Monthly Archives: January 2016

Oh, Happy Day!

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Friends, today I am honored to share with you the words of the wisest woman I know.

My Momma.

She writes…

January 27, 1975 at 6 pm I became Mrs. Douglas Allen Cole.

My first instinct for today was to go into hiding. This anniversary would be a day I would not face. The reality was too painful. I would hide myself away, focus on my loneliness and have a pity party.

But then God…

Those three words change everything in my life. From the day I was saved to the day the most beautiful, contagious smile came into my life. My knight in shining armor found me!

Doug wasn’t riding a white horse, instead he was driving a tan VW Beetle which I later named Betsy. Lol, I was the one who started naming our vehicles.

Doug made me laugh the very first time I met him. Those sparkling blue eyes looked right into my heart. And my life was forever changed.

Forty-one years later Doug will celebrate with the One who brought us together while I will celebrate with the ones He gave us. Today I will choose to be joy”filled” and yes, even happy!

God reminded me early this morning He created this day for Doug and me. He made a beautiful love story, life and legacy. I will celebrate the gift of our love!

So as I turn the page on a new chapter of my life, I can’t wait to see what the next “But then God…” will be!

🎉Happy Anniversary Douglas Allen I will always love you.❤️

Now I’m going to go find some beautiful tulips, my favorite flower, and celebrate. 🎉

~Debra
“I have found the one my heart loves”…Song of Solomon 3:4

Michael and Malachi

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You know, my whole life I’ve wanted friends. True friends.

The kind you consider family even though you don’t share the same tree or bloodline. The kind you don’t hesitate to call or text at 2am. The ones you invite over whether your house is clean or not, who’ve seen you ugly cry and still love you. Those kind of friends.

Remember those “Best Friend Shirts” we made in the 80’s? A childhood friend and I had a set, which of course we wore with matching side-ponytails and armloads of plastic bracelets. Or maybe it was Swatches, I can’t remember. All I know is we were true blue BFF’s.

Until she moved 2 hours away.

Time has taught me the true friends I’ve described are like precious jewels: incredibly valuable and extremely hard to find. And the funny thing is, they’re usually not the ones sporting a matching t-shirt.

You never know who your dearest friends will be, where you’ll meet them or what circumstances will bring you together. Friendship is fun like that. Adventurous, even. It keeps life interesting.

Take for instance my dear friend Michael Powell. He and Stevie-P were college roommates…and polar opposites! Though they shared a call to ministry, these two guys couldn’t be more different. And yet, they were the greatest of friends. They balanced each other.

After graduation Michael married his sweetheart, Mandy. Then just weeks later, he performed a portion of our wedding. We lived in the same town and hung out often, even went on a couple of foreign mission trips together. Good times for sure.

But then, they moved.

Distance may have changed our physical proximity and much has happened over the years since, but I’m blessed to say our friendship is still just that. A true friendship.

And, I’m excited to introduce you to Michael today, not just as our friend but as an incredible evangelist and author. His first book, Moments with Malachi, will be available on Amazon tomorrow– January 19, 2016!

This book is also like a good friend– it is one of my favorite reads. It’s challenging and insightful; really makes me evaluate my love for God as well as my response to His love for me.

I’ve used it for personal study as well as with a group. It’s great teaching delivered in a way only Michael Powell can offer!

Check out this excerpt:

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One of the greatest worship services my church ever experienced was at a wedding. Many of us drove over three hours to celebrate the union of Chris and Cassidy. I can’t think of a time when I have been so proud to be a pastor.
The event symbolized well the nature of our church. We celebrated romance during the wedding. We celebrated community at the reception. We celebrated dependency afterwards as five cars caravanned back at three in the morning. We celebrated Christ all along the way.

Malachi would have enjoyed the event. His book pleads for genuine romance to replace neglect and adultery. He begs for community during horrible struggles for power. He invites dependence upon the LORD, but is rejected and scorned.

The message of Malachi is easy to read and understand. Just do the opposite of what those who first heard the words of Malachi were doing. Malachi is a prophetic book written not because the people were failing to worship or offer sacrifices, but because the people weren’t interested in God anymore.

Those Malachi addressed were not great active sinners; they were great passive sinners. They weren’t running towards evil. They just weren’t running towards righteousness and God. They were minimalists asking, “What does God require?” and then making sure they didn’t do one thing more than what the letter of the law said to do.

Written around 400 BC, the temple and city wall had been rebuilt, but the Jews had failed to rebuild their own souls. They weren’t interested in God. The heartbeat of Malachi and the purpose of this devotional are to stimulate your interest in God. You may be interested enough to begin reading this book, but Malachi will soon show that often our standard of interest may fall far short of God’s. May God draw you nearer to His standard and closer to His heart as you read!

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If you’re like me, when you think of Malachi you immediately think of tithing. (LOL!) But as Michael makes evident, Malachi offers so much more.

Starting tomorrow, you can purchase a print copy of Moments with Malachi on Amazon for $11.99! It will also be available in any bookstore in the country within 4-6 weeks.

The audio version is FREE! and available on Michael’s blog. Visit www.upandoutpublishing.com to check it out. And while you’re there, sign up for Michael’s weekly newsletter.

I hope you’ll get a copy of Moments with Malachi and visit Michael’s blog for more insight and teaching. I think you’ll agree– they both make great friends!

~Jessie
“How natural it is that I should feel as I do about you, for you have a very special place in my heart. We have shared together the blessings of God…”  ~Philippians 1:7

P.S.  I’d like to give a giant-Thank You-hug to the friends who have loved our family as we grieve.  It is precisely those 2am calls and texts and dirty-house visits that have carried us through.  The Holy Spirit has without a doubt shown up in your hugs, tears, words and work.  We love you to the moon and praise God for our friendship.

Brokenhearted

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imageGod is so good and this verse is one of the many that proves it.

As I read this to my daughter during our morning devotional, He reassured us of His love and presence. He IS close, in our very midst.

He also reminded me of Daddy.

It was my first heart break. My first REAL boyfriend had dumped me. I was 13 and in the eighth grade. The loss of this boy’s affection was the most devastating blow of rejection I had been dealt.

Why didn’t he like me? Was I not pretty enough? Was I not funny enough? Was it my hair or my clothes or my smile?

It was actually none of those things but to me, I was the problem. I wasn’t enough for him.

I cried rivers. Felt it in my gut, that knot of nausea tangled with despair. In true Drama-Queen-Scarlett-O’Hara fashion, I flung myself across the bed. My life was over.

As I lay crying on that 90’s-style red metal bed, I felt someone beside me. A strong, warm hand gently patted my back.

Daddy.

He moved my long hair away from my face and lovingly stroked it down my back. As I turned to see his face I noticed tears in his eyes, too.

He was there. Near me. Close to my broken heart.

Such a soft lens moment in my mind. I don’t remember him saying a word, I just remember he was there. I remember feeling comforted. Loved. Important. No doubt he had much bigger things on his plate. And I’m quite sure the Daddy in him was glad to see “that hairy-legged boy” go. But still, he was there. His Baby Girl was hurt.

God loves us Just. Like. That.

He is close to us when we feel alone; sings over us when we sob. He not only sees our tears, He catches them in a bottle. They are that precious to Him. He feels our hurt, that gnawing ache that won’t quit, and He soothes it with His touch.

Our High Priest has felt every pain, every emotion, every longing of humanity. He knows exactly how to comfort us.

I’m guessing that’s how Daddy knew to comfort me. He had been rejected before. He had been sad. He had been hurt.

“The Lord is close to the broken hearted…” Is your heart broken today? Do you want to fling yourself across a bed and cry a river? There are still days (like yesterday) I do just that. Doesn’t change my situation but it certainly changes my heart.

Those moments are humbling. As I recognize my lack of control–over my own feelings even– I have no choice but to cry for help.

Those are the moments I feel God’s presence the strongest, like big arms wrapped around me, and I’m comforted. I understand how those who mourn can be called blessed.

Those moments also prove the truth of this verse. It is no longer a hope but a fact. When I feel crushed beneath the weight of this burden, He rescues me. Every time.

Our Wonderful Counselor knows the best treatment for our sorrow, anxiety, anger and stress. Let us go to Him with our troubles, cast all our cares on Him and wait for Him to come lay beside us.

Today I pray this verse not only over my hurt, but also over my children. I pray they know He is close to them when they are sad because I am close to them when they are sad. When their world crumbles, may my faithfulness to hold them be proof of Him.

Just like Daddy was for me.

~Jessie

“You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book.” ~Psalm 56:8