Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

The Amplified adds: Think and weigh and take account or fix your minds on them

How are we supposed to stay positive when our month has more than our money or when our to-do list runs the length of our living room floor and that’s just day one? We can be sure life will crowd us, putting us into a vise, and will squeeze every last positive thought from our psyche.

But God’s has given us the formula to turn our negativity into positive triumph. We can’t control that which happens around us, but we can control the energy upon what we feed. When we fill our lives with positive food, positive actions will emerge during times of stress.  

Conviction vs. Guilt\

The Devil is a liar and the father of lies. Satan will spew guilt. God dispenses conviction. If a thought or concept we hear, see or read makes us feel guilty, we need to examine its source. It may have an element of truth and that truth we can surrender to God, asking him to give us the proper perspective. If indeed we need to make a change, God will convict us. Conviction leads to positive change. Languishing in guilt that sticks to the heart and weighs it down, will not cause change.

Revenge vs Justice 

When wounded, we want to retaliate. We think of ways to hurt back. Surrendering that metallic taste to God allows Him to fill us with a more positive purpose and method to handle the pain. By seeking justice, God’s justice, our mental fatigue will be energized. When our house was broken into, my first reaction was anger. As I prayed, God filled me with a different emotion, one of compassion. I prayed for the safety of my neighbors, and that God would allow the culprits to be found. I prayed for a Christian police officer to find them…for a Christian counselor to come into their lives. They were apprehended a few weeks later. I felt peace that God had it all under control. 

Entertainment vs Enlightenment 

Did you ever think what you do for entertainment would spill out into your everyday life? If you are consumed with bad language, it will seep into your subconscious and vomit when you least expect it.  There is nothing wrong with pure entertainment. But it does us well to remember what goes in will come out.

Let us then be mindful. By purposefully considering all that goes into our thought life by choosing those things that edify, purify, and gratify the soul, when stress comes, our thoughts will rise upward!

Monday, June 15, 2015

We've Got Spirit! How About You?

Recently I've done several studies on the Holy Spirit. The more I learn about this Comforter and Advocate, the more amazed and excited I become. Much of what I have studied are facts that I have heard but never really taken to heart.

Jesus spoke to his disciples about the Spirit to come in John 16:7.
"But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."

Jesus emphasized the Spirit He would send but only if He went away. I can imagine that the disciples would have preferred Jesus to remain with them, but He tells them that it is good that He is going away. Obviously Jesus truly wanted to send His Spirit even though it meant separation from His beloved followers.

Jesus continues to explain in John 16:12-15.
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you."

In verse twelve, I can almost hear the earnestness that must have flowed from Jesus' mouth. He had so much more He wanted to tell them, but it would be too much for them to understand now. But, they had the hope that they wouldn't miss out on any of the truths Jesus wanted to share since the Spirit He was sending would reveal the additional truths in His absence.

And, the Spirit reveals the truths from God the Father. First Corinthians 2:12-13 says, "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words."

The Spirit reveals what God has granted us through His Son. We are able to grasp the concept of the sacrifice of Christ to pay our sin debt. Then, He doesn't stop there. God reveals a wisdom through His Spirit to us so we might grow in our relationship with Him. The Spirit interprets God's Word so we might apply it in our lives. The Spirit gives us words to say when we need to be a witness.

My pastor/hubby always says that you don't need more of the Spirit, He needs more of you. In other words, when we're saved, we have the Spirit deposited in us. But, we must tap into that power within. We have to be in His Word and communicate with the Father through prayer so the Spirit has something to work with to instill the spiritual wisdom into us.

What a precious gift Jesus sent our way when He returned to His Father's side in Heaven! There's so much more about the Spirit written in the Bible. But, don't take my word for it. Delve in and discover what the Spirit would impart to you.

Paula Mowery is a pastor's wife, mom, author, acquiring editor, and speaker. She seeks to go out on a limb for God in whatever hat she wears. You can learn more about her and her writing on her blog where you can also find other links to connect with her. www.paulamowery.blogspot.com

Friday, June 12, 2015

Empty Clouds

Thunder rumbled in the distance. Dark clouds floated along the horizon, inching toward me. Someone was getting rain. An hour later, the sky cleared. The rain had bypassed us once again.

After a prolonged dry season, we needed rain. Not the tease of a drizzle, but the deluge of a downpour. Precipitation that soaks deep into the soil instead of rivulets running off parched surfaces to collect in curbside puddles.

The weather report announced a 10 – 20% chance of rain on a regular basis, but the dry season wasn’t ready to release its grip. Irrigation systems sprinkled much-needed water across dry lawns, offering the proverbial drop-in-the-bucket until the empty clouds were no longer void.
Photo courtesy of Nancy DeMott
There’s another kind of empty cloud. The Bible likens ungodly people to “clouds without rain” and trees that are fruitless and uprooted (Jude 1:12). People who only care for themselves, who pretend to be something they’re not.

The older I get, the more people I know who are like that. People who have let me down when I needed them. Co-workers who pretended to work with me while furthering their own ambitions. Friends who betrayed the foundation of friendship for the sake of convenience.

I’m ashamed to say there have been times in my own life when others could have used those same phrases to describe me. When my behavior was more like an ungodly person than the Christian I claimed to be. When nurturing my own hurts was more important than forgiving the offender.

But each day brings the opportunity to start anew. To surrender to the lordship of Christ and deny my baser instincts. To follow His Word rather than my natural inclinations. To grow more like Christ and become all He created me to be by the power of His Holy Spirit. To be less like the empty cloud and fruitless tree in Jude and more like the fruitful tree in Psalm 1:   
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take 
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, 
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Is that the patter of raindrops I hear on the roof? I hope so.

Ava is a passionate Bible teacher, a joyful speaker, and is the author of Daily Reflections on the Names of God, published by Revell Books and endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. 
Ava enjoys playing Scrabble with her husband and being a “Mom” to their rescue boxers. 
Connect with her at:

     Website: www.AvaWrites.com
     Facebook: www.facebook.com/AvaPennington.AuthorPage
     Twitter: www.twitter.com/AvaPennington

Ava is a passionate Bible teacher, a joyful speaker, and is the author of Daily Reflections on the Names of God, published by Revell Books and endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. 
Ava enjoys playing Scrabble with her husband and being a “Mom” to their rescue boxers. Most importantly, she is a Christ-follower who is a daughter of the King. Connect with her at:

     Website: www.AvaWrites.com
     Facebook: www.facebook.com/AvaPennington.AuthorPage
     Twitter: www.twitter.com/AvaPennington
  - See more at: http://fullflavoredliving.blogspot.com/2015_01_01_archive.html#sthash.cRDiivuo.dpuf
Ava is a passionate Bible teacher, a joyful speaker, and is the author of Daily Reflections on the Names of God, published by Revell Books and endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. 
Ava enjoys playing Scrabble with her husband and being a “Mom” to their rescue boxers. Most importantly, she is a Christ-follower who is a daughter of the King. Connect with her at:

     Website: www.AvaWrites.com
     Facebook: www.facebook.com/AvaPennington.AuthorPage
     Twitter: www.twitter.com/AvaPennington
  - See more at: http://fullflavoredliving.blogspot.com/2015_01_01_archive.html#sthash.cRDiivuo.dpuf

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Following God Badly

“Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.” – G. K. Chesterton

Welcome to my world of following God badly. I would like to lay out a fool-proof strategy for drawing closer to God, but alas, I cannot. I would like to give you the key to guaranteed amazing intimacy with God, but I am not yet there. I am moving along in my life trying and failing to follow God, only to get up to try and fail again.

Sounds rousing, doesn’t it? Kind of makes Eeyore a veritable fountain of encouragement by comparison. But as I renew my blog I want to be completely honest with you. I desire with all my heart to follow God, except for the times when I am selfish or petty. I daily surrender all my life to God’s authority, except for the areas of which I take back control. If you want an expert who has life all figured out, I’m afraid you will need to go elsewhere.

The quote beginning this entry became one of my guides in the last few years, after hearing it from Steven Sample. It refers to the paralyzing danger of perfectionism, where we don’t do anything unless we can do it right and well the first time. Which means we are likely to not do anything at all. So we practice, and practice, yet never engage.

If we apply that concept to the Christian life we never embrace God because we are too sinful or too broken or too enslaved by habitual sin. So we read about God and we greatly admire God without embracing God as we are, allowing Him to heal us and rebuild us and remake us in His likeness.
So I get up each day, hoping to make progress in perhaps one area of my life. I pray that I am a wee bit more surrendered to God than I was before. My goal is to be able to look back and see the progress God has made in molding my life.

I know the right things to do, as in immersing myself in prayer and His Word. Surrounding myself with other believers for support and accountability. But it is long and gradual, like a freight train sloooowly climbing a long hill. I will not complete this journey until I am called home to be with Jesus.

I welcome you to join me in following God badly, learning day by day how to surrender to God and become the person He has called you to be. I will look to God every day and never ever give up in my quest of drawing closer to Him. Even if on some days it feels as though I am following God badly.

Friday, May 29, 2015

God Writes Happy Endings

"Though you slay me, I will praise You. You are still God. You are still on the throne. You are up to something good. I praise You. I praise You. I don't understand. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm humiliated. I don't get it. But I trust You even when it doesn't make sense."

These were the words I cried as I drove home two weeks ago on Mother's Day when my world came crashing down.

Life is hard. But God is good. 

I read a story once about the Rev. John Wesley. (I can't find the source or I'd share it with you. If you know it, please point me to it.) He was riding his horse on his way to the next town to preach, when he realized he'd had a pleasant week. Nothing had gone wrong. It occurred to him that perhaps the devil no longer found him a threat. So he got off his horse and knelt to pray:
"Lord, it's been an easy week. My horse hasn't gone lame, and I'm in perfect health. Whatever sin is in my life, I repent. Show me the error of my ways so that I can be a worthy servant."

As he finished his prayer, someone threw a rock at him. The Reverend raised his hands to heaven. "Hallelujah! I now know that I'm still in the middle of your perfect will."

"Wesley at Asbury" by Adam Davenport - Own work.
Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons 
That's my own paraphrase of that story (my apologies to the Wesleyans if I got any of it wrong). But this vignette encourages me when I'm walking through the fires and floods of life. It reminds me that the devil wants us weak, discouraged and ineffectual because we're his worst nightmare and his favorite target. Maybe the devil works so hard to buffet me because he wants to stop me from fulfilling God's plan for my life.

The devil might be powerful enough to cause trouble but he isn't all-knowing, and as long as I keep praise on my lips, he can't know what I'm thinking. When I praise the Lord I put the devil on notice as to Whom it is I serve. It's how I honor my protector. I call the enemy's bluff, draw a line in the sand, and stand firm. 

Do I feel discouraged? Of course. I'm human. My humanity causes me to react in pain to hardship. But I'm not left alone to fight the battle.
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Exodus 14:14, NIV).
I can't share what happened to me on Mother's Day. It's too painful. But I am sure of this: I'm not traveling this valley alone. In fact, I possess a sense of peace and hope that I shouldn't. On Mother's Day I wanted my life to be over. I serve a living God Who understands that kind of pain. I serve a gracious God Who carries me when I can't take another step. 
"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path, and steadied me as I walked along" (Psalm 40:2, NLT).
I shouldn't have peace or joy or hope in this situation, but I do. Why? Because the story isn't finished yet. I know that God is bigger than my circumstances and capable of making something good out of something awful. 

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, his friends thought the story was over. They didn't understand that resurrection, redemption and eternal life for believers was on the way. Watching their friend and loved one tortured and killed was surely a horrifying, discouraging day. But God was at work in ways they couldn't begin to imagine. 

Pieta Sculpture by Michaelangelo
The same God Who raised Christ from the dead is the same God Who holds me when I cry and transforms beauty from ashes, "the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isaiah 61:3, NIV).

I believe God will restore what the devil has stolen from my family. The happy ending we can't yet see is on its way. We can trust him even when things don't make sense. 

Is there something in your life that looks impossible? Give it to Jesus. Tell Him everything. He can handle it:
"Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand" (Isaiah 41:10, TLB).
The end of your story isn't written yet. And with God in your corner, I guarantee a happy ending is on its way.

If you have something you're going through and need prayer, feel free to contact me through my website or facebook. My contact information is below. God bless you as you walk out the story God's writing for you and yours!

 Karla Akins is a full-time minister, college student and author of The Pastor’s Wife Wears BikerBoots. She lives in Indiana with her husband, twin adult sons with autism and mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s. Her three dogs and two cats keep her humble. When she’s not writing she can be seen zooming along on her motorcycle searching for treasure. You can read more from Karla on her blog at KarlaAkins.com. 

 Facebook: facebook.com/karlakkains 
Twitter: @KarlaAkins

Friday, May 15, 2015

DOES Time Heal Wounds?

Off and on for two months, I attempted to decide what to write about for my turn on Life to the Fullest.
Two days ago, my son celebrated his 40th birthday.

Eighteen days ago, I mourned for my father. Again. Forty years earlier he was slain by an unknown killer.

The cold case remains one of Nebraska’s unsolved homicides.
I thought I’d let it go, but I was mistaken. My mind continually reminds my heart of what I’ve struggled with over the years. From my letters to the editor of newspapers read by my dad’s hometown people, I wrote: Murder. An ugly word when viewed from a distance.

“Body of Merlin Mosel found in ditch” made the word murder more than ugly to my family. On April 27, 1975, we found out all we never wanted to know about the word. Murder became personal."

From a testimony that was printed in a Christian magazine, I expounded:
It was raining at the grave site. I can’t recall what words were spoken from the Bible, but they comforted me. A break in the clouds heightened the words. A glimpse of sunshine penetrated my numbness.
That same afternoon I looked out the kitchen window and saw a rainbow perfectly arced over the grave. My parents lived in an old country parsonage with the cemetery on the other side of the driveway. Tears washed my cheeks as God’s symbol of love and mercy assured me of His presence. The rainbow, a physical sign that God was in control and keeps His promises. I perceived the sign as if God assured me everything would be all right.
Six months later, an early snowstorm sent my husband climbing to the unfinished garage roof of the dream home we were building ourselves. He fell and crushed both heels.

Little did I realize until the following year, my Lord and Savior used those incidents to call me to Himself.

(My parents, happy in 1967...Mom died three years after Dad)

No matter how awful, I’ve always believed knowing what happened to my father is preferable to never receiving an answer. I’ve always wanted the truth. The event impacted my life, and the lives of three generations. I’ve written variations of my feelings and frustrations, along with the account of what I knew at the time and my search for answers, numerous times over the years. The details of the night preceding Dad’s homicide came to me second-hand because I had a life away from the small town where my parents lived. But the emotions are mine.

I never viewed myself as a survivor of a traumatic event. Thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit, I consider myself a victorious overcomer.

This summer I plan to revise the fictionalized story yet one more time. I still believe if the Lord wants the story told, it will be published according to His time. I’ve written the account under various titles over the years:
The Hidden will be Revealed
Unfinished Business
Ultimate Answer
The Touch of Time
Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow.

Time may dull pain, but the remaining scar has been ripped off the wound over and over, deepening the wound.

God as the Master Healer fills the hole in my heart with His love. That only takes place when my focus turns to Jesus, rather than the unknown details. Questions still abound, and after I cry, I always wonder if the unanswered matters, because I know the control of life events belongs to my heavenly Father. And He never leaves me alone.

“I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5, NASB)

A Nebraska country girl, LoRee Peery attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared over her father’s grave the day of his funeral, assuring her of the Lord’s presence. She clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. You can find her at www.loreepeery.com 
or the Pelican Book Group site http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk

Pelican Book Group http://tinyurl.com/om2wfsr

"God has a sense of humor. He would have to. How else could you explain it? ...
"This is a wonderful story of two characters figuring out who they are...
"I loved the characters; the real life situations, their struggles, pulled me into their story. Another great book by LoRee Peery!" ~~ Sally Shupe