Sunday, October 30, 2011

Devotional: Where does one start?

Scott recently wrote this devotional. It was a challenge to me not only as something we want to teach our disciples but for me personally as well. 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Have you ever been troubled by the words of Jesus?  I have.  As a young boy, I remember these words of Jesus troubling me. I remember thinking to myself, “What if I stand before Jesus and he says he doesn’t know me?”  Thankfully, today I understand grace and salvation much better.

But the words of Jesus are still true and clear. Some people (if not many) who walk and talk as if they are Christians will be surprised to learn on the Day of Judgment that the Master never knew them.  Look at what Jesus says in the second part of the verse 21.  Jesus says the key to entering the kingdom of heaven is doing the will of the Father.  So the question is, are we doing the will of the Father?

First, we must know what the Father’s will is. It isn’t difficult to find out what God’s will is. Just read Scripture and take the words at face value as being true, then act.  Make them the guide by which you think and act.

It is this second part, the actual living out of God’s will, that I find is the hardest part. Why?  Because I still have so much of “me” at the center of my life and decisions, and not enough of Him. I have tried by my own power to change the old self and make myself new, but the truth is we can never do it on our own. Jesus knew this, so this is one reason why He sent us the Holy Spirit.  Only God can change us, if we will seek Him and let Him.  But it demands a total surrender to the Father’s will.

This concept of letting the will of the Father dictate what I do, where I go, how I spend my time and my resources, etc., is at the very heart of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  It is what I am striving for in my own life, and it is what I am trying to teach the new followers of Jesus in Mozambique.  My prayer for them, and for each of us, is that we will be transformed completely by the will of the Father.

So where does one start?  Here are a few exercises you might try:

·       Read the Gospels and highlight passages where Jesus talks about the “Father’s will.”
·       Reexamine the 10 commandments. (Exodus 20:1-17)
·       Meditate on the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-7:29)
·       Memorize the first and second greatest commandments. (Matthew 22:37-39)
·       Practice really loving one another. (John 13:34-35)
·       Become humble as Christ was humble. (Phil. 2:1-11)
·       Start rejoicing – always and in all circumstances. (Phil. 4:4; James 2:2-4)
·       Go out and serve / bless someone you don’t know.
·       Give generously of your time and money.

Therefore, I urge you, brother, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”   Romans 12:1-2      (written by Scott Harris)

Be blessed today,


Saturday, October 29, 2011

FREE International Recipe Book!!

For those of you who don't know, I'm a part of a wonderful blog group that helps promote International Christian fiction. As we celebrate two years of blogging together we've put together a collection of favorite foods for our readers!

"Travel with us around the world as we sample delicacies that uniquely represent our home countries or the settings of our books. 

Try our exciting selection of entrees, sides, mains, desserts and snacks:

• Peanut soup from Bolivia. 
• Chicken croquettes from Brazil. 
• Cornbread from Tennessee, USA. 
• Cranberry salad from Australia. 
• Bobotie and Cape Lamb Pie from South Africa.
• Mennonite stew and spicy chili from Canada.
• Passionfruit and coconut cake from Mozambique.
• Pavlova from New Zealand. 
• Scones from England. 

And many more! Over 40 recipes in all."

And best of all, you can get it as an ebook for free!

Our International Recipe Book is available as a free eBook download at Smashwords.                                                 

Once you've downloaded the recipe book, please check out our blog that is written by a large number of wonderful authors from all over the world

Happy cooking!!


P.S. A black & white print version of the recipe book is available at Create Space for 6.99 plus postage.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hope for the Homeless Video

Thank you so much to all of you who have helped with this project both financially and prayerfully. It was a week of hard work, but lives were changed! Here is a video recapping the highlights of the week. Some of the footage moved me to tears as it is hard to imagine people living in such difficult conditions.

If you have a small group, ladies class, or children's program and would like a simple way to get involved while making a big difference, we'd love to hear from you! Please check out the "Get Involved" page on The ECHO Project website or shoot me an email.

Be blessed,


Monday, October 17, 2011

Cowboys, Christmas, and Romance

I don't know about you, but I'm finding it hard to believe that the Christmas season is upon us. Despite the hot weather on our side of the world, my children are already making their wish lists (and checking them twice). 

If you love cowboys, Christmas, and a whole lot of romance, you will want to check out Undercover CowboyNow available as an eBook for only $1.99 for your Amazon Kindle and all other eBook Readers!


Solving his case could cost him his heart. 

"Pinkerton detective Cole Ramsey has been hired to investigate a rancher suspected of sabotaging his neighbor's property. But Cole's investigation might be compromised when he falls for Abigail Covington, the rancher's daughter." 

An inspirational Christmas novella.

Happy Reading!


(This novella was originally published in print form as a part of the novella collection Cowboy Christmas with Tyndale. Available now for the first time as an ebook.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hope for the Hopeless: 2nd Update

Scott and the team were able to complete two of the houses today and continued to work on three and four.

The first house was presented to a single mother of six. They didn’t have a roof over where they slept, so if it rained, they had to move under a tree. Tonight they will sleep in a house with a roof and a door. Scott said that for some of the kids, it would be for the first time.

The second house was presented it to an old woman who is deaf. She is so thankful and said, “I want to live here now!”

Lastly, Scott asked for prayers for the team that it won’t rain tonight as clouds are moving in. They are sleeping in tents in the middle of the bush and would prefer to stay dry so they don't have to deal with drying things tomorrow as they try to finish up the last two houses.

Be blessed,


Help for the Hopeless

For those of you who might have missed some of my previous posts, Scott is currently about four hours north with some of the disciples from here. Thanks to the generosity of those who gave toward this need, they are spending the week building house for several elderly who don't have anywhere to live. During the evening, they are spending their time sharing God's word. Follow up will be done through the disciples of missionary friends we know.

Here is an update from Scott. I will have photos and video to share after they return home tomorrow.

"I slept much better last night after finally working out the bedding and sleeping bag issues. Even with my little mat, the ground was hard, but after adding some air it was better.

We have made progress over the past two days. We have two houses framed and started on the 3rd. The only thing lacking on houses 1 and 2 is the thatching. We were lacking grass because someone had died in the family of the people who were to bring it. 

The living conditions have been very bad. The first woman made the guys laugh when she shared how she had to sleep with her feet out the door because it was too small and they would get wet. 

The second place was even worse. The structure the women was living under had fallen halfway. She said that when it rains there isn't any dry place so she just has to wait until it stops raining and then mover all her stuff outside to dry. 

I was not prepared for the 3 place. It was for a mother with 6 children. There was no roof and actually only had had something to break the wind on two sides. Even David got a bit choked up. 

Mornings come very early - even for me. I am awake about 4:30 each morning, but try to stay in bed at least until 5. 

Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

God's amazing mercy

It's something I don't think of often enough. God's amazing mercy. I just finished reading Jill Eileen Smith's third book Bathseba in her series, The Wives of Kind David, and was reminded again so vividly of God's mercy and forgiveness. 

You probably know the story of David and Bathsheba. How David brought her to his bed and then had her husband killed when he found out she was pregnant. As a consequence of this sin, the child died. 

There was a detail in the story, though, that I don't remember reading about before. After the death of their child, Bathsheba became pregnant again with Solomon, the son who would later be king after David. Here is what 2 Samuel 12:24 & 25 says:

"The Lord loved the child and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah which means 'beloved of the Lord.'"

As I read this story, both in the Bible and in Jill's book, this stood out to me as significant. David's sin was immense, and yet God's mercy, forgiveness, and love was even greater. 

David wrote about God's amazing forgiveness in the book of Psalm. "'I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.' And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone." 

No matter where we've been or what we've done, our God's love and mercy is greater.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit with in me." Ps. 51:10

You can buy Jill's book online or at your local bookstore. It's definitely worth the read. 



Thursday, October 06, 2011

Ministry Update

1. Women's Bible Study

Two weeks ago, we started a weekly Bible study for the young women we are working with. A missionary friend of ours has been using a fantastic study on the women of the Bible and those who have come seem to really enjoy it. Please pray for these sweet women as they grow in their faith.  

2. Houses for the Homeless

Scott will leave with a team of disciples on Monday to build houses for a number of elderly who don't have anywhere to live. Thank you so much to those of you who gave and made this possible. I will post updates and photos once they return. Please keep the team in your prayers. You can find out more about this project here.

3. 2012 ECHO Project Animal Photo Calendars

Many of you bought 2011 calendars while we are in the States last year where all profits went to benefit The ECHO Project. If you're interested in a brand new 2012 calendar, we are asking you to help us out. If you are a part of a small groups, Life Group, weekly Bible studies, or women's classes, would you consider hosting an ECHO Project party? We even have a fun program put together for kid's classes as well where they can learn about missions and help make a difference. 

It's simple, and you can do it as a part of your weekly get together. We have packets we are sending out that include everything you need including a DVD and a sample of the stunning photo cards we are offering along with the calendars. Not only will this help us spread the word, but it will also help us raise money through donations for the calenders and photo cards. You can learn more about how you can be a apart here or send me an email.

Be blessed!


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Sound of Silence

I don't know about you, but I'm finding it hard to believe that it's already October. Despite the raising temperature on our side of the world, my kids are already dreaming of a white Christmas (I can guarantee they won't get that one) and are asking if it's time to start playing Christmas music.

For me, I'm just wishing time would slow down so I can get caught up, or at the least a few extra hours per day would nice. Too bad life doesn't work that way, isn't it?

Sound familiar? I know I'm not the only one struggling to keep up with everything (including this blog!) My never ending to-do list made me start thinking this morning, though, about what is important.

The Bible has many verses on finding rest in the mist of what sometimes seems like chaos. Jesus was the ultimate example of how frequently left everything behind to spend time with His Heavenly Father. The examples of finding quiet and rest are plentiful as well.

"I will fight for you; you only need to be still." Ex. 14:14

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret..." Ps 37:7

"Be still and know that I am God." Ps 46:10

"Be still before the Lord." Zech 2:13

"Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong." Job 6:24

"He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters..." Psalm 23:2

"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of strive." Proverbs 17:1

 Here are some questions I am asking myself today. I'd love to hear your thoughts about finding the sound of silence in your own busy day.

  • Am I just spending my life multi-tasking so I can cross off the next project, or am I really seeing and hearing those who are around me and need me? My kids, my husband, my friends, and ministry...
  • Am I finding time to get away every day and spend time with God?
  • Am I feeding myself and growing spiritually?
  • Am I getting the rest and exercise I need to be able to care for my family?

Find rest in Him today,