Friday, December 02, 2011

"Christy" is the winner of November's free book drawing "Faith Deployed....Again" by Jocelyn Green. Christy, I need you to contact me with your mailing information so we can get the book to you.

Everyone stay posted and check in regularly for more free book offers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mark 3: 22 - 27 - And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house.

When I read this portion of Scripture today during my daily devotions it made me wonder if there are things in my life that are that are "dividing" me, "tying" me up, or "plundering" me. I don't mean anything coming between my husband or family and me, but just me

In other words, am I allowing things (even good things) to divide me from doing and being the best I can be for the Lord? Am I balanced in my life? Am I allowing television, computer games (ouch! Spider Solitaire), hobbies, friends, etc. to occupy an inordinate amount of my time, thereby "dividing, tying and plundering" my life?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. But I think we all need to periodically step back and take inventory of our "house". I know that's what I'm doing today.

Leave a comment on any of my November blogs for a chance to win a copy of Jocelyn Green's book "Faith Deployed....Again".

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm pleased to have fellow AWSA sister and AMG author Jocelyn Green as my guest blogger today.

Does Prayer Make a Difference in Times of War?
By Jocelyn Green

Today, like the rest of you, I honor our nation’s veterans. I happen to be married to one of them, and soon we’ll be dining out where Rob will get a free “Blooming Onion” as thanks for his service to our country. It seems a little funny to me, but we still appreciate it.

As a former military wife, I also appreciate the fact that behind every veteran is a family. And when that service member is sent to war, the loved ones at home go through their own personal battles as well against unseen enemies of fear, premature grief, anxiety. These emotions are not unique to the military family, but they are certainly intensified during times of war.

Casualties are a guarantee. Wives will be widowed. Children will be orphaned. Parents will become childless. This much we know, for this is war. What we don’t know is when and where death will strike.  So, does prayer really make a difference? Below, Navy wife Leeana Tankersley shares her heart on the matter in this excerpt from Faith Deployed . . . Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Moody Publishers 2011).

An Outcry
By Leeana Tankersley

But I cry to you for help, O LORD;
   in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, O LORD, do you reject me
   and hide your face from me?  
Psalm 88:13-14

I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with prayer. At times, prayer has felt like the only lifeline I’ve had left. Other times, it has felt as ineffective as screaming into a tin can with a string tied to it.

I’ve had to give myself permission to wonder if prayer even makes a difference, to question whether or not my pleas actually turn the hand of God in any direction at all. Is God so cryptic and callous that He asks us to pray but then doesn’t actually take our prayers into consideration?

The Iraq war started when my husband and I were engaged. Without notice, he was off the radar, and I had no idea where he was or when I’d hear from him again. I remember the night the war started, listening to the radio reports of a helicopter down in the Gulf. The flight had originated from the last place I had heard from him, so of course I assumed the worst.

Prayer, in that wretched moment, seemed like the only possible answer and—at the very same time—a complete and utter mystery to me.  

People send their loved ones off to war every day, praying for their safe return, and they never see them again. How do we reconcile such an inconvenient reality? My prayers may not save my husband. So, then, why do they matter?

I turn to the Psalms for some help with these types of questions. The Psalms are some of the rawest prayers in print. Particularly Psalm 88. It’s an outcry. I love that. And it’s questioning the very validity of a prayer life. I love that, too.

Kathleen Norris has a great description of prayer. She sees it as an incessant beginning. Every morning we get up, and our prayer life begins again. We never conquer it, achieve it, complete it. Prayer, she writes, is “being ourselves before God” (The Cloister Walk, 134, 282).

I’m trying to embrace this notion of beginning again and again and again. Going back to God, turning toward him, returning to him—even as that feels repetitive and unproductive. I’m trying to accept the fact that prayer doesn’t move along in a linear fashion, accomplishing as it goes. It moves in a spiral, drilling down into us like a jackhammer tilling up concrete.

Some days I can just manage to breathe in God’s direction and somehow, in the sacredness of that unspoken spoken, he breathes back. And, I’ve found, we can go a long way like that.
Sometimes we wish prayer to be the rudder that changes the course of our entire lives. Yet, I wonder if it’s our hearts—through the small spokens, the actual truths, the directed breaths—that end up changing. And that’s more the point than anything.

Am I making prayer a part of my life?
Am I able to be honest with God about my questions and doubts?

God, I’m willing to pray even though I don’t completely understand how it all works. Give me the faith to return to you, each and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Veterans, I salute you and your loved ones today and every day. For more encouragement for military wives, visit

About the Author:
Jocelyn Green, the wife of a former Coast Guard officer, is an award-winning author, freelance writer and editor. Along with contributing writers, she is the author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Moody 2008), and Faith Deployed…Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Moody 2011). She is also co-author of Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq/Afghanistan (AMG Publishers 2009). She is the chief editor for, the online magazine of Christian Military Wives (a branch of Christian Military Fellowship) and a contributor to the Web site Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is a frequent speaker at military wife events, women’s church groups, and writers conferences, and is an active member of the Evangelical Press Association, Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and the Military Writers Society of America. Visit her at

Readers, Please leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Jocelyn's book. We will choose a winner at the end of November.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sorry it's been awhile since I've posted. Today I have a post by friend and former college teacher Lee Stanford. You're going to love it!

Dear friends and co-lovers of God,

Is new always best, bigger always better, and the latest always greatest?
When confronted with the newest, biggest, and latest, as in a compelling person, a huge church, big name, or a great song, we often become irresistibly attracted as if a spell had been cast over us. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that the word fascinate originally meant "to bewitch, or cast a spell over." For our brief discussion, it would probably be more appropriate to avoid the notion of witchcraft and use the more common meaning, "to attract and hold spellbound; to charm." Drawn in by the fascination of the lure, we become deprived of our power of escape or resistance.
Like the people of ancient Athens, there is something in all of us that longs for that which is new, bigger and better. Paul reported, “Now the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new (Acts 17:21). Time-tested and proven truths of the past are sometimes set aside in favor of the newest doctrines, trends or ideas.
C.S. Lewis referred to this kind of thinking as chronological snobbery, "the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited.
We must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted, and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively. Or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood."
Sometimes the winds of change have blown so strongly over old truths and practices that their memory has all but disappeared under the sands of time. New labels, and bigger ideas and structures, promising the stars, emerge from the old rubble - but often with long-term serious consequences, failed results, or God forbid, His displeasure.
Consider the weight or gravity of God’s Two Greatest Commands. His “Shema”, to “love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love others as we do ourselves” is as old as Moses and Deut. 6, yet it’s as current and relevant today as any words ever penned.
There is gravity to His Two Great Commands! Loving God first and foremost, then seeking the lost, and discipling the saved have weight and importance just because it’s Jesus' directive to His people of all ages. These two old commands may have become lost in the new, and today gone somewhat out of vogue, but they will always remain critical to God. He never changes.
Our calling and involvement in His transgenerational pursuits and passions will become more compelling to us when we are quiet before God, die to our own changing will, surrender to His never changing will and purposes, and see the broken and lost world through His eyes and heart. Then, and only then, will we regain our power of escape and resistance from our fascination (spell) with the latest and greatest ministry fads, methods, systems and “generational messages.”
My written thoughts and considerations are not an attempt to discredit everything new, or label all the new, bad. They are an effort to get us to challenge and carefully examine the new for biblical truth and God-authenticity. If the new thing is not of God, He will be the final judge of the message and His people. If it is from God, nothing should stand in its way, and we should climb on board with both feet.
Our personal and never changing stand must always be, I will passionately love, follow and seek God, and stay focused on his passions for every believer and ministry, His Two Great Commands.
We must “obey God rather than man.”
I'm praying for you as we seek His beautiful face together,
Lee Stanford
To learn more about Lee's ministry go to

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 (NIV)

“Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tables of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant- not of the letter but of the Spirit’ for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Each year I have the privilege to speak to thousands of people via retreats, banquets, luncheons, conferences, and even radio and some TV. But, believe it or not, I am a naturally shy person and being in front of people is out of my comfort zone. Yet, Christ has given me a confidence beyond my own competence, and one I don’t understand, to speak His word and actually look forward to these speaking opportunities.

This coming weekend I have the privilege to speak for the Stone Ridge Church ladies retreat (Yuma, AZ). Each time I’m asked to speak I’m in awe that the Lord would allow me to present His word. There are speakers who are more articulate and more well-known than me. These churches and organizations could have anyone come to their events, yet they invite me!

I’ll admit that it’s gratifying when I receive letters and emails of commendation, but I have to ask myself if I’m leaving a recommendation on the hearts of those I speak to? As I read this morning the verses from 2 Corinthians 3, I prayed that the words I speak will be written on the hearts of the women of Stone Ridge Church.

Monday, August 22, 2011

(Melanie in her pj's and sporting her mom's karate gear.)

I haven't been around babies and toddlers on a nearly everyday basis since my own children were that young, so I'm getting old/new/recycled insights every week. I hope you don't mind that I share them with you.

Last week our daughter-in-love Ashley took Melanie (2 1/2) and Ryan (14 months) to the bank. They were all still in their pj's so they went to the drive-through. Directly across the road from the bank stands Walmart - a child's dream.

Melanie: "Mommy, I want to go the the store."

Ashley: "We don't need anything at the store."

Melanie: "But I want to go to the store."

Ashley: "We can't go to the store, Melanie, we're in our jammies."

Melanie: "But I want to go to the store, Mommy."

Ashley: "Melanie, we aren't going to the store."

(Pause) Melanie: "Just the same, Mommy, I want to go to the store!"

Those were her exact words - "Just the same, Mommy...".

The Lord wants us to go to Him with our desires and needs. He wants His desires to become our desires and for His will to become our will. Way too many times I've continued to say, "Just the same, Lord, I want..." after He's made it clear that particular request is not what He desires for me.

Do you relate? I'd love to hear your stories.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Okay, I'll admit it - I'm pretty excited about the release of my new Bible study "Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors". In fact, when I received my first copy from the publisher (AMG) I nearly cried. There it was - more than four years of hard work and my name in lights!! Well, not in lights, but on the cover of a book, anyway. Several people have written some pretty nice reviews about it, too. So, imagine my shock and disappointment when I Googled "Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors" and found several retail sites that have listed another AMG writer as the author of MY Bible study!! I know it's an honest mistake, but all my hard work, and now someone else is getting the credit!

Do you see where I'm going with this? How many times do we  take the credit, however unintentional, for the work someone else has done? We see it in politics all the time, in the work place, in families, and even in the church. But worst of all, think about how often God is denied, and credit for the creation of the universe is ignored or attributed to slime or a big bang. Imagine how He must feel when His glorious work goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

Let's remember to daily give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge someone for the good job they are doing no matter how insignificant it may seem. Most of all, let's give thanks for the work of our Creator.

Friday, July 29, 2011

(Pictured: My niece Kristen and husband Dylan and my granddaughter Melanie.)

Am I getting old, or what?

Last weekend Bill and I drove to Pray, Montana with daughter Rachel, son Jonathan, daughter-in-love Ashley, and granddaughter Melanie (2 1/2 years old) for my niece Kristen's wedding. We left Tulsa at 5:30 pm and arrived in Imperial, Nebraska (our home before Tulsa) at 3:00 am (our time), slept a few hours, spent the day with old friends, and left at 10:30 pm to drive all night to Montana (13 hours). Saturday was busy with family, rehearsal, and swimming. Sunday was more of the same with the wedding  at 6:00 Sunday evening in a beautiful grassy field below snow-capped mountains. We left at 10:30 pm, drove all night and arrived in Tulsa at 9:30 pm Monday evening - 22 hours straight! Today is Friday and I'm still tired!

I share those sordid details because the craziness of the weekend is important to my post today. After that marathon, exhausting (sometimes exhilarating) trip, we five adults are still speaking to each other and genuinely love each other. Jesus said, "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12) How did we do it? We prayed together before the trip began and we decided in advance that we would love each other during the trip and at it's end. We didn't always agree on where or when to stop; we were all unquestionably exhausted; three of us were sick at some portion of the trip. But we predetermined that we would love each other.

Is there someone in your life to whom you need to show the love of Jesus today? When you make that decision ahead of time you have won more than half the battle!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you!"

I recently said those words to renowned speaker/author Cec Murphey ( at the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Cec unceasingly shares his blessings with others asking nothing in return, and graciously provided scholarships for me and several other AWSA members who would not have been able to attend without financial aid.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I thought of the impact you and can I have for eternity. How many people will say to us one day in heaven, "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. You told me about the free gift of eternal life through faith in Christ"?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

When You Can't Find God: How to Ignite the Power of His Presence  -     
        By: Linda Evans Shepherd

I don't think there is a person alive who has not struggled with "finding God" through times of difficult circumstances, or wondering if He even cares. If you are one of those people, I've just read a book (When You Can't Find God by Linda Evans Shepherd) that I believe will help you walk through your pain and awaken you to an understanding of God's tremendous love and purpose for your life. Your problems may not go away, but you will face them with renewed hope and joy. This is a book of substance, NOT pages of feel-good "fluff".

Linda understands what it's like to wonder where God is. Her young daughter was in a coma for a year and permanently brain damaged after a tragic car accident. Linda has walked a dark path looking for God.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For the rest of the month of May and the entire month of June I'm offering a free Leader's Guide for my book "Winning the Battle of the Bulge: It's Not Just About the Weight" and workbook "Planning for the Battle of the Bulge" to anyone starting a weight loss group and who orders any number of the sets of books. The books are on sale for $10.00 each at a huge savings.

Contact me at

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

(Melanie and Maya.)

I was babysitting the grandkids a couple weeks ago and Melanie (28 months old) said, "Nana, I want to watch "Puppy-matian". Puppy-matian? But I knew exactly what she meant - she wanted to watch the movie "101 Dalmatians". I smiled at her and put the movie into the VCR (yes, we still have a VCR).

Isn't it funny how we can understand what our children and grandchildren are saying and what they want when others don't have a clue? Melanie didn't know how to say the title of the movie correctly, so she just said what she knew - it was about puppies and "mations". I think it's like that with our heavenly Father. Sometimes we pray and don't know what to say, what words to use, so we just say what we know. I believe that's when the Holy Spirit intercedes, and let's the Father know exactly what we are trying to say. He knows our needs and our desires. What a comforting thought!

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." Romans 8:26, 27

Monday, April 25, 2011

(The empty tomb.)

I pray you had a blessed Easter weekend. We had family and friends over to our home for a wonderful dinner, egg hunt (in the house because it was raining) and an afternoon of relaxation and a movie.

A friend of mine was recently telling me about a conversation he had with a co-worker. The co-worker was saying how the Bible had some good things in it and some of those things were worth believing. He said that Jesus was really a good man and had some good teaching, but a person just can't believe everything that's in it. 

Could this be true?

The main problem I see with that philosophy is that Jesus claimed to be God; over 500 people claimed to have seen Jesus after He rose from the dead; the Bible claims to be the Word of God. If none of that is true, how can we know which parts to believe as truth? How could Jesus be a "good" man if He was a liar? It only takes two people in court to have a firm testimony as truth. With over 500 people seeing Jesus after the resurrection we can have confidence that Jesus is who He said He is and that He is worthy of our trust.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tax season around our house is not a happy time; first because we tend to procrastinate and, secondly, because we always have to pay in so much money. On top of that, it annoys me that we are expected to pay our bills on time and balance our household budget, but the government seems to spend our money unwisely, and our county gets deeper into debt every day. Yes, I get angry and I complain, but do I pray? Do I spend as much time praying for those in authority as I do complaining about them? I think I may have things turned around a bit. How about you?

Romans 13: 1-7 "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." (emphasis mine)

I have to go now. I need to finish my taxes and pray for my leaders!

Friday, April 08, 2011

(Melanie wearing my glasses.)

Yesterday I babysat my two grandchildren Melanie (2) and Ryan (10 months). At one point, I scolded Melanie for being rough with the dog, but she averted her eyes when I spoke to her. I  repeated several times, "Melanie, look at me!" I wanted her to look into my eyes because then I knew she was listening and giving me her full attention. But, she didn't want to look at me and she didn't want to hear what I had to say.

I wonder how many times we avert our gaze from the Lord when He is trying to discipline or guide us; we don't want to hear what He has to say. God wants us to look into His eyes through the Bible and prayer; He wants to know that He has our full attention.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide (to counsel or advise) you with My eye." Psalm 32:8

Are you looking into His face?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Are you directionally-challenged like me? I love to drive, but when I travel I need a map, my GPS, written directions from Mapquest, and any landmarks that may be helpful. I even need directions on short jaunts around town. I just came back from driving nearly 1,600 miles, mostly by myself, and I didn't get lost even once! But I had good directions.

All this traveling made me think of the verse in Proverbs 23:10, "Do not remove the ancient landmarks." What kind of landmarks am I leaving for those who come after me? My children, grandchildren, even friends? Do I leave landmarks by my words or actions that may cause someone to go astray or get lost? Or are the landmarks I leave pointing them to wisdom, joy, love, peace, and Jesus? Does my life give good directions to others?

How about you?

(PS I'd love for you to follow my blog)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm blessed to have two incredible grandchildren - Ryan is 9 months and Melanie turned two in December. Just a few months ago Melanie would do virtually anything you asked her to do, but things began to change as she approached her second birthday! I wouldn't exactly say she's in the "terrible twos" but she definitely has a mind of her own and isn't quite as quick to obey as she was a few months ago.

I wonder how many of us are just like Melanie. When we first trusted Christ as Savior we were so grateful and anxious to obey the Lord, but as time went on we began to get a mind of our own and think we knew best. Let's get back to being like a child in the Father's arms!

Philippians 2:5 "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."