Friday, June 27, 2014

What Time I Am Afraid

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  Psalm 91:1          

When I was a young child I was terrified of electrical storms. Hiding my head gave me a mild sense of comfort and protection, but the fear remained, lurking, ready to scream, “Boo!” at the next clap of thunder.

Time and experience has drained some of that fear. Still, while others may watch and marvel at the beauty and thrill of the fearsome storm, I still prefer the vague protection of my home. Yes, I know that a good thunderstorm “clears the air.” Yes, I know that taking reasonable precautions are valuable. Yet that lingering fear from childhood still makes it presence whenever the rolling thunder precedes the gathering storm.

Psalm 91 tells us that those who live close to God have a shelter. Unlike our earthly dwellings that provide at best, only a measure of protection, God’s shelter is perfect, constant and invincible. We can trust fully in its strength, rely on its stability, and never doubt that it’s the best solution for our worries and fears.

Brown not only has her debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel. November, 2014, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies.
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
 Contact me at:
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I'm part of other blogs:
Stiches in Time
The Barn Door Book Loft

Photo credit Lightning Bolt TheLensFlare

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WOW What a Walk!

I would have never guessed that 72 hours could change my life so dramatically. 

This past weekend I went on a Women’s Walk to Emmaus.

I was surrounded by a group of women who were united in one desire: draw closer to God.

We laughed, we cried, we laughed until we cried.

72 hours of being submerged in God’s lavish love.

There are no words to describe it!

I came home with a renewed faith and joy and with a deeper desire than ever to serve the Lord.

If you haven’t heard of the Walk or know of it but haven’t been, I can’t encourage you enough to find out about it.

It will truly change your walk with Christ.

To learn about this amazing adventure, click here Walk to Emmaus

Do you have a testimony about a time of remarkable spiritual renewal?

In case you missed my post on Friday, check it out! You might learn a thing or two from Scotch!

Friday, June 20, 2014

What Can We Learn From Scotch?

Johnnie Walker.

Recognize the name?

It's a brand of scotch.

Now, I’m not a scotch person. In fact, I’ve never tasted it.

But I saw one of their ads in the New York Times with this slogan"

The next step is the one that matters most.

I immediately thought of the Apostle Paul
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Philippians 3:13


What’s behind you?

Forget it!                                  

Paul forgot the times that he directed the arrest, torture, and murder of many Christians.

He left it behind him.

How hard is it for us to do that?
  • We continually look back at past sins and grieve.
  • We repeatedly ask for forgiveness for the things God has already forgiven and forgotten.
  • We look behind us at better times and yearn for what has passed us by.
  • We crave the simple life that has been swallowed up by the chaos of our everyday lives.

How did Paul turn from the guilt of his past?
He worked at it.

He submitted his life to the grace and forgiveness of his Lord Jesus Christ.

He choose to believe in God’s promises.

He set his face toward what was ahead.

Some of us say, “God can’t forgive me. You don’t know what I’ve done.”

God’s forgiveness and grace is infinite.

You can’t out-sin Him

You can’t exceed the power of His love.

If you turn to Jesus as Paul did, He will erase your sin with His mercy and grace.


Paul endured stoning, attack from Jews, forty lashes from jailors

Yet he stayed focused on God’s call.

Step by step, he walked on.

Day by day, he served God.

When we’re buried in sorrow or despair, we can’t see a way out.

But, if we focus our eyes on Jesus, we’ll move forward.

Step by step

Day by day

Each step in the first one in our journey toward tomorrow.

Yesterday’s steps are behind us.

Tomorrow’s steps are in God’s hands.

Just take each step, one by one, and let Jesus guide you.

How has Jesus guided you step by step?

Photo credit Messiah Life

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Knit 1, Purl 1

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalms 139:13

It’s bathing suit time…staring in the mirror at myself, God reminded me that I’m His masterpiece.

I love to do needlework: knit, crochet, embroidery, cross stitch…I do it all.

Tiny stitches on a needlework canvas form an intricate pattern and eventually reveal a beautiful picture.

 Rows of stitches from a soft yarn result in a comfy, warm afghan or blanket.

Whenever I sit down with bundles of yarn or embroidery thread in my lap, I’m always excited to watch the pattern emerge.

I have a picture in my mind of what I want it to be and I carefully make each stitch to bring my vision to reality.

I like to think I inherited my love of needlework from my heavenly Father.

Imagine His excitement as He wove the characteristics of your mother and father together to make the unique person you are.
  • Should you have brown eyes or green?
  • Should your hair be blonde or brunette?
  • Should you be a size 2 or 22?
With loving care, your Father knit you together. Over the months and years, His beautiful vision has come to life.

You are the unique masterpiece He had in mind when He made that first stitch.

How often do we look in the mirror and criticize His handiwork? Do we wish we were more patient or more outgoing?

Your crazy sense of humor…

Your hair that won’t behave when it’s humid…

Those hips you hate…


Everything about you was lovingly crafted into a work of art. God created you just as are because He wanted the joy of knowing you.

No one else is you. You are His favorite creation—and so is the lady who lives next door, the grocery clerk, and so am I.

The next time you decide you could’ve been designed better, imagine your Father’s hands forming each stitch…

knit 1, purl 1.
Knitting photo credit
Image in mirror photo credit Daily Mail
What is it about you that makes God smile?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Psalm 23: The Wonder of it All

I thought I knew Psalm 23.

I’ve read it a hundred times.

I’ve heard it read another hundred times.

I’ve quoted it…well, you get the point. 

Then, one day, as I was making my way through Psalms (for the hundredth time), I came to this familiar passage.

I felt God say to me,

“You’ve never really read this, have you?”
“Sure I have.”
“You’ve missed the layers of grace that enrich these words.”

And so I began the  that created this blog series.

God was right – isn’t He always?

David knew his Lord in a way few of us do.

His intimate relationship is woven through every word.

Through these verses, he worships the perfect, indescribable character of God.

There are too many to name but these are a few that spoke to my heart.
The links will take you back to that particular post.

This is where it all began.

The Lord is my Shepherd Psalm 23:1
He watches over me, He provides for me, He guides me.
He is all I need,

He leads me beside quiet waters Psalm 23:2
He refreshes me, He restores me, He calls me aside to rest.
He is my peace.

He guides me in paths of righteousness Psalm 23:3
He leads me, He teaches me, He disciplines me.
He purifies me

He is with me Psalm 23:4
He never abandons me, He is my light in the darkness
I am never alone

His rod and staff comfort me Psalm 23:4
I am always in His sight, He rescues me, He protects me.
He is my caregiver

He prepares a table before me Psalm 23:5
He sits me at the table of victory, even though my enemies still surround me.
He holds His victory banner over me.

He anoints my head with oil Psalm 23:5
He tenderly soothes me, He sets me apart as His own
I am His and He is mine
Jehovah M’Kaddesh

He blesses me and I will live with Him forever Psalm 23:6
He is the Lover of my soul, He is my salvation, He is my eternal life
He is the everlasting God
El Olam

And so this series ends.

I have never studied a passage that has moved me like this one.

I pray these posts have blessed you as much as they have me.

If they have touched your heart, please share.

As you read through Psalm 23, what verse blesses you the most?

"All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible" by Herbert Lockyer was my source for the Jewish names of God.
Names of God photo credit Kelly Wright
Shepherd photo courtesy

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The 7 Wonders of Psalm 23: Part Eight

Who said a series of 7 can't have 8 - or even 9 - parts?
If you don't believe me, ask Douglas Adams.
Look him up - if you haven't read his books, they're hysterical!

Most believe that this psalm was written during the years David fled for his life from Saul’s jealous rage. He hid in forests and in dark caves. 

Even in this difficult situation, David expressed total faith in his Lord.

Surely goodness and love (mercy) will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6

Do you hear the change in David’s tone?

He doesn't describe how the Lord ministered to him in the darkness.

There were no choices to make.

Instead, he proclaimed the certainty of his Lord’s promises, now and forever


We don’t use this word a lot today and when we do, it’s usually to express disbelief or dismay.

“Surely he won’t do that.”
“Surely she won’t say that.”

There’s no disbelief in David’s voice when he said, “Surely…”

He was filled with
  • Total confidence
  • Complete faith
  • Absolute trust.

Can you imagine? He’s in a cave, hiding from a man who wants to kill him.

If I were in that cave, I wouldn’t be talking about God’s goodness and mercy! I’d be shouting,
“Don’t You love me? Do You care??"

David didn’t freak out - He was confident in his Shepherd’s love and care

Goodness and love...

He believed God’s promise that he would be king of Israel and, in that assurance, he looked beyond the cave to the blessings that lie before him.
  • Goodness – kindness, abundant blessings, benevolence
  • Love – faithfulness, patience, forgiveness

We’ve all been trapped in dark caves – caves of sorrow, of pain, of hopelessness. We look around and fell overwhelmed with fear and desperation.

But, somewhere deep inside of us, our hearts echo God’s promises of goodness and love for us – at that moment and for the rest of our lives.

Promises built on His unchangeable character.

I will dwell...forever

David was running for his life but he didn’t panic – he placed his faith in God’s sovereignty and stood on the assurance of an eternal life spent with Him.

Now, I don’t think David said,

“Nah-na-na-nah-na-na! You can’t kill me because God told me I’d be king someday!”

He knew death was inevitable, but he found joy in the surety of eternal life.

He knew that he knew that he would dwell in the house of the Lord – that he would live with God as part of His family

For believers, there is no fear in death. We’re not expected to be excited about it but we know that, when we leave this temporary life, we enter into an eternal life as part of God’s family.

  • Goodness
  • Love
  • Eternal life
Surely God showers us with His blessings – now and forevermore!

How does surety in God’s promises enrich your life?

If you do not have this assurance, God’s reaching out to you. Find someone who can show you God’s love for you.
Photo credit: cave SimpleFoto

Saturday, June 7, 2014

7 Wonders of Psalm 23: Part 7

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;  my cup overflows. Psalm 23: 5-6

What an amazing statement of faith!

David trusts his Lord implicitly.

His enemies surround him.

They stand close enough to look him in the eyes.

In the presence of his enemies, he sees God’s rich blessings spread out before him.

Is he afraid? Probably.

Does he fear them? No!

He chooses to focus on God and His blessings.

David doesn’t just stumble on the table by accident.

God prepares this glorious table before he arrives!

Not only does He prepare this feast of blessings, He prepares David.

He anoints him with His presence: His peace, His strength, His grace.

David’s life is so overflowing with God that he faces his enemies with confidence.

Do we choose to respond like David when our enemies of despair, self-doubt, and hopelessness surround us?

God is with us!

He walks the path before us; He guides and encourages us.

If we choose to let Him, He will anoint our minds with peace, confidence, and hope.

These blessings are spread before us.

Choose Him!

Choose His blessings!

How has God blessed you during hard times?

I can’t stop…it’s just too rich! So, I’m steaming on to part 8.
Is it OK to have a part 8 of 7 wonders?
I hope so, ‘cause I’m doing it anyway!.
Photo credit  Dripping oil: zffoto via depositphoto
Photo credit Feast: Andrey Kuzmin via depositphoto

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The 7 Wonders of Psalm 23: Part Six

After a couple weeks break, I'm back at it. 

Check out a wonderful blog, The Stream's Edge by Jeanne Doyon
to read her post on the tools of the shepherd.

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4b

When you read this, what comes to mind first?

My eyes focus on that word rod and my mind flashes back to my childhood.

“If you do that one more time…” And I usually did.

“What did you just say to me?” And I’d repeat it.

Getting the idea that I wasn’t the brightest kid on the block?

A rod isn’t a comforting thing.

But, for David, God’s rod and His staff brought him security, peace, and a sense of God’s protection.

We must be missing something.

Remember that David was a shepherd at heart. He understood his Father’s love and care for His children.

The rod was a symbol of the shepherd’s sovereignty and complete responsibility over his flock.

With his rod, the shepherd counted his sheep and took special notice of them. He was aware of their needs at all times and the sheep could rest in his care.

When the lion or bear came to attack his flock, the rod was David's defense weapon.

David found comfort in the rod of sovereignty his Father held over his life. He trusted the Lord to hold him close in His heart always, continually aware of his needs. He knew that, when his enemies attacked, God's rod was there to protect him.

I admit I’m a control freak. I want to be in charge of what’s happening today and to make my own decisions for all the days ahead.

Because I don’t surrender to my Father and rest in His sovereignty, I panic when things don’t go as I planned. When I trust in God’s love and care, I can be at peace when life takes an unexpected turn. I can rest in knowing that God sees all of my tomorrows and that He is never taken by surprise. He is my sovereign Protector.

We might not all be aware of the shepherd’s rod but we all are familiar with his staff and its curve at the end.

Countless times, David would’ve reached out and caught the neck one of his straying sheep to protect it from wandering away from the protection of the flock. He would keep an innocent lamb close to his side. He was continually alert, ready to rescue his sheep from danger

David rested in God’s protection. He trusted God to guide his path and to draw him back to His side when he wandered into danger. He knew that God held him close when

David chose to find comfort in God’s rod and staff. He chose to rest in God’s sovereignty and to be secure in His protection.

Sometimes, the path we walk can be difficult. We can choose to panic and/or have a temper fit – like I do – or we can rest in our Father’s sovereignty. Trusting is hard when things seem to be falling apart. No one can teach us that lesson better than David. He trusted when things seemed impossible, when God’s promises went unfulfilled year after year.

Close you eyes and remember all the times God was with you in the past. Trust me, He can be trusted.

If your life is like mine, it’s peppered with some pretty dumb choices. I’m always sure I know where I want to go and what I want to do when I get there. I’m good at ploughing ahead but not so good at measuring consequences. I can’t count the times I’ve been skirting the edge of a cliff when God yanked me to safety with the hook on His staff.

He’s proved His love to me over and over. I’ve finally learned to check with Him before I make any rash choices. I still make dumb choices but I do a better job of hearing His warnings before I’m in too deep.

Remember all the times you’ve been rescued. All the times He’s protected you from yourself. Like David, you can find comfort in the Lord’s staff.

Photo credit Jesus as a Shepherd
Photo credit Shepherd with rod: Biblical Hermenuetics
Photo credit Shepherd with staff: Bible Fun for Kids

When have you found comfort in God’s sovereignty in hard times?

When has He rescued you from the mess you created by your own choices?