HAND in HAND with GOD...WE CAN HELP END HUMAN TRAFFICKING + SLAVERY

HAND in HAND with GOD...WE CAN HELP END HUMAN TRAFFICKING + SLAVERY
Order your copy today!(all profits from sale of the book go to the International Justice Mission(www.ijm.org) Click the book!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Gift


With the Christmas season upon us, it is so tempting to be caught up in all the hustle and bustle of gift buying, decorating and baking that we risk missing out on the most valuable gift...Jesus. He came humbly as a baby, innocent, helpless and totally dependent on his earthly parents for everything. He was poor and born into chaotic circumstances much like many in the world today. He left His Father in heaven to become our salvation from sin. He came to seek and save the lost. to rescue the oppressed, serve the poor and restore light to the dark places in this world. He didn't remain a baby. He grew and set himself to action and He calls each one of us to do the same. Who of us doesn't want to see our world in a state of peace rather than chaos and suffering being the norm? We can do it with the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus commissioned us. I came across this video that I hope will touch your heart this Christmas season and beyond. I pray for your heart to be spurred on to action, to love, and compassion for all mankind. I pray that you open your heart to God's love and accept the most precious valuable gift ever given to you.


In God's love...Mary


Click the link to watch the video...May you receive God's gift to you this Christmas!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyUT2O9pzF4&feature=player_detailpage

Friday, December 17, 2010

Anchor in the Storm

Storms will come and storms will go.

Waves may toss us too and fro.

But Jesus came to save the lost

So hold tight to Him no matter the cost.

There is nothing on earth that will ever compare,

To the security He brings when our life meets despair.

He is our anchor, our light in the dark.

He won't let us be devoured by hungry sharks.

He chases the enemy, calms the waves

Keeps us afloat with His hand that saves.

He soothes with His word, always faithful and true

He plugs the holes in our boat so we don't fall through.

Give Him a chance

Call out His name.

Reach for His hand.

You'll never be the same.

You will find that in spite of the treacherous storms,

He's restored what's been broken, tattered, and torn.

Covering over the damages done,

Replacing storm clouds of doubt, with the warm hope of sun.

Anchor yourself with Jesus today...

And you'll sail through the storms not get tossed in the waves.
Blessings,
Mary


Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's in a Bicycle?



Here is an example of some of the after care efforts that the International Justice Mission provides to those they rescue. Something as simple as a bicycle can mean the difference between simply surviving vs. thriving.
In India, Former Slaves Explore Freedom - On Bicycles(Information taken from IJM web site http://www.ijm.org/)
Thursday, 26 August 2010
BANGALORE, INDIA – What does a bicycle mean? This symbol of sport and leisure for many signifies something quite different in IJM’s anti-slavery casework in India. To a recently-rescued victim of forced labor slavery, a bicycle can be a pivotal tool in the emancipation process, as it expands life choices, broadens horizons and makes the long road to freedom easier to travel.
Being able to travel freely is a new experience for some IJM clients. While trapped in slavery, even if granted permission to temporarily leave the facility, forced laborers are often required to leave a family member behind as “collateral” to ensure their swift return. They watch those who try to escape suffer brutal beatings. Every day, they are reminded that they live in a confined world; they are not free to leave, to move.

IJM Bangalore clients, including Theerthagiri (top image, far left), test out their new bicycles.After partnering with local authorities to rescue victims of slavery, IJM walks alongside the former slaves, empowering them to rebuild their lives after years inside the brick kiln, rock quarry or rice mill. And as part of this process, IJM Bangalore invests in clients’ futures by presenting them with their own bicycles. Regional Aftercare Manager Robert Amirtharaj explains: “IJM decided to give bicycles to released victims when we realized the potential this simple, often taken for granted provision could have on the lives of deserving victims and their families.”

New OpportunitiesA bicycle mobilizes freed slaves in several ways. Bicycles can play a critical role in generating income for families who have their own small farms, as it provides a means to bring their produce to the market for sale. One client explains, “My brother takes the [bicycle] to go to the closest market, which is seven kilometers away from our village,” as he is unable to do so himself, due to chronic pain from injuries he sustained at the hands of a kiln owner. A bicycle also supports even more basic elements of the rehabilitation process by enabling essential transportation for those who live in rural villages – particularly significant in finding fair-paying, sustainable employment. Many IJM clients live so remotely that a bicycle provides newfound mobility; in the most remote villages buses come rarely, and not at fixed times, so they cannot be relied upon for daily transportation to jobs outside of the village. But with the bicycle, IJM client Theerthagiri explains he can “go to work on time and finish work and go home at the end of the day,” rather than remain at the facility overnight due to the lack of bus service.
We realized the potential this simple, often taken for granted provision could have.— Robert Amirtharaj, IJM Regional Aftercare Manager Being able to travel for work opens up new opportunities: Rather than settling for underpaid work and treatment reminiscent of their former bondage simply because a job is nearby, these men and women can take advantage of expanded options to secure adequate compensation for their labor.As one client explains, “I take the bicycle and I go to work in a town five kilometers from here. When I go there for work, I get paid more there than at my village.” “Now we are happy to go to work” Theerthagiri, who was rescued from slavery in a brick kiln in May 2009 and received a bicycle in October 2009, conveys how the bicycle has impacted his life: “Since receiving the bicycle, [my wife and I] are happy… I used to feel discouraged … because I had to travel such long distances… [But] having the bicycle helps me look around for work. Finding work has become relatively easy now that we have a way to get around. Now we are happy to go to work, even if it’s farther away…We can get there in time and go back home afterward.”
IJM Bangalore aftercare workers determine which clients will receive a bicycle case-by-case, based on compelling need or circumstance and stewardship of other IJM provisions. Currently, the program is in its initial stages, but the hope is to continue and expand this endeavor. Robert explains, “The reasons for giving bicycles may seem obvious or commonsensical, but when we consider these in the context of their life situations, the bicycles become quite profound as we better understand the clients’ needs.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Birth Announcement!!!!

Yes! I have given birth! No...not to a human baby, but to my first published book. It felt much like the birth of a baby. A lot of anticipation, care, hard work, and push, push, pushing it out. It was finally delivered on October 28th. That date having great significance, because it also happens to be the date of my first child's birth day, so my first child and my first book were delivered on the same day...how cool is that.

What's so special about this book? Well, there are several things that make it special. First, it was inspired by a time in my life when difficulties were running rampant, and God gave me the outlet of expressing myself through poetry. Second, it is a ministry book. Not only ministering to peoples heart and spirit, but also all the profits from the sale of the book are going to a Christian organization called the International Justice Mission, to help put an end to the injustice and tragedy of human trafficking and slavery. Last but not least, it is part of me that I can share with you. I believe God calls each one of us to share the gift and talents he has given us. All we have is because of Him, so I am proud to share this book of poetry and scripture with you. In a way it's God's gift of voice He has given to me.

Hand in Hand With God is a collection of poetry geared towards inspiring its reader to a deeper faith in Christ, by taking His hand and walking the road of life together with Him. It is my hope that as you read, you feel His presence in a real and meaningful way.

I thank God for taking my hand and walking me through this project. Stay tuned for more news about the mission that this book supports. I am excited to get started...
Micah 6:8..."He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Safe in Gods Hands


This morning as I prayed, God revealed this little snail on the ground at mt feet. I picked it up. it was securely encased in it's shell at the time and I placed it in the palm of my hand. For a long time it stayed safely hidden in its shell, but after a while of being very still, it started to venture out. I thought a moment about this, and a picture formed in my mind. We are very much like this little snail. We all tend to hide ourselves away when the world around us becomes too scary, big, and ominous. It is only when we feel safe and secure that we can begin to advance. The only place we can truly feel this kind of security in when we are resting in Gods hands. There we are safe, there we are protected, and there we can explore the world around us without apprehension. As with the snail, things will come along and scare us back into our shell, but when we stay in the protective shelter of God hands we don't feel the need to stay inside our shell for long. The other interesting thing about this snail is the shell that acts as a protection also can be seen as a heavy burden it carries. Sometimes our burdens and troubles become our refuge. It's our default shelter because it's all we've ever known, so its no wonder that we go back inside the heavy shell. But when we find ourselves in the hands of God, there is no going back for long. His gentleness and love draws us out, encourages us and lightens the burdens we carry by helping to carry the load. We find ourselves in a place of peace and freedom, a place we want to stay, as we move forward, be it ever so slowly, growing up in the Kingdom of God to fulfill the plan God Himself has planned for us.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Taking Time, Finding Rest

The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."...Exodus 33:14


Lord, our lives get so busy,

We lose sight of what is true.

Productivity become our idol

Always seeking more to do.

It's a trap we all fall into,

Thinking more is always best.

Relaxing seems a waste of time

And it's laziness to rest.

The world keeps moving faster.

We try hard to keep the pace.

Feeling worthless when we're tired;

And need a break from life's cruel race.

Lord, You never called it lazy

Taking time to spend with You.

It's in those quiet moments

That Your presence can shine through.

Let us just remember

As we go about our days

In His presence rest is given

When we follow in His ways.
M.D.







































Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dry Ground





"This is what the LORD says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams." - Isaiah 44:2-4(NIV)


Have you ever gone through a dry season in your life or in your ministry? Listen to Gods words through the prophet Isaiah... "Do not be afraid"...could it be in those dry times in our lives that it is fear that is our drying agent, leaving us cracked and thirsting for that life giving water? Fear can cause all progress to stop. It paralyzes, limits growth, creates doubt, holds us back, and sucks us dry from the joy and prosperity that God has planned for us.


The antidote for fear is faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." God wants our complete and total faith in Him and Him alone. Ultimately we have the choice...once we identify the fear...we can either choose to give in to it or surrender it to God, trusting that He will help us overcome. Being sure of what we hope for. Maybe God uses the dry times in our lives to point out our fears. God wants us thirsty for Him. Consider the dry times, have we lost sight of His power and promise? He is the source of life giving water. He will continually pour out His life giving water on our dry and thirsty land and His Spirit upon those whose trust rests in Him. That is God's promise...the key to claiming it...Do not be afraid...Trust God.








Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Water of Life

Spirit of God, wash over me
Cleansing my mind of impurity
Fill up the cracks, revealing my leaks
Wash away all the obstacles keeping me weak.
Rush over my soul with waves of Your power
Strengthen my faith hour by hour.
Renew my heart with Your life giving rain
Quenching my thirst, removing my pain.
Plant me by a stream where Your waters flow.
As continuous nourishment to help me grow.



"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."...Psalm 1:1-3



Friday, July 2, 2010

Morning Walk




"It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!"
Psalm 92:1-5


Walking through the forest this morning, I noticed the sun emerging from it's sleep. It crept through the forest trees, creating such perfect clarity. It's light shown and danced with glimmers of hope for the coming day. I thought about God and His perfect plan for creation. God has provided all we need for each day. It's right there within our reach. but so often we are stuck in our own dark forest, and we can't see anything clearly. It is only when we look to God for our direction that we become aware of the light He gives. He sends those glimpses of light through His word, others, and nature...shining hope into our lives...In Him we will never lose our way.

Thank You Lord God for shining so brightly through your SON, Jesus...who is the SON light for our days. I sing Your praises Lord, You are good and supply all our needs, big or small. I sing Your praises with a grateful heart that we were created and chosen to be Your children, and You delight in Your creation...Help us to be aware of those gifts of light and clarity throughout our day...That we may bring glory to Your Name...Amen

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Raging Sea and Tranquility

Living in a broken sin filled world, we often find ourselves sailing through some pretty intense storms. God reminds me time and time again of the story in the Gospel(Matthew 8:23-26) of Jesus calming the storm that rose up in the night as He was sleeping. Panicked, the apostles quickly woke their Master, asking what they were going to do? They were beside themselves with worry! Calmly, Jesus looked to His friends and asked them why they were so afraid, where was their faith? They had seen the power and authority Jesus displayed first hand, through numerous other miracles and yet fear rose up inside their hearts at the threat of drowning in the storm. With a word, Jesus instantly quelled the storm, and though they had seen this power many times before...the apostles were still amazed that this could be, and asked themselves who is this that can calm the sea? I am so thankful that we serve a God who wants us to believe and will continue to be patient and show us until we do. We know we can trust Jesus, because we can recall all of things He has already done and know that He who has power over the heavens and the earth, nature, health, creation, and even death keeps us held in the palm of His hand...it is for us to believe! Remember all that He has done and keep Jesus in your boat. Trusting Him...we will not drown. The storms may be raging around us, but in the shelter of our boat with Jesus, we will find tranquility.

My Boat

Sitting amidst the raging sea
A storm of great intensity,
Threatens to over turn the boat
I've used to keep my life afloat.

Ferocious winds whirling around
Create a chaotic deafening sound.
Infiltrating mass confusion,
Injecting doubt with fierce intrusion.

I brace myself, holding tight,
At Satan's attempt to shake my life.
Breeding fear with my boat's destruction;
Tearing at it's sound construction.

But I've got faith in the One who saves.
I'll look to Him to calm the waves,
And quell the worries in my mind...
In trusting Him, true peace I'll find.

In the midst of this impending storm
I'll find myself mended instead of torn,
Because Jesus is there in the boat with me.
Comforting, strengthening,and setting me free.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How Are Your Roots?


Yesterday,on my walk, I saw a huge tree fallen in the woods. It looked perfectly healthy, but the roots had rotted away, causing it to fall. God spoke to me, calling to mind all that has transpired throughout my life...He reminded me that what I am doing right now is building strong roots in Him, so I am able to withstand the winds and storms and opposition that arises through my life. Abiding in Him gives my roots nourishment. Trusting Him moment by moment makes my roots grow deep, obedience spreads them wide, and faith strengthens them, resisting decay. God's love is the water that causes them to grow, remain healthy, and bear fruit. Like trees, we all need to build a good root system in order to grow into who God meant us to be. And like a tree, this is a life long process, but without good, strong, healthy roots to draw our strength from each day, we will eventually fall, succumbing to the force of life's storm's. With a good root system in place, we will be able to weather the storms, we may have some branches broken off, but that's just God's way of pruning us making us ready for new growth. Sometimes, the pruning is hard, making us feel naked and abandoned, but it's our roots that sustain us in those times, and before we know it, there are new shoots sprouting from within. God is good, He is faithful and in Him is our strength for each day.
My prayer for us all is the same as that of the Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 3:14-21-
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to 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 glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trust



Trust in the Lord with all your heart
Lean not on your own understanding.
When we try to go it on our own
We're in for a bumpy landing.

Faith in God requires action
Stepping out, so fear steps back
Relying on God to move us forward
Any way else, our courage will lack.

If we find ourselves looking inward
Dwelling on our own efficiency
The only answer is acknowledging God
Submitting to His sufficiency.

Then we can rest in God's provision
Faithful, He meets all our needs.
Never will we have to worry
When we walk the way our Father leads.

Let us then take heart, and not grow weary
With our hope in Christ, we're not alone
Each step we take, we lay up treasure
For the day our Father calls us home.


"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ...Proverbs 3:5-6

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal... Matthew 6:19-20






Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stop...Have You Taken Time With God Today?



"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7


Waiting on the Lord
Pondering His word
Delighting in His way
Praying through the day
Humbled by what He has to say.

Resting in His hands
He eases life's demands
Comforting my pain
Peace and joy exclaimed
Shining sunbeams through the rain.

Showered by His grace
Puts a smile on my face
Praise to Him I sing
My heart to Him I bring
Giving to Him thanks in everything.


I have a tendency to lose perspective of what is important in my life, getting caught up in doing things, an endless string of activity fills my days. All the "things I do" seem important, worthwhile and more often than not, provide a need for someone. My goal is to serve God, this is why I live. But some times in the serving, I get carried away. I find myself stressed out, my eyes lose focus on why I'm doing what I'm doing, and I find myself running from one thing to the next without much thought of Gods will in it, my eyes just focus on getting it done. The peace, joy, and contentment have drained away and in those times... God starts knocking at my heart. I've lost perspective..."doing" has taken the place of "being" and abiding in Him. I forget Jesus command in Mark 6:31, where after a long period of serving along with His disciples says: "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

Our society puts so much emphasis on productivity, in society our productivity defines us, our value, our worth. It is so easy to get drawn into this mindset, but God says NO...Our life with Him is not based on productivity at all, but in trust, believing, and obedience to His word. Time spent in quiet rest with Him is a huge part of serving God. This is where we come to know God's desires, He reveals the direction He wants us to take, He restores us and strengthens us to continue in His way. Remember to take time with the Lord, it is by far the most productive thing we can "DO"

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Operation

One week ago today I had surgery on my shoulder. The operation went well. I had never had surgery before, so I have to admit I was a bit nervous. I was knocked out by the anesthesia so quickly I didn't know or feel a thing! Piece of cake! This next 6 week phase, after the surgery is the challenging part. My whole life changed in the moment that I was fixed by the surgeon. I woke up with this huge sling holding my arm still(my right arm, and I'm right handed)I was given strict instructions on what I can and cannot do, and they scheduled me for a regimen of physical therapy to begin the very next day. For the past week, I haven't written much, but have been doing a lot of thinking about what God is trying to show me through this experience. This morning something hit me. A parallel between surgery and salvation!

Here's how it goes. My shoulder was broken,hurt, and in need of surgery in order to save and restore it back to use. We are much like my shoulder. Before we met with the master surgeon, Jesus Christ, we were broken, unable to function at our fullest potential. Something was missing, a part of us was dead. I went to the surgeon to regain use of my right arm, he was my only hope. We go to Jesus to restore our lives, He is our only hope. I had to surrender my arm into my surgeons hand, trusting his knowledge and experience to fix it. We too must fully surrender our lives into the hands of Jesus, trusting Him to come into our hearts and change us. In a couple hours, the surgeon fixed my arm, in a moment Jesus saves our life. It doesn't end there though, now I have to follow the instructions given by my surgeon to make my arm work again as it should, I need to listen and obey his instruction, trusting that if I do, I will be restored back to physical health. It's the same with our salvation. We made the choice to accept Jesus in to our lives, but that's not the end of the story, it's really just the beginning! In order to achieve the optimal benefits of our salvation we need to submit to God's instruction. God's word is our physical therapy! As we follow and obey, we become stronger and are able to use our spiritual muscles more and more. it's an ongoing process. Just as I, little by little, regain use of my arm by following my therapist's direction, by following God's direction we are becoming the person God has originally intended us to be.

Lord, I thank You that we can come to you for full restoration of our lives, that we no longer have to live enslaved with sin to hold us down. I thank you for your free gift of grace, I thank you for the invitation to come to you just as we are and that you willingly perform life changing operations everyday! Help us to follow your post-op instructions, trusting You with the outcome. Knowing You work all things for the good for those who love you according to Your purposes. Help us to be good patients and living testimonies of Your healing restoring power. All glory to You Lord...Amen




Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh What A Love!

Psalm 139 is of my very favorite Chapters in God's Word. This Psalm tells us some very important things about God's character and how He feels about each one of His children. In verses 1-4 tells us God knows us, intimately everything from the inside out. Verses 5-12 tells of Gods protection over us, He hems us in, goes behind and before us, He is with us always, shining His light, guiding our way. Verses 13-18 shows that God made us and values us, we are His creation made in His image formed by His hand and He not only made us, He planned out our whole lives for us before we were even born. We know He values us because His thoughts of us outnumber the grains of sand on every beach everywhere on this earth...imagine how many thoughts that is. Consider that...Valuable things are always given great thought and consideration. Verses 19-22 tell us that God who loves us so much deserves recognition and first place in our lives. He is our all in All and we shall stand up for Him at all cost. and finally Verses 23,24 tells that God has a plan for each one of us who loves Him. God loves us,He knows us, He protects us, He values us, He made us and He has a plan for us.

I pray you will commit or recommit your heart to God today and marvel at His love for you.


Psalm 139
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Loving Well

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34

We all face difficult relationships, even the best of relationships can be strained. God calls us to love, but let's face it, that can be very challenging especially when we don't agree with someone. So how do we love one another when we are feeling angry, hurt, betrayed, or mistreated? Our natural reaction is to withdraw, lash out, get even, and prove ourselves right at all cost.

So how do we love well? Let's look at this command, God tell us to love one another, but the next few words give us the reason/ formula for succeeding in it. When we understand our fallen human nature, we know it is impossible to love all people. When we add God to the equation the impossible becomes possible. "As I have loved you" Have you ever thought about that statement? How many times have we disappointed, hurt, betrayed, lied, ignored, and sinned against God? Yet God loved us so much that he gave His only Son over to death in order to save us from the penalty of our sin, and offering us eternal life with Him.(John 3:16)

We have got to be extremely challenging to love, self absorbed as we are. God does love us though, and unconditionally at that. He wants to have relationship with each one of us. He wants to share with us His best, He wants to rejoice with us and comfort us. He desires to breath good things into our lives. That's God's love.

You are probably thinking right now, yeah right...I could never love like that! Well you are right. By ourselves we would never be able to love like that. It is only by looking at people through God's eyes that we are able to love as God loves. When we realize how God sees us, as we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, then we are able to see others, understanding that we ourselves must be awfully hard to love sometimes as well. By looking at a person as a fellow traveler in the journey of life, struggling with many of the same things we are, we can have compassion because we know the difficulties met along the way. We can put our selves in their shoes because we will be there or have been there. God's love is not a self centered love, it is not self serving but other serving.

Meditate today on the words "as I have loved you." Thank God for loving you that much, and ask Him to show you how He sees you. Then ask for Him to show you the best way to love the difficult person in your life.

God does not leave us alone to figure out how to love well, He invites us to Him, to learn His ways. He listens when we cry out to Him in frustration and He provides the grace and answers to the question How? If God calls us to do something He will see us through it.

Why is it so important to love others well?

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35

Learning to love well is important for the body of Christ to function properly. We are Gods hands and feet here on earth, and the purpose of His body is to draw others to Him. We are a reflection to others of His love. That is why learning to love as He loves us is so important.

As we seek God, He will equip us with His eyes and power to love as He does.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Extracting Courage From Discouragement

Have storms and discouragement been plaguing your life? Your thoughts?


I think we can all relate to the apostle Paul and the story of the thorn in his side, given to keep him humble and leaning on God's strength. (2 Corinthians 12: 1-10) We can also relate to the life of David, who loved God so much but found himself in all kinds of trouble and trials before God lifted Him up to his prosperous position. (1 &2 Samuel and Psalms) And Elijah who believed God to win a battle but then turned around and doubted Him when he heard that Jezebel wanted to have him killed.(1 Kings 19) It seems in some things we can easily trust God will handle the storms in our lives and in others, we get in our heads that this next storm must be too big and we withdraw from Him. I can almost hear God asking as He did Elijah" What are you doing here?"(after he ran for His life, from fear and discouragement.)

That's the question we need to ask ourselves ..."What are we doing here?" Are we trusting God in our storm or are we withdrawing, fighting our on our own and forgetting God in the process?

Discouragement can be looming enemy in our life. Once allowed to take root, It does just what it's name reveals...it takes our courage, replacing it with fear, doubt, anxiety, and self -centeredness. It isolates, stripping us of God's perspective.

We are no different than those great men from the bible. God put their stories in His word to show us the way, encourage us to keep our faith, comfort us in our trials, and reveal that it is in His power and timing that His purposes are accomplished. God says "humble yourselves before Me and I will lift you up."

Sometimes we need a little or a lot of help getting to that humble state. We feel justified to stew in our self righteousness. God is not interested in our works, successes, or victories in the world...His interest lies in our hearts. Till we come to Him with our broken and contrite heart/spirit, we will not experience his full presence. We have to come to the end of ourselves before we can live in God's power and presence. The offer is open, He beckons us to come and lay our burdens at His feet. He invites us to cast our cares on Him, He tells us over and over to take courage and not to fear. And yet somehow it's easier for us to hold on to the discouragement that infiltrates our lives. Why? Why is it that when we are offered treasures and jewels we settle for mud and rocks? We proclaim to believe in God...but do we really believe Him? Think about it. Will you trust Him? As Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water, we too must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we step out of our own boat, and just as Peter, when we find ourselves sinking...we need to cry our to the Lord, grab His hand and continue along the water...the only other option is drowning in the storm! (Matthew 14:22-35)

So let's choose to get ourselves out of His way, let's choose His encouragement over the enemies discouragement. Storms will come. They may last long. But with our hearts and eyes fixed on Jesus, we can rest assured that the storms of life will not destroy us.

God extracts the courage from our discouragement when weather the storms of life in trust and obedience to Him.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Who The Son Sets Free Is Free Indeed


"So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed." John 8:36


The other day I was visiting and spending time in our local women's prison. Once a week, a fellow volunteer and I go and hold a Bible study with the ladies. We pray and then hand out song books. We always like to sing. Every week we ask the ladies to pick a song, and every week they pick a Song called "Jesus Signed My Pardon", I had never heard the song before I started going to the prison but the words are so meaningful and it has become the theme song of this group. I thought I'd like to share the word's with you:


Jesus Signed My Pardon

I was in sin's prison, oh, so dark and cold
Like a lost sheep wandering from God's eternal fold;
Then the door swung open, and He spoke to me
"I have signed your pardon, now you may go free."
Chorus: Jesus signed my pardon,
this I surely know
Took my place at Calvary,
now I won't have to go;
All my life I'll give to Him -
He gave His for me
When He signed my pardon there at Calvary.
Since the Savior led me from that awful place
I can hear the angels as they sing Amazing Grace;
I know I was pardoned from my sin and shame
When I joined them singing, "Glory to His name."
Chorus: Jesus signed my pardon,
this I surely know
Took my place at Calvary,
now I won't have to go;
All my life I'll give to Him -
He gave His for me
When He signed my pardon there at Calvary.
Life is now worth living since I've been set free
I'm so glad He was willing to save a wretch like me;
Now I have a mansion, not a prison wall
Jesus signed my pardon, Jesus paid it all.
Chorus: Jesus signed my pardon,
this I surely know
Took my place at Calvary,
now I won't have to go;
All my life I'll give to Him -
He gave His for me
When He signed my pardon there at Calvary.


We were all imprisoned, locked into a cell of sin before we accepted Jesus. He took our place at Calvary, and broke the hinges of the our cells door, setting us free at the asking. He has pardoned our sin and He has called us out to follow Him. It's our choice. Whether we are literally in prison or imprisoned by the storms of life, Jesus has already signed our pardon, We can step out of our cell of fear, shame, guilt, and sin and into His Glorious presence showered with amazing grace and peace. Our hearts have been set free and we can now freely live for Him, because He lives in us.

Have you truly accepted Jesus' pardon? Or are you still sitting in your cell? The cell door has been unlocked and swings on it's hinges. Are you ready to come out?...All my life I'll give to Him- He gave His for me, when He signed my pardon there at Calvary!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

God's Way


Walking hand in hand with God is my hearts cry. I want to be so completely immersed in Him. I want to feel his presence next to me, as I do walking with a friend. I want His guidance and direction in all things. I want to hear everything He has to say to me, learn all his ways, grow to become just like Him in character. With every task I do, hurdle I leap, trial I go through, and trail I blaze, I want to do it in a way that points to Him.

Psalm 119:27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Christian. It's not just a statement. Being a Christian is a lifestyle, it means being set apart and setting Jesus Christ apart as Lord and savior over my life. It means I follow Christ, walking in His footsteps. (I have this image in my mind of child walking behind a parent, trying to step in each footprint their parent has made.) Being a Christian is an active living daily choice I make to live as Jesus did, considering His ways in every decision I make. Placing all my faith in God, giving Him first place in my life. God's word breathes direction and wisdom and understanding over my days.

I pray, just as the Psalmist prayed, Lord, let me understand the teaching of your precepts, that I may keep step with you as I walk through this life; and let me meditate on Your wonders, never forgetting or taking for granted, that in Your power I will be able to stand, till we are walking hand in hand together for all eternity. Amen

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Refiner's Fire


See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. -Isaiah 48:10

We go through refining seasons in our lives. Times when God really puts us through the fire to rid us of impurities that take away from our being the person that He has purposed us to be. We need to go through these times as painful as they may be, because it's in these times when we are tested and proved.

I write this because I am currently being put through the fire, looking at my situation in this way brings me hope and assurance that God has something important for me to learn through it. He is also using my testing as a means to witness to others as a source of encouragement and proof of His great power and grace when we choose to stand in our faith in Him. Don't get me wrong, though God gives me His grace to get through this time of fire and testing it HURTS! There is pain involved in this process, but as I continue to look to God, He is faithfully revealing His purpose in the pain. With eyes on Him I can endure. There is far more at stake here than my circumstances...it's a kingdom thing. Because i choose to look at it with Gods view point, knowing His power is made perfect in our weakest of times, I am waiting expectantly for His power to be manifested through the situation.

I just wanted to share this thought, in case any of you are going through fire right now too. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Remember in Isaiah 61:3 where it says God will bring beauty instead of ashes? If God takes us through the fire, He will surely bring us out a stronger more lovely creature than before we entered...We just need to keep trusting Him.

God has set the plan for each one of us before we were even born. He calls us, and when we accept the call, our mission begins. He allows things into our lives, defining moments that will test our faith, bringing us back to his perfect will for our lives.













Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Battle


But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9


It is very easy to get caught up and overwhelmed with all life throws at us, but the battle in our own minds is probably the most brutal of all battles many of us may ever face. It's fierce and merciless at times. How we think about our circumstances can be far more damaging than the circumstance itself.

When we go into this battle armed with the God's truth, understanding God has a purpose already planned out for us to achieve the goal of bringing His kingdom full circle, our battle becomes an honor to fight. Knowing that our response to each circumstance we face can be a testimony to God's Power and every choice we make in it will either bring God glory or defame Him really shines new light on the battle.

With the eternal mind set, it is no longer our battle but His. Unfortunately, sometimes in our broken human state we need frequent reminders that God has already won. He sent His son Jesus to conquer sin and death. The perfect sacrifice for our freedom. We are already free, yet we live as captives, ensnared in our own thoughts. Let's think about this...Jesus came and opened the door to our prisons, He broke the hinges so we would never have to be imprisoned again. Jesus took all our sin to the cross and died for me and you. He went to battle FOR us. and He won! He was placed in the tomb, and rose again to live in all who will believe.

Christ's power is made perfect in weakness. Jesus, as our sin was being heaped upon Him was in His weakest state, He hung bound on the cross, nails piercing his skin, completely helpless to move. But when it was finished and He gave up His spirit to the father, the earth shook, the dead were raised to life(dead people got up and left their tombs) and the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. Now that is power!

Jesus knew even though He was helpless by man's standards, that God was far more powerful. God would win. Jesus thoughts were continually on God's will, God's purpose, and Jesus knew when to give up His spirit. That is my point. When Jesus gave up his spirit God's power was unleashed, and boy was it ever.

As we go through life, remember where our power lies. It's not in our own efforts, as we often feel as Jesus must have, bound, and helpless. But the truth is, God's grace and power are made perfect in our weakness. It is when we are weakest that God can be glorified most...if we let Him.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Make the Call


'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3

Sometimes the answers we seek are only as far away as the call. God is always waiting for our call and the best part is, He is always home to pick up.

In this age of technology, it is so automatic for us to pick up our cell phones or shoot e-mails and text messages to our friends. We search for answers to our problems and look for direction from friends,counselors, books, television, and Google; but how often do we call on God? How often do we use His resources? God is the source of all life, who better to run to first? He knows ALL the answers we seek before we even ask. He watches our futile efforts at trying to solve our life's problems on our own, and He waits. God waits for us to pick up that direct connect and contact Him.

So what are we waiting for? The answers we are looking for are wrapped up in Him. The only way to unwrap them is to call and get to know Him, spend time talking with Him and listening to Him. Follow the advice He gives through His word(The Bible), discuss with Him our hopes and dreams, ask Him for the direction we should go. God speaks throughout our day in many different ways. When we are tuned in and attentive, they will be revealed. Once God reveals something THEN go call your friends and share the revelation, share the power, truth, and promise of the One who created the heavens, the earth, and me and you.

Will you make the call?


Thursday, March 4, 2010

We Are Family

I am praising God for His grace and mercy, wonderful friends, and the gift of children. This has been one eventful week so far...Steven's life was saved, Chris enrolled in college and as of April 10th will be off probation FOR GOOD! He also recently got a job working for the very same drug and alcohol rehab the he, himself went through, Jon applied for college, and Zachary brought home 2 excellent grades on tests! In our time of crisis all three boys rallied with us for their brother, and I am very proud to be their mother. Though Jon is very angry.(and rightly so) He also is the first one to jump in and help. I am blessed beyond measure with my boys. I love and appreciate them and want them to know it!

Our worth is not measured by material successes or possessions but rather by the successes of the heart and those characters of God possessed with in it. It is so easy to be sucked into focusing our problems, but where does that lead? Unfortunately only to more problems. When we focus on the promises of God however, we have hope; because God is all good and when we choose to believe what He says we can approach His throne of grace with confidence and know that His grace over our lives abound.

So many times we look to God for the things He can do for us, but we so often forget to ask what we can do for Him. When you really think about it, God was not created for us, but we for Him. As I went through the painstaking possibility of once again losing my son, it hit me, God loves him so much more than I ever could. God has a plan and purpose for his life, and God will use this for His glory somehow. So what is my role here? I want to glorify God with my reactions. I heard God's voice say trust Me. I serve the God who has put the planets, stars and moon in place, created mountains, land, and sea. He fashioned each human being, with unique and intricate detail. Knowing this, how could I NOT trust Him? God holds the universe, our world, and each one of us lovingly in the palm of His hands, he always has our best interests in mind.

All who belong to God are family, family sticks together, and I am forever grateful to be part of it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Our Heart, God's Home

This week my house was thrown into turmoil. It is in complete and utter chaos. Everywhere I look there is a mess to be gone through and cleaned up. It's to the point where I just look around and feel so overtaken at the magnitude of it all. It seems too overwhelming to conquer, so I just push it off. The only problem with this is that the mess isn't going anywhere, it's actually growing bigger and bigger.


I think that's what happens with our heart sometimes too. The trials of life make these impressions in our hearts, and if we're not careful and diligent in cleaning them up(taking them to God with bucket and scrub brush in hand) then they accumulate and grow to seemingly unmanageable proportions.

Today I was reading my Bible and came across this passage in the book of Haggai, chapters 1&2. The word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai concerning the condition of Gods house. God asked why the people of Israel were neglecting the disrepair of His house. He chastised them for concerning themselves and being content with only with the building up of their own homes. He pointed out their contentment in striving for more was only adding to there mess and they were finding themselves living in total chaos, running in circles and never finding peace, always searching after what would make them happy but never able to grasp it. All the while Gods house is being neglected.

God's word for them was simple, you are putting your priorities in the wrong places. God says He is first priority and when they start putting their efforts on Him then the state of their own houses will fall into place. God ends His message with this" be strong all you people of the land, and work; for I am with you. This is what I promised you, My Spirit is among you, do not fear.

God's message in His word is very clear, but we tend to get so caught up in our own messes that we miss it. God wants first place in our lives. He wants our full trust and obedience. He will never force it, as He is a gentleman. But He says over and over in His word that when we choose to prioritize Him, then we will have help, peace, hope, grace, provision, protection, and life abundant, and eternal.

I thought about that in regards to my heart. Has my heart become like my house? In total chaos? Am I looking for refreshment and restoration in temporary fixes or by ignoring the issues altogether and letting them build up? Sometimes God has a way of shaking things up for us and pointing us to the things that really matter. HIM!

When we realize that our hearts are God's home, and He wants His home to shine with His glory for all to see, it puts a different perspective on how we go about caring for it.

Lord, thank You for wanting to come and dwell in our heart, Help us to keep up with our messes, so they don't pile up and threaten to overwhelm us. Thank you for Your patience, provision and promise to always be there to help clean up. May we bring great blessing to You as we put You first. Amen






Monday, March 1, 2010

Coming soon...Hand in Hand with God...

I've been working on a publishing a book of poetry for the past several months. I am feeling this stirring of excitement as it nears it's completion. To be able to hold the compilation of my thoughts all together in my hands is to me, like scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl or the game winning home run in the World Series.

I started writing this collection of poetry a few years ago, during a difficult time in my life. In many ways it is my journey with God through that time. Thus I entitled it "Hand in Hand with God" He has been my "coach" so to speak, in this experience, and I give Him all the credit for training me to score!

I wanted to share a little bit about this journey in my life, because I think so many times God uses difficult circumstances to reveal the direction and purpose He has for our lives. He reveals diamonds in the hard, dirty walls of our caves, and shines light and perspective in dark places of our lives. God brings beauty from ashes, and turns mourning to gladness.

God has taken the ashes in my life and transformed them into something beautiful as only He can. I look forward to sharing more as publication nears and especially to share God's love with you.

Blessings,

Mary

Sunday, February 28, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...Make Lemonade



Ever find yourself drowning in a sour pit of lemon juice? Everything in your life going wrong? Can't seem to find your way out? Well take heart my friend! Life is guaranteed to give us lemons...but with a little sugar those lemons can turn into sweet tasting lemonade.

The sugar I'm talking about is God Himself. He's the sweetener that makes life lemons into our lemonade. Apart from Him we are settling for that sour juice. In the gospel of John, Jesus tells of his sweetness and power, He says "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) In the context of lemonade, we can say Yes, In this world you'll be surrounded by many lemons...but take heart...I have come to make the lemonade!

We can see this relationship in John 10:10 as well when Jesus tells us, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."(NLT) Translated to the lemon theory it goes something like this...The lemons purpose is to make our life sour but the sugar added will make a rich and satisfying drink.

The lemons in our lives come in many forms, but ultimately they are Satan's way of turning us away from our relationship with God. God knows exactly what we are going through and He is right there in it with us. He can take even the worst possible situation and make something good come from it. Romans 8:28 says this quite clearly,"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

When we face life's lemons with the attitude that God will work good in all circumstances, when we choose to look for God's purposes in our trials, when we choose to believe God wholeheartedly, then sugar is poured into our sour juice pit and we are then swimming and drinking that sweet refreshing lemonade only He can make out of our lives. And boy is that good!

An example that is very appropriate to this theme is about a little girl named Alexandra Scott. She was diagnosed with cancer, and made up her mind that she wanted to raise money in order to help doctors find a cure for children with cancer. With the help of her brother, she set up a lemonade stand in her front lawn. Despite her declining health she kept her stand going, thus inspiring thousands of others to take up her cause. Since her death in 2004 at the age of 8, Alex's Lemonade Stand foundation has raised millions of dollars towards finding a cure for childhood cancer.

Apart from raising money, Alex has left us with a beautiful example of how we can turn our own life's lemons into lemonade.

Can you think of any lemons in your life that God is waiting for you to make lemonade out of?












Saturday, February 27, 2010

Save The Date! Free Seminar

Well known author, speaker, and counselor, Leslie Vernick, will be presenting a free 2-session seminar for men and women on Friday evening, March 19th at 7pm at Faith Church in Allentown. She will be speaking from two of her books, Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy and How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong featuring The TRUTH Principle.

The Truth Principle
Do you struggle to live out God's truth from your heart? Many Christians know more truth than they actually apply. Leslie offers a unique 5-step process called The TRUTH Principle that will help you:

· Respond to difficult situations without losing your temper or your faith.
· Break free from internal lies in order to fully embrace Gods' truth.
· Develop the discipline to take your desires from dreams to reality.

Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy
It's not the new circumstances we often pray for that move us toward lasting happiness, but rather something entirely different. Drawing on her own struggles and those of people she has counseled, and using scriptural insights in fresh ways, Leslie offers practical and simple steps to help you:

· Recognize and change habits that, day by day, keep you from experiencing happiness.
· Develop the skills that will enable you to let go of negative and painful emotions quicker.
· Transform difficult circumstances so you can live with gratitude, joy, and purpose.

Leslie will be doing a video shoot during these presentations and welcomes community participation. Please post this information in your church bulletin and announce it from the pulpit. If you'd like to receive a publicity flyer via email that can be posted at your church, please contact our office at (610) 298-2842.

FREE SEMINAR
by author and counselor
Leslie Vernick

Friday, March 19, 2010
7:00 pm at
Faith Church
6528 Hamilton Blvd.
Allentown, PA 18106
For more information
610-298-2842 or www.faithefc.com

To register for this free event, please call our office at 610-298-2842 or email us at leslie@leslievernick.com Christ Centered Counseling PO Box 784 Fogelsville, PA 18051
610-298-2842/877-837-7931

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sorry Charley


"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent." Rev. 3:19

This is my Grand dog Charley. As you can see he's gotten himself in a bit of a mess! I love Charley. He is an energetic, fun loving, always ready to play and please puppy. He loves to be around people and he comforts them with his big brown eyes and is always ready to snuggle on your lap(even though he's really NOT a lap dog). Sometimes He gets a little carried away in his joy, as in this picture. These soft white rolls seemed like the perfect toy for him, they looked harmless enough. He thought he'd just check them out and before he knew it he had unrolled, tossed about, tore up and thoroughly examined each roll. He was feeling pretty good about himself, satisfied, till his master walked in the room with a serious look on his face. There he was, sitting in the middle of a big mess. Charley looked around, "how did this happen?" He wondered. All he wanted to do was have a little fun, but it had gotten out of control. Humbled, Charley did the only thing he could. He sat there, giving the sorriest look he knew how and watched as his master cleaned up his mess.

Isn't this the way things go in our own lives with God sometimes? We want to please Him and are enthusiastic in our efforts. We look for ways to serve Him, we are happiest when we make him happy, yet sometimes there are things that look so good to us, seem harmless enough, like parties, staying up late, busyness, gossipping, computer games etc...and we think a little indulgence in such seemingly harmless things couldn't possibly do any harm, but before we know what has happened, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of our own big mess. Then God walks in, looks around, and loves us. He helps us sort out and clean up our messes just like Charley's Master did for Him. Oh sure, there may be some consequences to face, but why do you think that is? Because God loves us too much to leave us sitting in our messes and he doesn't want to see us in that place again, and because we love God and want to please him we will hopefully learn from our experience and try not to do it again.

Just as we still love Charley in spite of the messes he makes, God loves us in spite of our messes.
God has promised us His eternal care, He is a committed God, He is a faithful God and when He disciplines us, it is because He loves us and wants us to have the optimal benefits of being his children. So if you are in a mess right now, self imposed or otherwise, take heart! Fall on your knees and cry out to God! tell him your problem and repent. He will help you to clean it up and lift you out it. God wants to be the greatest object of our affection and enjoyment. He wants us to find our ultimate joy and contentment in Him. When we come to Him with a contrite spirit, He will always lead us back to Him. Thank You God!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Review: Thin Places by Mary DeMuth


I have the honor today to post a review of "Thin Places", a memoir by Mary DeMuth. Mary has written numerous books, both fiction and non fiction. All have been wonderful reads, showing God's amazing love and grace over our lives along with His incredible redeeming power. In telling her story, she brings testimony that Jesus is always near to us, even in the most horrific of circumstances and is unfathomably able to heal up even the deepest of scars left behind.

Thin Places takes this theme, and chronicles it through her own life experiences in a real, personal and powerful way. Her own walk with God becomes the catalyst for determining these defining moments, that she describes as: "snatches of holy ground, tucked into the corners of our world, where if we pay close attention, we might just catch a glimpse of eternity. They are snatches of time, moments really when we sense God intersecting our world in tangible, unmistakable ways. They are aha moments, beautiful realizations, when the Son of God bursts through the hazy fog of our monotony and shines on us afresh. ( Taken from ch. 1 Thin Places)

Mary takes everything from her very traumatic to her everyday experiences that she has journeyed through and in a hopeful, endearing way brings us along to those places where God has met her. This is a book that will encourage the reader to look for God's hand and grab hold. It reveals His strength and provision over our lives, it will leave you with a deeper awareness of the very workings of God as you travel through this world with Him, and an appreciation and realization that you are never alone.

I hope you will pick up a copy and be inspired to look for those thin places in your own life. I pray you will be as blessed as I was with Mary's very real, sometimes raw, descriptive writings in her newest book "Thin Places"

About the Author:
Mary DeMuth, Author and speaker, Mary DeMuth helps people turn their trials to triumph. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Building the Christian Family You Never Had; Watching the Tree Limbs; Wishing on Dandelions; Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture and the first two books in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy: Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn.National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, Point of View and U.S.A. Radio Network and is frequently featured on Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint. She has published articles in In Touch, HomeLife, Writer’s Digest and The Writer.Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas.
Learn more about Mary at http://marydemuth.com/.

Your can purchase the book at Amozon.com :









Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Eyes on the Unshakable



"...When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.(Hebrews 12:26-29)


Passionately I will worship God.
Singing His praises all day
Hiding His word in my heart
Coming before Him to pray.
Delighting in His commands
Loving Him in all I do and say.
Trusting God for all my needs
Walking in His way
Obediently I'll follow
And in His presence I will stay.

Fix your eyes on Jesus...especially knowing that the things of this world will pass away. Do not let any obstacle keep you from God's presence...He is the source of your strength continually call Him to mind...He helps replaces all feelings of dread with His perspective and peace of resting in His strong arms. Unceasingly "consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:3)

Lord, help us stand firm in Your strength, resolve and power. As none of us are immune from the things of this shakable world. Increase our faith and willingness to place our complete trust in you and Your unshakable Kingdom. You alone are worthy of all our love and praise, may we worship You with the Holy fear and awe that you are due. For Your glory, Amen.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Freedom and Victory


"that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:9


Entangled by the toils, temptations, and troubles of daily living, not to mention those lies we believe from the past, the stress of finances, wayward children, troubled marriages, financial difficulties, mood disorders, jam packed days, sleepless nights, caring for elderly parents, and the list goes on... have a tendency to hold us captive and hinder our walking in freedom with God, keeping us from the person God intends us to be. God has a predestined plan for each of us to carry out in His kingdom here on earth.


So how do we throw all these things off so we can run the race set out for us?(Hebrews 12:1-12) How do we grab hold our freedom offered us as followers of Christ? We need to know him. We need to spend time in his presence,we need to become fully dependent upon him and live out of the strength He provides. We need to become aware of our weaknesses and quickly repent of our sins, becoming willing and thankful for the discipline he brings to our lives. We need to be in constant communion with Him. Placing our full faith in His word. When this way of living becomes our goal and our passion, we make room for Gods power to work in us and through us. The chaos in our lives will no doubt still be there, but our perspective in reacting and dealing with it changes. We can see it as a way to bring glory to our great God through our response to it. We know that God will bring us through it.


What if you were entering into a game or a business deal or trying to earn your degree for your career and you already knew you were guaranteed to achieve a victory...how would that change the way you approached the project? Do you feel a sense of relief at your impending victory? All You have to do is show up with a willing obedient heart. This is how we as followers of Jesus Christ need to proceed, so that we may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.


When we make it a priority to walk hand in hand with God through the labyrinth of life, we have the promise not to get lost, but navigate through it successfully; but as soon as we let go(because He never will) we lose our footing and our focus. Letting go is the only thing that will trip us up and throw us of course. In letting go we jeopardize the victory. We will eventually make it out and our salvation will be intact, but God offers us so much more, we don't need to just squeak by, when God offers freedom, celebration and abundant life! God's hand is always extended and always close. Will you take hold of it today, so that you may walk with your head held high before the Lord in this world full of trouble and temptation? Will you give Him the emphasis rather than your troubles? He is there and He is waiting. Grab His hand and hold on! Your very life depends on it!


Lord, Thank You for the freedom You offer all who come to You. May we choose You as the strength in our lives, continually coming to You for restoration and refuge. May our walk on this earth be pleasing to You, bringing honor and glory to Your name. Lord I ask You to make Your presence unmistakable for all those lost in the labyrinth of life at this time, that they will reach out their hand to You, admitting their need for You in their life. For it is in You aloneLord, where the victory lies. Thank You for securing this victory for us! Humbly in Your Name I pray,Amen.






Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. " Hebrews 12:1-3



I have been greatly inspired recently by a book that I read, called The Heavenly Man. It is a book about a Chinese mans life and journey to bring the message of salvation to the Chinese people, in spite of the great risk involved in spreading the message. You see, China does not allow freedom to express your own beliefs, you must be part of their registered church. So to stand against the government in the name of Christianity is a serious crime. Those who stand firm in their faith are arrested, imprisoned and tortured and many times killed. This man endured with joy, as Jesus did for us, the sheer torture inflicted upon him for the sake of God's Kingdom plans.

This is the kind of book that really makes you stop and think about our own measure of faith, the reason we are here and our purpose in Gods plan...Our God is truly a Sovereign God, who wants and deserves first place in our lives at all times. When we fix our eyes on Him and seek to do his will, great things happen in the Kingdom. We realize how blessed and privileged we are to be used by his power. With this in mind, take heart! Any trial we suffer can be counted as joy when we understand that it has come so that we may bear witness to others, the the saving power of our God.

As Christians we need to remember the great sacrifice Jesus made for us and that it is nothing less that an honor for us to bear that same suffering for his name. God's Word says we are to share in Christ sufferings. So rejoice! When trials come, you have the power, through God to be a witness in leading others to the saving grace of our great God! Blessed be His name!
Lord, I want to pray for all my brothers and sisters in the faith, that we may stand firm in our beliefs and conviction in living for You. Please strengthen and bless those who are actively suffering for Your name right now. Please continue to give them the power to endure the torture inflicted upon them. I pray that You continue to bring them upon our hearts and minds so as to pray for them, as they have the honor to be true witnesses of Your Holy power. I pray that Your message be delivered to all those who are in desperate need to hear it and that you continue opening the doors in which to spread the gospel to every nation. Please Lord, prepare our hearts and the hearts of those who will be hearing about You for the first time. Thank you Lord for wanting to know us and for wanting us to know You. Amen.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Life Changing Reads



Hi every body! Just mulling over all of the wonderful books I've read over this past year, from some very talented and profound Christian authors. I thought I'd like to share them with you and encourage them in their ministry of spreading Gods word through their writing. As someone who loves to be swept away in a good book, I want to suggest that you acquire one of these great books, brew yourself a hot cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and settle down for a treat!

Here is the list of books that I highly recommend as absolute must reads!

1. The Bible

2. The Uncommon Woman by Susie Larson (non-fiction)

3. Embracing Your Freedom by Susie Larson (non-fiction)

4. Lord I Just Want To Be Happy by Leslie Vernick (non-fiction)

5. Thin Places by Mary DeMuth (non-fiction)

6. Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth (fiction)

7. Wishing on Dandelions by Mary DeMuth (fiction)

8. Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth (fiction)

9. A Slow Burn by Mary DeMuth (fiction)

10. Thicker than Blood by CJ Darlington (fiction)

What books have you read that have really impacted your life? I would love for you to share. Happy reading!

Blessings...Mary






Thursday, January 28, 2010

Forge Ahead


The last post I wrote was entitled "Don't Hold Back" It was basically about being afraid to give your all for God. Well, since I wrote that post I had an experience with my good friend when we met for lunch. This is a simple story, but I am telling it to make a point.

This post also deals with fear. Not the holding back kind of fear, but the leaving your comfort zone kind of fear.
Why is it that 2 grown women fear walking into a crowded restaurant? Oh, we walked in(to the lobby) where we both looked at each other and as if we could read each others minds we turned around and walked out. At that time we both had to laugh at our insecurity. But the reality is...there is something in us holding us captive. It's the F word (fear) I know it is...and now I am determined that the next time we meet for lunch that we are going to conquer our fear no matter what!

I know this sounds really silly...but how many times during the course of our lives do we let these fearful insecurities rule us? Afraid to try new things, afraid we'll look foolish or strange? Well I am saying NO MORE! We are daughters of the King...(Romans 8:17 "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.") Yes, God is our father and our identity is defined by Him...since that is the case...We are royalty...princesses, certainly able to walk into a crowded restaurant with confidence!

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."

Lord, Help us to always remember who we are and whose we are. In You there is nothing to fear, Your word tells us over and over "do not fear do not be afraid" I thank You Lord that in You we can be bold, we are more than conquerors(even if it's only conquering the fear of eating at a crowded reataurant) May we forge ahead in confidence with You dear Lord. I thank You and Praise You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Don't Hold Back


"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:7,8


We are often times, throughout our life, ruled by fear. Fear that we won't have enough; enough time, enough money, enough energy, enough food, enough patience, etc...and this fear of not having enough, really tends to hold us back from doing the things we want to do, and the things God wants us to do.

This verse in 2 Corinthians, tells us that we don't have to give in to our fear. If we believe God's word as truth, we must push past our fears and trust God.

Here's a breakdown of this freeing verse: This verse tells us that God loves a cheerful giver...not a fearful giver! So when we are presented with an opportunity to give, whether it be money, time, food, talent, or other resources and you feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit within you...GO FOR IT! because when God calls, we should follow.

In the next part of this verse we have a wonderful promise and reassurance. God will cover us in His Grace, so that in ALL things, at ALL times, having ALL we need, we will abound in every good work. WOW!

Did I emphasize the word ALL enough? God doesn't do things half way. When God speaks, we better listen. When God calls us, we better go. When God says ALL He means ALL, not some or most. It is always Yes and Amen with God's promises!

Lord, Help us to give of ourselves freely and cheerfully, because we know You will always provide ALL that we need to do the work of Your Kingdom. Thank You that You are a God whom we can trust with ALL things and in ALL things. It is an honor and privilege to serve in Your Holy Kingdom in what ever capacity You ask. May our answer to Your call always be YES! I pray in Jesus name, Amen

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thicker Than Blood...Check it out!

TitleTrakk.com Blog Tours Presents:

Thicker than Blood
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House


Winner of the
2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest!



Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon, Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late?

To my blog readers...Every now and then I like to take time to read, it stretches my imagination and thinking, taking me to places and situations that I would normally not get to experience. As many of you know, I also like to write, and so in my own writing journey I have come across many wonderful authors. When I read a good book I like to pass the good news on! This is most definitely one of those books...Personally I give it 5 stars+. I highly recommend picking up a copy of "Thicker Than Blood", settle into your favorite spot and let this intriguing story carry you away! There are links at the bottom of this post to order from Amazon or Christian Books, or you could go to your local book store, if they don't have it, they can order a copy for you!

Thicker Than Blood is an endearing story of two sisters, who lead very different lives, estranged by tragedy, shame and guilt. C.J. Darlington weaves suspense and very real and raw circumstances so intricately into this book that I had a hard time putting it down. The characters are real, the situations are relatable and each chapter builds upon the next creating such a desire and curiosity to what will happen next. This book is filled with adventure, packed with emotion and wrapped with a ribbon of God's redeeming love and amazing grace!


With careful attention to detail, emotion, and scene-setting, C.J. Darlington scores with her debut effort. Here is a special writer you won’t want to miss.
--Jerry B. Jenkins, New York Times best selling author

If you love a good read filled with adventure and ultimately redemption, I encourage you to brew the tea, settle into your favorite chair and pick up the page turner that is C.J. Darlington’s imaginative new novel of a modern day sisterhood that triumphs over separation and the raw challenges of life to find the real endurance of both family ties and God’s amazing grace.
--Rebecca St. James, Grammy award winning Christian singer and bestselling author

With Thicker than Blood, C.J. Darlington proves she's a novelist for the long-haul, a strong new voice in Christian fiction. This book speaks to the heart, from the heart, about the heart. Readers will not soon forget it.
--Sibella Giorello, Christy award-winning author of The Rivers Run Dry & The Clouds Roll Away


Watch the book trailer:






About the Author:
C. J. began writing the story that would become Thicker than Blood (her first novel) when she was a fifteen-year-old homeschool student. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over a decade, scouting for stores similar to the one described in the novel before cofounding her own online bookstore. Thicker than Blood was the winner of the 2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel.

C. J. co-founded the Christian entertainment Web site TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. She makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website http://www.cjdarlington.com/ for more info.

QUICK LINKS:

The 1st chapter of Thicker than Blood

The "Story Behind the Story" of Thicker than Blood

More endorsements from Jenny B. Jones, James Scott Bell, Susan Meissner, and more!

Our interview with C.J. at TitleTrakk.com

Buy Thicker than Blood at Christianbook.com

Buy Thicker than Blood at Amazon.com

List of the other 85+ Thicker than Blood blog tour participants!