December 26, 2011

When the manger is empty

Have you ever wondered what kind of day Joseph, Mary and Jesus had the day after His birth?  If the story goes the way that we've seen it portrayed in Christmas programs, I have often wondered what the morning after was like for them. They experienced a night of angelic choirs, slept under a star of wonder, and worshipped with shepherds.

But what happened after that? Did they register for the census? Where did they go? What did they eat? Who did they meet? Did people continue to visit and worship the newborn King? Or were they tired, hungry, cold and feeling the effects of  "adrenaline letdown" after all of the excitement?

December 19, 2011

Emmanuel

There is a word that I absolutely love. Something about it drips with a sweetness which I cannot quite explain.

Each time I hear it the beat of my heart quickens as the droning of the familiar noises of the day are suddenly pushed further into the distance. Sometimes they are even silenced momentarily as this four syllable word crosses my mind or escapes my lips.

Emmanuel.

December 16, 2011

Making room for Jesus

"So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:6-7

What a trip.
At the time of Jesus’ birth a census was being conducted which required people to return to their place of origin. It was while Joseph and Mary were traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem that Jesus made His entrance into the world. Can you imagine being 9 months pregnant and riding on a donkey?

October 21, 2011

Deliver Me From Evil-Interview with Kathi

Today, I am delighted to feature an interview with author Kathi Macias. Her latest book Deliver Me From Evil is what I would consider to be a "must read." You can check out my review of the book here.

Here's Kathi with more on the book:

How did you come up with the idea for Deliver Me From Evil and the Freedom series?

It actually came out of a phone conversation with Andrea Mullins, the publisher at New Hope. We were discussing the Extreme Devotion series (about the persecuted Church), which I was still working on at the time, and we began to consider topics for a second series. Andrea was the one who suggested human trafficking, and it really struck a chord with me. The more I researched it and worked on the proposal, the more excited I became about joining forces with others working to abolish modern-day slavery, which is exactly what human trafficking is.

Deliver Me From Evil-Review

The book: Deliver Me From Evil (book #1 in the Freedom Series) introduces readers to Mara, an eighteen-year-old girl who has been enslaved for nearly ten years, having been sold by her parents in Mexico and then smuggled across the border into San Diego where she was forced into sexual slavery. Readers will also meet 18-year-old, Bible-college-bound Jonathan and his 16-year-old sister, Leah, whose paths cross Mara’s and who become involved in her dramatic rescue.

Interwoven between the stories of Mara, Jonathan, and Leah is the heartbreaking story of another young woman in captivity in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, whose past life mysteriously connects to the young people in San Diego. This book captures the reader from the start. You'll want to read it from beginning to end.
 
The review: Kathi Macias is a masterful story-teller. This year, I have read a half dozen of her books and have found each one to be far more than a good fictional read. They go deep touching on sensitive issues within our society in a way that is educational, informative and challenging.

October 11, 2011

Behind the scenes of A Christmas Journey Home

Today we are taking a "behind the scenes" look at Kathi Macias' latest book A Christmas Journey Home which I found to be a phenomenal read. Please be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a FREE copy of the book. You'll find details about the giveaway at the end of this post.

At first glance you might think that A Christmas Journey Home is simply a fictional "holiday read." However, it is so much more. It is a window into the world of illegal immigration. And, it's a mirror which allows us to reflect.

When dealing with the issues, such as illegal immigration, we often do a lot of generalizing based on our own personal thoughts. Because of our tendency to see things only from one perspective our view is very often tainted. One-sided. Even prejudiced.

June 7, 2011

Church Diversity: A review

"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best over 45 years ago: "We must face the sad fact that at 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, when we stand to sing…we stand in the most segregated hour in America." What an unfortunate reality that many of us still face today! Have you heard the question, "is your church a white church or a black church?" No, it's God's church!"

The year was 1989 and the place was Detroit, MI. We’d been flailing in our attendance for a number of months when our friend, who was a worship leader at a dynamic inner city church, invited us to visit.

I really didn’t know what to expect having spent all of my life in mainline denominational churches.Visiting a non-denominational service piqued my interest. What could possibly be better than worshipping with friends? Those were some of the thoughts running through my mind the night before we attended our first service.

April 23, 2011

Silent Saturday

In the Gospels very little is said about this day...the day after the crucifixion. Jesus’ body was quietly and quickly tucked away late on Friday afternoon so that the Jewish believers could keep the Sabbath holy. I've often wondered what took place on this "silent Saturday."

There are some things that we can surmise.
This was a day like none other for the followers of Christ. It followed a night when one of them had betrayed Him, and another had denied Him three times. Worse yet they had been present while their teacher, leader, and friend was cruelly put to death.

April 21, 2011

People of the Book tour kick-off featuring Kathi Macias

Today I am featuring an interview with award winning author Kathi Macias. Her latest work, People of the Book, which is the fourth and final book in the Extreme Devotion series, is absolutely phenomenal. Each one of the books in this series set in a different country. I haven't read the first three books in the series but hope the publisher will offer them for the Kindle so I can do so soon. Hint, hint New Hope Publishers.

It is not very often that a Christian fiction book has the power to keep me up at night. People of the Book did more than that. It challenged my commitment to Christ and caused me to question just how far I would be willing to go to hold on to my relationship with Him in the face of trials and or persecution. I am still thinking about many things since reading this book. I'll share some of them as a part of my review in another post.
Please be sure you don't miss the important contest information tucked within this interview. You'll find out everything you need to know to win all four books in the series in this post. Good luck and enjoy!

April 10, 2011

Sunday Scripture-Hiding


"You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!" Psalm 32:7 Amplified Bible

April 3, 2011

Sunday Scripture-Wait


"Can the no-gods of the godless nations cause rain?  Can the sky water the earth by itself?

 You're the one, O God, who does this. So you're the one for whom  
 we wait.  You made it all, you do it all." 
Jeremiah 14:22 The Message

March 20, 2011

Sunday Scripture

"God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.

I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings.

Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?

Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods, bright with Eden's dawn light. You put us in charge of your handcrafted world, repeated to us your Genesis-charge, made us lords of sheep and cattle, even animals out in the wild, birds flying and fish swimming, whales singing in the ocean deeps.

God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world. " Psalm 8 The Message

March 12, 2011

When violence hits home

For six days it laid, submerged in water, inside our washing machine. I'd put it in to soak after promising to work wonders using my many years of laundering skills. After all, it is his favorite shirt. Our son, that is.

A mixture of mud, blood, and grass stains eclipsed the once crisp clean blue checked cotton material. I've laundered all of those things out in the past. Just never all at once.

Soaking seemed to be a good place to start. In addition to helping to loosen the stains it provided a quick way to get the soiled shirt out of our sight. I'd forgotten it was there until I began my pre-weekend housework.

February 22, 2011

Five Bible Verses About Money Every Christian Should Know

I've been doing a lot of blog post reading this week. I typically leave comments to let the writers know I've visited but I'm pretty sure they get tired of hearing from me, so I've been tweeting the posts insted.

While visiting Christian Personal Financial's blog I found this post and wanted to share it with you. http://christianpf.com/5-bible-verses-about-money-every-christian-should-know/

There are many other good posts there as well. Take a few moments to look around. I'm certainly rethinking a lot of things since my visit there.

January 14, 2011

Lifelines aren't always long

I'm not really much of a blogger. I've tried to be but, in all honesty, I'm long winded. Finding a way to communicate my thoughts in a manner which is short and concise just doesn't seem to be part of my natural make-up.

I am a teacher. Teachers talk and also use words to provoke others to share.

Many of the people that I know just write blogs. They don't take the time to read others. I'm not someone who just writes blogs. I also enjoy reading them. Most of the time I leave comments. It only seems polite. Besides offering encouragement is a part of my make-up. It is something that I find easy to do. When people bear their souls it takes courage. I like to let them know that I appreciate what they've said.

January 6, 2011

Nursing a dream

I've nursed many things over the course of my life. Some have actually been people like my son, husband, or another family member or friend. At times, I've nursed myself back to health with long seasons spent administering intravenous antibiotics at home. I don't missing those days, months, and years. They were a lot of work.

There have been occasions where I have nursed grudges before graciously letting go. Other times when I've nursed hurts while the Holy Spirit administered healing. Sometimes the hurts belonged to others. At other times they were my own.
Currently I am nursing a dream. This is actually new territory for me. Don't get me wrong. I've had many dreams. God has even allowed some to come true for which I am very thankful. Yet this is the first time that I recall actually having to nurse a dream.

January 1, 2011

Come and dine

Several weeks ago God began to deal with me about taking a break from social networks. Other than the fact that it would include a period of no less than 21 days I received very little information regarding what might expected.

All this left me a bit unsettled. I am a person who likes to have a plan. I also enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes with setting and reaching goals. I like to know what is expected of me. In short, I am a bit of a control freak. Because of this I sought God, in the days leading up to my targeted date, for more details.  Each time I came up empty. I found the silence to be unnerving. 

A few days ago it seemed only right to let my friends on Facebook and Twitter know that I would be taking time off. Several people had concerns and contacted me privately. A few questioned the validity of what they began calling this "fast." That actually proved to be helpful as it caused me to return to God for additional confirmation. He quickly provided it. I hoped that a plan would unfold but it didn't. All I could come up with was 21 days.

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