Month: February 2017

  • Choosing To See God In The Midst of Your Everyday Life

    For this #PaperbackPic and #EllensPIcks I’m reviewing Mary Beth Chapman’s book, CHOOSING TO SEE; a Journey of Struggle and Hope 

    #PaperbackPic
    CHOOSING TO SEE
    A Journey of Struggle and Hope

    AUTHOR: Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn
    © 2010 by Mary Beth Chapman
    PUBLISHER: Revell; a division of Baker Publishing Group Grand Rapids, MI USA

    I’ve been inspired by Steven Curtis Chapman’s music for decades and my heart broke for his family in 2008 when they lost their daughter Maria in a horrific accident.  I think the world watched in disbelief as we watched the news.  Mary Beth wrote this book in the aftermath of that woeful day, but this book isn’t just gloom and doom of the heartache they’ve gone through.  Mary Beth opens her life letting you in on the struggles and the success they’ve had.  She tells about the fun they have and the issues that stretch their faith. Sherry reading choosing to see

    The book’s kind of an emotional roller coaster 🙂 Thanks for the Kleenex Ellen!  You’re laughing with Mary Beth on one page and then crying with her in the next!  Doesn’t that sound like real life?

    I think Mary Beth wrote this book that way because his book is all about choosing to see God in the midst of your everyday life; even your pain.  If you’re like me, that’s not the easiest thing to do.  When we’re hurt we want to cocoon and throw a pity party.  Mary Beth shares about the dangers of reacting like that and wrote this book to help people see the funny way God brought them together, how He was with them throughout their horrible loss and how He is continuing to show up.  I love how she says:

    “I have found that even during those times when the path is the darkest, He leaves little bits of evidence all along the way—bread crumbs of grace—that can give me what I need to take the next step.  But I can only find them if I choose to See.”1

    Knowing that God was with the Chapman’s in such profound ways helps you to have hope that God will be with you in triumph and tragedy.

    The book brings you along on the journey of life with Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman.  You feel like a fly on the wall as Mary Beth shares about her childhood, their dating days, Steven’s career accomplishments, raising children and living life.

    Mary Beth’s honesty and openness is so refreshing.

    Mary Beth talks about how opposites attract and shares openly about marriage struggles related to their contrasting personalities.  She calls Stephen “Tigger” and herself “Eeyore”. 2

    It reminded me of when Todd and I went to hear the Christian Comedian Steve Geyer for a Valentine’s Date Night Out a couple years ago.  Steve helped couples see the different personality types through the characters in Winnie-The-Pooh.  I’d never thought of those books like that before, but you can see the diverse personalities in all the characters.  Steve of course did it with great humor.

    FUN

    Mary Beth makes you laugh too. She seems to be a really fun person who loves to play practical jokes, I think we’d be great friends if she lived on my street!  One of the funniest stories in the book told about how they became parents because the dog ate her birth control pills!  There’s a cute picture in the book with a caption reading, “Pill-eating puppy named Peso, with the result named Emily.”3  I love how she shared so many of their personal family photos in the book.  It helps you to feel like you know them all.

    DEPRESSION

    May Beth openly talks about her battle with depression in such a balanced way.  I’m so glad to hear solid Christians share about a topic that has affected my family so much.  I know the more we talk about it the healthier we will all become.

    The Chapman’s are a very close knit family that has a lot of fun together.  They value their kids so much that they ended up adopting three girls from China because their daughter Emily wouldn’t stop hounding.

    The Chapman’s have very close friends and they all do life together.  They have babies, raise kids, adopt babies from China, grieve, mourn, laugh, pray with and vacation together.  They don’t have ‘fairweather friends’.  It’s clear through Mary Beth’s words that having solid Christian friendships have helped them have more fun and weather the storms of life.

    Through people, artwork, lady bugs, little girls with heavenly messages and so much more; God truly was throwing the Chapman’s breadcrumbs of grace to help get them through.  I’m so thankful that Mary Beth took the time to write this book and share her journey of struggle and hope.  I will forever be changed as I consciously choose to see God at work in the events of my life and I know you will too!  If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought in the comments below.

    Purchase the book by clicking on the Amazon Image.  amazon.com

    between heaven and the real worldGet ready for the next month or two when I share my #PaperbackPick on Steven Curtis Chapman’s book that is soon to be released called, BETWEEN HEAVEN AND THE REAL WORLD.  I’m not sure when our #EllensPicks Linkup date is for that one yet, you’ll have to just keep an eye out 🙂

     

    Mary Beth ChapmanMary Beth Chapman

    Is a New York Times bestselling author and the wife of Grammy and Dove Award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman.  Together they began Show Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to families wishing to adopt, increases awareness of the orphan crisis, and funnels resources to orphans around the world. Picture stolen from her twitter account 🙂 Yikes!  Sorry MB.

    Website and Blog: http://www.MaryBethChapman.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMaryBethChapman/?fref=ts
    Twitter:  MaryBethChapman
    Instagram:  mbchap232

    Ellen's Picks

    1. Mary Beth Chapman, Ellen Vaugh. Choosing To See; A Journey of Struggle and Hope. (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2010). 26.
    2. Chapman, Choosing To See, 41.
    3. Chapman, Choosing To See, between 96-97.

     

     

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  • The Next Generation

    “Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.”                                          Isaiah 41:4  NLT

    Do you ever listen to the news and worry for the next generation? I have.

    Headlines tell of the diminishing morals and the acceptance of the unthinkable.  A friend expressed concern over her daughter bringing a grandchild into this world and I understood what she was feeling.

    Thankfully these fears of mine are being quieted by a rising tide I’m beginning to see.

    HOPE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION

    Our church youth group in little Leamington has grown to over 100 members.  Last Sunday we attended one of the five services my daughter’s church, Grace City in Lakeland, FL run and felt so old as the place was full of young adults worshipping with hands raised.  Shelby then went to her friend’s church in Orlando where they have 1500 teenagers coming to youth each week.  God is summoning the next generation and they’re answering His call!

    Isaiah brings encouragement as he reminds the people that God has planned, from the beginning of time, to reach each new generation.  Peter confirmed this truth when he preached on the day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit was being poured out on the people of his time.  Peter encouraged everyone there to receive salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit, telling the people how, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”1 Scripture after scripture encourages us that God desires to reach each new generation.

    Instead of grumbling and complaining about these kids, let’s band together and pray for them.  We’ll be praying in agreement with God’s will for the next generation and that will produce a great harvest of souls.

    PRAYER FOR THE NEXT GENERATION

    Father…Burden my heart for the next generation.  As I see the culture moving away from You, help me focus my eyes on the tide rising of young people who want to serve You.  Summon this next generation and let their hearts be turned to you.  Cause revival to break out in the high schools, Colleges and Universities; as a spirit of repentance draws Your children back to You, and may we as adults give them an example to follow.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

    1. Acts 2:39 NIV

    Lakepoint Family Church; Leamington, ON  http://www.lakepoint.church
    Grace City; Lakeland, FL  http://www.gracecityfl.com
    ;Orlando, FL

    [tweetthis]Father…Burden my heart for the next generation[/tweetthis]

    blogger prayerYOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY Monday MeditationsLaura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY
    Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY
    Coffee For Your HeartHolley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY
    Heart Encouragement ThursdayCrystal Storms, Chasing Community  Barbara Bradford Ottinger
    FRIDAY
    Dance With Jesus LinkupSusan B. Mead, Grace and Truth LinkupArabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market FridayCrystal Twaddell

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  • Make God Shine

    “In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.”
    Romans 4:20  NLT

    Do you know that YOU can make God shine brighter to this world?

    Months ago, I wrote to you about my friend Holly in a devotion called BE STILL. Many of you wrote to me and let me know you were praying for her.  I’m so thankful for this growing community of believers within Soul H2O.  Holly has been battling cancer again for months and her faith is one that is continually making God shine brighter as her life brings glory to Him!

    When I read this verse I couldn’t help but see the connection between Abraham and Holly.

    Paul teaches in his letter to the Romans how Abraham’s faith grew stronger when in the natural “there was no reason for hope.”1  Abraham brought glory to God because of his faith, and old Abe didn’t have faith because he saw God do what He said He would do.  On the contrary, Abe brought God glory because he kept believing in the promise God gave him, even when it had been a VERY long time since the promise was given.  It says, “Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.”2

    The longer it took…the harder it took to believe…the stronger Abe’s faith grew.

    The harder life gets for my friend Holly, the stronger her faith grows.  In the last few months she’s gone through chemo, made it out of a house fire, lived through a tough surgery and keeps on believin’.  She inspires me so much!  A few weeks ago I wrote a devotion, WHEN YOU’RE REALLY DOWN that talks about how I write scripture cards to help bolster my faith.  Holly wrote me and shared a few verses she’s standing on in faith.  She sent the message as I was writing this devotion.  She shared with me how she desires to bring God glory through all she’s going through.3  She’s accomplishing her goal.

    Abe wasn’t applauded for how he took care of his family, became one of the richest men of his time, was a victorious battle warrior or even for becoming the father of many nations.  It wasn’t because of what Abe did at all.

    Abe and Holly are bringing God glory because they believe God and trust Him, even when things don’t look good.  You too can make God shine brighter to the world when you keep on believing!

    Prayer

    Father…Today I put my faith in you.  I choose to believe in your Word and promises for my life.  I reject the lies of the enemy and the perspective of my circumstances.  Let my faith make You shine brighter to people in my world! In Jesus Name…Amen

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

    [tweetthis]You too can make God shine brighter to the world when you keep on believing![/tweetthis]

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    • Romans 4:18
    • Romans 4:19
    • Psalm 40:3
    • Luke 8:50

    blogger prayerYOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY
    Monday MeditationsLaura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY
    Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY
    Coffee For Your HeartHolley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY
    Heart Encouragement ThursdayCrystal Storms, Chasing Community  Brenda Bradford Ottinger
    FRIDAY
    Dance With Jesus LinkupSusan B. Mead, Grace and Truth LinkupArabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market FridayCrystal Twaddell

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  • I Need A Proper Hug

    “So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was still a long way from home his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him.”                                                      Luke 15:20  NET Bible

    Have you given someone a hug today?
    Now I’m not talking about a side-arm-squeeze, I’m talking about a full-on embrace?

    The Blind SideTHE BLIND SIDE

    While taking care of my gram, we watched one of my favorite movies; THE BLIND SIDE.  It’s no wonder Sandra Bullock won the Academy award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy; a soft-hearted, no-nonsense, tough-cookie who opened her home to a Michael Oher, an underprivileged teenage boy that showed potential for football.  Leigh Anne was a caring mom with the claws of a momma bear.

    Her love for Michael gave him opportunities to succeed in school, sports and family life. Her belief in Michael gave him the confidence to achieve greatness; resulting in a College football scholarship and successful career in the NFL (even playing on a winning team for the Super Bowl in 2013).
    blind side hugThere was just one area Leigh Anne (or her character) was weak in, expressing emotions.  The last scene highlights her toughness when the family is dropping Michael off to College and she cuts their good-bye short because she can’t stand for anyone to see her get emotional.  My heart melts when Michael follows after her, knocks on the car door and says, “I need a proper hug”!

    FATHER HUGGER

    The father of the prodigal son was the exact opposite of Leigh Anne Tuohy.  You can tell he was a man who wore his heart on his sleeves.  He loved his son enough to let him go when he rebelled.  This father let his son take the early inheritance he demanded, even though he knew his son would waste the wealth.

    Many parties later, the prodigal son returns home, not sure if he’d blown it too much this time.  I love how this verse reveals such a loving father.  It says that when his father saw him, “his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him”.  Don’t we all want dads with hugs like that?

    I’m convinced we don’t hug enough today.  We’re either too cool, too hurt, too protective, too scared, too germ conscious, too busy…too cold.  Don’t force people to knock on your door and beg saying, “I need a proper hug”?  Open your arms wide this Valentines and embrace others with love!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank you that You are a good, good Father like in the story of the prodigal son.  Your arms are always open wide to let me in.  Let me soak in Your embrace and not push You away.  Help me to move beyond what holds my heart bound and let others in.  May I love like you this Valentine’s and all the days that follow.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]Open your arms wide this #Valentines and embrace others with #love <3[/tweetthis]

    #Dare2Share 
     Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!
    1. Hancock, John Lee. THE BLIND SIDE, © 2009. Produced by Alcon Entertainment, Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.  Based on the book THE BLIND SIDE: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis.  

    blogger prayerYOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms,
    FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell

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  • Want Something for FREE?

    If you’ve been following my Author Page Facebook posts then you know that there’s a HUGE contest going on in Canada.  So, if you want something for free, you’ve got to keep reading 🙂 I’m thrilled to be a contributing author to the

    SALLY MEADOWS’ 7 DAYS OF GREAT CANADIAN GIVEAWAYS!

    Running February 6 to 12, 2017.

    This is a fantastic opportunity for you to win an amazing prize package by outstanding Canadian Christian authors and recording artists for today and tomorrow.

    Tomorrow on Saturday, February 11, 2017 Todd and I are giving away a prize on Day#6 of 7.

    The package includes:

    • 1 Signed copy of Water In The Desert
    • 1 Signed copy of Soul H2O
    • 1 ‘Amazing Grace’ Necklace by Goodworks Jewelry*
    • 1 Signed copy of 40 Days In The Man Cave
    • 1 $20.00 Tim Horton’s Gift Card

                VALUED AT $80.00

    *Whenever you order Goodworks Jewelry use the Promo Code: sherrystahl and you’ll receive a 5% discount.  Goodworks Jewelry provides me with a referral fee to help fund the ministry.

     

    Todd and I posted a #FacebookLive Video
    Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 12:30pm
    On My Sherry Stahl Author Page Click on the video image to watch.

     

    WINNING IS EASY!
    ON THE DAY THE PRIZE YOU WANT IS BEING FEATURED make 3 Comments:

    1. Comment on the ‘Mother Blog’ by Sally Meadows https://sallymeadows.com/blog for one ballot.
    1. Click on the link to go to the author’s BLOG (hopefully mine!) and leave a Comment under the post about their prize pack for one ballot.      (This post, if it’s my prize pack you’re vying for 🙂  )
    1. Click on the link to go to the author’s FB page and leave a Comment under the post about their prize pack for one more ballot.    (Be Kind and ‘Like’ their Page)

    Thanks for being part of the 7 Days of Great Canadian Giveaways. Please use the #greatcanadiangiveaways tag on your social media posts. 🙂

    WINNERS WILL BE CONTACTED VIA THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS PROVIDED ON THE AUTHOR’S BLOG COMMENT.
    *Email will not be made public or reused for other mailing lists.

    HAVE FUN!!!

    HopeStream RadioConfused at all or  just want to learn more?
    Listen to this Hopestream Radio Interview on the Contest:
    https://hopestreamradio.com/program/author-interview/

    CONTEST RULES
    ***Please note that Canadian citizens living in Canada ONLY qualify for this particular promotion.
    Contest runs from 8:00 am CST February 6, 2017 to 10:00 pm February 12, 2017.
    Entries submitted prior or after that time period are ineligible for the giveaways.
    For complete contest rules, please go to the event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/614924578714278/.

    Sally Meadows

     

    Sally Meadows
    Five-time National/International Award-Nominated Singer/Songwriter & Author
    Author of The Two Trees and Beneath That Star
    https://sallymeadows.com
    https://www.facebook.com/SallyMeadowsMusic

     

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  • When You’re Really Down

     Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!
                                                         Psalm 42:5, 42:11, 43:5  NLT

    Have you ever been so down that you thought you might never get up?  I was having one of those days.  My mind was spiralling into the depths of despair and I started to cry while working at my computer so, I decided to stop working and start relying.

    [tweetthis]This devotion is written for those times when you’re really down.[/tweetthis]

    I can totally relate to David’s feelings in these verses.  Can’t you?  David repeats himself three times because once just wasn’t enough.  Have you been there?

    That’s where I was this morning.  I started off feeling discouraged so I put on Christian music and that helped for a while.  Then the feelings came back and I got so sad I began to cry and let God know what was going on in my life (‘cause He didn’t already know!?!).

    [tweetthis]Sadly, I was magnifying my problems and not my God. [/tweetthis]

    I knew I needed to be more assertive on this attack so I decided to go upstairs and get into the Word.

    SCRIPTURE CARDS

    For the past few years I’ve been compiling scriptures on certain areas of struggle for me in these ringed cue cards and often find strength in them.  At first, I began to read the scriptures but that wasn’t changing anything.   I knew reading wasn’t enough to defeat the lies of the enemy swirling around in my head so, I got serious and began to declare those verses out loud; even inserting my name to personalize them.  I spoke these verses out like prayers to my God and kept declaring until it happened.  A verse almost leapt off the page and into my heart.  To be honest, I don’t think it really had much to do with that one verse but more with the compound effect of all the verses I had declared over my life that morning.

    Peace, joy and hope began to overflow and the discouraging sadness was broken.  I put my hope in God and now I’m singing His praises again!

    When you’re really down, you need to do something, heck sometimes you need to do a bunch of things.  Taking your thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ1 isn’t easy but when you do, you’re not down anymore!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for the power I can access in You and Your Word.  I’m choosing to Speak Your Scripture over my struggles; Your truth over my trouble.  I refuse to live “under the circumstances” of my life but to rise above victorious in Your Name, the name that is above all names!  In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]Speak Scripture over your struggles; God’s truth over your trouble.[/tweetthis]

    #Dare2Share
     Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else! 
    1. 2 Corinthians 10:5

    blogger prayerYOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms,
    FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell

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