About Marie

Happily married to the same awesome guy for 47 years. Love God, reading, cats and travel. Avid crafter, especially counted cross stitch and crochet.

God Speaks

 

Click on the picture to hear this beautiful song.

One question that often comes up in the small group I teach is, “How do you know God is speaking to you?”  There is no pat answer to that. Henry Blackaby, in Experiencing God, says He speaks to us through His word, in prayer, in worship, through other Christians, and in circumstances.

In my Bible Reading time today, I was made very aware of His nearness. I am really struggling with some tough decisions that I’ve been praying about for weeks and have begged Him to come alongside and help me through. I know He is standing beside me and basically ‘has my back’ through this.

ALL praise to You my One and Only, Almighty God!!!

Here’s what He said to me today, through His Word:

...preserve my life from dread of the enemy. Psalm 64:1

     Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in Him! Psalm 64:10

     When iniquities prevail against me, YOU atone for our transgressions. Psalm 65:3

     Blessed is the one You choose and bring near, to dwell in Your courts! Psalm 65:4a

Do you see what He did in these two Psalms?  He said, I have heard your prayer, Marie, about the enemy you are facing right now, I will preserve you. All you have to do is take refuge in Me. I have already forgiven your sin and made atonement for them. I have chosen you.

Thank YOU for breathing Your Word into my heart today. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Blessed or Happy?

 

Carl Bloch – Sermon on the Mount 1877

Have you ever really thought about Jesus as a preacher?  It’s really not how I tend to see him.  I mean, He’s God. Every word He says is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy and good.  He sits on a throne and watches over His kingdom.  However, He really is and was a top-notch, tell-it-like-it-is preacher.

Over the next few weeks, since I can’t meet with my awesome Bible Study Group, the Spirit Sisters, we’re going to take a close-up look at one of the greatest sermons ever given by one of the greatest public speakers/teachers that ever lived.  The Sermon on the Mount by Jesus.  So let’s dig in.

Please read Matthew 5 – 7 and pray that God will give you the supernatural ability to understand and use His Word.

I’d like to ask that you use a translation that uses blessed instead of happy,  Why? Because blessed is the better translation of the Greek word makarios.  Happiness is about the conditions we exist in.  Happiness can be experienced in our jobs, our relationships, our homes…Blessings are about the benefits God extends to us.  Although God provides ALL for us the greatest is the Holy Spirit in us.

There are so many verses in these three chapters that absolutely make my heart sing and my mind soar.  Let’s look at some basic truths.

  • Jesus makes it really clear that what He values most and what will be valued in heaven is the opposite of what is important on Earth.
  • Success can be achieved through Godliness, faithfulness, and contentment.  Basically, we are to seek the approval of God. (see 2 Corinthians 10:18)
  • We will enter the Kingdom (of heaven) by working toward righteousness, through the narrow gate, (In other words, not the easy way.) and by doing the will of God.
  • In Chapter 6 He really wants us to understand the He knows what we need.  We are not to worry. We are not to pursue things like riches, fame, possessions, etc.  It’s not that He doesn’t want us to have those things, He simply wants us to focus on righteousness and the Kingdom.

So what does that mean for me? For you?  Here’s the thing, I know I spend way too much time watching TV, searching and socializing on the internet, fussing over my home, going out with friends, etc. Notice what I did there… In looking over those words I realized it was way more about me than it should be. Oh, dear!  I see some change in my future.

Abba, Father, hear my prayer in the precious and holy name of Jesus.  Open my heart and mind to what You need. Let priorities and responsibilities be what You want to further Your Kingdom. Guide and direct my words and paths.  Make it so!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Younique by Will Mancini — Book Review

Are you curious as to what God put you on this earth for, at this particular time in history? Are you sensing God calling you to something new? Let me recommend a practical, basic, instrument all wrapped up in an incredible book titled Younique by Will Mancini.

This is not just another how-to that will make your life better manual.  It’s a life-changing, realistic set of tools to help you discover the person God created you to be and the purpose He intends for your life.  Utilizing the Word as the constant foundation of God’s plan for you permeates the pages of this work.

There are several resources, geared to additional study, mentioned in this book that can be found in his online store. (Some of these are quite pricey.)

All-in-all this book was worth the reading time. I highly recommend it.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Broadman & Holman 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.”

Star of Persia — Book Review

Yes, the story is the one we know and love.  The one about the beautiful Queen Ester, the Star of Persia There’s a bit more to it in this retelling. Along with palace intrigue, politics, and jealousy, add a king who can’t make decisions without others telling him what to do, a queen who wants a ‘normal’ married life, a father who finally comes to terms with who he really is, and you have an awesome, can’t put it down story.

Family relationships abound and add sometimes surprising twists. Personality traits of manipulation, arrogance, scheming, brutality, stubbornness,  and more, clash with strength, internal beauty, loyalty, and love.

Throughout the story the sense of God’s presence permeates. Might that be because of knowing the story so well? Perhaps.   The threads of the story, just like those of the Biblical portrayal, point to the fact that God always has a reason for everything that happens in the lives of His people.

Esther is portrayed as an obedient, loving, and caring person. I would love to have seen more of her internal qualities of strength, wisdom, and leadership.

All in all, this is a really good portrayal of the story of Esther, the Star of Persia.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell/Baker Publishing Group. 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.”

Don’t

Many years ago a former pastor gave me a piece of advice that I’ve kept in my mind and heart.  When in doubt…DON’T!  This four-word sentence has had a huge impact on my decision making.  When I’m even the least bit uncomfortable with a choice I ponder it carefully.  I question, will it have a positive or negative impact?  Will it support or tear down?  It’s amazing what an influence these four words have had on my life.

Here are a few more don’ts:

  • DON’T judge people for the choices they make when you DON’T know the options they had to choose from.
  • Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind DON’T matter and those who matter DON’T mind. ~ Dr. Seuss
  • DON’T give up! Great things take time.
  • DON’T talk about me until you have talked to me!
  • DON’T do it!

How about these from the Word:

  • DON’T worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6
  • DON’T panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)
  • Tell everyone who is discouraged, be strong and DON’T be afraid! God is coming to your rescue. Isaiah 35:4 (CEB)
  •  Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we DON’Tgive up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
  •  That is why we DON’T give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

Do you have a favorite quote or Bible verse about the word DON’T?  I’d love to add them to my collection.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Yes Sisters ~ Book Review

Do you have people in your life who support you, love you, guide you, and help you grow into all that God intends for you to be? Do you know who you are and how others perceive You? Are you aware of the positive and negative voices that are around you, and the impact they’re having?

You have been given a unique place in God’s Kingdom. Angelia L. White in her book Yes Sisters unwraps the ‘secret’ to “surrounding yourself with women who affirm, encourage, and and challenge you” toward success as you determine to find and live out your Kingdom purpose.

With our personal relationship with Jesus as the foundation of all relationships, Ms. White discusses how mothers, daughters, grandmothers, friends, colleagues, social media, affect our actions and decisions.  Yes, even mean girls are part of life and the author addresses them admirably, without sugar-coating the issue, giving ways to deal with them in a loving manner. Her many suggestions for building and maintaining daily interactions with our Yes Sisters are right on target.

One of the outstanding parts of this book are the short stories/essays from a variety of other authors and speakers.  They provided a perspective from other points of view that enhanced and supported the narrative.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Yes Sisters:

  • Building our lives on His love and learning to look to Him for our value guides us in knowing who we really are. (p. 42)
  • God created women specially to reflect His beauty in and around us. (p. 56)
  • Dare to reach out. Dare to risk. Dare to say yes to letting others into your life. None of us needs to have it all together. We all just need to remember we are better together. Holley Gerth (p. 88)
  • Genuine truth is never meant to diminish, but to beautify. (p. 150)
  • Each individual changes history. (p. 204)
  • If I can’t think of a single way it could benefit the kingdom or give glory to God, I will most likely say no, stay silent, or look for a way to say what needs to be said with love as my motivation rather than my own interests. Candace Cameron Bure (p. 216)

This book is loaded with many suggestions and ideas for developing and supporting your own group of Yes Sisters.  I highly recommend it.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell/Baker Publishing Group. 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.” Should you click on a link and purchase this book I receive no remuneration.

Do You Know God?

How well do you know God? Do you know Him to be in control, always just, wanting what is best for His children (us)? Do you know His Word, His ways, His desires? Do you know His promises?

Are you absolutely sure He is who He says He is, that He can do what He says He can, and that He will?  He does not lie!  He can do more and be more than we can begin to imagine.

Do you believe in His incredible love? That He wants what is best for you? The question then becomes why or why not?

There is absolutely nothing like knowing He cares about our puny lives.  We are rooted and established in His love (Eph. 3:17). He is not preoccupied, neglectful, or in any way self-centered. We are more value to Him than we think (Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 10:29-31, Romans 5:8). He specifically chose us (1 Peter 2:9, Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 2:10). We are His children (1 John 3:1).

He gave His best, His most loved Son for us so that in the belief of that alone, we could become His most valued possession. (John 3:16)

What will it take? Are you convinced of His love? If so then tell Him. Like this:

Oh, How He Loves You and Me

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Chasing Vines – – Book Review

I love it when a book relates to my personal life and circumstances. (Don’t we all?) I am a farm girl/gardener at heart. I know the taste of milk straight from the cow, cracklins fresh from the hot grease, tomatoes, and green beans hand-picked. Yet, grapes, the how and why of them, and their relationship to my Christian growth, is a new concept.

Using John 15:1-8 Chasing Vines covers our growth as branches of the One Vine. She covers such topics as, personal growth, abiding, bearing fruit, pruning, fertilizing, manure, and much more. In her matchless style, she brings these eight verses to life, giving insight into the growth process of the grape as it relates to our own lives as Christians.

Beth’s comment, “I’m pretty sure most people who serve an unseen God for enough years, trying their danged hardest to obey His inaudible directions and love His confounding people with their own contorted hearts, live a quarter-inch from sheer madness much of the time,” (pg. 56) resounded with me.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re a celebrity preacher/teacher or sojourn with a small group of Believers, people are people.  They’re difficult, demanding, denying, disturbing, dusty, deliberate, defying…  I get it.

Throughout the book, the reader is made aware of the need to be a good fruit producer.  Ms. Moore contends it is not only possible but probable that the branches (believers and unbelievers, alike) can produce bitter and bad fruit.  Her solution: Galatians 5:22-23. If these 9 qualities are in any way being compromised it’s bad fruit.  If, on the other hand, they are supported, then the fruit is good.

Although I highly recommend this book, and since this is a review, I must say that I did find a bit of insensitivity to the elderly in her discussion of pruning.  From time to time I also found way more discussion of a concept than was necessary.  But as I said before, all in all, all of it, is worth it.

I want to leave you with these words, directly from Miss Beth, “If you’re in Christ, He is your true Vine, whether you realize it or not. But a whole new way of flourishing begins when you know it. When you count on it. When you live like it. When you let go of the vines you thought were giving you life.” (pg. 129)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

WORSHIPFUL WAYS

A Satisfied Spirit

The words of a well know praise song by Tim Hughes have been ringing in my heart for days.

Here I am to Worship – Worship is not about me.  It is about God.

Here I am to bow down – Time on my knees is necessary to reminding me of my position as a Believer.  Although I am much loved by the Holy One I am not Him.

Here I am to say that You’re my God – There can be no other god in my life.  This includes stuff, people, pets, food, clothes…That is not to say I’m not to have it but whatever in my life is taking His place, has to go.

You’re altogether lovely – You have allowed me to discover You in the beauty of ALL Your creation.

Altogether holy – Completely set aside for Your plan and not able to be less than who…

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The Promises of God – Storybook Bible – Review

The Promises of God Storybook Bible is not just another children’s Bible but one that proves God is always in control, can always be trusted, always loves His children, always provides, always cares, always…

It’s very interesting to read children’s versions of the Bible, especially after having read and taught the ‘adult’ version for so many years.  Because God’s Word is alive and active, any retelling of the story should reiterate those truths that we know so well and allow ‘new’ truths to become real.  For instance, why did Joseph cry when he saw his brothers again.  We’re often taught that it was because he missed them so much, but could it also be that even though he had forgiven them their betrayal still hurt.

God’s sovereignty is a consistent theme throughout the stories, helping children (actually, anyone who reads it) understand that God is in total control of all aspects of life.

I’m always cautious with Paul’s part of the story and presenting it in such a way that children understand that he is being used by God, through his writings, to help the Believers, both then and now, understand God’s Word, Jesus’ life and sacrifice, and how it applies to our everyday lives. Jennifer Lyell does this beautifully. Check out his quote from her words on 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

Paul wrote these letters to the church in Thessalonica thousands of years ago. But God put them in the Bible because they’re also promises for us today, and they have been for followers of Jesus from the beginning.  We are all to wait for Him to come back and not worry about when it will be because God knows the perfect time.  And we are to listen only to teachers who teach what matches the things Jesus taught.  And we should encourage one another to work hard telling people about Jesus like Paul did! (pg. 255)

I shared this book with a delightful family to read and review for me.  Their comments were very positive with only one suggestion which I found quite interesting.  They felt that sometimes the titles were misleading and should have better matched the story and the concept of God’s Promises.

I would have liked to see some of Mrs. Lyell’s stories of the other New Testament writers, like James and Peter, included in this book.

I highly recommend this book.  Jennifer Lyell is an awesome storyteller. It will be an excellent resource for family devotions, Children’s Sunday School and small group teachers.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B & H Publishing Group. 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.” Should you click on a link and purchase this book I receive no remuneration.