He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:15-16

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Decorah Eagles...How to Tell the Difference Between Mom and Dad

If you ever watch the Decorah Eagle Cam you may find it interesting how to tell the difference between the mom and dad.

I found a great tutorial on You Tube on how to identify them.  

Friday, April 03, 2015

Looking Back

How could that dark day be called good
Except by God Who knew what would be accomplished

A divine appointment
Set from before the foundations of the world

The sinless, spotless Lamb of God
On the cross He bore the sin of man

He was nailed to the cross by sinful man
The ones He came to save

His punishment and death
Paid our sin debt in full

With His last breath He proclaimed “It is finished”
The veil was torn in two from top to bottom

Through His death
He made a way to the Father for those who believe

The Father’s great desire
For all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth

Christ Jesus alone provided the way
  To be forgiven
  To be cleansed from sin and made white as snow
  To have His righteousness credit to our account
  To come boldly before the throne of grace
  To call God our Father Abba

Won’t you believe and be set free
From the crushing weight of sin
From the penalty that await those who refuse to believe

By Susan Wachtel
April 3, 2015

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Lessons Learned

This year in CBS we are studying the life of David in 1 & 2 Samuel.  Even though I’ve studied this passage in recent years, I am still learning from David’s life.  Some new things struck me in this week’s lesson on David and Bathsheba.

I can choose my sin, but I can’t choose the consequences I will reap…God does.   

I may try to cover up my sin and keep it from impacting and hurting other people, but I have no control over that. 

My choosing to sin impacts and influences other people.

Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock – Fast Paced Intrigue

I was excited at the opportunity to read Terri Blackstock’s newest book Twisted Innocence, which is the third book in her Moonlighter series.  This book carries on the storyline of the Cramer family, Cathy, Juliet and Holly, who have been gravely impacted by the illegal drug trade in their hometown of Panama City, FL.  Since coldblooded murder, Leonard Miller, walks free they continue on their relentless quest to find him and bring him to justice. 

Twisted Innocence focuses on the youngest sister Holly, an admitted party girl, whose life has had sudden change in direction with the birth of her daughter Lily.  Has Holly really changed her ways?  Will she make better and wiser decisions now that she’s a mom?  Or will she continue down the slope of irresponsible decisions that impact other people?  Is her Christian faith real?  If so, how will her faith be manifested in her life?  Answers to those questions are revealed throughout the story.

I appreciate how Terri Blackstock weaves Christian faith into her characters and views life from the lens of the Bible.  She also shows people as real, in the process of growing in their faith, changing and sometimes backsliding. 

I found myself challenged in my emotional response to Holly and some of her decisions.  I think it revealed how I feel in real life when I see loved ones making unwise decisions. 

I’m impressed with how Terri handles the relationship the girls have with their father, a former minister who fell into sin and deserted his family when they were still children.  His sin greatly impacted his daughters.  But he’s back in their lives now as he suffers from Alzheimer’s and is in a nearby care facility.  I think this story portrays a good picture of how children can obey God’s commandment to honor their parents even when their relationship has been broken. 

One thing I would have liked to have seen handled a little stronger is in a conversation between Holly and Creed.  As they talk, Holly assures Creed that God hasn’t given up on him and is not disgusted with him.  Holly says, “I get the feeling that He’s not made at me.  He wants better for me and for you.”  Our God is a God of steadfast love, kindness and mercy.  But He is also holy and He hates sin.  Our sin is what necessitated God the Father (who is loving, holy, just and righteous) to send His only begotten Son to die in our place and pay the penalty for our sin.  I would like to have had the truth that God does hate sin brought out.  Without the knowledge that I have sinned against God, I don’t see my need for a Savior and forgiveness from God whom I sinned against. 

I highly recommend Terri Blackstock’s newest book Twisted Innocence.   It’s a good read, fast paced and intriguing with Christian faith woven throughout the book.  If you’ve not read the earlier books in this series, I think it’s a good read on its own.  Terri fills in the necessary background of the characters from the earlier books. 

I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Zondervan publishers for the opportunity to read Twisted Innocence in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Just Asking

During this morning devotional time I started thinking about grumbling and complaining. 

Do I see grumbling and complaining as my right when I’m going through difficult circumstances or dealing with difficult people?

Do I recognize grumbling and complaining as a sin?  Does that stop me from doing it?

What does my grumbling and complaining reveal about my heart? 

Does it show a lack of trust in God and an unwillingness to yield to Him and His will for my life?

Does it reveal a since of pride because I think that I deserve better than this?

Is a grumbling and complaining Christian a good witness for Christ?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Loved Back to Life – by Sheila Walsh – I Highly Recommend This Book

I was privileged to read and highly recommend Sheila Walsh’s new book Loved Back to Life – How I Found the Courage to Live Free.

Sheila is a very gifted writer.  She shares about her struggle with depression and pain in her own life with openness and transparency.  She is real and honest.  One would think that a book about depression would be a downer and hard to read.  On the contrary, I found this book almost healing and filled with hope and compassion.   

Sheila shared about her trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that she held onto, even in the darkness of depression that threatened to drown her.  Her Savior has walked with her and never abandoned her.  Throughout the book she brings the reader back to the life giving truth found in Scripture.  I especially liked the chapter, Following the Shepherd. 

I was shocked and saddened at the reaction of the people around Sheila when she sought treatment for depression.  Instead of encouraging and walking alongside her she was blamed and accused of lacking of faith and told that God would never use her again.  Hopefully, these days there is less of a stigma to those who battle mental illness.  We don’t blame someone diagnosed with cancer or diabetes.  But why is it that we may blame someone with depression or other mental illnesses? 

What most touched me the most was Sheila’s compassion for hurting people.  As a host of the 700 Club, which featured incredible stories of people whose prayers were powerfully answered, Sheila wondered what about the people who aren’t healed or whose marriages and businesses fail, or whose loved one dies?  Why not feature stories about them too?  Learn how the Lord is walking with them in their trial or how they need help.

I would recommend this book for someone who is struggling with depression or mental illness or has a loved one who is.  I would also recommend this book for Christians, to help us examine ourselves and our responses to people who are hurting.  For those who don’t know the Lord, I also recommend this book.  You may just find the Good Shepherd who will walk alongside you in your trial. 

I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Thomas Nelson Publishers for the opportunity to read Loved Back to Life by Sheila Walsh in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.