Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Thoughts

It is that time of year again.  That time when hurts, losses, bitterness seem to swallow up our ability to be thankful.  Holidays are tough.  That is especially true if your loved ones won't be with you on that day, if you have no loved ones, or if you have lost a loved one. My father has been gone since 2009, my aunt since 2010, and my mother since 2012.  They made our Thanksgiving celebration special.  Thanksgiving was "their" holiday.  They would do this meal and then we would do Christmas.  They made the holiday.  I looked so forward to being at my Aunt Shirley's on that special day and celebrating with both my moms and my sisters.  After their deaths we tried to establish new traditions....but it is hard.  We all have children, they have children,  they have other families and so the annual Thanksgiving gathering has temporarily fallen by the wayside.  This year, instead of being sad about not being with my family, I decided that family does not have to be is just people you enjoy spending special times with and my Thanksgiving has been amazing thus far.  We had an awesome time at the Anglin farm last Saturday for a delicious lunch with my sister-in-heart and her family.  Then we had a Porch People(my family-in-heart) celebration at the farm house and there was so much food and love just filling the whole place.  It was so fun to sit and listen to stories about the family, love on babies, eat too much, and just be at peace.  Thanksgiving is a heart thing and Saturday was definitely heart full.  Thanksgiving Day I plan to be watching the Macy's Day parade....a tradition I always did with my daughter, and then we will be sitting down with Beth and her family for lunch.  There will be a bit of sadness there because Beth's husband Ron, won't be with us....but love will be present.  At 4 we will be celebrating with our Porch People family at Sherry's.  Steaks and the fixings will be the meal of choice here.  No, Frank and I don't have blood family nearby....but we are blessed with a large adopted family-in-heart.  For that.....we are extremely thankful.  God certainly knew what he was doing when he planted us in Rock Mills.  I am encouraging you to do something out of your comfort zone.  If you know of someone who will be alone on Thursday invite them in....make their day a glorious one.  Thanksgiving Day is vital to our well-being. It focuses us.  It reminds us that despite outward appearances sometimes to the contrary, each one of us is blessed   It strengthens and sometimes mends relationships.  It lightens our heart just a bit.  It distracts us with the comfort of food and fellowship.  But, the most important thing that I look forward to at Thanksgiving is that it prepares our heart posture for Advent/Christmas season and that makes me smile.  I wish you all a glorious Thanksgiving holiday.  God Bless You All.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Thankful Hodge Podge

Here we go, this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back over to Joyce's blog to share answers with your friends and neighbors. See you there! Be sure to read and respond to someone else's comments.  You can really learn a lot that way.
1. What's surprised you most about your life, or about life in general?  When after 25 years of teaching in one place....instead of retiring....I moved to a different system and started over.  This was one of the best career decision I have ever made.
2. Among others, these ten words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year...awesomesauce, beer o'clock, brain fart, buttdial, cat cafe (apparently this is a real thing), fatberg (gross-read the definition here), fat shame, hangry, Mx (gender neutral), and skippable. 
Your thoughts? In looking over the list, which word do you find most ridiculous? Which word would you never in a million years say out loud? Which word would you be most likely to use in conversation? Personally I would use very few of them in a conversation.  I do like awesomesauce and have used it several times in conversations.  I think they are all pretty ridiculous.3. Do you like gravy? Is there a food you'd rather not eat unless it comes with gravy? Do you make your own or buy the canned or store-made variety? Turkey and gravy, sausage gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, country ham and red eye gravy, biscuits and chocolate gravy, pot roast and gravy...which one on the list is your favorite?  I can take or leave gravy.  I do like it sometimes.  I like sausage gravy once in a while.  My mom used to make tomato gravy with biscuits and I loved that.  Creamed chipped beef I love.  I have never had chocolate gravy but have heard a lot about it lately and think I will have to check it out.  I mean....who doesn't like chocolate.  I love pot roast but prefer au jus.4. Do you have a plan? Do you need a plan? Have you ever had a plan fall into a trillion pieces? Explain.  I always have a plan.  I am not a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person.  I need a plan...especially as a teacher,  I have had numerous plans fall into a trillion pieces.  It never fails.  I remember my greatest lesson plan ever fell to the wayside on 9/11.  I spent all day teaching history in a Spanish class because the kids needed to talk about it....and so did I.
5. November 19 is National Play Monopoly Day. Do you own the original or some version of the game? Do you enjoy playing Monopoly? How likely is it you'll play a game of Monopoly on November 19th? Ever been to Atlantic City? Ever taken a ride on a railroad? Is parking in your town free? Last thing you took a chance on?  I own Monopoly.  It is one of Frank's favorite board games.  I do not like playing it.  I always lose.  I have been to Atlantic City and walked on the Boardwalk and saw all the roads named after Monopoly places.  I have taken many rides on railroads.  I have even been on a train that was about exciting.  Parking in my town is free.  There used to be parking meters, but no more.  I took a chance on a rifle and quilt for one of the local schools....oh and two Talladega tickets.  I did not win any of them.6. A song you like that has the word (or some form of the word) thanks in the title, lyrics, or meaning?  Thank You by Ray Boltz
I sang it at the funeral of a friends young son and have never sung it again. 
Thank You - Ray Boltz
I dreamed I went to heaven
And you were there with me;
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea.
We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name.
We turned and saw a young man running
And he was smiling as he came.
And he said, "Friend you may not know me now."
And then he said, "But wait,
You used to teach my Sunday School
When I was only eight.
And every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start.
And one day when you said that prayer,
I asked Jesus in my heart."
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.
Then another man stood before you
And said, "Remember the time
A missionary came to your church
And his pictures made you cry.
You didn't have much money,
But you gave it anyway.
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that's why I'm here today."
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.
One by one they came
Far as the eye could see.
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity.
Little things that you had done,
Sacrifices made,
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven, now proclaimed.
And I know up in heaven
You're not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes.
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord.
He said, "My child, look around you.
Great is your reward."
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

 7. In keeping with this month's theme of gratitude....what is something you're taking for granted that when you stop and think about it, you're grateful for?  Life
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Bad decisions make good stories.   Have you ever made a bad decision and had a good story to go with it?  Trying to save my first marriage I did something my ex loved....we went to Biloxi.  I was on crutches with a fractured ankle.  I am not a gambler by I spent my 20.00 on slots and then found a couch near the front door and was reading a book I was doing a review on.  I looked up as the doors parted and four of my parent's deacon's entered.  There was a deer in the headlights look on both parts.  Then I found it rather amusing.  My parents knew where I was.  They were staunch Baptists and did not believe in gambling....but had approved this attempt to save my marriage.  This was their deacons.....four of them.  They were as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.   The head deacon asked me to please not say anything to my dad about this. I never said a word about it to my dad.....but I still laugh about it when I think back on that day. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Golden Braid

About The Book: The Golden Braid (Thomas Nelson, November 2015)
The one who needs rescuing isn't always the one in the tower...Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel's hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again---this time, to the large city of Hagenheim. The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight---Sir Gerek---Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position? As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?  Purchase a copy:
About The Author:

Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

Connect with Melanie:
website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

My Thoughts On The Book:  The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson was AWESOME! Once I began reading it I could not put it down.  Rapunzel was my favorite story as a child.  This book was a new look on an old tale and a must read.   Dickerson's character,  Rapunzel, is not left alone in a tower but is moved from place to place by her mother.  The mother does not have a healthy outlook on men, relationships, or love which colors Rapunzel's view.....that is until the day Sir Gerek comes on the scene.   I loved the way God was woven into the story.  If you enjoy Fairy Tales with a Christian twist than this is the book for you.  I cannot wait to read Dickerson's next book.  Loved it!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse and Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  

Pork Beef Chicken Ribs - Chewing On Religious Truths

Pork, Beef, Chicken and Ribs: Chewing on Religious Truths

About The Book:  (from the back cover) - After failing to be baptized as an adolescent because of bad theology, Harold Gregg was visited by God in mid-life and became an avid religious scholar.  Through forty-five years of studies, Gregg traces the roots of how Islam came to be and then drops a bomb claiming that the God of Islam, or the God of the Koran, is Satan himself.  Satan is the Anti-Christ prophesied in the Bible by Apostle Paul and other prophets like Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.  This book provides you with God's plan for the salvation of mankind and will benefit anyone that will read it - both Christmas and Muslims.  Muslims have been taught that the god of the Koran is the same god worshipped by the Christians and the Jews, but this book provides scriptural proof that refutes that premise.  Pork, Beef, Chicken, and Ribs refers to an abandoned Bar-B-Que pit alongside the road that inspired the writing of this book.  Much like the promise of that non-existent food, there are many religions today that claim to offer spiritual nourishment but leave their followers hungering for more.  Gregg cooks up a scriptural comparison that the soul can chew on.
About The Author:  Harold Owen Gregg is the second son of Forest and Allene (Sandlin) Gregg, and the second grandson to Harrison T. and Nora (Cagle) Gregg of rural Marion county, Alabama.
My Thoughts On The Book:  I review a number of Christian books throughout the year.  When I was approached about reviewing this one I have to admit the title caught my attention.  I was expecting a lighter read, yet found myself quite intrigued by Gregg's book.  It is very interesting and his theories are very well supported.  If you are looking for a light, feel good read then it is not for you.  It is a very concise and deep study.  It is obvious that Mr. Gregg has done an extensive amount of research.  If you are a pastor or scholar of biblical history this is a great book to have in your library. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Harold Gregg and Tate Publishing.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Faith Of A Soldier

My scripture text today is from Matthew 8:5-13

This past week our nation honored men and women who have served our country. Even today, veterans are coming home from war with scars, injuries, and some of them are having a very hard time. Did you know there are veterans from the Iraq war that are homeless today?  We also should take time to honor families who have stood by husbands, wives, sons and daughters, and others who make a great sacrifice when their loved ones serve our country.  What is it like to sign your name to a paper that could possibly mean the end of your life? What is it like to walk down the cold hallways of a processing station? What is it like to sleep in a squeaky bunk bed where men have laid down their lives to never come home again? It takes the faith of a soldier – great faith!  What is it like to step on a plane not knowing if you will come back? What is it like to hug your little girl not knowing if you will ever hug her again? It takes great faith – the faith of a soldier.

THE FAITH OF THE CENTURION: What enabled this military officer to have such faith in Jesus?
1. Humility – he did not allow his position to keep him from asking for help. Many people think they are above needing help.
Some people have more faith in themselves than they do in God. They try to control and fix everything. But no matter what your status or rank is, we all need help. Why do we say, “All that is left it to pray?” Faith asks for help for anything. This man was not going to let anything keep him from Jesus! Will you?
2. Care – He cared for his servant. In his position, he could have easily found another servant. But he cared about people. Something incredible happens to our faith when we begin to care about other people. If you want great faith, you have to care about other people.   When you are in war, you are not concerned about personal affairs  “The church has had its hands up and eyes closed for  years while Satan has come in the back door and picked off families and pastors because we are more focused on what we can get out of God.”  Who do you cry for? Yourself? Do you weep for other people?
3. Belief – He believed in Jesus and the Word of God. He did not doubt the power of Jesus to speak and heal. If you want great faith, you need to believe His Word. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (another good reason to go to church). If you want great faith, speak His Word! Even Jesus was impressed! His servant was healed that hour!
We should all want the faith of a soldier. What does it take to have that kind of faith? If I was standing there that day, I would say, “I WANT A FAITH LIKE THAT!”  The Centurion came to Jesus. Jesus is the Source of Faith – Faith is not something we conjure up. Faith comes from knowing Jesus and being close to Him. If you want great faith, you have to be with the Great Lord. That relationship is going to cost you something – time, energy, passion, your life.
You must know….THE COST IS GREAT. 
John 15:13 tells us:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Sometimes when we think of our struggles and begin to feel sorry for ourselves, we need to remember the soldier driving down a littered road in Baghdad not knowing when the next bomb will go off.

Have you ever laid your life down? The greatest thing we can do is not serve ourselves, but to serve others. If you want God’s blessing in your life, start laying your life down for others.

Jesus said to count the cost. We often mislead people by telling them to pray the sinner’s prayer, but don’t inform them what following Christ really means. It means salvation yes, but it also means sacrifice.

But it is a good sacrifice. There is no greater feeling than to realize that your sacrifice made a difference. When we follow Christ and His will, we are fulfilled. It is not hard to tell which people are fulfilled in Christ – they have a look and attitude of joy even in the hardest times.

I have this shirt from the Army. I paid $20 for it. It means a lot to me because it cost me something. Not the $20. But the commitment I made when I raised my hand to give my life to my country.


Philip. 2:25 (NLT) Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, a faithful worker, and a courageous soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.  But we can honestly say that anyone who chooses to follow Christ is a soldier of the Cross, because to follow Christ means to lay your life down, it is great faith.

2 Tim. 2:3-4 (NLT) Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. [4] And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.

You cannot lay your life down without some scars. You might not get a purple heart, but ever soldier endures pain and struggle. We will not get through this life without hurt and pain. We will be attacked, and hopefully, if we are truly faithful, we will be persecuted. We might not be set on fire like the Roman Christians as torches, but we can light up our world with the faith of a soldier. Reports often tell us that injured soldiers want nothing more than to get back to their buddies. If you want the faith of a soldier, you will have to let those scars be healed and get back into the battle. You may be facing some great battles. But take heart. Many have gone before you and made it through by faith.  The Army has a system called “Battle Buddies.” No one is ever to be alone in battle. You can’t even go to the bathroom alone. We need each other. I need your faith and you need mine.

I have a dear friend named Jim.  He is a Vietnam Veteran. He grew up in a Christian home and married a Christian girl. But when he came back from Vietnam, he was a different man – he had scars. His marriage fell apart. Later, he was injured at work and spent many days in the hospital in traction. His estranged wife was attending church and drove one hour every day to see him. A business acquaintance compelled him to attend a small local church called the “Church on the Way.” Soon God was working on his heart. While his wife was living with her parents, he slept on their couch for several weeks until their marriage was restored. Later he became a missionary. One day he was called to pastor a small Hispanic church of fifty people. In a short time, the church grew to 5,000. After the sudden death of the senior pastor, Jim was asked to become the Senior Pastor of The Church on the Way which now has 10,000 in weekly attendance.

You see, the faith of a soldier is great faith. And great faith will do great things.
• Great faith will heal marriages
• Great faith can save families
• Great faith can change communities
• Great faith can start revival


We will never know how critical one soldier’s actions were to save a nation. We may never know how critical our faith is to save our nation.  The military has a trauma system for mass casualties.
The lightly injured are called “minimal” because they don’t need immediate treatment.  The next level is “Delayed” – they need treatment but they can wait.  Then there is “Immediate” that have serious injuries but should survive if they get immediate treatment.  The final category is “Expectant” because the injuries are so severe that there is little hope.  There are many “Immediate” and “Expectants” in our world today. People who need Jesus right now! There is no other remedy. There is no other solution.

What hope is there for the murderer, the rapist, the child molester? Can therapy forgive them? Can prison take away their sins? NOT AT ALL? Can Mohammad or Buddha give them forgiveness? No. Can Congress help them? No. Only Jesus can.

All the programs in the world cannot take away the wounds of sin.
He was wounded for our wounds. He took our scars in His Hands.

WHO WILL BE IN HEAVEN? - There was great pride and prejudice against the Romans. Jesus said many people will take a seat at the feast with Abraham and others will be cast out – but people like this Centurion, people with great faith, will be there with Jesus. It doesn’t matter what color you are, what you have done, what church you go to, all that matters is that you have put all your faith in Jesus Christ by giving your WHOLE LIFE to Him.
“Having a Christian family is a wonderful blessing, but it won’t guarantee you eternal life. You must believe in and follow Christ.” Life Application Bible.  GREAT FAITH means “Here I am Lord. You have all of me because I trust You more than myself.”  Today is not about saying our country is perfect or even that our veterans are perfect people. But we do have a heritage of faith that is still seen in soldiers today. But the most important faith is not in America or even in our military, but in our Father in heaven.


Jesus said it was done has he believed. Sometimes our expectations are low. Don’t get me wrong – Jesus did not heal everyone, but he always healed to prove a point. And the point here is that FAITH MATTERS!   Let’s HAVE GREAT FAITH IN GOD FOR ANYTHING. The final outcome is up to Him, not us. But faith is the key to the ignition of miraculous power. Just like a soldier, stand up, raise your hand, and give your faith to Jesus Christ! Sign your life away – you won’t regret it!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Veteran's Day For Children

This week we celebrated a very special holiday.

- It isn't Thanksgiving, even though it is a day to give thanks.

- It isn't Independence Day, even though it is a day to celebrate freedom.

- It isn't Valentine Day, even though it is a day to think about love.

The holiday we celebrate this week is called Veterans Day. This holiday is celebrated in many countries around the world. In some countries it is called Armistice Day. In others it may be called Remembrance Day. No matter what you call it, it is a day on which we honor the men and women who have served in the military. We also honor those who have died for the cause of freedom. It is a time for us to say "Thank you" for the sacrifices they have made. It is a time to think about the freedoms we enjoy because they were willing to serve. It is a time to think about love -- the love they showed for their country and for their fellow man.

How do we celebrate Veterans' Day? I guess many people will celebrate it just like they celebrate any other holiday. They will go to the mall and go shopping! I would like to suggest some other ways we might celebrate this important holiday.

- Fly a flag in your yard to remind others that this is a day to honor those who have served.

- Spend some time in prayer. Give thanks to God for those who served to defend the cause of freedom.

- Observe two minutes of silence. Concentrate on remembering those who have died defending the cause of freedom.

- Wear a Poppy. A Poppy is a red flower which is worn in remembrance of those who died for their country. The poppy was chosen because of a poem “In Flanders Fields” written by John McRae honoring the soldiers who died in the fields of Flanders, France during the First World War.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Veterans Day is a holiday that we take very seriously, but that doesn't mean that it is a time to mope around and be sad. It is a happy occasion indeed. We can be happy that because of the sacrifice of these brave men and women, you and I enjoy great freedom. We can also be happy that even though many of these brave soldiers died in battle, that is not the end of their story. Here is the rest of the story -- those who had put their trust in God will be raised and will go to be with the him. That is a promise from God's Word. Listen to these words from the book of Job, "My flesh may be destroyed, yet from this body I will see God. I will see him for myself."

You know, that promise is not for soldiers alone. It is for you and me as well. It is for all who put their faith and trust in God. Jesus said, "Those who are considered worthy of taking part in the resurrection are like the angels. They can no longer die. They are God's children." We are God's children and one day we will see him. Won't that be a wonderful day!

Dear Father, we remember and honor those who have served to preserve and protect our freedom. We also celebrate the resurrection, because all of us who have placed our faith and trust in you -- even though we die -- will live again. Amen.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day

Military has always been an important word in my family.  My great grandfathers on have all fought in some form of military service.  My dad was Navy, Frank's father was Air Force, Frank was son-in-law (Steven), my nephew (Edwin), Niece Kelli's husband (Ronnie), grandson-in-law (Henry) along with countless cousins, uncles,  aunts,  good friends, congregations members, neighbors, and to the ones I have never met have all put their lives on the line so that I can enjoy the freedoms I have.  Right now, today with a heart full of pride I want to say...."Thank You for all you have done!"  There are no words strong enough, no hug tight enough, no smile big enough to let you know you are my heroes.