Saturday, April 27, 2013

NO OTHER GODS

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3


     The Israelites were a stiff-necked people. God desired to use the descendants of Abraham and work miracles for them. He made a covenant with the Israelites to do wonderful things in them that other nations could see and give glory to God. No power, but God's power can break the bonds of stubborn rebellion.
     And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
     And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin and take us for thine inheritance.
     And he said, Behold I make a covenant before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord; for it is a terrible (awesome in NIV) thing that I will do with thee.
                           Exodus: 34:8 - 10 KJV

Though we scrath our heads and wonder how the Israelite people could turn against God after seeing the parting of the Red Sea, we Christians follow the same stiff-necked path.

"No," you say?

The first of the ten commandments in Exodus 20 goes on from verse 3 talking about having no graven images. Christians in America and perhaps Australia and Europe breathe a sigh of relief and mark off that commandment. We got this. We'd never serve some statue made with hands. We serve the true, invisible God.

"Yeah, is that true? No other gods?"

Jesus boiled down the Father's ten commandments into two. Here's the first:

Jesus said unto him Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind.
                                   Matthew 22:37
     I think we get down the heart, the soul, even the strength part. We follow Christ, but we have a problem when it comes to our minds.
 

     Our minds take in our reason

                           logic

                           desire

                           imagination

                           memory

                           will


  We hold back a little of the mind part. We rebel in some small area, and that grows into a mountain of unbelief. Today would be a good time to examine yourself. Is there any stiff-necked, stubborn stronghold in your mind?
  
  The devil chooses good things, necessary things, inconsequental things to deceive God's people. What is on the throne of your mind? 
         Food?
         Sports?
         Money?
         Education?
         A person?
         Your position in life?
         Your house?
         Drugs?
  Anything other than God that controls our every waking thought, or affects the way we live our lives is the thing that sets on the throne. We must offer it to God. He longs to work miracles through us, to use us in new ways. As long as we withhold areas from Him, He can't help us, and only God can renew, refresh, and rekindle desire.
     Spring would be a good time to start over, to inspect our walk with God for signs that we put Him second, or even third, in our lives. Remember God's commandment.
 
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Visit with Angela Breidenbach

I'm so excited to introduce to you one of my favorite ladies, Angela Breidenbach. She agreed to speak with us about a health topic that affects many of us and tell us about her new release. Take it away, Angela.




Thanks, Janet,
Did you know women's heart health has different symptom markers than male heart health? In A Healing Heart, I wanted to show a woman (like most women I know) who is so busy taking care of everyone else that she isn't aware how close she's teetering on the brink. But Mara's heart is hurting in more ways than one.


The heart attack symptoms Mara Keegan experiences are those that are common for women, but also commonly missed by health professionals. Women are often misdiagnosed and under-treated for heart attacks! The symptom that surprised me the most in a heart attack? A sore throat!


Women tend to have a burning sensation in the same area as heart burn, back ache, sore throat or sharp pain in their jaw, sweating, a sense of confusion and/or panic. But did you know lots of women never experience the "grab the chest" pain that men might?


Would you consider reading the first chapter of A Healing Heart to learn heart attack symptoms in women?


Have you checked your heart health lately?


Here's a link to check yours: Go Red for Women Heart Check Up


I never knew that about the sore throat. Wow! Tell us more about A Healing Heart


What would you do if the one man who can help is the one man you can’t trust?

A heart attack has stopped Mara Keegan in her tracks, leaving her daughter’s unfinished photo memory quilt hanging by a thread. Little does Mara know, this quilt—and the memories it bolsters—are the key to her rehabilitation. But Mara’s heart needs to be healed in more ways than one. And Joel Ryan is fraying her last nerve. With her daughter’s graduation fast approaching, even Mara starts to wonder if she—and her faith—can mend in time. Will Joel’s photo find a place on the quilt… and in Mara’s heart?


“A Healing Heart weaves tears, cheers, laughter and delightful moments to keep you saying, ‘this is my story, my own healing and my own victory.’”—Janet Perez Eckles, author of #1 best-selling Simply Salsa

“As beautifully woven as a keepsake quilt, A Healing Heart wraps itself around you, offering a cozy, heart-tugging story. This is definitely my kind of tale—one that pulls you in from the first page and keeps your emotions engaged throughout. Highly recommended.”—Janice Thompson, author of Queen of the Waves



For those who don't know you, tell us about Angela Breidenback.

Angela Breidenbach is a speaker, coach, and author of A Healing Heart April 2013 from Abingdon Press in the Quilts of Love series. Her family tradition is to create the life story on a photo memory quilt for each graduating senior. She is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a CTA life coach, as a Stephen Minister, and a weight loss/nutrition coach.

http://www.AngelaBreidenbach.com

Twitter/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/AngelaBreidenbachInspirationalSpeakerAuthor
Purchase link: http://ow.ly/kaOrb

Thank you for visiting with us, Angela. Sounds like a must-read to me.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Nearby Treasures

My husband and I love to travel. Historical places catch our attention as well as beautiful scenery. When we visited New York City, a must-do for us was a visit to the Statue of Liberty. We talked with natives that had lived there all their lives and never took the boat to that tourist attraction. How many native San Franciscans have skipped fisherman's wharf? How many times have you missed a treasure near you?

We moved from Dallas, northwest to a smaller city, Wichita Falls. The first several years we explored surrounding area, eager to find interesting sites. One of those searches gave me the idea for my debut, young adult novel titled Victoria and the Ghost. We never know where our discoveries will lead us.

We traveled north from Wichita Falls, Texas to the town of Burkburnett, once a big oil boomtown. From downtown Burkburnett, we drove almost due west for about fifteen miles. North Texas plains sprawl for miles giving the belief that one can see forever. Indeed, you can see for miles. These plains are home to the most beautiful sunsets because of the huge expanse for God's painting. At dusk, the still slit of a sun kissies the horizon and sparks dashes of multi-color hues.


On our excursion, we found a trasure trove of history. On the wide-open plains dotted with an occasional farm house to oversee the cattle enclosed within the fences, we spotted something interesting. Miles from a city was a church and a cemetery. We stopped to investigate. Cemeteries provide interesting tid-bits of history. We walked through the archway to enter the fenced-in cemetery. We hiked up and down gravesites, read names on the stones, and marveled at the dates. Flowers circled a big oak in the middle. The grass was neatly mowed. Concrete edged several plots. Many graves held a flower contribution of its own.


This was Clara Cemetery.


The unique site drove me to research what happened. Colonel Hermann Specht founded the township of Clara in 1886. He was a colorful character. Sadness beseiged him and his wife Clara, for whom the township was names. This German man escaped his homeland to stay out of the military, only to be dubbed Colonel by fellow Texans. He was perhaps one of the most loyal citizens to his adopted state and left his mark on North Texas in only a few short years.

I found Clara a special place to me. I went there three times while writing Victoria and the Ghost. Now, I speak on the history of the area in libraries and clubs. My next book takes in a new ghost legend in McKinney, Texas, about 130 miles from my home. I hope to make that spot live for others when that story is published.

Have you checked for treasures near your home? What might you find if you looked?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

In Search of the Cross by Joi Copeland

Joi visited with us last month. She stopped by again today with a precious devotion. I hope it ministers to you as it did to me.

Here's In Search of the Cross by Joi Copeland.

I grabbed my Bible, my journal, and the book Not a Fan this morning and headed to Starbuck's to spend some much needed time in God's presence. I grabbed my normal Decaf Non-fat Peppermint Mocha and sat down in the comfy chair. After praying and reading, it was time for me to head home and begin preparations for what the day held.

There's this cross on the foothills that lights up. I stopped at a stop light and looked to my left. Couldn't see it. I drove a bit more and came over a hill. I found myself straining my neck to see if I could catch a glimpse of the cross. No such luck. I continued on the street and started downhill. Again, I craned my neck to see if I could catch a peek of the precious cross. Then it hit me.

If I searched for Jesus for even half the time I searched for that cross (which is only a symbol), I would find myself more joyful, more at peace, less irritable and grumpy. I would find myself in God's presence more often. I would have the Spirit filling me up and flowing out of me.

So my thought for the day is this: Don't search for the cross. Search for the One who sacrificed Himself on that cross that I may live for Him.

It was a humbling moment for me.

Lord Jesus, may I search for You with passion more than anything else in this world.



Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. She is living the dream in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Joi loves being a wife and mom! She enjoys spending time with her sister Steffanne, and loves to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea with friends! She's been a Christian for over twenty years. Following Jesus has been the best decision she has ever made. Joi's other books are Hope for Tomorrow, Hope for the Journey, Christmas Rayne, and Sheriff Bride Rob's Story.

Don't forget Joi's wonderful new release, Letters of Love.

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Two men fighting for their country.
Two women dealing with tragedy alone.
Two different stories, two different eras, one common thread.

Sophia Philips, a wife and mom, finds herself missing the two most important people in her life. One ripped from her because of war, the other by death.

Sophia's grandmother, Lucia Snell, gives her an early inheritance; letters written to her by her husband while stationed in China during World War II. Lucia believes these letters will help her granddaughter heal from the heart-wrenching tragedy she faces.

Will Sophia carry the anger, bitterness, and guilt within her or go to the only One who can heal her from the pain? Will she find the strength to carry on and the will to survive through her grandparents' Letters of Love?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Worth It All - a true story

Years ago, a fourteen year old girl impacted my life for all time. At age eighteen myself and three hundred miles from home, I struggled with confusion, depression, and anger.

When I graduated from high school the previous spring, I lost my tight control over my destiny. During our senior year, my boyfriend, Charles, had presented me with an engagement ring. Everything was perfect. I pushed Jesus to the background. Love blossomed. What did I need with prayer? When my boyfriend left me the day after graduation, bitterness crept over my heart and squeezed.

At the Christian college I’d selected so I could move away from home, God sent me a special roommate. Belinda lived close to the Lord.

Scampering across our tiny room, Belinda edged closer to me. “I’ve found this wonderful church ten miles away. Will you come Sunday?”

I shook my head. “I have enough chapel services to attend during the week. I don’t need preaching on weekends, too.”

“For me. Please,” she pleaded.

“No.” Her down-turned look pricked my conscience.

Before Charles went into the navy, he’d again pledged undying love, but I’d heard nothing for weeks. I studied my lessons, went with friends into town for fun, and watched for the mail.

Belinda remained kind and patient through all my emotional outbursts. My cheeks burned when I came in and found her praying for me.

Charles came home on leave. He was rude and apathetic. When he left again, I tore up his picture, threw my engagement ring in a drawer, and fell across my bed in a torrent of tears.

Belinda’s cool hand brushed the bangs off my forehead. “God loves you. You’ll be okay.”

One weekend, my parents visited and brought my car. I was free. No longer would I be dependent on anyone who could drive. I determined to forget Charles, but the more I tried, the more depressed I became.

On one trip I drove into the nearby big city by myself. An urge almost overwhelmed me to turn my car into oncoming traffic on a busy highway. I pulled into the median trying to summon courage to go all the way. My breathing labored. Sweat broke out across my upper lip. My hands trembled.

I sat there with traffic buzzing on both sides. My car died and then stalled. I sat, stared, and wept. When calm returned to my mind and my hands, the car started, and I pulled into my lane and drove down the highway.

The next morning, the chaplain preached on 1 Peter 4:2 NIV “As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” The message on seeking God’s will in all things hit me like the cars would have, if I’d given into my feeling the day before. Thank God, He stopped me from that compelling desire.

With hot cheeks, I slid down in my seat hoping I would disappear, and no one would know how close I came to suicide. My life had no rudder. Hiding my face, I hurried to my room. “Charles has ruined my life. I can’t think anymore,” I screamed to the wall.

Overhearing my remarks, Belinda came in behind me and closed the door. More accusation than I’d ever heard come out of her mouth seeped into her tone. “You ruined your life by running away from God instead of to Him.” She looked at me. “Come to church with me Sunday.”

I went. The work the Holy Spirit had started in the chapel service continued as I listened to the sermon. More than anything, I remembered the closing song. A young girl sang Esther Kerr Rusthoi’s song “When We See Christ.” The singer’s voice, more mature than her years, resounded across the small sanctuary.

My roommate and I attended that church the next Sunday. The pastor quoted Acts 3:6 NIV “….Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you…..” By the time he finished the verse, I wanted to rededicate my life to God, and when the sermon ended, I ran to the altar.

As the service closed, the young lady sang the same song. Tears burst from me at the line “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.”

For several Sundays, the girl missed church. When she returned, she sang her usual song.

I hastened to reach her afterward. “I love your voice. That song blesses me.”

A sweet smile put roses in her cheeks despite the yellowish-black skin across her cheek. A cut above one eye gave her a lopsided look. “Thank you. I love coming to church and singing.”

“What happened to your eye?”


She blushed. Her hand swept as if to hide it. “It’s nothing.”

As I left, an older woman caught up with Belinda and me. “I couldn’t help but hear you ask about the singer’s face. She testified when she was saved.” The woman lowered her voice. “Her father drinks and beats her every time she comes to church.”

My body shivered as if dumped in cold water. “She’s so young, but so strong.”

“Only fourteen.” The woman excused herself and left.

I studied the girl. Her face shone despite the discoloration, and I thought of God’s strength working in her despite hideous trials.

I attended that church for three months. Jesus used that fourteen year old girl’s song to reinforce my commitment to Him. Though I switched colleges, married Charles, and never again saw the girl, I can’t sing that song without remembering God’s call to me through her.

I pray that she’s still singing for the Lord and touching lives somewhere.