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Blue Letter Bible provides commentaries, dictionaries, and daily Bible readings in serveral different versions.

 

 

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Tracy and her book, Break The Cycle, were featured in a broadcast of The Sighlent Storm on February 25th, 2012 on the WHUR World 69.3 Radio Station. Hosts Mandrell Birks and Denise McCain discussed the topic of how to deal with and break free from abusive relationships. A full recording of their discussion can be found below.

 

Radio Interview

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Isaiah 6:8

 

What hope is there when the people of God fail to take the territory entrusted to them? One recent incidence occurred when a hurting person called a church for counseling assistance, but didn't receive help because the caller "wasn't a member."

What better person to serve and show the love of Jesus?

The Book of Mark records a time Jesus dined with unexpected guests: When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw Jesus eating with "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked the disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17).

Why is it that churches often fall short following Christ's loving example of embracing all who cry out for His mercy? Where the church refuses to go, the enemy prevails.

(Clip art courtesy of Webweaver's: http://www.webweaver.nu/clipart/eyes1.shtml)



Photo credit: People In Parachute by mohan p

 

"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matthew 14:29

"But I don't want to make a mistake," my colleague, Ken, said during a night class this week. He said he feared doing the wrong thing.

Can you relate? Does the need to do things perfectly keep you from trying new skills and adventures or reaching out to someone in need?

Be encouraged that God doesn't expect us to be perfect! He rejoices when we trust Him enough to do the uncomfortable, such as phoning a person to ask how you can help or visiting someone in the hospital.

In the Bible, we often wonder why Peter doubted and began to sink into the water, but really, shouldn't we be asking why he was the ONLY one to get out of the boat?

Look today for opportunities to go beyond your secure, known arena. Don't worry! God will catch you in the palm of His right hand.


Flower
Photo credit: Gilbert H Wild and Son

 

The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' “No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.
Matthew 13:27-29

 

My husband walked in the front door ahead of me, all the while dropping black dirt on the carpet. Looking over his shoulder, he said sheepishly, "I just had to get those weeds out of the front."

I followed and picked up pieces of mulch, then went into the kitchen to throw away the sticks. As I dropped the refuse into the white plastic bag, I noticed inside sprawled below were tiny plants, ones which I’d nurtured and admired in their infancy for several weeks in a sunny spot by the front door.

"Honey, those ‘weeds’ you just pulled up are the baby perennial Gaillardia that have those huge, gorgeous yellow flowers in the summer!" I yelled.

Okay, I’m going to admit it: I was more than a little bit ticked off.

"Oops," my husband muttered, dropping his shoulders.

Not mollified, I said, "I can’t believe you pulled out my flowers."

"I’m an excellent weed puller," Dan stated with wry humor.

I reached into the garbage can, dusted off the black dirt, and gently rescued the plants. Fortunately, their root systems still were intact, with minimal damage to the leaves, so I picked them up and transported them back to the flower bed posthaste.

What looked like a weed to my husband was my prized perennial. I wondered how often I make the same mistake with people and let a rough exterior hide the beauty that can blossom with maturity and sunshine from God’s point of view.

"From now on, before I do any more pulling, I’m going to check more carefully," Dan said.

Me too, and I made sure to show Dan where I’d transplanted the babies.


Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park
Photo Credit:National Park Service via Great Outdoor Recreation Pages.

 

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance--the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary your hands established.

Exodus 15:17

 

The air on top of a mountain is crisp and cool. Huge trees thrust their roots deeply into the cliffs and stand tall. Clouds appear to kiss the treetops as they skip toward the horizon.

My husband and I recently traveled to the Shenandoah National Park and walked along Dark Hollow Falls. Lacy ferns dotted the woodland ground as a stream burbled over rocks.

This peaceful setting made me slow down and savor the majesty of God's creation. Why did he form mountain peaks to tower above the valley? Why did he also craft tiny minnows to play in a crystal pool, safe from the fast-flowing water?

Near Big Meadow Lodge, my husband and I decided to have an art date on a summit. We trekked in canvases, acrylics, and paint brushes. Setting up the easels near a large rock, we sketched the valley below.

Amid such beauty, I paused to thank God for his might, as well as his tenderness. I watched a hawk soar high above us and thought how much more God knows than we do. 


God's universe

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9

 

Have you ever wondered if you'll see a miracle? Do you plod through ordinary days, wondering why you don't notice anything remarkable?

You might want to shift your outlook. I saw three miracles today!

First, I stopped at the mall to get my wristwatch repaired. While the jeweler replaced the battery, I studied the inner parts of the grandfather clock on the nearby table where the man had been working. The intricate gears circled inside a compact box, much like how God calibrates planets to run in synchronized motion.

Second, I walked past a young mother pushing her infant in the stroller along the sidewalk. I peeked inside the carriage as the mother leaned over to coo. I saw the child's face light up with joy. How can a person within a few months of life coordinate 43 facial muscles to show happy recognition?

Third, my son called me in excitement to tell me about an unusual, showy red bird with ebony wings sitting on the rail outside his apartment window in Washington, D.C. My son found out that the bird was a scarlet tanager. This feathery intrepid traveler migrates several thousand miles in the spring and fall, flying back and forth to South America.

We might think we're smart to have global positioning systems in our cars, but birds chuckle at this notion.

How many miracles have we missed today because we weren't really looking?

 

Photo Credit: National Science Foundation

For more information about astronomy, visit the Rappahannock Astronomy Club


Clotted Cream Fudge

Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehemiah 8:10

 

Friends came over to eat dinner with us last night, and they brought a present of special candy from England. I sampled the clotted cream fudge today at lunch. Wow! The rich sweetness melted on my tongue. I couldn't wait to quickly unwrap another tasty bite . . . and another . . . and yet more.

My greediness had me racing to the point that I didn't even enjoy the delightful morsel I had in my mouth.

Do you ever find yourself doing this in life? You are blessed with good health, or a great job, or wonderful kids, but you're so busy racing around for more that you don't really enjoy what is right in front of you.

Take a moment to savor the sweetness of life and thank God for all that he's given you.

 

(For more information about the fudge pictured, please see Chocolace's website)


Woodland

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Matthew 25:13

Death is stealthy, often sneaking up when we least expect the call. Consider recent events: tsunami in Japan; tornadoes in Arkansas; and an assassination in a Pakistani compound. Were any of those who died ready?

If our Maker tells us that our time on earth finishes today, are we prepared? Or have we left unfinished business, such as unforgiveness or unspoken blessings? Precious minutes rush by but we often waste them.

My family had a close call this week with my dad's surgery for an aneurysm in his abdomen. The night before the procedure, my parents prepared as though that might be their last evening together. The next day at 5:45 a.m. in the waiting room before Dad went in for the operation, we clustered around him on sofas in the hospital, searching for the right words to say.

Gazing into his eyes, we clung to every feature, treasuring each detail of his person...

Two hours later, the surgeon told us that Dad had done well with the successful placement of a stint. We gave a sigh of relief and thanked God for the safety of our loved one.

Later, Dad said, "I've always been surrounded by blessings. It's just that sometimes I've been better at recognizing them than at others."

"You've been given the gift of more time," I said to Dad. "It's up to you what you do with it."

This is a choice we all have. Consider today the many blessings surrounding you and be grateful. Hug those around you and leave them with words full of joy and grace. You never know if those loving comments might be your last gift.

 

(Woodland image courtesy of Freeimages.co.uk)


Light Bulb

It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

Deuteronomy 13:4

 

 

Do you ever look at a situation and get frustrated trying to figure out a solution?

Recently, I needed to replace a lamp shade because the fabric at the top had become brittle, tearing from the hanger. I drove around town shopping for replacements. Retail outlets only stocked white shades, and I needed a black one to match the base.

Discouraged, I came home and looked online. One site had large, rectangular shades like I needed but each black one cost $70. This added up to a pricey solution if I bought two shades so the set would match perfectly.

What seemed a simple task had become complicated.

Later, I got the bright idea to save money and use black electrical tape. I raided my husband's workroom to find a roll, then cut pieces to fit along the top edges and attached the old fabric to the metal frame. Presto! I was so proud of myself.

Some of you are laughing now because you know electrical tape doesn't hold fast to fabric, at least not for long. I learned that too.

While I figure out the next step in my home decorating dilemma, one thing I know I can count on is Christ's commitment to me. At the cross, he held fast to love and turned the course of history from disaster to salvation.

During Easter, let's remember that the darkness of death and despair shaded the land for a short time, but in three days Christ resurrected hopes and dreams. May you feel his closeness today!

(Lightbulb image courtesy of About.Com Desktop Publishing)


Wood Plank

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Matthew 7:3

 

 

A young man down on his luck came to stay with my husband and me last week. The first two nights went well. The young man seemed comfortable with us and acted ready to turn his life around. We felt wonderful being able to help.

However, on the second day cash was missing from my purse. I looked everywhere but couldn't find the money. Concluding that the young man must have taken the bills, I called him at work, confronted him, and told him he couldn't stay with us anymore.

"I didn't take your money," the young man declared steadfastly in a calm tone.

Fearful for the safety of my family, I made the radical decision to move out all of the young man's things while he was gone. The empty guest room resembled my heart.

By evening, the situation worsened when I found the missing money in one of my little-used pockets. I felt sick!

Calling the young man again, I apologized and asked for his forgiveness.

"It's OK," he replied generously. "I would have thought the same thing if I'd had a stranger in my house and found my stuff missing."

This young man's mature response to my gross error taught me much. Instead of railing against the unfairness of life and hypocrites, he demonstrated grace and patience.

(Plank image courtesy of Vector Open Stock)


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