He. Is. Not. Here.

He is Risen!! Just like He said.

It’s Easter Monday. We celebrate our risen Lord! This year, Jeff and I have been fortunate to celebrate with my sister Sue. She’s visiting from New Brunswick. We’ve had a fun long weekend with her. We’re still enjoying her visit, so I’ll be posting a blog I wrote a few years ago.

Have you ever wondered…what if…the tomb wasn’t empty?  Check out my blog and let me know your comments.

Happy Easter! See you next Monday!

suedar

Sue and I on Easter morning in our Sunday best! :D

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 21, 2014, in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Heaven Through the Eyes of a Child

“Is heaven a hope or as real as the earth and sky?” – Todd Burpo

Is our faith big enough to believe there is a heaven and that it IS for real? Or do we, as adults need to figure everything out and rationalize it? I believe we do.

heaven 2

This is why I feel we need to see Heaven is for Real. This movie touches our hearts and helps us regain our child-like faith. Faith that looks at heaven through the eyes of a child. Listen to this quote from Pastor Todd Burpo, author of the book of the same title.

“God just knew the world needed a kid to talk about heaven and it’s only God who could come up with this, and He did.”

Perfect!

“All the colors of the rainbow are in heaven. Except they’re all….more.” Spoken from a child, trying to get his father to picture heaven. Four-year old Colton Burpo is rushed to the hospital with appendicitis and not expected to live. Miraculously he does and starts to share his experiences of sitting on Jesus’ knee.

heaven

At first his parents shrug it off, but after Colton starts to share things he could never have known unless he indeed did go to heaven. Their hearts are stirred. Could this be true? They dig deeper and come to believe.

Soon the town starts to hear Colton’s story, including the media. When asked what heaven looks like, Colton answers, “Like here, but even more beautiful.”

This movie is based on a true story and will grip your heart, not letting it go. The acting is superb and while there are a couple of slow spots, the storyline moves along nicely. The cast includes some popular names, such as:

Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo (Rake, The Kennedy’s)

Kelly Reilly as Sonja Burpo (Sherlock Holmes, Flight)

Thomas Haden Church as Jay Wilkins (Spider-Man 3, All About Steve)

Margo Martindale as Nancy Rawling (The Millers, Justified)

Colton Burpo is played by newcomer, Connor Corum. He is so cute and did an amazing job! I think we’ll be seeing him in more movies.

Finally a movie the entire family can enjoy together! It’s exciting to see Hollywood bring films like this to the big screen. We need to support it. Go and see Heaven is for Real.

And believe.

Heaven is For Real – Official Trailer (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

**I had the opportunity to attend an exclusive sneak peek of this movie courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and Sony Pictures Entertainment in exchange for my review.**

The Questions – guest blog by Rita Appel

Fat, lazy, stupid, slob

Useless, unwanted, burden

Never amount to anything

For a lifetime

I listened to these words

Made them mine

Heard them

Over and over in my mind

Making them real

rita poem

Until now

I can’t tell where they end

And my thoughts begin

Afraid to believe

Not daring to hope, unable to trust

Fearful and afraid

Where do I go?

Who can I trust, who do I know?

Who will love me for me?

My child.

Wait, what did you call me?

My child, I will love you for you.

Why, what must I do?

I have loved you from the beginning of time.

There must be a catch.

What do I need to do?

Nothing.  I created you and love you as you are.

What?! With all these imperfections?

rita poem 2

Why? Why me?

I chose you because of who you are.

What?! Is this a bad joke?

But why me?

Aren’t there others better suited for you

And your needs than me?

No, I want you

Because through me all things are possible

When you lean on me.

When you trust me

You can do the impossible

Through me

Most importantly

Remember, my child, I am ALWAYS there

Because I love you

I love you

You are my child and always will be

THANK YOU!

Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Thank you Rita for this beautiful poem! I know we all wrestle with insecurities. It’s so tough! I pray Rita’s poem has been a blessing and encouragement to you.

How has God helped you with your scars? Share with us so we can be encouraged.

From My Playlist – Take Him to the Place

She lifted her prized orchid and smiled. It had taken first place in this year’s contest. The periwinkle blue bloom captivated everyone’s attention.

The phone rang causing her to jump. The orchid slipped from her fingers and crashed to the hardwood floor. The pot shattered leaving the roots exposed.

She gasped. Questions ran through her mind as she raced to get a new pot. Could she save it? Would re-potting help it survive?

The next day she glanced at the drooping orchid. So far the withered flower hadn’t responded to the treatment she tried. Time to leave it alone and see what happens.

A week later she snuck a peek and yelled. The blue orchid smiled back. She pumped her fist. Yes!

New life had begun.

Have your dreams been shattered? You’ve put your all into something only to have it fall apart. Again. Or perhaps, you’re watching someone going through this right now.

We’ve all been there at one point or another.

How do we react? How do we bring ourselves out of the depths of this pit?

I would hazard a guess to say that sometimes we like to stay in it and have a pity party. Sounds harsh, I know. However, it’s true. I’m including myself in this scenario.

Is this wrong?

I don’t believe it is. What? Don’t stop reading. Stay with me.

dead thingsIt’s part of the process. We’ve just had our dreams, hearts, and plans for the future shattered. Or perhaps we’ve lost a loved one. We need to allow ourselves time to grieve. If we don’t, we’ll stay stuck in the pit for a long time and become bitter. Then no one will want to be around us. We need to move on after we’ve grieved. I’m not saying we shouldn’t forget, but we need to forgive, accept the circumstance, and then move on. This is not easy.

The hard part is knowing when and how to climb out. 

We need to take our hurt to the Place where all things are healed. To the only One who can give us rest and peace.

This song speaks truth. This line says it all:

“Watch dead things live again
for one touch of His grace
And its all washed away.” 

WOW. One touch can do it all.

How about we reach out and fall into the Healer’s embrace? It doesn’t matter where we’ve been or what we’ve gone through.

We will find total serenity in His arms.

Have you been stuck in the pit? How did you climb out? 

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Take Him to the Place (by Aaron and Amanda Crabb)

A friend sent me this song and I fell in love with it. The words are powerful. Thanks, Carm!

Do You Remember When…

Do you remember when…you rode your first bike?

Do you remember when…you played hide and seek?

Do you remember when…you went to camp and had a ball with other kids your age?summer fun

The list could go on and on, couldn’t it? I remember our family used to love to go camping (we still do!). Mom and Dad would pack up our soft top trailer, us kids, and head out with our friends, the Smith’s. We traveled many kilometers and had SO much fun! It brings a smile to my face.

Where have the years gone? Do you ever wish you could go back in time and relive some of those amazing memories? I do!

Murray and Susan, do you remember when…we played for hours in our tree-house on Harrison Mountain? What joyous times those were (even if Murray picked on me)! :D

Do you remember when…

You fill in the blank.

 

Share your favorite childhood memory. I would love to hear from you!

 

From My Playlist – I See Grace

A woman with matted hair and a tattered coat shuffled up the aisle and onto the platform to join the others gathered on stage. The pastor had called those who wanted to share their cardboard testimonies to the front. He only expected a few, but twenty stood in a row with shoulders pulled back and heads held high, ready to share how God had worked in their lives.

The pastor smiled. “Let’s begin.”

Grace Greater Than Our Sin filled the sanctuary. The congregation sat in silence as the individuals on stage raised their cards.

A young woman’s card read, “Cancer.” She turned it around. “Healed.” The next one said, “Alcoholic” then “Delivered.” “Adultery” then “Forgiven.”

One by one the simple words displayed God’s grace. The last woman on stage stood on her tippy toes to lift hers higher than the rest. “Homeless.”

She whipped her card around and smiled with a toothless grin.

“Shelter.” She pumped her fist in the air and yelled, “Yes!”

The congregation jumped to their feet and clapped as the pastor sang the final verse.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace

Have you ever sat in silence in your church and looked around at those gathered? What did you see?

All kinds of people with struggles—rich, poor, young, old. Each with a different story.

But each with one thing in common.

i see grace

Grace.

We all deal with trials differently. Some try to hide behind the crisp pages of their Bible, pretending everything is okay when it isn’t. They look like they have it all together with their beautiful clothes, wide smiles, and eloquent words. Why do we create a façade?

Others display their struggles for all to see like a peacock spreading its beautiful feathers. They want others to hurt like they do.

Which category do we fall into? Do we look at each other and judge the cover but forget to open the book and dig deeper?

We’ve all had trials, but through them God gives us grace.

This song by Jim Brady captures it beautifully. He tells of a YouTube video where a church is displaying their cardboard testimonies. Each has a struggle, but each delivered by God’s grace.

I love these lines of this powerful song.

 

 There are those in this life who’ve been dealt a poor hand

They’ve overcome and by God’s strength they stand

Those who have come through unbearable loss

Not defined by the past but defined by the cross.

When we look at the congregation around us, do we only see pain and sorrow? If we dug deeper, what would we see?

Grace.

John 1:16 (NIV)

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

Watch this video of those sharing their cardboard testimonies. What would your card read? Share in the comments.

I See Grace (by Jim Brady, Barry Weeks, Tony Wood)

Listen to these powerful words.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, please feel free to pass it along. Thank you!

From My Playlist – Dream For You

She held her breath as she double-clicked on the email. Would this be the one?

Words popped onto her screen.

Thank you for submitting your manuscript. Unfortunately, it’s not a fit for our publishing company. A number of factors…

She pounded the desk. Tears formed and her shoulders slumped.

Was she kidding herself? Perhaps it was time to give up on her dream. She just wasn’t good enough.

Was she?

Do you dream? I’m not referring to the images while you sleep, but dreams of aspiration. Something you want to accomplish in your lifetime.

I know you do. We all do.

The real question is…what are we going to do about it?

Many of us shy away from our dreams. Why do you think that is? Could it be because we’re too scared to step out of our comfort zone to make it happen? We don’t feel we’re good enough? We don’t think God will allow it?

Guess what?

He dreams for us.

He’s right beside us cheering us on, but sometimes we fail to see Him working for us. When things don’t pan out and we get rejected, we call it quits. We think it wasn’t meant to be. And yes, that could be the case, but do we give up too easily? Maybe the timing isn’t right. Maybe it’s our attitude that needs adjusting.

Maybe God has something bigger and better in store for us.

After all—He knows the full picture. We can only see the right here and now.

When we trust and let Him dream for us, He takes us farther than we ever dreamed possible.

 dreams 2

When I heard the song Dream for You by Casting Crowns, it made me chuckle. The first verse talks about David and his dream of becoming a big time shepherd. I love the line, “You’re the one who’s going to face him toe-to-toe, wipe that grin off his face.” Of course this refers to Goliath. I can picture that Cheshire cat grin disappearing from the giant’s face when the tiny rock hit his forehead.

Think about this. How can we even start to work on our dreams if we don’t face the obstacles in front of us toe-to-toe? We need to get those out of the way, give them over to God, and let it happen.

The second verse of this song talks about Mary. Like every young woman, she had big dreams of getting married and having a family. However, “even before time began” God had a “picture perfect plan.” He did for Mary and He does for us.

There have been numerous times I’ve felt like giving up on my dream of getting my book published. Defeat and discouragement took me on a roller coaster ride. Lies filled my mind. I’m not good enough. No one likes my writing. God isn’t using my gift. Do I even have one?

And then He would prove me wrong by sending words of encouragement my way. Why did I ever doubt Him?

What about you? Have you given up on your dreams?

God is stronger than us and will take us further than we ever thought possible. We need to give our dreams over to Him—he’s the ultimate dream maker.

When we do we will realize that…

There’s a difference between giving up and letting go.

When we surrender to Him, He will take us places.

How about we let Him dream for us?

What is your dream? Have you given up? Tell us your story.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Dream for You (Mark Hall, Matthew West)

Feel free to tap your toe on this one! Better yet, get up and dance—and start dreaming!