Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Do You See a Sparkle?

Reflected Stone Rainbow by pshab

"...brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." Ezekiel 1: 27b-28a

If you're joining me from the Christian Children's Authors blog, welcome!

"When you look at me," Molly Mahoney asks, "What do you see? Do you see a something reflective of something bigger that's trying to get out?"

This is one of the best lines in one of my favorite family movies, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium," (2008). It's one the most significant questions we can ask ourselves as followers of Christ. Even as parents and grandchildren, do we seek, encourage and call out their sparkle?

In the movie, Mahoney is the loyal manager of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, a magical toy store where everything comes to life. Most alive and happy when she's working, Mahoney relishes in Mr. Magorium's child-like faith. Mr. Magorium recognizes her "sparkle" and upon his retirement, transfers ownership of the toy store to Mahoney. But she feels completely inadequate, noting her lack of magic (the sparkle) that makes the Wonder Emporium...well, magical. Mahoney further reasons that she just can't be a kid anymore and therefore, opts to sell the store even if it means her unhappiness and that of all the children.

Isn't that how we act too? I mean here we stand, created in God's image, meant to reflect everything about Him including His glory and yet, we feel so inadequate most of the time. We don't see the sparkle, the reflection of His greatness in us. And as parents or grandparents, do we look for that sparkle in our children/grandchildren and encourage it's appearance?

God placed a desire in each of us to do something that seems, in any normal circumstance, natural. But, when asked to step out in faith, using that desire or gift for His kingdom, we suddenly retreat. We may even opt to "sell the store" of possibilities to someone else; someone more deserving or more talented, because for us, accepting the task would be simply impossible, even childish. 

And what happens when our children are maturing? Do we acknowledge their talents, applaud their God-given desires and encourage them to seek out opportunities to grow those desires or test them?

Sometimes we miss God's reflection in ourselves and our children. We cheat those around us of the same when we sit frozen to our chairs of impossibilities. So, what does it take to get us to see God's "sparkle" in ourselves or others?

I believe that something, event or moment when time stands still and we say, "Aha!" is different for everyone. But, common to all God followers? Abiding - spending alone time with God through His son, Jesus. We reflect the heart and glory of God himself when we abide in Him. Then, when we recognize God's movement in our lives or the lives of our children, faith grows. That's when we realize that with God nothing is impossible.

Thankful hearts brim and respond in obedience to God. It's here where we find our true selves - through obedience - what make us, us.

Do you see a sparkle? Do you have that reflection of something bigger that's trying to get out? Will you let it out? Will you spend time with your Creator so that He might shine through you?

What about your children or grandchildren? Do you encourage their sparkle? Do you recognize God's reflection through their personalities and do you give them opportunities for God to appear?

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Prisoner Shackles by Jonathan Dresner
flickr.com_3072374801_db98b198a7_CC BY-ND 2.0
If you're visiting from {re}fresh, welcome!

"But I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists." Jeremiah 40:4a

Tommy walked outside the iron gates a free man, carrying all he owned inside a crisp manila envelope - life simplified. Endless possibilities stretched out before him promised life renewed, but somehow life got crazy on the outside, his past hijacked him and freedom didn't seem so rich or desirable, after all (from the movie, Crazy on the Outside, 2010, starring Tim Allen).

Sometimes we're a lot like Tommy. We find ourselves suddenly unshackled - finally free from our past - and yet we bend down and pick up our own manila envelopes. We peek inside at the past, at the little life we own and suddenly our dreams and desires skew; they veer way off the freedom road.

It's an old, old story and the ending remains the same:

Only God frees

Throughout history God said, leave everything behind - all your possessions, your little life and all it's gods - and follow Me

Live life unshackled

And when we do? 

                                              God builds us up, prospers us
                                              God plants us, establishes deep roots
                                              God stays with us, protects and guides us
                                              God restores us, brings health and healing

What's inside your manila envelope? Are you willing to leave it at the curb, walk away and follow God on the freedom road? I know, it's easier hanging onto what we know rather than hoping in what we can't see. Hope goes against everything we are, but dig deep and scream, "Help!" He'll come alongside and show you the way - that's the kind of God He is. He's living and breathing and always there when we call. His greatest desire is to free us, restore us to who He created us to be. 

Father, it's so hard to leave behind what we know and walk towards hope in what we cannot see, but today we cry out, "Help!" and take that first step toward freedom - trusting you.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jesus Talked To Me Today

If you're visiting from Christian Children's Authors blog, welcome! 

Have you ever been so desperate for God that when he shows up you didn't recognize him at all? But the funny thing is, children recognize him right away.

That's what my story, A Visit From the Healer, (and many others' stories) compiled in James Stuart Bell's book, Jesus Talked To Me Today: True Stories of Children's Encounters with  Angels, Miracles and God, (Bethany House 2016), is all about.

Our family faced tough times with prolonged unemployment in a tough economy. The last thing we needed was for sickness to strike. But it did. Longing for relief for my daughter and our entire situation, I shot a quick prayer into the darkness. And, well, you'll have to read the rest on pages 134-139 to find out how miraculously Jesus showed up.

The entire book is filled with hope and children's true encounters with the Living God. Children whose eyes could see and ears could hear. Is it not surprising then, that Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3 NIV)?

This book would make a great family devotion resource as each story runs between 1000-2500 words. What a great way to spend summer evenings with your children, sharing other children's stories and passing on the works of our great God.