Friday, April 18, 2014

Judas and Peter

I posted this (and more) over on my stroke recovery blog, Stroke Of Grace, today, but wanted to share it here as well.

 
I've been doing some pondering on Peter and Judas. Both denied Christ. Both were eventually remorseful. One was reinstated and became the human man upon whom Christ would establish his church, the other committed suicide and was told it would be better if he had never been born. What was the difference? What of forgiveness? Shouldn't the impartial love of Jesus have extended the same grace toward both men?



I think the difference is, while they were both remorseful, feeling the weight of guilt and the anguish of denying Christ, only one was repentant and believed/proclaimed that Jesus is who He says He is (God in flesh, with the power to forgive/erase sin and redeem lives). Like the thief nailed to the cross on Jesus' right side, it was in this act of believing, of trusting that Jesus was more than just a "good man" (or "innocent man" as Judas confessed too late) but that He is God, that made all the difference!
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. - Acts 17:24
 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Lord Is My Banner

I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Diane Bailey, from dianewbailey.net. She has become an amazing encourager, someone that truly points to harvestable Truth and Hope in my life, so I'm thrilled to be teaming up with her to launch a new series on her blog today! (I apologize for the formatting issues in today's post. After several hours of striving to repair all these glitches, I've concluded that Blogger and I just aren't playing well together today! Please don't let my technical issues keep you from taking a couple moments to soak up the blessing of Diane's words!) Welcome, Diane! Thank you for letting me share your thoughts. I pray my readers are as deeply blessed as I am.


dianewbailey.net
 
I’m beginning a new series on this blog.  For the next few weeks I’ll post a name of God offer this blog as a place for prayer.
  
Our name of God today is Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord Is My Banner.
 
We have all seen the famous sculpture of the men at Iwo Jima raising the United States flag atop of Mount Saribachi.  Two men pressing the pole’s end into the ground, with three other men raise the flag high.  It is said, they raised the flag in hopes it could be seen on the neighboring island, where others were fighting; a sign of victory and encouragement.
 
 
Photos of Flag Raising Credit – Wikipedia
 
Moses stood on a hill with his hands raised high as Joshua and his army battled the Amaleks below.  As Long as Moses’ hands were lifted high Joshua’s army would win, but when his hands were lowered the Amalaks would win. 
 
Photo credit: Bing Images

When the battle was finally over, and the victory won, Moses built an alter to the Lord and named it, “The Lord is My Banner."
 




Jesus reminds us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you will have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
 
In all of our tribulations, God buries a pole beside us with His flag of victory waving above our head.  In Christ, you are more than a conqueror. 
 
 
 
 
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
 
His banner over you is “Victory,” and His banner over you is “Loved.”
 
 
 
 
 
How can we pray for you today?
 
 

blog: http://www.dianewbailey.net
      twitter: @dewbailey
      Email: diane@dianewbailey.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Finish Well

It has taken me a few months, but I just finished a full edit of Harvesting Hope last night. I found six chapters (out of 15) that either need some re-writes, additional new material, or just some simple finalization and finishing. If God wills, we are just looking at a couple more months before I start actively seeking a publisher for the manuscript. I just posted some specific prayer needs and my current health update over at Stroke of Grace and would be so blessed if you will partner with me in praying that I finish this stage well and that God throws wide open doors with the publisher He has already ordained for this project.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Are You Living Like the Resurrection Fern?

Are You Living Like the Resurrection Fern? - beautiful description of hope in  heartache!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Else Am I Writing? Glad You Asked. :)

People are continuing to find me through various sources and surprised that they didn't know it was "me" all those different places. So to help everyone find me, I want to list the projects and places I currently remain active so you can easily find me. (Technically, I'm registered for over 30 blogs, but some I don't keep current anymore, some I per-registered for names of probable future book projects, some are titles I know people to search for me by and just redirect to other active blogs, etc.)

From Facebook - I do this a lot!
So here's where to currently find me actively writing, cup of tea on the side table next to me (picture from around my home to mentally picture the process):

Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage and Adoption Loss (book published by NavPress, 2005, ISBN-10: 1576836541; ISBN-13: 978-1576836545) . Hannah's Hope blog and Pintrest pages on infertility, miscarriage / loss, adoption. Facbook at https://www.facebook.com/HannahsHopeBook

InfertilityMom, blog on motherhood after infertility and loss. My motherhood pin board (along with those just listed above) probably best fits this audience. Homemaking too. :)


My current book project, a harvest-themed devotional study on the fruit of the Holy Spirit, especially in the face of trying times, working title Harvesting Hope from Heartache and the accompanying Harvesting Hope blog and Harvesting Hope, fruit of the Spirit , gardening, roses, and spiritual warfare Pintrest pages. Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HarvestingHope


Of course, Stroke Of Grace, my unfolding stroke recovery journey blog. I hope to write an accompanying book if future years. On Pintrest, there are several specifically related pages: stroke-related pictures and thoughts, why I'm homesick for Heaven, therapy and exercise, my struggle to find purpose, thoughts on grace and glory and a great collection of brain images. Facbook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stroke-of-Grace-by-Jennifer-Saake/339888582731687

From Facebook
A future book project, currently titled Given Me a Thorn,a study on the life of the Apostle Paul as comfort, encouragement and resources for living with chronic pain and/or illness. Pintrest pages at Natural Health and Chronic Illness, Gluten Free, Latex Free, and Given Me a Thorn. Facbook at https://www.facebook.com/GivenMeaThorn

A page I have let fall fallow since the strokes, I hope to revive again, InnerBeautyGirlz, tips and tricks (and even some give-aways) for outward beauty, but with an intention focus on the heart and soul.  I have, however, really been building my Pintest page on this beauty this year, a reflection of my own struggles both physically and emotionally/mentally, to accept God's perspective on me in my brokenness. Facbook at https://www.facebook.com/innerbeautygirlz


Find me on Twitter at @InfertilityMom. I would love to invite you to follow all my Pintrest boards (several more, not listed here, like Social Media, various holidays/seasons, Japan (special board on Koi fish), Tips and Tricks, romantic bicycles like the ones above and below,  my heroesJust Because... and much more) at /InfertilityMom.

From Facebook
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. - Psalm 51:17

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lessons from a Rose Garden


Edited to add a picture I drew, based on this post, as part of my stroke recovery therapy process.
This weekend, I posted a long update on my  stoke recovery blog, Stroke of Grace.  I wanted to share a portion of that post with you here, because, while not a topic directly addressed in my upcoming book, it will give you a taste of the "flavor" you might expect to find behind the devotionals in Harvesting Hope from Heartache:

God decided yesterday's gardening hours were a great living object lesson time. I had one really huge, really wild and overgrown, totally healthy [rose] bush. This spring it has gone crazy, throwing out lush stalks several feet long in all directions. It looked so vibrant, it seemed a shame to prune it at all, but it had grown so intently that it totally blocked a walkway between it and the next bush. I could find very little to prune for the health of the plant, but knew the only way to both reclaim my pathway and to encourage voluminous blooming of the whole plant later this spring, would be to bring the unshapen plant under the harsh cuts of the pruning sheers while the sprouts were young and pliable today.

After clearing out a very few branches in need of pruning, I took some well-planning, but perhaps seeming brutal whacks at the path side of that plant, adding dozens of feet of long, strong, beautiful, thriving branches to my discard pile, taking that side of the plant down by half or more in size.
June, 2013: end result of pruning!
I told God that it seemed amazing that rather than shocking the plant to death, I knew my actions were simply to bring around more intentional design and purpose, resulting in a more pleasing and fruitful bush. The more pruned, the more plentiful the expected flowering later this spring and summer.  He replied to my heart, "This is what I am doing in you!"
Once I had that first side molded to my design again, it occurred to me that now the plant looked pathetically out of balance, lopsided, so I continued hacking my way around the whole bush until it was beautifully rounded, but only a shadow of the lush plant I had started with. Still, I am confident that in a month or two, the pain I inflicted today will result in a multitude of glorious blossoms in my healthy, well-grounded bush that no longer risks uprooting in our violent wind storms, like the tumble weeds that roll down the street, much too substantial in size for their relatively tiny root structures to hold them fast in place.

The more I thought about it, God seemed to explain that my life was much like that rose bush, wild and thriving and chasing after every opportunity to stretch and send out exploring fronds. It took ten years of infertility, losses, and decades of chronic illness to begin to tame me, but while I didn't enjoy the pruning process in the least, it was necessary so that my vigor for life didn't lead me so far out of God's intended design that I couldn't accomplish the purpose He intended me to fulfill. It wasn't that those passions were unhealthy or unwise, but the abundance and scattered directions threaten to leave my roots unstable, thus becoming undesirable in their very abundance.
 
 Once that first season of pruning was brought toward conclusion, I had one area of my life mostly trained into obedience, but that seemed to make the rest of all my wild longing more prominent. I see the additional shaping of this strong, healthy plant as my strokes, the ongoing recovery journey toward recovery, and our private family battles. I have been left shattered, violently pruned under the often seemingly unkind hand of the Master Gardener, but he knows that the only way to refocus my many thriving branches (abundance of gifts I had been blessed with, such as a signing voice, playing my flute, the ability to gracefully communicate with both hands via Sign Language, physical beauty, artistic expression through a variety of crafts and mediums I can no longer physically manage, the abundance of home-based business I have tried my hands at over this past decade, even the continued homeschooling of my children, and so much more I haven't even had time to identify yet) is to remove all that fall outside His intent for my life, to not leave me all those opportunities for "chasing after the wind," but bring me down to the bare essentials and start the training process anew (if I had to guess today, I think the critical areas God would have me focus on now would be family, home, health recovery, and writing that may eventually lead to public speaking) so that I may eventually harness that untamed enthusiasm and bring forth a bountiful harvest under His intended plan. I get it, more clearly than I ever have, God. 
Jennifer Saake, last professional picture taken pre-stroke, October, 2010.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Not Be Anxious

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV