Saturday, September 24, 2011


I love sunrises, and fall is a time for especially beautiful sunrises in our part of Nebraska. I've taken pictures of several sunrises over the last few weeks. I can never remember which setting on my camera takes the best early-morning scenery pictures, so I end up taking quite a few pictures, using different settings, over the time period of 10 or 15 minutes or so.

When I'm looking at the sunrises in "real life" and when I look at the pictures on my computer I always have the same thought--what a great God we have, to have created such beauty solely for our enjoyment. He could have made every sunrise exactly the same, but He did not. Some mornings there are clouds...some mornings are perfectly clear...on some mornings there is a veil of mist over the fields. I have taken hundreds of pictures of sunrises during the 6 1/2 years we've lived in the country, and I am still amazed at how different the sunrises are from day to day, and even minute to minute.

Recently in my Bible study I've been reading a Psalm each morning. The following verses fit the beauty of His sunrises.

"Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious, merciful, and righteous." Psalm 122:4

When our days are dark because of circumstance, we can always be confident that "light will dawn," both literally and figuratively. Just as the sun comes up every morning and brightens the world, the Son  brightens our world through His love and grace and mercy. Just as the sun is there even when we cannot see it, the Son is also there. Even if we cannot see Him or we feel far away from Him, we can be confident that He cares for us, He listens to our prayers, and He is aware of everything that is going on in our lives.

 The other verse that inspired me; "From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!"

When I watch a beautiful sunrise, I can't help but praise the Lord! I praise Him for giving us such beauty in our world, I praise Him that I am able to see and enjoy the sunrise and I praise Him for His gift to us that makes all other gifts pale: the gift of His Son and our salvation.

May you find joy in sunrises, and in the Son.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Would you Like to Become "More than a Good Bible Study Girl?"

I read this book several months ago and loved it! It encouraged me to make God and Bible study more than just another "to-do" on my list. I reviewed Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl in the September issue of the Nebraksa Family Times and was so inspired and encouraged by the book that I wanted to share the review here, with you. I hope you enjoy it! (And if you decide to order More than a Good Bible Study Girl, please consider ordering through Proverbs 31 ministries; it's a little more expensive than ordering through a "big" e-bookstore, but you'll be supporting the Proverbs 31 Ministries). 
Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl
By Lysa TerKeurst

Review by Shelly Burke, Editor

Lysa TerKeurst had a difficult childhood and a legalistic view of God, believing that if she did the “right” things, He in turn would give her what she wanted. All of that ended the day her baby sister died and Lysa completely turned away from God.

Several years later she was led back to Jesus by a verse a friend had written in a card, and started to seek inner peace through Him. In Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl Lysa shares her struggles and the truths she found. Lysa says the message she wants to share is, “to help women not only know God’s truth but also feel equipped to live it out in their everyday lives.”

Lysa addresses six areas in which we can become “more than a good Bible study girl;”
  • In My Heart
  • In My Walk with God
  • In My Relationships
  • In My Struggles
  • In My Thoughts
  • In My Calling
In each area she shows how we can develop a deeper relationship with God. Lysa covers personal, sensitive topics; chapter titles include “When I  Feel Like I Don’t Measure Up,” “When God Hurts My Feelings” and “What Do I Do When I Don’t Feel God?”
Lysa lets readers know that it’s OK to struggle with devotion time, become disappointed when we don’t get the opportunities that we seek, and struggle with the “uglies” (times in life when things don’t go as they should and we feel ugly). She addresses real-life situations that include dealing with gossip, changing a bad attitude, and defeating satan’s attempts to make us feel inadequate. She assures us that we are not the only ones who feel this way, and then gives practical advice for finding Biblical truths and living them out in our daily lives.

Lysa writes to new Christians as well as those who have been believers for a long time, and every reader will benefit from her suggestions for studying the Bible in a way that will make it come alive

I found myself taking pages of notes and writing down Bible references as I read Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl. I was able to immediately put her suggestions to use, and was especially uplifted by her encouraging words for times when things just don’t go our way. One of the most reassuring things I learned was that not getting opportunities when I want them is not God’s way of keeping me from my calling, but instead His way of preparing me for opportunities.

Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl is a book I will refer to often, and I recommend it to anyone who seeks a deeper relationship with God and wants to live His truths in their daily life.
Lysa TerKeurst is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Go to to order Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl and for many more resources and links to blogs and devotions of other women who are a part of Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why You Should Hang Up Your Robe
by Glynnis Whitwer

(Editor's Note: This article really hit home with me; I have a bad habit of not quite finishing what I started. Reading this article helped me to realize the importance of finishing what I start, even with such seemingly minor tasks as hanging up my robe. Thanks, Glynnis, for your wise words!)

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” Acts 20:24 (NIV)

My first instinct was to leave the clean, folded clothes on top of the dresser. Granted, my arms were filled with freshly laundered items...
To read the rest of the article, go to . Check out more by Glynnis Whitwer at

"The days may seem long, but the years are short"

One of our MOPS mentors told me that years ago, when I had two toddlers at home. And indeed, some of the days did seem very long, between diapers, and nursing, and (very short!) naps, and more diapers, and interrupted sleep, and more nursing, and preparing meals, and baths, and more nursing...

But I was reminded of her words once again a few weeks ago, on Morgan's first day of her senior year. After I took the last, first-day-of-school picture, waved good-bye to her, sent up a prayer to God to protect her, and wiped away a few tears, I went through her old scrapbooks until I found the picture of her first, first-day-of-school (see the pictures below).

As I looked at the two pictures I felt a mix of emotions; a little bit of sadness that my "little girl" was soon going to leave to go to college and start her life; pride in the independent, thoughtful, God-loving young lady she's become; disbelief that she's gone from being a kindergartener to a senior in high-school in the blink of an eye...and overwhelming gratitude that God has given Tim and I such a blessing in Morgan.

This is such a bittersweet time for me...happiness and joy in Morgan's anticipation of "what comes next" along with a little tug in my heart every time she hugs me good-bye in the morning, knowing that next year she will be going to college and I won't be there to hug her every morning.

So, moms of young kids: Remember--"the days may seem long, but the years are short." Enjoy every stage with your children. Enjoy reading to them, discovering the wonders of nature with them, and cuddles in bed with them. As your children get older, you'll celebrate their independence in eating, going to the bathroom, and dressing themselves. Before you know it they'll be (gulp) driving and dating...and considering their options of what to do after high school. The hugs may become less frequent, but you'll still get them once in awhile!

I do not regret one moment that I spent with Cody and Morgan. I enjoyed each of the stages they went through (although I would not go back and repeat any stage)! And I look forward to the "stages" yet to come. May God bless every day you spend with your children.

Morgan's first, first day of school, with her first dog, Hershey

Morgan's last, first-day-of-school, with her dog Jenny. Yes, she's sitting on the same swing that's in the first picture! (It's almost time for a new porch swing.)