Quotes to Live By

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
(John Quincy Adams)

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. (Aristotle)

Every artist was first an amateur. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. (Thomas Jefferson)

It takes ten years to build up a reputation, but only five minutes to ruin one. (Anonymous)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Freedom Chasers

This book was exciting from the first page. I would totally integrate this book into my curriculum at school.

But aside from that fact, this book really puts readers into the middle of the action and I felt as though I was Libby. The characters are realistic and the situation is believable. This is a MUST-READ for Middle Schoolers. It would be even better, if a teacher out there could integrate the book into his/her teaching curriculum and make the class go on an adventure to experience slave trading. The adventure of course would be called: The Freedom Chasers.

The Freedom Seekers series is a six-novel middle-reader set in 1857. Feel the rush of immigrants to the new land, and the dangers of the Underground Railroad in these true-to-life riverboat stories.The characters will receive a heart-warming response from readers of all ages. Adult readers will ask themselves, "Would I have been one of those who helped runaway slaves?" Lois Walfrid Johnson uses strong historical research, great writing, and wonderful storytelling to bring alive a critical time in American history.

Late at night, as the Christina puts out into the Mississippi River, Caleb and Libby keep watch on deck. Close by, the runaway slave, Jordan, creeps forward without a sound. Drawing near the lantern, he stops, as if afraid to enter the circle of light.

On the streets above them no one stirs. Then a dark shape steps from the shadows.

Jordan moans. "It's Riggs!" (The slave-trader.) The cruelest man Caleb knows. Jordan's owner stepping out, so they know he's on their trail.

From that moment the Freedom Seekers can never forget that because of a fugitive slave law Jordan can be taken back into slavery, even from a free northern state. Nor can they forget that if Captain Norstad is caught hiding a fugitive he can lose the Christina. Then Elsa, a new-found immigrant friend, faces illness and possible death.

Will Libby's need for courage bring her to the Lord who promises, "Do not fear, for I am with you"? Can the Freedom Seekers live the courage that offers life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to every person? Can they go beyond fear to put that courage into practice?

As steamboats race for St. Paul, stakes are high. To escape capture, Jordan makes a mighty leap. In a time when captains did not stop for a man overboard, will Jordan survive his fall into icy waters?

God Can Change Traditions

Have you ever wondered about how traditions are set in stone? One person believes and then their descendents have to believe the same thing, never doubting that the original person could be wrong so many years ago. Then add some history to it and BAM! It becomes a story.

In Quarryman's Bride by Tracie Peterson, Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan were destined to be together...until the tragic deaths of Emmalyne's youngest sisters. Family tradition mandates that the youngest daughter should remain single to care for her parents in their old age, and now that daughter is Emmalyne. Her father unyielding, Emmalyne surrenders to her duty, heartbroken. Tavin leaves town, equally devastated.

Years later, Emmalyne's family moves, and she and Tavin meet again. Their feelings for each other are as strong as ever, but their painful past and Emmalyne's father still stand between them. Soon both families are in the midst of the growing conflict rising between the workers at the granite quarry that Tavin's father owns and operates. When a series of near-fatal accidents occur, Tavin must figure out who is behind the attacks before someone gets killed.

Bound by obligation, yet yearning for a future together, can Emmalyne and Tavin dare to dream that God could heal a decade-long wound and change the hearts of those who would stand in the way of true love?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Staying Faithful When. . .

My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. — Exodus 33:14

When Moses witnessed how God had demolished the enemies of his people, he must have been filled with the knowledge of the greatness of God, utterly convinced that no one and nothing was beyond the reach of the Lord’s power. That day Moses may have thought the worst was over in his struggle to lead the Israelites to freedom and into the land of promise. He couldn't have known how hard it would be to lead them across the Sinai Peninsula and into Canaan, a journey that would take not months but years.

For though God had freed the people, they were still in bondage—not to any military power but to their own way of looking at the world, to their stubbornness, and to their fear of taking the risks that inevitably accompany a life of faith.

 When Moses appointed a contingent of leaders, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, to conduct a reconnaissance mission in Canaan, all but two (Joshua and Caleb) came back with a bad report: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! But the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large. The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

The spies’ report incited the people to rebellion, and they grumbled and complained, saying: “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

Because the Israelites entertained an evil vision of God’s intentions toward them, making it impossible for them to obey him, he punished them by making them wander in the desert until the last of their generation (except for Joshua and Caleb) had died off. The Israelites who had left Egypt as slaves were not yet ready for the full freedom God intended for them.

But though Moses was frustrated by their response, he did not abandon his people. He did not shrug off the burden of leadership God had given him. Instead, he led them, taught them God’s commandments, judged their disputes, prayed for them, and stayed with them until a new generation had grown up that was no longer burdened by a slave’s mentality. And God loved Moses and praised him for his faithfulness and strengthened him with everything he needed to stay faithful throughout his long ordeal.

Father, forgive me for any self-centeredness in the way I pray. Help me to be more sensitive to the needs of others and to show your love by faithfully intervening on their behalf through the power of prayer. Please help me to intercede for others based on what I know of your character and your promises.
 * * *
Your Turn
Complainers can be exhausting and frustrating. Moses struggled with the burden of leading weeping and whining people in Numbers 11:10-15 to the point of asking God to kill him! Maybe you have a constant grumbler in your life that exasperates you to the point of it being very challenging to be patient and sensitive to them. Knowing God is with you and will strengthen you changes your perspective. How can you pray for that person differently?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Love Story that Starts It All

The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas, and meeting and falling in love with surgeon Tom Peterson is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.

She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested, and in a way she didn't expect. The results will soon transform her entire family.

This book was fast read for me because I couldn't seem to put it down. Dee Henderson is one of my favorite authors. She brings the right emotion and suspense to her books. If Jennifer O'Malley was alive today, I would love to meet her. She loves children and cares for them as one of her own, never giving up on them even if the world around them has given up.

I have read the whole series during my high school years and after reading this heart-warming story, I want to read this whole series again this summer.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Do Not Be Anxious About Anything

Do not be anxious about anything. — Philippians 4:6
Anxiety should never be found in a believer. In spite of the magnitude, quantity, and diversity of our trials, afflictions, and difficulties, anxiety should not exist under any circumstances. This is because we have a Father in heaven who is almighty, who loves His children as He loves His “one and only Son” (John 3:16), and whose complete joy and delight it is to continually assist them under all circumstances. We should heed His Word, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Do not be anxious about anything, but...
"In everything” — not simply when our house is on fire or when our beloved spouse and children are gravely ill, but even in the smallest matters of life. We are to take everything to God — little things, very little things, even what the world calls trivial things. Yes, we are to take everything, living all day long in holy fellowship with our heavenly Father and our precious Lord Jesus. We should develop something of a spiritual instinct, causing us to immediately turn to God when a concern keeps us awake at night. During those sleepless nights, we should speak to Him, bringing our various concerns before Him, no matter how small they may be. Also speak to the Lord about any trial you are facing or any difficulties you may have in your family or professional life.

“By prayer and petition” — earnestly pleading, persevering and enduring, and waiting, waiting, waiting on God.

“With thanksgiving” — always laying a good foundation. Even if we have no possessions, there is one thing for which we can always be thankful — that He has saved us from hell. We can also give thanks that He has given us His Holy Word, His Holy Spirit, and the most precious gift of all — His Son. Therefore when we consider all this, we have abundant reasons for thanksgiving. May this be our goal!

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). This is such a wonderful, genuine, and precious blessing that to truly know it, you must experience it, for it “transcends all understanding.”

May we take these truths to heart, instinctively walking in them, so the result will be lives that glorify God more abundantly than ever before. — George Mueller, from Life of Trust

Search your heart several times a day, and if you find something that is disturbing your peace, remember to take the proper steps to restore the calm. — Francis de Sales

Your Turn
Turning our hearts to God is more automatic during a crisis, but God wants a deeper relationship. Do you find it hard to live out the scripture, "do not be anxious about anything" when thinking about your job, family, health, finances, or other issues? Isn't it wonderful that God longs for us to cast all of our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7)? What worries do you need to leave with Him today? We would love to hear from you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Passionate Mom

Motherhood is full of uncertainty. What do my children really need? Why are they doing that? Is this normal? What can I do to help them? How can I know for certain that I am doing this right?
The logistics are easy. Anybody can do laundry and carpool. But what makes a mother the best mom she can be?

It’s not better scheduling. Or more activities. Or less.

It is passion—the passion to teach, protect, study, and prepare her children for the future.

Great, but how?

Susan Merrill, the mother of five incredibly different children, has asked that question countless times. And
she has read countless answers specific to a certain child’s temperament, age, or situation. But nothing she read offered an overall approach to parenting that would enable her to say with confidence, “I am doing this right.” She never guessed she would find a foundational plan—a reliable, universal parenting approach in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.

In The Passionate Mom, Susan takes you on a journey through Nehemiah and into the heart of parenting. Her stories and confessions in every chapter reveal what she has learned: no mom can control her child’s future, but every mom can parent well. There is a plan—a roadmap for how a passionate mom can parent almost any child, confidently.

I really liked this book because it helped guide me for the future. Even though kids are not in the picture now, I don't have to spend my days looking for the right activities and camps for my future kids because now I have God in the picture and with His help, my children will be safe from the evil clutches of Satan and all his devious schemes.

Angels By My Side

God knows your needs--and He has His angels ready to help you!
Have you ever had a close call? Do you sometimes sense that you are not alone? Do you wonder if you have ever met an angel "unaware"?

When Betty Malz was a young mom, she suffered a ruptured appendix and, after many fatal complications, was declared dead. Twenty-eight minutes later, she returned to life--bringing with her a vibrant and encouraging message about these heavenly helpers called angels.

Over the years that followed, Betty spoke and wrote about her amazing experience--including the armies of angels she saw awaiting God's commands to help His people. And it seemed that everywhere she turned, she met others eager to tell her about their encounters with angelic beings.

This book is the culmination of that journey. Here you will discover biblical answers to questions such as:
• When do angels help us?
• What do protecting, rescuing and messenger angels actually do?
• How do we know if an angel is God's servant or one of Satan's hosts trying to deceive us?
• Can angels intervene when we face temptation?
• How do we pray for divine assistance?

This book will help you understand God's purpose for these heavenly helpers in every area of your life. Be encouraged to trust in His loving care--for He truly has angels by your side.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Perfect Storm of Love

“Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.” Isaiah 4:5-6

Spring is a time of new life and new beginnings. It is a time when winter snow begins to thaw, flowers begin to bloom and all of nature seems to come alive in the love of life. However, as many Americans know with trepidation, it is also a time when warm moist heat clashes with cold northern air creating powerful and sometimes violent storms.
Regardless of where you may live, we’ve all experienced storms in our lives—storms of nature, stormy relationships and storms of despair. The fact is that storms will come and storms will go, but some things remain—faith, hope and love.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1Corinthians 13:12-13

When we go through the storms of life we survive through faith in a merciful and loving Father. When we experience trials and tribulations in this world, we endure in the hope of salvation and eternal life. And when we reach out to others in the midst of these times of testing, we give and receive the love of our fellow man.
Recently after an F4 tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, the local citizens held a memorial service for the victims of the violent storm. The highlight of the service was when a group of elementary school children sang that age old song, 

“Jesus loves me.” It was the same song they sang as the storm passed over their school obliterating most everything in its path. To say the least, there was not a dry eye in the house.
If you’re in the midst of a storm in your life, know this. You can have faith in the Lord God Almighty, hope in the life, death, resurrection and return of his Son, Jesus and know without a doubt, you are loved.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.” 1 John 4:16-17