Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Review: English Lessons by Andrea Lucado

I wanted to read this book and be a part of the launch team for it because I wanted to hear her story. I was also at a place of being hurt in church (again) and wanted to hear how others wrestle with their faith, in God and in people. I also needed a story. Although it's non-fiction, she's a story-teller and this book reads smoothly. Maybe too easily!

I could not put this book down... but I made myself do it, just to savor her writing. Her honesty and openness of questioning what she believed in, the colorful descriptions of the places, people and situations that she encountered, it was as if we met and I listened to her heart each time I picked up the book. She's a fabulous writer, very conversational. It really is as if she's sitting across the table telling you about her thoughts, her stories, her travels. I've never wanted to visit England... until now!

Her story would be interesting if it was any woman writing, but it's not - it's the daughter of a mega-church pastor and author, proving that anyone can struggle with our beliefs and faith. I know that God honors her story, and our stories, as we come to terms with His great love for us, even in our wanderings.

I would recommend this book for any person, young adult to older, solid in faith or wandering.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 1, 2017

On the (company) Move: Kick-Off and Close

Many of you have followed me through so many moves over the years, sometimes holding on trying to keep up with me. Sorry. I don't know how or why God has let this happen. As traumatic as our last move was (moving so far from so many of my grands) to the sheer joy and anticipation (and tears... yes, there have been tears this move) of closing on this house, ALL the emotions have been felt.

I generally don't change much in our decor when we move. Oh, I bought the cool Mediterranean mirrors for the dining room for the house in Fayetteville, AR, and the fun window/mirror to hang in the house in Owensboro, KY, but I don't think about it when I'm moving in. I've got enough throw pillows to fill a room and make it a wash of blue-greens. I won't buy a new couch because a home is more "country" or "traditional," and that's ok with me.

But paint. Ah. I dream of painting a new house and changing things up in little touches long before closing on a house. I want to change the front door with a new coat of paint, or texture walls to give it character and appeal. I envision new faucets and curtains hanging (I admit- I like a dark room to sleep in and love the splash of another color in the room!). I'm kind of a freak about privacy... it's my PTSD peeking out.

The moment we walked in to the Harrison House, we knew we would do different flooring (it was nasty, dirty, carpeting, and abused wood floors!), and I'd hoped we'd have a timeline to replace the kitchen appliances. We DID!! It happened just months before we moved!! Funny how we have no idea what God's timetable is in comparison to ours... another one of those "hindsight" moments.

With the encouragement of many friends around the globe (and mostly in the Midwest) I'm going to devote a little time to our renovation process on the home we will close on this week.

Here's a little back-story: As always, our Realtor in Alabama asked for our wish-list of what we'd like to see in our next home. I don't think we were too demanding, or unrealistic, and it included things like single-story, lake front or lake view, under a certain price (which was raised because of a shortage of homes on the market), a 2 car garage was a must and an extra out-building a bonus!

Well, we didn't come very close to our wish-list! There's just not much to pick from here. I'm a little disappointed on a few of the things we didn't get - like a single story house - because I know what pain this will cause Mark (he already has bad knees). BUT - I trust God has a plan, and even this morning I prayed "God, if this is not the house you want us to live in, please remove it from our plan." He can do anything, in any timing, and although it may bring a difficult season or disappointment in the short range, I have faith that He does things for our long range development. I can rest in that.

It's very strange, this house. It's sat on the edge of a hillside for over 20 years, precariously peering past the trees to view the serenity of Guntersville Lake. You can't really see the front door from the road, as it sits below the road on a steep driveway. The front door is far from the driveway, because of how the home sets. We have no yard to speak of, but a HUGE deck out back. Then there is the beige. A LOT of beige, inside and out. I'll share a few of the photos now, to give you an idea of what we're walking in to, but the official "before" pics will come out over the weekend, when the house is completely empty and not tainted with the cute red couches the previous owner has. My vision will not be changed by the red couches in this house, as cute as they are.

I hope that you'll stay with me through this process. God's got a plan for it, for sure, and there are some things I have no clue about yet, and there's a few things I've got plans for that I haven't shared with Mark yet ... hehe ... but he's mostly on board with me, and we are in prayer together for this. Our goal is not to make this a WOW home, but to make it a place that folks feel comfy, that His peaceful presence is felt by all, and that we can make good memories here, whether it's for 10 months or 10 years or....???

Are you on Pinterest? Follow my "Alabama Lake Life" board to see the ideas I'm collecting and to see what we are prayerfully considering, inside and out. Also follow me on Facebook at Marina's Kitchen Table, where I'll do live posts on shopping, working, and updating you on how things are turning out!

Here are a few of the beginning photos... how the home looked when we viewed it...  Please feel free to add comments in the section below, or on my Facebook or Pinterest pages...

The front door...

From the front entry towards the Living Room... 

From the front entry to the stairway...

Eat in Kitchen, with slider to the screened porch...

Main part of kitchen, from the eat in kitchen area...

The upstairs hallway... a blank canvas or ???
English Ivy has taken over everything, even this tree in the deck planter!

Have I mentioned the view?? (The deck is flat, but I used a panorama feature in this pic)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Life Lately

I always feel badly when I don't get to post much here.

Life is changing. We have closed on the sale of our home in Arkansas, and have a week before we close on the purchase of our next home, in Alabama. It's been an emotional and physical roller coaster, with trips of one-way 9 hour drives, goodbyes to old and new friends and neighbors, and stepping into an area of the world that I've not experienced before.

It befuddles me.

It's different for my husband. His move goes like this:

Accept the job. Sign the paperwork. Start the job. Move into temporary housing (a few weeks in a hotel and a move to a duplex). One trip by UHaul. Same thing every day: Work. Home. Try a new church on Sunday. His relationships circle around work, and me.

For me, I'm back and forth. I go from excited to this new experience, to dreading saying good-bye. I cry over the thoughts of not knowing when I'll see my granddaughter next (I've babysat her almost 2 days a week for the last 18 months, and she is a main source of joy in my life, her parents some of my best friends). I look at the calendar and wonder when I'll get to see my other grandkids too. They're only 4 hours away from the new place, but it still takes effort. It's still emotional. It's still work that I don't have energy to do.

Speaking of work...  My life feels a little upside down. Even before the move I felt God opening my hands... EMPTYING my hands. I'm ok with that. It's all for HIS glory, and I have always believed that He has me "let go of the good to grab hold of the better." Even when the "better" is not a large work account, a ministry, an article, a conference. If it's for His glory, He will bring it to be. I only want His will, with or without work. I'm ok with not doing anything. I'm ok with delighting in Him in stillness and rest.

In this season, this last week of temp housing living, I can delight in Him in the things He brings to me. I don't have friends here (yet), and we don't yet have a church. I keep to myself most of the time (except when I torment the Real Estate office across the alley) and cling to God's promises in the midst of the every day. I delight in the friendliness of the area, being called "Ma'am" and common courtesies displayed, like doors held open and kids saying "excuse me." I don't know if I can ever get used to that! People even utilize what we call "Pittsburgh left turns" - where the driver opposing you will allow you to safely turn left before they go on straight, so as not to hold up the cars behind you. Where else do they do this?

I'm looking forward to learning what lies ahead, the ways God will grow me, discovering this community, and sharing the area with our kids, grandkids, and friends who will venture to visit us here. I'm excited to learn the rhythms of the seasons here, from summer crowds on the lake and little league fields and where to buy the best snow cones. I'll even venture to say I hope to build relationships here, girlfriends who will walk with me, drink tea on the back deck and laugh over silly stories. Girlfriends who will pray with me and for me, my marriage, and any ministry God wants me to do. Girlfriends who will invest in our friendship and allow me to grow, and GO, if and when God moves us again.

I'm looking forward to venturing outside my norm and building relationships with those that may not know God, may not know Him as Creator, as Protector, as Savior. I want to evangelize the area, to encourage others to grow closer to Him and to know Him fully, whether it's on the walking trail or in our neighborhood, and to make an impression on this area for the Kingdom.

#GuntersvilleAlabama #GuntersvilleLake #companymove #moving #marinaskitchentable

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday's Reminder: Grace

After camping in Friday's convictions, I'm grateful for Sunday's reminder - Jesus conquered sin. All sin. It's not dependent upon my obedience (although I want to respect His sacrifice with my discipleship). Great message by @patrickgarcia1 from#crossroadschristianchurchnewburgh this morning online. So good to have real, honest, transparent teaching to bring me back into the camp of grace. Happy Resurrection Day friends! Miss my CCC family. Grateful for technology 😘#onlinechurch — atCrossroads Christian Church.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Considerations From Luke 12

These verses in Luke 12 are some of the most beautiful, yet at the same time, scariest, I've ever read!
I love the beginning, and who wouldn't?! I love The Shepherd's voice and the thought of being called His "little flock" (32). Yet when He goes on, what a motivation for right living! I can't imagine the punishment that awaits a believer who decides not to wait for His return (v42-46).
I know that there are huge theological arguments that take place over these verses. I'm not looking for an argument! Just live right, according to the convictions of God's Word on your heart. I'm not judging, I have struggles too, but I can't ignore these verses, especially today.
Especially this Good Friday, while I contemplate the brutality that took place as He laid down His life for me, for us.
What struggle is so huge that I wouldn't give it up for Him? What thing can I give up, not just for Lent—but for LIFE—to show a small act of thanks for what He gave up in sacrificing His life for my sins?
I can't comprehend, it's so great. No habit, addiction, unforgiveness for a wrong done against me... no pleasure, or possession... is as valuable as my salvation or as important as pleasing God. It's not an act of "works," or legalism, but a small thanks for the undeserved blessing of God's immeasurable mercy and grace.

If a friend brings me a gift, or treats me to lunch, don't I want to reciprocate? Of course!
I could never pay back what the blood of Jesus has given me—but my obedience, with gratitude, can show my gratefulness. Yes, Lord! May it only show my grateful heart to You! And when I struggle with temptation towards my sin, may I be obedient to run away from it and cling to You. ALWAYS running to You.
Lord, I celebrate the joy and freedom of your Resurrection, but may I also remember the act of sacrifice that it took today, the day You were crucified.
Luke 12
32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming
35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn.[a] But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.
39 “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
41 Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?”
42 And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 43 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 44 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 45 But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 46 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.
47 “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
Jesus Causes Division
49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
53 ‘Father will be divided against son
and son against father;
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’[b]”
54 Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. 55 When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. 56 You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.
57 “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right? 58 When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. 59 And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny.[c]”

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

On Friendship and a Book Review: Never Unfriended

Reading a book on friendships, in the middle of another move, made for interesting emotions. Here in Arkansas I was delighted to be so close to friends I had from years ago when we lived near there. It was comfortable to connect with them as I ran around all of NW AR for errands and appointments, and we were authentic and real with each other, but not entwined in each other's lives. I was close enough to people we knew during our 18 years in Missouri, women who became deeper friends through time on Facebook, sharing prayers and stormy nights together online from afar. Of course my heart friendships from other places (back over 35 years of friendship) came with me wherever I went! These women know my scary, messy places and all the failures in my life and loved me anyways.

Still there was the group of women that I met through a church in Branson, MO that most of us ended up stepping away from in my short time in Arkansas. These women had a deep friendship group going, and they were brave enough to let me (and a few others) in. We did Book Clubs, and shared prayer requests and laughed a lot. They have been a huge blessing, even though it took me a while to find them (we tried churches for months before attending that one, and then a few months later things just didn't work out, and we all scattered! It was as if God allowed us to all attend church there just long enough to become friends!).

And then there were the women in my neighborhood that blessed me every time I went out to the mailbox, reminding me that they were just a few steps away. I can't count the number of times that we stood there at the curb, holding our mail and sharing the latest on our kids and grandkids, how God was working, how we could pray for each other.

We walked through a lot, these neighbor-friends and I. Sickness and health, loss of life, family problems, great celebrations of grandkids' milestones, and restoration of family.

Good neighbors don't just happen on accident.

Could I really trust God to open doors to friendship after such a rich season of GOOD friends like family?

The book Never Unfriended (Lisa-Jo Baker, B&H Books) brought all those thoughts (and more!) to the surface.

On the heels of the compilation book Craving Connection ((in)courage community, B&H Books) comes Lisa-Jo's second title, with her wise and whimsical way of sharing her struggles with friendships and all the feelings that go with being left out. She cheers us on to be the first to say hi and still shares her heart about all the things that can go wrong when you do. She honestly and openly lays out what God has to say about friendships, and relationships as a whole. She doesn't hold back by putting a pretty bow on a bad situation, but calls it as she sees it, and then tells us to move forward anyways.

She advocates hospitality, telling us, "If I wait for my house or my life to be perfect before inviting someone into it, I might never let anyone come through the door." She tells us to check comparison at the door. I loved the chapter on "Live Like the Kingdom is a Co-Op, Not a Competition." It's easy to fall into that realm over and over again. No coveting allowed in Kingdom friendships!

I feel that I've been living these examples over the past few years of us moving around, and can relate so much to the things she's writing. She and I are in different ages and stages of life, yet I think we've experienced the best (and worst) of friendship—as kids in lunch rooms and school clubs, to being left out from mommy gatherings, and even middle aged events. Today my friendships are healthy and rich, but as a kid I was awkward and didn't fit in. There's some of that still hanging around my edges, but women who have come to know me accept me as I am; flawed and imperfect and broken.  I'm so grateful and thankful for my girlfriends.


I stop my writing when my husband walks in the door and we run to sign some papers at the realtors. Upon returning home, I walk up the steps to the mailbox, in the off-chance mail has found us (it hasn't). Out of the corner of my eye, I see Heather, our upstairs neighbor, walking to her mailbox too. We've only met a few times, and don't know each other well, but we're friends already. She greets me with a smile, arms wide open, welcoming me into her friendly hug. We talk for a bit, and exchange phone numbers, making a plan for staying in touch through the expected storms hitting us this afternoon. I welcome her to "not be afraid alone" when the storms hit. I tell her that I'll leave my door unlocked should she need to come down to my place, just a tad safer.

I return to my husband in our apartment, he's wondering what it was that took so long. When I mention Heather, he understands, I've been reaching out. I may not know much about things, but I know how to make a neighbor into a friend.

I don't know if Heather knows how she's impacting my life; she's an answer to prayer. I'm not sure if she'll come hang out in my bottom apartment during a tornado warning, or come to share a cuppa before we move out of this temporary housing, but I'm praying that we can continue the friendship long after we've moved into our home. Despite all our differences, we are sisters in Christ, and I want to hear her share her HIStory, learn her laugh, know her favorite cookie, and how she takes her coffee or tea. After all, that is what friendship can be all about.

©2017 Marina Bromley for Marina's Kitchen Table. I received a copy of the book Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker, from the publisher in advance, for my honest opinion in review. I loved it! You can purchase a copy for yourself through your favorite online or Christian retailer.

Friday, March 31, 2017

15 Photos... From Around Guntersville, AL

We are in the midst of our move, and I took advantage of the partly cloudy, cooler day to explore around the city of Guntersville, AL. Spring is in full bloom in the South, and the thunderstorms that blow through are watering all things to life. It's beautiful!

Add to the growing things a lovely lake, hills covered with majestic trees that tower overhead, and other such pleasantries, and you know why I needed to get my camera out.

I hope that you'll find some moments to exhale, breathe deep, or just sigh a bit in relief as you enjoy these photos. As always, God is the Creator, and I just capture His creation. He's got a good thing going on around here! The sunsets pics are from a few days ago... God must be busy having to paint such a lovely sky each night!

#GuntersvilleAlabama #LakeGuntersville #GuntersvilleLake #Guntersville

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Workaholic's Wife: A New Season

Women everywhere kiss their husbands goodbye as they head off to work, for a day, a month, sometimes longer.
In our early years, Mark traveled on the road, and he put in lots of time away when he worked at Corporate a few years back, but the past 18 months have been just lovely; a pretty normal work week and home most every night. Now it's time for a new season, and he's packing up for the week (or longer) as he heads to his new position nearly 500 miles away.
I'll wrap up some loose ends and join him soon enough, but I'll miss him still the same.
I've ironed his uniforms, praying for him, his workspace, his co-team members who need to get used to someone new at the helm. I'm praying for "the numbers," for wisdom, insight, and integrity in the workplace. I'm praying for the people who work where he's staying, that he will be a city on a hill and salt that doesn't lose his saltiness. I'm praying for his health and safety, every moment of every day. For God's will to be at work in his life, every day we are apart (and when we are together too!).
I know many women that have it so much harder, and I'm blessed to have a hard working hubby.
How do you pray for your husband?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Moving, Again

As I write this I have a stack of emails to reply to in my inbox. I'll get a few phone calls today from lenders and realtors. My granddaughter, who I'm blessed to get to watch a few days a week, will be too noisy and demand attention while I try to manage a list of "must-do's" for today.

We are in the process of moving. Again. Out of the blue (well, OUR blue), God opened a door, and within a week his job has changed. Seriously. From "I'm happy with my job, and we love our recently renovated home..." to applying for a new position at the "recommendation" of a few higher-ups, praying "God's will be done" on the 8 hour drive there and back for the interview, and "BOOM!" We are moving 500 miles.

I'm a little embarrassed to say this isn't the first time it's happened.

Since my husband started working with this company 7 years ago, we have moved every 15 months (or less). This is our 5th company move.... (We made an additional move, but it was because God sold out large home unexpectedly, and we knew that was His prompt to downsize, which was TRULY a God-thing!)

Each time we move, God provides His peace. There have been a few times I haven't grabbed hold of it, but you can bet I've learned to recognize it!

Today I'm basking in His peace and provision.

There are hard things to deal with, for sure. I've spilled tears over moving so far from this grandgirl, and I'll cry more, I'm sure. I'll hate having to say good-bye to my neighbors, who have become like family, and I'm sad to leave a group of women that I've bonded with over some great books this past year.

"Will this be your last move?" I get asked a lot. Probably not. Each time we move we plan for it to be our last move. This house we downsized to, had a whole-house generator installed, replaced all the flooring and did mini-renovations on the kitchen and bathrooms. Now we've learned that we over-improved on the home, and will not see but a small fraction of the return when we sell it. My husband reminded me that we made the changes for US, not for the investment, and we have enjoyed them! What a blessing they will be to the next owners of this home!

God knows what our needs (and wants) are, and He alone already knows where we will live next! I don't need to stress about any of that! He's always sold our homes in 30 days (or less!) and He always provides a place for us to land. We have never been unintentionally homeless! His peace walks us through the process, and although it takes intentional focus to hear His voice over the clammer of consumerism, He is there with us in the midst of it all. He does not disappoint!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow - An important announcement!

Hello Friends!

I know that several of you are here to read Roy Lessin's posts from Meeting in the Meadow, and I'm wondering how many of you are (or are not) on Facebook. We have a page set up for Roy's writing there at the page "Meeting in the Meadow" - and in trying to streamline my time online, am hoping to ONLY post on the Facebook page ... UNLESS a number of you (I don't know what number) don't have Facebook.

SO, please, IF you have Facebook, go to Roy's page, "LIKE" and "FOLLOW" and "SEE THIS FIRST" so you don't miss any of Roy's posts there. (You can "see this first" by the drop down offered under the "follow" tab.)

IF you do NOT have Facebook, please leave me a note below, so I can keep count of it. It may be that we use this as information on whether it's time to create a new blog for Roy online... separating it from my personal blog space here at Marina's Kitchen Table.

Please respond in the comments below...

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Book Review: Katharina and Martin Luther (and more!)

Book Review: Katharina and Martin Luther, The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk by Michelle DeRusha
-Marina Bromley

I'm not a Lutheran. Or a Bible History scholar. So you might be wondering why I'd choose to read a book on Martin Luther and his wife Katharina, especially since I was clueless to their life and time in history. Well, I'm a lifelong learner! If there was enough information to make a book from one chapter of author DeRusha's book 50 Women Every Christian Should Know, then it was likely worth reading!

First off, kudos to Michelle DeRusha. Her writing style and deep research made the subjects come to life. Katharina and Martin were quite the characters, and their story, even before they met, made for a rich read, more like a novel than a non-fiction book. Why has their story not been made into a movie? No one could make up the stories that outlined their life!

The intensity of their life stories are only the framework for the really important things that Martin Luther is known for, in changing the course of Christianity. Little did I know that he also spoke up on other subjects like marriage...

The book is so much more than just topics though.

The book is full of heartbreaking childhoods, history, adventure, emotions, illness, and romance. (I tell you, it really needs to be considered for the BIG screen.) It's about an unlikely love, and a deeper commitment than what most people have today. It's a life story, and a life-long story, but not JUST a story... it's so much more.

It really is the perfect read for just about anyone. Several men read the book, and it easily takes it's place on bookshelves alongside other books written of value on the life of Martin Luther. It's such a bonus that this book includes the dimension of his life at home, adding the very human side to a spiritual man.


(I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, which I give you here today.)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: Jesus, Our Only Option - Part 1

Jesus, Our Only Option - Part 1
-Roy Lessin
When you desire cold cereal for breakfast you can go to the grocery store and walk down an aisle that is stocked, from top to bottom, with every kind of cereal your taste buds could crave. If you want to buy a new house you can spend weeks or even months house hunting and considering all the choices that are available to you.
Even though we like variety and are thankful for all the options that present themselves to us in life, there are times when the options before us bring frustration and confusion. We want to get the best value and make the best choice. Often, we seek out reviews and the opinions of others before we make our decisions.
Clearly some choices are much more important than others. It is one thing to decide which box of cereal to eat; it is quite another thing to decide which college to attend, which career to pursue, or which person to marry.
Thankfully, when it comes to the most important decision in life, God has made it very simple for us. He does not present to us a “supermarket” of spiritual paths that we may choose in order to know and follow Him. He does not say to us, “Go down this aisle and look over all the spiritual options I have given you and then pick the one that suits you best.”
Our decision to know and follow God is so important that He has presented us with only one option. Every road sign God has made points to one person; every message God has spoken proclaims one name; every view God shows us of Himself reveals one face.
This moment, for you, Jesus Christ is God’s only option.
Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. John 14:6 AMPC

©2017, 2009 Roy Lessin, used with permission.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: God Is For You, Part 5

God Is For You, Part 5
-Roy Lessin

This is the final posting in the series “God Is For You”

God is for you no matter who is against you. If the devil tells you that God is against you, reject the lie and declare the truth, “God is for me, His word declares it, the death of His Son upon the cross demonstrates it, and His mercy and grace affirm it everyday to my heart.”

God is for you, not because you have a nice personality, a great smile, a strong arm, a witty way, a clever disposition, self-discipline, or a lively imagination;

God is for you, not because you go to church, because you have added ten minutes to your prayer time, because you have increased your giving by five percent, or because you are memorizing scripture;

God is for you, not because you try to be good, because you try hard, or because you try to always do your best;

God is for you because He has set His love upon you.

God is for you when you walk through valleys; God is for you when you pass through troubled seas; God is for you when you are weak, when you are wounded, and when you are weary. God is for you when He disciplines and corrects you. God is for you when He molds and shapes you, when He prunes you, and when He purifies you.

God is for you in times of persecution, in times of difficulty, and in times of need. God is for you in low times and high times, in crooked paths and straight paths, in darkness and in the light of dawn’s new day. God is for you when others set you aside, when you have been ignored, when you have been unappreciated, rejected, and when you have been mistreated.

God was for you when He formed you in the womb and gave you the breath of life. He was for you when you were born into this world. He was for you when He pursued you in your sin and rebellion. He was for you when He drew you to His side, to His arms, to His love, and to His heart. God was for you when He covered you with mercy, clothed you with grace, and called you His own.

God (the awesome, glorious, all-powerful, all-wise, majestic, magnificent, holy, eternal, righteous, caring, loving, King of the universe and Lord of all) Is (not has been, not will be, not might be, not one day will be) For (not against, not hostile toward, not contrary to, not indifferent to) You (not just someone else, but you; not just other believers but you; not part of you, but all of you!)

Declare it: (speak out the following and include your first and last name) God is for ______________________.

©2009, 2017, Roy Lessin. Used with permission. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: God Is For You, Part 4

God Is For You, Part 4
-Roy Lessin

God gives you strength and power. God is for you. Psalm 68:35
God is your deliverer. God is for you. Psalm 68:20
God daily bears your burden. God is for you. Psalm 68:19
God leads out the prisoners into prosperity. God is for you. Psalm 68:6
God makes a home for the lonely. God is for you. Psalm 68:6
God will not turn away your prayer. God is for you. Psalm 66:20
God will not turn away His lovingkindness toward you. God is for you. Psalm 66:20
God shelters you under His wings. God is for you. Psalm 61:4
God redeems your soul from the battle against you. God is for you. Psalm 55:18
God will deliver you from all trouble. God is for you. Psalm 54:7
God will guide your life. God is for you. Psalm 48:14
God gives you favor. God is for you. Psalm 44:3
God’s song will be with you in the night. God is for you. Psalm 42:8
God holds your hand. God is for you. Psalm 37:24
God’s eyes are upon you. God is for you. Psalm 34:15
God’s ears are open to your cry. God is for you. Psalm 34:15
God will bless you with peace. God is for you. Psalm 29:11
Even when you are old and gray, God will not forsake you. God is for you. Psalm 71:18

©2017, 2009, Roy Lessin. Used with permission.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sharing Lemondade

Sharing Lemonade
-Marina Bromley

"Pain nourishes courage. You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." —Mary Tyler Moore 

When I read this quote, in honor of Mary Tyler Moore's recent passing, I firsthand agreed. Then, after I re-read it, realized that although I see the wisdom in this, if it were truly true I'd be so much more braver than I am! 

I'm a wimp when it comes to courage, I lack discipline in pushing through to achieve personal goals, and my "fight or flight" response is all "flight". I despise conflict, choosing rather to "agree to disagree" instead. 

So what happened?? 

I recognize the painful life events that have occurred in my past, and although they imprint a part of who I am, I have forgiven to the best I know how. I don't wish bad upon any of the people whose poor choices affected me. In fact, I try to advocate forgiveness in every life situation.

Have I forgiven so much that it has replaced the bravery it should have formed?

I've never thought of this before. 

I've lived in an attitude of forgiveness and would not see any purpose in NOT forgiving; the Gospel of Jesus demands it. But if I had not forgiven, would it have made me braver? Would bravery happened if I had sought revenge, or justice? Would bravery and determination (as a form of discipline) taken root if I had planned and schemed and outfitted my life to prove others wrong, that I could overcome despite the odds of this "bad stuff" that "happened to me"?

I don't know. I don't know if anyone could argue it better to prove me wrong. 

Would it be fruitful to un-forgive? To take wrath in hand like a scorned lover and damn them to hell for the heart-break and pain they caused in my life? 

No. I think not. 

To hold on to, or conjure up unforgiveness after all this time would be fruitless. It would not make me any more braver than I am. 

Perhaps my bravery doesn't allow me to conquer heights, or achieve great things, or remain disciplined in a diet and exercise plan, but the brevity I DO have allows me to show compassion towards those who have hurt me, to love beyond my circumstances, to sleep at night in peace knowing that the measure I forgave is the measure I will be forgiven. 

Perhaps that's the courage I live out. I'm brave enough to forgive because of the Gospel truth I choose to cling to—tucking it in around me at night, like a well-loved blanket. I wear forgiveness on my sleeve next to my heart to show proof of a life lived emotionally full and depleted, of mothers' love lost, of friendship betrayed, of selfishness taught and advocated and forgotten. It is witness to the things in life I couldn't control—but needed forgiving anyways, to things I could control—and I had to forgive myself, to things that no one but God could control—and I had to accept His wisdom. 

So perhaps to not be brave does not undervalue the hard things that have happened in life. Lack of bravery is not proof of a wonderful life, but rather having made peace with the past—seeing the benefit of whatever hardship made it not-wonderful and making the proverbial lemonade from it, even sharing it with others. 

But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 NLT

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 NLT

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NLT

©2017 Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: God Is For You, Part 3

God Is For You, Part 3
-Roy Lessin

God is for you.
God is for you.
God is for you.
God is for you.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

©2017, 2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with permission.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: God Is For You, Part 2

God Is For You, Part 2
-Roy Lessin

He did not spare His Son, but delivered Him up for you—God is for you.
Through His Son He will freely give you all things—God is for you.
He will not bring a charge against you—God is for you.
You are His elect—God is for you.
Jesus makes intercession for you—God is for you.
You are more than a conqueror though Him who loves you—God is for you.
Nothing can separate you from His love—God is for you.

-Based on Romans 8

©2017, 2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with Permission

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: God Is For You, Part 1

God Is For You, Part 1
-Roy Lessin

This I know, that God is for me. Psalm 56:9

When David wrote Psalm 56 it was at a time of great difficulty. He was pressed between two enemies. As though in a vise, he was being squeezed by Saul from one side and by the Philistines from the other. At this time, David had no great army to rescue him and he sat on no royal throne. In the midst of this great pressure, David kept his trust in the One who could save him and deliver him from all his fears. We discover the foundation of David’s faith when he declares in verse four, “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”

How could David make such a bold and confident statement in the midst of such adversity? The ninth verse of this Psalm gives us the answer. David could trust in God to save him because he knew that God was for him. As we face adversities from the enemy and difficulties in life, it is vital for each of us to know some key things about God’s character and our relationship with Him. One of these vital keys is found in the word “knowing.”

“Knowing” does not mean “I hope so”, “I think so” or “I pray so.” It means far more than knowing something in your head as you would know various facts or trivia. It means to be absolutely, positively, convinced about something with all your mind, all your heart, and all your soul. It means to be so certain of something that you are willing to cast all your care, all your worry, all your fears, and your very life upon it.

Thankfully, as God’s children, we don’t have to guess or make up something about God’s true thoughts toward us. One way the enemy can defeat us is to deceive us. He tells us lies with the hope that we will believe them. He will tell you that God is against you. He will try to persuade you that God is not your friend, but your enemy. If you believe this lie you will doubt God’s love and care for you. If you doubt God’s love and care, you will not be able to put your complete trust in Him.

David’s Psalm was familiar to Paul when he wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:28-31

God wants you to know with all certainty that He is for you. When you get up in the morning, He is for you; when you get stuck in traffic, He is for you; when you are under a deadline at work, He is for you; when people misunderstand you or say unkind things about you, He is for you; when the enemy says you’re finished and you’ll never make it, He is for you. When there are problems and when there is pain, God is for you. When things are changing and times are uncertain, God is for you. When needs are pressing and answers are perplexing, God is for you.

God is for you. Count on it! Believe it! Act like it! Live like it! Trust like it! Rejoice like it! Know it…because He really, truly, absolutely, positively, is for you! 

©2017,2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with permission.