Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

See how you can get a free copy of this book below.

"Ooohhh, Grandma. You are writing in your book!”

“I know, but there are a couple neat things here I want to remember.”

As I thumbed through the book again, though, I discovered I had underlined and starred areas on almost every page.

I had no idea, really, of what to expect when I began to read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. I read the entire book in two days—an easy, yet very deep, very powerful read. I laughed and I cried. And when I put the book aside, I felt kind of a mellow inspiration.

I’ve had recent conversations with others about writing a new story, but I couldn’t really wrap my head around the concept.

Now I get it!

Don is forced into editing his past life when he works with a couple of screen writers. He considered the role he played in his story to date and realized he spent a lot of his time daydreaming. He acknowledged that his life was actually empty of real stories and felt the “absent glory of a life that could have been.”

He writes, “I wasn’t living any kind of sacrifice. My entire life had been designed to make myself more comfortable, to insulate myself from the interruption of my daydreams.”

And so he sets out to intentionally create a new life story filled with meaning, risk, and beauty. And he shares the stories of others who are doing that, too.

He reminds us that our own country is “connected by roads one can ride a bike down. If you watch the news and there’s a tragedy at a house in Kansas, that guy’s driveway connects with yours, and you’d be surprised how few roads it takes to get there. The trip taught us that we were all neighbors, that my life is connected to everybody else’s, that one person’s story has the power to affect millions.”

And he expresses that it seems as though God is saying, “Write a good story, take somebody with you, and let me help.”

If you want more meaning in your life, this is a must read. I am starting my second read tonight with pen and paper in hand as I begin to write a new story of my own. Will you join me?

I have a free copy of this book!  

Everyone who leaves a comment on this post between now and Saturday, October 3, will be entered into a drawing. 

Answer this question: Do you think it's possible to "write" a new life story?

Member of Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger Program

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Want to be a Stripper!

I want to be a stripper

No, not in the sense you're thinking. Although on occasion I've threatened to go "dance for Jesus" at the nearby Deja Vu--AKA "Girls, Girls, Girls." I figure folks would pay good money to see a 60-year-old chick strut her stuff. Might even bring out the news cameras and reporters. Then what? The View? Oprah? A movie deal?

Somehow I don't think God would approve. Even though David danced uninhibited before Him in the buff.

No, I want to be stripped before God and transparent to those around me. Not afraid to expose scars. Not afraid to reveal where I still hurt and struggle. Coming out. Not hiding behind fig leaves of shame or layered with garments of heaviness.

Like it was in the beginning when Adam and Eve walked naked before God. No secrets. Running free in the garden. No excess weight or baggage.

The apple spoiled all that. After they ate, they tried to bundle up and hide.

Years ago, Dennis and I volunteered with a mobile groomer and others to help clean up a bunch of dogs that had been kept inside a small house. Yes, inside. All the time. When we got home, we didn't deodorize (No Febreze in those days) or slip clean clothes on over the dirty ones. No, we furtively stripped at our back door before making a mad dash for the shower and lots of soap. And then we threw those filthy and smelly clothes away.

All of us pack on layers of some sort--not just to stay warm but also to cover the dirt.  To hide our pain and shame and guilt.  To protect ourselves.  To cover up small hurts and major traumas.

We wear our masks and polish our veneers.  We're afraid to expose what is under the surface.  Afraid to strip.  Afraid to be vulnerable.  Afraid to show our soft spots and knot holes.  Afraid we'll be judged or rejected.

We might burrow under emotional or behavioral blankets or lose ourselves in career, appearance, possessions, or even church busyness.

We dress up in pride.

We are not real with ourselves, with others, or with God.

Yet we can't hide from God.  Neither could Adam and Eve.

In the end, God provides the covering for His children.  From the hides of animals to a spotless Lamb.  The One who stripped Himself of everything on high to walk below.  The One who was judged and rejected.  Who was stripped, whipped, and humiliated.  And hung in the open for all to see.  By His stripes we are healed.  He is the One who welcomes us with open arms no matter how bad we smell.

Yes, I want to be a stripper!

Stripped of everything that separates me from true intimacy with God.  Of all the layers that insulate me from being who He created me to be.

Stripped of everything that entangles me and keeps me from running the race.

Stripped of everything that keeps me from being open, available, and transparent to others.

So they can see Him.  So that they, too, can run free.

By our stripes, others can be healed.

What do you want to strip off today? What stripe will you expose in order to heal?

P.S.  Sandi Patty is a great example of someone who has been peeling off layers.  Check out her book, Layers, here.  Also get to know Anne Jackson here.  She is another who has opened up and talked about "messy things" and is giving others the opportunity to do the same.

Scripture:  Colossians 3: 1-14  Read it in The Message.

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Facing Your Fears

The people of Israel were camped in the wilderness of Paran.  And God told Moses to send out 12 leaders, one from each tribe, to check out the land of Canaan.  They returned 40 days later bearing monster grapes on a pole between two men and lugging figs and pomegranates.

Yes, the land is awesome.  It flows with milk and honey, and just look at this fruit! 

BUT Moses...

It's scary out there!  The cities are big and fortified, and there are giants!  Lots of them!  We're like grasshoppers compared to them.  The land is a land that eats up its inhabitants.  We can't fight them or take possession of the land.  They're too strong for us!

And the people of Israel freaked out.  We should have died in Egypt or out here in the wilderness!  Why did God bring us out here to be stabbed to death and have our families become plunder?  This is just nuts!  Let's get us a leader and head back to Egypt!

Back away from the Promised Land!  Sound the retreat!  Run for your lives!

But then Joshua and Caleb stepped in and told them to calm down.  This land is great!  If the Lord is pleased with us, He'll bring us in!  We'll have those giants for breakfast!  Their protection HAS BEEN removed.  The Lord is with us.  Do not fear!  We can DO it!

And, of course, God was ticked off with the people because they had seen all the good stuff He'd done and still didn't trust Him.  He wanted to take them out then and there.  But Moses intervened, and God decided the grumblers could just stay in the wilderness and die--on the fringes of the Promised Land--and that He would bring their children in to possess it.

Except, of course, for Joshua and Caleb because they believed and took courage.

Read about it in Numbers 13 and 14.

Fear, whether it's real or imagined, is a scary thing.  Watch this powerful Turkish video. 

Google translated the title to "NEVER RETREAT."

I'm anxious to hear your comments on this!  I have a couple, but I want to hear yours first.

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes before you.  He will not fail you or forsake you."  (Deuteronomy 31:6 - NASB)

What giants are blocking your way to the land of promise?  Will you face them down and have them for breakfast today?

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Monday, September 21, 2009

Of Faith and Feet

Christian comedian Anita Renfroe slipped in basement flooding at the bottom of their stairs last night.  This morning she discovered she has a cracked tibia and will need a cast.  No doubt this episode will be worked into a great sketch.

I fell three years ago. 

The smoke alarm blasted us out of bed in the middle of the night.  I, of course, was on my feet much sooner than hubby and raced down the stairs to save the family.  I heard the crack when I hit the carpeted floor and looked up to see Superman leap over me in his race to shut off the weather radio.  No – there was no fire.  Just a thunderstorm warning.

As I rolled and moaned, Abby flew out of her bedroom to stand over me and gag at the blue balloon inflating on my ankle.  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” I whimpered.  I just knew I shattered it.

A consultation ensued above my head as to who would take me to the ER and who would stay home with a sick Gracee.  Abby woke up Jeremy, who was not into being snatched from his slumber.  Together they pulled me up. 

“I think I’m going to faint,” I gasped.

My very sensitive son, who was also taking a health education class at the time, rolled his eyes.  “She’s faking.”

While my husband got dressed – ever so slowly – Jeremy and Abby dragged and carried me down another short flight of steps, across the breezeway, through the garage, and threw me into the van. 

And left me – in the dark – while the thunder cracked and lightning flashed.

I felt the faint coming on again.  Hubby finally strolled out to the van.

“I think I’m going to throw up.”

He left me again.  And finally came back with a towel and a pail.  Thanks, honey.

After a tortuous exam and x-rays, the ER doctor pronounced only a sprain.  They twisted and manipulated my ankle into a splint, wrapped it, and sent me home with drugs.  And when we returned to the van and opened the door, the lights came on to reveal the pail my husband had grabbed.  The one he scoops dirty cat litter in to carry out to the field!  I'm so glad I didn’t need to use it.

Later that morning, I went to see my own doctor. 

“So how come it hurts right here?” I asked pointing to a spot on the side of my foot.

He hmmmm’d as only doctors can hmmmmm, and my sister-in-law wheeled me across the parking lot for another x-ray.

Doc’s response when he saw the x-ray?  “Ewwwwww!”

And thus began a round of visits to the orthopedic surgeon who decided he could treat the break without surgery and placed me in a hot pink cast, followed a week later by a big ugly boot because I couldn’t stand the cast.  This adventure lasted about 3 months.

I cleaned house for Jeremy’s birthday a few days later by crawling up and down stairs.  I learned how to pick up clothes from the floor with a crutch and toss them in the washing machine.  I actually lived in the basement, parked on the couch and continued to work on my laptop.  I only fell a couple of times in water Rose Dog drooled on the vinyl after slurping a drink.  I zipped through the Black Friday shopping crowds in a motorized wheelchair.

I didn’t have too many temper tantrums or too many pity parties.  I have a very busy family, and I learned to be very self-sufficient.  I depended mostly on myself.  Didn’t ask for much help.  But did feel a little sorry for myself sometimes when it didn’t come.

I didn’t believe the foot would heal without surgery.  But apparently, the way it broke and then healed made that bone even stronger.

So why do we feel sometimes like we have to go it alone?  When our feet don’t work, shouldn’t we allow someone the opportunity to put feet to their own faith?

Couldn’t have anything to do with pride, could it?  We crave help, but we won’t ask for it or we reject it and then we feel sorry for ourselves.  We get cranky because others can’t read our minds and take care of what we need before we know we need it.

We are such silly people.

Or maybe it’s just me. 

Anyway, I’m so glad there is ONE who knows what I need before I do and stands ready to take care of that need even when I don’t ask.  But sometimes He wants me to ask.  Sometimes Him.  Sometimes those around me.

Because it’s all about relationship and about giving up and about not trying to go it all alone.

I think He knew I needed to learn this lesson.  And my faith grew stronger.

Through brokenness. 

Through a broken foot. 

And He tempered it with laughter.  Because it is one of the funniest sketches in our family history. 

“First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (Proverbs 16:19 – the Message)

Have you ever struggled with asking for help?

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Friday, September 18, 2009

5 Ways to Survive Suffering

When tragedy strikes, how can you stand?  What can you trust in the midst of suffering?  When you are afraid, how do you keep from hyperventilating into the nearest paper bag?  When hope hides, how do you find it?

When you totter on the cliff of despair, you can maintain your footing if you drive your stake of faith into these 5 attributes of God.

Compassion.  He suffered.  He felt pain.  He understands.  And He weeps with us.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

Love.  God does not just love us.  He IS love.  Everything He does flows out of His love, and nothing comes to us that hasn't been filtered by His love.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 8:38-39 NASB)

Omnipresence.  Always present everywhere.  Available 24/7, even in the worst of times.  He inhabits every situation. 

"Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."  (Psalm 139:7-12 NIV).

Sovereignty.  God sits on His throne.  He controls what seems out of control.  He reigns over all.  Everything is part of His overall purpose and plan.

"The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all."  (Psalm 103:19 - NASB)

"I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted."  (Job 42:2  NASB)

Eternal.  He is the everlasting One.  The Alpha and Omega.  Who was and is and will be.  He is timeless.  His time is not my time.  My ways are not His ways.  He is "I AM."

"The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.  (Deuteronomy 33:27a NIV)

Do not run from Him when tough times come.  Don't close the door on Him.

Draw CLOSE to Him.

It works for me.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  (II Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV)
Are you in a struggle right now?  Will you stake your faith on these footings and draw CLOSE to Him? 

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sometimes God Shouts!

My baby was born 21 years ago today.

I was not there.  I did not see him take his first breath.  I did not cuddle him to my breast or stroke his hand or count his fingers or kiss his forehead that day.  I did not hear him cry, watch his eyes struggle to see the light or smell his babyness.

But God was there, and His plan was unfolding.

We came to parenting late.  I've shared a little about that here and here.  God used adoption to build our family.

Abby "interrupted" our lives at the point when we had given up and given over and began to make other plans.  I'll tell her story at another time, but she turned 4 in 1989.  She was a very social child--the kind who needed a sibling.  So we began the rigorous adoption process again.

All the while she prayed every night.  "God, send me a baby real soon."

We didn't cling to a lot of hope.  We worked with an adoption agency whose probing sometimes made us feel that they questioned our faith.  We teetered over the edge of their age limits, and we had made a specific request for a newborn infant girl because closets and bins brimmed with all kinds of girly things.  We lived in a pink world.  Besides, we weren't boy people.

And the name barrel overflowed with lovely girl names.  Only one boy name dripped in after months of nameless drought--Jeremy.  It had Biblical origins (Jeremiah) and overtones of my father (Jerome.)  We allowed that name to float there but told nobody.

One Sunday night, Abby changed her prayer. "God, please send me a baby brother real soon."

Our caseworker called the next morning.  "We have a 6-month-old boy we want you to consider."

My heart tumbled to my knees.  A boy!

No, God!

"He was born a month premature and has been in foster care.  He is now ready to be adopted, and we want to place him in a family where he will have an older sibling.  We want to bring him tomorrow so you can meet him and visit your pediatrician."

I was stunned.  This was so not in our plan.

But I knew we really had no choice.  I stammered, "What does the foster family call him?"

The response took my breath away.

"The foster family named him JEREMY--but you can change it if you want."

There was no choice!

Abby had a saying in those days for someone who was really special to her.  She would say, "So-and-so is my best buddy."

The caseworker and the foster mom brought Jeremy to visit the next day--dressed in a sleeper that had "My Best Buddy" embroidered over his heart.

Sometimes God shouts!

Yes, God.

Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own...never forget for a minute, you didn't grow under my heart, but in it!


"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 a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Have God's plans ever interrupted your plans?  Have you ever heard God shout?

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dreams and Baggage

I dreamed last night that a man had parked his pickup truck in our backyard, facing the house so he could watch me.  I had a sense it was someone from high school, but I didn't recognize him.  My husband and I were both uncomfortable, but we accepted his presence.

At some point, though, I was alone at home and afraid.  I tried to sneak out of the house and fumbled with the keys while locking the side door.  I crossed the breezeway into the garage and realized "he" had already raised the garage door.  Shaking, I managed to get in the car and tried to back out, but his truck was now parked behind me.  He actually tried to direct me out, but I could not budge without hitting his truck--which was filled to the top, overflowing with what appeared to be everything he owned.

Then he picked up a high pressure hose and began to spray water and soap all over my car.  I screamed at him to stop using that stuff on my car because it would damage it.  I tried to back up again, but it was hopeless.  Then I woke up.


But I've been thinking...

This man's stuff penned me in and blocked my departure.  How does the excess baggage we carry hinder not only us but also another person?  Can it stifle their dreams and block their progress?  Does stuff we carry that we don't need to carry make life a little heavier for a loved one?  Burdens that should be passed off to someone more able to bear them drag us down.  But can they hold others back as well?  Does our lack of rest make life a bit less peaceful for those around us?

Just thinking...

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  (Matthew 11:28 - NIV)

What baggage do you carry that is weighing someone else down as well? 

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Monday, September 14, 2009

Change - Ready or Not

I'm not ready for this.

I want to cling to summer just a while longer.  I didn't rock or swing on the porch enough.  I didn't swim enough or bury my toes in the sand enough.  I didn't walk or bike enough.  I didn't smell enough flowers or watch enough fireflies.  I'm not even sure I ate enough Dairy Queen.

Oh, I love the brilliant colors of fall, crackling leaves, bonfires, picking apples, hayrides, fresh cider, doughnuts (one or two), crisp air.

I don't like what fall portends.


Winter does hold its own magic.  The purity of white.  Snow sparkles in the moonlight.  Hot cocoa and buttered toast (or hot tea and cinnamon toast).  Baking my body in front of the wood stove.  An outdoor hot tub at the base of a ski hill.  Snow angels.  Squeaky footsteps.  Even blizzard excitement.


Sometimes bitter cold.  Shorter days.  Rising at night.  Occasional blankets of depression.  Hibernation tendencies.

Yet after winter comes spring.  And the cycle continues.  Predictable--for the most part.  One of the reasons we like Michigan.  Changing seasons.  A time and season for everything.

John Bunyan wrote, "It is said in some countries, trees will grow but will bear no fruit because there is no winter."

We need winter times.  We need change.  Changelessness means fruitlessness.  It portends a funeral.

Some changes sweep over us while we search for shells on the shore.  A child sent to war.  A life-threatening medical diagnosis on a routine visit.  A fatal accident.  A pink slip.

We anticipate some as we watch approaching storm clouds.  A parent placed in hospice care.  A disintegrating relationship.  Financial collapse.  A loved one who refuses to admit an addiction.

Still other changes are sought and welcomed.  Marriage.  The birth or adoption of a child.  Retiring or a new career.  A change in residence.

And yet even those changes are seldom easy.  In fact, "All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." (Anatole France)

How do we respond to change?

We can fight it.
We can resign ourselves to it.
We can embrace it.

I've learned:

When unwanted changes come, lean on the One who is changeless.
When change can't be controlled, lean on the One who controls everything.
When overwhelmed with change, lean on the Healer of Humpty Dumpty hearts.

To everything there is a season.

Come Fall.  Come Winter.  I'm ready now.

Are you?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  (NIV)

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reflections on 9-11 - Heroes

Gracee slept here last night.  She called me a little before 5 a.m. to investigate a shadow in her room.  She saw "a face."  And yes, her bathrobe crumpled at the foot of her bed indeed cast a face-like shadow on her wall.

Fear is accentuated in shadows.

I couldn't go back to sleep.  So I pulled a book, America's Heroes, from the shelf and immersed myself in the stories and the images of that awful day 8 years ago.

I was on my way to Bible study, rejoicing in God's goodness and looking forward to spending the morning with other ladies digging into the Word.  I heard the report of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center but did not grasp the unfolding tragedy.  As the church staff brought more news, we wept and we prayed.

The shadow of lurking evil smashed into our country in broad daylight and accentuated fear.

The whole world stopped that day.  Familes were changed in an instant.  Our lives will never be the same.

Evil hoped to shatter and break us.  But we bonded together, and fear birthed courage.  Out of the ashes and smoke rose those who gave of themselves and continue to do so for our freedom and for our safety.

America's Heroes tells the stories of those from all walks of life whose lives intersected in a moment--from the cave explorer who knew he could use his skills to crawl through the rubble finding safe paths for search and rescue, to the passengers of Flight 93 who rolled to save the Capitol or White House, to the chaplain who died while praying over a fallen firefighter, to the men who carried a woman in a wheelchair 68 floors to safety, to Roselle the yellow Lab who ushered her blind master and coworkers from the 78th floor into the light without hesitating, to trained and exhausted rescue dogs, to countless police officers and firefighters, to blood donors, to multitudes of others, including a president who kept his composure in front of a room full of elementary children. 

In the Pentagon, Army Lt. Col. Victor Correa "picked himself up from the floor" and ran down the hall."  He screamed, "Listen to me.  Listen to me.  Follow my voice."  And "folks started streaming out."

There is Another who calls through our personal smoke and devastation.  He is the One Who sacrificed everything for us.  If we listen to Him and follow His voice, He will dispel all shadows of fear and lead us into the Light.  He will give us the courage to stand in the face of whatever comes our way.  Our ultimate Hero.

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with surging."  Psalm 46:1-3

"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

Where were you when you heard? 

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Help Fight Child Trafficking

This issue grabs at my heart.  I have no words.

Can you find $9 today to help Born to Fly International help stop child sex trafficking?

"Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world." James 1:27 - Message

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review - Fearless by Max Lucado

"Be afraid.  Be very afraid."  We quote this warning from the 1986 horror film, "The Fly," in fun.

But real fear isn't fun, and we don't need encouragement to be afraid.  Fear permeates personal life situations like yeast.  News pundits feed it and knead it.  Fear hovers around us in financial disasters, terrorism, kidnappings and rapes and murders, H1N1, prodigal children, troubled marriages, natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, doubt, and death.

Max Lucado, in his book, Fearless, published by Thomas Nelson, reports that "ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients were in the 1950s." 

Fear stalks adults, too.

Max reminds us that "Jesus takes our fears seriously.  The one statement he made more than any other was this:  don't be afraid."

In his descriptive and transparent style, Max helps us examine and confront various types of hurtful fears that threaten to smash through our defenses and take control.  "Fear will always knock on your door," he says.  "Just don't invite it in for dinner.  And for heaven's sake, don't offer it a bed for the night."  He describes our greatest weapon against fear and ends the book by identifying the one "healthy terror."

Fearless speaks courage into our lives.  I would loan you my copy, but my markings, stars, and underlinings would distract you.  I see several rereadings in my future.  I plan to hold this book close.

If you are tired of fleeing fear or being fear-filled, you will definitely want your own copy.


Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Husband Tried To Kill Me

Did that catch your attention?  Not to worry.  No need to call 911.  I managed to escape.  Barely.

It's not the first time he's tried to do me in.  Two weeks ago, it was a 6-mile hike.  I was out of sorts the whole next day.

Today he wanted to ride bikes.  Me?  Not feelin' it so much.  Too risky.  But I gave in.  After he brushed all the cobwebs off my bike and checked my helmet and gloves for brown recluses.

Once we started down the road, my reservations faded, and I enjoyed the ride.

I saw:
Fields of alfalfa, corn, soybeans, and harvested wheat.
Grazing horses.
Flitting butterflies.
Sumac, cattails, Queen Anne's lace, and other colorful "weeds."
Wispy clouds.
Flocks of goldfinches in the sunflowers.

I heard:
Rustling trees.
Chirping crickets.
Bird melodies.
Croaking frogs.
Gurgling water.

I smelled lots of fresh air intermingled with grass and whiffs of fabric softener along with spicy and sweet flower scents.  No manure today.

Some of the things I thought about:
The "old days" of riding horses down the same roads.
How I had let myself get so out of shape.
Why I hadn't invested in those funny biking pants with the padded bottoms.
How much life insurance Dennis has taken out on me.
Why we didn't do this more often.
How breathless pumping up the hill left me.
How exhilarating the rushing air in my face felt as I coasted down.
How I needed to focus straight ahead when danger (cars) sneaked up behind.
How God created such beauty that left me in breathless wonder.
What I would have missed hanging at home.
How sometimes you just gotta do it.
How many life lessons can be found in a simple bike ride.

And I thought about this poem recorded in Tim Hansel's book, Holy Sweat.

The Road of Life

At first, I saw God as my observer,
my judge,
keeping track of the things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven
or hell when I die.
He was out there sort of like a president.
I recognized His picture when I saw it,
but I really didn't know Him.

But later on
when I met Christ,
it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed that Christ
was in the back helping me pedal.

I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.

When I had control,
I knew the way.
It was rather boring,
but predictable...
It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead,
He knew delightful long cuts,
up mountains,
and through rocky places
at breakneck speeds,
it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness,
He said, "Pedal!"

I worried and was anxious and asked,
"Where are you taking me?"
He laughed and didn't answer,
and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
And when I'd say, "I'm scared,"
He'd lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed,
gifts of healing,
and joy.
They gave me gifts to take on my journey,
my Lord's and mine.

And we were off again.
He said, "Give the gifts away;
they're extra baggage, too much weight."
So I did,
to the people we met,
and I found that in giving I received,
and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him,
at first, in control of my life.
I thought He'd wreck it;
but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal
in the strangest places,
and I'm beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He just smiles and says..."Pedal." ~Author Unknown

By the way,  we rode over 10 miles. My legs are feelin' it.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow, call 911.

Have you entered into the adventure?  Are you throwing off extra baggage?  Have you learned to shut up and enjoy the ride?

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good News, Bad News - Worst News, Best News

Good News:  The check for auction items arrived 3 days after the sale.  Very organized auctioneers.

Bad News:  Despite the comment that "you have really good stuff," the amount failed expectations and hopes.  The cost was higher than the reward.

Good News:  It covers property taxes.  Just a house.  Just land.

Bad News:  I miss that Amish rocker, walnut washstand, various crocks, milk bottles, family heirlooms, and other stuff.

Good News:  Just small stuff.  Less to lose.  Bonds broken.  Freedom.

Bad News:  A lot of what we see on television and in the paper.  And in our own lives.  Not small stuff.

Worst News:  Fires.  Earthquakes.  Hurricanes.  Kidnappings.  Rapes.  Murders.  Child Abuse.  Broken marriages.  Drugs.  Prodigal children.  Accidents.  Suicides.  Job loss.  Unwed pregnancy.  Poverty.  Chronic illness.  Cancer.  Death.  ____________ Fill in the blank.

Best News:  God sees.  God knows.  God cares.  He weeps with us.  He holds us.  He comforts us.  And when the world, our world, swirls into an F5, He inhabits the center.  Calm.  Peace in the midst.  In control.

One day this earthly tent will spin out of the storm and land not next to a yellow brick road but next to a golden street and a mansion prepared for me.

The reward higher than the cost.

Bonds broken.


"And I heard a voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."  And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."  And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."  Then He said to me, "It is done.  I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.  He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son."  (Revelation 21:3-7 ~ NASV)

What storm envelops you today?  Will you cling to Him with hope?

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inductive Bible Study

About 30 years ago, when we were living in Roswell, GA, a friend invited me to hear a Bible teacher speak at a church over in Marietta. That’s when I was introduced to Kay Arthur who was teaching on the book of Genesis. What a great birth into the world of inductive study!

That fall I began a study of the book of Revelation that lasted for 9 months—participating in a small discussion group (after spending an hour a day in my own study) followed by Kay’s teaching. And WOW! She was telling me stuff that God Himself had already shown me! That was a pivotal year for me. Who would have thought that a study of Revelation would touch on almost every book in the Bible and allow one to see Jesus from Genesis 1?

The next fall a group of us organized and led a Precept study on Romans in our home church. Talk about building a solid foundation. When we moved to Tampa, I helped lead studies there as well.

What is inductive Bible study?

It’s a method that allows you to dig out truth for yourself without relying on someone else’s study and interpretation. There are 3 steps.

1. Observation. This involves slowing down and taking the time to see what the Word is saying—without the use of commentary or study notes. You look for the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and an H (how), key and repeated words, comparisons/contrasts, expressions of time and place, etc. You get to be a child and use colored pencils and draw symbols and make the text really jump out at you.

2. Interpretation. This is where you begin to understand what the Word means—by allowing scripture to interpret scripture in context. Only after you’ve done all you can do on your own, do you begin to look at commentaries.

3. Application. The purpose of studying the Word is not for head knowledge. It should be heart and life changing as we begin to walk in the light of what we’ve learned.

What has inductive Bible study meant to me?

1. I learned that God could teach me as well as He could teach great theologians. Not that I can’t learn from them, too.

2. I grew solid convictions, not wavering opinions. I learned to be a Berean, searching the scriptures to be sure what I am taught by others is truth.

3. Truths I learned held me firm when I found myself in the refiner’s fire.

4. It’s made me thirsty for more.

5. Most of all, I’m coming to know, really know, God. This will be an ongoing process until I see Him face to face.

Take some time to check out Precept Ministries International. You’ll find classes and conferences on site and across the country. Check out the store and find studies for all ages (kids to adults) and levels (pups to mature dogs) and time constraints.

If you want to participate in a class but can't find an established one in your area, check out Beloved Truth Ministries for online options.

“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” (II Timothy 2:15, Amplified)

What are you studying today? What are your study plans?

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King
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