Monday, October 20, 2014

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

I paused after reading Psalm 29 and wondered 
at all the references to the voice of the Lord.



Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, 
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; 
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; 
the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. 
The voice of the LORD is powerful; 
the voice of the LORD is majestic
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; 
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. 
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. 
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. 
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. 
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. 
And in his temple all cry, "Glory!"  
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; 
the LORD is enthroned as King forever. 
The LORD gives strength to his people; 
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

The voice of the Lord can be in the whisper.(1 Kings 19:12) His desires made known by the look of His eye.(Psalm 32:8) But take a minute and meditate on what the psalmist says here about the voice of the Lord.

The voice of the Lord….
Is over the water
It thunders
Is powerful
Is majestic
Breaks
Strikes
Shakes
Twists

The voice of the Lord makes things happen. Can you imagine what He can do in your life?

Have you asked to hear from God, to receive a word from Him?

Are you ready?


photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net // Gualberto107 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Guest Jeanie Jacobson: Wipe out Worry

Every year I miss out on Autumn's beauty because I'm worried about the approach of my nemesis-- winter.

My choices: 
A) Waste two seasons dreading cold Nebraska weather.
B) Stop worrying and enjoy today.

Do you worry about things you can't change? If so, there's hope.

When Jesus walked the earth, people were much like we are today, minus the iPhones.

Take Hiram and his wife Miriam.
Every day Hiram hopped the donkey and headed to the vineyards, toiling to keep a palm branch roof over their heads.

Work-at-hut mom, Miriam, held things together on the home front using the latest appliances, like her new top-loader laundry pot, and updated flat-top cooking stone.

Their twin boys, Uriel and Uziel, similar as two lentils in a pod, devoured food as fast as Miriam could grind it.

Teenaged daughter, Rachael, cruised the marketplace with her friends in her free time. Miriam routinely steeled herself against Rachael's pleadings. "Mom, my sandals are so last century, and there's a sale at J.C. Peniels."

Rachael worried about her wardrobe. The twins worried about who'd get the biggest piece of lamb shank. Hiram worried about bringing home the mutton. Miriam worried about everything.

In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus offered them the same reassurance he gives us now:

We're valuable to God.
He knows our needs and will provide for them.
Worry won't change our situations.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. " Matt 6:33-34

When worry rears its sneaky head, bash it like an arcade game Whack-a-Mole. How? With God's word.

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers." Phil 4:6

Three steps to wipe out worry
 1) Find scriptures relating to the situation.
2) Write them down.
3) Pray them aloud.

Every time the enemy--worry--attacks, overpower it by declaring God's promise. The more we speak it, the more we'll believe it.

What do you need?

Provision "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19

Guidance "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." Prov 3:5-6

Love "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself." Jer 31:3

Healing "...and by his wounds we are healed." Is 53:5 

What's worrying you today? What's your strategy to overcome it? Please leave a comment. I'll be glad to pray for you, or share a scripture to help.



Jeanie Jacobson, a contributor to three Chicken Soup for the Soul books and a Bethany House compilation, lives in NE where she serves on the leadership team of Omaha Wordsowers Christian Writers Group. She is also a regular contributor to their blog and teaches a workshop geared toward helping new writers. Currently, she is busy writing 
a Christian-slanted YA fantasy series. 

Connect with Jeanie: 
Website  
Newsletter (sign up and get chapter one on her current WIP)

donkey photo courtesy: www.freedigitalphotos.net //m_bartosch

Monday, October 13, 2014

Delays and Setbacks

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 

 My hubby is putting new siding on our house. We watch the weather so we can cover the unfinished portion if rain comes. Of course, we live in Nebraska. That means…7% chance rain brings a downpour and 50% brings sunshine (that really happened – in one day).

One night the downpour came and I ran out to help manhandle the tarp. The wind blew it out like a sail and it was difficult to manage, but I held on tight while hubby nailed it in place. The next morning we discovered wet carpet where water had seeped in due to a downspout pouring against the house.

Life demanded a pause and there wasn’t much we could do.

Out came the furniture, up came the carpeting and in came the fans. Hubby used the wet vac to pull out as much water as possible, then we propped up the padding and carpeting and let the fans do the rest. We slept on our mattress on the living room floor until the carpet was dry and we had time to relocate back into our bedroom.

If we had ignored the wet carpets, then eventually mold would have set in and we would have bigger trouble than wet floors.

The same can be true spiritually. If we don’t pause life when storms create messes in our life and take our messes to God, we might end up with spiritual mold.  

We can be working away on our assigned task from God when storms hit. We baton down the hatches best we can, but storms have a way of oozing in and making a mess anyway. If we ignore the warnings and barrel through we might end up with burnout, deeper struggles, or ruined efforts.

The best response when storms strike, is to pause and find some whitespace in our life. A place to allow hidden troubles time to surface so we can take them to God. Then He can help us with the mess left behind by the storm.

Have you ever had to hit the pause button? 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Video Devotional: Ambassadors for Christ

Do you ever feel under-qualified to speak for God? 



God isn’t looking for people who have it all together to 
share his good news. [Click to Tweet



Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 
2 Corinthians 5: 17-20


P.S. If you were encouraged with this video, please share with your friends! Thank you.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spotlight: Melody Balthaser Author of Seeking Sophie

Today, I get to introduce you to another CrossRiver Author, 
Melody Balthaser and her book, Seeking Sophie.

In 1858 New England, orphaned, indentured servant Sophie Stalz stabs her master to protect herself from rape. Now she must rely on her brother and his friends to protect her. Escaping through the Underground Railroad, Sophie finds herself stranded on an island in the hands of a stranger.

Surrounded by the sea and occupied with the duties of a lighthouse keeper, Jackson Scott just wants to be left alone with his memories. His fortress is about to crumble when his friend deposits Sophie on his doorstep. An old debt needs to be paid and the cost is dear.
As her master is Seeking Sophie, will Sophie and Jackson find a life together free from their past?

Get your own copy: 
CrossRiver Media or Amazon
~ ~ ~
Get to know Melody
MELODY BALTHASER lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and their three children. She has traveled to Africa to help orphans in Zambia and worked in children’s and women’s ministry. She enjoys traveling, hiking, camping and canoeing, but when winter settles in she heads indoors to sit in front of the wood stove, while a classic chick-flick plays on the T.V. and homemade soup simmers on the stove. Melody’s passion is to encourage people to let God’s love free them of fear and rejection to live the adventurous life their Creator intended.

Have you always been a writer? I have not always been a writer and am still not a full-time writer. I was at home with my children, working part-time and homeschooling, when I began writing Seeking Sophie. The story unfolded over the next few years. I entered the first three chapters in the Genesis contest and got encouraging advice but did not place. I put the manuscript away for a few more years until I felt I was supposed to share it and God led me to CrossRiver Media.   

What kinds of interesting things have you done in your life? I have had all kinds of jobs from hairstylist to service writer in a heavy machinery shop. I’ve raised goats, milked them and made cheese. I’ve been to Zambia and I’ve jumped out of a plane at 13, 500 feet! 

What books have influenced your life the most?  Francine River’s books have had the greatest impact on me, especially the Mark of the Lion Series and Redeeming Love. They really began to awaken me to the depth of God’s love.  

Tell us about getting your mind in a creative mode? I am most inspired after being outdoors. Sights, sounds and smells of nature trigger my creativity.

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? I am not a very scheduled person and am pulled in many directions all the time. I am learning to accept and understand what works best for me and realize it may not look like anyone else’s process.     

What advice, do you have for others aspiring to publish a book of their own/follow their dream?  Open your heart and listen to what God is saying you. He will direct you and He will use you in ways you never expected if you stay humble and teachable.

What is your book about?  Seeking Sophie is about a young woman finding her place in a male dominated nineteenth-century world and her struggle between the desire for independence and belonging.

What was your favorite chapter or part to write and why? Believe it or not, my favorite part to write was Damien’s POV. He is such an interesting antagonist and I enjoyed trying to get into his head and experience things from his perspective. I love writing dialogue for him.  And what was the hardest? I have a hard time with POV and what I really want to do is a no-no in novel writing. I like head-hopping because I like to think about each person’s perspective of the same situation. It’s why sociology and psychology always intrigued me.

Do you plan on writing a sequel to this story? I am working on the second novel in what I’m calling Drawn to the Light series, Chasing Clare, in which readers will get to know Sophie’s best friend Clare. More of the mystery introduced in Seeking Sophie will unravel.

Connect with Melody

Monday, September 22, 2014

God's Math

I'm preparing for a trip this week, so I reached 
back into the archives to share a post from a couple of 
years ago. Have a wonderful week and be on the lookout for God's math!


One plus one equals two. Two plus five equals seven. Simple math.

God’s economy works a bit differently.

In Mark 6:30-44, we read about Jesus crossing over the lake with his disciples in order to be alone with them. A bit of rest, one on one training time. But when they arrived on the other side, a large crowd waited for Him. Compassion filled him and he began teaching.

Well into the day, his disciples’ stomachs began to growl. I can just see them huddled together discussing the problem. I can only imagine, weary disciples, disappointed that a crowd interrupted their plans to be alone with the Jesus, hoping that it was time to tell the people goodbye. They finally elected someone to approach Jesus. “It’s time to eat. Should we send them away to find food?”

But Jesus has a big heart. He told the disciples, “Feed them.”

Perhaps at this point Judas stepped forward. After all, he took care of the money.

“How will we feed this crowd, Jesus? Don’t you realize, it would take eight month’s pay to feed them all?”

But Jesus already knew what would happen. “Go find out how much food there is.”

The disciples spread out through a crowd of 5,000 men (plus women and children) searching for food. “Listen up, everyone. We’re trying to put together a picnic here. Who has any food?”

Finally, they found one little boy with five loaves of bread and two fishes. I’m sure Jesus smiled at the young boy, perhaps place a hand on his head in blessing. Then he told his disciples to organize the crowd into groups of 50 and 100.

He took the offered food and blessed it, gave it to his disciples and told them to pass it out.

The disciples saw Jesus heal the sick, make the lame walk, the deaf hear, the blind see and raised the dead. I like to think the disciples got excited at this point as they stepped forward to accept portions of the bread then head out into the crowd. Their master was at it again. Amazing.

And when all was said and done, there were twelve basket of food left over. More than enough.
And definitely not simple math.

God’s economy is always better than what the world has to offer. He takes what we give and multiplies it to meet our needs.

Not only with the physical, but with our emotional needs as well. There have been many times when I have had a headache or been completely out of energy, but I’ve gone ahead with ministry or service when what I really wanted was to go home. And by the time I completed my task, the headache is gone, I haven’t thought about the aches and pains and I am energized.

He will multiply our offerings in all areas of our lives when we offer what we have to him. He fed 5,000 men plus women and children with just 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Imagine what He can do with what we give to Him.  

Where have you seen God’s provision in your life, where the economy of heaven overrode the economy of this life?

photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spotlight: Barbara Rupp Author of The Woman at the Well...today

Have you or someone you loved ever been challenged with mental illness? This is one book you will want to read. 

Wearing pajamas and socks, a Christian for more than 13 years, I was on my way to the state mental hospital. It was there that God healed me from mental illness, and alcohol and drug abuse, which spanned more than 30 years. Physical, sexual and emotional abuse led to multiple marriage, three suicide attempts, and several stays in two psychiatric hospitals.

Get your copy:

Mental illness is a reality. One woman's overcoming journey. [Click to Tweet]

~ ~ ~
The author

Barbara is the author of The Woman at the Well…today, her gripping and intense testimony of overcoming shame, guilt and tremendous heartbreak. Because of her turbulent background, she has a heart for the mentally and emotionally hurting wo
man.

Barbara has been involved in all aspects of women’s ministry; including authoring and teaching Bible studies, providing women’s biblical guidance; and coordinating special events and outreaches. She attended Calvary Chapel Bible College and now lives in Southern California with her son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters where she attends Calvary Chapel Chino Hills.

~ ~ ~

Get to know Barbara

When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing? My passion is teaching the Bible study God led me to write, The Woman at the Well…today, and ministering to hurting women. Sharing how big our God is brings me tremendous joy, and peace. I also, love spending time with my granddaughters, teaching them about Jesus.

What advice, if any, do you have for others aspiring to publish a book of their own/follow their dream? I’ll be 70 in January. As long as you have breath, follow your dream. It’s great if you have a support team that will encourage you through the good times and the bad times. When things get rough, I’m glad there is at least one person I can call and ‘bounce’ off my thought and feelings.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book? Allowing the emotions to rise and put that feeling on paper. Remembering painful times and putting them in writing can be gut wrenching.

"Empty, lonely, alone, desperate, afraid, sad, unloved, un-liked, unreal. One day I will disappear, and everyone will know I really didn’t exist."

Which part of your book was the most enjoyable to write. There is a last chapter in the book, but it is not the last chapter of my life. The story goes on. However, writing and remembering the time when I came out of the state mental hospital and realized that I was healed from mental illness, and substance abuse.

What motivated you to write on this topic? This is my journey through the depths of emotional and mental illness, before, and during the time, I became a Christian. It is full of hope

Do you plan on writing a sequel to this story? The sequel, is a Bible study. Actually, I have been teaching and training others to lead this Bible study since 1995. However, it is at the editors as we speak, and will be out in a couple of months. The only thing that is upon my heart now would be possibly to publish other Bible studies I have written and taught in the past.


What do you want readers to take away from your book?There is still somewhat of a stigma in some of the churches regarding Christians and mental illness. It is very real, and many Christians are suffering silently with it, even to the point of suicide. The Woman at the Well…today was written primarily for the hurting Christian woman. However, all women can benefit from the content.


Connect with Barbara