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!”

Friday, July 31, 2015

Psalm 62:5

I find great peace in the Book of Psalms most of the time.  There seems to always be a nugget for me to take to heart every single day and today was no different. School has just begun and it is craziness personified here where I am right now.  I am so tired when I get home in the afternoons....and then I found it.  My verse.  My verse today comes from Psalm 62:5:  Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.   I found myself drawing back to the last week in July when Frank and I went to Panama City.  It was our last escape before the school year began and I had big images of laying on the beach or at least by the hotel pool.....and neither I felt myself growing restless.  I had a wonderful time with my husband.....but it just was not enough.  I needed sand between my toes.  Yet, as we enjoyed our few days there I could feel my soul begin to settle and my spirit grow quiet. It was a welcome feeling ... one that was a long time coming.  What I really needed was a little time to just be still. To prepare for the busy schedule I would be jumping into the very next week. I needed to reset my heart and mind on the students who would be in my charge for the 2015/16 school year.  Frank and I travel a good bit and sometimes we have some of the greatest conversations, other times we sing....and sometimes we just drive in comfortable silence, occasionally commenting on the beauty of our surroundings. Sweet memories make us laugh as we spot places we have visited before.  We go to the beach and the mountains each least once.   I am always the one with my camera on ready looking for something unusual.  I also love riding with the windows down so I can smell the world.  I love the smell of fields being turned, fresh rain, honeysuckle, flowers....and the ocean.  I am the one who finds shapes in clouds.....and in the Kudzu growing voraciously on the side of the road. 

I have a love-hate relationship with Kudzu.  I love the shapes I find in it....but I hate that it takes over the side of the road.  Kudzu is nasty and nothing more than a deadly weed. The plant climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so fast that it kills them … basically by suffocating them.”  Kudzu is a menace. According to Wikipedia, Kudzu is a serious invasive plant in the United States. It has been spreading in the southern U.S. at the rate of 150,000 acres annually. Its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences and has earned the nickname, "The vine that ate the South."  I have to ask,"How could something so beautiful and entertaining be so deadly?" The Holy Spirit whispered to my weary soul, “Oh, you know how.”  And I do....  I mean....I had just spent nine months pouring my heart and soul into the lives of impressionable minds I call students and feeding my flock at the church where I pastor.....AND being a friend, family member.... completing two online classes for CEU's so I would be the very best teacher.....and pastor's wife at my husband's the end of June I had discovered that my schedule had become deadly. I was so is an understatement.  I was exhausted.  I found myself....a 61 year old.... overweight, over worked, underexercising, diabetic, with high blood pressure.....and so very tired.  Each one of these things were screaming at me...."SLOW DOWN!" I found that I needed some time to sit at His feet this year. I found myself diving into his word, following through on creative things that make me happy.  I find myself happy simply staying home.  I am experiencing date night with my husband.  I guess in a sense I am cutting away at the Kudzu.  But the most important thing I am letting go....and letting God be in control.  I am stopping to breathe deeply and trust Him for the plan He has in my life.  I have always loved the 23rd Psalm....but for the past has become my mantra as I turn it all over to Him.  He has this.....and I can rest assured....He has my back, my front, my sides.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Last July Wednesday Hodge Podge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Just a reminder there will not be any Hodgepodge next week (August 4/5). Joyce and her family will be wrapping up some travel here and then making their way south, aka moving, so I'll need a break.  The HP will be back the week after (August 11/12) so check back then for a new set of questions. We're here today though, so let's get started.  Once you answer the questions and want to get them posted hop over to Joyce's blog and link up.

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-
Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?  I struggle the most with facing my fears head on.  Sometimes I have to get a do over when it comes to that.  
  2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?
I am with Joyce....a manicure perhaps....or a nice hot cup of coffee from Starbucks for both my husband and me. 
3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.
I would have to say round trip.  We have taken two short mini vacays; one in June to Tennessee and one in July, to South Carolina.  We will be leaving for one more tonight after revival and we are heading South.
 4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?  I would love to learn to play the mandolin and banjo.  I would use that skill in my performances.  I think they would add a nice sound.  When I retire that is one of the 26 items I have down to accomplish.  I also want to learn to scroll saw.
  5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?  I have not been swimming so far this summer which is so sad, but I am taking my swimsuit when we head south tonight. I hear a pool calling my name.  I have not eaten an ice cream cone.  I am a diabetic and those are not on my list of good eats.  Frank
 and I saw Pitch Perfect 2.  It was good, at least the music was, and the ending.  I have not camped, nor have I stayed at a Motel ....which is my idea of camping.  I have eaten corn on the cob.  I have deliberately unplugged.  I watched a bit of a ball game, I have picked some fruit off the vine....and eaten it....we are juicing fruit is important.  I have read several books since I do reviews on my blog, and we have taken a road trip to Knoxville, Greenville so far and since school starts in a week we are plugging in a trip to the beach starting tonight after revival.  We should arrive at our hotel around 1AM.  
6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?
Here are a few things I'd like to hear every candidate address, both sides of the fence or no side of the fence- (I am using a few of Joyce's questions because I have the same ones.)
  • What are the two biggest issues facing America today?
  • Tell me why I should believe you're going to do what you say you're going to do. 
  • Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegals currently living in the US? 
  • What about illegals brought here as minors? Do you support in-state college tuition for illegals brought here as minors?
  • In a few short sentences tell me what America means to you.
  • How do you feel about limiting Senator and Representative terms to just two?
  • What will you do to help our veterans?
  • What are your feelings on OBAMA Care and socialized medicine? 
7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?  I love this song!

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.  Does your town, state, have tax free school shopping days?  Do you ever utilize them?  As a teacher who can only claim around 250.00 or the 1500.00+ I spend on my class each year I definitely do.  I don't usually buy high ticket items.  I get things I need for my class to begin school with....things for some reason students don't bring to class with them....I buy pencils and pens (I went through over 500 last year), paper, notebooks, notebook paper, construction paper, Kleenex(it amazes me how many of them my students use to blow their nose one time), paper towel, etc.



Monday, July 27, 2015

How Big Is A Christian?

I asked the children: "who do you think is the biggest Christian in this sanctuary today?" They kept saying that I was.  I was not quite sure how to take that because I am fluffy.  One of them finally told me it was because I was the preacher.  I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud.  I then suggested that the tallest person present (Rayford or Rex) come forward, as he could be the biggest Christian around. I took out my tape measure and ran it out a good distance and asked the kids, "is this really how we can measure the Christianity of a person? (they all shouted "NO!")  I then asked them what were some good Christian values and could they think of any? What makes us good and big Christians? How about having love? Can you measure love with a tape measure?  The kids all laughed and shook their heads, no.  So I went on to explain to them how we must all grow up--our bodies as well as our Christian spirit. We must grow in inches as well as in love. How do we grow in love to God and our neighbors? There suggestions to the questions were prayer, going to church, worship, reading bible, listening, learning from each other.  I have a special group of children at Rock Mills.  They make my heart sing each Sunday and I know they make God smile.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What Is Your Dream?

What is Your Dream? is the title of my sermon today.  My scripture today is from Ephesians 3: 20-21

As we enter into a time of revival I searched the scriptures to find something that would get that revival spirit burning.  In my short time of standing in a pulpit I have preached several messages on the subject of dreams.  Dreams fascinate me and always have.  This morning I would like to address the subject of dreams … with this question, “What is Your Dream?”  The question this morning is not can we dream, everyone can dream, but do we have the courage to act upon it.  This morning….I am dreaming of revival.  Not just for Midway United Methodist Church….but for Randolph County, Alabama, and the United States of America.
I am going to focus on verses 20 – 21.  20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,   21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

So let’s look first at The Process of a Dream.  One of the definitions for the word Process is this – A series of continuous actions that lead us to a particular result.  We must remember that dreams are a process. There are no instant Dreams unless you ate spicy food late at night, and then it is not a dream, it is a nightmare.  God will not lift you up out of your dream and set you down in the center of its fulfillment.  In 1983 a young man named Michael Dell graduated from High School. He had a passion for computers and would take them apart and rebuild them. He discovered that he could build them for one forth of the price even adding more memory, bigger monitors, and faster modems, he would be able to sell them cheaper with a handsome profit. His dream was to build and sell computers.  That fall, under a lot of pressure from his parents he enrolled at UT. After his freshman year, he dropped out of school and started Dell Computer Company with only $1,000 start up money.  Three years later, the company did a private placement offering stock to a small group of investors. At that time, Michael Dell was 22 years Old and Dell Computers had 150 million if annual sales.  Today, Dell Computers is a 57 Billion dollar company, with the leading market Share in the US.  Michael Dell said, I followed my dream. I learned by doing and by making mistakes, and I go smart people to help.  The Children of Israel dreamed of living in the Promised Land, but the only way to get there was through the wilderness.  You see, you will not be able to trust God for the fruition of your Dream, until you see His faithfulness in the process.  Do not despise the process, for that is where we learn to trust God.

• We discover His power in Red Sea situations.

• When we are led by Him, there are no sign posts.

• When we get up every morning with our eyes on our destiny and steadily move towards it.

• When we refuse to become like the children of Israel who murmured and complained in the wilderness.

The lyrics to an awesome love song are:

At times the load is heavy, at times the road is long,

when circumstances come your way and you think you can’t go on,

When your feeling at your weakest, Jesus will be strong,

He’ll provide an answer when you’ve found all hope is gone, He’ll find a way.

At times your heart is breaking with a pain that’s so intense, and all you hold are broken pieces to a life that makes no sense,

He wants to lift you up and hold you, and mend each torn event,

He’ll pick up the pieces that you thought had all been spent, He’ll find a way.

For I know that if He can paint a sunset, and put the stars in place,

if He can raise up mountains and calm the storm tossed waves,

and if He can conquer death forever to open Heavens gates,

I know for you, He’ll find a way.

If you are in a situation and you can’t find heads from tails,

remember you are in a process.

The process can be difficult, the road can be rough,

the land can be like a wilderness,

but you will never taste of the milk and honey without completing the process.

So now we need to look at The Progress of a Dream.  Your dream will never progress unless it is pursued.  The definition of the word Pursue is – To seek to attain. To apply ones energy towards as a chief interest. To follow after persistently.  With that definition in our minds people at Midway we need to pursue the dream God has given us no matter how far-fetched it may seem.

• Your dreams are like your children; they are your offspring.

• Your dreams are the joy of your present and the hope of your future.

• Protect them, feed them, encourage them to grow, for as long as you have a dream you will never be old.

I can hear the voice of Caleb today, “So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."  I love the Caleb Spirit. This became possible because of the process.  People and life’s struggles attempted to steal his dream.

• Israel refusing to go into the Promised Land.

• Wandering around for 40 years in the wilderness.

• The murmuring of the people.

• The peoples attempt to bring in other Gods.

• Driving the inhabitants out of the Land.

• His dream included defeating the Anakites. (Giants)

Caleb stayed true to his dream, he stayed focused on his dream, and he pursued after his dream.

Look at the life of Joseph.

• The betrayal of his family

• The attempted seduction by Potiphar’s wife.

• The false imprisonment.

Joseph’s dream carried him all the way to his destiny as the ruler of Egypt.  We are talking about God given dreams that lead to God honoring results, not self ambition.

Now let’s look at  The Promise of a Dream.  The definition of Promise is – An assurance given by one person to another to perform a specified act.  Joel 2:28:  And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams,  your young men will see visions. God has a dream for you, and as you seek Him, He will reveal it to you. When He reveals His dream for you, you must remember three things:  1. Dreams are specific, not general; personal, not public.  God will not give someone else your dream, He will give it to you.  I have had people come to me and ask me, what do you think God want me to do?  God can confirm it through others, but He will reveal it to you.  When He does, be careful of who you share it with.  (Remember the story of Joseph?  Well, Joseph’s brothers could not handle his dream, so they tried to abort it.)  2. Dreams are usually outside the realm of the expected.  Often your dream will cause others to say, “You’ve got to be kidding!”  I know my friends did when I told them I was going to school to be a teacher.  They laughed.  Even at my 20 year high school reunion.  My former teachers were shocked when I told them what I did.  But….Remember, that is their opinion, not God’s.  Philippians for 13 tells us:  With God, all things are possible.  3. Dreams can separate you from others.  Dreamers are risk-takers and are always in the minority.  Dreams will separate the risk-takers, from the caretakers and the undertakers.  Those who walk by sight will always outnumber those who walk by faith.  So let me ask you right now….What do you dream about?  I know that Midway dreams of a great revival.  The kind of revival that fills the pews with people wanting to find out what we have here and what God is all about.  My fellow Christians….remember this….You will never out dream God.  Ephesians 3:20:  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.  We have the power for revival….now….go into the world and Catch that Caleb spirit, give me that mountain.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thoughts On My First Wedding

Dear Kat and Jenifer,
     I read a post on Facebook this week and it got me to thinking.  I  have loved watching the popular TLC bridal shows...especially Say Yes To The Dress Atlanta, and I have spent time with my friends who are mother's of the bride and their breathtaking wedding boards on Pinterest, it got me asking questions about my first wedding, when I married your dad. So, I sat down and thought I would tell you both about it.  I hope by the time you finish reading this you will be laughing yourselves silly.  First of all...looking back on it, it was pretty ugly.  No, really, it was. It was a January1976, and that didn’t help.  It snowed that day and was cold as rip.  Thank goodness I did not make my bridesmaids wear rainbow colors, or hats, or any kind of head piece for that matter. colors were a strange shade of peach and pea green. Yeah. They were interesting colors against the green walls of the church and the red colored pews of the church.  Flowers and decorations were limited....ok...sparse.  The bridesmaids wore homemade dresses of whipped cream fabric that could accommodate a wide array of sizes and tallness.  As most brides do I thought the style was perfect and could be cut off to make a church dress later.....yeah right!  Those brides who think that are only fooling themselves.   I’m pretty sure they were burned while I was on my overnight honeymoon.  I had always planned on wearing a long-sleeved white lace Victorian gown. And my mom was thrilled when we found said dress...perfect Jordan Marsh and walked out with it that alterations needed.  I was delighted.  I also got a dutch cap veil.  They were from a truck show and we paid a whopping 80.00.  I think my whole wedding cost around 250.00.  I carried a white bible given to me by Susan Johnson Price and her mom, Francis.  I had a white orchid (grown by Susan's mom) and greenery, strings of pearls, and white ribbons.  I thought it was breathtaking.  The guys wore an array of dark suits.  None of them matched.  No snazzy tuxedo's with black shiny shoes.  My dress was packed up at Jack Sheehans and stored in a box.  It moved with me seven plus times.  I kept hoping one of you would want to wear it when you go married.  I gave it away last year for a costume in the Mock Wedding at RCHS.  The girl who wore it was just my former size and it looked beautiful on her.  The dutch cap veil was amazing....even after so many years.  I can remember when you both were little wanting me to take it out of the treasure box and let you play with it.  I never did.  Sometimes I wish that I had. 
     Now for the took place in the small, dimly-lit fellowship hall or Kellyton United Methodist Church. We didn't have dinner or dancing or any satin to cover the pale cream drabness of the room. There was green sherbet punch, a delicious wedding cake, and some mixed nuts(mostly peanuts) and store bought hard pillow mints.  The punch was made by the ladies of the church who also provided the punch.  My parents bought the white cake.  I thought it was delicious.  There weren’t party favors or sparklers for the guests.  No little bags of Jordan almonds even.  There was no monogrammed remember this day gift for the guests to pick up on their way out.   The guests threw birdseed as we ran to the light green, 1969 Chevelle SS, awash with ridiculous writing and a condom on the engine of the car (this was probably one of your Uncle’s contributions). We stopped in Alex City to try and wash the shoe polish off the car, but to no avail, it was frozen to the paint...or lack there of.  When we sold the Chevelle in our fifth year of could still see "Just Married" on the breather of the engine and lightly on the hood of the car. 
     My pictures were not shared on social media and so many people never saw them at all.  Stephens studio took the pictures but they cost to much to buy a large mom and I had small ones made. There wasn’t a dance floor, cute painted Ball jars, fresh orchids, or Pinterest chandeliers hanging from trees in a gorgeous garden.  Weddings weren't done that way back then.  Even though it was not Pinterest worthy....I wouldn’t change a moment of it.  Somehow, even with our less than glamorous wedding photo album and honeymoon on an extreme budget to Franklin, Georgia (which is about 10 miles from where I live now and not your honeymoon mecca), your dad and I were just as married as these multiple thousands of dollar weddings you see on television today.  I am shocked when a bride pays over a thousand dollars for a dress.  Shocked I say. 
     Your dad and I understood that a marriage wasn’t about a wedding.  We started our married life with the understanding that a lifetime of love and commitment trumps an event any day. We learned that starting our new life together debt- and doubt-free was a gift to each other.  Somewhere along the way we lost track of that and could not find our way back.  We gave it  20+ years of effort.  "I read that 70 percent of girls creating wedding boards on Pinterest aren’t even engaged yet. With every other marriage ending, do we have time for all this planning and pinning for one perfect day?  It makes me sad that the world you’re growing up in concentrates more on the wedding than the marriage. It’s over in a sunset and it’s easy compared to the long marathon of becoming and staying one with your one and only.  I want you to know marriage is more than a venue or a menu. It’s far more than The Perfect Day or Saying Yes to the dress.  I want you to understand your commitment to the man of your dreams is more than a certificate—it’s a covenant to God."  I also want you to know that matter how hard we try....people grow is sad...but it happens.  I hated being a statistic....but I am.  I don't want that for you.  With all that said...."Most of all, I want you to know love" and to know how much you are me....and your dad.. "The kind of love your dad and I had that lasts through heartache and headaches. I want you to know that you are loved. You don’t have to earn or achieve it. It’s not dependent on a good hair day or bad. It’s not something you can lose. Whether you’re swept off your feet or remain a confidant single woman, you are enough."  So, on this regular summer Friday, I want you to know that my wedding wasn’t much.  But too me my marriage was so much more.
Love you to the moon and back,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Married 'Til Monday


About The Book:  With a big anniversary party in the works for her parents, Ryan will pretend to be Abby's husband for just one last weekend.  Ryan McKinley has tried to move on from his ex-wife, Abby. He's sulked, he's gotten angry, and ultimately he bought her dream house. Big mistake. Living alone in the massive 2-story has only made him miss her more. When her parents call him out of the blue about their anniversary party in Summer Harbor, Maine, Ryan believes God has dropped a golden opportunity straight in his lap.  Abby McKinley never exactly told her parents about the divorce. A strained relationship with her dad has culminated in a distant relationship with her parents, but she's finally succumbed to her mom's pressure to make the drive for their 35th-anniversary party.
Then Ryan shows up on her doorstep, looking as devastatingly handsome as ever. When he insists he's going to Seabrook, with or without her, Abby knows she can't say no. Her parents still think they're married and now Ryan knows it too. Besides, he only wants to check in with his best friend from college-her cousin Beau, who just lost his dad. It's just a one-week road-trip with the man who broke her heart. What could possibly go wrong?
About the Author:  Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including "Dancing with Fireflies" and "The Convenient Groom". She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.  Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the experience of falling in love vicariously through her characters and can expect a happily-ever-after sigh as they close the pages of her books.
My Thoughts On The Book:  I did not read the other books in the series, but after reading this one I wish I had. This  book can be read as a standalone.  Characters from the other book are present but do not stand in the way of keeping up with the story line.  This is a Christian romance one of my favorite genres to read.   I did not want the story to end and read it in one night.   This is a definite must read!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Book Look Bloggers  as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. 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!

Horse in the Wilderness

About The Book:  A missing horse. A missing boy. A vandal with an unexplained grievance against a local farmer. A young woman who drives as though pursued by demons.
An impulsive offer to help locate the missing horse draws Brent Travis unwillingly into the affairs of the Parker family. Are they the gracious, God-fearing Christians they appear to be, or are they the hypocrites of Brent’s past experience? Autumn Parker’s friendly jibe—quitter—cuts closer than she knows to the heart of the man who has lost his faith in God, in honor, and in loyalty. Caught in a battle between the forces of depression telling him he has nothing to live for and the opportunity to build a new life for himself in rural Orchard Springs, Arkansas, Brent is forced to re-examine everything he believes.  When the vandal strikes again, Brent takes the harshest blow yet—and this time he may not recover.
About The Author:  Debbie Eckles teaches kindergarten in Arkansas, where she lives with a rescue horse, three cats, a Lab mix that likes to sing, and a German Shepherd whose puppy antics provided the inspiration for the wall-eating Jimmy.
My Thoughts On The Book: This was my first book by Debbie Eckles and I can promise you it will not be my last.   The story is great!  The chapters were a bit long.  The characters are real life and personable.  I knew and related to these people!  The end is great.  The plot is relatable to the readers life.  LOVED IT!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Book Look Bloggers and Westbow Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. 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!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Bride At Last

About The Book:  Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.  Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she'd been deceived about her intended groom, she's now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she'll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony-until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy's father.  Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony's wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?  Purchase a copy:
About The Author:  Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for Keeps and A Bride in Store, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly.  Find Melissa online: website, Facebook
My Thoughts On The Book:  This was my first book by author Melissa Jagears and I have to say it was an awesome read.  I enjoyed reading the book from start to finish.  The main characters are well developed and the relationship between Silas and Kate, filled with mistrust, passion, tension,  and fear makes the readers feel like they are experiencing these extreme emotions right along with the two.  The story line is well developed even though the location changes about halfway through the book and new challenges arise.   I highly recommend this book.  I cannot wait to get my hands on another book by Jagears.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse Publishing Company and Bethany House as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. 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!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Hodge Podge

Is it hot where you live, because it has been HOT here?! Let's dive right in to the Hodgepodge, shall we? If you've answered the questions, be sure to link at the end of Joyce's post by clicking here.  Here we go-

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.No we did not air conditioning in our home and I grew up in South Florida.  We used box fans and had a fan at the end of the hall that we used.  It was loud and you could not watch tv when it was on.  When I was 13 we found out I had terrible asthma when our next door neighbor planted Cape Jasmine hedgerow just outside my bedroom window.  At that time in my life we had air conditioning in my room.  My dad visited my room a lot when he came home from work.   From the time I was 20 and married I have always had air conditioning in Alabama.2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?  As an itinerate  pastor's wife and pastor with the Methodist Church you never know when you will be moved to the next church and as a non-tenured teacher for the first time in 25+ years you never know when you will get that dreaded pink slip.3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?  Lemon or Key Lime pie.
4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?  When Randolph County hired me to teach last year...and when I did not get pinked at the end of the year.5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.  Airtight.  Frank and I are juicing and have bought one of the sealer things to premake our smoothies.  We spent a good bit of Saturday measuring out fruits, greens, oats, almond milk to make a complete juice thing.6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?  The closest I have ever been to the Alps is flying over them when we landed in Frankfurt, enroute to Italy.7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?  I too was a teenager in the 70's and a phrase that came to mind was 'to the max' and far out man. We tacked that on to a lot of sentences, but it was just another way of saying 'as much as possible'. I copied Joyce's answer because....lets face it...we grew up in close to the same era.  I am the oldest.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  I preached revival at Bear Creek on Monday night.  The people there were lovely.  My church has revival beginning this Sunday night.  Do you have revival services at your church?  Do you attend?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Her Brother's Keeper

About The Book:  Charlotte came to Amish country to find answers. What she never expected to find was peace.  Charlotte Dolinsky is not above playing dress-up and telling a few lies to find out what happened to her only brother. In fact, that is exactly what she’s come to Lancaster County to do. Now, calling herself Mary and slipping on a kapp, Charlotte will lie her way into the confidence of anyone who knows why Ethan had to die. Unless she gets found out first.  But when Charlotte befriends a quiet Amish man named Isaac Miller, she begins to rethink her motives. And with a little help from a friend back home, Charlotte might find out that love comes packaged in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.  Isaac’s been caring for his cancer-stricken father and sympathizing with his frustrated mother for three difficult years. And that means he hasn’t been dating. He believes Hannah King is the woman for him, but Hannah is still grieving the loss of her fiancĂ©, and Isaac has all he can handle on the farm. When Hannah’s family plays host to a woman named Mary, their new cousin shakes things up for all of them.  As Charlotte digs deeper into the mystery of Ethan’s death, she finds more than she’d bargained for in the community he once called home. But will she ever learn the truth? And what will the community—and her new family—do if they learn the truth about her?
About the Author:    Award-winning, bestselling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but she has also written several successful contemporary novels, set primarily in her beloved Texas, including Need You Now and The House that Love Built. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth's The Promise is inspired by a true story. Website: Twitter: @bethwiseman Facebook: Fans-of-Beth-Wiseman
My Thoughts On The Book:   Fans of Amish/Mennonite fiction and Beth Wiseman are going to love, love, love this book.  Once I started reading it I felt as if I was right in the middle of the action and could not put it down.  I guess you could say this book could be called How to Become Amish in 10 not so easy lessons.  The story portrayed Forgiveness, Grace, and  Redemption in a most touching way.   The ending of the story made me smile.  AWESOME!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Book Look Bloggers as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. 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!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bear Creek Revival And The Cowboy Way

I don’t know about you all but one of my favorite Saturday things to do when I was growing up was to go to the matinee at the Florida Theater and watch Cowboy movies.  Some of my favorite cowboys were Lash Laroo, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, James Arness, Chuck Conners, and William Boyd (also known as Hopalong Cassidy.)  I always wanted to grow up and be a cowboy.  In South Florida….especially in West Palm Beach that was not something that would happen easily.  If you wanted to be a cowboy you had to live in Bel Glade, Loxahatchee,  or Pahoki.  We lived in town.  But just because I did not grow up to BE a cowboy does not mean I cannot talk about them. This evening my sermon is called The Cowboy Way.  It is a guide to revival in the church.  My scripture text was from Matthew 28: 16-20. 
One Sunday morning an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin.  Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were very worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn out old hat and an equally worn out bible.  The Church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and accessories.  As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled at his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.  The preacher gave a long sermon about Hellfire and brimstone and a stern lecture on how much money the church needed to do God’s work.  As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what He thinks would be appropriate attire for worship." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.  The next Sunday, he showed up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored.  The preacher approached the man and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church."  "I did," replied the old cowboy.  "If you spoke to God, what did he tell you the proper attire should be for worshiping in here?" asked the preacher. "Well, sir, God told me that He didn’t have a clue what I should wear.  He says He’s never been in this church!”  In Amos 4:12 we are told “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” - And, of course, everyone needs to prepare to meet God in person. This is a big part of what life is about. We start life with God (even though we don’t realize this), we continue our lives with God (even though many people stubbornly refuse to admit this. He is our sustainer in life). And we end life with Him (even though many people deny this.) BUT WE OF ALL PEOPLE SHOULD RECOGNIZE THIS FACT AND BE HUMBLED BY IT!  Life is a preparation to meet God in person!....and THAT is why we are seeking revival tonight!    Hebrews 9:27 “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” - The people of America and the world need to prepare to meet God. This is why we are called to preach the truth about God and Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one approaches the Father except through Him!  So this morning in this so-called “Cowboy sermon,” I want to consider some things that a cowboy does and apply these to the Christian life and revival. Here is what he does:

1- He rides ‘em - Someone said, “I had a near death experience that has changed me forever. The other day I went horseback riding. Everything was going fine until the horse started bouncing out of control. I tried with all my might to hang on, but was thrown off. Just when things could not possibly get worse, my foot got caught in the stirrup. When this happened, I fell head first to the ground. My head continued to bounce harder as the horse did not stop or even slow down. Just as I was giving up hope and losing consciousness, the Walmart manager came and unplugged it.”In Matthew 28:19 we are told “Therefore go and make disciples…” - Cowboys had to ride a horse to get their work done. They had to “get up and go” to get anything done. “Get up and go” is one of our problems today. Jesus said to “go” into all the world and get something done for Him.  I have a semi-pro BASS fishing friend.  We have been friends for over 30 years.  In the beginning he would never fish in a Sunday tournament….but then things changed.   When I ran into him a few months back I asked him if he was going to church….. Guess what? He’s not going to church even though his wife does. I have to tell you that he is great guy, a loving husband, father, etc., but he still isn’t going to church.  It saddened me that  here is a lovely Christian professing man but he is not honoring the Lord by worshipping on the Lord’s Day and there is no doubt in my mind that he has no “get up and go” for serving the Lord or for pointing people to the Lord. AND YET, HE HAS PLENTY OF “GET UP AND GO” FOR BASS FISHING.  What has happened to our priorities? What about us? What about you? On what do you spend your “get up and go?”  WE NEED REVIVAL!
The Second thing he does is….ROPE ‘EM.  Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”  Cowboys round up cows and rope ‘em. We need to do similarly with people. We need to round ‘em up and rope ‘em. In other words, we need to make disciples out of people. We need to make followers or encourage people to become followers of Christ. Have you made any followers lately?  All my life I’ve had people try to get me to become a follower in one way or another. When I was about 18 years old I was attending Palm Beach Junior College. One of my friends was an avid golfer. She invited me to go golfing with her one morning. I did. It was my first and last time. I was not sold on golf.  Don’t get me wrong…there is nothing wrong with playing golf. It just didn’t appeal to me. My son plays golf…but it does not appeal to me. Have you made any followers lately? That is, have you roped anyone into believing that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world? Have you convinced anyone that Christ is the way to go in life? Have you even talked to anyone about Christ? THIS IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY FOLKS AS HIS DISCIPLES, HIS FOLLOWERS. We are to encourage others to follow Him just as Andrew found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus.  WE NEED REVIVAL!

The third method is to BRAND ‘EM.  We find in Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Cowboys of old would round up their herd and brand ‘em so that others would know to whom they belonged. Baptism is a part of this branding business. It’s a sign, if nothing else, to God that we belong to Him! It’s a step in the right direction.   One preacher said these words about baptism: One good way to think of baptism is to consider it a “signing of a contract” between you and God. If you were to buy a house, you would be required to sit down with the sellers of the home and approve a contract. To show your approval, you would be required to sign your name at the bottom of the paper. Your signature wouldn’t buy the house (the money you probably borrowed from the bank did that), but you couldn’t purchase the house until your name was on the dotted line. So also, your baptism doesn’t “buy” your salvation. Christ’s blood does that. But your signature on God’s contract is required.  In  Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 8:36 “They traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ’Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?"  Acts 22:16 “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”  Baptism is an act of obedience that all people who believe in Jesus need to comply with. This does not “complete” our obedience to Jesus but it’s a step of obedience in the right direction. AND WHY WE NEED  REVIVAL!

The fourth thing Cowboys do is  CORRAL ‘EM - Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  After a cowboy has ridden hard, roped his livestock, and branded them, then he needs to corral ‘em. He needs to herd them into the corral and keep them there.  The corral, however, that I am thinking of is the church. When people come to believe in Jesus and they decide to follow Him, they need to be encouraged to become a part of the church. And they need to be taught, which comes in the church.  Some people don’t want to join a local church or fellowship of believers. Why not? One reason is because they will feel responsible to attend that church and support that church in service and in giving. AND THEY SHOULD!   Arthur Boers in "The Other Side," (May/June, 1989) wrote, “I often visit newcomers in town and find them to be church shopping. They want to know what they can get out of church. Churches are one more consumer commodity. Worship services are not a place for us to serve God and neighbor but a place where people expect to purchase the best: Inspiring worship, good music, moving sermons, quality child care. As if we buy God and not vice versa.”  Brothers and sisters, that’s not what the church is all about! The church is not here for the purpose of getting some out of it, but rather for us to put something into it!  Being honest with you….I want to deliver the goods to you! I want to preach the best sermons I can for your sake and to honor the Lord! I want to give you and the Lord the best service I can. But this is the way we all should think. If we all give our best service and do our best for the Lord and His church, ALL PEOPLE WILL GET SOMETHING OUT OF IT. It’s the principle of: the more you sow, the more you reap. The more we give, the more we get.  Someone once said at a school inservice I attended…..and it applies here too, "There are four main bones in every organization. The wish-bones: Wishing somebody would do something about the problem. The jaw-bones: Doing all the talking but very little else. The knuckle-bones: Those who knock everything. The back-bones: Those who carry the brunt of the load and do most of the work."   And I’ve always heard it said that about 20 percent of the people carry 80 percent of the load.  BUT THAT’S NOT THE WAY IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE!  Just think, if every body who believed in Christ, joined the church and got involved in service, JUST THINK WHAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED FOR THE LORD? If you’re not in the church you need to be and if you’re not involved in some kind of service, you should be!

Ride ‘em, rope ‘em, brand ‘em, and corral ‘em. That’s our job as people who belong to the Lord.  There is a Congregational Christian church in Kansas City that has these words as its motto: We will “wake up, sing up, preach up, pray up, pay up, but never give up or let up or back up or shut up until the cause of Christ in this church and in the world is built up.” What a great motto.  Real cowboys of old were committed to their job of riding herd and taking care of that herd. Likewise, we, as God’s people, God’s herdsmen, have been called to do nothing less than our best to reach people for Christ, to lead them to Him, to baptize them into Him, and to get them in the church and continue teaching them the ways of Christ.  THAT IS WHEN WE WILL HAVE REVIVAL!






Sunday, July 19, 2015

Throwing Bricks

My scripture today comes from Mark 6:30-44.  I want to begin by asking you all an important question….Does God Have To Throw A Brick To Get Your Attention?  A young and successful executive was travelling through a rough neighbourhood, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar.  He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed on set of parked cars, no children appeared . Instead, a brick smashed into the side of the Jag! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what do you think you are doing? That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?" The young boy was apologetic. "Please, mister...please, I’m sorry but I didn’t know what else to do," he pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car."It’s my brother, "he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me." Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.  "Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger. Too shaken up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.   It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: "Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!" God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don’t have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It’s our choice to listen or not.  And one of the bricks that God throws when we are in the fast lane - you can hear echoing down the portals of history from the story of the feeding of the five thousand in Mark’s Gospel. And this is the words of Jesus when he said to his disciples:  (Read Mark 6: 30-44)  Verse 31 tells us:  "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." We live in a society where we are often very busy. Often I look in my teaching job and wonder how I will survive the week. I am in such a rush.  Yet Mother Theresa once observed: God is rarely found in the midst of noise and restlessness. Instead he is the friend of silence.  The disciples were on Cloud 9.  They had come back from a very successful mission trip. Mark records that the disciples “drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” They wanted to keep on going. God is at work – how wonderful.  Conventional wisdom would have said: “Strike while the iron is hot. Put another evangelistic campaign together. “ But JESUS said: “Pull aside with me for rest” Rest is so important if we are going to complete the course.  By resting in Jesus, we see three principles which shine out of the story of the feeding of the five thousand.

 I. God is in control.   Our problems don’t go away, but we acknowledge that God can deal with them.

II. We will be surprised that God will use our meagre resources- in ways we cannot dream about

III. When God acts, He supplies liberally.

So let’s take a few moments and let’s look at each of these principles.  1. The first principle is that God is in control.  You know there is a temptation in life to be overwhelmed by things. The disciples were probably going to burn out if they had not drawn aside. How many of God’s people haven’t finished the course - because of burn out. In the fall of 1904, Wales experienced a monumental religious awakening that shook the nation. It turned Wales’ coal mines into sanctuaries. Pubs closed as did the local brothels, and scheduled sporting events were cancelled.  God used a young man called Evan Roberts (1878-1950) as the prime mover in this Revival and he rose to national prominence. The Welsh press was for several months full of stories about Roberts - and the revival meetings he presided over.  Yet after six months of intensive labour, Roberts withdrew from his ministry - an emotionally and physically broken man. Sadly, he did not return to public ministry for nearly twenty-five years. Evan Roberts suffered from “Burn out”.  Jesus recognized that we all need rest – time to draw aside regularly and spend time with God. And as we do so - our problems take a different perspective.  If we are going to be successful as Christians, we need to acknowledge that Christ is the source of all we do. And so we need to spend time with Him, in prayer and Bible Study, recharging the batteries and receiving our guidance from him.   2. The second principle is that God can take our meagre resources and use them spectacularly. Almost immediately after the time of relaxing with Jesus, the disciples are confronted with a massive problem – how to feed 5000 people – with no supermarkets to buy from. (in Mk 6:35-42)  It seemed an impossible problem. But they did the only thing they could – they brought the problem to Christ.   In one of the parishes where my friend, Mary lived as a child her mom told the story about parish treasurer,  Sylvia Chesterman of a small church who despaired of paying the Parish Share for that year - with so few people in church giving regularly. The previous year, the Church had defaulted and  she just couldn’t see how they could possibly pay this particular year either.  So when the bill for the Parish Share came, she took it into church and laid it on the altar. Within six months, God had provided and the parish share was paid in full. We might feel, like the disciples, did that five loaves and two fishes weren’t going anywhere, but our gifts in the hands of God can be multiplied spectacularly.  Often we think that what we have to offer isn’t worth offering. Jesus took the five loaves and two fishes to feed 5000 people. God provides but he uses the little we have to kick start the process.  3. The third principle is that when God supplies the needs, everyone goes home satisfied.  What has often surprised me in this story is the fact that there were 12 baskets left over. Symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel and that Jesus is sufficient to meet all their needs.  Perhaps but looked at a bit more simply - people didn’t just eat a little – they ate a lot – and there was still some leftover.  When God supplies our needs, we don’t have to worry. He cares for us just as we do for our children  If you are anything like me, you worry. My mom had a wonderful saying: Why pray when you can worry.   When I am tempted to worry, I find the words of Jesus so encouraging:  In Matthew : 25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ’What shall we drink?’ or ’What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.: (Mt 6.25-34)  And thereby lies the key. We as followers of Jesus are called to seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.  There is a temptation to look at all the problems we have and despair. However, Jesus challenges us today to draw aside and bring Him our problems. Or does God have to throw a brick at us to get our attention? Amen?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Little Is Much

Today I want to tell you guys that Little becomes much in God's hands.
My scripture: They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. Matthew 14:20 (NIV)

Are you hungry? I am! Sometimes I get really hungry during church. What would you think if we had a little snack this morning instead of a children's sermon? I brought a bag with my snack in it. Let's see what is in here. Oh my, We have a problem. All I have is five peanut butter crackers and a small bag of peaches. I don't think there is any way that would be enough to feed all of you. Let's see. (Start counting the children.) One, two, three, four, five... no way. There just isn't enough for all of you. (One little girl shared with me that I could keep her portion.  She didn't like peanut butter crackers....or peaches.)  That reminds me of something that happened to Jesus and his disciples one day. Jesus and his disciples were very tired and needed some time to relax. They got into a boat and went away to a quiet place to rest. When they reached their destination, there were people there waiting for Jesus. The Bible tells us that there were Five thousand men and who knows how many women and children! They wanted Jesus to teach them and heal the sick. Jesus needed to rest, but when he saw the people, he loved them so much that he forgot all about being tired. He healed the sick and taught the people about the kingdom of heaven.  Soon it was time to eat. The disciples went to Jesus and said, "It is getting late and we are hungry. Send the people away so that we can go and get something to eat."  Jesus answered, "They don't need to go away," Jesus said, "you feed them." "Feed them? How can we feed them? We have five loaves of bread and two small fish. That is all the food we have."  Jesus told the disciples bring him the loaves and fish and to tell everyone to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the loaves and fish and looked up to heaven and gave thanks. He then gave the food to the disciples to give to the people.  If I were to share my snack with you today, there might be enough for each of you to have one tiny bite of cracker and maybe a peach bite or two. But when Jesus blessed the loaves and fish, the Bible says that everyone ate until they were full! Wait! That's not all! After they had eaten until they were full, they gathered up the leftovers and there were twelve baskets full. Can you imagine taking these five crackers and two cookies and feeding everyone here today and still having food left over? We couldn't do it, but God could.  What can we learn from this Bible lesson today? We learn that when we give what we have to God, he can take it, bless it, and do more than we could ever imagine. Even though we may not have very much, little becomes much when it is placed in God's hands.