Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Be Brave in the New Year - A Call to B.O.L.D. Living

Happy New Year
May 2015 be Full of God's Blessings
New Year fireworks
You are free to share this meme
B.O.L.D. Living means committing to...
Dare follow Jesus daily.
Don't forget to join the conversation as you look forward to what God has in store for the New Year.
Happy 2015 and May God Bless,

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Power of Family – Movie Review - The Good Lie

As my chicks all arrive home this week – my heart overflows with gratitude. Tears flowed this morning as I woke up to remember there are six of us in the house, instead of just John and me. I feel blessed. My family hasn’t been all together in two years—two years ago this Christmas.

There is something about family that is powerful. I can’t explain the bond—it can only be felt. All I know is it feels good to be together after such a long time of being apart.
This bond is something I saw as I watched, The Good Lie. This story starring an incredible cast of Sudanese actors along with Reese Witherspoon, is powerful. It’s a story where family will go to any length to reunite with one another. It is a story of how families depend on one another to make it through difficulties. It is a story of hope in the midst of horror.

The Good Lie doesn’t rush its message. It lays a foundation of oppression of the civil war in Sudan (1983 - 2005) and follows the lost boys through unspeakable days and months as they travel over a thousand miles to escape the persecution of soldiers. They encounter death, gunfire, and a grueling journey. But, they stick together and do whatever it takes to reach refuge.

After years in a refugee camp, they are taken to America under a humanitarian effort, given jobs, places to live and begin again. Their journey inspired me to think of those in other countries who are persecuted because of their faith. It prompted me to cheer when reunited with those they had missed. And I cried when these brothers sacrificed for one another so they could experience freedom.

I recommend The Good Lie for adults and families with teens – it would be great for conversations about life, choices, hope, and faith (It is rated PG-13 for some violence, language and drug use). This movie opened my eyes to the circumstances of this Sudanese oppression and the hardships they faced, as well as the culture shock they encountered when they arrived in America. Watching The Good Lie is like going on a mission trip or Peace Corp venture. It will open your eyes to experience compassion for fellow brothers and sisters of other cultures.

What I experienced this week with having my family gather together – extends to what I felt when these lost boys were brought together again after being away from one another and their homeland. The power of family speaks through The Good Lie – and its voice will touch your heart.

The Good Lie also tells a story of brothers and sisters who are connected by the Spirit of God. Your heart will be changed by their story and empowered to see the world in a different way—the family way.

So, this Christmas, will you pause and pray for those who are far from you? People all over the world who live under oppression need it. We have brothers and sisters who are near who are divided by circumstances. There are others who only know persecution. And, we have families who need the healing power of family love to bind age old wounds. There is only one remedy for all of these—

Jesus Christ

This is why Jesus came, born as a babe over 2,000 years ago. He brought healing and wholeness to reunite us to our Heavenly Father. Jesus went to great length to bring peace and a sense of family to those who He loved with all of His heart. 

Merry Christmas to you all and I would love to hear what you think about The Good Lie. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy. The movie releases on DVD December 23rd.



Power of family - The Good Lie speaks to the heart (Click to Tweet

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Hymns Have a History - What Prompts Songwriters to Write?

My guest today is Lucy N. Adams. She has written a book called, 52 Hymn Story Devotions and I've asked her to share about one of her favorite hymn stories. I find the stories behind the hymn fascinating. When you put the story and the words of the hymn together they are a powerful combination that speaks to the heart.

His Name is Wonderful

By Lucy N. Adams | Dec 18, 2013

Hugging my young son Ben was always a joy.

Now that he is a grown man, I don’t remember every hug, of course, but one special one I will never forget. It happened on the first school day in January. In his class they were to bring a favorite Christmas gift for show-and-tell so they could tell why it was special.

Ben was leaving the house with nothing to share and I asked why. That dear little 6-yearold boy dropped his head and said it was because he didn’t get anything he wanted for Christmas.

I knelt beside him and almost cried. However, we hugged and I expressed my sorrow that we had not chosen gifts that made him very happy. In the days to come we went shopping and he chose a favorite toy that he had wished for.

There may be many of those experiences following our elaborate yearly Christmas giving. Sometimes we don’t hear such an honest appraisal of our choice, so I am happy that I heard from Ben. I could do something to remedy his disappointment.

There is a gift, however, that is perfect. One of my favorite songs, “His Name Is Wonderful,” describes that gift. In fact, it was “a gift from heaven” said composer Audrey Mieir. It has become a treasured gift to millions of Christians worldwide. It was born at Christmas while Mieir was at church.

She said she never intended to write a song on that Christmas day in 1955. She was focused on the children’s Nativity scene and the sermon as she quietly sat in church.

At Bethel Union Church in Duarte, California, her husband’s brother, Dr. Luther Mieir was the pastor. The joyful congregation was focused on the re-enactment of the Nativity scene.

The children, dressed as shepherds, were covered in oversized bathrobes. Some of the angels’ halos were slightly crooked. Singing the glorious old carols and hearing the scripture passages had great meaning.

The powerful prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 went down deep into Mieir’s soul as she cherished those words: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given... and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

When that familiar scripture was concluded, the pastor lifted his hands, closed his eyes and said, “His name is wonderful.”

There must have been a holy hush in Mrs.Mieir’s soul.

“I felt as if I heard the rustle of angel wings and a musical chorus came to my mind,” she exclaimed. On the flyleaf of her Bible she quickly wrote the words that her brother in-law had just proclaimed, “His name is wonderful.” After she wrote it three times, she added the sacred name of her Lord.

It remained as only a short chorus for a few days, until she completed all of the music and a fuller description of who Jesus is: “He is the mighty King, Master of ev’rything, His name is wonderful, Jesus, my Lord. He’s the Great Shepherd, The Rock of all Ages, Almighty God is He.”

The last line is a personal reflection on the One whose name is wonderful. We want to bow down, love and adore this wonderful Jesus.

“Bow down before Him, Love and adore Him, His name is wonderful, Jesus, my Lord.”

Before Mieir died in 1996 at 80 years old, some of her last words were: “His Name is Wonderful will outlive the chubby human hands chosen to write a few black notes on five lines and four spaces. But it will never outlive the Father who glories in His Son’s name and who glories in our praise.”

Jesus, name above all names, keep us calm during this Christmas rush. Help us to focus on You above all else. We see You in the manger scenes in our homes, in stores and placed on front lawns across the land.

There are some restrictions on where those displays can be but it is the manger within our heart that is the most important.  It is there that You are everlasting. We are free to speak Your name and  that too is a precious Christmas gift.

May Your wonderful Name reign supreme during each  moment of our lives.  Amen.

Reprinted with permission of the author

You can find out more about Lucy at

Get a copy of Lucy's book of hymn devotions:

Hugging son image courtesy of

photo credit Children's Nativity: johntrainor via photopin cc

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ever Wonder What Happens to Your Operation Christmas Child Box?

Lori Hatcher joins me again this week...

Ever wonder what happens to the Operation Christmas Child shoebox your family fills every year? Many families donate boxes full of toys, candy, and personal items to Franklin Graham’s ministry to children in impoverished or war-torn areas. They seldom think about what happens next. My visit to the giant OCC processing center in Charlotte, North Carolina enlightened me. 

Every year, thousands of volunteers help inspect and process the shoe boxes for distribution. This year, my husband led a team from his youth ministry, and I went along. In 2013, our guide told us, the Charlotte campus of OCC hopes to send out 2.9 million boxes. By 2 p.m. on the day our team arrived, they had already processed 109,000—a remarkable feat considering that every box must be hand-inspected by volunteers and prepared for travel. 

This is not me -- her hair is much prettier!
Stationed on a long assembly line, my job was to open each box and remove the seven-dollar shipping donation. As the first to handle each box, I was the first to peek inside. It was like Christmas morning a thousand times over. 

As I carefully raised the lid, mindful of the fact that a check could be taped to the inside or resting on top, I couldn’t help but imagine how the little child who will ultimately receive this box might feel. 

Two types of boxes were particularly moving. 

The boxes designated for little girls made me smile. Many included soft stuffed animals, hair bows and brushes, and pretty pens and paper. I imagined the girls’ delight when they fingered the faux pearls, sniffed the scented soap, or hugged the black-eyed teddy bears. My favorite box of all contained an entire fairy outfit, complete with a sparkly wand and a pink tutu. 

The boys’ boxes were equally exciting, according to my husband. They held flashlights with extra batteries, ball caps, and tools like hammers and screwdrivers. Candy filled the corners and the token toothbrush and toothpaste balanced out the equation. Some were packed so tightly and filled so full that we had a hard time closing the lids. 

Every now and then, however, I’d open a different type of box. Sparsely filled, sometimes with items that were second hand or functional, these country cousins just couldn’t compete with their overweight city relatives. They were usually smaller, almost apologetic in their presentation, and seldom wrapped in pretty paper. One had a photo of a little old lady sitting on a couch with a bug-eyed Chihuahua beside her. “Jesus loves you,” she had written. “I hope you come to love him, too.” 

Thankfully, due to the added generosity of individuals and businesses, we supplemented boxes like these with filler items. We’d tuck toys, school supplies, or toiletry items into the empty spaces and pray a blessing on the giver who’d obviously had a generous heart but an impoverished pocketbook. 

The full boxes made my heart happy, because they demonstrated the generosity of God’s people toward those less fortunate than themselves. They gave me hope that although our world seems to be increasingly selfish and self-centered, people are still listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit’s nudge to give. 

The partially filled boxes made my heart happy, too. Like the widow’s mite, they demonstrated the desire of God’s people to give sacrificially. Both boxes, I believe, made God’s heart happy. 

Perhaps some of the shoe boxes you’ve donated over the years have been filled with gracious plenty. Others, maybe not so much. Even if all you could give was a partially filled shoebox, rest in the knowledge that God multiplied your gift and sent it on. 

And he’s smiling—just like the little boy or girl on the other side of the world will be when she opens her box this Christmas.

Do you have an Operation Christmas Child story to share? I’d love to hear it. Leave a comment below. If you’re reading by email, click here to comment. 

And if you'd like to read about two orphaned children who received shoe boxes, click HERE to read my friend Dawn Gonzalez's fabulous story.
Here's the team from Green Hill Baptist Church with my husband, David (left).


May I tell you about my new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women?

 Today's women want to connect with God, but in the craziness of life, it’s just not happening. You want practical, biblical answers to situations you face every day, but you don’t have hours to pore over Scripture.

You need a resource that answers the questions you’re afraid to ask out loud. Questions like:

• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

Each devotion begins with a Facetime question and ends with a biblical answer wrapped in a modern day parable. Like a spiritual power bar, Hungry for God … Starving for Time is packed with enough scriptural nutrition to get you through the day. Wherever you are—in break rooms, carpool lines, or wherever you can snatch five minutes of quiet reflection—Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is for you. 

Get a copy here:


Friday, December 12, 2014

Re-gifting: A Way to Love Your Neighbor

While gift wrapping one afternoon, my children got into the Christmas spirit and scurried upstairs with my scraps of wrapping paper. They were busy until they came down carrying little packages that strangely resembled tiny toys from their rooms.
An arm from an action figure poked through the wrapping paper. A doll’s bottle peeked out from a small scrap held together with too much tape. Tiny cars, doll blankets and other familiar shapes were in their wrapped bundles. With their faces beaming they offered their gifts.

My heart melted as I saw the joy of giving in each one of them. How can a mom argue with that? It was re-gifting at its finest.

Re-gifting used to be taboo. Not anymore. Now there are websites extolling its virtues with re-gifting rules to follow. You no longer need to wait for a Yankee swap to share those treasures you can’t use. You can re-gift from your abundance to bless someone rather than have items sit around gathering dust.

Now, you know me well enough by now that I have a spiritual application to share. So as we think about sharing from what we have been given, what would spiritual re-gifting look like?

In the book of Acts after the Holy Spirit whooshed through the upper room, Peter preached a mighty sermon and many came to Christ. Then Peter and the others met a man begging near the temple gate. Peter told him he didn’t have silver or gold, but he wanted to share what he did have; he healed him in the name of Jesus Christ. The man began leaping and praising God.

Peter gave away what he had received - Jesus. He had taken to heart the conversation he had when Jesus asked, "Peter, do you love me? Tend My sheep."

Peter met the lame man's deeper need. He didn’t need money; he needed to be restored. Peter understood that because He needed to be restored too after denying Jesus and feeling the weight of his weakness.

Spiritual re-gifting means giving away what we have received in Christ: Gifts of mercy, joy, grace, forgiveness, hope, love, encouragement and the message of Jesus that transforms lives. It means loving your neighbor Jesus-style.

And, when we give away the gifts we’ve received, they multiply. When we love someone, we feel loved. When we encourage, we feel encouraged.
Have you experienced this too?

Several months ago we visited a friend in a nursing home who wasn't doing well. He expressed a desire to eat some Chicken Pad Thai so we brought some for he and his wife. The nursing staff set us up at a table and we gathered around a meal together. Our friend ate heartily and enjoyed every bite.

By sharing this meal with him, my heart was filled with joy. I think I benefited more than he did. This is the essence of spiritual re-gifting.

So what have you received from God that you can re-gift today? Matthew 10:8 says, “Freely you have received; freely give.” Jesus calls us to love on one another with the love we have received from the Father.
As we give away grace, love, hope...we encourage someone with a kind word or deed. When we give it away, we receive it back one hundred fold.
When we re-gift these gifts to others, they may not look perfect. Like my children's gifts, they may be bound with scraps of paper and too much tape, but our Heavenly Father sees the joy of giving in our faces, and I know it melts His heart.

How can you re-gift His blessings today?



Re-gifting used to be taboo; not anymore (Click to Tweet)

Spiritual re-gifting means loving your neighbor Jesus-style (Click to Tweet)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Are You Hungry for God but Starving for Time?

Lori Hatcher has just the thing.
Her new book called, Hungry for God, Starving for Time: 5 Minute Devotionals for Busy Women has just published. And, you can win a Kindle copy. Lori has lots of fun ways to win prizes so be sure to check those out too - including a special link to enter a drawing for a Kindle Fire HD 7.