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Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

James 1:9-12

This passage seems confusing when you first read it. James seems to be encouraging the humble to be proud and telling the rich to be proud because they are humiliated…….

I read several commentary notes this morning, and I want to try and briefly share what I learned.

First, if you find yourself struggling financially today but are confident in your faith, rejoice and GLORY in the fact that when this world ends you are an heir to the throne of God!! This life is fleeting, so no matter what conditions you may live under at this moment, you are PROMISED the riches of Heaven!! The poor may be tempted to long for riches on this earth and may even become obsessed with gaining more, but if they remember that God has prepared for them a mansion in Heaven maybe they will step back and relax, being thankful for the promises of the Bible and knowing that in the end………they are enough.

Second, if you find yourself in a place of financial peace or prosperity this morning, remember that everything you own, everything you’ve worked hard for, will one day pass away. It is easy to work and work and work to have more, but truly the only wealth that matters is the treasures stored up in Heaven.

I love this quote I read this morning,

“When the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.”

Because of this truth, humble yourself and remember that your true riches are in Christ and because of this knowledge share what you have with those who are struggling…..

On a personal level, I feel rich this morning. Not that we have no financial pressures or that we own a fancy house and fancy cars…………..

But we have a roof over our head, food in our pantry and frig, and blankets to keep us warm.

Many in this world do not.

Because of this knowledge, I am humbled this morning. How am I sharing with the struggling? Am I thankful as I look around my house? Do I live a life of selflessness when it comes to my money?

I love that no matter which side of the financial world we find ourselves on, God reminds us that our glory should be in Him and in Him alone.

No need to worry.

No need to boast.

Just lean back and trust……………………..in His love and His promises!


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No Room For Doubt……..

September 29th, 2011

 

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:5-8

If you have read my blog long enough, you know that I have struggled with lots and lots of things in my life…..

doubt, insecurity, stress, grief, and the list goes on and on and on…..

As I read verses like the ones above, I am reminded that in this walk with Jesus there is

NO ROOM FOR DOUBT!

When we reach places in life were we feel as if we are being tossed around in the sea by crashing waves, we need to step back and reexamine the depth of our faith.

I know that we will have moments of doubt in life.

This life is tough.

But let’s don’t stay in that state of instability…there is no peace in a life where we are blown and tossed around by every passing wind.

Plant your feet on the Rock.

Brace yourself for the storms.

Hold on tight.

And boldly ask for wisdom.

He promises to answer that prayer when our confidence is in Him and Him alone!

And not just give us wisdom but GENEROUSLY give us wisdom!

Praying for you as I head to school!

 

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Want to be complete??????

September 28th, 2011

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

Mature.

Complete.

Not lacking anything.

These words and phrases all sound so attractive until we read what it takes to reach them…..

Trials of many kinds.

Testing of our faith.

Perseverance finishing its work.

Today, as you face difficult moments remember this:

You are on a journey away from immaturity and incompleteness.

Allow God to lead down winding, uncertain roads…

so that you can reach the end in wholeness and maturity!

Praying for you today,

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But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

I Thess. 5:8

Does your heart ever get hurt by people’s words or actions?

Do you ever find your mind filled with worry or doubt?

I love that God offers protection for both our heart and our mind.

Faith, Hope, and Love……

We need them all, don’t we?

Today, remember all the ways God has been there for you in the past even in the toughest times (we’re not promised an easy road just a road we don’t have to walk alone).  When you remember these moments, your faith will grow.

Think of your love for the people you hold dearest in your heart then multiply that love times a billion several times and you will have a fraction of the love God has for you…..

Put both this faith and this love in front of you as you face the world………..

Let them protect you.  You are not alone.

I love Psalm 18:2829

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
   my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
   with my God I can scale a wall.

Picture yourself advancing with your heart protected by faith and love. I love this image!

Then figuratively slip on your helmet, the Hope of your salvation!

How can my mind wander when my every thought is wrapped securely in His Hope!

The slogan for the high school I teach at is this,

“It has to be a new day….”

 

Friends, God has the same slogan!

“His mercy is new every morning!!”

 

We belong to the day………..this new day!

 

Protect yourself with faith, hope, and love!

In Christ, “IT HAS TO BE A NEW DAY!!!!!!!”

 

Praying for you as I get ready for my new day!

 

 

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A Winner!! And Another Give-Away!!

September 26th, 2011

 

The winner of Renee Swope’s book, A Confident Heart, is……..

Holly Hannum!!

I am always so excited to announce the winner, but I wish I had enough copies of the book to send you each one! You know I would if I could!

Holly, please send me your mailing address when you can. Congratulations! I hope this book helps you live with the confidence that comes from knowing without a doubt that you are a daughter of the King!

I pray that all of you are learning to walk with this kind of confidence as you draw closer to Him every day!

I thought that since I wasn’t able to give everyone a copy of Renee’s book, it would be a great time to give away another book!

When I think of the pain and loss that has consumed so many years of my life, knowing that God is going to use it to help others strengthens me deep inside..

I’ve clung to (and still do) the verse that says that those “who sow in tears will reap songs of joy!”

I’ve told God so many times as I have cried that I will keep sowing for Him because of this promise and because I love Him and trust Him even when I do not understand His ways.

When I arrived home from school on Thursday, I found a box on my kitchen table!

In the box I found my writer’s copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul Stories for Tough Times!

(I have a devotional in this edition.)

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Please leave a comment below to be entered in this week’s drawing for

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories for Tough Times.

A winner will be announced next Sunday evening!! Smile

I love you all and pray that God will give you songs of joy even as you sow in tears,

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As many of you know, Evan headed out to California about a week and a half ago.

He is living with the son of one our friends who teaches at Kentucky Christian University with my husband until he finds his own place.
After praying, I felt compelled tonight to reach out to my California readers with a request.
Evan finds out Wednesday about a job interview he had last week at a gym. We are praying this works out, and Evan is able to have a regular income. If it does, he is looking for a place to rent for the next 6 months or so until he figures out the next chapter in this journey.
His dream is to work full-time using his exercise science degree as a fitness trainer and at the same time take acting classes in the evenings. He is a hard-working, sweet, considerate young man.
While this is not a normal blog post for me, I couldn’t move on to grading papers until I asked…..
Does ANYONE know of ANYONE who is interested in renting a room, a basement, ANYTHING to Evan? We would love to know that he is in a safe place, and tonight when I got on my blog the stars on my visitor map were in a perfect line over the state of California and I just felt like God was saying, “Ask your readers!”
So I am.
I will post the winner of my give-away of Renee’s book in just a little bit, but for now, if you have any ideas for Evan please email me at tammynischan@yahoo.com.
God bless you all,
Tammy
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It’s another rainy morning here in Kentucky.

As I walked into school, my wet shoes were making a squeaky sound as I moved across the tile floor.

Sometimes when our feet our slipping, everyone around us knows.

They can hear the slipping sound.

They can see the look of concentration in our eyes as we try to walk without falling.

I know some of you have squeaky shoes right now.

Your feet are slipping.

You feel unsteady.

I know because we’re friends and family.
I know because I love you, and I can hear the words you say to me.

I can see the look in your eyes.

Some of you I have never had the pleasure of meeting…..yet. 🙂

But your feet may be slipping too. You may feel a little squeaky.

I just want to encourage all of you with these words.

God is with you on the wet sidewalks of life.

He’s with you on the wet roads.

His unfailing love will keep you from falling.

Just lean back in His arms and let Him hold you up.

Rest in His love today.

There is no greater love than this: God gave up His Son for you………….

Stand firm today….even if your shoes are squeaking.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,”

your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.

When anxiety was great within me,

your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 94:18-19

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What trust means to me…..

September 22nd, 2011

 

I woke up this morning with those deep breaths of anxiety.

Trying to mutter my first words of morning,

“I rise before dawn and cry for help.  My Hope comes from Your Word.”

Those are the words I cling to and have clung to ever since Nick died…….My Hope comes from Your Word…

It’s true.

Without His Word, I don’t know where I’d be.

His Word fills me.

His Word strengthens me.

His Word sustains me.

His Word comforts me.

His Word corrects me.

His Word challenges me.

His Word breathes into me.

His Word breathes out of me.

His Word reminds me……

It reminds me that

I’m His.

I’m forgiven.

I’m loved.

I’m redeemed.

I’m safe.

I’m covered.

I’m never alone.

I’m surrounded.

Yes, I put my trust in His Word daily.

So, why do I wake up with deep breaths?

Why do I wake up thinking that I can’t do everything that is waiting for me today?

An all day teacher’s meeting followed by an after-school meeting followed by Open House……then getting ready for tomorrow night’s women’s retreat…..and Erich and Mallory coming to visit this weekend and one of my dearest friend’s daughter’s wedding this weekend….an hour and a half away….and 5K details that have to be taken care of……and Olivia’s ball games and 8th grade night………and Evan waiting to hear about a job interview in California….and..and..and….

Then I remember His Word.

I remember a verse I memorized while Nick was facing cancer and almost monthly MRIs.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise-
in God I trust and am not afraid.
   What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56: 3-4

And I smile.

I smile because I know that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on this planet that can separate me from God’s love.

There is NOTHING that can hurt me.

I just have to check things off the best I can and trust in Him.

Trust in Him.

Trust in Him.

Trust in Him.

That’s what I’m doing this morning as I want to type more but Olivia is needing help in the kitchen…

I’m going to help her just like God longs to help me and you.

Because she called for me, I go.

When we cry out to God, He comes…

and He is all we need.

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Last night several women joined me to help make the posters and clouds for the memory walk which will take place a week from Saturday in our small town in Kentucky. 

Clouds will line the route, bearing names of those we love who are “surrounding” us from above.  My dream is for this race to remind people that even though we have had to say “bye” temporarily to many whom we love, they are still with us in a powerful way…

cheering us on!!

I am so thankful the BIble includes Hebrews 12:1-2,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,

and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

This walk/run is being hosted by Nick’s Foundation and will provide help in purchasing memory box supplies.  A portion of the proceeds will also be going to diabetes research in memory of a sweet girl named Snowy Hall who was killed in  a car accident two years ago.  Funds will also be shared with a family in our town whose daughter is facing multiple surgeries in the near future.5k memories 002

 

 

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I’m thankful for so many  who want to be involved in this event!5k memories 008

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The only direction that matters!!!  UP!!!!

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I hope your day is filled with moments where you are reminded in special ways that your loved ones are surrounding you!

Knowing I am being cheered on by not only Moses, Abraham, Joshua, and so many Bible characters but also Nick, Adrienne, and so many more I love and miss keeps me pressing on to the finish line!!

Press on today!!

I love you,

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GIVE-AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 20th, 2011

 

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Doubt and insecurity………..

These are just a couple of things I have wrestled with in my life as a young girl, daughter, college student, wife, mom, friend, and teacher.

Renee Swope, author of A Confident Heart and dear friend of mine, would say the same thing to you about her life if she were writing this blog post.

I think that’s why I loved her book so much! She made me realize I am normal! As I read each chapter of her book and highlighted Scriptures and spiritual truths, I was reminded that I am not alone in my highs and lows. I realized very quickly that living in this world qualifies each of us for episodes of second-guessing ourselves.

Riding to the airport with Renee late this summer, I got so tickled as I realized that (even as an author) Renee drives a mini-van which is happily overflowing with kid’s toys, sandwich wrappers, and other reminders that her life is made up of more than moments of speaking at women’s events and writing books! More important things!

She does not lose her confidence in the midst of the ordinary, though, and continues to humbly walk a life much like yours and mine.

Throughout her book, A Confident Heart, Renee talks about what we should do when doubt whispers haunting words like,

“I’m not good enough!”

“I’m such a failure!”

“I don’t have anything special to offer.”

“I can’t stop worrying.”

“I can’t follow God consistently.”

As I have faced a new full-time job this year, a son heading to college, a son moving across the United States to live 34 hours away from home, a daughter going through all sorts of things in middle school, and the list goes on an on, I have referred back to Renee’s book many times for reminders that God is with me. When I remember Renee’s story about learning to stop living in the shadow of doubt, I am able to live life in the light of God’s promises and I am able to walk confidently!

If you want to learn more about Renee and her book, please visit her webiste by clicking on the word blog! She would love to hear from you!!! You can also meet Renee on Facebook!

You can order her book from Amazon by clicking here.

I have one copy of her book that I want to share!

Please post a comment (even if it’s just a “hello!”) by Sunday evening at 7 p.m., and you will be entered for the drawing!

Thank you for sharing life with me!

In His Grip,