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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Who Are You To God?

Take a listen to Third Day’s This Is Who I Am.

Who are you? You are the person God created. And did you know you were made perfect? Not perfect as in you have no flaws, but God didn’t make a mistake in you. He made you for His purposes, just as you are and He has a plan for you. You say you can’t accomplish His goals because you’re weak. He says, “My power is made perfect in your weaknesses.”

If you know the song on the link, you know this. God loves you just as you are. He’s waiting for you to ask Him into your life so He can complete the work he began in you. So call out, and be made whole. It can’t be done without Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

What is He accomplishing in you?

Try these links:

P.J. Sugar and You

How Many Talents Do You Get

The Great and the Small, Part 2—The Man Who Inspired a Congregation … Sorta

Friday, February 24, 2012

God’s Communication With Us--By Greg Johnson

We all have read, heard through the media, or been taught about dad kiss babycommunication. Parents read and discuss children’s abilities in communication at various stages of development. Businesses discuss communication in terms of sales and marketing. How much have you thought about how God uniquely communicates with you, other believers, through creation, as well as reaching out to those who are not saved? Have you thought about and worked to hone your communication with your Heavenly Father?

ladder to heavenThe following are points to consider to stimulate your thinking regarding God‘s communication with us, as well as to encourage your faith growth.
Since we often repeat ourselves in our faith (same songs, read same parts of the Bible), and thereby don’t grow as we could, hopefully these ideas will help us go beyond the routine to stretch us to the extraordinary in our faith life.

Working to Become Mature
We don’t often hear about faith maturity (Ephesians 4:13) ingrowth the church today, but our communication with God is intricately tied to it. You can’t effectively communicate with another unless both are mature. We need to look at how we communicate with God as well as how He communicates with us. Additionally, we need to be aware of Satan’s designs to inhibit, to distort, or make us ignore this communication.

Personal History
One way God communicates with us is through our personal history, our life context. Each of us has a unique story, male or female, born into a certain decade, lived in certain places and this shapes how we initially come to communicate with God and those around us. I grew up respecting police officers, and was raised to call them in times of trouble. This leads me to better understand, going to authority and specifically God, in times of distress. Think of what God has given you, and it is easier to give, to love, and communicate with others (II Corinthians 8: 7) as well as with God.

I work with youth from the inner city who have a very different view of police, which is at least distrustful, and frequently antagonistic. It is easy to see this has affected their views of authority (Romans 13:1). Satan wants us to see where authority is perverted or ignored by those in whom it is trusted, and encourages us to say we are our only sure authority in life. The more we rely on self, the less we can trust God, the more we are distrustful, the greater difficulty we will have in being humble in our communication and our relationship with God.

His Provision
Another way God communicates with us is through his provision (Psalm 111:5). Yesterday I got an e-mail in which the last line said, “Hope your day has been everything it was intended to be.” It got me thinking back over the day, seeing where, in times of frustration, God had been there, and God had intended good in those situations. Of course Satan would like to have us stay so busy and distracted we focus on the frustration, not on the provision of the moments in our lives. It is a good exercise to look at each life situation, and see what design God had in allowing it in our lives. As we are open to be used, he will use us.

God communicates by listening. We often keep noise in our lives, shushdon’t have quiet in our worship services, infrequently realizing that stillness is a vital part of communication. If you don’t listen to someone, or feel unheard yourself, how personal or even effective is the communication (I Samuel 3:9)? Watch an effective parent. He or she spends a great deal of time listening to the child, and knows exactly how to respond appropriately. The ineffective parent is often the one who simply comes into a situation and tells the child what to do. God wants us to listen, and for us to know he is listening.

We even have a two thousand year prayer partner in Jesus who enhances what we say to our Father (see ideas in Romans 8:34). Satan, of course, would like us to not listen, to not be peaceful enough to hear, to compress our prayers to the point that we leave no room for listening to God.
These are just a few snippets of a multitude of ideas about oupaper cup telephoner communication to and from God. May you, this day, be more aware of how you communicate with God in all circumstances (see idea in I John 4:12). And more importantly, be heightened in awareness of how God is speaking with you. I imagine you will see God has been communicating with you a great deal more than you have been realizing.

LBOC says: To see what the Christian Music band, Third Day, says about communication with God, check out this link.

When do feel your communication with God is at it’s best?

Other posts you might like:

Judging Someone Else’s Servant

Jake the Encourager

Writer as Creator

 Pictures through 2008 184Greg has been in ministry work since graduating from Gordon College, a Christian college, in 1978. He is a Christian counselor who primarily works with children and adolescents, but also sometimes long term adults. He has a hunger for prayer, and is dedicated to his family. He currently works two jobs, full time with boys in a group home, Cedar Ridge, and part time in a community counseling office, Christian Counseling Associates.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Christian Music Ministry

Don’t ya just love King David? I know he’s one of those guys in tharphe Bible that gets good press because he was a great leader and king. But what I love most about him is that he was a musician. And not just any old musician, but he loved the Lord so much, he poured out that passion in song. I can relate to that kind of love.

That’s why I’m a big fan of Christian Contemporary Music. It’s not just somdrumsething I listen to to pass the time. It’s begins my day and inspires my life. Have you ever watched a movie scene with the score taken out? It’s comparably flat. That’s why music ministry is so important. When words alone may inform, music carries the ideas to our hearts, filling our souls and helping us really know. That knowledge is no longer bits of facts, but wisdom that exudes from our very being.

And music is so much more. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my daughter on faith began with a question about the lyrics of a song. When I see those eyebrows draw together in thought, I know she is not just taking in what Mom says, but possessing it as her own. These are moments of growth.

I’ve known people who’ve given Christian music to “seekers” knowing it will speak to them in ways they cannot. So they impart emotion instead of platitudes. I know of one woman who shared a song with her dying sister to bring her hope in her last days. She was rewarded with great thanks. In one action they shared not only their love for one another, but also that of their Savior in a way that mere words could not.

So why am I expounding on the virtue of music in ministry. I guess guitarit’s my way of thanking those of you who engage in it, whether at your local church or at the Patriot Center. Thank you for sharing your gift with me and giving me the words that trail my lips all day in rhythm and melody. The words that continually praise the One true God. Thank you.

So it is, with this in mind, I have decided to add devotionals inspired by Christian music on this site. I hope it blesses you as it has me.

What’s your favorite Christian Song?

You might also like:

Good Jesus Cardio

He enters our pain

What's Keeping You from Your Special Assignment?

The Winner Is ...

I am so happy to announce the winner of my first book giveaway is Elaine Stock. Hope you enjoy the good read.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Meet Molly Noble Bull: The Dumbest Kid In Her Elementary School--by Molly Noble Bull


I’m dyslexic.

Yep, it’s true. It is also true that as a child, I was the dumbest kid in my elementary school. I’m also a published novelist. If none of this makes sense, read on.

For a while, I thought I was the only published Christian novelist in the world that struggled with learning problems. Then I met six other published novelists with problems like mine via an email loop. All seven had published with Love Inspired, and five out of that seven decided to write a book together—share our experiences. And The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities was born. The authors of that book are Margaret Daley, Ginny Aiken, Jane Myers Perrine, Ruth Scofield and me, Molly Noble Bull.

All five of us suffer/suffered with Learning Disabilities. What a blessing it was to meet the other ladies and realize that I was not alone—to know that I was not the only published author in the world who had a hard time learning to read and spell.

My Christian faith inspired everything I have written since the book covernineteen eighties. In fact, the following words are written on the dedication pages of every one of my novels—“But to God give the glory.” These words are also posted on the dedication page of my first non-fiction book—The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities.

The purpose of The Overcomers is to encourage others to never give up. We also give personal tips that should help others with problems like ours on their journey to overcome.

Zondervan Publishing House published two of my novels way back in the late nineteen eighties. These titles were For Always and The Rogue’s Daughter. Both were reprinted and came out from the book division of Guide Posts as Promise Romances. More recently, I published with Love Inspired. These titles are Brides and Blessings and The Winter Pearl, and they are now available as kindle e-books.

sanctuary smallTsaba House published Sanctuary, and it placed first in two contests in the inspirational category for published authors in 2008—the Gayle Wilson award and the Winter Rose. Tsaba House also purchased five more of my books. However, the company went out of business before any of them came out.

In 2011, we decided to self-publish The Overcomers via Westbow Press.

The Lord is very important to all five of the authors of The Overcomers, and it takes determination, work and a lot of patience to triumph over learning problems like ours. However, with God’s help, it can be done. I want my readers to know that according to Ron Davis, who wrote The Gift of Dyslexia, wonderful talents and abilities of all kinds are often hidden behind labels like dyslexia and learning disabilities.

The only real danger is giving up.

All five of us overcame and are now published novelists. Others can do it, too.

UPDATE: Today I learned that The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities is a finalist in the Women of Faith contest for writers, 2011.

God is good—all the time.

If you will leave a comment and include your email address, I will write to you. And the winner of the contest here will receive either a copy of Sanctuary, the novel that placed first in two contests, or a kindle copy of The Overcomers. Let us know which of the two you want.

If you order The Overcomers at a bookstore, please include the complete title—The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities. There are other books out there merely titled The Overcomers. But when you add Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities to the title, you get my book. To find all my books at an online or walk-in bookstore, type Molly Noble Bull in the search slot.

LBOC wants to remind you to comment below with your email address to enter to win a copy of either “Sanctuary” or a Kindle copy of “The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our email list to receive messages like this one in your inbox.

Related Posts:

How Many Talents Do You Have

The Gentle King

Signs of God

The Gifts We Have

Molly Noble Bull was born in Kingsville, Texas. She married her college swemolly headshotetheart, and they have three grown sons and six grandchildren.

Her web address is http://www.mollynoblebull.com.

Her blog is  http://writersrest.blogspot.com

Visit her Amazon author’s page.

Friday, February 10, 2012

We Really Are Safe--By Steve Green


We live in a dangerous world. When we honestly look atdanger thin ice what is going on around us, we see how dangerous it is. We are powerless to control our circumstances and protect ourselves economically, physically, and relationally. There are many different ways we are vulnerable in life. We do not have the ability to protect ourselves and we cannot keep ourselves safe.

But, we are not alone. Someone else is with us and is powerful.

Jesus. He is the Creator, and the Redeemer. Together with the Father and Spirit, He created the universe. He controls the universe. He accomplishes good, even in this fallen and dangerous world in which we live.

holding earthThe big picture is good. God is at work to build His kingdom, and to care for His people. When we keep the big picture in focus, we live with hope. But we live in the smaller picture and we need to keep that in focus too. We need to see God at work in the details.

So, let me tell you a story.

Last year my wife was diagnosed with oral cancer.

In that moment our lives were thrown in to upheaval. We were new to Oregon and we had purchased private insurance because we did not have any way to buy group insurance. Private insurance has a lot of ways to limit what it covers. At the very same time we were trying to make decisions about what kind of treatment we were going to pursue, we were also trying to find out if insurance was going to cover it. We were vulnerable to circumstances and we felt exposed.

We prayed for God to provide healing. We prayed for God to provide the funding for treatment. We knew what we wanted, but we did not have the power to make it happen. We asked God to provide answers and direction so that we could make decisions and take action.

The doctors told us we needed to act quickly. Cancer was not going to allow us enough time to get everything lined up before we acted. If we waited, Ann could die.

God was at work. He was keeping us safe, even while we suffered. He has made clear in Scripture that life is precious. We knew that we were called to begin treatment for Ann’s cancer even if we did not know how the finances would work out. We knew that the right thing to do was to fight the cancer and do whatever we could to preserve Ann’s life. There was, however, a lot we did not know. Would Ann survive? What would her life be like after treatment? Would God use insurance to provide the financial resources to pay for the medical bills or would He provide in some other way?

God made clear only what the next steps would be. We did not know where He was taking us. We did not know where our pacurvy roadth would lead us. We could follow His lead in the next steps, trusting Him for the results, or we could try to find our own path to accomplish our own goals. His path was scary. It felt at times like we were in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). In fact, we really were in that valley.

God took us into dangerous places. He also went with us. He protected us. Ann survived her cancer. She is surviving the effects of her treatment. We hope that He will restore her to strength and free her from pain. Insurance has covered what they should have covered. God has provided the finances so that we can cover what we should cover.

More importantly, God has worked in us to cause us to cling to Him and to do what He calls us to do. He is leading step by step. He is giving us the faith to follow Him without knowing where He will take us. He is focusing us on what is real and giving us hope for today. hand leadingHe gives us confidence that where we are going is where He wants us to be. He focuses us on the eternal issues and gives us greater freedom to live with integrity and strength today.

He keeps us safe. We are powerless in ourselves, but we are safe. What we cannot do for ourselves, God has promised to do for us. Not only does He promise, He does.

We all have to focus on either what we want to happen, or how we are going to live. For us as followers of Jesus, we are called to focus on how we are going to live and to trust God to take care of everything else. Jesus has saved us ultimately. The life we live now, we live by faith and with an ultimate confidence that we belong to Christ. He is going to bring us home. Jesus also takes care of us now. He takes care of us wherever He takes us. Living through cancer, or dying of cancer. Giving our family more time with Ann, or taking her home. He gives us strength to go into the valley of the shadow of death. He accomplishes good while we are there.

He is with us wherever we go, and our confidence is that He is taking us home. Traveling with Him we are safe.

LBOC wants to know, how has God led you through difficult times? Comment below.

clip_image002Steve Green is a Biblical Counselor in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. He lives with his wife and children in Newberg, Oregon. He is a graduate of University of California, Irvine (B.A.) and Westminster Seminary in California (M. Div). He has worked as a pastor for 21 years and has founded Impact Biblical Counseling which works closely with churches to provide Biblical Counseling for their members. He also blogs on his own web page (www.ImpactBiblicalCounseling.com) as well as writing for other blogs (including Biblical Counseling Coalition’s blog). He is a member of the Association of Biblical Counselors and the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Related Posts:

He Enters Our Pain

Writer As Creator

His Power is Made Perfect in Our Weakness

Don’t forget to subscribe to receive LBOC in your email box on a regular basis. Check out the box at the top left of this site.

Friday, February 3, 2012

“Finally Being Able to Be Me” by Staci Stallings


If you recognize this name, it’s because Staci always has much to share with those of us struggling to find our place in God’s world. So I keep having her back on LBOC. She has the heart to help others who feel different, not realizing they were made perfectly with a special mission in their “differentness.” We are all different, but it’s our connectedness with our Creator that makes us whole.


“Finally Being Able to Be Me” by Staci Stallings

For many, many, many years I tried to be someone else. It wasn’t a specific someone else. I simply had the impression that something was wrong with me, so being someone else made more sense. The weird thing was, I was desperately trying to be successful and get the approval of others while simultaneously hiding the parts of me I thought they wouldn’t approve of.

It was as if I was saying, “I want you to love me, but I’m not going to let you know who the real me is.” So I lived my life in fear that someone who loved me would figure out that wasn’t really who I was and they would decide not to love me anymore. Which of course is ridiculous because they weren’t loving the real me in the first place, they were loving the made-up me, which wasn’t me at all. What a mess, right?
Well, this year God finally broke me out of that miserable, rotten prison I was holding myself captive in. Little-by-little through life and writing, I have learned that being me is really okay, that using my gifts and letting others see them is all right as well.

In fact, it’s better than all right… it’s amazing!

You see, when I was trying to hide, I spent all my time radaringradar everyone else to see who they wanted me to be. I scanned my family and my friends. I scanned others in writing groups and you, my readers. I scanned everybody. And I spent so much time scanning trying to figure out who everyone else wanted me to be, I forgot to live!

When God finally convinced me (and it really did take some convincing) that He loved me just as I am and that He knew all about my weaknesses and all about those things I didn’t want to admit to anyone, and that He loved me anyway… It blew me away! I realized that all that hiding wasn’t doing anyone any good. God wanted me to come out of my little cave, bravely if possible or using His bravery if mine was shaky, and live.

Amazingly, upon finally accepting that, life has opened up to possibilities and opportunities I never would have even tried when I was wallowing in my self-cave of doubt and fear. This year I stepped out on God’s bravery when He asked me to put my books coming-undone-final-coveron Kindle and then on Nook. It took more of His bravery to get on Facebook and Twitter. And it took everything He could give me to start a new author connection group.

Best of all, I didn’t panic and run when things got tough. Instead, I stood on God’s promise that HE could do it even if I couldn’t. And miracles started happening.

So as I look back on the past year, I will be very thankful that finally, finally I listened to what God’s been trying to tell me all these years in a thousand ways: “I love you. It’s about Me being faithful to show you how awesome I am, not about anything you can do. I want to help you all the time, in every situation, especially when you don’t think you can do it. I want to be Your partner and Your best friend in everything. All you have to do is accept what I’m holding out to you.”

Understanding, believing, and accepting that has literally changed my life. So this year, I am thankful that God didn’t give up on this headstrong, confused, but good-intentioned girl. He is my Hero!

Comment below and tell LBOC how you are stepping out trusting God that He made you just the way you are for His purposes.

Related posts:

A Steamgun has many parts

How God Breathed Creative Inspiration in My Writing

Judging Someone Else’s Servant

… And don’t forget to subscribe to LBOC (top left), and be inspired by your email inbox!

Staci Stallings headshotA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Spirit Light Moments -- One moment with God each day


Facebook Author Page at:


Search Staci's Books:


Spirit Light Books--The Blog


Follow Staci on Twitter @StaciStallings

Come on over for a visit…

You’ll feel better for the experience!