Thursday, January 31, 2013

FREE Printable February Calendar

Here's February's FREE Printable Bible Reading Calendar!



FREE Printable 2013 February Calendar - Cover to Cover Bible Reading Plan

Just follow the link above and save the image to your computer. It's designed to be about 8in.x5in. (easy to stick behind your Bible's front cover) but you should be able to tell your printer what size you'd like as well so long as a little bit of scaling doesn't bother you too much.

Remember, it's never too late to start!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Scripture Memory.... Tuesday... Philippians 4:8

Yes, Yes... its Tuesday - but I'm pretty close at least...



Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8

True. Honorable. Just. Pure. Lovely. Commendable. Excellent. Praiseworthy.
Think on THESE things.

I know it sounds silly, or rather obvious at least but… what if we thought on these things in every situation. (like I said, silly) But what if we really took that offensive comment a co-worker threw our way, or that initial response to another item on the to-do list and tossed out all the nasty thoughts… the anger, the sarcasm… the frustration. And, instead, found only the lovely.

Sometimes that would simply mean deciding that those harsh words have no merit, do not require my attention – listen for something else.

And other times it translates to – I don’t want to do another thing today, but look to the good – find the blessing of blessing others or the joy of servanthood instead.

It SOUNDS so simple (and incredibly obvious) but its much more challenging to LIVE that to WRITE.
photo credit: Jason A. Samfield via photopin cc

Friday, January 25, 2013

Shelter



As I read last night, cuddled under a pile of blankets, sheltered from the bitter January cold, I couldn’t help but be thankful for my cozy bed, warm down comforter, and quietly sleeping husband enclosed in four strong walls – holding out the biting wind and blustering snow.

And I thought to the local Missions, no doubt overfilled and pouring over with those far less fortunate than I, seeking shelter from the cold. And my heart broke for the little ones without mittens, the downtrodden lacking a steady roof, those simply doing their level best to huddle close together, someplace warm.

Let’s not forget, in the midst of our plenty, those in the midst of little. And let’s not forget that our precious Jesus died even for the least of us. For the hurting. For the broken. For the cold and the hungry. For the lonely. For the lost and abandoned.

So when you sit down to rest tonight, sheltered from the wintry weather, be thankful for your four walls that keep out the cold, and lift up a prayer to The One who commands the winds and the waves (and the snowflakes too) for those whose only refuge is found in Him.

And remember, too, that your refuge is in the Lord – your hope lies with Him – the walls are only a temporary comfort. His protection is greater still.

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” 
Psalm 91:2 
photo credit: I Am Not I via photopin cc

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

{Tyndale Blog Tour} Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman: A Book Review




{Tyndale Blog Tour} Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman: A Book Review
On the backdrop of 1800’s Wyoming Territory, the Lazy M ranch is about to stage a wonderful story. A single letter will begin a journey that forever changes the lives of those involved. Mariah Malone and Slade Donovan are bound for conflict from the moment rides on to her land. Reeling from the truths buried deep in their families’ past comes a tale of pride turned to romance and misadventures to happy endings. When Slade appears on Mariah’s front porch, staking claim to her father’s land – purchased with stolen gold from his father, Mariah turns to God for understanding and direction. What begins as a relationship of forced convenience unravels in to one of tumultuous circumstances that leave both Mariah and Slade drawn together in a way neither could have predicted. As plots of theft threaten the Lazy M, will Slade and Mariah see past their fathers’ resentments and their own prejudice before it’s too late?

Mariah is, as only truly great characters can be, flawed in such a completely human way that I found myself lost in her world, completely unaware of the late hours I was keeping in my own! Mariah’s desire to give and serve pulls at your heartstrings while her feisty quips and stubborn streak create a refreshingly real romantic heroine. Paired with the slightly mysterious Slade who surprises the reader with both his fierce determination and his gentle heart, the two are a great duo.

In most cases with stories like these – these being stories of stumbled words and misguided assumptions, I find myself frustrated and wanting to rush the story along to get to the “good part.” That is not the case for Hillman’s novel. Mariah’s quick allegations saddled with Slade’s driving hurt make for a clash of personalities right from the start. But, instead of sheer literary happenstance, I read of everyday miscommunications and thoughtless accusations very present in our world today that put more and  more distance between Mariah and Slade, desiring more pages instead of less.

While most of the sparks seem to fly between Mariah and Slade, the supporting cast reveals much more of the story than anticipated. A bit of suspense is wound in with the romantic as a secondary plot unties devious plans, theft, and murder.

A wonderful read that draws the reader in to a different time – a time of hardworking ranch hands and fresh made tea cakes and Wild West horses, Hillman’s words spin a beautiful story of adventure, love, and forgiveness. 


*** With thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.
 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Here's to the Cold...




Here’s to the cold Wisconsin days that remind us of the pleasant warmth of a fireside hearth, the comfort of a steaming cup of chocolately cocoa, and the magic of a simply wonderful book.


….When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue, you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendships and humour and ships at sea by night. There’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book...
- Christopher Morley



Saturday, January 19, 2013

He has made Room...




I was plugging along in my Bible reading this week when a part of Genesis 26 made me stop and look to Jesus. I think it is sometimes easy to read the Old Testament thinking this doesn’t apply to me, I’m not wandering in a desert or digging wells or traveling miles and miles to find a place for my family but aren’t we though? Aren’t we all in our own way lost in someone’s wilderness, thirsting for the Lord, finding ourselves struggling to stick together?

So when I read these words in verse 22,

… For now the LORD has made room for us…

I was so encouraged.

These words follow a story of Isaac, digging wells to settle in the land (and yes, I realize the photo above does not look like these wells) each time he dug a well, the people of the land would quarrel with him saying the water belonged to them. Time and time again he toiled for water and was forced to move on. His persistence paid off, though, and the Lord provided him with water which no one laid claim to… the Lord made room for them

I’m not a bible scholar so I won’t pretend to understand the complete context and whatnot – so don’t go deciding that I’ve taken things OUT of context… I just want to share with you the encouragement I found here.

The Lord made room for them. Just as he does for me.

In this world of hurting people and broken families, violent actions and selfish ambitions, HE HAS MADE ROOM FOR ME. In this world where I am a sojourner, while this is just my temporary home, and my REAL room is in a place far more beautiful than I can even imagine, He has made a place for me.

HE has ensured my little piece of the world, though filled with trials and confusion, and surrounded it with angel armies. HE has granted me blessing upon blessing that I don’t deserve. HE has given more than I could ever ask. HE has made room for me. And then made sure that that room has everything I need. So while I am ultimately waiting on Heaven, my time in this world (but not of it) is chiseled out by God alone.

When I feel that there is no shelter, there is no peace, there is no place for me… I look to Him, knowing He has indeed made room for me. I am His chosen child, precious and loved. He hasn’t forgotten about me, He knows exactly what I need… He has made room for me. 

And today, in that, I am content. 

photo credit: Miss Millificent via photopin cc
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