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Stand with Secret Believers This Christmas

Nov

30

Posted by on Nov 30, 2018 | 4 comments

Today, through a sponsored partnership with Open Doors, I’m sharing their message about something important to know. This is a season when many Americans have already begun decorating their homes for the holidays, a lovely tradition most of us take for granted. Please read and then act if you feel led to support this worthwhile initiative.

In North Korea, celebrating Christmas is illegal and believers must celebrate the birth of Jesus in extreme secrecy or risk arrest and life in a hard labor camp.

For the citizens of Brunei, celebrating Christmas can get you five years in prison and owning a Bible will get you nine.

In countries like Somalia, Christmas was banned several years ago. An announcement goes out every year reminding citizens that it’s illegal.

And in countries like Saudi Arabia, churches, crosses and Christian meetings of any kind are illegal all over the country.

All over the world, Christians will celebrate the birth of Jesus in late December or early January. But in many places, like Somalia, Iran, North Korea and other areas where it’s dangerous to follow Jesus, openly participating in Christmas can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. For these Christians, celebrating Christmas must be done in secret. There will be no parties or gift exchanges, and no church services or worship gatherings allowed. In places around the world, Christmas can be a time of fear and isolation instead of a celebration.

One believer from a Muslim background in Southeast Asia says, “We can’t celebrate Christmas openly…We can’t go to church and join in the celebration. Why? Because we are wanted by the government. Some of us can’t even tell our families we are Christians.”

Nevertheless, faithful Christians remind themselves that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

This Christmas, we have the opportunity to illuminate that light and remind isolated Christians around the world who must worship in secret that they are not alone … that the worldwide Church stands with them.  

You can make a difference today for secret believers this Christmas in specific and practical ways:

  1. Pray with them.
    Visit OpenDoorsUSA.org/SecretChristmas for prayer resources from secret believers around the world. You’ll find videos, prayer points and unique ways to connect to your persecuted family.
  1. Enter their stories.

Open Doors has created two resources to help you explore the stories of the persecuted church and to connect with your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. You can download a free Secret Christmas eBook and even a Secret Christmas children’s book to read to your kids this holiday season.

  1. Join the fight

Don’t make persecution a seasonal issue, make it part of your daily life. It’s in the very DNA of the church to care for those who are suffering. Through Open Doors you can download a Prayer App, sign up for regular prayer updates and stay connected to the stories and needs of your persecuted family.

Together, we can make a significant difference in the lives, families and ministries of secret believers this Christmas and beyond as we stand with our persecuted family.

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A New Month, A Special Opportunity! #1000Mercies #OYTO

Nov

01

Posted by on Nov 1, 2018 | 4 comments

 

Soon enough I’ll share some thoughts about what I learned by writing a book (surprising lessons, by the way), but for now, I’m coming out of my deep, deep book-writing hole to share something that well may be one of those “thousand points of light” President Bush spoke of three decades ago: (in)courage and Mercy House Global are “linking arms to provide a brighter, dignified future for God’s daughters in need.” 

We’re looking for 1,000 women to join (in)courage in partnership with Mercy House Global. Please say you’ll join us?

 

Our goal between November 1st and November 16th is for 1,000 women to donate $15 or more to Mercy House to help provide sustainable, dignified jobs for women in poverty around the world. This is one tiny, practical thing we can each do — in Jesus’ name — to make a huge difference in a woman’s life.

If you aren’t familiar with Mercy House Global founded by Kristen Welch, please, please take time to read Changing a Life, Changing the World by one of my oldest blog friends, Mary Carver. You’ll understand why it’s a no-brainer to ask for your support; this is important work making a tangible difference in the lives of those who are impacted. 

I’ll have a post up at incourage on Tuesday that tells you a little more about Kristen’s story, but until then I really, really hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about the #1000mercies Movement. The first 1,000 friends who make a minimum $15 donation to this initiative will receive a darling Christmas ornament as a thank you gift, hand-stitched by a beautiful Kenya woman who is part of the Street Hope artisan group. What a lovely token of remembrance. Don’t think you have to wait to put up your Christmas tree to display it, either. To keep Mercy House Global and its important work present in my thoughts, I’ve hung my little ornament on my desk lamp; if I’m not mistaken, my miniature disco ball is casting a thousand points of light in its direction.

 

 

This is an OYTO moment, Lovies, it’s time to seize an opportunity! DO let me know if you take part, and regardless, would you consider sharing about #1000mercies with your friends and family? I’m hoping we’ll shatter that $15,000 goal and need to come up with an alternative thank you gift because so many of you say “yes” to this special cause.

 

 

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Preorder Your (in)courage Devotional Bible & Receive A Free Leather Journal!

Sep

28

Posted by on Sep 28, 2018 |

 

Hello darlings.

 

While I’m anchored to my writing desk racing to complete the rough draft of my manuscript for For All Who Wander (praypraypray!), I wanted to let you know the beautiful (in)courage Devotional Bible is available for preorder now! Order by Sunday and in addition to a 20% savings, you’ll receive a leather journal as your preorder gift.

 

There is nothing else out there quite like the (in)courage Devotional Bible. Here’s why:

 

There are four cover types to choose from; each is beautiful in its own way on the outside, but it’s the inside that counts, right?  God’s word (CSB version) is the only thing that has the power to transform your heart, but there are extras that make this Bible special:

  • 312 devotions by 122 (in)courage community writers
  • 10 distinct thematic reading plans
  • 66 book introductions connecting each book of the Bible to the whole biblical narrative
  • stories of courage from 50 women of the Bible
  • Journaling space
  • Plus – FREE (in)courage leather journal
  • and so much more

They’re also competitively priced on Amazon but you won’t receive the preorder incentive.

Would you please consider ordering through one of my links?
As an affiliate, I’ll receive a small referral fee,
which I plan to pass right along to Compassion International. 
(Invite your friends to order through my links, too–please and thank you)

DO check out the video below to learn more, and if you click around the (in)courage Bible website, you’ll get to hear from a few authors about why they think this Bible is special. But, please, pop back over here to order your own copy, and a few more for gifts while they’re on sale and come with your preorder gift.

 

 

 

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Retail Therapy, Divine Moments, and Imaginary French

Aug

20

Posted by on Aug 20, 2018 | 3 comments

It is rare for me to write a blog post these days. Writing a book demands focus and intention and giving my best effort to the words I feel called to write in that space, as opposed to writing in my tiny square of the internet.  But something happened recently I want to remember,
and what better way than sharing this happy little story right here?

 

To say I’m not getting out much these days is no understatement. If I staple my rear to a chair in front of my laptop, I figure eventually the words will come. I’m doing my part as best I can, begging God to lead and inspire me to write the parts of my story that will encourage and extend hope to readers and bring glory and honor to Him. That’s my target; may it be so.

 

Yesterday, we found ourselves needing to complete a little home improvement project, thanks to an opportunity that left us little choice otherwise. I decided to tag along with Tad when he headed to our local big box hardware store, wanting to spend time with him but also happy for any reason to get out of the house. I may or may not have also been motivated for a chance for a little retail therapy; one of my favorite discount shops is right next door.

 

Though Tad loathes those kinds of stores, he indulged me a visit. His simple plan was to circle the parking lot until he found a nice shady spot under a tree to wait. This is the love born of 30-plus years of marriage, finding a compromise with which we’re both satisfied.

 

It was ridiculous, really. I didn’t need anything, I just wanted to look at all the pretty things. I mean, if something begged me to buy it, I would’ve been happy to oblige, but I wasn’t planning on it…I just wanted to lookie-lookie. Even imaginary retail therapy works wonders.

 

Wandering aimlessly but blissfully happy, I meandered up and down the aisles, ever-mindful of the time. Since Tad was basically a human amoeba floating in a hot asphalt parking lot sea, I moved quicker than I might have otherwise.

 

About that time, I stumbled across some darling Rae Dunn tableware. Gah–she is an evil, evil temptress, and her creations are kryptonite to me. I want everything she makes. Clever word art is one of my love languages, all the better when it’s pretty and on something useful.

 

I was lost in thought, exercising admirable restraint while silently explaining to myself why I did not need to buy any of the things, when my subconsciousness heard something not yet detectable to my conscious brain.

 

“J’adore…” 

 

If you know me at all, you know I speak imaginary French, and J’adore is one of my oft-used phrases. Somewhere in the back of my head, I heard it again and thought, That sounds like something I would say….

 

Slowly snapping out of my fog, I turned to see one of my very best friends doing her level best to get my attention. We haven’t seen each other in ages, and she had to miss an opportunity just the other day to join a small group we’re a part of, to gather and finally catch up with life after being apart most of the summer.

 

We squealed and hugged like school girls while her teenage daughter smiled (laughed?) at us. Right there in the housewares section of Marshalls, we had ourselves a Divine Moment. This is how I feel loved and deeply valued: when I’m known so well a friend speaks to me in Imaginary French.

 

It is in ordinary moments like that I sense the presence of God Himself. The “random” timing of needing to replace a kitchen faucet coupled with me taking advantage of ten minutes of retail therapy; and being okay with Tad waiting in a parking lot because he didn’t want to come inside rather than managing his happiness. Or put another way, recognizing my need for a sliver of self care, and accepting Tad’s willingness to do what he wanted while I did what I wanted.

 

Except in this case, what I wanted and what I needed were two different things. OF COURSE, if I knew my friend was fooling around in Marshalls, I would’ve said, “Let me run in and hug Leigh’s neck.” I didn’t know she was there, but God did, and in His kind and generous ways, He gave us a little visit. I’m convinced of it.

 

Precious are those moments when we know beyond all shadows that we are known and loved. Praise God for the Light by which we’re able to see both.

 

If you’re interested in joining a band of prayer warriors to carry me through the last six weeks of book writing, please click here for more information. I’d love to have a few friends who’ll faithfully walk alongside me to the end. I’ll only be sending out a few updates between now and then, but prayers are welcome anytime and often <3. 

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Hero

Jun

25

Posted by on Jun 25, 2018 | 1 comment

 

I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. His skin was the color of summer and youth, beautiful and smooth and the stuff of a 1970-something Coppertone ad, minus a black Boykin Spaniel. This wasn’t his first day at the pool.

He couldn’t have been much older than three. His head barely reached the top of the diving board. To reach the platform he had to crawl up the stairs. This one whose smile was permanent fixture already understood joie de vivre.

Fearless and free and fueled by adrenaline, he went off the board a dozen times. Increasing courage quickened his pace.

He shifted the aim of a spotlight he wasn’t even aware existed. “Hey, watch my Dad!” he called out to the others when his father mounted the stairs. His face beamed awaiting the show, his eyes twinkling love, admiration, and joy.

His dad did a one and a half gainer with marginal success.

He awarded his approval in laughter and applause, and gleefully asked everyone in earshot, “Did you see my Dad?!”

Olympic gold doesn’t come close.

 

 

 

 

 

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