"Eyewitness to Majesty" --Mindy Ferguson's Book Review

PeterI identify a lot with Peter.

He always seemed to be the one rushing in, talking without thinking first, and acting as he saw fit in the heat of the moment.

Yeah, I identify with Peter-a LOT.

"Eyewitness to Majesty" is a study about Peter, his journey from brash fisherman to powerful speaker for His Lord, Jesus Christ. Through her words, Peter becomes real; a fisherman with smelly clothes trying to provide for himself; not just another figure in the Bible.

Mindy captures the subtle, yet always life changing, experiences of Peter and his relationship with Jesus. We, in turn, are encouraged to see these parallels in our own lives--from the realness of our everyday messes into the plan He has for each of our lives.

The study is broken up into 10-weeks, with 5 days of study per week. The studies are short enough to fit into a quick 20-30 minute read, but meaty enough to give you something to ponder each day. It's suitable for alone-time or a group study.

If you're seeking to dig deeper into God's Word and His amazing transforming power, you will be pleased with Mindy's newest study, "Eyewitness to Majesty: Abandoning Self for Christ"

For information on contacting Mindy Ferguson to speak at your next event, or to buy any of her other books, please visit her website here

FTC Disclosure: Special thanks to Fruitful Word Ministries for sending me a review copy of Eyewitness to Majesty: Abandoning Self for Christ by Mindy Ferguson.

It Can't Be Just Me....

101_0032 It can't be just me... This morning, my fingers just wouldn't work. I don't have arthritis, but they just wouldn't do what I wanted them to do.

So I started talking to them.

C'mon fingers, work with me here.

In my mind, (of course), they started to talk back--

Oh yeah? Whadduya gonna do about it? You gonna fire us?

I thought...yeah, like you can find other work... then I snorted, Oh yeah? Look at the index finger!101_0034 There's always the blender!

It can't be just me, can it?

What Do You Want Me To Do?

When I hear the same message more than once within days, I tend to pay more attention.Lately, it's how God has been speaking to me, because He knows I've prayed, "Lord, make what You want really clear because I don't always get it the first time, OK?"

101_0027 As a writer, I am also a reader. This should come as no shock (at least I hope not!) as I have a blog and read others' as well. And there's still the stack of books on most flat surfaces in my home.

However, today, as I caught up on my e-mail reading, a post from The Christian Pulse warranted my attention. There was a post written by Charlotte Riegel entitled "Can You Help Me?" where she spoke of Jesus' question, "What do you want Me to do for you?" (Mark 10:51 NIV)

I addressed the same issue in a post back in the middle of December 2012--you can read it here.

Yesterday, I arrived at church very late. I woke up late, not feeling well, but I knew I wanted to break the habit of not going to church because I ...(fill in lame reason here).

(Before you get all up in my face about this subject, I know there are legitimate reasons for not attending church. I am NOT speaking of those reasons. I am speaking STRICTLY ABOUT MYSELF, and the lame reasons I SOMETIMES use for not attending church. My health issues have a lot to do with that; I assure you they ARE legitimate. However, I have found God speaks in definite terms, [i.e. Go here..., Do this..., thou shalt not...] whereas the enemy of our souls uses the same lies as he used on Eve, [maybe you shouldn't..., I don't think..., You better not...]. That being said...)

I knew my showing up at church would be an act of worship between God and I. He knows my heart, and He knew what it would take to get me out of bed and into the car for the 28 mile drive.

He also knew I needed to hear the message Pastor Tony was preaching.

I don't know if Pastor actually said the words, but I heard, "What do you want Me to do for you?" loud and clear during the message.

And for the first time, I answered Him. I answered Him with specifics, because He is very clear about things; no wiggle room there.

I'm waiting, with expectancy, to see how He's going to pull this one off. I have no doubt He will, in His time.

Read Mark 10:51 for yourself. I looked it up in the Message, NLT, KJV, Amplified, Living Bible, and NIV. The scripture is the same. (Remember, He DOES NOT change.)

What do you want Him to do for you?

My Confession

I have a confession to make. I hope you won't judge me harshly, as it's something we've probably all done, especially we women. I have been more "Martha" than "Mary".101_0021

I confess I've been more concerned with the 'things' in my life--(especially my office and my physical surroundings) than my time spent with the Lord.

OUCH.

Kinda hurts when He makes it that clear and personal.

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman name Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made...'Martha, Martha,'the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" --Luke 10:38-41(NIV)

I confess I've let 'things' keep me from spending time with my Lord, even today.

My intention was to do my devotional time first, then take care of the little things in the kitchen that always seem to pile up.

HA!

My day started with Bible reading, thanks to an app on my phone. It is not an in-depth Bible study I'm looking at, but it is God's Word, rather than birds with anger issues. Yet I found myself dozing back to sleep while reading.

Once down in the kitchen, my eyes swept along the counter needing a good wipe and the dishwasher needing to be emptied. The dirty dishes on the counter waiting to be cleaned lined the cabinet, like a marching band at the Macy's parade.

I couldn't ignore them; there was no room to prep vegetables for a smoothie.

(I confess this is my new way of getting more vegetables into my diet.)

As I pulled the bag of spinach from the bottom of the refrigerator, I noticed a brownish puddle near the bottom of the bins.

It appears the hamburger I bought the other day had leaked its contamination all over the bottom of the 'fridge. This necessitated me emptying the bottom half of the 'fridge, and cleaning and disinfecting the walls, drawers and shelves, causing a muscle spasm in my back.

I won't confess some of the phrases that passed through my mind at this point.

But midway through, I heard the reminder from God, that I still hadn't spent time with Him.

Surely after dinner I would have some uninterrupted time.

And then, while preparing dinner, I made two deep slices in my right index finger, requiring 6 stitches.

I have to confess, I was pretty bummed by this time.

Yet, as the words were barely formed in my mind, I heard the Lord ask, " Will you give up your time with me so easily?"

The enemy of my soul would like nothing better than keeping me away from my time with God. Oh no satan--you will not win this time.

And as I prayed, confessed my weaknesses, and repented of my wishy-washy behavior, I felt company. Jesus was here with me, after all. I expect Him to come to my aid.

I must confess my unbelief, that He will do what He said He will do.

How will you respond? What do you need to confess?

The Newel Post Finial Answer to Prayer

I love looking at decorating magazines.

I get ideas (sometimes too many at once!) and start to formulate how to replicate the pretty things I see for my home. For while I love to look at the catalogs I do not like the prices I see. I understand the value of the artisan's time in making some of the creations. I just don't always have the money.

A while back, I became familiar with a saying--"Lord, what can You supply before I buy?"

I knew He would supply ALL our needs; He had before and would continue to do so.

But what about the pretty things I saw in the catalogs? I didn't need them.

But I really wanted some of the things I saw.

One thing in particular, a large wooden finial (like for a fence post) caught my eye. They featured three sizes, from ten to about fifteen inches tall. They were painted wood, with a rich patina...oh, I could just imagine how perfect it would look as a book end on the shelf. I left the catalog opened to the dog-eared page, right on top of the other magazines in the basket. Oh how I wanted that painted piece of wood!

Gulp. It was $45.

But I still wanted it.

I started to ask God--could You supply this for me? I know it's a lot of money and it's just something to have... But I sounded lame asking, even to me.

I held onto the catalog for years; if I can't have the bookend, I can at least love the picture. It went into my box of things that lifted my spirits, put away on a shelf.

Three years later, while driving my mother to her doctor's appointment, a section of highway was roped off for construction. My eyes often sweep the roadside, looking for deer or treasures. I spotted some odd looking thing on one of the construction barrels on the right shoulder up ahead. (You should know I rarely, if ever, ride in the right lane.) As I pulled over, I began to grin.

There, on top of the barrel, was the finial, as it appears in the above picture.

I carried it back to the car, still grinning. My mother had no idea what I had in my hands or the story behind it.

Unable to stop grinning, I had a testimony to tell my non-believing mother on the 40 minute drive home. I showed her the picture when we got back home. Four months later, she gave her heart to Jesus.

O Lord, what can You supply before I buy?

What have you asked Him for lately?

A Beautiful Work

This was my studio today.100_9975 I have no less than 7 projects going at the same time.

I love this!

Although I am a mise en place (a French term that means 'everything in place') kinda girl, especially when it comes to my sock drawer, a messy studio is a delight to me.

It means I'm doing.

It means the creative juices are flowing.

It means I've gotten excited about my passion again.

It means I'm doing work I was created to do!

So I am not surprised to read in my beloved copy of "Come Away My Beloved" by Frances J. Roberts, these words:

"...There is work to be done, and I need you as a vessel through which to work......I want to do a beautiful work.......There will be inconveniences to be born, self-pleasing to be laid aside, and sacrifices and pain--but what a blessed reward I have in store! Yes, in store for you, if you are able to let Me use you the way I desire....

You are not unworthy; you are not unprepared. You have no reason to hold back...draw closer to Me, and I will pour My love out upon you......Lo, I wait for you..."

Chosen. For this. My work. 100_9979

Expectancy -- 2013

Have you ever had one of those days?100_9973 I had these great expectations...

Writing today's (Monday's) blog post was one task on the list.

I was going to finish some last bits of art projects,

mail some packages and letters;

lo -- 17 "things" could have ,theoretically,

been moved from

"to-do"===>"to-DONE"...

except...

I had been  called upon   compelled to pray for some of my friends today. These weren't the usual, "Oh Lord, bless my friend ____ today, give her a great outcome from ___.  And Please be with ___ as he goes through___."

 

Oh no. These were the gut-wrenching, sobbing, I-don't-know-what-I-can-say, O-Lord-how-can-this-happen? kind of prayers. The ones that stop you in your tracks and every fiber in your mind is thinking of your friend, picturing them wrapped in the Father's arms; His tears falling on their hair as He sobs with you on their behalf. And it was e-mail after e-mail and text after text. The needs kept coming, so I kept praying. I couldn't NOT pray.

 

 

I know a lot of people focus on a specific word for the coming year. I had never even heard of this practice, up until last year when the Lord impressed upon me the word determination. Determination kept me keeping on with what I knew, and still know, to be true.

My word for 2013 is expectancy.

I noticed, when I drive, I look to the sides of the road (of course watching where I'm going!). In fact, I was driving when the Lord and I had a conversation, and He whispered, " Yes,you look with expectancy".

I've learned to expect to find useful things by looking where others dismiss.

I notice. I ponder. But most importantly, I pray with expectancy.

Oh I still have a "to-do" list. And I'll keep at it. Unless He has something else (read: better) for me to do.

Because it's really not about me and what I want. It's about Him, His Kingdom, and what He wants.

At Peace? Or Is Your Nose Out of Joint?

I like to look at faces. When I saw this puzzle on clearance, I couldn't resist buying it.

She gets different hats, depending on the time of year and I change her jewelry occasionally.

Once when I was dusting her though, she got her nose out of joint.

She looked like she had gotten herself in a snit, as it were.

I giggled.

How easily we sometimes get ourselves in a snit; feeling our noses 'out of joint', due to a careless word or action.

Opportunities abound for us to get our feelings hurt--especially at this time of year.

Will we choose to live with our noses out of joint?

Or will we choose to live peaceably?

My Webster's defines 'peaceably' as "inclined or disposed to peace".

 

Today's reading in "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young starts with:

"As this year draws to a close, receive My Peace. This is still your deepest need...My abundance and your emptiness are a perfect match...Thank Me for My peaceful Presence, regardless of your feelings..."

Will we stay in our self-imposed snit?

Or will we choose His Peace--the Peace that passes all understanding?

 

The choice is ours.

T'was The Day After Christmas..

T'was The Day After Christmas100_9912 T'was the day after Christmas (at least at my house) Our bellies still full of cookies and grouse; The stockings, now empty, were thrown on the floor, With a half-eaten candy cane stuck to the door. Some children, still sleeping, at this stroke of one While others went shopping, hitting sales on the run. Yes, up before 7--it's shopping they went Seeking bargains. YES! Up to fifty percent! There's gift wrap and ribbon, tags and all kinds of doo-dads, The 'not-chosen' gifts that did not make this year's fads. "I'll stock up for next year! Yes, that's what I'll get!" I said as I stacked my cart full at Target. "My shopping will be done, I won't have to scurry Or go to the mall in that mad, insane flurry. Yes! I can be finished! In June if I'm lucky! And all will envy me!" (Won't THAT be just ducky?) But then I paused, my face froze in mid-grin; Had Christmas become just a battle to win? Something to be conquered; a contest? a goal? A competition for biggest and brightest of all? And what about Jesus? What would He say About the way we act around His birthday? Yes, we remember Him before that big day But after--how quickly we all turn away. "Thank goodness it's over!" "We've put on quite a show!" Then we all hunker down and wait for the snow. The rat race continues, empty faces return, Folks with no hope, no Jesus still haven't learned To seek His face daily, yes, each day of the year. Just ask Him in and He will draw near. We need to live it like we believe And not only show it on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve -- 2012

100_9914 I love and equally hate shopping. Before you think I'm completely oxymoronic-(the word isn't in my Webster's, but it ought to be)-let me explain. I love shopping at my leisure, poking in little shops, being delighted with a perfect gift for a beloved friend or family member. I dislike crowds and 'shopping for the sake of shopping', as it were.

I have to go out to the store today, right past the mall, which will be so insanely busy it will make my head spin. Traffic will be horrendous. I loathe going shopping on Christmas Eve, more than hitting the stores on black Friday.

Why am I venturing out on this so-hated day of shopping, you may very well ask?

Quite simply, because my son needs clothes while he's here, visiting.

Sigh.

You see, I'm one of those people who have all of their shopping done by...say, June. This tradition started when my son was small, and I simply couldn't afford to shell out a large amount of money at the end of the year. So, I would be on the lookout for unique, interesting items all the year through. This year was no different.

However...

My son is coming home for Christmas; he will arrive late afternoon on Christmas Eve (for his quick 36 hour visit), and he has casually informed me he is not checking a bag and won't be bringing many clothes with him--hence the last minute shopping trip.

We'll do almost anything for our kids, won't we? That sounds like another Parent I know.

A Parent we are told to cry "Abba Father!" to...(Romans 8:15 (NIV) (A Parent some of my friends call "Papa".) A Parent Who gave His only Begotten Son to die for my sins...(John 3:16 (NIV)

Christmas Eve has always stood out for me as the time to ponder with Mary, Jesus' mother, the miraculous birth--the Reason for this season. I doubt if I will see much of that in the crowds today.

But I do know, as I do this for my son, my son will be grateful.

And my Father in Heaven will see, and be pleased.

Make a point to ponder His birth this Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas!

What Does Your Jesus Look Like?

I remember this baby Jesus from my childhood. The rest of the Nativity scene is long gone, but I still have this baby Jesus. (This could be a post all on its own. But I digress...)100_9898 As a child, I remember asking my mother, "What happened to Jesus' face?"

Growing up in a non-Christian home, my inquiry was met with a vague,"I don't know.", "Don't bother me now.", or the old standby, silence.

Christmas was something we "did", not something we celebrated. We had to buy presents, because it was expected, even though we lived in terrible debt all year. We had to send cards, especially to those who sent us one--(we had a little book to keep track of such things). We had so many have to's, that I have a difficult time remembering happy times as a child.

But just over 26 years ago, I met Jesus.

My son is a first generation growing up in a Christian home. And he, like any small child, asked, "What happened to Jesus' face?" 100_9900

As an artist, I can appreciate the skill that went into creating this piece. The carving of the basket of Jesus' bed, the hay under Him; the finer details are lost but the art piece must have been fine in its day. It dates back before the 1940's. It's not plastic, or resin. It's made of a plaster-like product, but not as heavy. It's chipped, and a little dirty, for it's been handled over and over. 100_9899

"What happened to Jesus' face?" my son had asked again.

I smiled.

I told him, "I believe it's been kissed off."