I invite you to join discussions, it enhances the reading experience for everyone. Please share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge in a respectful manner. May we all learn something in our endeavor to educate our hearts and minds. I look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reflections from the Alley

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to share with you about Dave Arnold's new look on his blog. You need to check it out.

Also, if you haven't signed up to follow him you need to.
You get a free ebook when you do called "The Destiny Manifesto".
It's a short but powerful book about taking charge of your life. God has created us to soar...but it's our choice if we do.

Have a blessed week!

"To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 1: 24-25 NIV

UPDATE- The new look on his site won't be up till tomorrow. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for forgiving my "humanness". 

Monday, August 26, 2013

JOY is a Choice

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Phil 4:13 NKJV

So how do we tap into that strength?

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

How does joy give you strength?

Joy lifts us above our circumstances, above our feelings. 

Joy gives us strength to face opposition.

While in prison Paul rejoiced and encouraged others to do the same, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phil 4:4 NIV

Joy (or Rejoicing) is a choice NOT an emotion.

So no matter what you’re facing, no matter the mountain that stands before you, RE-JOICE! 

It’ hard to be sad and joyous at the same time.

It’s hard to complain and rejoice at the same time.

It’s hard to be negative and sing praises to God at the same time.

Try it….bet you can’t do it.

Joy in God is your strength.


Because satan can’t stand the praise of God. 

So instead of focusing with your eyes and feelings, focus on God and chose to rejoice!

Joy is a choice.

Only you can decide…will you complain…or will you rejoice!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Are You a Ball of Yarn or Part of the Blanket?

I love to watch my friend crochet blankets. 

I’ve tried to learn but can’t get the hang of it. I don’t have the patience…or maybe the skill. 

Anyway, I was reading Colossians 2:2 when part of it stopped me.

I went back and read it a few times, each time envisioning my friends nimble fingers move the yard into a masterpiece.

“…being knit together in love…” NKJV

My friends’ blankets are made with love.

Each ball of yarn carefully chosen. Each designed with someone special in mind. 

When she first begins, it doesn’t look like a blanket.

It looks like bunch of loops strung together…organized chaos in my opinion.
Yet when it’s finished, it’s beautiful, it’s functional, it’s a blanket!

Each member in the Body of Christ is the same.

Each member is important to the overall design that God wants to make into a beautiful and functioning masterpiece.

Sadly, we don’t all grasp that.

Some of us know why we were created, we boldly move forward, serving God and serving others.

But many don’t know. After accepting Christ, they warm a pew and assume that’s as good as it gets. Forgetting that God is the one looping us together.

Yes, it looks like organized chaos at times, but in the end, we form a unified Body, able to be used for His glory!

Each individual strand is important.

None can be left out.

 “ Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.1 Cor 12:15-20 NIV (emphasis mine)

Don’t feel bad if you’re not a foot (I envision missionaries). We can’t all be feet.

Don’t worry if you’re not a mouth (I think of preachers or teachers). We can’t all speak at once, who would hear?

You DO have a part. 

Just like a crocheted blanket can’t stay together if one stand of yarn isn’t fastened to another, so the Body of Christ can’t properly function if one part is missing.

We are all important.

So find out what your part is and then allow God to knit you into the Body of Christ.

We are made to be useful.

We are made to be knitted together. 

Yarn by itself isn’t very useful.

Don’t be a ball of yarn.

In fact, when a blanket is finished, it’s hard to find (at least for me) where it all began.

We should be so interwoven that individual threads don’t stand out.

Unity doesn’t seek its own glory.

Unity binds us together like a blanket and fuzzes the lines so the only individual standing out is the one who designed it- GOD.

Monday, August 12, 2013

UPDATE on Summer and her Mission Work in Sierra Leone

Back in April I told you about a dear friend of mine leaving EVERYTHING to answer God’s call to be a Full Time missionary in an Orphanage in West Africa (you can read her testimony here).  

A few have emailed asking how she’s doing.

First, I want to say THANK YOU for praying for her and/or for donating to support her ministry (You can donate here). 

Next, I want to tell you that God is using her in some amazing ways! Each time I get a report on her I am brought to tears. I can’t believe the impact she is having in a predominately Muslim society. 

One example of God working through her is a recent story of her helping get medical treatment for a toddler. At first I thought this toddler was one of her orphans, but it wasn’t! 

She “stumbled” upon a toddler having convulsions and quickly took action. She had to take him to 3 different medical facilities before someone would treat him. During the entire process she cried and prayed.

At the end of the day she goes back to the orphanage tired and scared this little soul won’t make it through the night. He has both malaria and pneumonia. 

The next day she “hurried” (seems there’s really no such thing there) to check on him. When she got to the hospital ALL the IV’s were out and the toddler was awake and active. The medical staff said it was a miracle. 

But that’s not the end…the parents (Muslim) to the toddler were so impressed by Summer’s love and willingness to help complete strangers- as well her answered prayers to a God they didn’t know- that they are now attending the Christian Church! 

There are more stories like this…but there are also spiritual battles she faces on a daily basis. Struggles I can’t begin to fathom. 

Summer has asked for prayers for healing in her body (remember from my previous post she has severe allergies), relief from loneliness, as well as patience. 

Please add her to your prayer list. She and her team need your prayers. They are working hard for God’s kingdom… and if possible, please consider donating. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Disclaimer: I apologize if any of this information is slightly inaccurate, communication is difficult and I’ve pieced this information together to the best of my understanding.

Monday, August 5, 2013

God's Grace is Like a...DOG?

Discipline is a daily topic in a house with a toddler.

On any given day you can hear a conversation similar to this:

Tell mommy why you got a time out.”

I hit Liberty” (Our dog).

I told you that if you hit her, you’d get a time out, but you did it anyway. Tell her you’re sorry for hitting her.”

He bends down and curls his little fists into her hair and whispers, “I’m sorry, Liberty.”

Liberty licks his tiny face sending peels of delight echoing throughout our house. 

Before the teaching moment is completely gone, I try one last time to make sure he understands why he had to sit in the corner. “If you hit her again, you get another time out. Understand?”

He hangs his little head but an impish grin peeks out as he says, “Okay”. 

Before long we have a similar conversation about pulling the dogs hair.

Through it all, Liberty remains by his side.

She doesn’t require an apology.

She doesn’t demand “justice”, “fairness” or “punishment”.

And she doesn’t hold a grudge.

Nope. She shows total and complete GRACE.

She loves my son no matter how roughly he treats her.

She sticks by his side even when it’s not pleasant.

Now that is unconditional love.

Her expressions of love, devotion and grace blow me away.

How often do I treat God the way my son treats the dog? 

While I don’t pull God’s hair or smack him upside the head, I can’t say my treatment is gentle at times.

Yet no matter how ugly I act, God is here, ready and willing to forgive and restore the relationship.

All this reminds me of the story of the adulterous woman and Jesus.

After all her accusers left, He told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11)


Notice Jesus didn’t try to get “one more teaching moment in”. 

She knew what she’d done. She didn’t need a reminder. 

She didn’t need someone like ME saying, “Do you know why they were about to stone you to death? Do you realize I could have just let that happen, it was justified? You better straighten up or next time you might get hit a few times before I come to your rescue.” 

Nope. She didn’t need any of that. What she needed was grace.

Good thing those people brought her to Jesus and not me. I would have wanted to lecture her before sending her away.

Now, my son is a toddler. I have to teach him right from wrong; it’s part of my job as a parent.

It’s not my job however to “teach” others.

I’m not called to judge sinners, but to love them.

In 2 Tim 2:1 we are told to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Strong in grace…

My dog’s teaching me daily about that type of grace.

That’s the type of grace Christ extends. It’s the type of grace He wants us to extend as well.

Everyone sins…but only God is able to rightly judge and instruct.

Let’s let God, be God.

Let’s let God be our parent and discipline each individual as He knows best instead of being the big sister/brother who wants to stick our noses where they don’t belong (Proverbs 3:11-12)

Discipline is good (for those who learn from it- Proverbs 15:5) but it’s not up to us to discipline the world. 

We are called to give unconditional love- to shine HIS light.

If you have difficulty understanding God’s unmerited devotion, just spend some time around a toddler and a dog. It’s more than words can express.