Oh My God You Are Really Real – Cover Reveal

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Introduction for my new book – to launch the end of March 2018

Inspirational true stories ignite hope in all of us. They stir us to believe in a creator who loves. A God who is good and shows us in ways that explode unexpectedly right before us. At those times, we are made acutely aware of HIS love, HIS goodness, HIS presence and HIS reality.

True inspirational stories come from you and me; everyday people living everyday lives. Some are miraculous and ALL are the intimate hand of a loving God.

These stories can be as simple as finding scraps of wood to keep your home warm. An unknown person stopping to offer cash for a broken-down old car – just when you desperately needed to buy groceries, or thrift store shopping for a new job with no funds, only to find money in that used jacket. Then there are the stories we think of as the “big” ones.

Just a few of those “big” ones might be – a stroke victim miraculously seeing after permanent blindness was diagnosed; permanent spine damage instantly healed or the ability to forgive deep physical and emotional betrayal. Each of these stories will change lives. They affect those involved, those that surround them and those that hear their stories.

True stories open your eyes to see a God who is REAL! Once eyes are opened to believe, it is very hard to unsee Him. Belief begins to emerge and suddenly the reality of our Lord Jesus is standing before you – asking you to accept who He is.

Step into the pages of this book expecting to see a GOOD God – one who heals, protects, provides, speaks and transforms everyday people. Allow these true stories to encourage, bring hope and spark belief within your heart. Watch as your encounter with Jesus takes on a REAL aha moment of transformation in your life.

As you become conscious of Him, your perspective will forever be changed – His love, His presence and His reality will become the forefront of your existence and suddenly from deep within you, you too will say, “Oh – My – God – YOU are really REAL.”

“Encountering Jesus leads to a real moment of real transformation. He’s real! He’s not just a story to be believed, nor a philosophical truth to buy into. When you meet Him; you meet His goodness. You discover who you were truly meant to be because you’re walking with Him. Let this testimony rise up in your heart: God is good!

I am loved!

And my life is in His hands!

Today, press into a fresh knowledge of His real-life mercies until you are changed. Celebrate what He has done for you. Know that He has prepared a way for you to possess life. As you walk with Him, make it real, and then you will find the transformation you’ve been looking for.”

“Pastor Jim Sheen – Zion’s River – Tacoma, Wa. (Excerpt from Believing Today – “More Than a Story” 10/24/17 http://www.believingtoday.com  / http://www.zionsriver.com) ”

“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19)

 

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Excerpt from: Oh My God You Are Really Real

Just a little taste of what you will find in this book.
It is full of true stories of when God shows up! Coming this Spring.

StormyBoat

The storm was intensifying and periodically a rogue wave tossed us sideways so far that the starboard cabin windows went into and under the water. The boat would immediately roll upright, which was very reassuring, but the contents of cabinets and drawers were strewn about and collecting in the corners of the cabin.

I could see the fear in my wife’s eyes as she crouched on the floor of the salon, holding on while holding back tears. Nolan sat consoling her, but I could still see excitement and adventure in his face. His joy gave me strength, and as we locked eyes I thanked him with a smile and nod.

I immediately turned to prayer, “Lord, please calm this storm and get us to port safely. Soon, Lord.”

Not a second passed and I again heard, “Trust Me.” But just as before, that was all.

Navigational charts showed a buoy marking some shoal hazards just outside the entrance to Oak Harbor. Visibility was poor and radar wouldn’t pick it up, so all eyes were searching the rolling seas for the buoy. The waves and winds challenged my ability to hold my bearing straight to the harbor, so we slowly zigzagged toward the entrance.

I attempted to reach the harbor by radio for confirmation of the entrance location, but wind, noise and static prevented that call.

 

 

 

How is Your Armor?

Version 3

Digging in a field for water several men unearthed a burial ground filled with treasures of ancient history. Artifacts dating deep into history were found – giving us a glimpse of the past as well as an interesting spiritual abstract.

Found among the Terra-cotta statues of warriors, and horses were found empty helmets and armor. Intricately designed yet left empty – these pieces were made from limestone, each with hundreds of carved pieces mounted together – never worn, but placed as a remembrance to the fallen. If these had been worn they would not have held up to battle for they would have shattered on impact. The standard helmet and armor where designed from leather – each piece cut and lacquered being layered and mounted together to cover and withstand the weapons of the time.

The inference is that those fallen were not adequately prepared for the battle.

We too must prepared for battle – How does that happen?

We prepare our helmets – making choices – first to believe in Christ’s blood and it’s redemptive power, then to study the word and to live a lifestyle of love and prayer – spending time diligently carving those pieces of leather – covering them with lacquer (the blood of Christ) to strengthen them and then layering and mounting them together. We also must allow the carving, lacquering and mounting of life’s journey – the pieces of our armor – to be fashioned by the Spirit of God, by His presence in our lives, and our faith to fight forward through the hardest darkest places that are often encountered as life’s journey marches forward.

Often life does not look or feel fair as life throws it’s twists and curves at us, but each of those twists and curves – if allowed – will become a piece of armor being layered and mounted – strengthening our faith.

My desire is to be found wearing a strong intact helmet and armor that has been designed by my Father’s hand, covered with the blood of Christ and strengthened by a walk of faith NOT one of limestone, that is empty, or shattered.

Fight forward my friend! Chose today how you want to march into battle.

Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (ESV)

Short-term Life in a Bud Vase

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     I love flowers, pretty much ALL of them, but my favorites are those with lingering intoxicating scent. In the NW, roses are rather temperamental due to our abundance of rain and most of mine end up bedraggled.  However, this year I decided to find the perfect one, pot it and plan to carefully tend it. The first two buds appeared and expectantly I watched as they began their slow burst into bloom. OH, what reward! They unfurled with glorious swirls of yellows, oranges and crimson with a smell that was heavenly. They spent several days on the stems before a torrential downpour came. As the rain began pelting down I darted out to protect them from destruction; the only way, was to cut them off and bring them inside. The scent that filled my living area was quickly released as they accepted a short-term life in a bud vase. They quickly opened continuing to show off their splendor of colors while their scent seemed to grow stronger.

     Each day I have sat writing in front of these beauties and I am blessed to breath in a scent that makes me smile – one that continues to grow as the petals start to fade. Now, the petals have begun to drop to the table, but the scent is still my writing companion. Now residing in a small crystal dish – their scent lingering as a little reminder that they aren’t gone.

II Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.(ESV)

     We, like my roses, live a short-term life in a bud vase. We show forth our colors (our gifts and talents) throughout that time, but do we leave a continual aroma? Is ours one of sweet enjoyment or do we carry an uninviting one? What is our life changing fragrance that lingers and intoxicates? With Christ as your eternal life source you become that sweet intoxicating aroma that draws life and invites others to partake. Without the presence of Christ as your focus, your flower is beautiful but the scent, like my Daisy’ is not one that others desire.

     Our time is fleeting, limited and fading but when you walk this life journey spreading the fragrance of Christ, you will be as my fading roses – a scent that will linger as a reminder that through Christ, you are present – now and forever.

     Step into a new life with Christ and allow your fragrance to become a sweet intoxicating aroma as you walk out your journey of short-term life in a bud vase.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (ESV)

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – I Don’t Know This Person at all!

In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me. As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away.

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I recently was given a birthday gift that shocked me to my core; a simple blank black notebook. It had been lovingly filled with comments from people who know me – those from high school, those from different states and different churches, those I have worked with as well as family, friends, kids and grand-kids. It was a very special gift. The next morning I picked it up with tea in hand and proceeded to enjoy this gift. Not expecting the impact it would have, I sat down to read this little book.

For the next hour I sat with Kleenex in hand as tears seeped down my checks, a few smiles and chuckles erupted and one or two outright sobs escaped my heart. I was confused – these descriptions didn’t match whom I see. It was like looking into a mirror and not recognizing the reflection looking back.

I set the book down – contemplating, meditating and asking God’s explanation of this dichotomy placed before me. Soon this question was stated as I prayed – “Ok, God what are you showing me?” “I don’t know this person at all, is this who I really am?”

I soon realized that this little book was a gift that was a glimpse of me through the eyes of Jesus. The person I have seen is so different. I have been looking at me with an out-dated blocked lens. Who I have become is no longer me, but Jesus in and through me.

As a Christian we always hope our light will shine and that the love of Jesus will permeate our lives but my thinking has been “it’s just me”, “it’s just who I am”.

“How do I see this person when I don’t know her”, I asked? His quiet loving response resounded in my heart like an explosion, as He whispered, “It’s just me – it isn’t you. It is my transformation as you have yielded time after time to my love”

In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me.  As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away. Over years of life, this faith has created and transformed me into who I never really saw. The emerging transformed person is no longer “just Judy” – but has begun to shine out as “just JESUS”.

Do I shine out Jesus every day? Nope – I have to lay my human thoughts, words, desires, and actions down every day. But I believe He has shown me a glimpse of me through an unexpected mirror held up in the hands of those in my life, and I am humbled by that possibility.

I Corinthians 13:12-13 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then fact to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV))

Fight – Forward

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When we are weak and weary

where do we find that strength to stand up again?

What does it mean to be strong?   To be strengthened?

Somewhere deep inside of us is a HERO. The “I can do it” spirit waiting to keep on moving, keep on taking the front line of battle. This warrior is destined to win and the war cry of “Fight Forward” erupts.

Just when we think we are at the lowest place, the most helpless and unusable – we reach down inside of our spirit and are able to pull out that one tiny bit of hope to rally – to take the hill one more time, to rescue the other one that lays prone before the enemy’s attack. That hope, that strength doesn’t come from us – it is from the Spirit of God. The story Brave Heart is a great one to ruminate over – His purpose wasn’t about him, his desires or needs – it was for a greater (much greater) cause.

Being on the front line requires us to take hits now and then, some are minimal and we keep moving forward. Some require us to be carried for recovery to the rear. Then there are those that are near fatal and require major homeward bound recovery, rehabilitation and re-purposing of what and where we thought we were going. During each of these we must reach inside, dig deep, pull from our faith and trust in Christ. Here we find strength, to be strong enough to stand up again and overcome.

Often, we too, whine and complain about “our” weaknesses, inabilities, and needs – when what God is asking from us is to look outside of ourselves and see what He is calling us to. His desire is for us to be the Hero for someone else, to bring glory to His name. When we chose to see Him only – respond, rise up, and fight forward for others – then all our stuff will fall away. When we dig deep inside, we will find the ability to stand up, take the next hill, and rescue the broken before us. At that time, we will walk in faith toward the fullness and abundant life He has for us. Will our lives miraculously be healed or made whole? Probably not, but it’s in this place we will find strength – we will be strong – not in our own strength but in His.

Every human spirit has a place where they can reach inside to “keep moving forward” but there are times that just like the energizer bunny – the batteries must be changed. We can accept that, wait on the Lord and those He places in our lives for that purpose or we can wallow in this rough spot and lose hope.

My choice, my cry is one of faith in a God who is good to me ALL the time – and I shout “Fight Forward”.

Ps. 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (ESV)

2Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (ESV)