Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Weekend of Worship at Allume 2013

Have you ever had an expectation of something and then your world was rocked when the expectation was met and replaced by the extravagant?

Ministries represented
That's what Allume was for me this past weekend.

Allume is a blogging conference, held in Greenville, South Carolina. This was the inaugural year for Greenville and I would say it was a success based on the smiles and comments of the 450 women who attended. I had the privilege of going with a dear friend and we were blown away by the experience.

My roomie and friend, Jerijo
Christian blogging has morphed into this community of writers with the purpose of intentional ministry of touching lives around the world, not only with words, but with their very lives.

Women writers in particular, have traveled with organizations such as Compassion International to third world countries where they've been compelled to begin ministries to meet needs in the most hurting parts of our world.

We were given opportunities during the conference to work on mission projects, not only with our hands, but with our hearts. More specifically, we were given tools and links to inform and educate through our blogs. We were challenged to be lights in a dark world, to use our voices for those who can't speak for themselves ... the hungry, the ones who are enslaved in human trafficking, the orphans, the widows and the homeless. The list is numerous because as time goes on, we become a people who are needier, and it would seem, more hopeless.

But, the good news is, we have a bigger God. He is not taken by surprise. He knows every need ... every child ... every person enslaved ... every hungry stomach needing to be filled, and He is calling us to make a difference.

Reuniting with sweet friend Robin
Every person reading my blog, especially if you live in the United States of America, has access to charities and ministries that can make a difference. Get involved in your community and do something. There's a hungry child waiting somewhere for you ... an abused child waiting for you to get involved ... a homeless child longing for a place to lay her head ... will you be the one to give her hope?

In the upcoming weeks and months I'll be writing about some of the ministries I learned about this past weekend. One of those ministries is The Exodus Road, founded by a young couple who moved to Calcutta, India with their two children. You can go to this website, for more information. On a future post, I'll put up a link of an actual rescue video. As they provide me with information, I'll pass it along to keep you informed with ways you can help them save lives. There are success stories that need to be told.

It's exciting to know God is working through ordinary men and women to accomplish His purposes around the world. It just takes a willing heart.

My little corner of the world has always been mission minded but after this weekend, it got a little bigger. I pray yours will too!

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Prodigal Returns...The Rest of the Story

A few weeks ago I told you a story about how my cat, Bucky Boy, came to be a member of my family. Well, what I didn't tell you was there was more to the story. Can we say drama?!!

It all began when my cat Bonnie disappeared...

After about three weeks of life with my new kittens, (and did I mention we also had a chocolate lab named Abbie?) I was at our surveying office one Thursday morning doing payroll. My husband gets a phone call and leaves abruptly, not even explaining where he's going. An hour or more passes and he sticks his head in the front door and asks me to come out on the porch. He says there's someone who wants to see me. When I walk out onto the porch, the first thing I see is a skinny, frightened, black cat, that is, no doubt, my Bonnie.

Tears of joy and happiness begin to flow unashamedly. She is covered in filth and the odor is almost more than I can bear, but it's my sweet Bonnie and at that moment, it doesn't matter. I hold her close to me while my tears soak into her fur. She is terrified though and as much I know she is happy to see me, the past three weeks have taken their toll. Her little body is shaking and as she tries pulling away from me, I want her to understand she's safe now.

My prodigal had returned dirty, scared and hungry. I didn't scold her for being gone. I lavished all the love I had to give on her. I whispered sweet words in her ears of how much she was missed. I gave her the best food I could buy filled with nutrients to put meat back on her bones. After I'd regained her trust, I washed away the filth of her wandering ways. She couldn't do it herself, there were places she couldn't reach. It took awhile for the sparkle to return in her eyes and she eventually learned to trust again.

Yes, she was just a cat but isn't that the picture the Bible paints of a loving God ... a God who runs to meet His wayward child. He doesn't care what we've done, how bad we smell from the stench of the world. He just wants to lavish His great love on us. He can cleanse us from the inside out ... reach those places of hurt and pain that we could never reach in our humanity.  He wants to feed us with the Bread of Life so we'll never be hungry for anything this world has to offer. He will clothe us with His righteousness for we are royalty when we belong to Him. He longs to embrace us and whisper His great love for us ... His unfailing love.

Do you have a prodigal in your family? Maybe they desperately want to come home but need to know they will be welcomed with open arms, no questions asked. Show them the love of Christ. They could be trapped in a situation beyond their control and can't make it home. God still answers prayers. Don't give up on your prodigal. As long as they're on this side of heaven, hope is alive.

Maybe you are the prodigal and need courage to go home. I've been a prodigal and can tell you there is nothing like being wrapped in the embrace of a loving God. He will welcome you home and never leave you. Your family will probably do the same.

My prodigal was happy to be home ... not so happy about the newest family members. And where had she been for three weeks? She'd been trapped under our neighbors house. The call my husband received was from the neighbor. You never know what a day will bring.

"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, 
his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him;
he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."
Luke 15:20 NIV

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fun In The Son...Beach Reflections

We often think of the beach as a place of sunshine, laughter and warmth. And while all those things are true, sometimes, it's a place of reflection and quiet ... a place of solitude.

I've had one of those kinds of respites recently. The first part of my week I was totally alone ... except for  the One above who loves me unconditionally. I spent my days deep in His Word, hungry for Him to feed me, to fill me with Himself.

I needed Him to chase away the demons of doubt, fear and discouragement that would seek to devour me. And He was there. He carried me to the foot of the cross and reminded me of His nearness, of His very Presence.

I'm so thankful for the time of finding Him ... of hearing His voice.

He will meet you wherever you are in your deepest need. You don't even have to go anywhere to find Him, He's a breath away. Just whisper His name ... Jesus. He longs to hear His creation cry out. If we don't do it, the Bible says the rocks will cry out.

The end of my week was different than when it began. As His words and His Presence began to fill my heart, my countenance lifted. My husband arrived and then later in the week, old and dear friends came to visit as well.

I needed the time for writing, reflection and study. I needed to hear Him speak and sometimes God can only do that when He has us all to Himself. How does He speak to You? Do you allow Him uninterrupted time to be alone with you?

My encouragement to you would be to give Him access, even if it's only a few minutes a day. It's a beginning. He is so worthy of your sacrifice of time and effort. He will multiply your minutes and give you peace in your place of deepest need.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16 NIV

If Jesus Himself needed to withdraw to a quiet place to seek His Father, how much more do we, His children, need to seek Him from a place of stillness?

Don't be afraid of solitude, it can be your best friend in the midst of life's trials. Allow it to lead you to the One who can still your soul and bring peace to calm the storm.

Blessings from My Little Corner,