Archives for January 2013

Talking to Mountains

Talking to Mountains

by:  Staci Stallings

I have a new favorite preacher.  He comes on the television on Sunday morning when I’m getting ready for church.  I can get more out of listening to him for three minutes than I get out of most in 30.  I’m constantly going, “Man, that’s good.  I’ve got to write that down!”

One of the latest revelations from one of his sermons was this:  In the verse, “If you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Be thou removed and be cast into the sea,’ and it would obey you…” Listen to that!  God says we can talk to mountains and command them to move.  I’ve heard this verse many times before, but when Dr. Simpson said, “Understand, in this situation, somebody is talking to somebody,” I stopped like slamming on the brakes.  “You see, either you are talking TO the mountain, or the mountain will be talking to YOU, but somebody will be doing some talking!”

I’d never thought about it quite like that before, but think for a minute about the attributes of a “mountain.”  It’s BIG for one.  Also, we don’t normally think of mountains as being on wheels–i.e. they are tough if not impossible to move.  Finally, mountains are just “there.”  They don’t seem capable of listening or even caring what we think. They simply stare down at us, proving our smallness to all the world.

Dr. Simpson went on to this effect:  You have your own mountains, and you hear them talking.  Maybe it’s in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep.  They are talking–telling you that you can’t handle this, you are not strong enough to cope with this, that THIS is something you can’t ever fix or find a solution for.  That mountain continually taunts you to believe in your smallness. In short it says, “This is too big for you. I am too big for you to handle.”

Oh, it’s a mountain all right.

I don’t know what your mountain is.  It might be a financial mountain of debt.  It might be a mountain of health problems or social problems.  Your family might be your mountain or your lack of faith.  Your mountain might be going back to school or deciding to stay home and raise your kids.  It might be a friend or a former friend.  It might be someone who’s hurt you terribly.  It might even be a dream you thought you had to have but is now slipping from your grasp.

Or maybe it’s another kind of mountain–drugs or alcohol, a habit you simply cannot break, a love you can’t let go of even though you know it’s killing you.  Maybe your mountain is your spouse or your children.  Maybe it’s yourself.

Whatever your mountain is, I’m quite sure you know its voice well.  “You can’t…”  “What’s wrong with you…”  “Why does this work out for everyone else but never for me…”  “Why me…?”  “This isn’t fair…”  “It’s just not right…”  “If only…”

You’ve heard your mountain’s voice.  There’s almost no doubt about that.  In fact, you may know it by heart.  The question is:  Has that mountain ever heard YOUR voice, or even better GOD’S voice?

In order to talk to your mountain, you need some words from The Word–yes, that means The Bible, but it also means The Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.  In other words, you need to start hearing the words of Jesus, spoken into your life on a continual basis, so you will learn how to TELL that mountain to move!

“Mountain, you do not control me because although compared with me, you may be big, compared with my GOD, you are nothing but a grain of dust.  Understand me.  I am now giving you to my God (that’s the having the faith of a mustard seed part–not trying to deal with this on your own, but learning to give those mountains in your life over to God and His wisdom).  I am putting you in God’s hands.  I am trusting in God’s love for me more than in the illusion of your power over me.  God, please break the illusion of power that this mountain tries to exert in my life.  Set me free…”

Talk to that mountain.  Talk TO that mountain and let the God in you Who loves you beyond measure talk to that mountain as well.

And it will be cast into the sea.

*~*

Staci Stallings A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, #1 Best Selling Christian author, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Check out this awesome Staci Stallings’ read…

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional

CrossReads Weekly Devotional

 

We are excited to provide encouragement and inspiration to you on a weekly basis through our CrossReads Weekly Devotional. These devotionals are written by our team member and best-selling author Bob Saffrin.  He will share insights with you from God’s word.

Here’s a little more information about Bob:

Bob SaffrinAmazon #1 bestselling author Bob Saffrin lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Barb and their beagle Rocky. He and Barb have two children and four grandchildren. Bob loves the outdoors and has been on many backpacking trips in the rugged Boundary Waters area of Minnesota including winter camping.

In his 20s, Bob began a fascination with the Bible.  After reading the New Testament several times and convinced that God had died on the cross to save him, Bob invited Jesus into his life and began a wonderful lifelong relationship.  His fascination with the Bible became a love for God and for his Word.  Bob has been teaching and preaching for over 35 years.

Be watching for our weekly devotionals that will be posted here on our blog soon!

Close Your Eyes, Say a Prayer, and Kick It

Close Your Eyes, Say a Prayer, and Kick It

by:  Staci Stallings

I truly love how many life-changing lessons from God are brought home in the simplest of situations.  Recently one such situation was related to me from my younger sister.  Her son is playing soccer for the first time this year.  Being a natural athlete, he took to this sport with his usual grace and ease.  Apparently the whole team has gelled well.  Going into the game that night they were undefeated.

The problem was, so was the other team.  It was a battle of defenses the whole night.  In short, regulation time expired with a 0-0 tie.  Now in soccer, ties are decided on sudden death kicks. At this level each player on each team gets a free kick.  After one team goes, the other goes until the tie is broken.

My nephew was chosen goalie for the overtime period.  All five of the other team lined up, and one by one, they took a shot at the goal.  One by one, my nephew stopped the balls until all had tried, and the score was still 0-0.

After a trip to the opposite goal, my nephew’s teammates each took a shot until nine players had a free kick, but not a single one went in.  Last to go, my nephew stepped up to take his kick.  He closed his eyes, took a breath, and with quiet determination sent the ball flying into the upper left corner for the only goal of the game.

As she recounted the story, my sister said, “I wish every parent on earth had the opportunity to watch their child just once make the winning goal.  He was jumping around the field.  He was so excited.  It was awesome!”

Then she related the rest of the story—you know the part that was going on but that you couldn’t see from your seat in the stands.  My sister asked her son after the game, “So, were you nervous standing out there waiting for your turn?”

He said, “No. I just stood there and prayed while the other ones kicked.”

Very cool answer.  But wait!  It gets better.

My brother-in-law, ever the one to plan and strategize asked, “So, were you trying to make it in the goal right there at the top?”

You’ve got to love the answer my beautiful nephew gave.  “No, not really.  I just closed my eyes, said a prayer, and kicked it.”

Such profound wisdom from one so young.  How often do we stand on the field of our dreams—paralyzed by the thought that we might miss this shot and lose it for the whole team?  How often do we analyze, twistize, and strategize ourselves into pretzels trying to figure out the best way to do it, what we can do to win the game, and what happens if we don’t win?

But here’s a great secret. If you are on God’s team, it’s not up to you.  Just close your eyes, say a prayer, and kick it.  Do your best, and then put it in His hands.  Trust me on this, if you do that, you will win far more games and get to jump all over that field in victory as your Heavenly Father looks on with pride, joy, and excitement as He watches the child that He loves so very, very much celebrate the great victory of a life well-lived.

*~*

Staci Stallings

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, #1 Best Selling Christian author, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Check out this awesome Staci Stallings’ read…

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B005LVVIIG” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KpzR%2BKBML._SL160_.jpg” width=”107″]

“A gem in the genre!”

Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day

“The authority the Master has given me is for putting people together, not taking them apart.”

–2 Corinthians 13:10 (TMB)

I Was… (The Story of Amos)

I Was… (The Story of Amos)

by: Staci Stallings

In the Old Testament, there is the story of a prophet sent to warn the Israelites of God’s anger about what they were doing.  The prophet’s name was Amos, and his story is contained in the Biblical book by that name.  One part of this story struck me recently as I have been contemplating what it means to be a Prophet — someone intent on sowing God Seed.

First, read the passage in which Amos has been brought before Amaziah and is about to be cast out of the region for prophesying there.

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

–Amos 7:14-15

What I love about this passage is that God didn’t call the high priest or the people in the Temple.  Instead, he called a local businessman to proclaim His intentions.

I so remember a wonderful friend of mine shortly after I got immersed in God stuff.  Now we had been going to church since we were babies, but somehow we got taught that “God stuff” was for those who knew what they were reading.  It was “over our heads.”  To be fair, a lot of the God stuff was really under our feet and in our hearts–it was the way we lived and treated others.  But reading the Bible? Understanding the Bible?  That was for someone much more qualified than we were.

So she called one day when we were in our 20’s and she said, “What’re you doing?” To which I replied honestly, “Reading the Bible, and this part is fascinating.”  She got very quiet and literally said, “Oh, we’re not supposed to read the Bible like that. Don’t you think we need someone else to explain it?”

Thankfully I didn’t laugh out loud at her though I probably came very close, and in the ensuing many years, we have laughed together about that conversation many, many times.  Yet it still always kind of bothers me that we sometimes get the message that “God stuff”–understanding and wisdom–is for someone much more learned than we are.

That’s why I love this passage.  In effect, Amos is saying, “Look, dude.  This isn’t about me.  I didn’t pick this calling on my heart, God put it there. I’m just following what He told me to do.  I was a shepherd and a tree mender.  Trust me, this whole prophet thing is way outside of what I ever thought I would be doing too.  But God called me, and here I am.”

I feel like Amos a lot actually.  Who am I to be seeing insights in the Bible or in what others say?  Who am I to understand things that don’t have solid, concrete, real-world, everybody-can-see-it qualities?

I don’t know.  All I know is, like Amos, I was a simple housewife.  I was a high school teacher. I was just someone off the street, and then God called me and here I am.

If you’ve ever felt that way, know that you’re not alone!  God doesn’t call the qualified.  He qualifies the called, and just like Amos and me, you may well find yourself going, “Look, this isn’t about me. It’s about God.  He called me, and here I am.”

And in all honesty, it’s not such a bad place to be once you get used to saying, “I was…”

*~*

Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings is a #1 Best Selling Christian Romance author and a co-founder of CrossReads.  Read the first chapter of every Staci Stallings’ novel at http://ebookromancestories.com

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