Syncing Up

June 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Jarrod Spencer –

As personal digital assistants (PDA) and MP3 players are introduced into the technology world, the term synchronization, shortened to “sync,” has also been introduced. One will “sync” or “sync up” such an object with a computer. This action assures that both pieces of technology have the same information in them. Neither of them is competing, nor are they withholding any information from the other. It is a convenient tool to have for backing up, retrieving, and transferring information from one piece of technology to the other.

Now, phones are using the “sync” feature. This allows you to plug it in to your computer and save all your contacts. With the popularity of the “smartphone,” you have all your contacts, addresses, birthdates, anniversaries, appointments, pictures, videos, and any documents you wish to store, all in one small, portable object.

Christians also have the privilege of being able to “sync up.” With technology, there is a smaller unit (PDA/MP3/phone) that can hold a fraction of what the larger unit (computer) can hold. As we parallel this to us and our Creator, we are the smaller being and He is the ultimate being, and we can hold a fraction of what our Creator can hold.

When you connect to Him, through prayer, thought, or meditation, you are essentially “syncing up.” You might be trying to understand what His will is for you or asking for Him to care for a particular person or situation. “Syncing up” allows Him to better understand what you are experiencing. There isn’t a competition going on. When finished you are on the same page as Him.

With technology, each time something changes, we have to “sync up” our devices. As a Christian, our lives change daily, so we must “sync up” with our Creator regularly.

Take time to connect with Him so that the two of you can be in sync. Just as it is a benefit in technology to “sync up” between each unit, it will be even more beneficial to you to “sync up” with your Creator.

May we be constantly plugging in and syncing up!

PRAYER: Faithful Father, thank You for the opportunity to “sync up” with you anytime I need to. May I be willing to take what You communicate to me and use it for Your glory!

“This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever” (John 6:58 ESV).

Book Review: No Safe Haven

Written by Kimberly and Kayla R. Woodhouse
Reviewed by Nora St. Laurent

Back Cover: Jenna and Andi Tikaani-Gray are hoping for a fresh start. Though twelve year-old Andi has long struggled with a rare medical disorder, she and her mother have finally received good news from out-of-town specialists. Its news they desperately needed, especially after the recent death of Jenna’s husband (Andi’s dad) in a car accident.

But as they are flying home to Alaska, ready to begin again, the unthinkable happens. The pilot sabotages their small plane and crashes into Sultana, one of the most remote and dangerous mountains in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Even worse, a winter storm is headed their way along with someone who doesn’t want to save them, but to kill them.

Only one man can keep them alive: Cole Maddox, the mysterious last-minute passenger who joined them on their flight. But trust doesn’t come easy to Jenna or Andi and they both sense Cole is hiding something.

A relentless tale of survival and suspense unfolds, involving military technology designed by Jenna’s late husband that some would do anything to possess.

Review: I was thrilled to receive a review copy of such a gripping, action adventure novel. This is a great book for so many reasons. First it’s written by an amazing mother-daughter team. Kayla is 13 years old and writes the POV of the 12 year old girl who has the same nerve disorder she has. Making Kayla’s condition part of the story brought a depth of emotion, suspense and drama to a whole new level. Not only were Andi and her mom running from men determined to wipe them out but there was an urgency to get Andi to a safe place to stabilize her condition.

This book gripped my heart from the start as the action exploded from the very first page, literally. Jenna and Andi try to find help and piece together what happened as the reader is doing the same. Not only were the main characters Cole, Andi and Jenna running from the enemy, they were also battling Mother Nature and all she had to dish out: snow storms, frost bite, avalanches, and dropping temperatures that messed with their ability to get a grip on the side of the Alaskan mountains as they climbed to safety.

Jenna tries to explain her daughter Andi’s medical condition to their pilot Cole. He says, “She’s a real dare devil, huh?”

“Oh, you have no idea. Take a stubborn child, and remove the fear factor. Think about it. If you have no fear of consequences – mainly pain- you’d try just about anything.”

Kayla adds much to the story and gives the reader an insight into her condition they never would have had other wise. Andi’s dialogue, spunk, and her passionate relationship with Jesus added intensity, tension and gave an urgency of their rescue.

This compelling story had me holding my breath, biting my nails and up until the wee hours of morning seeing who would survive. No Safe Haven has it all danger, suspense, romance and characters I cared about long after I finished reading the last page.

This is an engaging, faith-building story written by a dynamic mother-daughter writing duo you won’t want to miss. I’m anxiously awaiting this team’s next book called, “Race Against Time.” After reading No Safe Haven, you’ll be looking for it too!

It’ll Curl Your Hair

June 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

We’ve never been one of those families that sits around a campfire telling scary stories. Too creepy. Every once in a while, though, I have to admit I liked to frighten my teenage girls with one of the scariest stories I know. And it happened to me. It’s the story about when I was a little girl. And my mom….gave me (insert a maniacal “mwah-ah-ah” here)…a home perm. Cue scary dissonant organ chord.

I describe in gory detail how I had to spend several weeks looking like a dandelion, the other cruel children making wishes and blowing on my head. Frightening. Nothing can raise up a fresh batch of goose bumps like a story of evil Frankenstein-ish chemicals and a perm gone bad. What could be scarier than that first look in the mirror? You’re pretty sure you’re so frightened you’re hair is standing on end, but who could tell? And the smell? It would singe the hair right out of your nose. After hearing my dandelion story, I honestly think my girls would buy a home lobotomy kit before they would buy a home perm kit.

Didn’t I hear this comment about that bottle of perm solution?  “I’d rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me.” Yeah, that had to be perm related.

How many people do you know who seem to have found a lobotomy blue light special? So many seem to make every life decision pointedly and purposefully completely opposite what the Lord spells out for us to do in His Word. It’s like mocking His instruction! Now there’s a reason to fear. Proverbs 9:9-12 says, “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer” (NIV).

Making life choices contrary to the Father’s instruction brings suffering. But choosing to live a life of obedience results in wisdom, blessing and reward. That life of obedience starts with the good kind of fear. Not the hair-curling kind of fear, but a humble, awed reverence for the holy, holy, holy God.

Knowing, fearing and following Him might not guarantee every day is a good hair day, but wisdom really does lead to more wisdom. It’s blessing becoming more blessing. The blessings lead right into our ultimate blessing when we’ll see Jesus face to face. There will be no more evil, no more pain, and no more tears. It’s an eternal life full of love and laughter. And none of our heavenly laughter will be that maniacal kind.

That’s a thought that almost always leaves me goose-bumpy. The good kind of goose bumps. Not the chemically inspired kind.

©2011 Rhonda Rhea

How Our Brains Know God

June 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Peter Lundell -

If you ever want a scientific basis for connecting with God, here’s one:
Andrew Newberg, a neuropsychological researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, studies two kinds of reality: One is physical or “baseline” reality—the brain’s perception of material objects (a chair, a table) and sensations (warm, cold). In contrast, he attempts to scientifically verify the brain’s perception of spiritual reality, which he calls “Absolute Unitary Being.”

Some argue that what we think is spiritual reality—for example, God—is nothing more than neurological blips or chemistry changes. In fact that’s what happens in our brains when we experience spiritual phenomena.

The problem with this argument is that the brain experiences physical reality in exactly the same way—through neurological blips and chemistry changes. So even the most hardened atheist or scientist must either take the possibility of spiritual reality seriously or discount all perceptions of reality and conclude that we all live in a dream state.

Isn’t this fun?

Persons who engaged in Newberg’s research consistently testified that the experience of spiritual reality was more “fundamentally real” than that of physical reality. Wow.

Newberg theorizes that spiritual and physical reality are two versions of reality that may be complimentary. That makes biblical sense.

I’m not concerned that Newberg doesn’t take a Christian point of view. A person can perceive God’s existence, just as we perceive his physical creation, without knowing or submitting to Him.

The significant point is that Newberg is doing breakthrough scientific research on the ways in which God created the human mind to perceive Him, as well as His creation. He is giving us a solid scientific basis to say that faith and perceptions of God are as real as the physical world around us. That’s worth getting excited about!

PRAYER: Lord, you have made me with an amazing brain. As others learn how it works, I dedicate mine to you that I would truly have ‘the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV).

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14 NIV).

Identity Theft

By Cynthia Ruchti –

It happened on an ordinary afternoon. I made a small purchase at a local specialty store and paid for it with a credit card. Or rather, I tried.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but the charge wouldn’t go through.”

“What do you mean? We can’t have reached our limit. We never have more than a small amount charged to our credit card, and we pay it off completely every month, on time.”

“Sorry. The machine says your card is denied.”

I had other means to pay that day, so I did. When I got home, I called the credit card company.

“Yes,” the customer service rep said, “there’s been suspicious activity on your card. We shut it down. Weren’t you notified?”

Suspicious activity? Someone was using our account number?

“It happens far too frequently,” the customer service rep explained. “We’ll get everything straightened out eventually, but it may take several monthly bills to work through which charges are legitimately yours and which were made fraudulently.”

I understood why people say they feel as if they’ve been violated when someone steals their identity. It was an affront on all counts—financially, a time waste, a headache producer, and what seemed a never ending pattern of confusion as it took many months to sort it all out.

The thieves caused so much grief unrelated to the money. As grateful as we were for a cooperative card company with which to work, I still mourned the time drain and inconvenience.

Identity theft happens every day. And sometimes we hand it over to the thieves.

We forget that we are daughters and sons of the King of kings, and act like paupers instead. We fail to show our “I belong to Him” cards when loneliness threatens. We cower as if we have no power bestowed on us from the Conqueror. We wander in confusion, as if it’s impossible to know where we stand with Christ, even though He’s told us we are His “workmanship,” His handiwork (Ephesians 2:10).

Is that how we act? Or do we allow voices other than the voice of God to steal the identity of who we really are in Him? It’s a mess when that happens…a violation against us. And it can cripple someone not just for a few months of paperwork-straightening, but a lifetime of unnecessary and unwarranted shame and regret.

PRAYER: Lord, help me implement Your plan to guard against spiritual identity theft. Make me wise to what weakens my defenses.

“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16 – 17 NIV).

Next Page »