A New Book – Mess To Message

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Maybe you have been wondering where I have been since December or maybe not. I’ve been pouring my time and energy into women’s and marriage ministry as well as completing a new book that I have co-written with my friend Scott Wittig.

It’s been a journey but it’s finally complete.
Our hope is that this book of hope was worth the wait for you, the people for whom we wrote it. “The gifts of loss can be many when perspective is given through story,” it says on the back cover. In each chapter, Scott shares a story of a life challenge he’s been through (or someone close to me has been through) and take it from mess to message. Then, I follow with a reflection on that story from the Bible. Church person, believer, follower or not, you and those close to you will gain perspective and encouragement from reading Mess to Message. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed writing it for you. (Special thanks to Owen Barrow, Jen Ren, Kirsten Wheeler & Matt Murphy) #messtomessagebook #inspiration #encouragement

You can purchase the paperback or download the kindle version on Amazon. I would love to hear your thoughts after reading it.

Thank you for your continued support. With love and gratitude, Allison

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Genesis Conclusions

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Well, just like that 2018 is coming to a close and our listening journey through Genesis is over. It has been incredible to sit and savor Genesis over 52 weeks and take note of all the “firsts” that occur, especially in Genesis 1-11. Those chapters contain the foundation of our Christian faith when it comes to creation, marriage, and the flood. It has been incredibly powerful to study and unpack it this year. It’s also reminded me how important it is for me to express to others and my children that the Bible is not just a book of stories, but of history itself.

I learned so many new things, one being I’m not good at studying the Bible by listening. I’m a visual learner and I need to see the words to grasp it. But that’s ok, now I know. I pray you have found a way that encourages you to the study the Bible and if you haven’t that you will make that your quest for 2019.

I also want to leave you with this thought as we close out Genesis because I sense Satan is attacking the confidence, courage, and perseverance of God’s people.

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

Satan hasn’t changed his ways! it’s the same old tactics and sins, just disguised in different wrapping paper. Just as the serpent deceived Eve back in the garden, he is deceiving us to this day. Can’t you hear it?

Did God really mean that we should follow all His ways and laws?  Did God really mean we were worthy enough to fulfill His will for your life? Did God really mean it when he said we are forgiven for all those terrible things we have done? What trap is Satan whispering to you? My prayer is that as we begin a new year that God would pour out His spirit on you and fill your heart and mind with His truth and power.

Yes! You are worthy! Yes! You are loved! Yes! You are capable! Yes, you are forgiven! Yes, His ways and laws are for you! Yes! He is always with you!

 

COMING IN 2019. . . . 

For the past 5 or so years, I’ve chosen a different way to study the Bible through the year and shared my adventures and revelations through my blog. This year God is doing something new in my life. . . I”m not even sure what it is right now, but He is stirring. So, I’m not going to make a plan. I’m going to leave myself open to His whisper, His ways and follow His lead without a plan of my own. This is a big step for this Type A girl, but I’m all in. What does all this mean? Well, there will still be blogs, but they may not be every week and I have no idea what I’ll be sharing so hold on tight. I’m excited to see what God has in store.

 

Genesis 50 – The Final Chapter

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It’s difficult to believe that this is the last chapter of Genesis. What an incredible year. I’ll spend next week on final reflections as we close out our year in Genesis, but today let’s remain focused on the final days of Joseph. He has been our main emphasis for weeks, but today we see a final account of his great kindness before his death.

Joseph’s brothers were concerned after burying their father and returning to Egypt. They thought the kindness and forgiveness Joseph had extended to them would be gone now that their father wasn’t around anymore. But once again, Joseph proves God’s mercy and love flowed through him.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.  Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (v. 19-21)

Joseph was there with eyes wide open. He understood that all of these things had to occur for God to have him in just the right place, at just the right time to save the lives of many. He wasn’t bitter or angry. It’s inspiring!

It reminds me of when my son was young and said to a friend, as he ran off the basketball court, ““Did you see me do that? Why don’t you keep watching me just in case I do something amazing!”

I wonder how many times God whispers to us, “Did you see that? I’m right here. Did you notice?”

There are many reasons why we miss out on God’s amazing works. Not watching or paying close attention is the easy answer, but there are other ways that make us miss out. Anger and fear are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to blocking the view of our Lord and Savior’s amazing plans. Fear and anger reap destruction. They ruin friendships, destroy marriages, divide families and churches. Fear and anger can paralyze us and keep us from making the right choices. But not for Joseph, he wasn’t having any part of that!

Is there something going on in your life or a circumstance you are angry or afraid about? Is there a big change happening that you don’t understand and don’t like? Have you dug in your heals, resisted and complained without taking it to God in prayer and asking Him what His will is? Do you have the courage to follow God and ask Him to give you the courage it takes to step out of your comfort zone? When we step out of our comfort zone, God does His best work.

It comes down to some personal decisions. How appropriate as the new year approaches! Do we want to be a part of God’s amazing plan? Are we willing to sacrifice, as He did for us, in order to further His kingdom? Are we willing to put ourselves aside and see what God has in mind? Are we willing to try something new for His kingdom’s sake? It isn’t always comfortable or easy and it isn’t always what comes naturally, but it’s an amazing feeling to be a part of God’s work. Is stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing change or offering forgiveness worth bringing others to Christ? Sometimes, that is what God calls us to do just for that reason.

I pray that whatever anger or fear we are holding on to today dissolves with each tear that falls and every word we lift up to our Heavenly Father. When I was growing up, before every overnight trip my mom would always say, “Remember your morals, values and where you come from.” In other words, don’t get caught up in the moment and make a mistake you will regret.  Remember: You are a child of God! Keep your eyes on the Light of the world. He is doing some amazing things. Will you join Him as your turn the calendar to 2019?

You are loved, Allison

 

Genesis 49 – Gathered

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When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people. (v. 33)

This entire chapter is beautiful. All the prophecy and blessings spoken over his sons before he breathed his last breath are incredible. Especially since we have seen all of it transpire through history throughout the 12 tribes.

However, even with all of that, there was one word that stood out to me today more than any other.

Gathered –  to collect several things, often from different places, or people. To put your arms around someone and hold or carry them in a loving way. (Cambridge Online Dictionary)

I think about gathering with friends and family, gathering up a child in my arms after they have been hurt, gathering seashells as I walk along the beach and gathering stories to share in the hopes of encouraging others. But, I had never considered how beautiful the image is of gathering with those who have gone before us once we leave this earth and go to live with our Heavenly Father for eternity.

What a peaceful and joyful feeling that invokes. When God calls us home, we will gather with those we love, have missed, said goodbye to long ago and those we may not even remember until we see them once again in Heaven. We will gather together with our people. Our brothers and sisters in Christ.

What a glorious image for us as we gather with family and friends to celebrate Christmas and New Years. I know we are making incredible memories, but can you comprehend what a gathering in Heaven will be like?

I can only imagine?

Genesis 48 – It’s A Long Story

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I remember when my son was in preschool. One day I picked him up, he jumped in the car and said, “We learned about respect today in chapel.”

“That’s awesome! What did you learn about it?”, I asked.

“Well, it’s a long story”, he replied.

I could not have said it better myself.

That title seemed fitting because we are still traveling through the chapters of Genesis reading about Jacob and Joseph’s story. Last week we discovered that as Jacob neared the end of his life, he was growing in his relationship with God. This week, in chapter 48, we see more evidence of that with many blessings and knowledge of what will come.

When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” He blessed them that day and said  “In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’” So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. (v. 17-20)

How incredible that God allowed Jacob to not only see his son, Joseph, once again but to meet his grandchildren and bless them. I’m sure Jacob wished he could stick around longer to lead, guide and show his grandsons about God and teach them the lessons it took him so long to learn himself. This reminded me of how important it is to always continue teaching my own children about God, no matter how old they get or how much they seem to be ignoring me.

Teaching, guiding and directing our children about God isn’t something we should ever cross off our list. It’s a long story that we should never stop telling them or others. We are called to do so and we can’t let this responsibility fall to the side or leave for someone else to do.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, Deuteronomy 11:18-20

We are to live, share, teach and constantly think about the Words of the Lord and share them with our children. This takes time, thought, work, study, and love. Love for the Lord and love for our children and others. It is easy to let this job/responsibility get lost in the busyness of life.

My godchild asked me once if God was magic. She couldn’t understand how He was able to live in her heart, her mom’s heart and lots of others people’s heart’s unless there were hundreds of God’s. A lot of important things happened for her to find out the answers. First, she asked the question. This shows her heart for God. Second, her parents helped her find the answers. Third, I responded with scripture and her parents followed through with more discussion.

It’s a long story! Don’t miss the opportunity to share the Lord with a child? I encourage you to look for an opportunity every day this week to share a thought or Word about God with your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews.  I’m praying God will open the door and give us all the opportunity and when He does that we are willing and open to sharing truth and love.

 

Genesis 47 – Late Bloomers

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In Chapter 47, it feels as if we finally see the Jacob (Israel) turn into a man of God. After he has Joseph promises not to bury him in Egypt but to return him to his homeland for burial.

“Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. (v. 31)

He worshiped as he leaned on his staff! I’m sure his heart was at peace and it felt as if he was finally walking alongside his Heavenly Father basking in His great rest. This verse reminded me once again that we are all on our own journey with God. Some are trying to journey without Him, but either way, we are all on a journey and while on it, no matter where we are, grace is a wonderful thing to run into.

Some of us are late bloomers when it comes to our relationship with Christ and have incredible stories of transformation. Others seem to have always known God, never let go of His ways and still seek Him today. And still, there are others who know about Him but chose not to believe or take another path. There are hundreds of scenarios that we can find ourselves in, but today this one verse reminds me that it’s ok.

It’s ok that all the people on my prayer wall I’m praying to find and follow Christ aren’t there yet, right when I want them to be. I mean, I want them in Heaven with me for eternity because I care deeply for them, but I can’t force their journey. I want them to experience His great courage, peace, strength, and love NOW, but I can’t make them. It’s in God’s hands and my job is to keep praying, keep gardening and planting seeds, showing God’s love and living it out to all I come in contact with so that hopefully one day on their journey they look up and realize they have reached their destination. The place where they look up with a faithful heart to our Creator and worship Him for His great love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. The place where they finally find rest and acceptance. The place on their journey when they say, “I believe You died for me, show me how to follow Your ways.”

What a day that will be! Are you seeking God or praying for others in your life who are wandering around searching for the answer to happiness and peace? Can we make a pact to continue to pray mightily for those people we know, and don’t know, to come to know Christ sooner rather than later? A late bloomer is certainly better than never blooming, but I want everyone to have all the benefits of our Heavenly Father as they go through this life and not have to wait until their final days. Amen and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Genesis 46 – The Love of a Father

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Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time. Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.” (v. 29-30)

I can only imagine what it must have been like for Joseph to finally see the father he had been separated from for most of his life. On the other hand, can you imagine how incredible it must have been for Jacob (Israel) to hug the son he thought to be dead for over twenty years?!

I can’t help but relate this to love our Heavenly Father has for each of us. All those times we turned away from Him, took the wrong step or walked away from Him. He remained there waiting for us and never giving up until we were back under His wing. The difference is that we, unlike Joseph & his father, have a choice. We don’t have to wait to seek our Heavenly Father and be in His presence. All we have to do is open His Word.

Tears well up in my eyes as I type this and consider all the benefits we receive by simply remaining in the light of our Heavenly Father’s word. There are so many who never make the time, think they are too busy, that it’s a waste of time, isn’t relevant anymore, that think they can’t understand what it means so what’s the point. I remember using a few of these same excuses years ago. Please don’t assume what others say about the Bible is true. Read it for yourself. It’s a face to face conversation with your Heavenly Father that He so desperately wants to have with you. If your favorite movie star or athlete called to say they wanted to meet for dinner I have no doubt most of us would take out a loan for the flight, drop everything and rearrange our schedules to get there. Well, the Creator of the Universe wants to have a one-on-one with you. The Creator of everything that has ever been and will ever be. Will you meet Him? You don’t have to wait any longer.

We have access to knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that we can only begin to tap in to and comprehend when we read the Bible. One of the most important truths is just how much God loves each of us and wants you back in His loving arms if you have been separated from Him.

May you find your way back to Him as Joseph did to his father.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m grateful for each of you that take the time to read these words each week.