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When I read the following passage in my study,

I had to circle it.

It jumped out at me in an extremely humbling way.

 

“Even though Moses was an exile in the desert, he was right on God’s schedule, right in the fullness of God’s timing, right in the middle of God’s will. 

At the time God was about to deliver the children of Israel, the important factor was not what the will of god was for Moses. 

The important factor was the will of God for Israel.”

Have you ever been in a painful situation and wondered what in the world God was up to in your life?

I sure have.

Have you ever felt as if God has sort-of abandoned you at a time when you need Him desperately,

leaving you in what feels like a spiritual desert?

Me too.

What if we could somehow transform our thinking to a God-perspective outlook on life and begin seeing even our “desert days” as opportunities to hear God’s voice and join Him in something bigger than ourselves?

What if we looked at every moment in our life as a “royal invitation” to join the King at work?

If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to believe there is something bigger and more powerful going on around us than simply what we are doing with our little human hands.

I sure hope so anyway.

If not, we are all struggling humans trying to pull off some sort-of huge story  all by ourselves, and I’m just thinking that even as a united force we could never do what the Creator of this Universe has done throughout the ages.

I learned firsthand last night about God’s never-ending work in the world around me when

I experienced His pre-arrival at a fashion show Olivia and I attended with a childhood friend of mine.

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I haven’t really talked about what has been going on in our personal lives much lately, but I have to tell you briefly about last night.

Olivia recently interviewed and signed with a modeling agency in Louisville, Kentucky, to do some work in advertising.

Because of this, she was invited to work backstage at the Kentucky Derby Festival Spring Fashion Show yesterday.

I keep thinking of Esther and how God used her beauty to save the Jews,

and that has been my prayer for Olivia……..

That God will somehow use her to reach a whole new world with His love.

 

When we arrived and met a few of the other moms,

I heard one of the moms tell another model who was walking by,

 

“I’m praying for you.  You did great last night!”

 

Then later as the moms were sharing about how sweet this particular group of girls is, a mom said,

“They have God in their hearts.”

 

 

As I sat with my friend Lee and waited for the show to begin,

we had a conversation with the couple sitting next to us in which we were all sharing about our children.

Somehow Nick came up in the conversation and I was showing them the back of my phone with my Nick sticker.

When I shared about Nick, the gentleman next to me said,

“He’s here with Olivia.  There is a just a thin veil separating us.”

He went on to share of his father’s death a few years ago and wiped tears as he told a beautiful story of how God brought Him peace just months after losing him.

 

Lee and I sat in amazement at this whole conversation, because we had just been talking in the lobby about the thin veil between us and Heaven and how God is always working to draw us closer to Him.

We had even talked about the cloud of witnesses and how Nick is right here, cheering us on, along with Abraham and Moses.

 

My prayer has been that God would allow us to take His love into the modeling world,

but last night I was humbled to learn that He is already there.

 

We are simply joining Him in His work.

 

I know everything won’t be easy or perfect,

but God made it very clear last night that we are not alone in this new world with new people. 

He is with us every step of the way.

 

Today, I want to join Him where He’s working in the world around me here in Grayson.

 

If it wasn’t about Moses,

it’s definitely not about me or Olivia.

 

Maybe you’ll feel relieved to hear that it’s not about you either.

It’s about what God longs to do for others through you.

 

Today, open your heart, eyes, and ears……….

Experience His work by feeling His love, seeing the need, and hearing His voice in those around you.

 

I’m reminded of my friend Kim’s son Tyler and his fight with cancer at the same time as Nick was going through his chemo.

 

Their family had t-shirts made that said,

“Fear not tomorrow.  God is already there.”

 

I want to live fully aware of this truth.

 

No matter where I go in life,

God is already there.

 

I just have to listen and join Him in His work. Smile

 

Have a wonderful Friday with God!

He’s there!!!

 

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If I imagine a container of Play-doh being dumped onto a table by a small child as what my life looks like in the eyes of God,

I can’t help but smiling.

 

No wonder God loves children so much.

 

They teach without even realizing it!

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Think about what a child does with Play-doh.  He rolls it, pounds it, cuts it, shapes it, and then starts the process all over again.

It takes a long time for them to be satisfied with their final product, and even when they are, it seems like they want to “try something new” with their mound of clay.

 

Now, I think God is a little more intentional as He works with us.

I think He’s a lot more like a potter sitting at his potter’s wheel.

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Carefully shaping us into exactly what He longs for us to be,

God’s Hands are always working, always molding us.

 

This morning as I read the next day’s study in Experiencing God,

I read these words from Jeremiah:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:”Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.”

So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.

But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands;

so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord.

“Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”

 

 

I love that God saw an imperfect pot and wanted to reshape it into something He could use.

 

Do you ever feel imperfect?

 

I sure do.

 

I love that God looks down and sees us with all of our flaws and still longs to use us.

I love that He sees potential where we see failure or shortcomings.

I love that He sees what we can be instead of what we are.

 

Today, as you step out into another day, be fully aware of two things:

 

The devil wants you to focus on where you come up short, but God wants you to focus on how those very weaknesses or flaws can be transformed into something He can use to bring others closer to Him.

 

When we allow ourselves to just be “clay in the potter’s hands,” we are saying,

“Not my will by yours.”

 

When we allow God to mold us into what He wants us to be it’s as if we are offering our lives as living sacrifices.

Isn’t that what Jesus did for us on the cross?

 

I love how Bible is a beautiful story of God’s work from the beginning of time until now.

 

I love that each of us represents one piece of pottery in a big, beautiful collection.

 

Let’s allow God to mold us today and tomorrow and the next day into exactly what He wants us to be.

 

From one piece of clay to another, I love you!

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As I looked through workbooks I already had on my shelf, I was drawn to one I started years ago but never finished.

As I read the back cover, I felt like this study spoke directly to where I’m at today in my faith journey.

EXPERIENCING GOD:  Knowing and Doing the Will of God

“Learn to hear when God is speaking to you.

Find out where God is working and join Him.

Experience God doing through you what only God can do.”

experiencing God

 

If you would like to study along with me, CLICK HERE to order a copy of this workbook for yourself.

If you don’t have time to actually do the workbook, I’ll be sharing highlights from my study several days a week.

 

This morning as I began I was struck by these thoughts:

 

1.  When God called people like Abraham to join Him in His work, He didn’t provide many details.  He simply said, “Follow me” or “Go.”

Jesus worked the same way when He called the disciples.

 

In life, we don’t always know what God has in mind for us, we just know that He longs to use us.

 

2.  In John 5:19-20, Jesus says, “The Son can do nothing by Himself, He can do only what He sees His Father doing…”

If Jesus needed God in order to be effective, I definitely do too; and

no matter what I think I should be doing, I need to join God where He is already working.

 

 

Today, I want to be available to work alongside God.  That means that I have to have my eyes and ears open.

I have to my heart tuned into the world the way God’s heart is tuned into the world. 

I know He is has called me.  He’s calling you too.

 

Where can we join Him today?

How can we trust Him more even when we don’t know what tomorrow looks like?

 

I don’t know about you, but my days are so much more rewarding when I am fixed on Him.

Life is an adventure when we reach a point where we can look at every challenge as an opportunity to trust Him more.

 

I have some challenges in my life right now, do you?

I have some things that weigh heavily on my heart.

 

I’m so thankful for a Father who “holds all things together” and “who leads me beside still waters.”

 

He longs to hold your life together too.

And He is waiting patiently to lead you.

 

I’m praying for you this morning and asking God to allow you to experience Him in a whole new way in the weeks to come.

 

As I look back on my study of the book of James,

I am reminded that James was able to experience Jesus firsthand. 

They grew up in the same home.  Because of this, James had a faith that was unshakable even when it led to his death.

 

I want to grow up spiritually in the presence of God, so that I can have that same kind of faith until the day “my faith becomes sight.”

I want  you to have the same kind of faith.

 

The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things.

John 14:26

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothings.

John 15:5

 

Let’s experience God today by walking beside Him in His work here on earth.

 

Open your eyes and see Him today.

Open your ears and hear Him today.

Open your heart and accept Him today.

 

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When a Book Changes You…..

March 26th, 2013

 

Have you ever been sad when you reach the last page of a good book?

Do you find yourself rereading the last few words several times thinking………”But what next, what now?”

 

I remember last year when my high school classes were reading Hunger Games, that’s how we felt when we reached the end of Katniss’ journey.

You bond with the characters and you bond with the storyline so deeply that the it’s hard to believe they can just stop existing and moving through life with the simple non-climatic words,

“THE END.”

 

That’s  how I feel this morning as I finish the daily workbook sessions in my James Bible study.

Finishing the intense study of a book of the Bible is so different than finishing a work of fiction, though.

 

The Bible has the power to change us from the inside out, and this morning I’m reflecting on just what the book of James means to me.

 

I have grown to love this book so much, and honestly, it may be the most life-changing book I’ve ever read in the Bible.

 

Perseverance

Faith that does not doubt and faith that moves us to good works

Patience – even in suffering

Slow to anger

Quick to listen

The right priorities

Compassion for the sick and the poor

Gentleness

A tame tongue

I still have so far to go, but thankfully I know which way I need to be heading……..

 

James has changed me and he changed the world around him significantly while he was alive.

He was a powerful leader in the New Testament church after Jesus died.

 

When James was killed because of his belief that Jesus was the Son of God, the church struggled greatly.

Within eight years after his death, the temple was destroyed and Peter was also killed for his faith.

 

Beth Moore ends the workbook with the question,

“What happens next for us as we end our study of James’ teachings?

Now that he won’t have the daily influence on our lives that he has had for the past few months.”

 

Thankfully, I still have several video sessions to watch in Sunday school, so I’m not totally saying, “Goodbye,” to the study,

but I still feel convicted enough to ask the question,

“What is next for me?”

 

I know myself well enough to know that I need “the next” study.

I need the daily influence of God’s Word to keep me in tune with His desires for my life, His will for me.

So, I’m not going to bed tonight without combing through my bookshelf to find a workbook to start tomorrow morning.

I need something that causes me to dig deeply into God’s Word,

because the deeper I dig, the more I discover about the One I love most.

And the more I discover about Him, the more I learn about how I am suppose to live.

 

I can’t make it on my own.

 

In my chronological Bible yesterday I read a verse from Judges 21:25 that really struck me,

 

In those days Israel had no king;

everyone did as they saw fit.

I need a king to guide me daily.

I need a book that changes me from the inside out.

 

So, I’m thankful this morning for the Bible and for every book in it………

If I could challenge you this morning with one thought, it would be this.

 

Give God the chance to change you.

 

He longs to be your king….not to rule over you, but to lead you in a life more abundant than words can express.

 

Are you wondering how to give God this chance?

 

Start by opening a Bible and asking God to speak through His Word.

 

I’m not sure what I’ll be choosing next for my morning quiet time, but I’ll let you know tomorrow.

 

Maybe we can study together!

 

I love you all so much!

 

My Heart is continually thankful for you and forever transformed by His Words.

 

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I want to know Him more……………
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The Imagery of God……..

March 25th, 2013

 

This morning I’ve been reading about the destruction of the temple in AD 70 and how this relates to our lives as Christians today.

I’m amazed all over again with thought of each of us being a “temple of God.”

Peter even refers to us as “living stones, being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” in I Peter 2:5.

 

If you combine these two thoughts, God has created quite a picture of the “new temple.”

 

Each of us, as mini-temples and living stones, have a very special purpose in the history of Christianity.

 

Ephesians 2:19-22 says,

 

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

 

I love the thought of the church worldwide being joined together to form a “holy temple in the Lord.”

 

As Christians, we have the honor and responsibility of providing a home in which the Holy Spirit can live, but together all of us form a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

 

That’s a deep thought for a Monday morning, but I just had to share!

 

How amazing is it to think that on this Monday, March 25th, as we all begin different kinds of days, we have a purpose together (worldwide) of forming the dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

 

It’s a lot more difficult to feel alone in your daily struggles when you realize you have such a higher calling and purpose, isn’t it?

 

Today, no matter what you’re facing know this:

As a Christian, you are part of something bigger than yourself, something extremely significant in the Heavenly realm.

 

Feel encouraged today, knowing that you are part of the spiritual restoration of God’s temple that was destroyed with human hands in AD 70.

You are part of something formed by God’s Hands.

I don’t know about you but that makes today seem much more worthy of my best effort!

From one “living stone” to another, I hope you have an amazing day!

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Winners of Two Give-Aways!!

March 25th, 2013

 

Winners of the movie Foolishness are:

Holly Hannum

Aaron Chambless

and

Curtis Fields

 

Winners of the book Rosita Valdez and the Giant Sea Turle are:

Mary Cline

and

DesaRae Nickell

 

Congratulations to all!

 

Email me at tammynischan@yahoo.com with your address if your address if you live out of town.  If you are in town, I will deliver to you!

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Last night, Tim and I decided to watch the third episode of “The Bible,”

because I was out of town on Sunday evening when it first aired.

 

As I watched the story of Mary and Joseph unfold,

I was struck significantly by the moment when Mary leaned forward and kissed Jesus’ tiny forehead just minutes after His birth and just moments after naming Him, “Jesus.”

mary and baby jesus

Kissing Jesus, the Son of God.

Could anyone ever feel closer to Heaven than Mary did in that moment?

 

I remember kissing Nick’s head many times in those last few months of his life,

and I remember thinking I was kissing the head of a very precious boy.

 

I don’t think I realized just how close I was to Heaven in those last few days of Nick’s life,

but I knew in a very deep way that we were not alone in those dark hours.

God was with us.

 

One of my friends whose husband died of cancer just a few years before Nick,

shared several stories with me of times when her husband saw angels in the room signaling for him to wait and then finally seeing one that shook her head, “yes,”

as if saying, “It’s now time for you to come Home.”

 

I wonder if Mary saw angels on the night Jesus was born,

and I wonder if she saw them again when Jesus died.

 

I have to believe God walked closely with Mary all through her life as the mother of His Son.

And I have to believe He longs to walk closely with each of us who have chosen to call Him Father.

 

The reality of the Nativity scene is this:

God longed to be with us so much that He sent His only Son.

Emmanuel, “God with us.”

 

When Mary kissed Jesus’ forehead she kissed the Son of God.

That’s enough to make me smile today,

 

Because when Jesus was born,

our lives were forever changed.

 

 

Suddenly, God was with us…………..

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After teaching for 30 years, Robin Densmore Fuson has decided to put pencil to paper in a whole new way!

Combining her knowledge of grade-level appropriate reading material and her love for God, Robin has written her first book in a series of books geared toward elementary-aged children.

Her first book is entitled Rosita Valdez and the Giant Sea Turtle.

In this story, 8-year-old Rosita meets a giant, but shy, sea turtle in a cove of the Pacific Ocean and tries to convince her family throughout the book that Toby the sea turtle is real.

She shows her dedication to her family all along the way as she continues to complete her homework, do her daily chores, and help with her baby sister.

In a world where honesty and respect are needed more than ever, this book offers a chance for parents to talk with their children about the importance of both in life.

Leave a comment below or post a comment on my Facebook page under this post in order to enter yourself for a free copy of this new chapter book.

Winners will be announced Monday evening, so you can receive your book in time for Easter Sunday!

CLICK HERE to order a copy for your family today!

 

sea turtle

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Happy Thursday!

March 21st, 2013

 

I hope your day is filled with smiles and laughter.

 

Mine will begin, again, with the filling of 40 helium balloons……….

 

I’ll be thinking of all of you and saying a prayer with each balloon we fill!

 

Thankful to share life with each of you!

 

Love,

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One thing that strikes me about most students I encounter in life is this,

most of them are tired.

When I’m walking down a hall and pass a student and say, “How are you doing?”

The response is almost always the same,  “Tired.”

Actually, many of my friends would say the same thing, “I’m so tired. I’m just worn out.”

Last night, I realized that I had reached a point of exhaustion.

A three-day trip away from home with high school kids combined with an already incredibly busy month had pushed me against a wall that was bringing out a side of me I do not like.

I decided the best thing to do was crawl in bed……at 7:30.

I ended up reading for a bit but by 9 p.m. I was out for the night,

and this morning I’m feeling a little better.

Sometimes, we just have to know it’s okay to pull away from our normal routines and rest.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how technology has affected our lives, and I’m just wondering if teens today aren’t more exhausted because of the never-ending access to cell phones, laptops, IPads and on and on….that keep them “connected” to friends from the minute they wake up until the minute they fall to sleep.

When I got home from school as a teenager, I was really home and away from all the activities of school life unless the phone rang and a friend called.

Nowadays kids have to deal with non-stop relationships every minute they are awake.

So do adults unless they choose to set boundaries on technology.

I’m just as guilty as the next person, but I’m feeling a personal challenge rising up in me.

A challenge to not be accessible for several hours every evening except by face-to-face contact.

A cup of coffee.

A walk.

A time of swinging on the front porch.

That’s what I’m longing for.

I think God longs for that kind of time with us too.

Just us and Him.

Quiet.

Solitude.

Peace.

We can’t hear what our soul is saying if we are busy doing all the talking and texting and tweeting.

I am inviting myself and each of you to consider choosing one night a week to simply unplug and be still.

I believe we will love it so much that it will grow to be more than one evening a week.

My morning quiet time is my favorite time of the day………..and I want to start ending my day in the same way.

I also want to be more aware of times throughout the day when I can simply pull away internally and spend a few minutes with God.

Simply being still.

God deserves more of me than anyone else in the world.

He deserves more of you too.

He longs to be our best friend.

And best friends deserve quality time with us.

This morning, as I venture to get ready for yet another busy day, I’m looking forward to sharing today with not only co-workers but also the Creator of the Universe.

I want to rest in Him all day long.

He wants you to rest in Him too.

For just a minute, close your eyes and consider how blessed you are even if you are in the middle of a tough season of life.

You have direct access to the throne of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

Approach His throne today and rest in His love.

Matt. 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.