Saturday, August 18, 2018

Are You Ready for School?


Psalm 143:10
Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Towards the end of second grade, I moved with my family to Lynchburg. For me this meant a new school with only six weeks left in the school year. My shy, anxious little self couldn't quite comprehend what that meant. I understood we had a new house, with a big yard and lots of beautiful trees. I occupied a larger room with my older sister. I finally had my own closet. But even with all the goodness, came the dread. I had to meet new people, learn from a different teacher. I left my friends behind in Pricetown. Now what?

Fortunately for me, Miss Mercer was a sweet and an amazing teacher. She taught me phonics, which I hadn't learned at my old school. She poured kindness over this nervous little girl. Plus, there was a girl who "friended" me. Not like Facebook, but real life, in person friendship. To this day Garnet and I still keep in touch.

Most local schools have already started or are about to begin. A lot of preparation goes into the classrooms and at home. We buy notebooks, pencils, clothes, and tissues. But the most important groundwork doesn't come from the store, instead it comes from the heart. Have you prayed for your child's teacher? How about the principal? The janitors, secretaries, aides, bus drivers, cafeteria ladies. The list goes on. And what about the children? Have you taught your child to be the kind one who shows compassion instead of being mean? I pray for my grandchildren every day. I pray for their safety, that they open their minds to learning, and that they are the "kind kids." I want them to show Jesus love to the people they encounter.

Let's lead our children by example and be the encouraging adults who follow the Holy Spirit's guidance. Jesus wants us to love each other.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

He Created us on Purpose

GiraffePsalm 65:8
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Some days I feel like Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit when he yells, "I'm going on an adventure!" And we did, to an African savanna. As I sat on a motorized scooter, (because of my bum knee) I watched giraffes, ostriches, lions, and zebras roam together on the grassy plain. Fascinated by the elegant and graceful giraffes, I thought about the wonders God has made. It kind of blows my mind when I consider how many different animals God has created. Each time we've toured the Columbus Zoo, where our daughter works, we've never visited every exhibit in one trip.

God's creation is vast. So many incredible creatures roam the earth, and God designed them all. Just imagine God's love pouring over the earth as he formed and placed each creature in its home. Every animal roams their part of the world on purpose,  because of God's plan.

The almighty father who put the creatures on the earth, also made you and me. He designed us with purpose, to love him and to love each other. Like the animals, each individual has a role in this life. We have people to encourage and influence. We have work to do. We have a Savior to worship. Whatever situation I find myself in, I've learned to pray for God's guidance and purpose. I want to be a positive, encouraging influence for Jesus, even when I don't feel like it. 

Ask God what you can do for him each day. He loves us so much and wants to speak into our lives. Pray for purpose.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

No Matter What, Pray


Ephesians 3:14-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.



Some years ago, I reconnected with my college girlfriends. Since then we've renewed our strong bond of love for one another. Thanks to social media, we "talk" every week. Our Messenger thread is long and filled with our hearts' needs and joys. One of the beautiful things about our 40+ year friendship is our collective desire to follow and worship Jesus. Which makes it easy to share prayer requests. And we do. We pray for each other on a constant basis. There are days, I know my prayer warriors are raising me up to God, and I feel the love. I've sought prayer for other friends and my family, and they prayed. We do this because we love each other and we love our great Father, God.

In Ephesians 3, I love how Paul prays for his friends. He kneels before his Father and pours out his heart. He asks for strength and power through the Holy Spirit. And seeks to have Jesus fill their hearts with faith. Paul understood the magnitude and necessity of prayer. He knew that God wanted to hear from his people. That hasn't changed. God asks us to talk to him. He wants to hear from us. Simply because he loves us.
Pray when you're happy. Pray when you're sad. Pray with joy. Pray in fear. No matter what, pray. Talk to God. He's listening, always.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Historical Fiction Review: River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart


Book Description:
Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle.

Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart's latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.

My Review:
River to Redemption is a wonderful story, laced with hope. Ann Gabhart's research shines as she recounts the horrendous effects of cholera on a small town, plus the miserable circumstances of slavery. Even from the negative, she shares a beautiful story of love. The main character, Adria, is a brave young woman with a heart of gold and enough spunk to shake things up. Another character who touched my heart was Aunt Tilda. I've read several of Ann's books. I believe this is my favorite, so far. I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, but I'll read Ann's every time. She's that good.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.