Miracle for Jen – Book Giveaway

Only a couple more days until I give away the certificate for a copy of the wonderful book, “A Miracle for Jen.”  The certificate was made available through the generosity of Tyndale House Publishers. 

If you would like to read this book which will both challenge and encourage your faith, please leave a comment on this post or on the book review below.  

On Sunday, I will be selecting a winner.  If you are the winner, I will contact you via email to get your mailing address. 

Five Minute Friday – Gift of God

For by grace you have been saved through faith, that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
I’d like to shout it from the roof top, “Salvation is a gift of God”, and have it echo through time.
Daily I pray for those whom the Lord has laid on my heart…that He would move in their heart and mind, bring them to an end of themselves.  That they would recognize that there is a day coming in which they will have to give an account to the God who created them.  That they would recognize that they are a sinner, unable to save themselves before a holy and righteous God.   That they would cry out, confess with their mouth and believe with their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and they will be saved.  I pray for divine appointments, bold witnesses, hearts to be tendered, eyes to be opened and ears to be inclined to the Lord.
And yet, I need to confess, that while I pray for them, there have been very few that I have had a point blank discussion with about their need for salvation found in Christ alone.  There are times I will look at someone who I know doesn’t believe in God and think if he or she died today, they would be in hell for eternity. 
You want to know the place that I find it the hardest to share my faith?  The workplace.  People know I’m a Christian and I freely talk about my faith with fellow believers and others.  When people are going through difficult times, trials and tribulations, I’ll let them know I’m praying for them. 
But their greatest need, this side of the grave and for eternity is for them to hear the gospel message.  And I remain silent.  I have news about the greatest gift ever and I keep it to myself. 
Lord…I’m afraid at times I fear man more than You.  Lord how can I remain silent when a person’s eternity hangs in the balance?  It’s You that does the convicting and saving, all You are asking me to do is be a witness.

This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.

Miracle for Jen…An Encouragement to Hope in God No Matter What

It was my privilege to read “Miracle for Jen” a true story written by Linda Barrick with John Perry. 
On Sunday, November 5, 2006, the Barrick family was traveling home having experienced an almost perfect day.  Andy and Linda’s son Josh had played in a baseball tournament over the weekend and their daughter Jen was making her musical debut in the church choir that evening.  The choir would be performing one of Jen’s favorite songs, “Lord, You Are Holy.” 
Following the evening service the Barrick’s invited family and friends over to watch a football game.  But the Barrick family wouldn’t make it home that night.  In fact, it would be over 3 months later before the family would be home together again.  Unbeknownst to them, a drunk driver was barreling down road going 80 miles. 
The Barrick family was gravely injured when a truck ran over the family’s van.  Having sustained multiple skull fractures and brain injuries Jen was not expected to survive the night.  But God had other plans.
“A Miracle for Jen” details the long road of recovery for Jen Barrick and her family.  Jen remained comatose for weeks.  Family and friends rallied around the Barrick’s and sacrificially loved them and helped meet their needs.  Someone remained by Jen’s bedside 24 hours a day, praying, reading the Bible and playing worship and praise music. 
Having been warned that brain-injured comatose patients are often agitated and confused as they are waking up and may lash out, they weren’t expecting what would happen next.  A phone call came in the middle of the night, “Linda, you won’t believe this, but Jen started praying out loud for forty-five minutes and hasn’t stopped since.” 
This was just the beginning of God doing an amazing work in the life of a young woman who loves the Lord and had fully committed her life to Him. 
This family would never be the same again.  Their journey would not be easy.  Each day there would be a choice to trust God and the work He was doing in their lives and depend fully on Him or to give in to pain, bitterness and unforgiveness and doubt God’s love.
Linda Barrick shares openly and honestly about the struggles they faced as a family.  It was a journey they never wished for, didn’t deserve and didn’t understand.  It was their faith in God and His goodness that brought them through. 
Through reading “A Miracle for Jen”, my faith was encouraged, strengthened and challenged.  There were times I both cried and rejoiced.  This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it.  This book is a keeper and one I want to read again in my own journey of life.
Through the generosity of Tyndale House Publishers I am able to offer a certificate for one free copy of “A Miracle for Jen.”  If you would to read this book, please leave a comment on this blog post.  In one week, Sunday, April 1, 2012, we will draw one name to receive the certificate for the free book.  I will contact the winner to get your mailing information and send you the certificate. 

Tyndale House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.  I am under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Time to Download

One of the most wonderful things about the days in which we live is the abundance of God’s word for us to read and listen to.  At the same time, I ought to be sobered because God tell us to whom much is given, much is required.  
Please click on the link to the 2012 Shepherd’s Conference which took place early in March.  The messages are free for download or to watch on line.  These are men who study to show themselves approved and accurately handle the word of God.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15

Looking for God in the Midst of Trials

A comment that Denise from Refine Me made provoked some thinking about God’s presence and His work in my life, even in the midst of trials: 
So true Susan; when our hearts and minds are open to receive (even through our trials and when we are suffering!) our actions and outlook begin to change, and we open ourselves up to appreciate and accept every blessing with grace and sincere appreciation.  Have a joyful weekend!  Denise
Am I aware of God’s presence and nearness, even when my feelings don’t feel it?
Do I override my feelings with the truth from God’s word?
Do I looking for the blessings that God may have veiled during the everyday trails of life?
Am I trusting God to do a good work through the trials of life, even if the situation itself is not good?
Am I trusting God to refine me and buff out the things in my character that are sinful and not pleasing and glorifying to Him?
Do I have the eyes to see God’s goodness woven into the difficulties?  They are like roses amongst the thorns and manure. 
Do I say thank You Lord for this trial, for this lesson?
When I walk by faith I can see trials as: 
grace, mercy; favor, kindness, mitzvah; advantage, aid, assistance, gift, help, relief, support; comfort, consolation, solace; bonus, extra, delight, joy, pleasure
Or when I walk by sight I perceive trials as:
bother, irritant, nuisance, pest; disadvantage; cross, misery, tribulation, something to be avoided at all cost
Lord…help me to walk by faith, trusting You at every turn. 
Please check out Denise’s blog at Refine Me.  You will be challenged, convicted and built up in the faith.  Her blog is one of my regular and favorite reads.  

Five Minute Friday – Loud & Clear

Today at lunchtime, as I walked to my car I was talking with God.  “Lord, I don’t know why You keep me here and what is it that You want me to learn?  But whatever it is I’m begging you to help me learn the lesson so we can move on.  I’m overwhelmed Lord.”
I turned on the radio only to hear my words echoed.  The pastor was teaching through the book of Lamentations.  “You are overwhelmed and crying out to the Lord and asking why.  The truth is you’ve come up against life and life holds trials and tribulations.  Instead of asking why, what you need to do is to praise God in the midst of your trials and tribulations.” 
Wow!  God had my attention.  He wasn’t promising a quick deliverance from uncomfortable circumstances.  But He showing me that I could encourage my heart right where I was at by reminding myself and praising Him for who He is, both in the good times and bad. 
Lamentations 3:22-26
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
God you are indeed the God who hears my prayers, You are the One who never leaves me, nor forsakes me.  Great is Your faithfulness, Your mercies are new every morning and more than sufficient to help me right where I’m at today.  Help me to keep my heart and mind stayed on You.  May Your Holy Spirit bring to my mind truth found in Your word.  Lord help me to trust You even while I’m in the midst of uncomfortable places for You are always near.  Thank You Lord…I love You!  

This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.

Five Minute Friday – Brave & Courageous

Friday’s topic at The Gypsy Mama is “Brave”. 
When I hear the word brave, I think of someone who is courageous and self-sacrificing in face of danger, giving little thought of the personal cost to themselves, and a willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to protect, rescue and help others.
I think of men and women who serve in the military to serve, protect and defend this nation.  Often they do so at a cost to themselves.  Their family also sacrifices so that our nation can be secure.
A living picture of bravery are police officers and fire fighters.  I’ll never forget the images of the men walking into the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001.  Men and women of like character serve and protect our towns and cities each day.  We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who daily serve, protect and defend us.
There’s another kind of bravery that I see in those courageously facing a terminal or devastating diseases.  Not giving up and not giving in to despair.  That’s not to say that their every moment is infused with courage, but they don’t stay there.  Instead they press on. 
A compelling picture of bravery is Christians who live in nations where being a Christian is a matter of life or death.  They willingly and daily choose to proclaim the message of salvation found in Jesus Christ alone, no matter what the cost.  Accepting the cost rather than deny their Savior. 
Lord, may I be a brave and courageous person when the time of testing comes. 

This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.

Five Minute Friday – Empty Prayers

Today the Lord convicted me that I was praying empty prayers devoid of faith when praying for God to intervene in circumstances in my life.
My prayers have been passionate and my feelings have been laid bare before the Lord.  Each day, I’m praying for God to move in the circumstances and intervene on my behalf.  While I was praying the Lord helped me to see that I was being double minded.  I was asking for the Lord to be at work in my situation and immediately following that prayer I was planning how to handle it if or when the Lord did not answer my prayer as I had asked.
I’m wrestling about praying with faith and accepting God’s will.  I desire to pray with confidence in God and be assured that He is able to handle what concerns me.  Nothing is too hard for God.  
Then the doubt creeps in…I need to be practical, after all what I’m praying may not be God’s will for my circumstance?  
Erring on the side of faith, when I’m praying within the will of God as revealed in the Bible, I can pray with a confident expectation that God will act. 
The fine line is praying with expectation and a confident assurance in God, but not demanding my way when God chooses to act differently.  I need to remember that when God chooses to answer my prayers differently, it doesn’t change one iota who He is and what He is able to do.  I can trust the plan He is working out.  I will only know God’s will as He works out the circumstances in my life. 
Lord, may I err on the side of faith, of believing that You are well able to handle all that concerns me today.  Help me to pray Lord with unwavering faith and trust You in all circumstances.  May I not be double minded and remember that You are pleased with those who walk by faith. 
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Heb 11:1
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Heb 11:6
7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:7-8
This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.

Abiding in Christ…What does that look like?

As I start this week, I’m asking the Father for help.  How can I not just tolerate the unlovely, but actually love them? 
It impossible in my own strength, to love those who are unlovely.  Impossible to love those who are unlovely in their character, whose words are ugly, boastful, prideful or mean-spirited.   Yet God calls me to love those very persons whom He has placed in my life. 
As I was listening to a sermon this weekend by John Piper I got a better understanding on how I can walk in the Spirit by abiding in Christ.  What does it mean to abide?  John’s description helped me to see in a practical way what abiding looks like in everyday life.
“And if you wonder what hour-by-hour abiding in Jesus means, it means hour-by-hour trusting him to meet all our needs and be our supreme treasure. And when we are confident that he will meet all our needs and be our treasure, we are freed and empowered to humble ourselves and meet the needs of others.”
Hour-by-hour abiding in Jesus…Lord that’s what I need to do.  Lord, help me to do that this coming week, so I can obey Your command to love one another and even love my enemy.  May I remember that I too was the unlovely one that You chose to love.  How amazing is that?

Grace Filled Bloggers

They are grace filled bloggers
Blessing their readers
Sharing what they’ve learned in this journey called life
They share from their heart
What the Lord is teaching them today
Dare to reveal their hopes and dreams about tomorrow
They openly share about trials and temptations
Failures and what they’ve learned
Praising God for their victories in Christ
They share with photographs
Too beautiful for words
Of God’s abundant blessings in their lives
They give a picture into their lives
Telling of family and friends
Even their heartfelt passionate prayers
They encourage readers to stand firm in their faith
Never waver or doubt
But only believe
Some old friends, some new
Some whom I know personally
Some I will one day meet in heaven
They bless me as I read what they share
In their journey of life
Lord, for this I give You thanks
By Susan Wachtel
March 3, 2012
Thank you to the many bloggers who have blessed, challenged and encouraged me.  Truly there have been day’s the Lord has used your word and pictures to bring me much needed encouragement.  Abundant blessings to you in Christ!

Five Minute Friday – Listening To the Ache

I could easily writing about the ache that I have for heaven.  There’s not a day that goes by that I wonder, is today the day that Jesus will call His church home?  Is today the day in which I will meet my Lord and Savior.
However, after reading Wanda’s post at “The Watered Soul” it got me to thinking about a different kind of ache.  It’s the ache that I have in the midst of the busyness and pressing demand of life to be able to make the time to do things I love to do, to do things that really matter and make a difference. 
Oh I feel that ache often.  It’s the card that I don’t send because I don’t have time to sit down and write a few words of encouragement.  It’s the phone call I never make because I know the person likes to chat and I only have a few minutes.  It’s the doily that sits uncompleted on the table because I don’t sit down and take the time to finish it.  Or I don’t take a couple of hours to go to the park with my camera and snap some photos of God’s creation.  I feel that ache when thoughts that are going through my head that I don’t take the time to put pen to paper and really listen to what the Lord is teaching me.
Lord…show me how to get off the merry-go-round and LIVE life and not just continually run at a frantic pace, accomplishing stuff that’s of little consequence and of no eternal value.  Show me how Lord, show me how.  
This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.