Friday, November 16, 2018

Sealed With Color

Sharing Ken Kniskern's photography and beautiful reminder that God teaches us through His creation.



(c) www.K2ProStudio.com
     "Sitting home on a warm fall day, contemplating the events of the past few months, and remembering some of the incredible things that God has done in and through the lives of our family this past year. We have been so busy with life, and as the fall and holiday season approaches, I am ready to slow down... to catch the beauty in the colorful display of God's artistry across the sky.

     Did you ever learn why the leaves change colors in the fall... well, technically they don't. I know, I know, the pictures I have posted the past few days prove me wrong, but lets look at what actually happens. During the spring and summer while the tree is busy producing food, the Chlorophyl in the leaves creates a bright green color that masks the colors already there. Once the days grow short, the tree begins to store food, and production stops and the chlorophyl is absorbed into the leaf revealing the beautiful colors that were already there. The glucose and waste left behind in the leaf provides additional vibrance and color to the display.

     Why the science lesson? In Genesis 9, God gives Noah a promise sealed with the colors of the rainbow after the flood had destroyed the earth. Interestingly enough the fall leaves mirror this promise... Life is not over, all is not lost... Spring will come once more, as it always has... If you are in a season of despair, this is God's promise that though the season is changing, He is still the artist behind each brush stroke of our lives.

     A closer look reveals something more - Something for ALL of us. Remember that while the tree is busy producing food, the colors cannot be seen... It is once the production stops that they are revealed. Perhaps this fall as we approach the holiday season, you are in a season of business... Production is in full swing, and your beauty is being masked by your business. 

     I pray that you will take some time to slow down, and allow others to see Christ in You - the beauty that has been there all along, simply masked by the business of life. Oh, and that left over food that adds to the beauty of the leaf... Perhaps you can share that Beauty (Christ) with someone around you, and help spread the color of God's promise across the forest of your existence!" 


     Happy Fall! KK

(c) www.K2ProStudio.com 
"And the bow shall be in the cloud; 
and I will look upon it, that I may 
remember the everlasting covenant 
between God and every living creature 
of all flesh that is upon the earth."
Genesis 9:16


(You can see more of Ken's work at www.K2ProStudio.com )


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Dead Sea Rising Review


       Dead Sea Rising is an invitation to experience two worlds: The first, the Bermans', a modern-day Messianic Jewish family. The second, Terah's family in biblical Mesopotamia.

        Jerry Jenkins has his feet firmly planted in both worlds, and he intertwines the two with intrigue and danger that will make you willing, eager even, to travel with him through Dead Sea Rising.  If you enjoy serials, hang on. This one is going to be big!

       Hurry now to Barnes & Nobel or Amazon to get your copy before they're gone!
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Friday, November 9, 2018

Launch Team Update on Dead Sea Rising by Jerry Jenkins

Reposting to bump this reminder to the top for anyone near Brentwood, TN this evening at 7PM.

Moving right along in the launch event for Dead Sea Rising. If you're in the Brentwood, TN area on November 9, 2018 this announcement is just for you:


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Change



It was time to say “Goodbye.” The dream of building our own home in the country and sharing that experience with our two daughters had been realized. Our little girls had made the transition from life in the city to country living and survived the culture shock of trading next door neighbors for a patch of land far removed from everything familiar – far removed from just about everything, actually. 

They were now young women and had left their rural nest in pursuit of their own dreams. It was time for my husband and myself to vacate that same nest and return to the city to begin a new chapter in our own lives.

What an adventure that 20 years had been. We would officially move into our almost-finished rock and rough cedar ranch house in 1980 during the hottest summer on record in our state. Anything that stayed in place for more than 20 seconds either dried up or was devoured by grasshoppers numbered by Biblical standards. By mid-July we were walking on crispy grass that would remain brown until the following spring.

After the initial excitement of building and moving into our new home had worn off, I was left with the reality that I was literally living in the middle of nowhere with all manner of creepy crawlies that were certainly much smaller and less lethal than the ones that existed in my imagination. A reality that meant many hours of alone time and facing many small emergencies that inevitably came when my knight/cowboy could not be there to resolve them.

My husband would travel the 60 miles to the city to work, adding a two-hour round-trip commute to an already long work day. This city girl would survive by staying active in our new church and investing in the girls’ world of basketball and cheer leading in their rural school and even more church activities.

We would experience sudden downpours of rain that would wash out the low-water crossing on the only trail from the county road to our front door. The expression, “Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise” was a statement of fact for us on more than one occasion. One of the heaviest snow and ice storms on record would mean four days of intermittent power outages and lots of family togetherness until the snow stopped long enough for my husband to clear a path with our tractor. I was actually a little disappointed when the school buses were able to reclaim miles and miles of dirt and gravel roads and my husband would reclaim his lane on the highway to his two jobs.

I miss the simpler pleasures of that time: A roaring fire in the over-sized fireplace and the wonderful smell that only charred firewood can offer. Along that same vein, I miss the beginning of fall and spending long afternoons raking leaves and twigs from around the pond into huge piles that would also fill the air with aromatic cinders and smoke. Our front door faced the west, and the sunsets seemed to be an inscribed love letter from God to our small family. Rainbows would come and go as they hovered just above the tree line that encircled our remote piece of the rock.

Most importantly, that time in the country was marked by a dependency on God that would not have happened at any other time or under any other circumstance I’ve experienced. The isolation within the walls of that remote haven meant my spending many more hours with Him than a busier lifestyle could have accommodated. Our stay there meant my faith became more of a commitment than a convenience.

When the time came for the new owners to begin living their dream on our farm, my final walk over the cleared front half of the 80 acres was as serene as any place on earth. A new-fallen snow blanketed the thirty-five acres of pasture surrounding our home and glistened peacefully among tree branches heavy with the moist powder. I was careful to photograph and video ahead of each step to keep from spoiling the untouched serenity. It was a still and quiet “Goodbye” that I never wanted to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NASB) says, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Whatever our future may bring, living in rural America was that defining season that will forever remain deeply etched into my heart and mind. 





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Friday, November 2, 2018

Dead Sea Rising by Jerry Jenkins

Dead Sea Rising by Jerry Jenkins is the first book in what will become another successful series by this acclaimed author. I had the privilege of being allowed to read an Advanced Released Copy.

You won't want to miss this one! Click on Dead Sea Rising in the menu bar at the top of the page for a free download of the first ten chapters. www.deadsearising.com





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Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Quieter Place

I'm reposting some thoughts from a few years ago. How could we have known that 2017 would be a year of so much hatred and violence among Americans. Some attacks from outside our borders have been horrendous, for sure, but those within our nation are even more difficult to understand, at least without the knowledge of what we recognize as the "End Times." My prayer remains the same: That we will learn to completely lean on the One Who will return as Prince of Peace and reclaim what has never been ours, His world, His people. Until then, we can find peace in the tumult and courage during this weakened condition brought on by sin by placing our hope In Christ alone. 8/19/2017


               2013
               This time last year we were in one of those tumultuous seasons. Not so much for ourselves as for family members experiencing some really tough times.
Blindsided by events they could never have imagined were coming their way, we watched their spiritual growth and complete reliance on God for His rescue and restoration. God came through, of course, and now we see them on “the other side” – still faithful to Him and moving forward to a new season in their lives.
The second wave would come a few months later with news of my mother’s pancreatic cancer. She would be hospitalized three times from January to April 19, 2013 when her healing meant stepping into the very presence of Jesus for eternity.
And now?
We’re in that quieter place. A place of assurance of God’s strength and comfort resting over our home. Enjoying our children and grandchildren as often as possible. Stepping into new territory as we work toward semi-retirement and a different kind of business that doesn’t involve ladders, hammers and power tools.
Life cycles can keep us a little off-balance and wary. We know all about mountains and valleys as we hover someplace in between waiting to see which terrain is coming next.
But the one constant that brings our journey into focus is knowing that God is already on that mountain top or waiting to give us a soft landing when our hearts reach the floor of the valley.

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
(I Chronicles 16:34, NASB)

As the wars rage around us and attacks on our faith gain momentum, we can also remain in that peaceful and steadfast place. The world’s stage is being designed and fortified for the final ascension to the New Heaven and the New Earth.

“And He who sits on the throne said,
‘Behold, I am making all things new.’
And He said,
‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end.
I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the
 water of life without cost.
He who overcomes will inherit these things, and
I will be his God and he will be My son.’”
(Revelation 21:5-7, NASB)


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Final Touch

Photo by Ken Kniskern
Timothy’s hands were trembling, but resolved as he completed the last step to his plan.  He calmly walked away from a delivery truck as its cab filled with smoke coming from the end of a burning fuse.

The downtown traffic was gradually beginning to subside after the morning rush hour.  Coffee mugs were finding their familiar places on corners of desks.  Computers hummed in unison as the users typed in passwords and hit the “Enter” keys.  Phones began to ring with morning wakeup calls for employees.  Downstairs muted giggles filtered into the hallways.

Those familiar sounds came to a horrific stop when the force equivalent to three tons of dynamite exploded and became the second shot heard around the world.

Oklahoma City would never be the same.  America would never be the same.  The lives of one hundred sixty-eight families, including those of parents who had just kissed the soft cheeks of their precious little ones, would never be the same.  The only life that seemed untouched was that of Timothy McVeigh, at least for now.

What was once a federal office building filled with FBI agents and other employees, local citizens, and a day care center was now a gaping hole in the Heartland.  Electrical cables hung like spaghetti, and roofing materials waved like shredded curtains hung from melted and twisted iron.  Shards of glass exploded and penetrated unsuspecting bystanders.

Television screens around the world carried the indescribable wreckage and carnage brought to the Bible Belt by hatred of the most demonic proportion.

Timothy may have calculated the required amount of explosive ingredients, the best time of the day to destroy the most lives, and the deadliest available parking place in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, but there was one calculation he missed completely.  He could never have comprehended what would become the “Oklahoma Standard”.  

Volunteerism had its finest moments in the aftermath of the explosion.  Lines formed across the state with people who waited hours to donate blood.  Rescue workers from around the state, the nation, and the globe arrived daily for weeks.  Specially trained dogs became heroes.  Every conceivable need for the rescue and recovery teams was donated, mostly by Oklahomans.

                                                                                          * * * * *

Fifteen years later, in the shadow of The Survivor Tree, a gentle breeze barely skims the still water in the Reflecting Pool.  As the sun sets, the soft lights beneath the glass chairs begin to glow.  Each chair has been strategically placed and named to correspond with the deceased’s final place in and around the nine-story building.  They provide a tangible area where one can rest, place flowers, and even kneel in their quest for comfort and understanding.

Twin bronze gates stand majestically at each end of the memorial, one engraved with 9:01 AM, the other with 9:03 AM.  An inscription on the outside of each gate reads:

“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever.  May all who leave here know the impact of violence.   May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”

The peaceful setting that replaced the remains of terrorism speaks to moving on, but never forgetting.  Visitors still leave gifts in a 200-foot remnant of chain link fence that will forever be available for special touches of kindness and remembrance.

In a place as far away as Israel, a large painted mural of a firefighter tenderly looking into the quiet face of the child he is carrying covers the side of a concrete building, an image of an incredible moment in time.

The web page that hosts the site of the Oklahoma City National Memorial now shines with smiling faces of over comers and their stories of restored and victorious lives.  They choose to face each new day in the light of a different kind of joy.

Oklahomans have shown extraordinary resilience through the rough-and-tumble days of the Land Rush, early statehood, the Dust Bowl coupled with the Great Depression, two world wars, and an oil boom that turned into a bust.  April 19, 1995 was our biggest devastation.

“The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us” is inscribed near The Survivor Tree.

Out of the rubble came strength and greatness.  A state engulfed in mourning but enmeshed in faith as she watches in anticipation for the arrival of the Prince of Peace Who will, once and for all, end the touch of terror.


Photo by Ken Kniskern

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