Severe Weather Warning for Your Immediate Area!

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
Psalm 91:9–10 (NIV)

Did the title of this week’s post grab your attention? I hope so. Before I write more, let’s listen to this Hank Williams song to get us in the mood:

Angry purple clouds hang overhead, their bottoms torn and ragged. From somewhere within them, thunder rumbles echoing off towering walls in unseen caverns. Earlier in the day you felt it, that subtle but discernable hint of something bad in the air. Now, the weather siren warns that a storm is racing right at you, hungry to destroy your possessions and maybe even your life. What do you do? You tune in to the weatherman!

How often do we tune in, I mean really tune in, to the daily weather forecast? Most of us tune in to find out the temperature and whether the sun will shine tomorrow. Then we tune out. All of that changes, though, when dark clouds roll in and the warning siren howls. When that happens, we seek out the weatherman and listen to his every word. We want to know where the storm is now, when will it hit us, how bad will it be. The weatherman can answer those questions, but more importantly he will tell us how to protect ourselves. We might lose some of our things in the storm, but if we follow the weatherman’s advice most of us will live.

Have you ever thought that our relationship with God is a lot like our relationship with the weatherman? On good weather days, we routinely check in with God through Bible reading and prayer, but when bad weather hits, we drop to our knees and plead for more information. “Mr. Weatherman, please tell me that the storm won’t hit me. If it does hit me, tell me that it won’t be bad. If it is bad, Mr. Weatherman, then make it go away without causing much damage. Mr. Weatherman . . . like the song goes . . .

‘I've had too many highs and too many lows
Too many storms and tornadoes
I need some blue skies and sunshine
I need a good forecast tonight.’”

Do you tune in to God in all kinds of weather? He desires that we tune in to Him, really tune in, every day—good weather or bad. The more we learn from Him about weathering storms, the more likely we are to find safe shelter when life-storms come our way. When we rely on God in all kinds of weather, we learn what to do when evil strikes. We find safety through His Word and in our prayerful relationship with Him.

Share with us:
What has God taught you about weathering a life-storm?

You Inspire Me!

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
Luke 6:38 (CEV)

INSPIRATION. With every word I write on this blog, I pray to inspire you to trust more, love more, laugh more, and to believe that our loving God has a plan for your life. In return, I am inspired by YOUR blog posts as God speaks to me through you.

This week I want to share with you three posts by other bloggers that made me pause and think. I hope that you will take the time to read them and that they will inspire you to choose joy over sadness, to be more kind to others, and even to laugh.

First, Ann Voskamp (A Holy Experience)
Ann is the author of the best-selling book "One Thousand Gifts." Her daily blog posts are visually beautiful and always inspiring. In her post "When Longing to Choose Joy,"
Ann pays tribute to her dear friend Sara.

Next, Sara Frankl (Gitzen Girl)
"Thought for the Day" is one of Sara's last blog posts. A serious illness has confined Sara to her condo for the past three years. Last week, she began the journey home to be with the Lord. Sara's uplifting attitude and her mantra "Choose Joy" have touched so many lives, and her inspiration will live on.
(Sara is the friend in Ann's post.)

And then, Renae Brumbaugh (Funny Coffee Girl)
Renae makes me laugh. Her humor reminds me of the late Erma Bombeck's as she tunes in to the details of life and adds a twist of funny. Renae's post "Of Mice and Me" will inspire you to appreciate the little irritations that creep into Our Father's world.

P.S. -- Renae has been busy lately at her other blog, "Morning Coffee With Renae," where she's leading us through the Book of Amos.

Thank you all for stopping by the Compost Pile this week. Until next time, I wish you sweet blessings, God's abundant love, peace, and lots of joy.

It's Not a Coincidence; It's a God Thing!

You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.
Psalm 77:14 (NKJV)

My post this week is a bit longer than usual, but bear with me. I’m about to tell you a story. It’s one of those stories that people call “a God thing,” something that makes the hair stand up on their arms.

Last Friday, my friend and I met for coffee so I could return a book that I had borrowed from her. In the thirty-plus years that we’ve known each other, we’ve gone for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, but never just coffee. I suggested that we meet at a little place on the west side of town.

As we sat there sipping almond lattes and discussing the book I’d borrowed, I asked, “Have you read ‘Jesus Calling’ by Sarah Young?” My friend hadn’t, so I told her about what an amazing devotional it is. She jotted down the title.

The coffee shop sets next to the only Christian bookstore in town, a small shop that struggles to stay in business and has more than a few empty shelves. When we finished our coffee, my friend suggested that we go inside and look around.

While she browsed, I checked to see if they had any of my books. They didn't. Then I looked for “Jesus Calling.” I didn't find it among the dozen, or so, books on the Devotionals rack.

After a few minutes, we decided to leave. On our way out of the store an autobiography caught my friend’s eye. She decided to buy it. A chubby gentleman stood at the checkout counter. He introduced himself as Anthony, the new owner. As Anthony rang up the book, he said, “Have you heard of ‘Jesus Calling?’” He pointed to a display of Sarah Young’s books in the corner of the shop. My friend looked at me, and I knew what she thought: This is strange. Anthony continued, “The Holy Spirit led me to stock that book. I’ve sold copy after copy. It sells out every time.” (What I didn’t share with my friend or Anthony was just how connected I’ve felt lately to Sarah’s books. That’s something that I decided to keep to myself.)

The conversation with Anthony continued. I told him that I had worked as an editor at Golden Books until the company left our town and moved to New York. “Were you in the Erie Street building?” Anthony asked. Yes, my office had been there, on the third floor. That building and others in the complex have sat empty for years. The real estate company hadn’t found a buyer although the location is prime, on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

“It’s sad,” I said, “that those buildings are still vacant and in such disrepair.”

Anthony smiled. He said, “I just bought them." (It turns out that Anthony comes from a well-known, wealthy family in our area.) He told us about his plans for the complex: a new Christian ministry center with a residence for abused women and their children, an auditorium for concerts and worship, a chapel overlooking the lake, and picnic grounds inspired by the Fruits of the Spirit. “The first time I stood on that land, on that bluff,” Anthony said, “I looked out at the lake, and I cried. I felt the Holy Spirit moving there.” He paused. “I tell you; that’s holy ground.”

A chill ran through me. The hair stood up on my arms —
Almost thirty years ago, I also had met the Holy Spirit on that same bluff, on that holy ground. I was an agnostic then, and I had stood there questioning whether God is for real. On that cloudy spring morning, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “Look out at the water, and the sun shall shine upon you as I speak.” Just as He promised, the sun broke through the clouds, and God and I had a conversation. That was the day when I asked Jesus into my heart.

Now Anthony the Bookseller has met Jean the Author. Both of us are connected to the Holy Spirit through that bluff on Lake Michigan, a place that Anthony just purchased to develop for the Lord. Is this a coincidence? No. It’s a God thing—

And I don’t think He’s done with us yet.

(Oh, and by the way, before Golden Books owned that land, guess what occupied it. A Christian college!)

In my first-ever blog post, I wrote about the day that I met the Holy Spirit on the bluff. You can read that post here.

Three Things We Should Remember About 9-11

And he said to the human race, "The fear of the Lord— that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding."
Job 28:28 (NIV)

September 11, 2001 became my generation’s Pearl Harbor. On that day, in the split second when the first plane smashed into the North Tower, America transformed from a safe and secure homeland into a den of anxiety and fear.

What should we remember most on this tenth anniversary of 9-11?

1. We need to remember not only those who lost their lives, but also those most affected by the tragedy: the families and friends of the dead, the rescue and recovery personnel who witnessed unspeakable horrors, the citizens who escaped from the towers and the Pentagon and still wonder why. Ten years later, these individuals relive, with searing clarity, the events of that day, and they need our prayers.

Psalm 71:20-21 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

2. We need to remember the extraordinary acts of heroism, not only those publicized, but also those that went unseen. We don’t know most of what happened inside the towers and the Pentagon or inside the doomed planes, but we do know that God places His people, His angels, exactly where they need to be at His appointed time. As nearly 3,000 people perished, we can know that compassionate heroes helped in their transition from the horrors of Earth to the wonders of God’s perfect heaven. In these acts, we find hope.

Psalm 91:11For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

3. We need to remember where to look for our strength. As believers we know that our feelings of safety and security go beyond the measures of our home here on Earth. When fear overwhelms us, our strength comes from God. Todd Beamer, a Christian on Flight 93, knew this when he faced his death on 9-11. In a phone call he made from the plane, Todd asked a GTE switchboard operator to pray with him.

“Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed by they Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses.
As we forgive them that trespass against us . . .”

Ten years ago on September 11, 2001 evil struck. When it did, the gates of Heaven swung wide open, and a throng of Christians entered all at once. This week, we remember the events that brought them there and also the loving God who watched over us then and watches us still.

Matthew 28:20: Behold, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

To those we lost that day:

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)

From the Memorial Service held at the National Cathedral on 9-11-01:


I'm proud to be a contributing author to the following series of humorous devotionals.
And check out my "Kid's Bible Dictionary" and pre-teen mysteries, also from Barbour.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.
Click on the picture.
I am the author of these books, but I have not been compensated for mentioning them on this blog or linking them to the seller's website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

By Max Lucado, Published by Thomas Nelson
Max Lucado has a unique way with words, and his children's book Hermie A Common Caterpillar is no exception. With simple text and bright, watercolor illustrations, the story of Hermie unfolds.

Hermie wonders why he looks and feels so common. Whenever he asks God why, God simply answers, "I'm not finished with you yet." Then, one day, Hermie feels very tired. He gets into his cozy, leafy bed, and he sleeps. And while Hermie sleeps a transformation takes place. When he wakes up, Hermie discovers that God has done something grand. You can guess what it is. Every caterpillar that lives to adulthood knows the end of the story.

Parents, please share this book and its powerful message with your children. We are all special because God loves us, and He has a unique purpose for our lives. Whenever we slump into feeling ordinary, we know that we have hope because . . .God isn't finished with us yet!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

©text on this blog copyrighted 2012 by Jean Fischer unless otherwise credited. You may link to the blog, but please don't reprint the text without my permission.

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