He is Risen Indeed!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

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 Christ is Risen!! 
I pray you have a happy and blessed Easter celebrating our Risen Savior. 
He is Risen indeed!!

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
John 11:25-26

And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.
Romans 1:4-5

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Friday, April 18, 2014

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"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
Luke 22:42

It's hard to even begin to imagine what it must have been like the night before Jesus' crucifixion. Knowing the road before Him and what it was He would have to endure must have been terrifying. The Scriptures give us a glimpse of what He went through that night saying that He sweat drops of blood whilst praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

The photo above shows a rather serene looking Jesus praying to God in the garden, but how I see see it my mind is strikingly different. I see our Savior sweating drops of blood, prostrate on His face, pleading with His father that He does not have to be separated from Him for a period of time. I see Jesus in pure agony through the pain He is about to endure; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual pain that you nor I could ever begin to imagine. Yet despite all this Jesus endured the shame and public humiliation to save you and I. He carried the cross, was crucified dead and buried for our eternal salvation. Out of His death came life. Jesus chose to carry out His Father's will and gained an untold amount of souls for eternity.

I have a rather strong will. It's often hard for me to fully surrender my will to God and allow Him to do His will in my life. God is still working with me on this very thing. Jesus had a will too. We can clearly see this when He prayed "not my will by your will be done." 

I once heard someone liken our own wills to that of an untrained horse. All that power, strength and agility is just waiting to be harnessed. But without breaking in that horse, none of the power that horse has within will ever be useful to it's master. It cannot perform at it's peak unless broken. Only when the horse it broken and trained, and it's will one with it's master, can the horse ever become useful at completing the tasks before it. Once I heard this illustration given though, a light bulb went off in my mind.

The same holds true for us. We have a will and we have the freedom to roam about and do whatever we want. As a friend of mine pointed out to me recently though, God does not want us to be wandering Israelites with no goal in sight. Our wills must be broken. This doesn't mean we don't make decisions or use our will at all. It merely means we must daily align our will to God's and, if need be, surrender it completely just as Jesus did before He was crucified. 

I don't know if we will ever do this perfectly, like Jesus did, on this side of eternity. Perhaps some people do. I do know that Jesus will continue to mature us, challenge us and show us the way in which we are to walk. After all, we not only remember Jesus' death and burial, we also celebrate the truth that He is Risen. It's precisely because He lives that we can daily align ourselves with God's will and surrender ourselves to His greater purposes.

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I've Never Been to Vegas by My Luggage Has by Mandy Hale book review

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Wrong turns, humiliating flops, painful heartbreaks—and happiness? Yes, believe it or not, they can go hand in hand. Blogger and author Mandy Hale, affectionately known as “The Single Woman” to her half-million social-media followers, is living an adventurous life that proves even our lowest lows and messiest mess-ups can point us toward our joy-filled destiny as single women."

 Mandy Hale,aka The Single Woman, has a heart for women. Often times while reading her story I couldn't help but feel her passion permeating the pages of her book. It was like grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend and listening to their life story. Her encouragement, honesty and candid reflections of life were a breath of fresh air.

In the book "I've Never been to Vegas But My Luggage Has," Mandy takes her readers by the hand and brings you on an an exciting adventure. She doesn't leave out the mistakes she's made, hiccups of life and humiliating experiences. She's honest about herself and what it is she's been through thus far. But somehow, in some way she weaves together a tapestry of life, love and lessons bringing the truth of Romans 8:28 into view: For we know that all things work together for the good of those that love God, to those who have been called according to His purpose.

Mandy is surely living out her purpose. The opportunities God has given to her and the love and passion she has for single women attest to this.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. If you're a single woman who is looking for some inspiration and a sweet friend to listen to than you need to grab yourself a copy of  "I've Never Been to Vegas But My Luggage Has" today!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from BookLookBloggers.com in exchange for an honest review. This however has not affected my opinions in the review in any way, shape or form. 

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A Busy Season

Monday, March 31, 2014

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There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Things here have been busy. The hustle and bustle of everyday activities seem to have gotten more... hustly and bustly. (Like my made up words?) Every time I cross something off of my proverbial to do list, 3 more things suddenly seem to get added, hence the reason why things on my blog here have been slow.

I'm not used to the hustle and bustle of life. In fact I like doing things at a slower pace. The mere thought of going into a busy city for an extended period of time creates anxiety in me. Admittedly I'd probably be more content living on a ranch in Montana than in a busy city any day of the week. But at the moment, I'm in a busy season. And to be completely honest, it's not the worst thing in the world. In fact, I've come to see it as a blessing. 

The lessons I'm learning during this busy season of life is teaching me to lean wholly upon God and upon Him alone. With all the tasks to be done, the children to serve and care for, the laundry to do, and meals to make, things can get a bit hectic. It's easy to try and do all of it in my own strength (try being the operative word here) without consulting God in each decision I make or task I do, but that won't get me very far. I'd be more like the hare rather than the tortoise and never end up finishing the race that God has set before me. I don't want to burn out because I didn't lean wholly upon God during this busy season. 

The little prayers of "help me God" or "strengthen me Lord" or "give me your joy Jesus" are my life lines. Each time I pray God hears me and answers my prayer. It's in these moments I begin to learn what it's like to do all things through Christ who strengthen me (Philippians 4:13). 

Are you in a busy season of life right now? Do you feel like you can't get through the next hour let alone the next day? Are you depleted of energy and just want to hit pause on another somewhat chaotic morning? Take heart my friend and know this, that God is standing by and ready to fill you with His Holy Spirit to strengthen you, comfort you and give you His peace during this season. This is the time to lean into Him more than you have before. God is more than willing to show you Himself in brand new ways and to provide for you exactly what you need. 
Not by might, nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

The busyness your experiencing won't last forever. One day we will experience God's true rest on the other side of eternity. Until we experience this eternal rest though, choose rather to rest in His loving arms. It's there that we find rest for our souls as we walk with Him each and every day. 

Here's a poem I've heard Elisabeth Elliot quote before in one of her talks and often refer back to it during one of my busy days. It helps me to remember to do one thing at a time and not to try and do everything at once in my own strength. May you be blessed as you read it as well. 

"From an old English parsonage,
Down by the sea,
There came in the twilight,
A message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend,
Deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me,
Teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
The quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration-
Do the next thing

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
Let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity,
Guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
Do the next thing

Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
Tracing His Hand,
Who placed it before thee with
Earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
Do the next thing

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
Be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
The rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
Be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,
Do the next thing"

-Author unknown quoted by Elisabeth Elliot

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Empty Hearts, Open Hearts

Saturday, March 29, 2014

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"Empty my heart 
Of all useless 
Care and Anguish."

-Thomas a Kempis quoted by Elisabeth Elliot

The cares and worries of this life only serve to weigh us down. When we learn to let God empty our hearts of these useless fears, worries and anguish then our hearts will be open to receive from Him the peace, security and calm His spirit provides.

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Modern Day Prodigal Story

Friday, March 21, 2014

Prodigals. We all know one, maybe two, or maybe even three. Maybe we've been one. The more I ponder the story of the prodigal though the more I realize just how beautiful it is. God's love overcoming all the rebellion, wretchedness and filthy sin to cleanse, heal and restore is nothing short of amazing.

It's easy to overlook the story of the prodigal since many of us are used to hearing it. I know I have more than once. Sometimes reading the same story over and over can cause temporary spiritual deafness. We need something to shock our senses back into working mode and then allow God to open our hearts once again to this incredibly powerful story of redeeming love.

I'm grateful that my friend handed me a DVD to watch this past weekend called Grace Unplugged, it was just the thing that I needed! Grace Unplugged is a modern day prodigal story about a girl named Grace who strays from God in order to pursue her dreams in the music industry. The acting, plot and overall message was powerful. God cut me to the core and opened up my heart once again to the His boundless love which knows no limits.

What I loved about this film though was that it was applicable to our culture today. Watching it was like a breath of fresh air. I know God used it for me and I am convinced He will use it for you.

Please watch the trailer below and find a copy of Grace Unplugged to watch with your whole family! You may just end up reading the story of the prodigal son in a whole new light.

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Heaven is for Real: Special Movie Edition by Todd Burpo book review

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"When four-year-old Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the following months—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

This true story, retold by his father but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

Heaven is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe like a child."

This miraculous story of one little boy's journey to heaven and back is nothing short of amazing. Each night before I went to bed I opened up this book and was captivated. Colton Burpo's accounts of heaven is a page turner. What Colton saw and experienced in heaven is astounding. Things a little boy could not and would not know unless he had been in heaven himself is revealed to the reader throughout the chapters.

What I particularly like about this book though is that the Burpo's are honest, genuine Christians who are being faithful to share their story with the world and thus helping others in their own walk with God. They don't claim to have all the answers nor do they seek fame from Colton's experience. They are people just like you and me who have been given a chance to reveal God's love and redemption offered to others. The Burpo's have received so many testimonies from others where healing and help have come because of their own testimony.

What the Burpo's went through during Colton's illness is indeed heart wrenching. They don't spare you details of the trials they went through previous to Colton's revelation of heaven. It's raw, honest and open. The pain they endured though isn't the end of their story.

Since the release of this book in 2010 Heaven is for Real has been widely successful. The Burpo's have traveled all over the world to tell their story. I wouldn't be surprised if millions have heard of sweet Colton and his family. Now their story is being made into a movie! The special movie edition of the book comes with loads of bonus features such as pictures from the set, interviews with the cast and crew and information on how this movie came about. I loved the updated interview with the now high school aged Colton at the end where he shares his thoughts on the upcoming movie and his life in general.

Overall I give this book 5 stars because it was genuine, heartfelt and an amazing testimony of eternity. I highly recommend anyone to go and get the new updated movie edition of Heaven is for Real for themselves.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from BookLookBloggers.com in exchange for an honest review. This however has not affected my opinions in the review in any way, shape or form. 

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