Friday, December 31, 2010

I was visiting in a friend's home yesterday,and framed on her dresser was this verse from Isaiah 42:16 "And I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone." I stood for a long time looking at the verse and remembering...a young woman who was getting ready to break free from a long period of bondage, very fearful and wanting above all to be led by the Prince of Peace. I didn't know the Scripture from Isaiah so the Lord gave me a dream where I experienced it. Later on I was stunned when I came upon the verse.

I am no longer a young woman and I know I'm not completely walking in all the freedom He wants to give me. On the brink of a new year He brought to my rememberance that He will be leading me in paths that I don't yet know. I have His promise to make darkness light before and rugged places into plains. He is my Guide, my Light, and the Leveler of my Path. My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow.

I pray that you will allow Him to be your Guide and Companion into the New Year that awaits you.

Love and abundant blessings,

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Focus on the Philippines

A letter from my niece and nephew Scott and Karen Taylor who have been serving faithfully in the Philippines for twenty years.
Dear Rell & Carol,
The thermometer is pegged at 90 degrees, the Northeast trade winds are blowing steadily, the waves are pounding the seawall, and a typhoon is forming to the South of us. This kind of weather can only mean that Christmas is near!

We now are entering into our busiest and most productive time of year. The people of the Philippines are very receptive to things of a spiritual nature during the holidays. In addition, the holiday season is very long. It begins in November and continues thru New Years. In February, the Chinese community will usher in the year of the Rabbit and the Vietnamese here will celebrate the Tet New Year.

Two days from now, we will be holding our annual Christmas celebration with the Batak. We are expecting around 100 people. How different it will be, from our first Christmas celebration with them, twenty years ago. At that time, there were only 19 people in our entire village. Because of our very limited language ability back then, we could not explain to them why we were celebrating. There were no churches in any of the Batak villages in spite of sixty years of missionary work. Happily, God in His goodness has been working in the hearts and minds of the Batak. Today, there are probably more Batak believers per capita than there are American.
After the Batak celebration, we will be hosting a Korean Missionary group as part of our camp ministry. They are currently working with three tribal groups found here in Palawan, and campers will be coming from as far as 150 miles away, to attend the three day event.

These past months have been very eventful ones for our Youth Center ministry. It continues to grow and the church members are maturing in the Faith. You might remember a story we wrote about some years ago. The children of one large family had earned Bibles and proudly took them home to show their father. Sadly, the father took the Bibles and threw them out the front door, where they landed in the mud. He said, “Bibles were not allowed in his house and the children were forbidden to attend church.” Last week the same father confessed,” he now sits outside every Sunday and listens to our worship service. For years, his wife and children have been regular members and his oldest daughter helps with children’s Sunday school. She would also like to attend Bible school next year.

Please pray for the safety of the fisherman, of our Youth Center ministry. Recently, they have been experiencing very violent storms that seem to come out of nowhere. We personally experienced one of these storms just last week. Sudden, gale force winds littered our base with coconuts and broken tree limbs. A bathroom door blew off, which then tore out a section of fence! The rain was blowing so horizontally, it actually traveled up the tailpipe of our jeep and filled the muffler with water! At The Youth Center, several trees were blown down.
Also last week, one of our fishermen came upon three men, clinging to the wreckage of their fishing boat, about 100 miles offshore. There was also a body tied to the wreckage.
Three days earlier, the men had been fishing when their boat was struck by lightning, and sank. One of the men was killed instantly. The survivors spent the following three days and nights, drifting without food or water. They were also forced to fight off the fish that were consuming the body of their friend.
Recently, a group arrived at our Youth Center saying,” The land where our Center is located belongs to them, and they were going to take it.” We took the threat very seriously because this group is known for its violent, land grabbing activities. A member of this group is the same person responsible for Scott being called before a grand jury several years ago, accusing him of being head of a criminal syndicate! While we were trying to figure out what to do, the brother of Scott’s former accuser, stabbed and killed someone while attending a wake. The family of the victim decided not to press charges, and the murderer was released from jail. As soon as he was released, a member of the victim’s family killed him! It is not likely that this group will be bothering us, as long as they are busy fighting one another.

Things continue to go well for us on the legal front. In spite of our nine cases continuing throughout 2010, the prosecution scored no major victories. We are thankful that one case was dismissed, when the plaintiff fail to appear for three consecutive hearings.

We are astonished at the development currently taking place around our Dakuton Base. When we arrived in the area ten years ago, it was a wild, sparsely populated place. Today, we are surrounded by resorts and more are being built. A group of investors from mainland China recently bought a nearby resort and plan to develop it. There is now a large, Korean school within walking distance of our house, where wealthy Koreans come to learn the English language. In spite of all of this development, most of the local people in our area still live in grinding poverty, and are controlled by superstition. Recently, in spite of the fact that a typhoon was threatening, the top story locally was about a family of vampires that was supposedly in the area. The radio was actually urging people to remain calm!

About this time last year, we experienced major flooding at our base. One of the vivid memories we have was that of one of our neighbor’s children walking by, as we surveyed the damage to our place. The ten year old girl had been forced to abandon her flooded house. She was walking alone, carrying all of her possessions in one, small plastic bag. Six months after the flooding, this same child was the victim of a violent rape. In addition, the girl’s mother began having serious emotional problems, and disappeared. With no relatives in the area, the child has been living with our Youth Center workers for about a month now. Please remember her in your prayers.

In January, we will have a new addition to our team of workers here. Mallory Oliff is from Tallahassee, Florida, and will be joining us for six months. Please pray for him as he adjusts to major changes in climate, food, and culture. Also pray for wisdom and patience as he attempts to learn a new language.

What’s the latest from Hanging Dog? Sorry it has been a while sense I have written. The motherboard went out in my computer and they had to send all the way to China for another one.
Yes, our neighbor has really been something. Just last night, I was playing my guitar, getting ready for the rehearsal of our Praise band. I hear this horrible screaming, and it was her telling me to turn my guitar down! Many nights, I have fallen asleep to the sound of drunken prostitutes and their customers, singing karaoke at her resort! If you come for a visit, I will make sure I introduce you.
I don’t know if you have heard the news that Ariel is expecting. We are really excited. Ariel continues to work in Waukesha while her husband finishes Bible school. I am having a lot of fun at the motocross track. When I beat a loud mouth, hotshot teenager in a race, I now get to kid him about getting beat by a Grand paw!

I might have told you before, that the courthouse where I spend so much of my time, is located right next to the motocross track. After a stressful day in court, I de-stress out at the track. Lots of court cases = lots of practice. The Philippine National Motocross season just concluded and I ended up 14th in points standing for 2010, in the veteran division.

This year, the price of postage has sky rocketed here. There has also been a big increase in the number of people that are experiencing hunger right now. What we decided to do is: instead of sending you a Christmas card this year, we took the amount of the postage saved and threw a big Christmas blow out. We are sending a picture of the child you sponsored. She received a big meal, a small gift, and was a happy camper!

Well, I’ve got to sign off and get back to work. Everyone sends their love.

If the Lord would lead you to contribute to this ministry the address for contributions is:
The Taylors (this is the only address to send contributions)

C/O Glenda Norris
25665 Nightingale Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536
Their Field Address:
Scott and Karen Taylor
P.O. Box 113
Puerto Princessa City
5300 Palawan, Philippines

Friday, December 17, 2010


I often ask the Lord for a word in due season. One that will encourage a heart that may need it that would stop by the blog. This morning..I'm resharing something that I need to be reminded of. Hope....can't live without it.
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Joshua 1:1-3

When I was raising my children I never wanted to break a promise to them. I tried to under promise and over deliver because I didn’t want to hear their words of disappointment claiming, “You promised.” I wanted them to trust and believe me, and know that their mother was a woman of her word. Therefore, I often had to add qualifiers…. if it doesn’t rain, if your dad gets home in time etc.

Our Father shows even more care in fulfilling His promises. Joshua 21:45 could proclaim, “Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.”NASB He had promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses a land and even though they were long gone, He kept His word. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” Hebrews 11:13a NIV

I am brought to my knees by the faithfulness of God. Not one of His promises to us will fail. Even when we close our eyes in death we can rest assured that His promise to us will be fulfilled even if we don’t get to see it come to pass in our life time. He is a covenant making God, a promise keeping God and we who know Him are “prisoners of hope”.

There have been times in my life when I wanted to suppress my expectations because I didn’t want to deal with another round of disappointment. I was sure the fulfillment of a promise was just around the corner and it wasn’t. I found that I couldn’t continue very long in a pit (that is where it takes us) of hopelessness. It was not because I was such a woman of faith, but because He is and always has been a God who keeps His word. As I stayed in His word, and prayed His word the faith, hope, and confidence in His loving heart would rise once again. In Zechariah 9:12 Israel is told to return to their “stronghold” you prisoners of hope. In this Scripture the stronghold is a good thing. It is a high place, a fortress of safety and I would much rather live there than in a pit of doubt and unbelief.

I was given a Fruit of the Spirit Bible by a dear friend. One morning as I was reading my eyes fell on this remark in the notes, “Jesus, if I do not see your promises fulfilled today, I will set my alarm extra early tomorrow morning." I believe that is a heart attitude that is a delight to our Father and will strengthen those who live with us or around us.

Are you in a pit of hopelessness? Are your eyes on the problem or the promises? Lift your eyes to the One who does not lie and cannot go back on His word. Return to your place of safety. Trust in Him at all times O people. By all means pour out your heart to Him; He will be your refuge. Psalm 62:8 NASB Tell Him you are struggling. He already knows it, so ask Him to restore you to that place of safety. Trust Him.
Lord, I believe you are at work even when I don’t see your hand. You are trustworthy and I am a prisoner of hope. Thank you for your covenant keeping ways and your unfailing love.

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Child - The Nativity

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

What a beautiful prophecy and description of the Savior. Unto us a Child is born (His humanity) Unto us a Son is given (His divine nature) I have known Him as my Wonderful Counselor, as my Mighty, Nothing is Impossible God. He has been the Father my heart always needed and longed for. My Prince of Peace in the midst of all that life can throw at me. He's more than enough and exceedingly abundantly above all I could ask for or think. Let's not lose sight of this wonderful gift in the midst of the season.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dolly Parton; Selah - Once Upon a Christmas

I love this version of Once Upon a Christmas. It amazes me that Dolly Parton wrote it, just the way it amazes me that crazy (in a good way) Mark Lowery wrote Mary Did You Know. I guess the Lord means it when He says, "but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God." 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NASB That's what gives me hope that I may do some lasting good in this life. Those who know me recognize what God has done.
It is hard for me to take when someone compliments me on some aspect of giftedness and they don't realize what a work God has had to do to bring it to pass. It isn't a false sense of is a deep realization as Paul says in Romans 11:36 "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."
I don't want to ever lose sight that these creative gifts come from the great Creator for the benefit of us all.
I hope you are enjoying this wonderful season. Cast all your care on Him because He cares for you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Charlie Brown Christmas

A friend of mine on Facebook posted this video. It really moved me and made me think of an old hymn we use to sing when I was a child. "I love to tell the story, for those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest. And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, 'twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long." Isn't that so true? I hope it is true in your heart and life. May we never lose the wonder and joy of the story of His coming.

Monday, December 6, 2010

In Christ Alone by Newsboys

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1 Corinthians 15:1-5
Thank you O my Father, for giving us Your Son and leaving Your Spirit til the work on earth is done.
Dear friend, I pray that this season finds you focusing on the Giver of every perfect gift. Don't allow yourself to miss the wonder of who He is and what He has done. Embrace the true spirit of this season.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Know

"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." 2 Timothy 1:12
Great quote but better reality.

God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.”
~Ernest Boyer, Jr.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Images Without Substance

I was watching a television program recently that was spotlighting people who go to extremes decorating their homes for Christmas. One man had filled his lawn and adorned his roof with every conceivable plastic and inflatable Santa, snowmen, reindeer, elves, and thousands of lights. When he was asked where he kept it all he showed them his storage shed behind his house. Oddly enough the only thing that was in the emptied out shed was Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. I’m not making this up.

I know that I am not the only one who has realized that the greatest symbols of God’s covenant love for us are always trivialized and set aside by our world system. The apostle John sheds light on this and encourages New Testament believers. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:19-21

Let’s define idol:
1. an image of a deity other than God
2. a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance.
3. a figment of the mind; fantasy.

The world replaces the true and profound with semblances removed of substance.

Look what has happened to the rainbow. To children in our world rainbows are more associated with CareBears, leprechauns and cartoons than a covenant promise of Almighty God. Prior to the flood, "A mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground." Gen 2:6 Often we read Scriptures and we don't allow our humanity to really interact and think about what the biblical characters were experiencing. They would not be so different from us. Think "Katrina" or tsunami for a moment. Noah's family experienced the destruction of their world on every level. The earth was no longer watered by a gentle mist. Now they would experience the gathering of ominous dark clouds, thunder, lightning, and at times torrential downpours. Can you imagine the fear, the flashbacks, and the gnawing dread they would experience if God in His mercy had not made this covenant with them and sealed it with a beautiful display above their heads? We've lost the meaning of the rainbow to leprechauns with pots of gold and glittery children's stamps. To the survivors it was a constant reminder of His holiness and His mercy.
Then there is the cross. God's holiness and mercy displayed for all to see. I don’t remember where I heard or read this, but the cross was not originally a symbol of Christianity, not at least for the first few centuries. Not until all those who actually knew first hand of its barbarity and cruelty were dead did it replace the ichthus or fish that seems to have made a comeback as a car bumper sticker. There was a shop in south London which stocked crosses as a fashion item. Punk rockers, Madonna, and fashion icons have used it that way. The Evening Standard reported that one of their readers had gone into a shop to ask for one. "Sure," said the assistant, reaching for the crucifixes. "Do you want it with the little man on, or without?"

We all know what has happened to our celebration of His resurrection. The Easter bunny and his promise of sweets and dyed eggs take front and center.

We are in the Christmas season and the emphasis in our world is on Santa and not a Savior. Santa appears once a year makes a list and checks it twice trying to find out who is naughty or nice. The Savior is God with us 365 days of the year. He knows we are beyond naughty and has come to save His people from their sins. Jesus is God’s indescribable gift to us. His grace lavished on us. His life lived to show us the way and empower us to learn and change.
We can't expect those who don’t know Him to grasp the meaning and significance of God's covenant reminders to us. It is up to us not to lose the meaning of these sacred things. Beloved guard yourselves from idols. They have no substance or power to deliver. Go tell God’s amazing story in every creative way you can think of during this and every season. Do it with joy, grace, and a heart of love for those who only know the world’s cheap substitute.

MY PRAYER: Father, we bow before you and thank You that you are a covenant keeping God. Help us to never lose our wonder and awe when we see Your covenant reminders. We know that there were many shadows and types that pointed to You, but "the substance belongs only to You." Colossians 2:17

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from a Grateful Heart

I am sitting in my son’s living room watching my newest little granddaughter sleeping in her mother’s arms. She is healthy, happy and beautiful. She lives in a nurturing environment with a sound roof over her head and plenty in her tummy. I don’t take that for granted. Many in our world aren’t always so blessed.

For many years now we have sponsored a Compassion child in India. We hope that we have improved the lot of a child whose parents love him as much as we love our children. I’m not saying this to pat ourselves on the back, but just to say, “God has been so faithful to us, how can we not extend that blessing to others?”

Like every family we have had some highs and lows, but the anchor of our souls has held us secure and steadfast. My oldest grandchild has overcome a serious eye problem. I am so grateful that our niece came through melanoma surgery and is doing well. My brother-in-law had open heart surgery without complications. This very week my sister and her husband are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. I just finished up Jesus the One and Only with a great group of women and leaders. I hope we all head into the holidays all the richer for studying the beautiful life, death, and resurrection of the Word made flesh. It was an incredibly rich experience yet we can never plumb the depths of all that He is.

I am grateful most of all to the Lord Jesus Christ for all that He has done in His mighty saving grace in this woman’s life. I have no idea where I would be if He had not intervened and rescued me from the lost and destructive path that I once was on. Truly I can sing, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind but now I see.”

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, even if you are in or from a country that doesn’t have our tradition. The God of the whole earth is worthy to be thanked for His incredible faithfulness.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Be On Guard

But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, "In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." Jude 1:17-18
They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 2 Peter 2:19

I listened to one of the most deceitful things that I have heard in a long time yesterday. It was the pastor of a mega church announcing his homosexuality to his congregation. His motivation was to spare teens who are grappling with their sexual identity from the anguish that would drive them to suicide. His message was that you are who you are and that is fine with God. Anything in the Bible that leads you to believe it is wrong is to be ignored. He stated clearly that he believes the Bible is inspired but not true in all of the teachings. He urged his congregation to listen to Paul when he teaches on Jesus, but ignore his teachings on homosexuality because Paul basically didn’t even understand sex between a man and a woman much less the subject of sexual orientation.

Of course it was all baptized under the covering of love and acceptance i.e. approval. I agree with the love, but I don’t agree with the acceptance/approval. I went to church with a man who was a convicted pedophile. He’s attracted to children. I can love him and try to understand his brokenness, (he was molested as a child) but I will never approve or accept that this is the way his desires take him. We are a fallen race and never is it more apparent than in our sexuality. I am not suggesting people deny their sinful bents, I am proclaiming that Christ came to set the captives free and to make us whole and healthy human beings. Tiger Woods is a heterosexual and yet he is terribly bent and needs the healing power of God. He is a slave to his sexual appetites. To tell him that is just the way he rolls and we all accept that is to condemn him to the lifestyle of a roaming dog. Never free to bond to and really love a woman. Never free to be a wholesome example for his children through the redemption that is available through the cross of Jesus Christ. I pray that someday he will find his way to the cross of Christ who came to set the captives free.

I think one of the most disturbing things about this pastor's message was to observe the people in his congregation giving hardy approval as he twisted the word of God and justified himself. He was granted several standing ovations and other signs of approval. In Romans 1:32 the Apostle Paul warns us of those who “although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”

Seeing all these things that are coming to pass what manner of people should we be? Beloved friend, my purpose in writing of this is to say, “Arm yourself for battle. In these last days difficult times are upon us. Ground yourself in the word and love of God.” "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:17-18

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Misty Edwards ~ I Love You

A friend shared this on FaceBook and it is a beautiful declaration of His love for us. Enjoy and receive that love.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kept in Step by His Spirit

The past week the Lord has encouraged me in several situations to share this with some friends. So, even though this is an old post, I sense it may be a timely word to someone who needs to hear it.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14 NASB

Approximately eight years ago I sensed in my spirit that God was directing me towards children’s ministry. For nearly 20 years my focus had been exclusively women’s ministry so I was shocked and questioned if I was hearing correctly. Then two years later my pastor asked me to head the children’s ministry at our new church.

With very few exceptions I was never in the sanctuary during the preaching. We were plugged into a small group and that is where we enjoyed some intimate fellowship. After several years I started having some concerns that I was disconnected from the flow of what the Lord was doing in our church. God put that to rest in an amazing way.

One Saturday afternoon my husband came home from work and mentioned that he had been up and down on a ladder all day and his feet were sore from balancing on the rungs. I asked him if he would like a foot massage and who wouldn’t be up for that? While he showered I prepared a warm footbath and searched my arsenal for every soothing foot product I could find. I sat for half an hour and worked on his feet. In 35 years of marriage I am sorry to say that was just one of a very few times I have done that for him.

The next morning at church, I noticed on the platform near the pastor’s pulpit was a basin, towel, and pitcher. I thought to myself, “Well, I think I know what Pastor Jeff will be preaching today.” Then I went about my business and never gave it a second thought until the next morning during my quiet time. The Lord brought the picture of me ministering to my husband’s feet and the display at the front of the church. I heard that still small voice that I love saying, “I can keep you in step with what I am doing.” What had happened at our house God was doing at the gathering of His house. I was stunned. However, He wasn’t through with me yet. When I went to get my mail I found a note from a woman named Sharon Coarsey. She had been in a women’s Bible study I had led and sent me a lapel pin as a token of her appreciation. It was a basin and a towel. (By the way, she apologized that she hadn't sent it sooner. The timing was impeccable.) That was jaw dropping affirmation that I was being led and kept in step by His Spirit. How gracious and kind He is. He was asking me to stay at my post and trust Him to continue to lead.

I don’t know if you have concerns and doubts about where you are right now. Take them to the One who desires to lead you. It is part of our privilege as His child.

MY PRAYER: Lord we have received you and believe in your name. You have given us the right to become your children. Thank you that part of that privilege is to be led by your Spirit. In Jesus’ name amen. John 1:12

MY CONFESSION: I am a child of God and I am being led by His Spirit. I choose to follow. I stand on Your Word! Romans 8:14

Friday, November 12, 2010

Listen and be blessed! "Everything Sad is Coming Untrue" Part 1

Jason has a speech impediment. He stutters and this is the wonderful thing he says about it. "I'm actually grateful now," Jason says, "that my speech handicap never afforded me the option of masking my weakness behind an illusion of competency. Whenever I opened my mouth, there it was for all to see... something was clearly wrong with Jason. I couldn't fool others or myself. I think the best thing that can happen to us is to be 'found out' for all that we are, our religious and human pretenses stripped away to reveal our sin, pettiness, and weakness. Then we can devote our energies to better endeavors than the constant masquerade of sufficiency. The added benefit is that people are able to see how God's grace works in a real person's life. When we come clean about our brokenness, Christ becomes the star of our testimony and not us."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You Veterans! We Are Grateful.

Just finished a writing assignment to be published at on November 19th so I don't have a whole lot to say here. I do want include a couple of great quotes I've come across today. The first concerning our gratitude for our veterans. "In war there are no unwounded soldiers." Jose Narosky I thought about how very true that is whether you have been in combat serving your country or in combat serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone is wounded in one way or the other.

The other quote I found is by Thomas Edison and I know how true it is. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Can I get an amen on that one?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Martha Heart


Head on over to A Martha Heart and read the article I wrote. Check out all the recipes and the other writings while you are there. You will be be glad that you did. Hope you are having a wonderful day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Winter Snow (Feat. Audrey Assad) - Chris Tomlin (Must See)

We had a few flurries yesterday and I woke up today to an icy morning. Made me start thinking of the upcoming Holy Days and the music I would want to add to my Shuffle. This was my favorite off Chris Tomlin's Glory in the Highest cd. Actually it wasn't my favorite, I was just taken by this song I had never heard and thought it had a gentle beauty to it. Enjoy!

Picture Worth a 1,000 Words

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Receive Like a Child

"Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all." Mark 10:15 NASB

Yesterday I had the privilege of taking care of 3 children under the age of four. Their parents are moving and needed someone to be in-house to keep them safe and occupied while big furniture was being taken out. Their mom needed to be free to clean the rooms when the furniture was moved out and of course the endless packing of clothes and kitchen items.

We go to church together but didn’t know each other very well. We finally had some interaction through fall Bible studies my husband and I are leading. So when I showed up at their house the children didn’t know me at all. It took them about 20 minutes to get totally comfortable with me. They are great children; very bright, well-behaved and grateful to have the undivided attention of a grandmotherly (that would be me) person in the house. By the end of a very long day, we were totally bonded. That felt free to come and snuggle in my lap. There is just nothing like having a child seek a moment with their heads on your shoulder. Just quiet for a few minutes before they are off and busy again.

As I was overseeing their baths the oldest little girl looked up with a big smile and said, “It’s nice to meet you.” A little later she said, “I’m glad you got to come to my house today.” My heart just melted. How great was that? Her mom overheard the last statement and said, “We have been so busy they really needed a day like today where they have someone’s undivided attention.” Then their oldest boy who looked so tired came up and asked, “Would you rub my back?” I just loved it.
On the way home I thought to myself, “Lord I think I understand much better why you said we must become like a little child.” They were trusting, accepting, love sponges who didn’t try to disguise their needs. Even though I was tired at the end of the day I felt so blessed. What a gift to give, and have it so readily accepted. How many times would the Lord pour His care out on us if we would humbly receive it like a child? He’s so much more worthy of our trust and dependence than any mortal person no matter how well intentioned.

MY PRAYER: Help us to trust You with a childlike trust Lord. Help us not to refuse what you so freely give because we won’t humble ourselves and ask. Free us to seek quiet moments with you where we are just snuggled in enjoying Your comfort and presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wife Released From Prison

This is an article I found this morning as I attempted to find an update on this situation. Please continue to pray.

Fatemeh Passandideh, the wife of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, was released October 11 by a court in Gilan province, in northern Iran, an official linked to the Church of Iran told BosNewsLife.

"The release of Fatemeh Passandideh comes ten days after the announcement of the death sentence for her husband Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani," he said, speaking on earlier agreed conditions of anonymity, amid security concerns

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pray for Our Brother, His Wife and Children

Iranian Authorities to Execute Pastor for Apostasy

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3

I just received this article from a friend this morning. I am so glad I just read this verse this morning and the following remark by Beth Moore in Jesus the One and Only. Luke 12:4 "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.Luke 12:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." "Eternity is a far greater reality than this short breath of time. In essence, Christ said: "Don't fear people who can kil you now but can do nothing to you after that." The only healthy fear is of the One who controls forever"

After a court order temporarily delayed his death, a Christian pastor in Iran is again scheduled to be executed. Worthy News reports that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani will be executed this weekend for the crime of apostasy unless the court again delays his execution. Before he was arrested in October 2009, Nadarkhani led one of the largest Christian communities in Iran. He was singled out by authorities for helping Muslims turn to Christ even though leaving Islam is punishable by death. He was finally arrested after protesting against the enforced reading of the Quran to Christian children. His wife was also arrested and has been sentenced to life in prison. Rights activists are petitioning for the release of both Nadarkhani and his wife.

OUR PRAYER: Lord God we come humbly to Your throne of grace to receive help in the time of trouble for our dear brother and sister and their children. Lord, You have counted them worthy to suffer for your name's sake. Lord, we now ask that you deliver them by Your mighty hand. Lord, you were obedient unto death, even death on the cross. If this is the means by which Pastor Yousef is to glorify you then we ask that you will give him the awesome sense of Your presence and great peace and courage. Help him to pray for those who persecute him. Help him to overcome evil with good. I pray that you would extend great courage and mercy to his dear wife. I pray that their captors would be ashamed and convicted of this sin against heaven. Help us to rise up and pray and act on their behalf. In the name above all names, amen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:5-6 NASB

I’ve wondered at all that word could mean.

Chosen by a longing need;

Agreeing to take them sight unseen.


Suddenly a thought descends;

I’ve been taken in by Him.

Chosen before time begins


He saw me in my mother’s womb

I wasn’t taken sight unseen

With all He knew there still was room.


I found this simple little poem I wrote a long time ago. The wonder of it all. It made me reflect on one of Rich Mullin's songs that I love so much. I should know better than to follow one of my simple renderings with something as great and textured as Rich's beautiful expression of Psalm 139. I once heard someone say, "If God has given you a beautiful voice praise Him with it. If He hasn't...sing and get even." Just kidding...sort of.

Nothing is Beyond You

Where could I go, where could I run

Even if I found the strength to fly

And if I rose on the wings of the dawn

And crashed through the corner of the sky

If I sailed past the edge of the sea

Even if I made my bed in Hell

Still there You would find me

'Cause nothing is beyond YouYou stand beyond the reach

Of our vain imaginations

Our misguided piety

The heavens stretch to hold You

And deep cries out to deep

Singing that nothing is beyond You

Nothing is beyond You

Time cannot contain You

You fill eternity

Sin can never stain You

Death has lost its sting

And I cannot explain the way You came to love me

Except to say that nothing is beyond You

Nothing is beyond You

If I should shrink back from the light

So I can sink into the dark

If I take cover and I close my eyes

Even then You would see my heart

And You'd cut through all my pain and rage

The darkness is not dark to You

And night's as bright as day

Nothing is beyond You

You stand beyond the reach

Of our vain imaginations

Our misguided piety

The heavens stretch to hold You

And deep cries out to deep

Singing that nothing is beyond You

Nothing is beyond You

And time cannot contain You

You fill eternity

Sin can never stain You

And death has lost its sting

And I cannot explain the way

You came to love me

Except to say that nothing is beyond You

Nothing is beyond You

Nothing is beyond You

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Life Worship: Hiding place

It has been a very busy September and here we are a week into October. I haven't been attending to the blog, but then there aren't people hanging on my every word either.
Some wonderful things have been happening and as usual some challenges as well. The Community Bible Study Fellowship that some friends and I have begun is going well. We have 56 women in Bible study doing Jesus the One and Only. That thrills my heart. The really good part is that we come from many churches in our area and we are hoping and praying it will build bonds and a sense of unity among us. Jesus prayer was John 17:21 "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."
I had the privilege of meeting Sandy Day I volunteer with the Woman's Enrichment and Family Center and they sponsored a seminar with her. Part of my privilege was to be her guide and host since she is not familiar with our area. What a delightful sister in the Lord. All I can say is she did what Hebrews 10:24 tells us to do, "Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds." I came away from my time with her more committed to be who God wants me to be. I love it when that happens.
In the middle of all this I had two episodes with my inner ear that causes extreme vertigo. I average one episode about every year and a half. The good part was my husband was wonderful or I would never have made it. When I am in the worst part I can't function. All I can do is hang onto my bed with my eyes closed. There is no walking or even crawling when it hits. Even when it's over there is a residual that's very unpleasant. The day before my sister and nieces got here for a rare visit in North Carolina I had my second episode. Fortunately I was able to rebound enough to really enjoy their company and cook! They left yesterday morning on the same day the Woman's Enrichment Center opened an office in my hometown. So...whew!
Added to all this like wonderful icing on a beautiful cake is my privilege of writing for A Martha Heart Once again, the best part is getting to know the women who are on the team. I hope you will drop by often to partake of all that is being offered. Be sure and check out all the wonderful recipes that are there. I made the apple craisin breakfast casserole for my family and it was a BIG hit. So simple too when you are rushed...make it the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning.
This morning I have had the luxury of lying down beside the still waters. I love the quietness here at my Shepherd’s feet for some needed restoration.


Friday, September 3, 2010

A Holy Moment

I was thinking this morning about how precious our grandchildren are to me. I want so much to be a good and godly influence on them.For some reason this incident came to mind and I thought I would share it. I directed a childcare program at our church for two years. While we didn't have a curriculum per say we did have a schedule that we tried to adhere to. We typically would start off our day with a song and Bible story. All our activities were indoors until the afternoon when, weather permitting, the children were allowed time on the playground. We had several days of bad weather that had kept all activities indoors. As the children were dropped off and our day was starting I glanced outside and realized a truly beautiful day was unfolding. I made the decision to let the children go out to play right then as the day was beginning. I knew they would love it, but more than that I felt we all needed to get out and breathe in the glory of a new day.

I will never forget the look of pure joy on the face of one little girl in particular. She was flying high on a swing and I was watching her face. Our eyes met and she exclaimed, "Miss Carol, I LIKE God!" That moment could not have been more profound for me if I had been in a cathedral. I knew her background. Her parents were young and struggling to make it. God was not a priority, but they wanted a safe place for their child. We were trying to sow seeds into all the children who were under our care. Here before my eyes it was bearing fruit. She liked God. I hope all of us that worked with the children had something to do with that. I once heard the definition of a Christian as "Someone who makes it easier to believe there is a God." I love that. Let's make it easier for people by being authentic and having faces and hearts that say "Yes" to finding joy in the journey.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Before I Eat

If you need some sympathy or empathy or just a this!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Okra as Art Form

I don't usually put recipes on here, but I am making an exception today. Yesterday I was watching Paula Deen, yes, it is a guilty pleasure of mine. She was cooking Cajun fried okra. Since I grow okra and we've been eating it in many ways, some that are even healthy....I decided to try Paula's version. I'll include the link below. Oh my goodness...elevates the lowly okra to an appetizer worthy art form. Her recipe is huge, and I just wanted a sample batch so even as mathmatically challenged as I was wonderful. Yes, I ate the whole thing, alone. One of the privileges of the test cook. I know my husband and he will gladly subject himself to this new recipe. Wow! Really good. The dipping sauce is spicy, but I am a fan of the chili garlic sauce that you can find in the Chinese section. My picture turned out almost as pretty as hers and I am sure she has a food stylist. Way to go Paula, good one!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Fire, the Cloud, and the Aroma

This morning as I was searching the Scriptures I decided to consult a commentary. By the way, if you are not familiar with I highly recommend this resource for a wealth of good solid commentaries available online. Don’t automatically fly to a commentary though. If you haven’t read and re-read the text, prayed for insight, and done some preliminary work on your own you won’t have the discernment you need to assess whether the commentator is on track.

I knew the correlation between God appearing to Abram as a smoking oven and a flaming torch as they cut covenant in Genesis 15, and God appearing to his descendents as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that guided His children out of Egypt. However, my understanding was deepened by these wonderful insights by Alexander Maclaren. “These two symbols, the fire and the cloud point to the double aspect of God’s nature, that “He can never be completely known; He is never completely hid.” But also, “It speaks of that twofold aspect of the divine nature, by which to hearts that love He is gladsome light, and to unloving ones He is threatening darkness. As to the Israelites the pillar was light, and the Egyptians darkness and terror, so the same God is joy to some, and dread to others.” (Expositions of Holy Scripture [Baker], 1:109).

As I pondered this wonderful insight 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 came to mind. “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?” The very same principle Macclaren was describing will be played out in our lives too. Even if we are representing our Lord well, there will be those who love darkness and will dread the light that is in us. It is an awesome thing to carry the Presence. As Paul asks, “Who is adequate?” Read these words in the NKJV 2 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses (poured forth) the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”

May it be so Lord.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Catching Up

August has been a wild ride. Well, for some adrenaline junkies and those who like to live at a fast pace my life would seem pretty tame, but for me...not so much. I live in the mountains where life has a totally different cadence. We don’t have malls, traffic jams, or an abundance of restaurants or theaters. Some of you may find it strange that it’s not unusual for us to cross state lines just to see a movie. What we do have is family scattered all over creation, and since we love them and seek opportunities to see each other, it involves a lot of travel, phone calls, and the ability to Skype.

I also have spent a lot of time encouraging, consoling, and just listening to friends and loved ones who are going through or have loved ones going through really tough times. Just yesterday I had the surreal experience of helping to plan a prayer vigil for the safe return of a friend’s 26 year old cousin who has been missing for almost a week. In my own extended family we’ve had a potentially life threatening motorcycle accident, open heart surgery, and in a couple of days, my niece will have a melanoma removed from her leg.

On a much lighter note… in the family realm I had the delight of flying to Wisconsin for my great-niece’s wedding. Ariel Taylor married Robert Jank. Ariel is the daughter of my nephew Scott Taylor who is a missionary in the Philippines. It was a quick trip, but so worth it to see love ones that I so rarely get to see. I’m something of an airport connoisseur (probably the 7 years I spent as a stewardess) and I loved the Milwaukee airport. Good thing because I had to spend several hours there. I had chosen Lost Horizon off my bookshelf to read and used a gift card to treat myself to Starbucks so it was all good. I’m including some pictures of the lobby. It was bustling because the PGA had a tournament nearby. Lots of men with plaid pants. The atmosphere was really wonderful.

On the home and garden front I hate to admit it, but my husband and I made a real rookie mistake this year. We overplanted two of our raised beds and didn’t thin them out. You’ve heard that “he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly?” I have something to add, “she who sows abundantly and doesn’t thin out the seedlings will have a lot of frustration and waste.” We were gone two weeks during prime garden time which didn’t help. My cucumbers leaves were so thick and abundant that I couldn’t find the cucumbers until they were near watermelon size. The delight of growing your own is to pick them when they are small and crisp with tiny seeds, but they couldn’t be found in the jungle. My bush beans were the same way. They were crammed in side by side and loaded. We ate a lot of green beans and I shared with my neighbor, but I dreaded picking them. Next year I will probably overreact and have one plant every 3 feet.…balance Carol, balance.

Our little Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix 14 year old dog, Taz, is now on medicine for a heart murmur. He gave us a real scare by almost passing out. Fortunately he was scheduled for an appointment with the vet that very day. He is the most compliant and laid back dog. I had to throw that in because of the mix of his breed you may be picturing a high strung yipper. That is so not Taz. He has been a delightful companion to us. Nothing makes him happier than to see his bed go into the backseat of our car or truck. He knows he gets to go on an adventure. He curls up and snoozes with one eye open so he won’t miss any opportunity to roam and find new trees and bushes to mark. He doesn’t want to miss out on any food being passed around either. If there were pictures to illustrate words in a dictionary Taz’s would be next to optimist. We do NOT feed him from the table, but that’s where you will find him at every meal. Maybe he’s waiting for a stray morsel to escape, but only when the grandkids are here does that plan bring a return. Since they live SO far away, it’s a long wait.

September beckons with a varied and full schedule. My husband is going to visit the grandkids without me. He and one of our granddaughters have birthdays close together. She wanted her grandparents there and I can't make it so as his birthday present he gets to go alone. Now he doesn't have to shamelessly vie to be the favorite. I can't believe I am missing out, but I will try to benefit spiritually from the solitude. The night I came face to face with the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ, His word to me was, "Be still and know that I am God." I still need to allow that truth to reign in my heart and life. On September 1st I get to be part of a new online ministry A Martha Heart — Sitting at His Feet I feel so privileged to be asked, but more privileged to work with and get to know some wonderful women. The 9th of September my husband will begin facilitating a men's Bible study and I will be there to serve and help him in any way I can. On the 11th some friends and I will be providing the wedding reception for a wonderful young couple. On the 13th I will be launching a new Bible study group in our community with some young women who are stepping out in faith to reach their circle of influence. In all of this I would desire your prayers. I want to do what I do out of the overflow of my relationship with Him. I want to abide in Him and His word in me so that I bear fruit and exhibit a gentle and quiet spirit that is precious in His sight.
Hopefully, I will still have time to come here and share lessons learned as I journey with Him.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fall Bible Study--Jesus, the One and Only

Hey Girlfriends, want to give you a heads up so you can make your plans for the fall. If you have never been in a small group Bible study you don't know what you are missing. It adds a dimension to your spiritual growth that is incredibly valuable.

Come along with Beth Moore on a life-changing journey which will lead you through the hills of Galilee with the Teacher, across the lake with the Master, and, finally, on the road with the Savior--His face set toward the cross. Filmed on location in Israel.

BEGINS: Monday, September 13th (11-week, in-depth study)
TIMES: Daytime Class: 10a.m.-12 Evening Class: 7-9p.m.
WHERE: MountainView Community Church, 1335 Hwy. 64 West
Murphy, North Carolina 28906
FACILITATORS: Community Bible Study Fellowship: Cindy Bradshaw, Debby Intemann, Carol Lackland, Theresa Noland, Lori McClure, Cheryl Miller, Karen Pope, Lauren Steadham


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Source of Our Confidence

I have been reading in the book of Acts. It never fails to encourage me. It always stirs up faith in my risen Savior. Jesus’ disciples had gone from the depths of despair, after Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, to the heights of joy. He had appeared to them through “many infallible proofs.” Acts 1:3 They had waited obediently, according to His instructions, for the filling of the Spirit to become His witnesses. Now they were living it out on the streets of Jerusalem and it was getting them in trouble.

Peter and John had in Jesus’ name healed a man lame from birth. It caused quite a stir and the religious leaders were fearful. They thought they had put an end to the Jesus problem. Now they were trying to intimidate and quiet His followers. All the big guns were called in and they were put on trial. Every eye was on Peter and John. Read chapter four of Acts. It is wonderful to see the wisdom that was given them. I love verse 13 “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” I think education and training are wonderful, but nothing can compare to walking with Jesus.

Nothing would please me more than for people to know that any confidence I have comes from walking with Jesus. Every day we wake up we should hear afresh, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” Oh, I know that issue was settled in my life a long time ago. However, if I’m not intentional, I will allow the pressures or lures of life intrude and hamper my time with Him. We have to make it a priority to get alone to talk to Him and allow His word to talk to us. Do you want to grow in confidence in your faith? Be very intentional. It won't just happen. Spend time with Jesus. What is done in secret will be reflected openly.
MY PRAYER: Lord, I want to walk in humble confidence. It is a marvel to me that You call us Your friends. Thank you for drawing and calling me to spend time with You.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How Do You Know God is True?

How do you know God is true?
I could tell a tale or two
How 'bout you?
Cause when your life's on the line
You gotta know He's there for you
Every time, I'll be reminding you

“Songs From the Loft” 1993

I was recently given an iPod shuffle by my daughter and her husband for Mother’s Day. Amazing little gadget. It is unbelievably small, talks to you, and can store and play up to 500 songs.They know how much I enjoy listening to worship music and thought I would love it. I do. Makes mowing the lawn a much happier experience. I can go for a walk and it just slips in my pocket and I’m in heaven.

When I was choosing my songs to download I came across an old gem from 1993 called How Do You Know? I’ve included the lyrics from the chorus. It’s a simple upbeat song, but holds a real nugget of truth. We can use Bible narratives and personal experiences of God’s deliverance and provision to encourage others.

So many people are going through hard times right now. I am praying for people in financial stress, a family desperate for work, some are fighting serious and life threatening illnesses or injuries. Others are experiencing the heartbreak of alienation from love ones. We always have to be sensitive when we are giving encouragement not to be trite or downplay the seriousness of their situation. Pray and seek for opportunities to point them to God's promises and His amazing history of faithfulness and provision.

I recently solicited prayer on the behalf of a family member seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. God answered those prayers in a miraculous way. I sent out the letter from the father describing how God had intervened and thanking them for their prayers. So many responded to his letter telling how it encouraged them to believe God for their own situations. That reminds of what the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. How do we know God is true and sufficient to sustain us in every trial? I’ve got a tale or two. How about you? Use those things to comfort and strengthen others.
MY PRAYER: Lord, great is your faithfulness. We have tried you and found your promises are true, you are everything that you said that you would be. Help us to encourage others with the encouragment you have given us. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Great Times and Sweet Memories

Daughter-in-law Lindsay, Paityn Jean, and our son, Micah, at the family reunion on the 4th of July.

Our daughter Rachel, her husband Dan, Caitlin and Madeline celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary with us.