Winners of “The Best Yes” book drawing!


Winners of last weeks “Best Yes” drawing! Email me with your address!

Marla posted on08/11/2014 at 4:22,

Amma Bilson-Ogoe

Maile posted on 08/12/2014 at 4:17 

Fran who posted on 08/14/2014 at 8:44 

Jennifer Dougan


Don’t Leave an Open Door for Your Enemy


I thought I was all alone but there were noises coming from the cellar.  I was too afraid to open the door. . . so I didn’t. I continued to type and then from the corner of my eye, I saw something move.  I gulped and bravely looked to see him staring at me from the cellar door.

Fear grabbed me and then I ran outside and screamed for Dale. The six-foot snake still hung from the top of the door staring at me.  The tip of its tail clung firmly to the top for security. Bare handedly Dale grabbed the snake with both hands.  The snake was holding on for dear life!  He firmly pulled him off the door.  Its head stood straight up and body seemed bigger than life as Dale juggled his weight toward the front door.  All along I watched from my standing position on the table top.  Dale looked at me as if to wonder if I was just going to stand there or help him. He said, “I NEED YOU TO OPEN THE DOOR!”  Then, he flung the snake out into the grass.

I gathered myself and sat back down to work.  My daughter came into the kitchen a few minutes later and calmly pointed at the same door and said, “Mom, there’s another one.” I gulped and turned to see the second huge snake staring right at me.

This one was determined not to get caught.  He slithered behind the large freezer.  Us girls were undone with adrenaline and disgust.  Dale told us to get a grip and help him.  The third snake appeared…

We all took a deep breath after the third snake was caught and sighed in relief, believing that it was all over.  It was getting late, Ellie (16 yrs old)and I were washing dishes together and she made a proclamation, “I will never, ever sleep in this home again. I’m moving in with Becca.  They don’t have snakes!” As I handed her the rinsed plate to be dried off, I assured her that there were no more snakes and that she would not move in with her friend Becca.

Calmly she said,”Mom, there’s one coming from the cellar door right now.” I  said, “Ellie, don’t be silly.” I turned just to make sure she was kidding but she was right!  Number five and six came last and we’ve never seen another snake in the house since.  Ellie never moved in with Becca.

We’ve lived in our house for twenty years and never had a snake before that or after.  Dale had left the crawl space door under the house open in the fall and forgot to close it. The snakes saw it as a welcome sign for winter dwelling and took up residence. Winter was over and they were looking for their way out…

That night as I laid in bed, the verse from Ephesians 4 came to mind, “Don’t give Satan a foothold.” What’s a foothold? An open door to be invited in.  Satan looks for open doors of opportunity- footholds into our life.  We open doors to him when we have un-forgiveness, anger, fear or we constantly dwell on conflict we have with others. . . (just to name a few ways he slithers his way in).

We don’t even realize he’s gotten a foothold sometimes until  fear or anxiety stare us in the eye and say “here I am, now what are you gonna do about it?”  We can choose to ignore it, be too afraid to face it- or engage in the battle that will define our life.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live with snakes in my home.

It’s MY home and God has not given me the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of sound mind.  Negligence in this battle is costly.  Imagine what my house would be like if I didn’t get rid of the snakes or left the door open all year long.  I wouldn’t want to live here!

If Jesus is Lord of our life, than we have the weapon we need.  The Word of God will defend us!  We need to read it, believe it, and live it.  Jesus promises to help us!  Ask the Lord to reveal any open doors in your life that have allowed the enemy to have a foothold. Clean your house and shut the door to snakes!

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8

Take up the sword of the Lord which is the Word of God and rebuke the enemy with TRUTH!

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

When the Storms Rage and the Winds Blow on Your House

Hartwood_snow_modThe howling, frigid wind whipped and beat the house mercilessly last night. The old spruce tree bent and screeched against the house so much I couldn’t go back to sleep.   

Sometimes it’s good to be awakened in middle of a storm and listen. Listen to what you can’t normally hear. You know, the deep things, things you can’t hear on a quiet, calm night.

So, I talked to Him.

 I should reword that…I was pleading with Him and it had nothing to do with the storm outside my window.

You know, like the disciples did when the windstorm came down on the lake and the boat they were in filled with water.

The storm raged and the disciples were afraid. They pleaded with Jesus to help them, and He did. (Luke 8)

He calmed the storm and then asked, “Where is your faith?”

I felt like Jacob struggling and fighting my petitions before Him last night.  Then, His words were clear. “Where is your faith?” I sensed Him say.  I stopped struggling and asked, “Why, why does it have to be so hard?”

No answer. 

God uses hardships, disappointments and failures to strip our self-reliance away so that we will put our trust in Him alone.   Sometimes the process is grueling.

At the close of Jesus’ sermon on the mount He said,  ”Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

But everyone who hears theses sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

The storms, floods and winds will beat on our house, but we will not fall.   He is always faithful.

Sometimes it’s good to be awakened in middle of a storm and listen. Listen to what you can’t normally hear. You know, the deep things- things you can’t hear on a quiet, calm night.

 New Year’s resolution:  Memorize Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). He says that for those who hear His sayings and do them they will not fall when the floods come  and winds blow and beat on our house.   

Overcoming Fear

Bunnies were all over my path this morning!

Bunnies were all over my path this morning- Elderberry bush over  bunny

This past weekend while mowing, I rode down the path that leads to the edge of the woods.  I turned off the motor and sat… I could hear a symphony of crickets and frogs making music.  I saw deer and bunnies grazing—it was breathtaking.  A year ago that very path had been where I walked and met God at the beginning of my day.  I could pray out loud and no one could hear or see me.  It was perfect—that is, until that day, last July.

I was enjoying my time with Him, when my cell phone rang.  No one ever calls that early in the morning… It was Dale.  He said, “Come to the house, now.”  Dale never talks like that, so I ran.  When I got to the house he was holding his leg and said, “It was a Copperhead snake.”  Immediately we both petitioned the Lord for healing for his leg.  Healing did come.

There was only one lingering effect.  I stopped walking that path with Jesus.  I didn’t really give it much thought until this weekend, on the mower, when I saw the butterflies and bunnies crisscrossing in front of me.  I remembered how sweet that time was and realized that the fear of snakes kept me from going back.

The Lord led my thoughts to Ephesians 6.  It’s the one where Paul gives us a clear defense plan against the enemy.  He tells us about the armor that protects us.  Anytime we have an unhealthy fear of something, we need to face it with truth and investigate our line of defense in order to become overcomers of it.  This is true in the natural as well as in the spiritual.

I decided to walk my path again, but this time with armor on and a defense plan.  I’m wearing jeans, boots and carrying a shovel or a machete- just in case.  I’ve researched my enemy (snakes) and know where they hide, what time of day they’re out, and their mode of operation.  I’ll never forget the seriousness of a poisonous snake, but I will never again let it hinder me from living life to the fullest.

What do you fear?  Does it hinder you from enjoying life?  Satan (our greatest enemy) wants nothing more than for his prey to live in fear.  Fear always threatens freedom and peace.  Paul gives us truth in dealing with our enemy.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of the God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end, with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–“ Ephesians 6:10-18

I never want to be without my armor (my boots, jeans, and machete) when walking in snake territory.  But even more than that, I never want to be without the whole armor of God to defend and protect myself from the schemes of the devil.

And I’ll never be without a defensive weapon in dealing with the devil, which is; the sword of the Word.  When we use it- no weapon formed against us will prosper!  Jesus Himself used the Word of God as His defense against Satan- and so must I!

Every time I walk my beautiful path now, I am reminded that to enjoy life to the fullest, I must never let fear overcome me, but I must overcome it with truth!  God has given us offensive and defensive weapons- that in making ourselves keenly aware, we will effectively defeat the enemies ahead!  Let’s not allow fear to prevent us from moving forward in any aspect of our lives.  Let’s take up our holy armor and weapons… riding forth into the glorious places that God has already prepared for us- if we are willing to follow Him there.   We have good reason to be courageous!

A Life of Faith- George Muller

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What do you need more faith for today? Enter your answer in the comment section for a chance to win these two books!

There is no greater life than a life lived by faith.

It is so powerful that even with a tiny amount of it, nothing is impossible to us (Matthew 17:20). Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

A couple of months ago I gave you a list of 10 Invaluable Christian Books. In that list I included a book about George Muller. If you want to read about someone who lived his entire life by faith, read this book. When Muller first became a Christian he felt that God was leading him to be a missionary. He was Biblically trained in the best school, had the desire to preach and the ability to speak many languages. He was completely ready for the adventure.

But God detoured Muller and led him to open orphanages in Bristol, England.  From his latter 20’s to age 70 he took care of over 10,000 children with God’s help alone. Not once in all those years did he ask for financial help from anyone other than God Himself. There were days he didn’t have food to serve the kids, but he never doubted that God would provide.

And God did provide for them.  Miracle after miracle happened at the orphanage. Unexpected food would arrive at the door just in time for meals. People came by to give a gift, and many times it was the exact amount needed to pay a bill.  These things happened not because Muller told anyone his need, but because of God alone.

Rarely did they have money for the next week, but they lived on faith.  And not once in all those years did they go without food or shelter.  George Muller trusted God with a depth rarely seen.  His faith and generosity set a standard for Christians of all generations.

People from all over the world soon heard about the miraculous things happening because of the faith of Muller.  D.L. Moody was one of them.  He visited the orphanage when 1500 kids lived there and was inspired by the power of Muller’s faith and God’s ability to provide even though Muller never asked for money.

When Muller was 70 years old God released him to do his lifelong dream—to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  For 17 years he spoke and traveled non-stop. He spoke on living a life of faith. He preached for Charles Spurgeon and inspired Hudson Taylor.  He spoke to over 3 million people and traveled to 42 countries, speaking at least once a day until he reached 87 years old.

He died at the age of 92. Tens of thousands of people showed up for his funeral. In his lifetime he read the Bible cover to cover almost 200 times (now that’s the secret to faith—know the promises and believe them). He never took a salary in 68 years of ministry but always trusted God to provide for him. He never took out a loan or went into debt for himself, the orphanage or his ministry abroad.

There is no greater life than a life lived by faith.

Faith is so powerful that even with a tiny amount of it, nothing is impossible to us.

God, increase our faith! May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you stopped by after reading my post on Karen Ehman’s site, thank you for hopping over to meet me! I’m doing a giveaway on her site and on mine. So you can leave a comment at both!  I’m giving away George Muller’s book and a copy of the new NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for women. I’m so excited about this Bible because I’ve got several devotions in it!! To enter the drawing just write the one thing you need faith for right now in the comment section!  We’ll pray for you! Name drawn Monday at noon EST. Winner revealed Tuesday.nifty thrifty graphic

A Legacy of Faith

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This week Proverbs 31 Ministries is focusing on women who have left a faith legacy in our lives. As you read about a woman who has inspired me, think about who has left a legacy in your life and whether you are leaving a faith legacy behind by the way you live.

The words we speak and the way we live can alter another person’s life for eternity.

I’ll never forget that night when I was 11 years old.  My aunt, uncle, and their four young children had traveled from Indiana to Virginia to visit with us.  It was a grand visit.  Right before they left, something happened that was grandest of all- forever engraved on my heart.

The night had come to a close.  I got into bed and my aunt came into the room. She looked very serious and made no small talk. “We’re leaving tomorrow and there is a verse in the Bible you MUST know. Bury it in your heart and never ever forget it.” She opened my Bible (which was lying next to me) to Luke 9:62. She read it out loud as if it was life and death to her.  And with a piercing look into my spirit, she left the room.

I got out of bed and read it for myself. “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  I knew this would be a defining scripture for my life.  I was just too young to understand fully what it meant at the time.

The next morning, they left before I woke.  That night in my room was the last time I ever saw my aunt.  Her heart stopped beating and her mortal body died soon after they got back to their home.

Countless testimonies were told about Aunt Helen and how she lived her life for Jesus. And the stories are still being recounted even after 40 years!  She was a shining light of His radiance and glory. She was the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman.  From that day on, I decided I would emulate her and her walk with Christ.  I read that scripture she gave me every day till I went to Bible College (the same one she went to).  I determined in my heart to be a follower of Jesus at all costs, never looking back.

The verse she gave me had even greater meaning when I read the verses before it. Luke 9:57-62 are all about the cost of discipleship. Jesus is walking with three men here and tells them that to follow Him you must drop everything of the world.  When Peter, James, and John decided to follow Jesus- they literally dropped their fishing nets, got out of the boat, and followed Him. They didn’t look back!  That’s what He is telling these three guys to do if they are going to follow Him.  That’s what He says to us today.  To this day I am still convicted by that verse, the cost of discipleship, and the legacy Aunt Helen left to me.

What legacy will I leave behind to my family and friends?  What legacy will you leave behind? The words we speak and the way we live can alter another person’s life for eternity.

Proverbs 31 Ministries is doing a Legacy Campaign. Do you have someone in your life that has lived a faith legacy?  Proverbs 31 is giving you the perfect way to honor her.  Simply click on the Legacy button in my sidebar.  It’s that simple!


A Simple Family Passover (Seder) Supper

Our Seder Supper- First time ever without our girls!

Our Seder Supper- First time ever without our girls!

We celebrate the Passover (Seder) meal on Thursday or Friday evening before Easter.  We’ve made it simple so that it would never be too hard to do. A traditional Seder meal is long.  In celebrating this feast we are honoring a feast, instituted by God and celebrated by Jesus himself.  “Because Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us; therefore, let us observe the festival [Passover and Unleavened Bread]… with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).  This is not to be done out of a religious spirit, or any form of “legalism,” but rather in a joyful, reflective, and instructional manner.  Enjoy!

Our Christian Passover Seder

Candles lit on the table: Representing Jesus, who is the light of the World

Food on table; Roasted lamb, unleavened bread, boiled egg, bitter herbs (horseradish), Charoseth (a sweet mixture of apples, cinnamon, grape-juice [or wine], and walnuts), salt water, parsley, and wine or grape juice

Children should know this is a special tradition.  Inform them ahead of time that the focus will be solely on the Passover and on Christ.  After the dinner they can talk about their day’s events and personal interests.

We start by reading Exodus 12:14, “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.”  This passage is directly discussing the Feast of Passover.

Then explain:

We celebrate this feast to help us remember that God rescued the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.  On the night before He delivered them, God told them to kill a lamb and to cover the top of their doorway with its blood.  Every Israelite family who did what God said was protected from the plague of death in their home.

Many years later, Jesus (God’s son) came to earth in human form and died on the cross- as a fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifice.  He became the ultimate sacrificial lamb.  We no longer have to kill a lamb like they did under the Old Covenant for forgiveness of sin.  Jesus’ blood was shed so that all who receive Him as their savior are saved from sin and eternal death.  This sacrifice was all-sufficient, once for all.

Read Isaiah 53: 3-12…

In short, it says that Jesus was the lamb who was slain for all of our sins.  The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed!  He poured out His soul unto death for us, so that we may be saved.

When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, His blood covers us- protecting us from eternal death and bondage.  The night before Christ died, He celebrated the Passover dinner with His disciples and said that from now on (until the end of the age) we are to partake of the Lords supper as a reminder of His death and resurrection until He comes again.   It is good for us to tell this story to our children, especially during the week of Passover, since it is a prophetic picture of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross.  Generation after generation will be instructed on the profound importance and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, since He was/is the fulfillment of the Hebrew law (Matthew 5:17).

Read John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Pray a prayer of thanksgiving:  For the ultimate sacrifice of Christ’s blood that was shed for us all and His resurrection.  Also, thank Him for the food that is about to be partaken of.

At this time, the head of table passes each food item (one by one) and explains what they represent…

Platter of roasted Lamb:  We eat this in memory of the lamb that the Israelites sacrificed the night before they escaped out of Egypt.  Jesus was our final perfect Lamb who was sacrificed for us all.

Unleavened bread ( I made Gluten Free Matzo): Store bought Matzo can be used.  We eat this to remind us that the Israelites didn’t have time to wait for yeast bread to rise- rather they had to be ready to go when God said “GO.” At the Last Supper Jesus told us that the bread would represent His body that was broken for us.  We eat it in remembrance of His body that was slain for us.

Boiled Egg- (In Jewish tradition it is a roasted egg) the egg stands for renewal.  The Israelites were going to start a new life and we have new life in Christ because of what He did on the cross for us.

Bitter herbs-We serve horseradish as a reminder of the bitterness of the slavery in Egypt.  Jesus suffered greatly for us that we may be saved.  Remind them that on the cross He was given the bitter vinegar on the sponge to drink.

Charoseth- This is a mixture of chopped apples, walnuts, grape-juice (or wine), cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Symbolizes the mortar and bricks the Israelites used in making the bricks for the king of Egypt.

Karpas– We use parsley for this. These plants stay green all year and represent everlasting life because of Christ’s resurrection.

Small bowl of salt water– Tears of the Israelites in bondage. Today can represent our tears for those who haven’t accepted Christ as their personal savior.  Dip the parsley into the salt water bowl and eat it.

Grape juice or wine poured in glasses– At the Last Supper Jesus said that the wine represented His own blood, poured out for us all. Drink in remembrance of Him until He comes again.

Jesus is the Messiah who died on the cross and rose again on the third day!  He is alive today and all who accept Him become joint Heirs with Him.  Our inheritance is great.  We have been given not only life eternal but everlasting peace, authority in Jesus’ name, and the last will and testament that Jesus gave us- an inheritance that is vastly immeasurable (John 17: 20-26)!

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate this feast with your family. Just celebrate, fill your home with the glory of our risen Savior with praise, worship and adoration to Him who is, was and always will be!


And at this time, the meal is concluded!

Our family watches Jesus of Nazareth after the dinner.

Easter is usually the only time of year our family eats lamb. Typically I roast an entire leg of lamb the whole afternoon before the meal. I didn’t post my recipe because most people say to cook it rare. Ours always falls off the bone and is SO tender. This was the first time I’ve ever made lamb chops, next year I’ll go back to the larger piece and roast all afternoon. This was good!

Charoseth3 chopped apples, 1 sliced banana, 2/3 cup plain yogart, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, dash cinnamon, couple tsp’s organic sugar or honey, 1 tsp vanilla-Mix all!

I made Gluten Free Matzo this year! Click here for recipe

The Seder Dinner

I got the plates here for a $1 each, the sterling silver platter for $3 and the brass candle sticks 2 for $1! Yep, thrift stores are amazing! I bought the glass dishes for pennies.

Ten Invaluable Christian Books

A great book is invaluable. There are a few in my collection that I return to over and over and can’t imagine being without. These books are worth more to me than great grandma’s antique china! Do you know what I’m saying? If I had to depart with all my worldly goods and could only keep one thing it would be a stack of my favorite books.

Monday night I was the guest speaker on Proverbs 31 MinistriesBible- study conference call with Melissa Taylor. We had a wonderful time! If you want to hear it, it was recorded- so you still have the opportunity. They are studying an amazing book; Let it Go, written by my dear friend Karen Ehman. At the end of the call I was asked what other books I’m reading. I think that’s a great question…

What you read really tells everything about who you are, what your desires are and what your future goals are. My response to the question; “Tortured for Christ- by Richard Wormbrand, Jesus Freaks- by D.C. Talk and The Cost of Discipleship by- Dietrich Bonhoeffer.”

In my present stack of favorite books;

The one and only infallible and inspired Word of God; the Bible is my favorite book. I love the fact that Corrie Ten Boom was able to smuggle a Bible into her concentration camp. She ministered the hope of eternity in the darkest place, and as a result- many chose Christ as their savior before their death.

The Spiritual Guide by Michael Molinos– written in 1675. There have been more copies of this book burned than perhaps any other single Christian book ever published. Michael Molinos was condemned to imprisonment in a dungeon for writing this book and he never came out. It is a phenomenal book about the deep things of Jesus; the cross and suffering. Oh my goodness, it is priceless to me.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. This book draws you into a deep, abiding relationship with the One who “Nourishes the soul.” It’s a spiritual masterpiece exposing the roadblocks that keep us from fully knowing God. It reveals our responsibly in the pursuit, and ultimately leads us into the very presence of God Himself.

Desiring God by John Piper. Very insightful, must read!

Tortured for Christ by Richard Wormbrand. This is the story of courage, tenacious faith and unbelievable endurance. Wormbrand spent years in solitary confinement, physical torture, hunger and mental cruelty. His crime (like thousands of others) was his fervent belief in Jesus Christ and his public witness concerning his faith. Oh my goodness. . . I weep every time I read it- not because the stories are gruesome, but (oh my!) the love of Jesus will blow you up. Literally, I’ll be sitting down while I read it and find myself standing in ovation in tears to what true love for Christ looks like!

Jesus Freaks by D.C. Talk. I LOVE this book. It is a collection of short stories about men, women, and children who have suffered for their faith in Jesus. We used to read a story a night to our youngest in our devotion times together. Oh my, it puts our current problems in proper perspective. You must have this book in your collection.

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is on my lap right now. I haven’t read it all but the premise of it, deny self, pick up your cross and follow Him. Bonhoeffer is an amazingly brilliant man with unquenchable faith. He died for what he believed in.

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge. Do you need your faith bolstered? Read this book! It’ll only take you a few hours to read and you’ll want to buy another one so you can give your copy away. It’s that good, I promise!

Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China by Janet and Geoff Benge. Incredible book. I loved it.

Fiction Books:

The Final Quest by Rick Joyner. A gripping story of the last battle between light and darkness. I read it at an airport waiting for my flight. I’m surprised I heard my flight called because I was so engrossed in it! It’s a great read!

The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards. It is a dramatic story of John the Baptist, imprisoned by Herod and awaiting death. He struggles to understand a Lord who doesn’t rescue him out of the prison. If you are a suffering Christian, or know one, this book will bring enormous comfort and insight into God’s ways. I love this easy read and it is thought provoking.

I want to give away a few of these books. Just leave a comment telling me which book you want to read (Tortured for Christ, Final Quest or Jesus Freaks) and I’ll enter your name in the drawing for that book. Don’t forget to check back to see if you won. I’ll pick a winner Friday at 10:00 AM! May the Lord increase your wisdom and understanding in the deeper things of Him! Each winner gets just one of the books. If you want a Bible I have one to give away, just let me know!

 Proverbs 4:6-7 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding (NIV).

My One Word

Rachel Olsen (Co-writer of My One Word, Zoe Elmore and me- Last month after ‘She Speaks Intensive Conference’ in Charlotte, NC and before our Proverbs 31 team time we had a sleep over at Zoe’s house! It was so much fun. I love them dearly!

After reading the book, My One Word by Michael Ashcraft and (my friend) Rachel Olsen, I’ve decided that my one word for this year is; Love.

This year, I’m going to be more intentional in my time with God to focus on- love. I want to burn with love for Jesus.  I want to cross over into the next level of glory in loving Him the way He loves me.  I want to love Him outrageously.  I want to be consumed with burning love in my heart for Him.

Once consumed by love, I pray that the overflow affects every part of my life.

I want to be so transformed by love that it pours from every pore of my being onto every person I meet; family, friend, or stranger.

I want to see people through His eyes and have His love for the people.  When I pass strangers on my way, I want His love to be so burning in me that I radiate His response to them.

I want to love what He loves this year.  I want to wake up saying, “I love You.”  And every morning ask Him, “What do You love?”  I want desperately to know the greater secrets of His heart. I know that when I discover more of what He loves, I will find soil rich with secrets to unfold.

I can be sure that I will find the secrets to His heart because His word says it.  “No eye has seen, nor ear heard nor has our minds conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9)

This year I will spend more time in His presence.  I will spend more time in His Word and contemplating His love.  In response, I want to be like Moses after he was exposed to the glory of the Lord.

Moses had to cover his face with a veil, because the glory of the Lord was too great to behold. But we, who are in Christ, behold this glory- unveiled! 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Oh my, unveiled!  We are constantly going from one level of glory to the next.  Jesus!

Reflecting like a mirror the radiant image of the Father’s glory, we are transformed into the same image from one level of glory to the next!

I want to be a reflection of Your great Love.  Overcome me this year with a deeper revelation of Your love.  In Jesus’ name amen.

“…Apart from the Word of God, we cannot know who God is and how God is. And part from it, we don’t readily recognize who or how we truly are either. And, we don’t see our potential in Christ.

Don’t merely read verses; if that is all we do, we run the risk of deceiving ourselves. Don’t just pile up biblical information in your head. Let it soak into your heart. Let it interpret you. And then let it seep out through your actions.

…Only when we begin to let what we believe affect what we do are we able to embrace the process of formation.”  -Excerpt from, My One Word, page 61-

Reading My One Word book by the fire tonight to give me ideas on how to keep my one word in front of me every day this year.


In His Presence- Present

Sparky in the snow covered field at sunrise

I stared at my computer without an ounce of enthusiasm or creativity.  A mountain of work beckoned me…  With already missed deadlines, bills to be paid, taxes to be done, text messages waiting for answers, dishes in the sink…  Then a phone call halted all of it and paralyzed my ability to do anything productive.

I prayed, but it didn’t help.

I couldn’t focus. The whole time I prayed, I was thinking too much.  You know what I mean?  So, I got my Bible out and read.  It didn’t work either.  The phone kept pinging with new messages.  I couldn’t get my brain on a different track no matter what I did!

So, I ate a piece of chocolate.  And, noit didn’t help.  But it was good.

I went back to the computer and within  seconds, I found myself looking at Facebook posts!  Let me tell you- that never gets you anywhere!

I jumped up out of my seat, turned my computer and phone off, and said “Lord, Help me.  I’m overwhelmed and I can’t seem to get over my own thoughts.  Lead me with Yours.”

I went outside alone, without the world (a.k.a. phone).

I walked.  I just needed to decompress.  I didn’t think about urgent deadlines, people waiting for me, the phone-call, Facebook…  I walked vigorously through the field.  I saw our wood pile and decided to restock our porch for the woodstove.  I hooked the trailer onto the back of the tractor, filled it up, and stacked the wood next to our front door.

I got down from the tractor and started talking to God again.  This time it was different…  Without thinking of what I would I say- I started thanking Him.  His love overcame me and it was gone.  You know– the load I was carrying. I told Him everything that made me feel anxious.  I gave it all over to Him, everything.  He refreshed me and ignited my heart.  By the time I got back to my desk, everything was back in its proper perspective.

Everything was going to be okay, even if by human standards it didn’t look like it… It was. This time I opened my Bible and it was alive.  I came to “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” Psalm 37:3-5.

It is nearly impossible to feed on His faithfulness, delight in Him, and trust Him to bring it all to pass when all of our minutes are filled.  Our time is filled with to-do lists, social media, texts pinging.  You name it.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if television took a portion of my day.

When I turned the world off and went into His presence-present, I entered the very sanctuary of God.    And when I did, passion and creativity ignited in my spirit again and the load of this world disappeared.  Oh, to be in His presence is addicting!  My entire thought process was supercharged with the assurance of, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  And, I did.

You don’t have to have a woodpile or a field to get away from the world. Just leave your phone and worries at home, take a walk and enter into His sanctuary-present.

God’s Strength, Peace and Power in Middle of Hardship

Winner of give-away will receive- two kitchen hand towels w/ wooden spoons (decoration sewn on by our daughter Hannah, a $15 Panera gift card and a Starbucks VIA Brew 12 pack. I’ll do the drawing Wednesday at 10 AM EST. Check back to see if you won!

If you’re visiting me today because you read the Encouragement for Today devotion…Welcome! I’m so glad you stopped by. You can find the devotion at

Hardships are never welcome, especially at the holidays. Why can’t we just push pause on all sickness, death, money problems and tragedy at Christmas?  Right?

However, God promises us that when we go through the waters, they won’t overtake us. When we walk through the fire, we won’t be burned (Isaiah 43:2-3). Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for He is with us and comforts us.

None of us would choose to walk through hardship. I’ll be the first to plead, “Please, not me Lord!” But I can tell you this first hand: When and if you must journey through it, He surely will see you out, and it will not overcome you. Keep your eyes on Him. You must!

I have lived to witness Him heal, deliver, restore and provide supernaturally in and through tragic events.  Many times it is the very circumstances that I didn’t want that God used as a vehicle to do His most miraculous works.

God warned us that bad things would happen to good and bad people. We live in a fallen world. But He, God, is in the business of working all things for the good of those who love Him—even the worst of hardships (read book of Job)

I don’t know what’s going on in your life. But this I know: The eyes of the Lord run to and fro over the whole earth looking for those whose hearts are loyal to Him so that He might show Himself strong on their behalf.

Don’t lose hope or let despair consume your thoughts when terrible things happen. Jesus left the portals of Glory to be born in a lowly manger. He lived His whole life as a living testimony for how we should live. He died and rose again so that we can have access to unimaginable strength, peace, and power in middle of it all.

Let’s pray for the families who lost their loved ones in the school shooting this past week. My heart is broken for them. God’s heart is broken for them.

I wish I could pray for each of you living through hardship right now.  Let’s do this…Would you leave a one word prayer request below, and let’s pray for each other today?

I’m going to do a drawing from all who leave a comment. The winner will get a $15 Panera gift card, a Starbucks VIA Ready Brew 12 pack, two kitchen hand towels and two wooden spoons (stitching on towels done by our daughter Hannah) May Christ bless you!

Last Christmas Dale’s heart stopped the day after our car accident. The next day he was released from the hospital in perfect condition. God healed him! Every day I thank God for his life, it is precious to me. I pray for those who have lost loved ones. To read the whole story go to

Our friend Chris (blue shirt) had cancer four years ago and lost her job. It was December, she moved in with us . She’s not only cancer free now, she’s healthier than anyone I know and she’s become our family–my sister. She is a writer, a worship leader, an amazing friend. . . and she lives here! How amazing is our God?!!
Four years ago this November our first grandchild, Grace died.  Thanksgiving and Christmas were devastating to say the least that year–with empty arms we wept. I am overcome with gratitude to God that He has blessed us with two more grandchildren since then.  I pray for those still waiting for their Christmas table to be filled with babies and children.

Enter a one word prayer need in comments below to enter -Winner of give-away receives- two kitchen hand towels w/ wooden spoons (decoration sewn on by our daughter Hannah, a $15 Panera gift card and a Starbucks VIA Brew 12 pack. I’ll do the drawing Wednesday at 10 AM EST. Check back to see if you won!

For more on hardships

He came to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3     and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” Isaiah 61NIV

There is Power in the Name of Jesus

View from our house to the barn

There is power in the Name of Jesus

There is power in the Name of Jesus! One day, one glorious day at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD! Philippians 2:10-11

I had to get up and run around the house after I wrote those words! Until that day He has given believers authority to use the name of Jesus with power and authority.

Last weekend I had the honor of going up into the mountains with an amazing church for a women’s retreat. Our theme for the weekend was, Our Identity in Christ. On Saturday morning I was telling the story of what happened to Dale when his heart stopped after our car accident at Christmas. I told the group at the moment it happened that I commanded Dale in the Name of Jesus Christ to be healed and to live. After the morning session a woman came up to me and said, “When you said, ‘In the name of Jesus. . .’ my hip/leg pain started to heal. I’ve had this pain for quite a while, and I could feel it being healed when you said the words, “In the name of Jesus. . . “

She emailed me this week and said she is thanking God every day for the healing. I got another email from a woman who came to the retreat with kidney stones. She said she had her kidney scanned Monday after the retreat and the stone was crushed.

There is something powerful about that name, Jesus. I don’t know what’s going on in your life. But this I know-when I call on the name of Jesus, circumstances change. Satan hates it when we call on Jesus’ name.  You may be “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8,9) when you call on the all- powerful name—Jesus.

In the name of Jesus there is power!



Acts 4:12, “Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Acts 5:41, “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

2 Thessalonians 1:12, “That the name of our LORD Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the LORD Jesus Christ.”

John 14:13, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Acts 2:38,”Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Col. 3:17, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; . . .they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Luke 10:17,The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

When Hell Seems to Come Against You, Be an Overcomer!


Credit card bills from identity theft charges onto Dale’s name

Have you ever felt like hell was coming against you? I don’t make that statement often. But last week…well, it was a humdinger if you know what I mean.

Someone stole Dale’s identity, opened credit card accounts, used existing accounts, and racked up thousands upon thousands of dollars in his name. We immediately alerted Experian, our bank and the police. Our accounts were put on hold. Now we’re getting bills in the mail every day. Some of the companies are gracious. Others say we owe them the money.  Oh my. . .

Ellie (first year of college) called us from school last week and said she had been taken off the roll in her classes. She couldn’t use the student parking lot, because her parking pass had become null and void. All her homework on the school computer system disappeared. We called the school. No one answered. We emailed.  No one emailed back. Dale and I drove to Richmond to get to the root of the problem. They said we hadn’t paid her school bill. We drove back home and got the bank statements to prove we had indeed paid them. That was last week.  She still isn’t in all of her classes yet!  We’re driving back out there today!  Oh my. . .

Last week, we got a call from the insurance company in charge of reimbursing us for the car accident we were involved in back in December. They had already concluded the accident was the other person’s fault. However, they informed us that they wouldn’t be paying Dale’s $30,000 in hospital bills that were incurred.  Oh my. . .

These were just a few of the things that happened last week.  Yeah, there were more.  And just as big!  None have been resolved as of today. Circumstances like these can easily overcome me if I let them. I have to consciously cast all my burdens on Him daily…hourly.

There are 4 things that I know to be true when hell seems to rage against me:

  1.   I knowSatan seeks to kill, steal and destroy, so these kind of things shouldn’t surprise me. He is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (I Peter 5:8-9)
  2. However, I know that “No weapon formed against me shall prosper. . .this is the heritage of the servants of the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:14)  We are not promised a life with no battles, but we are promised that when we stand on Truth in faith, no weapon Satan tries to use against us will prosper.
  3. I know that I must-“Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might and put on the whole armor of God every day so that I may be able to STAND against the schemes of the enemy.” (Ephesians chapter 6:10-18) For God has not given me the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) AMEN! There is power in God’s promise’s, there is victory in Jesus no matter what my circumstances are.
  4. I know that I am an overcomer! “For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”  (I John 5:4) “Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12)

Lord, I long for that moment when I stand before You on judgment day and You say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. . . you were an overcomer when Hell came against you.  I reward you with the crown of life!”

I want to be found faithful in ALL circumstances, knowing what the Word of God says, so that I can fight these battles victoriously and live the overcomer’s life.

I’m pretty excited right now. That’s what truth does–it sets us free! Speaking, writing, and declaring truth increases our faith.  And remember, faith is how we overcome!

Do you need prayer about a circumstance that seems impossible? Leave a short comment, and I’ll pray for you.






Milking a Goat and Benefits of Unpasteurized Milk

Today, I’d like for you to join me as we milk our goats! Watch this video, and you’ll be able to learn how to milk a goat yourself.  One of the stories that I read that really made me want to try milking goats and having raw milk, was the story that happened in the 1300’s. The Bubonic plague came and hit Europe and killed 25 million people, within 3 years of time. The only people that weren’t dying were the Jews. The people thought that the Jews were killing them, but really what was happening was that they were eating “Biblically correct”.  Their immune systems were strong, and their bodies were able to kill the bad bacteria with the good bacteria from the unpasteurized milk.  They were able to kill viruses and pathogens that came into their bodies.  It’s an amazing super-food that God created for us to be able to have for our health.

Now that you’re convinced that you want a milking goat, here are the supplies that we need in order to milk her…

– We need a jar to put the milk in.
– We need a sterilized cloth to make sure that nothing falls into the milk while we’re milking her.
– And we need a cloth to wash her well.

The first thing that we’re going to do is wash her udders.  After you’ve done that, you lay the cloth over the jar and start milking. The first couple squirts go onto the paper towel, just in case there’s bacteria in there.  Put both hands at the base of her utter, push up and squeeze, and then all the milk comes down. So you go up, and squeeze down!  You want to make sure that you get it all out because you don’t want her to get any infections.

The next thing that you do is spray with Fight-Bac. This is a disinfectant, and it also helps to control mastitis. You never want your goat to have that.  Now we’re going to let her out…Good job, Angel!

The first thing we’re going to do is wash our hands.  The next thing we’re going to do is take the cloth off and rinse it out.  Rinse it really well and get all the milk and anything that fell on it off.  Then we have a filter.  I got mine from Hoager’s, a goat supplies store (online).  I put the filter on the bottom of the funnel. Then we’re going to put it through the second filtration process.  Make sure that we filter out anything that could have fallen into the milk. Sometimes you don’t have any dirt, and nothing comes through the first cloth that we put on.  But, you never want take that chance — you always want to have a second filter.

This is from one milking!  We get a little over a gallon a day.  This is from the night time milking, and we get the same amount in the morning.  Then, I take the funnel and filter off, I rinse it, and later I’ll be sterilizing it.  Now we’re going to put a top on and seal it up.  We have Saturday written on the top.   We put it on, and now we’re finished.  We’re going to put it in the refrigerator where it will last for 4 to 5 days.  And now we’re finished.  You know how to milk a goat.  And you know how to process it.

The 30 Day Journey to Power


30 Day Journey to Power

I got the most amazing gift in the mail. It was from a woman who was at a conference that I spoke at a little over a month ago.  I had challenged the audience to read every day for a month: Ephesians 1 and 3 and John 17: 20-26,  Jesus’ last will and testament.  This woman DID it.  She then journaled the experience and sent me her journal.  She had also taken in-depth notes at the conference and wrote down revelations that God had spoken to her. It was the MOST powerful 30 days I’ve ever read about! Powerful, profound, and supernatural are just a few words to describe it.

I posted about it on Facebook, and many responded saying they were going to take the challenge, too. For days after I posted it when people saw me, they instantly said, “I’m taking the 30 day challenge!” After these people journal their month, I’m planning on writing a short 30 Day Challenge booklet with my teaching using some of their experiences along with my own. I’m so excited!  I’ve already started writing it.

This lady wrote the good, the bad, and the ugly of how she felt every day.  She wrote of her challenges of not wanting to read and how she didn’t get anything out of it on some days. She told of the distractions that tried to overshadow the desire to follow through. Writing the hardships really heightened my excitement when I saw Holy Spirit work mightily after she was obedient. It was incredible.

After breaking through her self and pressing into Him…

  • She slept better.  She couldn’t remember the last time she felt this rested.
  • She experienced peace and the fullness of true joy that overrode what normally upset her.
  • She is diabetic, and her sugar level stabilized.
  • Her marriage was transformed from “doing her duty” to “deep love”.
  • Her husband, who doesn’t go to church, went to church with her.
  • She started tithing more even though she had little.

She had a business meeting with people she works with – people she dislikes the most.  And they dislike her.  Daggers started to fly at the meeting.  Normally, this would make her blood pressure sky rocket and give her unbearable stress.  But, an amazing thing happened.  She sat there, and a peace overcame her.  She felt as though she was looking down on the meeting, like she wasn’t really present in body but in spirit looking down.  She heard their complaints but felt God’s compassion for them.  She saw their value and that God loved them as much as He loved her. That was something she could never have done on her own before this month. She was free!

She was part of a Christian club that does good things for people.  She loved the people.  However, when she got to the monthly meeting she felt the Lord saying, “I don’t want you to do this.”  She said to herself, “There are a lot of good things I can do but now I only want to do what He wants me to do.”  She knew needed more time with Him for that season.

She fasted from watching television. She only watched a few clean movies but realized when you’re on a mission to greatness with God you better be focused on Him. She caught herself turning it on once but then turned it off and found herself more energized than usual.

Amidst the daily stress of work, she had peace!

That was just a portion from her journal entries.  It was a profound month.  I’m so thankful she was led to send me her journey.  It is empowering many.

I Corinthians 2:9-10

“‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God.

II Corinthians 2:5 says, “. . .that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

The hidden wisdom of God, the greater mysteries, are revealed to those who search the heart of Him who is able to do immeasureably more than you can think or fathom. I desire every spiriual blessing, wisdom and revelation that God has for me. Do you want to take the challenge?  Read Ephesians chapters 1 and 3 and John 17: 20-26 and fast from something that distracts you from hearing from Him for 30 days. Journal the experience.



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