Saturday, July 30, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: James L. McIntosh

Dr. James L. McIntosh is an Instructor and the Academic Dean at Brookes Bible Institute in St. Louis, MO. He is also my dad (whom I'm very fond of). When I recently asked him how he came to know Jesus as his Savior, this is what he said:

The evangelist’s message I can still remember. He said, among other things, “God loves you and you need to repent [turn away from] your own ways and receive His salvation.” I did...

I was 6 and a half. My mother “drug” me to church, kicking and screaming, during a series of missions meetings. After I settled down, I was listening to the speaker talk about people in Brazil, his work there with them, and how they could die in their sins and not go to heaven when they die. Someone needed to tell them of the love of Jesus and how He came to make things right between sinful man and God. Yes, I remember most of the message, even though I was so young. 

He used the "Finney" style of giving an invitation at the end of the message, which many people do not like these days. The invitation isn’t what moved me, though. It was before the singing of "Just As I Am" that I knew in my heart what I really wanted. I was the only one that left their seat to go forward. My mother tried to grab me, thinking I was being my regular ornery self. When I arrived at the front, the pastor looked down at me and asked, "What are you doing here?" I said, “I want Jesus in my heart. I don't want to go to hell. I want to be with HIM!” The pastor took me through the "Romans Road" (it still works today) - Rom 3:23; 6:23; 10:9-10. He asked, “Do you understand all that?” I said yes. He asked, “Then, what do you want?” I said, to have Jesus in my heart. He told me to pray and ask Him in. I did. He did not make it easy for me - did not dictate a prayer. After I prayed, he asked, “What just happened?” I said, “I believe in Jesus and He came in.”

There was no earth quake, lightening or any other "experience" other than the fact that I KNEW something changed. I was different. Walking home that night, I KNEW I was not the same. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I still am not perfect, but I am changed and I have never forgotten what happened that night at Southern View Chapel in Springfield, IL.

~ James L. McIntosh (still a work in progress at 67)

Click here for an interesting article about the history of “the invitation.” 


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Money Secrets of the Amish (Book Review)

As a college student, I began developing more of my writing skills, and the editor of the school newspaper (The Moody Student) gave me several opportunities to submit an article for publication. I remember how excited I was when my first article was accepted. I might share that article with you one of these days but, for now, I want to tell you a little bit about that editor. Her name is Lorilee Craker (although I knew her in college as Lorilee Reimer).

After graduating from college, Lorilee continued writing... and writing.... and writing.... She now has 11 published books, including topics on parenting, marriage, devotionals, and the New York Times best seller Through the Storm with Lynne Spears. Today, I am excited to tell you about her newest book: Money Secrets of the Amish.

In these days of economical downslide, Lorilee decided it was time to make some changes in her spending habits. After learning of how the Amish are still doing pretty well financially, she decided it was time to find out why. So, she took several trips into Amish country, spending time with them and learning a “wealth” of information from them.

I don’t want to give away all of Lorilee’s findings here, as there are just way too many to list. But, there are 14 chapters full of stories and ideas on living a more simple life, delaying gratification, saving, recycling, shopping in bulk, eating homemade foods, bartering, and more. Even though I consider myself to be fairly frugal already, I came away with a TON of good information and ideas that I intend to use! For example, there are several craft ideas in the recycle and reuse chapter that I want to try out.

This book, with Lorilee’s witty charm, is a definite addition to my personal library. It was informative, educational, fun, and easy to read. I recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to find “true abundance in simplicity, sharing, and saving.”

Thankyou, Lorilee, for the time you took to research this information and make it available to us all.

You can find Lorilee here on her new website: ShoeFly Pie

Or on Facebook: HERE

Disclosure: I received this book free of charge from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. Even though I know Lorilee, I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gabby Moms Review: Five R's for Godly Womanhood - Session 1 and 2

Here is some interesting information for all you “mom bloggers” out there. The Gabby Moms blogging program is gearing up to begin the application process for next year - 2012. If YOU have a blog of your own, and are interested in joining the team, please take a look at this APPLICATION PAGE to read more about the program and/or to apply.

Let me tell you right now, this is not just your ordinary blogging review program. When I first signed up to be a Gabby Mom, I thought I was simply joining an ordinary review program where I would receive a product, use it, and write a review on my blog. But, it turned out to be much more than I expected. It has been fun for me, and a learning experience; but also challenging. I have been challenged in many different ways, including ways to improve upon my duties as a wife, a mom, and as a Christian.

That said, if you enjoy learning about new products for wives and mothers, if you enjoy writing reviews, if you have the time to commit to reviewing at least one product per month, and if you are willing to be challenged in various ways... then you would fit right in! So, go ahead and fill out the application form today!

On another note, us Gabby Moms were given another product of Lorrie Flem’s to review this month. (She’s the publisher of Eternal Encouragement Magazine... remember?) Well, this product has so much information in it that we were told to separate it into two different reviews. So, this month, I want to share a series of “fives” with you from just the first 2 sessions (the first 2 “R’s”) of Five R's for Godly Womanhood.

To be quite honest, it was a bit overwhelming for me to review these two sessions. The main reason is because they are both chock full of great information. It was hard for me to know what to share with you because there was just so much! Really! The series of five comments (below) hardly touch the surface and there is so much more to hear and learn from each of these sessions. But, since I don’t really want to write an entire book (and I doubt you want to read one right now), I’ll just start with these few comments...

Five comments from session 1 
“Refresh: A Woman Who Kneels Before God Can Stand Before Anyone”
(REFRESHING our relationship with the Heavenly Father)

  1. You cannot have a growing relationship with anyone unless you spend time with them. That includes the Lord.
  2. Daily quiet time helps us get the strength we need to make it through the day. 
  3. None of us have enough time to spend time in Bible study and prayer - we must MAKE time.
  4. Time with the Lord should not be a “chore”- it is a privilege. 
  5. Meditate on Scripture. Pick a verse each day and read it over and over. Focus on it throughout the day. Incorporate it into your life and it will help you to maintain a right frame of mind.
Five comments from session 2
 “Rekindle: Red Hot is So Cool”
(Ideas to help wives REKINDLE our relationships with our husbands)

  1. Loving our spouse MORE than we love ourselves is the key to keeping a marriage strong.
  2. Flirt with Him. Treat him the way you treated him when you were dating or first married.
  3. A lack of desire from you is not a reason to deprive him.
  4. Nagging doesn’t work. If you consistently feed him love, encouragement and affirmation, he will feel loved, desired and safe. This is when he is more likely to listen to you, versus your nagging at him. Its not your job to change your husband. Its your job to love him, and God’s job to change him.
  5. Intimacy is tied to love and respect. If wives don’t feel loved they withhold respect. If our husbands don’t feel respected, they don’t act in ways that make us feel loved. This cycle is found in Eph. 5:33 - “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (NIV)
Next month, I’ll tell you more about the last 3 sessions:
  • Refine: From Homekeeping 101 to Graduating With Honors
  • Rejuvenate: What To Do When Abel Is Raising Cain
  • Rest: Give it Up and Get it All

Disclaimer: I received The 5 R’s to Godly Womanhood as an official member of The Gabby Moms blogging program for Eternal Encouragement Magazine. I did not receive compensation for this post and all opinions are solely my own.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saying "I Love You" with Food

The following article is from the Living On A Dime Newsletter. I wanted to share this with you because my blog is all about encouraging others, and this article gives a great example of how we can do that. I believe sharing our time and resources for someone by making them a meal, or even just a fresh loaf of bread or some cookies, is a great way to show them you care. It also brings them encouragement to see how the Lord has blessed them in this way.   

Saying I Love You with Food
July 12, 2011

In this day and age of fast food restaurants and convenience food, we tend to think that most people, when going through a hard time, don't need a meal or a jar of soup brought to them.

Many years ago, before there were stores or fast food restaurants on every corner or microwaves in every kitchen, a neighbor bringing in a meal was sometimes a matter of physical survival. That isn't usually the case these days.

Even so, I hate to see bringing a meal to someone who is sick, has just had a baby, or has lost a loved one fall by the wayside. We often think the person or family can just pick something up or cook something easy in the microwave. They probably can but there are a couple of reasons why it is still nice to bring someone a meal.

Usually at these stressful times people are exhausted, both physically and emotionally. When this happens it is so hard to think and make decisions. Just ask anyone who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Trying to decide what to cook or buy for a meal can be very overwhelming. It's often the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Having someone call and say, "I'm bringing a meal for you tonight," can help so much to ease a persons mind, which is probably overloaded with other things. It is just one less decision to make.

Bringing food is a way of saying, "I love you," or, "I care." Food is comforting to most people. (I'm not talking about people overeating to comfort themselves so please don't comment on that). Being a grandma, the minute I know the grandkids are coming, I get out the cookies and candy and, when friends arrive, the first thing I do is bring out a plate of cookies or put on the kettle.

Taking a plate of cookies to a new neighbor says, "Welcome! We are glad to have you!" Taking a meal to someone who is sick says, "I care." Let's not let another way of saying, "I care," fall by the wayside.

I will try to share more ideas on this subject in a future post but, for now, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
* Make things as easy as possible for the person you are helping. Send napkins, plastic forks and spoons.

* Start looking now for inexpensive bowls, platters and dishes at garage sales. You can leave these dishes when you take food to people so they don't have to worry about returning the dishes. When you can, try to use disposable pans and dishes so the people who are already overwhelmed don't have to wash dishes.

* There is a time and place to save the environment and this is not it. I save and wash most of the containers that I get when I buy things at the bakery or the grocery store and reuse them at these times. You would be surprised how many containers you get every day that would work great if you remove the labels and wash them.

* Always have everything prepared so the receiver has little to do but warm it or stir it.

* Keep the food simple. Now is not the time to pull out your French Cookbook. Things like turkey, celery and carrot sticks, fruit salads and desserts like a simple chocolate cake work well and often can be used for a couple of meals. By keeping it simple, you can be pretty sure the average person will like what you bring.

* Keep in mind who you are bringing food to. If there are children in the family, a pretty red Jello will probably be more appreciated than a Hazelnut coffee mousse. When you talk to the person, listen and think about special needs.

* Ask if they have any food allergies. If you are on the receiving end, don't get too picky, giving a list of five rare items you want that must be organic and come from one certain food store. It is very rare that someone can't eat something like turkey, carrot and celery sticks and some fruit so be reasonable.

* Always bring extra food. Throw in a loaf of bread or some rolls so they can use the leftover meat for sandwiches for the next day's lunch and leftover veggies to go with it.

* Don't forget breakfast. One of the nicest meals we received was when the woman brought not only our dinner but included a pan of cinnamon rolls for breakfast and a container of frozen slushy mix to keep in the freezer and dip out when we wanted to make slushies at a later time.

* Think outside of the box. Don't always send just the usual generic casserole and, whatever you do, don't just send a sack of groceries unless the situation specifically calls for them.

* Be thoughtful. Agree to a time when you will bring the food and be sure you stick to that time. If you can't be precisely on time, it is better to bring it early than late. There is nothing worse than to tell the already hungry children that the food will be here soon and then have it arrive an hour late.

* There are times too when a meal would be appreciated at a later time. For example instead of bringing a meal to a widower the day or week of the funeral you might wait and bring one a couple of weeks later. Often in a case like this people will bring in meals for that first week so it might be nice to bring something when the first influx of meals has stopped.

* Don't overstay your welcome. Use sound judgment. If the people are going through trying times or are not well, too much conversation can make things more difficult for them. 
I have so much more I can add but I will have to leave it for another time. Hopefully, this will get you started and help to decide whether or not you should take a meal and, if if you do, what it would be most helpful to bring.
~ Jill

To read more from LIVING ON A DIME, check out their WEBSITE You can also sign up to receive their FREE e-mail newletter to receive lots of money saving tips and ideas. 

Friday, July 8, 2011


Are you feeling lowly and despised? My friend, Jan Koch, shares her favorite verses here and explains how her view of herself was not the same one that God had of her. Thankyou for sharing this, Jan. It is something I think many of us can identify with.

My favorite Verses
By: Jan Koch

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, 'Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" I Corinthians 1:27-31

I remember the first time I read these verses. I wept over them. Especially the part about the lowly and despised things. For the first time I realized that was what I was. Not in God's eyes, but my own. It was ironic, really. Though most of my life I had prided myself on being "strong," I had hated myself almost to the point of death. Now there I was, faced with two truths: I despised myself, and I wasn't strong.

But, in spite of my foolishness, weakness, lowliness and in my own eyes, "nothingness," God loved me dearly and had chosen me - ME - to shame the "wise" and the "strong."

By that point in my life God had gone to great lengths to show me just how NOT strong I am. My high energy, type "A," career-driven personality didn't take gracefully to insulin-dependent diabetes, a broken thyroid, severe depression, financial struggles, an eating disorder or breast cancer. But through each storm I found out more about who I really am, and WHO GOD IS. He is beyond my highest ambitions or grandest dreams; He is my deepest Love and my greatest Strength. These verses are a beautiful picture of what God does when I offer what I am, and what I am not, to Him.

Are you weak and foolish? Do you despise yourself, beautiful one? YOU are exactly who God has chosen. He's been looking for you, because He loves you and He knows that you will boast only in Him. Remember Jesus? how foolish He appeared to be, hanging on that cross, when He had told everyone He was God's Son, but He couldn't (wouldn't) save Himself? Remember how they despised Him...remember how WE despised Him? And look what God did through Him. He provided salvation to the whole world. Through that "weak" Son of Man born in a lowly manger. All it took was one heart, one life fully surrendered to Him. He will do miraculous, wondrous things in and through you, too, beautiful one. All it takes is your heart, fully surrendered to Him. So, what are you waiting for?