Sunday, August 30, 2009

He is the God of Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 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. (NIV)

My family came across this verse over the course of the past week. After pondering the verse, I realized how it had been lived out in my life in recent days. I cannot tell you how many people either called me, sent me notes, or left me comments on my blog and facebook telling me how they too had lost a parent and how they dealt with the pain.

You know, realizing others had gone through this gave me amazing comfort. The advice they gave me was priceless and I've considered every word. But you know what? If they hadn't been comforted during their loss than they wouldn't have been able to comfort me.

God is the God of the overflow! He comforts us so that we can comfort others with the same comfort.

He never ceases to amaze me!

The advice and comfort that has been shared with me has held me up this week! If I had walked this path alone I think I would be in a dark place emotionally, but because of all of your willingness to share the comfort that you once received I have been lifted up. Thank you so much for your willingness to share your comfort and love on me.

Now I know that at a later time, I will be able to share my comfort with someone else going through a similar loss. May I always keep my eyes open for the opportunities to show God's love and comfort.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday #41

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Welcome to Thankful Thursday! If you'd like to participate, just copy the T.T. button on my sidebar and paste it into your post. Next write down five things you are thankful for this week. Finally, come back here and link up with Mr. Linky. It's that easy!

Here's my list for this week:

This week I want to remember 5 things about my Dad that I am thankful for.

1) I am thankful that God gave me my Daddy, Bob Neulen. He was my best friend. I could always go to him with any problem or question and he was there to help me work through it with practical advice and encouragement.

2) I am thankful that my Dad was full of joy. The first word that comes to my mind when I talk about my Dad is joy. He loved life and was always flashing his great smile and giving you his contagious laugh. He loved to tell jokes or see something happening around him that was funny. He was lighthearted and jubilant.

3) I am thankful that my Dad was generous. If you ever needed anything my Dad would graciously offer it to you. I remember once while I was away at college, I called home to ask for money because I had generously bought pizza for everyone on my dorm floor. He then coined the term, C.O.D. which meant that if I had a need I always would, Call On Dad! It just stuck and became a joke between us.

4) I am thankful for my Dad's loving arms. He was a big man, at 6' tall and there has never been a place where I felt safer growing up than in his loving arms. Thank you Dad for giving me hugs every time I saw you. What a privilege.

5) I am thankful that my Dad valued family. We lived next door to my parents for 10 years and he would drop in all of the time to just get his hugs in. During my homeschooling years, he would also come over to help out with any math questions they had. He was always willing to spend time with us and often went on vacations with my family. I will miss those vacations. I will miss my Daddy. But I am rejoicing that one day I will be in his arms again - when I see him in heaven! I am counting the days.

Yesterday we celebrated my Dad's life and legacy here on earth. It was beautiful and I am blessed to be his daughter. My time with him was far better than I could have ever asked for. Now if I can just continue the legacy of showing God's love and joy to others. God's grace is sufficient for me!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Leaving a Legacy

If you are new here, my Dad stepped into heaven on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009 after having an unexpected heart attack.

When I think about my Daddy, I remember his amazing smile, sense of humor, contagious laugh and overall joy of life. He devoted his life to God and his family. He has been the best father I could have ever asked for, always there with advice and love and practical help. He then moved into the role of Papa to my children and they were close with him. We were privileged to have lived next door to my parents for the past 10 years. He would often stop by just to fill up his love tank with the hugs he would receive and freely give. I've never lost someone so close to me before, and my grief goes deep because selfishly, I wanted my Dad to be a part of my children's lives as they grew up as well as mine.

My nephew, Logan, couldn't sleep after receiving the dreaded phone call at 3am. Being young, he turned to the computer for some comfort. After Googling my Dad's name (Bob Neulen) he found an excerpt from a sermon and it revealed a legacy that goes far beyond his family - this is the kind of legacy we all need to leave behind. While it is long, I encourage you to read it. The message is clear and strong, we all need to let our lights shine because you never know who you are touching.

On August 27, 2006, a man named Allan Green was the guest speaker at Can Creek Baptist Church in NC. The message was called, "Living in God's House." Here is the excerpt that talks about my father, Bob Neulen.

There is a second way to live in God’s House: give your home, your apartment, your room, or wherever you happen to live, to God. Invite Him to take ownership! Bear in mind that when God owns your home He might decide to do something with it that you hadn’t expected, but I can promise you from personal experience that it will be exciting. Your home will become miracle territory. 1 Cor 16:19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Chris and I owe our salvation to one such home. In 1971 I knew my co-worker Bob Neulen was a pretty straight-laced guy. He wasn’t offensive, and he had a great sense of humor, but he never engaged in profane conversation or malicious gossip. If the subject came up, he would tell you straight up that he was born again. He surprised me one day by inviting Chris and I to his birthday party, so we got a sitter for Jeni and went.

It was an interesting experience. Bob’s wife Jean was as sweet as Bob was nice, and all their other guests were friends from their church. No alcohol was served. Nobody smoked. We drank soda, swapped stories about our children, and now and then they all talked about the miracles God was doing in their families and the church. Chris and I felt like we had entered the Twilight Zone or something, – which of course, we had – and we liked it! Bob and Jean’s house was miracle territory. A few weeks later, they got to see the miracle God had planned all along when Chris and I answered an altar call and met Jesus for ourselves. The rest as they say, is history. Now our home is miracle territory – something amazing happens at least once a week, unless Chris has been really busy in prayer, in which case it may be every day.

This church is filled with homes like the Neulen’s, where God’s ministry proceeds along from day to day, week to week; where His Spirit empowers marriages and the relationships between parents and children; where God’s love flows out into the community in hospitality and generosity. I don’t say this in with any sense of pride, because it is God’s work, but the truth is, we have blessed homes! Miracles are happening in our homes because God lives there.

May you and your house become miracle territory. Thank you all for your prayers they have helped us get through this very difficult time. The viewing is on Tuesday and the funeral will be on Wed. I have already put up a T.T. post for Thursday for those of you who participate. God bless each one of you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Please Pray

My dear bloggie friends,

Last night my Dad had a heart attack and went home to be with the Lord. This was quite unexpected and I need your prayers. Please pray for my Mom after 52 years of marriage and for my whole family.

While we know he is in heaven which is awesome, we feel the pain of losing such a special person.

My Dad was the BEST father a daughter could ask for, and the best grandfather to my children. He will be sorely missed, but Oh how grateful I am that I knew him while I did.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pour Out Your Hearts

Because I'm a Mom, praying for my children is a daily ritual. If you are also a Mom (or a Dad)than you know what I'm referring to. Have you ever wondered what the Bible had to say about praying for our kids?

Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children. Lamentations 2:19 (NIV)

I find this verse to be intriguing. Most of the verses I've found regarding prayer talk about rising up early to pray. This time, when it is referring to our children, it says to pray at night. Perhaps this is because they go to bed early and rise early. Or maybe it's because when we are worried about a child we can't find rest in sleeping. I'm not sure.

One thing is clear, though - we are supposed to pray FERVENTLY! Pouring out our hearts like water in the presence of the Lord. That means He wants us to tell it all to Him - every little detail.

Isn't it precious that God knows us so well. You see, as parents, when something is wrong (I mean really wrong) with one of our children it consumes our every thought and He want's us to know that He cares and He wants us to tell it all to Him.

He never ceases to amaze me.

PS. Chatty Kelly shared this verse with me this morning. Thank you Kelly! You are a treasured friend.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thankful Thursday #40

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

* Mr. Linky is now up and running. Sorry! Too much on my mind with school today! :)

Welcome to Thankful Thursday! If you'd like to participate, just copy the T.T. button on my sidebar and paste it into your post. Next write down five things you are thankful for this week. Finally, come back here and link up with Mr. Linky. It's that easy!

Here's my list for this week:

1) I'm thankful that my husband is a family man. He is always thinking of ways to make our lives more fun and he enjoys spending time with us. How cool is that!

2) I'm thankful that we took one last summer moment and saw the movie Sharks at the IMAX Dome in the Science Museum of Virginia.

3) I'm thankful that our summer is coming to an end. It's time to focus, really focus on my writing while the kids are off at school.

4) I'm thankful that school started today. Wait, I'm also sad that school started today. I have such mixed emotions on this one. I know, I'm thankful that God has given us a nice Christian school to send our children to.

5) I'm thankful that I live in a time when the internet is the new way to network. It's fun and exciting and easy. How else would I have met most of you??!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lovely Feet?

Isaiah 52:7 "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"

While attending the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference last week, a group of bloggers decided to get a picture. We stopped a passerby and asked them to please take the shot for us.

In a weird twist, Chatty Kelly said, "Now make sure you get a picture of our faces, not our feet!" Ironically, this was the picture that ensued! LOL! We all laughed and then tried again for the face shot.

As I looked at the photo, a song we sung in church years ago emerged in my mind. It was about the lovely feet of those who are spreading the good news of the gospel.

At that moment the song really hit home and I believe that this picture was NOT a mistake, but a revelation from God that we are the messengers of the good news of God's love. So now, this picture has become a treasure to me.

How about your feet? If you are sharing God's love with others than they are also beautiful.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday #39

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Welcome to Thankful Thursday! If you'd like to participate, just copy the T.T. button on my sidebar and paste it into your post. Next write down five things you are thankful for this week. Finally, come back here and link up with Mr. Linky. It's that easy!

Here's my list for this week:

1) I am thankful that my husband wants to solve my problems. He can't always come up with solutions, but often enough he is a great source of advice and encouragement. I can think of several occasions when he has given me the solution at just the right time.

2) I am thankful that I went to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference last week. I learned a lot, made tons of new friends, and felt a fresh new anointing on my life.

3) I am thankful that God has sustained this blog over the past 3 months. I have needed more family time so blogging has been on the back burner and yet my followers are increasing and that is ALL God! (and all you of course!)

4) I am thankful that school starts on Aug. 20th. Actually this one is a stretch because it will be a difficult day for me, but by faith I'm thankful.

5) I am thankful that I will begin working with my husband at the office one day a week. This will give me more of a sense that it's our business.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back from Philly!

Hello everyone! I'm back from the Writers Conference in Philly and fired up about my ministry and writing. (In the picture from left to right, Laurie, Kelly, Me, Kelli)

I met some fabulous people and re-connected with some blogging friends, too.

(In this photo Susan, Me, Shelley) It was really fun to connect with some new bloggers. We hung out and spent a great deal of time encouraging each other. I'm so excited to see what the Lord is going to do as He releases so many lovely people into His service.

I took a continuing session course with Vonda Skelton called, "Writing and Speaking to Women." I am encouraged and excited about beginning a speaking ministry to women. This is something I had always wanted to do, but now I feel truly called.

Here's a picture of me with Leslie on the day I had to give my 3 minute speech! I was a nervous wreck and notice how happy Leslie appears? This is because she knew she WASN'T going to give a speech! LOL!! I sat with Leslie during our continuing sessions and really appreciated her support and encouragement.

We ate at these large round tables in the cafeteria each meal. We had a faithful new friend named, Rev. Earl David from Tennessee. He was a retired pastor and a loving grandfather. By the time the conference was over, we all agreed that he could adopt us as surrogate grandchildren! His stories and love of the Lord were inspiring. I also met some other great people but if I didn't get your business card or write down your name, I'm sorry you didn't get a mention here.

Here's a silly picture of our feet. We had enlisted the help of an innocent passerby to take our group picture when Kelly made the comment, "Now make sure you get our faces and not our feet!" and Voila - she apparently jinxed us! LOL! That was hysterical!
Kelly and I have been close friends for over 15 years now and I had such a good time hanging out together at the conference. These are memories I will treasure. If you write and have never attended a conference, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thankful Thursday #38

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Welcome to Thankful Thursday! If you'd like to participate, just copy the T.T. button on my sidebar and paste it into your post. Next write down five things you are thankful for this week. Finally, come back here and link up with Mr. Linky. It's that easy!

Here's my list for this week:

1) I am thankful that my husband loves me enough to send me on an annual writer's conference. He doesn't mind taking care of the kids and the animals while I'm away. I love you, Tim!!

2) I am thankful that I am at the Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference with my friends Kelly and Laurie! Pray for our families and that we will get out of the conference what God wants us to hear.

3) I am thankful that I received my very first paycheck for my writing this week! I just stared at it and now it's sitting on my dresser waiting for me to frame it. I'm officially a paid author and I have to give all the glory to God! (And to my writer friends who encouraged me to write and to my family who support my writing.)

4) I am thankful for the idea to start a Bible study in my new neighborhood. I'm praying about it but feel like I will pursue this idea.

5) I am thankful for everyone who pitched in to watch my kids so I could go to the conference and not worry about what was going on back home. Love all of you!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm Called to do What?

Mark 16:15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."

When you meet a young person who is about to start their journey in college, what is the first question you want to ask them?

For me I ask, "What do you want to do with your life?"

Don't you cringe when they respond, "I don't know what I am going to do."

My next thought is, why are you wasting everyone's time and money going to college if you are unsure? But, I know that by the end of their college years they will probably have direction.

Sometimes we can get confused even after college and wonder what our purpose in life is.

I love how God makes it CRYSTAL CLEAR what our purpose is: Mark 16:15, to tell the world about Jesus and what He has done.

How does this relate to everyday life?

We should be prepared at all times to share the good news about Jesus with others - yes even strangers.

We are supposed to be the light of the world. Let's not hide our little light under a bush but instead lets be a light in the darkness.

I want to challenge you this week to wake up each morning and pray. Ask the Lord to give you opportunities to be a light in a dark world.