Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas is right around the corner . . .


 Travel to India via the Born for India trilogy this Christmas! 

Will Maggie discover more than she bargained for when she steps onto the Oasis Compound? 
Did she really commit her life to this
And could love possibly await her?

Can Gavin and Tim resolve the tension brewing between them when Tim declares his dark secret? And how will Maggie, caught in the middle, respond?
A compelling story that just might change the way you view people.
A must read for every Christian!

Will Yvonne's pain drive her to make a difficult decision? And what will husband Dan think? Join the missionaries at the Oasis Compound as they face the dangers of trafficking when a little Nepali girl shows up on their doorstep.

Does the empty nest signal the end of a purposeful life?
Or is the best yet to come?
Follow Mave through her empty nest journey as she experiences some midlife surprises along with husband, Jerry.
 
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Visit Christianbook.com for great prices!


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Stay tuned for a special treat!
 
I'll be in India from December 19 through January 9. I greatly appreciate your prayers as my husband and I visit and encourage the young Waldock fam and conduct a marriage seminar for the staff at one of the Christian schools. While in Bangalore, I will also be busy producing videos, taking pics, and supplying blog posts, all under the title of "Christmas in India!"

You won't want to miss this inside glimpse of the sights, sounds, and smells of India, the birthplace of my Born for India trilogy. Travel to some of the places where my character Maggie ministers to orphans, experiences the tsunami, meets her future husband, and much more! 
 
If you haven't already, you may want to read my books (Journey to Judah, Restored Hearts, Chosen Ones) to enhance the experience!

Blog posts begin on December 10 with a pre-packing video.

What exactly does it take to go to a foreign country? Hmm . . .
www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com 
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The post will arrive in your inbox).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Would You Say?


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. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.


What would you say to someone who has lost a loved one? Would you say anything? Please share with my readers about an experience you've had with grief or an experience you've had comforting someone else.

The holiday season is especially difficult for those who have lost loved ones, which if you've lived very long at all, most likely includes you. How has God comforted you during your time of loss?

I'd love to see this post filled with encouraging comments from readers who have "been there."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Relentless Lover


THE RELENTLESS LOVER


When I was a little girl, I used to dream about the day when a handsome prince would ride up out of the wind on his sturdy white steed and sweep me away to never-never land. Then I would be truly happy and life would be good. Years later, my prince did come and I thought now I will finally live happily ever after, just like the fairy tales I had always read about.

But as the years passed, I began to realize that my noble prince had a few chinks in his armor and his helmet was abit tarnished. In fact, he downright creaked when he walked. He didn't quite listen to me the way I wished he would. He forgot things I would tell him. I expected him to know what I was thinking without telling him. Somehow it took all the romance away if I had to TELL him what I wanted. He couldn't fix things around the house like other husbands I observed. In fact, in our first dollhouse, he got so frustrated because there was no outlet in the bathroom for his electric razor that he knocked a hole in the wall with a hammer and fed a cord through to an outlet in the bedroom. I was livid!

Even more disconcerting was the realization that I, his lovely princess, had a few flaws of her own. Nagging for one. Easily angered, for another. And homemaking skills, well, they left something to be desired. One day, shortly after my prince and I set up housekeeping, I was ironing one of my favorite blouses that my sister had made me (luckily it was not one of my husband’s shirts). I didn't realize I had pushed the temperature setting to wool instead of cool (which was required for the sheer material with which I was working). As I dutifully pressed along, I lifted the iron to begin another section and to my horror, I caught sight of a huge scorch print on the sleeve. I was devastated. My doom was sealed. I was right all along. My homemaking skills were a disaster. Maybe I couldn't pull this thing called marriage off after all.

I slumped into a chair and began to think about all the times my performance as God's child had been less than perfect. Then, in that quiet moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Philippians 3:12b:  "I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (NIV). When I see a scorch mark on my spiritual garment, my bridegroom, Jesus, looks at me, lifts up my face, gazes into my eyes and says, "I love you; I chose you; I died for you and rose again for you to clothe you with the perfect, spotless robe of My righteousness, with no stains, no wrinkles and definitely no scorch marks. Oh, your garment may seem disfigured from your earthly point of view, but from where I sit in the heavenlies, 'you look marvelous!' And someday when I take you to heaven to be with Me forever, you will see fully that I was right all along."

In the years since that time, Jesus has made it His mission to pursue me relentlessly. Time and time again, He has come to me with His perfect love, unlike any human love, and reminded me that He is my Prince who provides all the security I need now and forever. Zephaniah 3:17 reassures me that "the Lord my  God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (NIV). The Lord sings over me! What an awesome thought. I am that precious and valuable to Him. He actually sings a special love song just for me because I am his bride, His unique work, unlike any other. He has promised me that nothing will ever separate me from His love--not life, nor death, nor angels, nor any other created thing, nor height, nor depth, nor things present, nor things to come. That about covers everything, doesn't it? It is this amazing love, this relentless pursuit by a determined lover that motivates me to be all I can be for my Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. His love washes away all indifference and apathy, compelling me to share His wonderful love with as many people in as many different ways as I can.

If you are discouraged today and feel dry and useless in your Christian life, a motivational book or speaker may do the trick for awhile, but allowing yourself to fall into the grip of the relentless lover will last a lifetime! Nothing can compare to it and nothing will move you to service quicker. Spend time reading His love letter and talking to Him. He delights in your presence as you do in His. You are His and He is Yours.

The other day I picked up a local woman’s magazine which featured a hometown personality. When asked what her wildest dream was, she replied, “That I’m really a princess and my true identity will soon be discovered.” If I knew where to find this gal, I’d love to tell her that she can be a princess and her true identity can be found in the Lord Jesus Christ, her perfect Prince!

One day I will see this Prince that I only visualize with eyes of faith now. Revelation 19:11 says that the curtain of heaven will open and my lovely perfect Prince will be sitting on a white horse. At that time, He, the one who is Faithful and True, will right all wrongs and bring evil to justice forever. Sound like a fairytale? Kinda does, doesn't it? But the wonderful thing about it is that it is true! Jesus will sweep me off my feet and together we will ride to everlasting joy. You see, there is a happily ever after. It isn't pretend, it's real! And those who trust in His relentless love will not be disappointed.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hugs from Heaven


It all starts with the stuffing. I'll blame my fragile emotions on bread cubes, chopped onions, and diced celery. Every year as I stand at the kitchen counter preparing mama's traditional and simple turkey stuffing, I grow weepy, not from the onions, but from nostalgia.

My mother should be here huffing and puffing her way around the kitchen, frantic about a particular recipe or whether a family member will make it to the celebration. And most of all--preparing the filling for big bird.

But she's not. She's in heaven, with daddy and my two babies born too early to survive, along with a host of friends and other family members awaiting a grand and glorious reunion.

A tear slides down my cheek. Then a sudden warmth sweeps over my spirit as I hear (within my heart) the words: "It's okay, honey. It won't be much longer, and we'll all be together again. For now, stand strong and be of a good courage. You can do this. You're not alone." Mama smiles, and I feel a slight touch on my shoulder. A hug from heaven. And then she's gone.

But I know I'm not alone. She's left courage and love and faithfulness. The very things I want to pass down to my family.

One of my husband's favorite Scripture passages is Hebrews 11:4: ". . . by faith (Abel) still speaks, even though he is dead." He jokes with clients, "Wanna nag your kids from the grave? You can, you know. Your children will remember your words and actions long after you are gone."

Abel left a legacy of faithfulness behind. I want to do this as well. Perhaps the number one passion on my heart since I turned 50 eleven years ago is to leave a godly legacy to my children and grandchildren. I had great role models from both sides of our families. They finished strong.

With the great cloud of witnesses peeking down from heaven, I feel encouraged today to keep pressing on. To keep the faith and pass it along.

And hugs from heaven provide the incentive to do just that. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Just a Pilgrim Passing Through


JUST A PILGRIM PASSING THROUGH

This is the week we celebrate Thanksgiving. Not a new thought. We practice this ritual every year by pulling out our favorite holiday table cloth, china, silver or stainless steel. We make out grocery lists, dig out old family recipes, and
scrub the guest room until it sparkles. A sense of excitement fills the air for some, while dread fills the hearts of others.Those preparing huge quantities of food, typically the women in the family, usually fall into the "dread" category,
while those consuming the huge quantities of food, typically the male occupants of the household, fall into the "excited" category.

Thankfully, in our house we have worked out a system where I cook and Chuck cleans. That's fine by me. I enjoy the food preparation on this special day more than any other time of the year. Maybe it's because my family and guests always
seem to appreciate the effort so much. Just another way they show their thankfulness, I suppose.

I like the anticipation of the days leading up to Thanksgiving Day. I even like wrestling the raw sixteen-pound Butterball around the kitchen early Thanksgiving morning while everyone else in the family is still snoozing. Once he is safely
tucked in the oven, spitting grease in his pan, I sit back for a while and enjoy the aroma wafting from the kitchen.

I day-dream about the early settlers to our country. Pilgrims in search of a better world and a better home for their children. Freedom to worship God apart from a King's tyrannical rule.

Then I think about myself and my family. Just pilgrims, really, in search of a better world and a better home. On a journey, not from Europe to America, but from this earth to heaven, and I am at peace. Even though the smell of baking
bird calls me back to the kitchen with thankfulness for my present riches, I silently thank God that this world with its turkeys (you can read whatever you want into that word) is not all there is! A better world is coming. Not a world
devised by the evolutionists or secular humanists or new age thinkers, but a world created by a loving Father calling His precious child home.

A pilgrim just passing through on this Thanksgiving Day. How very thankful I am for that!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The House that Wisdom Built


THE HOUSE THAT WISDOM BUILT

As you spend time with family this holiday season, look for the treasures that building a godly household provides. Since wisdom is seeing life from God's point of view and then acting upon that godly knowledge, Proverbs, the book of godly wisdom, is an excellent place to immerse our families with practical principles for living.

Read through Proverbs during family devotions and have each member list the characteristics of a godly home. Younger children may wish to DRAW their "characteristics," so provide paper, crayons or markers. Kids love to ACT OUT things, so let them dramatize a characteristic and you guess what they are doing and what biblical principle it illustrates. You could also keep a FAMILY JOURNAL of your "discoveries" from Proverbs.

Keep the devotional time short. No longer than 15 minutes, unless the kids are really "into it" and just don't want to stop. Hey, it could happen! Concentrate on one verse or principle at a time. Discuss how the wise characteristic can impact the daily life of each family member. Conclude your time together by PRAYING for God's power and grace to implement the characteristic for that day. You might even have a special surprise waiting for the child who is able to report during the next devotional time how he/she implemented the characteristic.

A TREASURE BOX of inexpensive goodies/trinkets/coupons that is only opened during devotions is a fun way to reinforce godly principles. Our family was blessed with a grandpa who loved to do wood-working, so he crafted us a beautiful wooden box (similar to a pirate's treasure chest) with a special brass latch that made the experience all the more alluring. Your box can be anything you want it to be! You might decide to let the kids help craft the treasure chest out of a shoebox, scrap lumber, or a plastic Rubbermaid container. Let your imagination be your guide!

EXAMPLE OF FAMILY DEVOTIONS FROM PROVERBS:

READ Proverbs 1:5:  "A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel." (Try reading in different translations).

CHARACTERISTIC FOR TODAY: TEACHABLE

PRINCIPLE TO LEARN AND APPLY: 

A wise person will allow other members of his family to offer constructive criticism or advice. He will listen, evaluate, and make a decision before God. But he is willing to be taught, to learn from other members, even if they are younger than he is. (How often I have gleaned a helpful insight from one of my kids! And how useful and good that makes them feel!) It benefits the entire family when members are teachable. The reverse is also true:  it affects the entire family negatively when members insist on their own way and refuse help of any kind. DISCUSS further thoughts as a family and how the principle can be APPLIED to each life today.

Don't worry about "conquering" the entire book of Proverbs. Go at a pace your family can tolerate. Often small chunks are absorbed and remembered better than large chunks. So don't overdose!

Most of all, have fun! Laugh! Lighten up! God's Word should be a place the kids want to visit. A place of joy and rest. Even as truths bring conviction, as we submit to God's growing process, we discover joy and rest for our souls. Help your children understand that obedience to God yields the peaceable fruit of right living (Hebrews 12:11). Be an example of what it means to be a spiritually alive and growing person. Make memories around God's Word as a family!            

Have fun discovering the house that wisdom built this holiday season as you work your way through Proverbs!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Power of Hospitality

Once in a while you read a book you consider worth passing along. The Power of Hospitality is one of those books. In a culture that has largely forgotten the art form of hosting, we need more instruction like this book provides. Not only that, for the Christian, hospitality is a graceful action noted by the apostle Paul as significant (see Romans, chapter 12). Hospitality may even be the key to an unbeliever's heart.


THE POWER OF HOSPITALITY: An Open Heart, Open Hand, and Open Home will Change Your World

By Chuck & Kathie Crismier
Elijah Books, 2005
220 pages
$15.99

According to William Hendricks, author of Exit Interviews, “53,000 people per week are leaving through the ‘back door’ of America’s churches.” One of the reasons given by attendees is that church does not offer true community.

Chuck and Kathie Crismier offer the biblical solution for this dilemma. Broken into two parts: 1) the heart and power of hospitality and 2) the art and practice of hospitality, the book lends excellent support for the believer’s call to hospitality.

In a nutshell, the Crismiers contend that “your heart, hand, and home are God’s ordained access points for His Holy Spirit to reach locked hearts” (214). They stress the importance of hospitality beginning with leaders and extending to the laity with scriptures such as Titus 1:7-9 and 1 Peter 4:9 and the lives of biblical characters.

The Crismiers teach that hospitality is not a gift, it is a given for every child of God.  Hospitality is both a prerequisite for revival in America and a result of revival. Statistics reveal that 70% of all people come to Christ through personal relationships. Hospitality can cut through racial, family, societal, and denominational barriers.

In addition to theory, the Crismiers offer practical suggestions on how to implement hospitality. Phone calls, cards, home dinners, games, and providing a room or transportation are just a few of the forms hospitality can take. The important thing is to sit down with your family and set some goals, then follow through. Blessings come when believers practice hospitality.