wicked & ugly.  We all know, admitted or not, that they highly support abortion.  Most organizations that support a cause/right/case like they support Roe vs. Wade, do so with a agenda far beyond caring for others.  What I mean by that is, it should be no shock that they were not supporting abortion for the “rights of the women”, they were supporting it because THEY benefit from it.

Evidence is leaking all over America about the greed and prosperity people seek on the backs of others.  Just as a sympathetic appearing PP worker can look at a desperate mother and lie, many other people, companies, government officials, do this every single day.  It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing stage presentation, if I may say.

When I first saw the video, I laughed.  I know that sounds incredibly insensitive, especially as a Christ believer and follower.  Please let me explain.

As a mother of 5 living children and 11 failed pregnancies, PP has always been a rival enemy to my heart!  I support nothing that they stand for.  I don’t buy into their, “women’s rights” theme, as many of the children that are murdered under their counsel are little girls that would make a great impact in our world.

I would never send someone to them for their free counseling or pregnancy tests, as I know the great detriment they have caused.  I have looked at their site online and it infuriates me that they have influence over, not only adult women, but teenage girls.  They partner with organizations to influence our children at an even earlier age, which I can hardly bear to talk about without feeling justified rage.

What is even harder for me to comprehend is the mindset of the women who fall for this grand scheme.  It breaks my heart to know that they BELIEVE what they are told by sympathetic words and pretty graphics on the PP site.  How did we get to be so swayed from truth?  Why would these girls…women choose to eliminate their own lineage over the challenge of raising a baby?

Here are some quotes that I have heard women say…
“What I would give to hear my baby’s heartbeat again…”
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss my baby…”
“It was the worst day of my life…I will never forget…”

As a mother of miscarried babies, and Co-Founder of Faith N Fertility, you would assume that these quotes came from mothers of children who suffered from pregnancy loss.  But they are not…they are from the hearts of women who have had abortions.

Why I love the PP videos…
Why it made me laugh…

Because Jesus is who He says He is.  He is doing what He said He would do.
He brings into light every hidden thing..HE EXPOSES THEM.
Now, there is nothing we can deny.  It’s not in written form, where many people have failed to read the statistics, or chose to not ingest the details of how they murder children.

Now it is viral.  The whole world knows what we do to our young, and how there is a profit made on it.  They see the severed arms and legs of a 11 wk baby, that has been named “fetus” or “blob”

They see.
We see.
Jesus sees.

I don’t find this funny AT ALL!!  My reaction of laughing was simply focused towards God’s enemy.  It was a response to Jesus bringing into truth, what the enemy of God wanted to keep hidden.  It just struck me funny, that once again the enemy was found out!

Caught! Captured! Defeated! 

It was a victory smile that says, I am so glad that the Lord put a face and a camera to what they were doing.

And because of this, we have a great responsibility to not support it.  Many say, “I don’t support PP.”  But do they??

If you look at the list on the link below you will see that many of your everyday products are made and produced by companies that not only support PP, but offer their employees a match in donation.  Make yourself aware; but please understand this, once you see this list, you will be responsible.

Before I knew…I just wasn’t aware.  Now that I do…my actions have to be in line with my beliefs.
It is not easy to eliminate these things out of my life but it IS a necessity.  I refuse to have blood on my hands, in my kitchen cabinets, or in my food… I choose to not purchase these items any longer and to continue becoming more aware of aligning what I say & what I do with the truth God reveals.

For your benefit, I have listed several articles you may want to read.  Please educate yourself on this matter.  These children need you to be their voice.

http://www.numberofabortions.com/  *As I write this it’s not even noon, and over 1500 boys & girls have died today.

http://dailysignal.com/2015/07/21/meet-the-41-companies-that-donate-directly-to-planned-parenthood/  *38 Companies that support Planned Parenthood

http://www.monicaboyer.com/planned-slaughterhood/?utm_content=bufferc500d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer   *Educational video & article on the reality of what has happened.

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/02/19/girl-scouts-ties-to-planned-parenthood-date-back-to-the-1970s/  *The Girl Scouts participation with PP has been a debate, there are several articles that point strongly to their involvement.

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Guest Blogger; Tammy Gerber + Link Up #5

Today my guest blogger is Tammy Gerber.  She is a great friend & writer who has inspired me for many years in my walk with Jesus.  Join her today as she tells about an event that happened in her life that she will never forget.

Tammy can be contacted through her blog at www.oneraindancer.com 
You can also visit her facebook page at facebook.com/oneraindancer
Waiting For Morning…
October, 2003 – This can’t be happening. Am I really riding in the front seat of this ambulance right now? Is my husband really in the back on the stretcher? Did I hear them say they couldn’t find his blood pressure? Jesus, it’s too much! Where are you? Please don’t let him die! I can’t handle anymore loss right now. I will not survive it.
My mind flashed quickly back over the previous five months, remembering all the awful details…finally getting pregnant after eight years of trying – the miscarriage at work in the bathroom on Mother’s Day – finding out I was pregnant again three months later – losing both twins, one at nine and one at ten weeks – watching my baby drop into the toilet in my bathroom, laying on the bathroom floor and weeping for my children I would never know on this earth – the blank screen during my ultrasound….
That was only two weeks ago, Lord! Now this? My husband is having some bizarre anaphylactic reaction and I’m going to have to watch him die…I can’t do this. I cannot do it. My brain was not registering it. My heart was already broken. Panic hit with full force; I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Jesus, HELP ME!
Have you ever had those moments? I call them “Bathroom Floor Moments.” I find myself in my bathroom on the floor when devastating grief and pain overcomes me. I don’t know why I go there. It feels private, I guess. I feel free to really let my emotions go in the bathroom with the door locked, where only God can hear me. Because of an Epi Pen, my husband survived. But my three babies did not. It all happened in a few short months. When we left the ER that day and my husband was asleep in bed, I laid down on my bathroom floor and sobbed. The tile felt like my heart – cold, hard, dead. The loneliness I felt was oppressive and dark. The loss felt like something I would not bear: the anxiety of the events planted fear deep in my soul.
There are times when the truth we know in our minds from Scripture and from the wisdom of others just cannot seem to penetrate the darkness and despair that surrounds our hearts. I knew Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Sometimes waiting for morning is just too painful. In those awful moments, it feels like morning may never come…
I longed for God to comfort me. If this was His will, then why wasn’t He comforting me through it? I did not feel His Presence. The pain and loss felt compounded because I couldn’t feel God’s comfort in it. I felt alone and abandoned. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the mornings and I had no energy to do anything. Prayer and reading my Bible felt hollow and empty (if I did it at all), and God felt far away and uncaring. I knew God’s Word was true, but I couldn’t see it, couldn’t feel it over the pain and hurt of so much loss, and over the death of a dream.
And the questions…so many questions about God’s purposes and plans for my life ran through my mind constantly. Why the miscarriages, Lord? After so much heartache and disappointment because of infertility, why would you allow us to lose all three babies? I had thousands of questions. Questions that a good Christian who trusts in a Sovereign God should not have, right…?
We serve a God who is not surprised or taken off guard by anything that happens to us. Does anyone else find that truth to be both comforting and disturbing? God is sovereign…my human brain cannot process this fully. This is where faith must come into the picture…
God used a book I read recently to shed some light on suffering and loss for me. It’s called, “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God” by John Piper and Justin Taylor. It is an amazing book: while it is definitely not light reading, it is totally worth digging in to.
The pain that Jesus experienced going to the cross helps me see how deeply He understands and relates to our suffering. In Gethsemane, His sorrow was so deep it was like death (Mathew 26:38). His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44). Jesus cried out to the One who could save Him from death. God heard His cries, but Jesus still died. “God heard His prayers, but rather than save him from pain and death, he chose for Jesus to walk on the road of suffering so that he might receive the greater joy of resurrection.” (1)  
I began studying the suffering and death of Jesus. It may sound simple, but it was profound for me to finally get it. Jesus can sympathize with us in our pain. He knows what it feels like to have a broken and crushed heart. He isn’t asking us to go through something he has never experienced. We serve a King who has suffered unimaginable things.
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. – Hebrews 4:15-16 (The Message).
I need to take the mercy, let the grace wash over me. Accept His help and His healing.
Jesus is a King who knows what it feels like to get a “no” from God. He begged for a different way, but God’s answer was no. And so Jesus stepped into the plan, knowing the pain that was coming, trusting His Father. He suffered more than any person in history. Sometimes, God’s answer to us is a very painful “no.” Sometimes, there is an even greater plan that needs carried out, even if we don’t fully understand it. Sometimes, Jesus is asking us to hang on and simply trust Him through the pain (easily said, SO hard to do). We must remember it is not about us. It’s never been about us. It’s always been about Him.
He is there with us every moment, even if we don’t feel Him because of the intensity of the pain. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m hurt, I withdraw and put a wall up around my heart, telling myself I can’t survive getting hurt again. I’m so thankful for God’s endless grace and mercy toward us in times of grief. He never gives up on us, even when we push Him away in anger and hurt. His unexplainable love for us can give us hope and comfort.
Jesus is our hope in a world that often feels hopeless and overwhelming.
God is Holy and loving and powerful. He is merciful and compassionate. He is only good. It’s so hard for us to believe that God is good all of the time when our hearts are broken.
Sometimes I cling to God simply because there is no one else to hold on to. And I believe that is okay. God wants us to know there isn’t anyone else like Him to hold on to when we’re in pain. God isn’t uncomfortable with our questions, doubts, or even our anger. He is a big God. He can handle it. He still loves us after we ask our questions and share our doubts with Him.
And just a practical tip here: give it time. It takes a lot of time. Keep taking your hurt and questions to God. Ask Him to show you what you need to know to heal, and trust Him with the rest. Look at your wounds instead of burying them. Cry about them. Bring them into the light and let God be God. He wants you to be whole. Be patient with yourself. God gives unending grace. Remember to extend grace to yourself too. Healing is not a fast process. Please don’t run from it like I did. This is something I learned the hard way from experience. Trust Him. If you choose to trust, this is where God teaches and restores and heals. This is where miracles happen. He “binds up” the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1). He is the Great Physician and He specializes in heart-healing.
I also believe a huge part of the healing process is that God uses your story to help and comfort others. We can love and comfort others by not pretending it isn’t that bad or giving a “quick fix” answer. We love others by crying with them, by sitting with them in the silence (our silence is okay!), and by holding their hand. We can bring comfort most when we are changed by what we went through, by what someone else is going through, and when we let ourselves feel and see the depth of other’s pain.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
God uses our experiences to help others who are experiencing similar pain. As Beth Moore says, “Only God can turn our misery into ministry.” It is redemption to take our pain and our healed wounds and use them to help someone else find healing through Jesus.
This song by Meredith Andrews called, “Not For A Moment,” gives me such encouragement and hope. I hope it will for you too.
Jesus, You are our hope when there is no other hope. You not only want us to find victory and healing when we are hurting, but You want us to know You are with us in and during our pain. You are a Savior who has suffered as we suffer. I love Meredith’s song that says, “You were singing in the dark, whispering your promise, even when I could not hear. I was held in Your arms, carried for a thousand miles to show, not for a moment did you forsake me.” You are our Savior and we love You, Lord. We praise You for the miracle of healing our wounded hearts. And when we are ready, when our morning finally comes, give us the courage to walk with other’s who are still waiting. Amen.
*** I found many helpful and healing Scriptures as I researched this difficult topic. I encourage you to look them up, write them down around your house, and say them out loud. Satan runs away from God’s spoken Word.
God’s Word heals and it changes hearts.
Here are some of my favorites:
Lamentations 3:22-25
Psalm 46:1-2, 10-11
Isaiah 53:4-5
Hebrews 13:5
Isaiah 43:1-2
Psalm 126:3,5-6
Psalm 27:13-14
Psalm 34:18
Source:
(1) – John Piper and Justin Taylor (2006). “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God”: Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL, pg. 185.

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Guest Blogger s.a. Morgan #LookingUp

s.a. Morgan  Three Days; Risen + Link Up #4

My guest post for today comes from s.a. Morgan, an outstanding person of great feeling.  I ran into her through social media earlier this year and since then have been fan of her unique writings.  I hope you enjoy one of her newer pieces titled, “Three Days; Risen.”  

You can visit her personal page at Occasionally a poet
If you are a fellow blogger visiting today; make note that Thursday is also #LookingUp Link Up day!!  At the end of our post you will find a place to enter in your favorite links to your blogs.  I would love to read what you have been up to and make some new connections.
Now…off to s.a. Morgan: 

I would like to thank Amy for this opportunity to share another piece of my poetry with you. She is a true believer and follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ and a writer of beautiful Christian life inspiration.

I don’t know what was rolling around in my sub-conscience the other day when I had a pondering moment about the crucifixion of Jesus and all those involved. I have never before thought about what the Apostles might have been going through emotionally during those last four days prior to the Resurrection of Christ. Suddenly it occurred to me that they must have been terrified of the events taking place.

I feel the state of the world today, with the persecution of Christians and the elimination of God, Jesus Christ and the Good Book from our public domain, for some of us, the remaining believers, is just a fraction of what the Apostles went through as Jesus was taken away from them; but in so many ways, it is the same. Maybe that is what I was thinking when I wrote: “Three Days; Risen”

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Consider pinning #LookingUp to your pinterest page…let’s share the party!!
 

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The Liebster Award + Link Up #3

I am very grateful to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Karen Sweeney-Ryall.  You can see her passion and love for Jesus at  www.becommingmybestme.com

On her blog she describes herself as,  “a devoted follower of Jesus and my prayer is that His light shines through me and His love flows through me to others.”

If you are looking for encouragement from someone who understands the hardships of life; please swing by and see Karen.

Thank you Karen for nominating me for this award!

The Liebster Award is given to newer bloggers. 
Here are the requirements:

1. You must have less than 200 followers
2. Answer 11 questions
3. Nominate 11 others who have less than 200 followers
4. Create 11 new questions
5. Tell your nominees through social media


HERE ARE THE 11 QUESTIONS THAT KAREN ASKED ME TO ANSWER:

1. What is the burning passion in your heart?  To see people that are in times of heartache & pain turn towards God instead of turning away from Him.

2. What are your hobbies and interests that bring refreshment and joy to your soul?  I love to write, spending time visiting new places/traveling with my family, & tromping around our farm in mud boots.

3. Where is your favorite spots to sit and fellowship with God? How do you set an atmosphere?

I enjoy a quiet house with a cup of coffee, library, or coffee shop.  I often journal ideas and thoughts to Him down and later go back as to remind myself of How good He is to me.  I also like to play worship music low while we spend time together.

4. Describe your 3 best qualities.  I can encourage others even when I feel down in the dumps, I love to put thoughts on paper, and making my kids laugh.

5. Who is your favorite author?   James in the Word of God is my favorite author.  God used him to express a teaching that is critical, straight-forward, and is desperately needed in all times of history.

6. What is your favorite quote?  “Because he loves me, says the Lord…” Psalm 91

7. How do you like to start off your day?  My favorite mornings include a cup of hot coffee while sitting on my porch with pen &paper

8. Please share a little about your family or favorite significant people in your life?  My husband & I have been married 15 years.  We have 5 kids and 3 grandchildren that were hand-picked just for us.  Our kiddos range in age from 22 yrs to 1.5 yrs old.  I also have a small group of close friends that are precious to me.

9. Who has been your greatest role model?  A friend named Jill; who is selfless, sweet, and loyal to God even when it doesn’t feel good.

10. What are your favorite foods?  Tacos, Zucchini, Pizza, & Tacos…I love food!  I love a cold glass of unsweetened tea.

11. What are 3 goals you have this month?  Prepare a book proposal for publisher meetings, keep up with our garden, & have a date night with my husband.

HERE ARE THE LADIES THAT I NOMINATE FOR THE NEXT LIEBSTER AWARD
NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE LINKY PARTY.  THANKS FOR JOINING ME AGAIN THIS WEEK!!

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Trading God for a lie + Link Up

If you take a quick look around you can see people everywhere falling away from God.
It requires no special attention to come to that conclusion; it is plain, it is worldwide, it is everyday!
Here are the series of events that take place when a person decides they no longer are interested in God or His offer of salvation. In Romans Chapter 1, God explains how and why the wrath of God comes upon mankind.

11 STEPS 

BELIEVING TRUTH to BELIEVING LIES

1. God makes Himself known to man in a plain and simple way. 
          He does this so that there is no excuse.

2. Man doesn’t glorify God and does not give thanks to Him.

3. God allows mans thinking to becomes futile and man’s heart becomes dark.

4. Man says he is wise but is really becoming foolish.  He soon decides that other things are “God” in his life.

5. God releases man over to the sinful desires of his heart.

6. Man exchanges the truth of God for a lie and start to worship other things.

7. God gives him over to lust.

8. Man refuses to learn or retain any knowledge or truth about God

9. God then gives him over to a depraved mindset, and man does what he knows he shouldn’t.

10. Man is given over to wickedness and every form of it.

11. Man still knows better; but continues to do wrong and celebrate others who are like himself.

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And there they are…the common steps of walking away, falling away, whatever you may call it.
Man knows better & God allows him to choose.

It isn’t a natural thing for us to choose something other then God.  Our hearts do chase sin but somewhere inside of us…we know better.  Our spirits are yearning to be with God; to be part of Him and be connected with him.  As even simple animals understand instinct; our instinct is to be called, connected, and cared for by our Creator.  

Somewhere deep inside us we scream, “No!” when we choose ourselves over God.

Whenever we do anything against God we really know better.  We we lie, cheat, slander, etc, we know we really shouldn’t.  People that get caught can admit it, others sometimes let pride lie for them and pretend they knew no better.  But regardless, no one is without excuse.

Ever since we were children we knew God existed & I say that as a Christ persecutor until I was 26 yrs old.  I admit I knew better.  At the time, I had ran through the steps in Romans 1 myself & God stepped aside while I entertained myself with the world.  He loved me but moved over and let me go.

We can verbally explain God away but that doesn’t mean that what we say is true.

His invisible qualities doesn’t make the visible parts of Him unseen.
And so, we still lay eyes on Him everyday even though we deny Him with our hearts- and He still loves us.

If you recall the steps in Romans, you notice that step 1 in the equation is having no excuse and
step 2 is forgetting God.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been on step 2.  I started to begin looking at my desires more then God…wanting them more then I wanted Him.  I would spend countless hours reading, researching, and browsing the Internet and not even glance at God’s Word.  Step 2 is where my heart would begin to wander.  I stopped recognizing Him; stopped thanking Him.. It is where I tread on dangerous ground.

Step 3  -God moves away and allows darkness to come.

In between steps 2 & 3 I have sat a many days, as a unbeliever and even as a follower of Jesus.
This is the time of deciding if you will continue looking inward at what you crave & desire or will you recognize your need for God above all else.  It’s the time that God exhibits His qualities and positions Himself in a mercy stance towards you.  His posture says that He doesn’t care that you have turned away as long as you turn back to Him.

No one will ever be that loyal to you
That loving.
That genuine.

When you realize that His attributes cannot be received from anyone or anything in this world, you will see your need for Him.  Then you can chose to sprint back to the One who loves you; or chase the futility of what’s around you.  

If you chose to return to God; you will admire the fact that He knows how badly you really need Him; but overall He just wants you to want Him.

Thank you all for joining me this week!  Now it is time for our Thursday #LookingUp Link Up!!
Please join me and share this link with your friends..I enjoy reading your posts and look forward to seeing what all you have written this week.  🙂

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