Swift & Sure

Renee Ann Smith —  November 17, 2014 — 13 Comments

snow God's promises paslm 147(Click to Tweet)

He launches His promises earthward.
How swift & sure they come!
He spreads snow like a fleece.
~Psalm 147:15&16~

Silently, like thoughts that come & go,
The snowflakes fall,
Each one a gem.
~William H. Gibson~

When snow falls,
Nature listens.
~Antoinette van Kleeff~

I just had to snap an iPhone pic of our first snow! I love this verse that makes me imagine God’s promises falling to earth as swiftly & surely as those lovely flakes.

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I snapped this iPhone pic on my way to work Friday. I love how it captures our first snow here in upstate New York. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

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Never Let Go

Renee Ann Smith —  November 10, 2014 — 18 Comments

As a high school English teacher, I love figurative language, imagery, metaphors . . .

Any word pictures that open my eyes to see a truth in a new way and help me move beyond head knowledge to heart knowing.

Here’s one of my favorites from Hebrews 6: 19&20 . . .
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us.”

I learned from the book One Minute After You Die by Irwin Lutzer that
“In ancient times, the forerunner was a sailor who helped a vessel enter the harbor safely.
He would jump from the ship, wade to land, and fasten the strong rope of the ship to a rock along the shore. Then, he’d use a winch to bring the ship in.”

So death is like a sailing ship being anchored to shore by a trustworthy forerunner.

Isn’t that a beautiful picture? I can just imagine it . . .

Those 1st century sailors, fearing for their lives on a storm-tossed sea. Their ship nears a harbor.

They choose their strongest man and send him over the side.

Trembling, they watch and fear and pray as their man battles the waves.

Finally, he reaches shallow water and steps out on dry land. He finds the surest rock and ties off the ship.

The sailors rejoice.

Because though they remain at sea—buffeted by winds and waves for a time—they know their salvation is sure.

Their forerunner has made it safely to the other side.

And so will they.

And very soon they’ll be with him on shore. Safe. Secure. Victims of life’s storms no more.

I love how verse 19 sounds in The Message: “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.”

Never Let Go Ultimate Christian Living Bundle

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May we encourage each other to place our hands in His, never look back & never let go!

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of the beach in Destin, Florida, taken during last year’s Deep Thinker’s Writing Retreat. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

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To Be Known

Renee Ann Smith —  November 6, 2014 — 9 Comments

Ultimate Christian Living Bundle(Click to Tweet)

“To be known through & through—including the failures of her past—and still be loved, that’s the Promised Land of a woman’s heart.”
~Tessa Afshar, Pearl in the Sand~

Pearl-in-the-Sand-198x300Pearl in the Sand was the first book I read by Tessa Afshar. (She’s since gone on to publish three others.) I love how this novel sparks my imagination & brings the story of Rahab vividly to life. You can read my full review of Tessa’s novel at this link.

Here are a few more of my favorite quotes from the book . . .

“We long for things that harm us & run from the things that grow & heal us. We think good is bad and bad is good. God acts rightly, but to us, it seems confusing. Or sometimes plain wrong.”

“It’s time to leave fear behind or you’ll be robbed of your destiny. You don’t need confidence in yourselves or in your own power. Be strong in the Lord. When disaster seems close, don’t be discouraged. God will never leave you.”

 

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic with an image from my account at RGB Stock Photos. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world

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No Ordinary People

Renee Ann Smith —  November 5, 2014 — 2 Comments

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“There are no ordinary people. It’s immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry snub & exploit.” ~C. S. Lewis~

Irwin Lutzer highlights this quote in the Christian classic One Minute After You Die. In spite of the ominous sounding title, Lutzer’s little book is one that made me understand, love & long for Heaven. 

You can read my full review of this book here. 

 

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic with an image from my account at RGB Stock Photos. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world! Continue Reading…

When I was offered the opportunity to become an affiliate for the Ultimate Christian Living Bundle, I jumped at the chance!

Why?

Three reasons . . .

1. Books
2. Books
3. And More Books!


What’s a Bundle? 75 ebooks plus ecourses, audio files and bonus gifts—a bundle of resources (nearly $1,000 worth!)—in one place for one great price of just $34.95 (PDF version) or $39.95 (eReader version), FOR 5 DAYS ONLY.

What I like best about it . . . Quality books by classic authors.
These 22 books alone by authors I know & love would make the bundle worth it  . . .

  1. Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray
  2. All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon
  3. Answers to Prayer by George Mueller
  4. Fellowship of the Burning Heart by A. W. Tozer
  5. Names of God by Nathan Stone
  6. Power, Passion & Prayer by Charles G. Finney
  7. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards
  8. The Classic Collection on Prayer by E. M. Bounds
  9. The Holy Spirit & Power by John Wesley
  10. The Incomparable Christ by J. Oswald Sanders
  11. The Overcoming Life by D. L. Moody
  12. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  13. Extraordinary Grace by Gary Chapman & Chris Fabry
  14. One Kingdom Under God by Dr. Tony Evans
  15. One Minute After You Die by Erwin W. Lutzer
  16. Mornings with Tozer by A. W. Tozer
  17. The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
  18. Pearls in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
  19. The Turning by Davis Bunn
  20. Financial Parenting by Larry Burkett
  21. How to Know God Exists by Ray Comfort
  22. The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort

A few stand outs . . .

one-minute-3-229x300One Minute After You Die by Irwin Lutzer is one of the 5 books that made me understand, love, long for Heaven. It’s a keeper & here it is in the middle of the Bundle! You can read my review at this link.

Pearl in the Sand is award-winning author Tessa Afshar’s first novel.I love how this book beautifully portrays the story of Rahab. You can read my review here.

Answers to Prayer by George Mueller is the testimony of a godly man who entrusted himself & all he loved to God’s care. Each time I read his account of how he approached daily life, I’m inspired to bathe my days in prayer & cast worry aside.

Right now my Bible study is working through a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss & I can’t wait to read her devotional book—which is part of this Bundle.

Plus, Tozer & Spurgeon & Moody . . . not to mention the new authors & teachers whose books are included.

Here’s a great quote from Gary Chapman’s book  . . .

Bundle 4

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“Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different.” ~Gary Chapman~

The Christian Living Bundle is basically a whole library of books that will build my faith & help me grow in Christ. What’s not to like?

If you’re interested, what should you do next?  

Continue Reading…

I decided the best way to start the week off was with wise words from Oswald Chambers & a graphic for you to share . . .

“A saint’s life in the hands of God is like a bow & arrow in the hands of an archer.

God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, ‘I can’t take any more.

Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly.

Entrust yourself to God’s hands.

Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.’

Holy Love Oswald Chambers(Click to Tweet)

Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though we cannot see Him right now & cannot understand what He is doing, we know Him.

Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering.

If we will take this view, life will become one great romance— a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.”

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic with an image from my account at RGB Stock Photos. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world!

 

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When My Skin Sags

Renee Ann Smith —  October 29, 2014 — 25 Comments

God is faithful

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How long is God faithful in my life? From before I was in my mother’s womb,
when He planned & knew me, through all my days—both terrible & beautiful—
and even unto old age, when He tenderly carries me—through fear & death—
across life’s finish line & beyond, to His home everlasting.
Amen.

“I’m still in your presence,
But you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me,
And then you bless me.

You’re all I want in heaven!
You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
God is rock-firm and faithful.

Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God—
Oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.

God, I’m telling the world what you do!”

~Psalm 73:23-28, The Message~

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I love this iPhone pic of my sweet mom. looking through her jewelry box & reminiscing. A few months later, she’d left us to go with God. I miss her!

Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking & editing. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world!

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To Strengthen Your Heart

Renee Ann Smith —  October 27, 2014 — 7 Comments

I spotted her alone at a lunch table, a thin girl with long dark hair and wary eyes. She was new. In fact, she’d been at our school less than a week.

So I decided to make her my lunch buddy. “May I sit here?”

She nodded reluctantly and hid her face behind her hair.

I couldn’t blame her. What sixteen-year-old likes to eat lunch with her English teacher? But I couldn’t let her sit alone. Though she had successfully rebuffed every offer of friendship and driven every student away, I wasn’t so easy to get rid of.

Eventually, she talked. I discovered that at her old school, she had no friends, participated in nothing, and couldn’t wait to go back to that.

She didn’t know us. She didn’t trust us. She had no desire to be part of us.

But still I sat with her every day that she was with us. I missed her when she was gone. And even now I pray that some kernel of Truth made it past her wall to impact her heart for Christ.

Though I never learned many details about her background and who may have hurt her, I could relate to her reticence and closely guarded heart. That’s my default mode, as well.

Discussing favorite books and bargain shopping and cookie recipes is easy.

Opening up to be fully known is hard.

That’s why I’m always amazed by the Samaritan woman’s story. (Read it here.) Yes, it’s beautiful the way Jesus took time for her and reached out to her when no one else would.

But when he told her all the secret & terrible things about herself that she couldn’t possibly have wanted any new acquaintance to discover—not so much.

If I were in her sandals, I would’ve been long gone. But not that brave lady. She ran to find everyone who would speak to her & said, “Come see a man who told me all the things that I have done. This is not the Christ, is it?”

From the first moments of her first encounter with Him, she understood that she didn’t need to guard her heart—she could trust it to Jesus.

I love that about her.

Sometimes it takes me way too long to open up to Jesus and trust Him. I shy away from His knowing & allow my heart to grow hard & cold or weak & sickly.

Yet He doesn’t force His way. He stands knocking, patiently waiting for me to open my heart’s door.

Are you ever like me? Guarding your heart from the only One who can strengthen & heal it?

If so, here are some verses to help with your heart health:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6&7

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” ~Philippians 4:6&7, The Message~

Heart Healthy (Click to Tweet)

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” ~I John 3:19&20~

“For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.” ~I John 3:20, The Message~

God is great Heart Healthy(Click to Tweet)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~John 14:27~

“I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” ~John 14:26&27, The Message~

“Open up before God, keep nothing back; He’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.” ~Psalm 34:3&4, The Message~

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.” ~Proverbs 3:5, The Message~

Trust God Heart Healthy(Click to Tweet)

“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.” ~Psalm 34:18, The Message~

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made these graphics by piecing together images from my account at RGB Stock Photos. Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for editing them. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world! Continue Reading…