Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Cuckoo Conversation

Unhappy Cuckoo
I never had been formally introduced to a cuckoo (bird, that is) before today. This meeting was not one of niceties, but of necessity.  


This one made a bad decision; a really bad decision. He flew into a garage. Mind you, that in itself isn’t such a bad thing – unless you don’t know the way out. He didn’t.

After a long while of avoiding his rescuer and trying to fly out of the ceiling and knocking down the garage door rails, he tired enough for my husband (you will remember Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome) to nab him.

Mr. TD&H presented his catch to me wrapped in a chamois, from said garage.  Mr. Cuckoo was a mess. His bloodied little head told me he butted against walls with all his little bird strength to find his way out. A closer inspection (much to his disliking) revealed that his little head feathers were broken off at the nub. Just a guess but, he might have a stubborn streak.

Once a rehabber, always a rehabber (you may remember my adventure with Oscar the extraordinary hummingbird, baby blue birds…) I gathered supplies. Rubber gloves, paper towels, water, aloe were my initial tools for this job.

We found a spot in the shade and started to work. From the look in his eyes he didn’t appreciate it one little bit, but he needed attention so, I took the end of a paper towel and wet it to clean his bloody head. His protests quieted so the cool water must have been some comfort. After a few dabs I found no lacerations, so I finished cleaning and applied a little aloe for healing.

With him safely wrapped like a chamois cuckoo burrito, and turned him over. There were no other obvious wounds. His screams of protest began again when he was upright. I can’t give you an exact translation because I am not fluent in Cuckoo. I can tell you if Mommy Cuckoo was listening, he may be in for a “washing of the beak!” The video only includes his "nice words."

We found him well enough to try for a release. With his patience with me drawing to an end, I took a picture. Notice his "sweet smile?" Stubborn and unhappy. 

We no more than unwrapped his burrito than off he flew. No thank you. No tender good-byes. Off to the nearest tree and life as before. He may have some explaining to do about his head injury but, should be fine.

If the little guy had used a helmet – he could have avoided his injury. I am sorry he had such a rough day. Because he didn’t listen when Mr. TD&H tried to explain the way out for him, he probably wouldn’t have listened to me either. We did what we could in light of his situation. It is up to him whether or not he learned any lessons.

The same is true for us. The helmet of salvation protects us from injury to our heads. Indeed our enemy wants to get in there and bloody us up with false teachings. He is the father of lies and will do his best to fill our heads with them – unless we have our helmet.

Things I learned
  • Without God, we are likely to go places and be found in situations that cause us harm and from which we can’t find our way out.
  • When (Christian) help comes, it would be beneficial to listen.
  • When offering help (Truth) to one in distress, you may encounter screams of protest. Be willing to wait and offer Truth anyway. Earnestly contend for the faith.
  • When offering Truth you must be prepared for both reception and rejection. Offer Truth anyway.
  • When you give life-saving Truth to one and they reject it today, it may open a door to another day. Don’t be discouraged – one plants, another waters – God gives the increase.
  • If you reject the Truth, you can expect to make harmful decisions over and over again.

If you see a little guy who looks like this,
 tell him I said "hi!" and he is
welcome to come back and visit,
and finish our conversation.

Cuckoos are considered “brood parasites.” They often lay their eggs in another’s nest. If you find a cuckoo in your nest,
  • Take care of them as if they are your own.
  • Teach them the Truth.
  • Give them access to a helmet.
  • Realize – the decision is theirs.








“Stand firm therefore,
HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH,
and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION
OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith
with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God. “
Ephesians 6:14-17
  
Dear Father in heaven,
I confess that I was just like this little bird, lost without a clue how to get out of my sin. Thank You for Your patience and love toward me while I was still flying on my own.

Father, it was Your love that provided my escape from sin. Your love paid a price above comprehension to rescue me from the eternity that I deserved. Thank You for your provision for eternity and Your provision for today. I especially thank You for Your Word that lights the path for my feet, that I will not stumble or stray.

I pray for all those reading this right now, that they will know You and know of Your love for them. Make Yourself known to them in a real and personal way today. Help them to see the need for You and help me find ways to minister to those who need to hear.

I am so thankful that You have provided all I need for the battle while I am here on earth. I trust You with my today and my eternity.

I pray in the precious name of Jesus, my Rescuer and Redeemer, 
amen.


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For more faith-filled stories, including a hummingbird I named Oscar read the first chapter of our story here.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Droughts and deep roots

Droughts and deep roots

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.”
Psalm 1:1-6

After many days of heat, and several weeks without any rain, we are in a drought. The earth is baked and cracked, the local ponds are about a foot lower than usual, the grass is as brown as if it were winter, and the leaves on many plants and trees are withering and dropping.

Today, as I inspected the garden, I saw these two plants. I planted both of them, the maple in the sun and the hydrangea in the shade. The maple is mature and deeply-rooted and is withstanding the searing drought very well. The hydrangea is a shallow-rooted plant that is visibly suffering, even in the shade. Without intervention, it will give up and drop its leaves.

What a picture of the contrast between those who have spent time in the Word of God and with Him, and those who have not. Those nourished by the Word have deep roots and do not wither but, produce fruit. Others do not rely on the Word of God, but on counsel of the wicked. They will be blown away like chaff and will perish.

Another picture of the power of the Word from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.  You will remember that seed was sown with differing results. Some fell among rocks, some were eaten by birds, some fell among thorns and others rooted and yielded a good crop. Those sown by the rocks did not take root “when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.”  Jesus explained the parable;  “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”

How is the Word in your life? 
Is It a constant source of nourishment that establishes your roots in Him or, is It something you turn to now and then as the need arises? What does that tell you about your roots? What can you expect when the difficulties come? What is the solution? The only solution is being firmly planted by the Word in order to be nourished and thrive. Merely dipping your toes in It now and then will not be the same as being firmly planted, and depending on It for constant nourishment, and building strong and healthy roots that will hold you when the hard times come.

Dear Father in heaven,
How thankful I am for Your Word. It has been such a source of strength for me and for so many others. I pray today for those who are drawn to You and Your Word. I pray You will give them renewed strength and they will realize their need to remain by You. I trust You to give them just what they need to flourish and produce fruit today.

I pray for those who have only dipped their toes into Your Word and are withering. Give them strength and encouragement to come back for more.

I pray for those around whom the birds are circling, ready to snatch them away. I pray You will make Yourself known to them today in a real and fresh way that they too will look to You.

Your Word is indeed a blessing, and I delight in It! Thank You for providing such a stream of living water in this dark and dry land!

I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus, my Savior.
Amen.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Introducing Paulette Stamper, author of Sand Surfers


Sand Surfers author, Paulette Stamper
I am so happy to introduce you to Paulette Stamper, author of Sand Surfers - Encountering God and Discovering Divine Purpose in the Desert, a 9-week bible study based on the Israelites journey out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. She wrote the study  "because I was blown away in my own personal study of how Jesus showed up in the desert! Everything the Israelites went through in the desert pointed to the person of Jesus. There is so much hope for us in their story of redemption."

 
Do you have a favorite scene or story?
Absolutely. Hands down my favorite story in all of Scripture is Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush in Exodus 3. This is where God revealed everything about His character that we need to know – that He is the God who SEES, HEARS, KNOWS and RESCUES. These truths never get old!


What do you want your readers to take away from it?
I believe that through the study of the Israelites in the desert, readers will find new hope and encouragement that Jesus is speaking to them, leading them, and revealing Himself to them even in the midst of their life deserts.





Author, Paulette Stamper
~~~~~About Paulette~~~~~

I actually don’t have a background in writing. I never dreamed in a million years that I would end up writing and teaching bible studies!

A lot of people are surprised to find out that I’m a girl with simple tastes. One of my favorite restaurants is Waffle House! I love a good commentary, I love horses and the smell of a barn. But my favorite thing ever is diving deep in the Word of God.
  
Follow Paulette






Find Sand Surfers on Amazon 



~~~~~

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Meet Carol B. Round

Meet author and columnist, Carol B. Round

Join me in welcoming christian author, Carol Beck Round! She has "always loved to write. As a child, I wrote poetry. My college major was journalism/English. I taught those subjects in high school for 17 years before becoming the high school library media specialist for the final 13 years of my teaching career." 

Carol has written several books , including a book on prayer journaling and a companion workbook in addition to her latest series of chilren's books. "My other three books are collections of my weekly Christian column which I’ve been writing for almost 11 years. My column now reaches readers all over the world."

Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is a series of children’s books to teach youngsters about the importance of giving, saving and spending money. The series title is “Nana’s 3 Jars.” Each book has a subtitle. The first is Giving Generously. The second is Saving Pennies while the subtitle of the third in this series is Spending Wisely.

My main characters are siblings, Charlie and Emma. Charlie is in elementary school but Emma is still too young to go. Most children can relate, I believe, to being excited about going to their grandparent’s house for a visit. For Charlie and Emma, it’s fun to visit their Nana because she lives in the country and has animals and a garden. They get to do things they might not otherwise get to do at home and, at the same time, they learn valuable lessons from their grandmother.

I have three grandchildren and I thought this series would not only help them to learn about money and the wise uses of it, but would help others as well.

Do you have a favorite?
I think the first of the series is my favorite. In this book, the siblings make chocolate chip cookies and share them with the residents of a veteran’s center.

What do you want your readers to take away from it?
That money and how we use it is important. Each book is also interactive so children get to complete an activity at the end of each book to reinforce the lesson learned in each.




~~~~


Excerpt from Nana's 3 Jars



Sitting at Nana’s kitchen table, Charlie and Emma dipped their cookies into the milk. As they enjoyed their treat, Charlie noticed three jars on Nana’s kitchen counter. They weren’t empty. Each was filled with coins. Each jar had a label on the outside.
Curious, Charlie asked, “Nana, why do you have coins in those three jars?”
Nana picked up the first jar. Charlie read the label. “Saving,” he pronounced.
“What does that mean, Nana?” Emma asked.
Nana explained the money in the “Saving” jar was for emergencies, like car repairs or a broken washing machine.
Picking up the second jar labeled “Spending,” Charlie asked, “What do you do with the coins in this jar, Nana?”
“The money in this one is for buying things I need, like groceries,” Nana said.
Emma picked up the third jar. She couldn’t read yet.
“Then what’s this jar for, Nana?”
Charlie read the label for Emma. “Giving,” he said.
“What does that mean, Nana?” Emma asked.
“Well,” said Nana, “all of the coins I put in this jar will be used to help others.”
“Help others? How?” asked Charlie.
“How?” chimed in Emma.
“In the past, I’ve used money from this jar to buy the ingredients to bake a pie to welcome a new neighbor,” said Nana. “I’ve also used my giving money to buy canned goods for the church food pantry or socks to donate to the homeless shelter in town.”
“Why?” asked Emma.


~~~~









Find her books on Amazon here.













Carol Beck Round
I also have a Christian speaking ministry but readers might be interested to know that the only “C” I made in college was in speech. I was so terrified of speaking in front of my peers that I gripped the podium tightly—so tightly that sweat poured off my palms and dripped onto the floor. However, I no longer fear public speaking. 

My hobbies include photography, volunteering, spending time with my grandchildren and reading.


Keep in touch with Carol at



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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Meet C. L. Wells, author of Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God


I am happy to introduce you to author, C. L. Wells!  She describes her writing background as "my love for stories." At the time of this interview her debut novel, Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God, was listed as #2 on Amazon in its category! Published in June 2015, Memoirs is inspirational fiction, but the main character is a real girl and much of her true story is woven into the fabric of the plot. While is is listed in the young adult reader category "I’ve found that readers of all ages have enjoyed the story immensely." 

Author C. L. Wells
"I’ve always wanted to write a book but hem and hawed for years telling myself I couldn’t do it, wasn’t qualified, etc. When ‘Krystal’ talked to me about her experiences with self-harm, it sparked something in me. It was meant. Never waste time on self-doubt. We can do so much more than what we realize."

"Krystal is a teenager who is struggling with her parent’s separation. She is like so many other teenagers out there. She is smart, talented, and her own person. She begins cutting as a way to cope with her emotions and becomes addicted. Nearly half of all teens have engaged in self-harm in some form at one time or another. We all know someone who is or has self-harmed. We may not know who it is, but we all know at least one person, likely more."

What do you want your readers to take away from it?
Many things, but I want them to take away whatever was meant for them to receive based on who you are and what experiences you’ve had. However, there’s an overall message that says, Hey! Life can be hard and unfair but in the midst of it all, you have a purpose. There’s work to be done and fun to be had, so chop chop, there’s no time to lose!”

 ~~~~~

Excerpt from 
Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God  
Em and Krystal ladled soup into cups behind all the action. Krystal had chicken and noodle. Em had chili. While the tight quarters were challenging, they found their rhythm and stayed a cup ahead of Mike and Sharon. It wasn’t a difficult task with both of them serving, but oh, the heat! Between the stoves, warmers, and bodies, the heat was downright stifling.
Em glanced up at Krystal and started laughing.
“What?” Krystal asked.
“Before we leave, I’m taking a picture of us with our hairnets on,” she answered.
 “Okay!”
“You should take your hoodie off,” Em said, looking over at her. “You’ve got to be sweating to death with that on in here.”
“It’s all good,” Krystal said. She wasn’t going to admit that her pits were thoroughly soaked.
Em shifted her weight and began using her bossy mom voice.
 “At least roll your sleeves up. You’re going to get soup on them.”
 “No! I said I’m good.” Inwardly flinching, she knew she’d overreacted. Frustrated, she would love nothing more than to strip off her hoodie, which was now at least four times its weight because of the sweat. But that didn’t have anything to do with Em. “I’m fine,” she said more softly, wishing she could take back her harsh tone.
Em eyed her from under her bangs as she poured another cup of soup. Krystal turned around to see how many people were in line, and noticed the room was entirely full. 
She watched the little old man at a back table against the wall tear off a piece of bread and offer it to his dog, which it took gently from his hand. Glancing around, she still didn’t see anyone else with a pet.
It saddened her to see the old man. She was happy he had a companion, but hated that he had to find food in this place. He should be in a cozy home, sitting in a recliner with his dog curled up next to him.  Maybe she’d paint him that way.
She turned back to the soup station, lifted the ladle, and filled another cup. More than ready to go, she looked at the line of people again, hoping it would be shorter than it was ten seconds ago.
No such luck. Worse yet, Em was still acting wounded and made it a point to not look at Krystal at all.
Suddenly, she sucked in her breath and held it when through a gap in the line, she saw a boy from her school sitting at a nearby table. Brandon, she thought, his name is Brandon, and he’s in my French class. She didn’t know much about him other than he was a sophomore.
What was he doing here? She wondered frantically. It was clear he was eating, but how could that be? She couldn’t stop staring.
He sat hunched over, with his head slightly turned the opposite direction. Had he spotted her first, hoping to not be seen? Sitting with his left cheek propped on his fist, elbow resting on the table, he kept his eyes down as he ate. As she was about to turn away, she saw him peek over his hand in her direction and their eyes met.
Krystal’s face went hot. A tingle shot up her spine and danced on her scalp.
Frozen, she gazed into her soup. Why did she stare so long? What the heck is wrong with her?
“Krystal?” Mike said.
“Sorry.” She scooped a cup of soup and handed it to him.

 

To read more, 
find Memoirs at these online retailers
Kobo - Kobo
It’s in other places too!















 What's next? Memoirs is written as a standalone but I’m currently writing the unintended sequel.

My latest is a short story titled, ‘That’s How She Rolls.’ Currently, it’s included in an anthology with five other authors and their short stories. The anthology is titled ‘Where the Light May Lead.’ Later this year, I’ll put ‘That’s How She Rolls’ out on her own. *smile* 

Contact and keep in touch here...
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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Walk in Righteousness


“But immorality or any impurity or greed
must not even be named among you,
as is proper among saints;
and there must be no filthiness
and silly talk, or coarse jesting,
which are not fitting,
but rather giving of thanks.”
Ephesians 5:3,4

Dear Father,
By paying for my sin debt with the precious life of Jesus, You redeemed me out of a life tainted with sin. I confess that I allow immorality to seep back into my life in the form of greed or silly talk and other things that are not fitting or proper for a child of Yours. Forgive my tendency to walk into the trap of my enemy and follow his worldly ideals.

I long to walk in a manner worthy of being a joint heir with Jesus. My desire is that my mind, and soul, and thoughts, and words, and actions all be in obedience to You and Your will. I want my life to be such that no one will even think I am participating in any type of impurity. Let my ears not even listen to coarse or silly talk. Instead, may my thoughts be of You and Your love - Your love that bought me, and Your love that I need to be sharing.

Father, You alone can lead me in paths of righteousness. Today, I will set my steps to follow You. Today, no matter what the circumstance, I will listen to You and obey You.  Restrain me from anything I am tempted to do that is unfitting. I thank You and honor and glorify You for molding me into that which I cannot be without You.


I pray in Jesus’ precious and holy name.




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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Su-Ny Kluckow and Cupcakes for Breakfast


Cupcakes for Breakfast by Su-Ny Kluckow
Christian author Su-Ny Kluckow knows the two little words “the scale” is enough to send most people running for the hills. “The truth is that when we weigh ourselves, we often do it in hopes of obtaining that magical number of perfection that exists in our heads. Sometimes, we become a slave to that number – I was a slave until God redeemed me and showed me how I have made an idol of what physical perfection is and how to dethrone it.”

In her book Cupcakes for Breakfast, Su-Ny' shares "insight and encouragement for anyone fighting the ugly monster of not being at peace with who they are because if we find our identity in the scales of this world, we become either heavy with pride or crushed with the weight of our inadequacies. The truth is that our true identity is discovered through the lens of God’s Word. Living out of this acceptance changes our attitude about our bodies. And living out of God’s acceptance keeps us from living for the acceptance of others. We should approach the world as confident men and women. We’re well-loved by a great God. We are His Masterpiece – His best work. We are perfectly made in the image of the King Almighty."

'To every man and woman that has ever been unhappy with the way they look – I pray that God will lead you to and through this book. I pray that God will lay the foundations in your heart so that whilst you are reading this book, He will bring you the same revelations and healing that He has done for me. I pray that God helps you to accept yourself for who and what you are and to know and believe that you are perfect in God’s Eyes. I pray that you see yourself the way our Abba Father sees you - the perfect version of you.'



Click to find Cupcakes for Breakfast on:




I’m from a small coastal town called Jeffrey’s Bay on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, where I live with my husband and two baby boys whom God gave to us after an 8-year walk of faith. I believe that I am wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of God. I am His devoted daughter and princess of the Almighty King.

Would I write if no one would ever read it? I look at writing as a form or worship, a time to be intimate with God. When I am writing He is inspiring me, prompting me to engage Him on a level that sometimes is deeper than prayer or the words that I might speak otherwise. I feel close to Him when I hear my keyboard chatter with anticipation, each keystroke inviting Him to bless my thoughts and interact with my soul. 

Writing is a way that I bless others, with words of encouragement and love via, E-mail, text or a physical letter. If I was the last person on the planet...you could find me at any coffee shop banging away at my laptop; provided being the last person on the planet there were electricity or coffee shops...wait who would make my coffee?

It is my mission and purpose to advance His Kingdom and love His people.


Keep up with Su-Ny 
Twitter: @sukluckow
Blog: sunykluckowblog.wordpress.com


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Monday, August 8, 2016

Miss Polly, the Caterpillar

Miss Polly, the caterpilllar
She is as prettty as they come, don't you think? She is a grand caterpillar, plump and colorful! Her full name is Anamalia Arthropoda Insecta Lepidoptera Papilionidae Papilionini Papilio P. polyxenes. I call her Miss Polly. You may too, if you like.

Her story began right here in my back yard, on a nice stand of fragrant heirloom dill. (She doesn't know I planted it just for her but, that's OK.)

It was a warm day in June (aren't they all) when her mother laid her there. After about a week of being a baby, she "hatched" into a tiny black larvae - her childhood. I first noticed Miss Polly when she entered her young adult time as a caterpillar. She was bright yellow/green with luxurious black stripes that accentuated her curves in all the right places. Her numerous (although stubby) legs were just right for holding a fancy little caterpillar onto a dill stem.

Miss Polly, the caterpillar,
ready to leave her caterpillar life behind.
I marvelled for a good two weeks at her beauty and voracious appetite. Then, just as God designed, the time came. She was about to leave her brothers and sisters and she knew it. Her itty bitty legs took her all the way down the dill to a new place, somewhere she had never been before. She found a good sturdy stick from a neighboring daylily and bravely climbed into this new territory. Her time had come.

She knew she was about to let go of this life, and prepared for it. I watched as she rubbed her face against the stem and released a silken lasso that attached to the stem. She put her head through the loop of the lasso and scooted it down to just the right segment. She also released a silken pad for a posterior anchor.
Miss Polly in her chrysalis.

After she had the lasso in just the right spot, the time came to surrender to the inevitable. She was leaving her caterpillar life. No more munching on tender dill strands with her family. That part of her life was over. In faith, she released her legs from the stem and allowed the lasso hold her. Her faith was rewarded. Now it was time for the transition to begin.

July 19 she set herself on the stick. The next morning, she was encased in this chrysalis of a casket. Her earth-bound caterpillar life was behind her.

Nine days later - she emerged from her temporary casket. No longer a pudgy caterpillar, she emerged a lovely long-legged beauty with glorious wings! It only took her about an hour to dry out her brand-new wings, say goodbye, and take flight.

Miss Polly just out of her chrysalis,
ready to begin her new life.
She is still the same little girl of a caterpillar that I visited over the course of her lifetime yet, she is now different! That part of her life, limited to crawling less than three feet off the ground, is over! She has a new life, with wings to fly her wherever her little heart desires! I seriously doubt that Miss Polly's caterpillar friends are grieving over her. They are probably rejoicing at her new life; full, free, and glorious!

I have several decades under my belt, and have watched the process over and over. Maybe you have too. We are born. We grow. We change.  We all change.

My friend, we are all destined to leave this earth. Whether we die before Christ comes or we are changed when He comes, the time will come for each of us to let go of this part of our lives and be changed into an eternal state. Read a part of 1 Corinthians 15 here. The question is where do we go from here? What happens next?

As a Christian (one who has placed full trust and faith in Christ Jesus as Savior) my next life, the eternal one, will be with Him (read part of 1 Thessalonians 4 here).  I have given Him my life and have trusted Him with the details of how it will play out. Meanwhile, I will do my very best to be obedient to Him while I am still here. When He decides the time has come for me to begin my new/eternal life, He will prepare and eqip me for the transition. Any casket will be temporary. My new body will be glorified yet, still me.

Those who have not accepted Jesus the Christ as their personal Savior will also wake up to an eternal life. Theirs will be one of everlasting torment. (2 Thessalonians, When He comes reward and retributionMark 9, fire never quenchedRev 21, lake of fire and brimstone, second death.)

Truths you and I can see from God and Miss Polly;
  • We are alive now.
  • This life is temporary.
  • God determines our days.
  • God designed and equips me for every stage.
  • This body will be left behind and we will be changed (while still ourselves.)
  • The next part of our life is eternal.
  • I can trust God with my today and my eternity. You can too.


Dear Father in Heaven,
I marvel at Your truths You demonstrate in all of Your Creation! How blessed I am to see Your hand at work all around me everyday. Thank You for the example of this little butterfly. Her faith is a powerful example to me. 

I pray for those grieving today. I pray that they will remember the butterfly as an example of the eternal life of a Christian, and let their grief be covered with joy. I know it won't remove their pain but, I pray You will give them joy through their pain, just as You have comforted me in my suffering so many times.

I pray today for those reading this, that they will be assured of Your presence in their lives. I pray that every one of them will know You as their personal Savior and have the promise of eternity with You. 

For those who have not yet come to know You, I pray You will make Yourself known to them right now, in a very real way. 

I trust You in every aspect of my life here on Earth and my life to come, with You. I pray today that I will be faithful to do that which You have created me to do. I pray I will be obedient to You and Your will for my life. When the time comes for me to leave this life, I will trust You with that too.

I pray all these things in Jesus' precious name.


~~~

Click here for more about me.

~~~

For more faith-filled stories, and one precious hummingbird I named Oscar,

read the first chapter here.

Want to read the rest of our story?

Click here to see Oscar at Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Meet author Lori Wildenberg


Lori Wildenberg, author

Lori Wildenberg is a mom who loves the Lord and is "passionate about being a parent (4 kids now 5 with a daughter-in-love). "Parenting is tough. We all need support and encouragement with this important task."

 "I thrive on encouraging parents through writing and speaking to be the parent their children need them to be. This passion has actually grown a ministry co-founded by Becky Danielson and me to a team of 24 moms and dads, from all places of parenting. 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting seeks to be a parent’s one stop shop for all his or her parenting needs. Our 24 experts relate well to parents and all have a heart to support moms and dads in this important journey."

Parents wanted the material she was developing and teaching in published form, so from speaking and teaching the writing "came through the back door." Her two most recently co-authored books are: Raising Little Kids with Big Love(for parents of toddlers to age 8) and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love (for those with tween to young adult children). 

Tell us about the book(s)
Typically 1 Corinthians 13 (The LOVE Chapter) is read at weddings. The principles in 1 Corinthians 13 (Love is patient, love is kid) are applied to parenting and growing the 15 attributes of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 in parents and in their children, The book(s) is very practical, easy to apply, and based on God’s word. 

My favorite chapter "Choose Goodness." It deals with how to grow a child’s conscience (Little Kids book) and what to do about common temptations our kids face today (Big Kids book)." There is also a study for each book.

~~~ Excerpts~~~


Raising Little Kids with Big Love
Parents discover how to: increase a child’s self-worth, build family unity, foster sibling relationship (not rivalry), control parental anger and deal with kid tantrums, be their child’s advocate, support their gifted or special needs child.

Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love
Parents discover how to: be kind but not enable, adjust parenting approaches as kids age, increase family cohesiveness, deal with anger, and gain wisdom and tools regarding current day temptations.


Find both books on AmazonBarnes and Noble and 1Corinthians 13 Parenting Store  (the proceeds go toward the 1C13P (1 Corinthians 13 Parenting) ministry. Go to the website and click on store—the store also has gift items, t-shirts, etc. .it is like going into your local Christian bookstore.) 

Lori has another book coming out in the spring of 2017 to be published by New Hope about prodigal kids. 



To find out the latest news, and keep in touch with Lori;
Facebook: 
Lori Appel Wildenberg
Pinterest:
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Click to watch a sample of Lori's teaching and some testimonials. She is available for speaking engagements, parent training sessions, workshops, and private parent consulting. The 1C13P team is available to bring a HeartCORe Family Conference to your church or school. For more information: http://www.loriwildenberg.com/contact.html

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Socialism, Capitalism and Scripture

George Washington praying


There is a battle for the direction these United States is to travel in the coming four years. Which direction will we choose? Some believe the left and socialism is better, because they give so much to so many. Some believe the right and capitalism is better because they step aside and encourage people to work for their income. Many have allegiance with one party or the other because of long-standing traditions or what one party of the other used to stand for. Putting all that aside, let's look at what they stand for today and see if we find a clear choice for Christians.

First, some unbiased definitions from Miriam Webster

  • Capitalism Simple Definition of capitalism -  a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government.
Full Definition of capitalism -  an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.
Definition of capitalism for Students - a system under which the ownership of land and wealth is for the most part in the hands of private individuals.


  • Socialism - a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
Synonyms include leftism and welfarism. It is policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism. (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.
Definition of socialism for Students- a social system or theory in which the government owns and controls the means of production (as factories) and distribution of goods.
Simple Definition of socialism - a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies
Full Definition of socialism  - any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. A system of society or group living in which there is no private property. A system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state. A stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

Because communism is part of the previous definition,

  • Communism simple definition - a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property.
Full Definition - A theory advocating elimination of private property. A system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed, capitalized. A- a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics B-  A system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production C - A final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably D – Communist systems collectively
 ~~~
Simply put, with socialism the government controls my income as it sees fit. Capitalism lets me control my income as I choose. Some argue that is unfair to the poor. Is it?

From the beginning, we are told to work for what we eat. Gen 3:19 “By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, because from it you  were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Those who neglect working have no right to ask someone else to work for them. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.” Did you notice those who did not work were undisciplined and caused burden on those who worked?

Yet, individually we are to freely share with those who are unable to earn, the poor. Deuteronomy 15:7-11 “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you. You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’

Taking that which does not belong to you (things that you haven’t earned) is not an option. Ephesians 4:28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.”

In case you missed it, we are instructed to earn more than we need “so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” Acts 20:35 “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

You will remember in the book of Ruth, she gleaned for the remnants as the harvesters gathered the crop. Leviticus 23:22 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.’ It was an instruction from God to leave some for "the needy and the alien."

In fact, there is a blessing that goes along with that obedient sharing. Deuteronomy 24:19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” A blessing for those who share, and a provision for those unable to earn a sustainable living – the orphan, the widow.

Jesus even explained that when we share with one who needs, it is like sharing with Him. Matthew  25:35-40 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

So, if we can get someone to give us what we need, why work? Proverbs 24:30-34 “I passed by the field of the sluggard and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, and behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.  When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.

Why not just demand those who have plenty to share?  (Find the contrast between the prudent and the foolish.) Matthew 25:3-10 “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’“And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.” The prudent were prepared. The foolish should have prepared for themselves.

We should work, and earn, and sow while we can in order to be prepared for an unexpected events. Ecclesiastes 11:1,2,6 “Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.”

If capitalism, (working for a living) is what God expects from us, why do so many think socialism is better? When did capitalism become a dirty word? Perhaps it began when we stopped looking to God for instruction and looking to our government instead. Socialism was used by Marx as “a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.” “Communism is a religion of the state, committed to the extinction of the Church.” —Flannery O'Connor, The Habit Of Being, 1979

The transition to communism from socialism is an easy one. The people are already primed to give the government most of what they earn and they look to it as the giver of all good things. It easily becomes an idol before which the people must bow in order to receive anything; a secular religion.

The seeds were planted in the last few decades giving credence to anything but godly wisdom, and looking to the ideas of men and “science” are now bearing fruit. With relative ethics, and lack of consequence for wrongdoing, we are now primed for this transition from following God to following what seems right in our own eyes.

Neither the republican nor the democratic party is without flaws in regard to God’s laws, but their difference is striking. These are excerpts from their respective platforms for 2016.

The 2016 Democratic platform v. Republican platform
Democratic – “Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights… Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized that LGBT people—like other Americans—have the right to marry the person they love. We will combat LGBT youth homelessness and improve school climates.
Republican – “The Declaration sets forth the fundamental precepts of American government: That God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual, thus producing human equality; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail;…Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.”
~~~
Democratic - “every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion”
Republican – ““The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”
~~~
Democratic – “Democrats believe that today’s extreme levels of income and wealth inequality are bad for our people, bad for our businesses, and bad for our economy. Our country depends on a thriving middle class to drive economic growth, but the middle class is shrinking. Meanwhile, the top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined. These trends create problems beyond insulting our sense of basic fairness. Social mobility is far lower than most believe it to be. Children who are born to families in the lowest fifth of earnings are more than 10 times more likely to remain there as adults than they are to earn as much as those in the top fifth. Unless we invest in building a level playing field, we all lose.  11 Reining in Wall Street and Fixing our Financial System To restore economic fairness, Democrats will fight against the greed and recklessness of Wall Street. Democrats will not hesitate to use and expand existing authorities as well as empower regulators to downsize or break apart financial institutions when necessary to protect the public and safeguard financial stability, including new authorities to go after risky shadow-banking activities.”

Republican – “Prosperity is the product of self-discipline, enterprise, saving and investment by individuals, but it is not an end in itself. Prosperity provides the means by which citizens and their families can maintain their independence from government, raise their children by their own values, practice their faith, and build communities of cooperation and mutual respect.”
~~~
Democratic – “Appointing Judges… We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and powerless.     
Republican - "Only a Republican president will appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia."
~~~


My Conclusion
In reading these excerpts, it seems one party has chosen to look for laws that suit their liking and either overlook or deny completely the conflict with the laws God has already in place. The elements of "wealth inequality" in the democratic platform are inline with the socialism step into communism. The republican party acknowledges “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail.”

My original question was to whether or not there is a clear choice for Christians. What do you think?
I welcome your comments.