September 27, 2013

if

I refuse to be a corn of wheat that
      falls into the ground and dies
   ("is separated from all in which it
      lived before"),
then I know nothing of Calvary love. 

                                       Amy Carmichael


September 22, 2013

Children's Laughter

What do you see in this picture?

It's the third week of Compassions blog month and we've been asked to write about a particular photo. I've picked this one.


Here I see an adorable little boy.  I bet he started giggling soon after this photo was taken. Maybe asking his friends, 'Did I look funny?' 'You wanta try it on?' I can hear the laughter of children having fun, each taking their turn trying this underwater mask on. Giggling till they fall to the ground. Don't you just love the sound of children's laughter?

Children in poverty are just like our children. They love to play, they love to laugh and they love to be with the ones they love.

But they are not getting enough to eat, they don't have proper shoes and they don't have anywhere to receive a proper education.

Many may think these children have lazy parents, but this is mostly NOT true. So many children have lost a parent or both due to disease and therefore live with a relative or friend. And many of the parents supporting their own children simply can not find work.

My daughter saw this first hand in Ethiopia. She told me,' mom there is just no work, no jobs.'

This is what I love about Compassion's work around the world. They help supply these needs, they help feed these children, they give them an education and they share the love of Jesus.

Would you like to help?

Sponsor a child today.

Click HERE or on the picture below.

 

September 20, 2013

if

I become entangled in any
         'inordinate affection';
if things or places or people hold me
      back from obedience to my
      Lord,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                          Amy Carmichael


September 17, 2013

Kisses from Katie

Katie's been compared to Mother Teresa and Amy Carmichael and I would have to agree and do the same.

I feel Katie is wise beyond her years and she shares this wisdom in her beautiful book.

For example Katie writes about...Psalm 37:4

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." 
                   
"I used to believe it meant that if I did what the Lord asked of me, followed His commandments, and was a 'good girl,' He would grant all my desires and make my dreams come true. Today, this is still one of my favorite passages of Scripture, but I have learned to interpret it in a totally different way. It is not about God making my dreams come true but about God changing my dreams into His dreams for my life."

If you follow my blog you know I've been quoting Amy Carmichael book 'if' on Fridays. There is one quote that really struck me and I think about often:

If...I refuse to allow one who is dear to
        me to suffer for the sake of Christ,
if I do not see such suffering as the
       greatest honor that can be
       offered to any follower of the
       Crucified,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.


Now this doesn't mean I want my child to suffer, but that I be willing to give them up to the Lord and trust Him with them.

This is hard. It was hard for me when my daughter went to Africa and it was hard for Katie's parents when their daughter decided to live in Africa.

and yet Katie says here:

"Sometimes I felt it was easier to cling to Jesus in that state of having nothing (in Africa) than it was to cling to Him while surrounded by the abundance of America. Although I was not physically hungry or in need, my soul was thirstier than ever."

Isn't that what every Christian parent wants for their child, to cling to the Savior? Isn't that the only way a person can really get to know Him?


One particular thing that stood out to me in this book was how she talked about her children...the thirteen girls she has adopted!

Katie has such a mother's heart and I loved reading about the simple daily things us mothers do everyday that mean so much to a child. It was encouraging as a mother myself. We really do have the most important job in the world!

Katie with her 13 daughters


Lastly near the end of the book Katie talks about how she is often surprised by how much God loves her.

She writes about it here:

"I was sharing all of this with a friend recently, this wonderful surprise of how much He delights in me. He simply laughed and said, 'Of course. He loves you, Katie. You are one of His favorite people.' 

The truth resonated in my spirit. Yes, that is what I feel like: one of His favorites, lavished with His love. Isn't that what He wants each and every one of His children to feel, all the time? 

The big God of small details loves each one of us so intimately, created each of us in His image. Each one of us is cherished. How would life change if we thought of each other as such? If each person who approached us we treated as beloved of God, cherished by God, one of God's favorite people? 

The God of the universe delights in you. In me. In them. 

Could we rest in that? Could we love like that?"

I think that was my favorite passage in the book! : )

I can't tell you how inspiring Katie is and how I enjoyed her wisdom, wisdom she is living out. I highly recommend her book.

Visit Katie's ministry blog:amazima

Buy it HERE on Amazon



September 16, 2013

Follow your Heart

Heard this song from the band Anthem Lights for the first time today and absolutely love it! Just had to share it here today. : )



Lord Jesus, help us to follow Your heart.

September 14, 2013

Action...

Our second assignment for blog month with Compassion International is to write about one word. I've chosen 'action' and I'm just going to get to the point and skip any fancy poetic writing. : )  So hear goes...

One thing I'm learning is that love is not a sentimental feeling, but an action. We can feel sorry for others and feel sympathy towards them, but that does them no good. We must take action. We must not only smile at them and ask how they are doing, but we must offer help and we must give it. That's love.


Compassion International is helping real children. Would you like to take action and help someone in need? Check out the link below...















God bless!

September 13, 2013

if

I wonder why something trying is
     allowed,
 and press for prayer that it may be
     removed;
if I cannot be trusted with any
     disappointment,
 and cannot go on in peace under
     any mystery,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                     Amy Carmichael


September 11, 2013

The Liebster Award


I've recently been nominated for the Liebster award by 2 fellow bloggers!

Thank-you for thinking of me and my blog Shannah and Gwen!

There are a few rules to be followed upon accepting this award and they include:

- Link back the blogger that tagged you.
- Nominate ten others and answer the questions of the one who tagged you.
- Ask ten questions for the bloggers you nominate.
- Let your nominees know of their awards and tag backs.


Questions Asked by Shannah:

1. Who is your favorite author and why?

I have many, here's a few:

Jane Austin...love her descriptive writing and character development and of course her wonderful stories.

Francine Rivers...such an awesome story teller and she's not afraid to tackle hard issues in her novels.

T.L. Higley...her writing just pulls me into the story and time period, and she always deals with spiritual matters which is something we need to be reminded of, especially in prayer.

A.W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon and C.S. Lewis are some of my favorite non-fiction authors...I find such wisdom and grace shine through their writings.

2. What made you want to become a blogger?

You can read how this blog started here: About TOB

3. What is your favorite book and why?

I LOVED 'Jane Eyre.' I just loved her character. I wish I could be like her. : )


4. What would be your ideal vacation spot?

Anywhere I didn't have to cook.  : )

5. If you had to choose, what would you do: Read or Write?

Read!

6. What is your favorite spot to read?

Probably on the living room couch.

7. Which blogger has been your biggest inspiration?

It's really hard to just pick one! I follow a lot of blogs and have been inspires by so many of them. Here's just a few bloggers who have encouraged me with their comments and have inspired me through their blogs:

Juana: Juana Mikels
Emily: Emily Wierenga
Michelle: Sweet Treats and Inspiration
Ashley: This Southern Girl's Heart

8. If you could choose any person in the world to spend the day with, who would it be?

My grandmothers. They both passed away when I was very young and therefore I never got to know either of them. I always wished I have a grandma. Love and appreciate your grandmas! : )

9. What are your other hobbies (besides reading)?

I love gardening.

Part of my garden in May

10. What inspires you daily?

People who love like Jesus.


Questions asked by Gwen:

(Gwen asked some of the same questions so I've only included the ones that were different)

1. What do you enjoy most about blogging, and would you recommend it to others?

I'd have to say other bloggers. It's been so great getting to know people from all over the world who have the same interests.

I would only recommend it to people who want to write about what they love. Those are the best blogs. : )

2. Is there a book you didn't think you'd like, but you ended up loving it?

Fiction - "Iscariot: A novel of Judas" - I was a little leery going into this book because I wasn't sure where this author would go with the character of Judas, but it ended up being more about Jesus and His love for us. Very thought-provoking novel.

Non-Fiction - "Son of Hamas" - It wasn't at all what I thought it would be. I thought it would be a bit boring and political but ended up being so heartfelt and personal.

3. What would be your ideal vacation spot or dream vacation?

England

4. How many books are on your TBR shelf?

To many to count! I usually have a small stack of what I want to read next, but almost always end up switching them up. : ) Here's my small stack for now. I'll be adding 'Bleeding Heart' by Amber Stokes, which I just ordered, and I've been trying to find Elisabeth Elliott book, 'Through Gates of Splendor' at the library, but haven't had any luck yet.



5. Do you have a favorite snack while reading?


I don't usually like eating when I read, especially if its a brand new book. I don't like food stains on my pretty books!

6. What's one of your biggest book pet peeves?

I'd have to say when an author repeats themselves throughout the book. Especially in a book series. I hate reading the first 4 chapters of a second book which just recaps the last book in the series. I already read book one! ; )




Nominated Blogs:

Growing in His Glory
Reading List
Stuff and Nonsense
i blog for books
Burton Book Review
Dogfur and Dandelions
Impressions in Ink
Returning to Eden
the power of words...
Seasons of Humility

Here are my ten questions:

1.   What's the last book you thoroughly enjoyed start to finish?
2.   Are you outgoing or reserved?
3.   What is your favorite meal?
4.   Which blogger has been your biggest inspiration?
5.   Who is your all time favorite character in a book?
6.   Who do you look up too the most and why?
7.   Do you prefer driving or flying?
8.   What are you listening too on your ipod or cd player?
9.   If you could choose any person in the world to spend the day with, who would it be?
10. Do you prefer reading fiction or non-fiction? Why?

If I've nominated your blog, don't feel pressured to participate. But if you do, have fun! I look forward to your answers. : )

September 9, 2013

True Prayer

Have you ever been in a group of people or at church and someone gets up to pray and they go on and on and you get the feeling they just like the sound of their own voice? Then someone else gets up and prays for 30 seconds and their genuine, fumbled prayer moves you?


Charles Spurgeon says of the latter..."This is real prayer. I prefer three minutes of prayer like that to thirty minutes of the other sort, because the one is praying and the other is attempting to preach."

He goes on to quote an old preacher:

"Remember, the Lord will not hear you because of the arithmetic of your prayers, counting their numbers. He will not hear you because of the rhetoric of your prayers, caring for the eloquent language in which they are conveyed. He will not listen because of the geometry of your prayers, computing them by their length or breadth. He will not regard you because of the music of your prayers, caring for sweet voices or for harmony. Neither will He look at you because of the logic of your prayers, because they are well arranged and excellently divided. 

...But He will hear you, and He will measure the amount of the blessings He will give you, according to the divinity of your prayers. If you can plead the person of Christ, and if the Holy Ghost inspires you with zeal and earnestness, the blessings that you shall ask, shall surely come to you."

Prayer from your heart, no matter what it sounds like, when inspired by the Holy Spirit is what God desires to hear from us.

Jesus said:  

"And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" 

 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 

 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 

The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'  

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."  Luke 18:7-14


Note:  All quotes from Charles Spurgeon's book, The Power of Prayer in a Believer's Life.



















































































































September 6, 2013

if

my interest in the work of others is
        cool;
if I think in terms of my own special
       work;
if the burdens of others are not my
       burdens too, and their joys
       mine,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                      Amy Carmichael

September 5, 2013

A letter to my childhood self...

It's blog month at Compassion International and I'm happy to be a part of it again. This September we are hoping to have 3,160 children sponsored around the world.

                                               Join Me for Blog Month

My first assignment as a Compassion blogger is to write a letter to my childhood self. I'm a little nervous about this, but I'll try to be honest.

Dear childhood Cathy,

You often sit alone at lunch break and ponder. Others mock you and tell you your weird, your too quiet, your ugly, your stupid. You don't know how to stand up for yourself, so you just sit under that large oak tree and ponder. You know God loves you, but no one at school is showing you.

I want to tell you, that you are special, you are unique and loved. I'll play with you at recess and laugh with you and have fun. I'll try to bring out the gifts God has given you. Your quiet spirit, your deep sympathy, your loyalty. I won't make fun of those qualities, but try and help you embrace them. 

I will talk to you about your identity. That Jesus is all you need and hope that you believe it in your deepest heart. I know you are just starting to believe that now, as an adult. Your teens will get better and you'll grow as an adult, but when you hit your 40's you will have trials that will show you God is all you need. He is the one who will be there for you, trust Him.

There are children all over the world who need to be encouraged and shown the love of God. Will you think about sponsoring one of them? Speaking into their lives and helping them with the essentials of life?

                           Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion


September 3, 2013

Escape from Camp 14

"Perhaps the scale of the atrocity numbs moral outrage."  
                                                                 The Economist Magazine




The scale of horrific abuse, brainwashing, rape, and torture going on in North Korean camps right now is so hard for us in the western world to comprehend.

After reading this book I felt so helpless. Is there anything I can do to make any kind of difference?

I can pray and I can tell you about it, so you can pray too. So here goes...

I've heard and read stories of people who lived in concentration camps, brought there by war, but never a story by someone who was born and raised in one.

Shin In Geun was born in Camp 14. A labor (prison) camp in North Korea. 

He shares his unbelievable story with author Blaine Harden, a story which was difficult to read.

The first sentence is horrifying on its own:

"His first memory is an execution."...Shin was 4 years old.

In these camps, from a young age, children are taught they must work hard to wash away the sins of their parents. The 10 laws of camp 14 are drilled into them.

Laws like:

-Do not try to escape. Anyone caught escaping will be shot immediately.

-Guards must be obeyed unconditionally. Anyone who harbors ill will toward or physically assaults a guard will be shot immediately.

-Anyone who sees a fugitive or suspicious figure must promptly report him. Anyone who provides cover for or protects a fugitive will be shot immediately.

Prisoners are taught to snitch, at all times. If they know something and don't report it and are found out, they will be shoot immediately. This fear is instilled in the children of camp 14.

This fear causes prisoners, especially children, to do unthinkable things to survive. Shin is still dealing with things he did and the guilt that floods him.

Shin said:

"...if outsiders could understand what political prison camps have done - and are doing - to children born inside the fence, it would redeem his lie and his life."

Also:

"...how the camp had warped his character."

The prisoners also have to deal with starvation on a daily basis. Many punishments involve the withdrawal of food, sometimes for weeks. A few kernels of corn were found on one little girl and the teacher beat her to death in front of Shin's class.

Even sadder is that these children feel nothing. They live in constant fear and are brainwashed that anyone punished deserves it.

Shin says of his state now:

"I am evolving from being an animal. But it is going very, very slowly. Sometimes I try to cry and laugh like other people, just to see if it feels like anything. Yet tears don't come. Laughter doesn't come."

And later he says:

"I did not know about sympathy or sadness. They educated us from birth so that we were not capable of normal human emotions. Now that I am out, I am learning to be emotional. I have learned to cry. I feel like I am becoming human."

He continues with making it clear he has a long way to go:

"I escaped physically, I haven't escaped psychologically."

I don't know where Shin is in his relationship with God. There is only one paragraph near the end of the book that refers to his beliefs:

"In California, Shin began giving God all the credit for his escape from Camp 14 and for his good fortune in finding a way out of North Korea and China. His emerging Christian faith, though did not square with the time line of his life. He did not hear about God until it was too late for his mother, his brother, and Park. He doubts too that God had protected his father from the vengeance of guards."

This quote would have me think he is struggling with his faith, a faith and a God he had never heard of growing up. A faith that struggles with the whys.  But after reading his story I could see how God was working throughout Shin's life. There were times I had to put the book down and just say, wow, God, You really were there.

-I could see God in the old mans hands who nursed Shin's back after he was held over a fire.

-I could see God when not one guard saw him escape.

-I could see God in providing a warm coat.

-I could see God in the people Shin meets after his escape.

-and I could see God loving Shin through people, who loved Him.

Shin says of his life now, that:

"He cannot enjoy his life when there are people suffering in the camps. He sees happiness as selfishness."

And the book ends with this:

"He said he would never stop talking about what happened to him inside Camp 14 until North Korean gulag was shut down and all its prisoners were set free."

Shin continues to speak to groups about his experiences and sheds light on whats going on in North Korean camps.

Please pray.




Buy it HERE on Amazon




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