Seeing and Believing

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

In 1998, the movie Prince of Egypt came to theaters and my five-year-old-going-on-thirty watched the familiar story of Moses come to life on the big screen. He empathized with the slaves as the whips came down unmercifully on their backs. His heart ached as he watched Jochebed put her baby son into a basket and release him to the river not knowing if he would survive. And he laughed when the camel pulled Moses from the sand.

child-praying-hands-1510773_1920Of course, he had heard the story many times, but seeing it, brought it to life. Through the animated characters, he was able to experience their struggles and heartaches. So much so, that he wanted the captive set free even if he had to do it himself! “Take that, mister!” But nothing prepared him for the wall-to-wall deliverance in the final scene.

Imagine if you will, Moses and the children of Israel marching to freedom. All seems to be going well until they reach the Red Sea and realize Pharoah hasn’t kept his promise. All eyes turn to Moses. As Pharoah’s army approaches, Moses suddenly gets a familiar look on his face, lifts his rod Heavenward and thrusts it into the water. Suddenly the sea stands up and separates!

At that moment, my son turned to me and declared. “I want to be a Moses!” Throughout the years, I have often thought of my son’s response to God’s deliverance of His people.

So can we be a Moses? Joshua? Deborah? Elijah? Jeremiah? Peter? Paul?

Absolutely! On our knees, we can move mountains, calm seas, and defeat the enemy.

The truth is this world needs to see a miracle! As children of God, we may never turn a river red with blood, or unleash a plague of frogs, or part the waters to walk on dry land. But there is one thing that we can do. We can pray.

Prayer…

  • unleashes the power of God.
  • sets the captive free
  • heals the broken-hearted
  • meets the need
  • changes circumstances
  •  brings victory

Remember, there is nothing too hard for the Lord! Let us lift up a prayer for our world. Together we can make a difference.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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Overwhelmed

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:5-8 KJV

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord.With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:5-8 NIV courtesy of Bible Gateway

Today, slow down, take a moment, and be overwhelmed! You will find there is no better place than in His overwhelming presence.

 

 

 

Blessings in Disguise

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43:2

This past week I read an article written by Courtney Westlake on Michelle Cushatt’s blog, Making Peace With an Imperfect Life. In the post, Westlake talked about preconceived ideas in our lives—how we think something should be or ought to be.

Life teaches us to expect certain outcomes in certain situations. Plant a garden, reap produce. Get married, have babies. Work hard, enjoy retirement. Serve God, be blessed. Right? But what happens when things don’t turn out the way we imagine? What if the blessings come in unrecognizable packages?

“Sometimes, when something is different than we anticipated or hoped for, it leaves us disappointed, confused or even grieving a kind of loss.” Courtney Westlake

As you can tell, the story resonated with me because I’ve lived long enough to know we don’t always get what we imagined. As children, we imagine a blessed life to be:

  • happily ever afters
  • healthy babies
  • perfect jobs
  • more-than-enough income
  • successful kids
  • retirement
  • disease-free lives

But then life happens and the enemy whispers, “Where is your God in all of this?”

Sometimes, the questions are instantly silenced. Othertimes, years may pass before the taunts are quietened. Still, other questions will never be resolved until we stand face to face with Him. In those instances, let us be reminded we are not alone.

I don’t think…

  • Job thought he would lose all and be stricken with a disease that left him sitting on a trash heap listening to accusations from his so-called friends.
  • Joshua and Caleb pictured themselves remaining in the wilderness for forty years watching their kinsman die when they departed Egypt.
  • Mary imagined herself pregnant and unmarried.
  • The disciples visualized their Royal Deliverer hanging on a cross and buried in a grave.

 

At the onset of heartache, we see nothing but what we didn’t get or what we’ve lost. That is the goal of the enemy of our souls. However, whether that heartache is divorce, disease, or even death,  we are blessed because God is right there with us through it all. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

  • Job talked with God.
  • Joshua and Caleb saw the promises of God.
  • Mary birthed the Savior, Emmanuel, God with us.
  • The disciples realized Jesus was more than just an earthly King. He was the Lamb of God.

Truth, we will face heartache that will almost destroy us, but in the end, if we allow God access to the deepest regions of our heart, that heartache will make us stronger. And what we see as a trial, will turn out to be the very blessing we need to teach us of God’s faithfulness.

We are blessed no matter our circumstances. God has always been and always will be with us through the waters of uncertainty, the rivers of faith, and the fires of impossibilities. And. He. Will. See. Us. Through.

May we always recognize the blessings in disguise!

What about you? Have you any blessings in disguise?

 

 

Click here to read A Different Beautiful

Click here for more on Courtney Westlake

 

 

A Tapestry of Secrets~Sarah Loudin Thomas

Book Blurb: What is the weight of a secret?

And what happens when that burden becomes almost too much to bear?

51XK+M2rnRL._AC_US300_QL65_For decades, Perla Phillips has hidden the truth of a decision that still fills her with guilt. But now, seeing her granddaughter, Ella, struggle in a similar way, she’s prepared to finally open the past to her family, no matter the consequences. But when the opportunity is snatched from her in a most unexpected manner, will she have waited too long?

Spanning generations, this moving family drama weaves together the interlocking stories of two women as they navigate relationships, family, faith, and the choices that will shape their lives. Heartwarming and nostalgic, the story explores the courage to share the wounds of the past and celebrates the legacy a family passes from one generation to the next.

My thoughts:

In her book, A Tapestry of Secrets, Sarah Loudin Thomas has written a realistic tale of Appalachian life. The dialogue and everyday lifestyle brought the story to life. I felt as if I were walking in Ella’s shoes. But…

I never felt that Ella was struggling with the problem in Perla’s past. For one thing, Ella wasn’t focused on one person long enough for the problem to occur. I did, however, like Ella’s creativeness, especially when creating a quilt. I also enjoyed the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter.

However, as stated above, the romance strand was almost like a contest with Ella being the prize. Yes. As a writer, you can have several men wanting to court one woman. But Miss Ella seemed a little flighty in her decisions as she vacillated in her affections. In some instances, I wanted to scream, “Hello!”

Nevertheless, I forgave Ella when she finally made her choice. And the scene that made her choice plausible was a wonderful surprise! I thought it fitting to have her discover the man’s natural talent in the last place Ella expected to find him. Bravo, Sarah Loudin Thomas!

All in all, I liked the story. If you like reading stories filled with hope and forgiveness, love and restoration, you will enjoy A Tapestry of Secrets!

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

 

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A World of Difference

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13

This past weekend, we decided to visit one of our favorite restaurants. Hubby ordered the hamburger steak. I ordered chicken and dumplings. And, Lulu ordered chicken fried chicken. Yummy! However, when the food arrived, the dumplings were not light and airy, but thick and doughy. Ugh!

Tired and ready for home, I decided to choose the best and leave the rest. But the waitress walked over and asked about the dumplings. When I hesitated, she grabbed my plate and said, “I didn’t like the way they looked in the first place. But I was going to let you decide. Then, I was going to say something. But, I couldn’t stand it any longer.”

I immediately liked this woman. She was animated…and loud. A character not easily forgotten.

After bringing another plate to the table, she waited for my response. I told her the second plate was a little better. Then, she announced they had a new cook.

Ah. That explained it, right?🙂

With my problem somewhat resolvedsalt-791655_1280, I asked Lulu about her chicken.

“I can’t tell if it’s the breading or the gravy. Something isn’t right.”

Wanting to make it right, I reached across the table, speared a piece, and tasted. Hmmm. Easy fix.

“It needs salt.”

Lulu looked skeptical.

I reached for the salt and gave it a few shakes. “Stir and taste.”

She still wasn’t convinced but decided to give it a try, anyway. Afterwards, she grinned and said, “A world of difference.”

“Isn’t it amazing what a little salt can do?”

She nodded, chewing another piece.

As I watched her enjoying the meal, I thought of all the problems in the world. Some are an easy fix. All that is needed is salt. While others are like the thick and doughy dumplings. Only a seasoned expert can create the needed solution.

Jesus said WE are the salt of the earth. Too much salt makes food inedible. Not enough salt makes it tasteless. But the right amount of salt makes food palatable and produces a desire for more.

Our witness can make a world of difference. The rest we leave in God’s capable hands and pray.

How would you describe your witness? Inedible, tasteless, or perfectly seasoned? How would others describe you?