Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Let Advent Begin: Joy to the World Isn't Only For a Season


Before Halloween, Christmas decorations began appearing on the store shelves and the Hallmark Channel began the flow of Christmas movies.

Some sigh with frustration when they see a Christmas ornament before Thanksgiving, while others are ecstatic in anticipation of the long awaited holiday season.

Which person are you?



I'm of the latter persuasion and struggle with how anyone cannot be excited about celebrating the birthday of the King.

The Advent Season has begun. It means waiting in anticipation, hoping for something wonderful to come.

The words of Advent are Hope, Love, Peace and Joy. Each week during Advent one word is reflected on in many denominations leading up to Christmas, reminding us of what God's people were watching and waiting for - The Messiah.

But, for the purpose of this blog, I'm jumping right into JOY.

I absolutely love Christmas and all that comes with it: the brightness in a child's eyes full of imagination and anticipation, trimmed trees, glowing lights, decorations, family time, making memories, shopping, wrapping gifts, movies, nativity scenes, Christmas music, baking and the absolute JOY the season brings.

On that glorious night, some shepherds were watching their flocks in a field when suddenly...

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;

(Luke 2:9-19 NASB, emphasis mine).

JOY overcomes fear and anxiety.

How do we define this exhilarating thread woven into the fabric of a Christian's life?

1. Is JOY an emotion?

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger (Luke 2:15-16 NASB).

2. Can JOY and sorrow be present at the same time?

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 NASB).

3. Is JOY a state of mind?

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth 
(Colossians 3:2 NASB).


4. Can a believer lose their JOY?

David seemed to. With a repentant heart he cries out to God in Psalm 51...

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit (verse 12 NASB).

So I believe the answer to all of the above is "yes" and JOY can be defined as follows:

JOY is a mindset. A mind set on the glorious outcome of an eternal story.

JOY is an ingredient which unleashes the soul to rise up and worship.

JOY takes our breath away while simultaneously filling us the Breath of Life. 

JOY
 keeps the Hope, Love, and Peace alive 365 days a year as we anticipate His coming again.

Pure, undeniable, incomprehensible, life-giving JOY!

My Pleasure and Merry Christmas,
Melanie

(All Scriptures used from Bibleway.com)






Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A is for Adoption



Just the other day our daughter received an A on an education project which she put a ton of work into. She was thrilled and relieved once her grade posted online, especially since it is one third of her grade for the class. Whew!

An A marks the mindset of staying the course and never giving up. An A means Job well done.

The month of November also has the mark of an A. It's National Adoption Month. 

A is for ADOPTION. 


In honor of all families who haven't given up on their dream of having children, as well as those who've already received an A, I want to say, "Thank you for never giving up and for opening your heart and home to children who have received (or will in the future) an A stamped on their life story."



My forever parents were still childless after being married for nine years. They didn't give up on their dream and chose the loving option of adoption. They wanted to start a family right from the beginning, and though God would give them their desire, He chose to close the womb and open their hearts instead. God had created two baby girls just for them. These girls would need their love, security, a hope for a future, and a family where Jesus Christ was Savior, Lord and King.

I was the first child brought into their lives through private adoption. The moment they walked into the room, I stretched out my chubby arms and wrapped them around my forever daddy's neck (and I never let go). When the lady told them they would leave me with them for about 30 minutes to decide, my daddy said, "No one needs to go anywhere. We're not leaving here without her!"

I was placed in foster care at the age of three months and adopted 57 days later.
March 27, 1963 is my A-Day, or as some say, my "Got'cha day." It's the day my life changed course. I left there to start a new life: a new name, a new birth certificate, and a new family. 

Adoption was always talked about in our family as something very special. I've always known I was adopted and never once has it been something that made me angry or sad. Actually, it made me glad and grateful for the very difficult decision my birthmother made. It's a part of my story I deeply treasure and wouldn't trade for anything.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:15-16 ESV).

God affirms this to Jeremiah when He tells him, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5).

Every Child is a masterpiece, designed with a specific purpose by the Master Creator.
Two years after I was adopted, God brought another baby into our family. Her A-Day" is May 5, 1965. I remember going to Charleston to get her. I was going to be a big sister. When the lady placed her in my tiny arms as I rocked in a small, white wicker rocking chair, I told my mama and daddy, "We've got her. We can go home now." They named her Michelle.

Michelle has her own A-story to tell, but I'm so grateful God chose her to be my sister. We were loved and raised by the best parents anyone could ask for. No parent is perfect, but ours were perfect for us.

Throughout my life, I've met many adoptive parents and adopted children. I even have three cousins who were adopted. Every story is different and I love to hear how the A-day has affected their lives.

Right now, a young couple (the wife is a former student of mine) is waiting for their forever child. It's been a long, tough road of foster parenting, the ups and downs, loving and letting go, but they know God is sovereign, and when the time is right, their forever child will join their family. It's an honor to pray for this precious couple and to be included in their adoption journey. Never give up!

So, before National Adoption Month ends, I want to challenge and honor the adopted children I know personally. Casey, Sarah Caige, Bradley, Courtney, Dawson, Elena, Joni, Judah, Callen (and to any others I've left unnamed, it's not intentional):
 Wear the well, knowing your heavenly Father was looking out for you 
when He selected your amazing parents. Never take them for granted. Honor them all of your life.

 And, with a spirit of humility, never stop telling your A story. 
It brings much honor and glory to Jesus Christ. 

Do you have an Adoption story? Please share in the comment section below. Use your story to encourage someone today.

My Pleasure,
Melanie







Monday, October 31, 2016

Does Fruit Come With a Warning?

Do you believe in fairytales?

The purpose of a fairytale is to teach a moral lesson through clever story-telling about the battle between good and evil, where good always wins.

One of my favorites includes cute little characters with funny names: Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful and Doc.

Evil is represented by a wicked Queen who is full of jealousy toward the good character, Snow White; all because she's young and beautiful.

A talking mirror is the queen's go-to for value, worth and purpose. But, when the mirror tells her she is no longer the most beautiful in the land, she becomes enraged and sets her evil scheme in motion.

Snow White, in the meantime, is totally unaware of the plot against her. She is out in the garden, singing, being her sweet, innocent and kind self, playing with the animals.

Once the evil plan is brought to her attention, Snow White retreats to the woods where she stumbles upon a small cottage. The seven little men with the funny names take her in to protect her from harm.

In the meantime, the queen discovers her whereabouts and disguises herself as a poor, old woman. She makes her way through the woods to the little cottage to deceive Snow White with a poisoned apple.

Because Snow White is naive and good-hearted, she bites what the old woman offers. To her detriment, Snow White falls into the state of a deep sleep, separated from her prince forever. The only cure for her is the kiss of the prince.

The poisoned apple didn't come with a warning, but don't you think Snow White should have had her guard up knowing the wicked queen's heart and desire to kill her?

Well, you know the rest of the story.

Hopefully this fictional scenario reminds you of a non-fictional encounter in Genesis 3?

Satan, one of heaven's most beautiful creatures, desired to be like God. There is only one true God and the Kingdom of God already had a King - Jesus Christ, so Satan was cast out of heaven, never to return. Since then, he has devoted his entire existence to deceiving and scheming to take as many people with him into a horrible, dark eternity where the presence of a perfect, loving God does not exist. (See John 10:10)

In Genesis chapter 3, disguised as a serpent, Satan enters the Garden of Eden to trick his first victim, Eve. By placing doubt in her mind and securing her trust, he entices her to bite from the forbidden fruit.

This fruit came with a warning.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17 NKJV).  

BEWARE: IF YOU EAT OF THIS TREE, YOU SHALL SURELY DIE.

Not a Surgeon General's Warning, but a direct warning from God Himself.

Eve ignored the warning, choosing to believe the deceiver over the Deliverer. Death became a reality. And Adam, who should have been Eve's protector and spiritual leader, fell into the trap right along with her. Both chose not to heed God's warning.

Aren't we guilty of the same? We skirt God's warning about sin for just a moment of pleasure and then after, our eyes are open to what should have remained hidden.

God doesn't give warnings to keep us from pleasure, He gives them to protect us from destruction. 

But, for those who believe, there is hope! 

Our Prince, Jesus Christ has provided the cure for the stronghold of sin by taking our place through His death on the cross. This true kiss of love from the Savior allows us to bypass the deceitful kiss of death, raising us up to a new life with Him immediately through the power of the Holy Spirit, and a continued life forevermore in the glorious, eternal presence of God later.

Our good God defeated Satan, sin and the grave. God always wins!

When you compare the real people throughout the Word of God with the original intent of fairytales, fairytales are just another way to portray that good wins and evil doesn't pay with fictional characters.

So, to answer the first question, "Do you believe in fairytales?," my answer is, "Yes!" Along with believing in the truth of God's Word, I believe in the telling of fairytales when the goal is to reveal God's truth in fictional, creative ways.

I'd love to know what you think. Please leave a comment.

My Pleasure,
Melanie 
(picture credit, Pixabay.com)





Thursday, October 27, 2016

Stirring Coffee and Conversations



When the first crisp, cool nip in the air arrives, I know fall is almost in full swing. I love waking up in our 60-something degree house, slipping on a sweatshirt over my pjs and meandering into the kitchen to fix my morning cup of bliss. A mug of piping, hot coffee.

I love all the things fall brings:
football games, the State Fair, Halloween costumes, mums and pumpkins, scarecrows, the brilliance of color and marshmallow roasting over a toasty fire.


These simple pleasures of fall are as anticipated as my morning routine of coffee and Jesus.


Along with stirring up coffee, I'm looking forward to a new simple pleasure Living Real Magazine's Out & About events.

Our first one kicks off tonight with the sound of jazz flowing through the street along with the aroma of fresh brewed coffee, pumpkin bread, and other desserts wafting through the The Haven Coffee Shop in downtown Lexington, SC. The evening is designed to stir a sweet blend of grace and love into Jesus-centered conversations about how real faith affects real life.

The art of conversation is a simple pleasure quickly becoming a lost art. 

No matter how technology seems to better connect us, the fact is, it is disconnecting us from human contact. Since the creation of man, conversation has proven to be the best form of communication and relationship building. 

Isn't this what Jesus did? Didn't He engage people in conversation to reveal His Father's redemptive message? God knew face to face contact was imperative for His story of redemption to move forward, so before the beginning of time, He planned to send His Son into the world to unveil Himself in human form. He touched people. He healed people. He cried with people. He loved people. The plan to restore our broken relationship with God continued to unfold as He stepped down from heaven into a sin-full world to show His undying love for all people and break the stronghold of sin through His life, death, burial and resurrection.

Jesus used every opportunity while wrapped in flesh to engage people in the eternal conversation through large and intimate gatherings.

Those eternal conversations transformed many lives forever and are still changing lives today.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, every day should be about intentionally stirring up eternal conversations to impact lives for Jesus' sake. Conversations can ignite around the breakfast table, at work, over lunch, at school, in a check-out line, the car pool line, walking the dog, and at the dinner table.

Carving out space in our day to dialogue with people about what really matters is what we are called to do - make disciples and to be salt and light in the world.

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples... (Matthew 28:18-20). You are the salt of the earth; (Matthew 5:13a). You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14a). 

This is why Living Real Magazine exists and why our Out & About events are so important. God is stirring a fire in the hearts of His people to ignite eternal conversations filled with the truth of Jesus Christ.

Personal stories of how real faith affects real life speak louder than most preachers on Sunday. 

Since discipleship is our calling, it just makes sense to talk to each other about our journeys, encouraging one another to stay the course, and hopefully bringing a non-believer along to begin their journey with Christ.

Conversations can lead to eternal transformation.

With whom will you start a conversation today?

My Pleasure,
Melanie

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lord, Make Me More Blind, Deaf and Dumb

I'm sure you've seen these little guys umpteen times before, but this visual came to mind during a lesson about the man born blind in John 9.

It occurred to me we all are born blind, dumb and deaf to the Truth. Our spiritual eyes, ears, and mouths are dead at birth, so it's easy in our deadness to see evil, speak evil and hear evil when the loudest voice in the room is the prince of the air (Satan).


As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts (Ephesians 2:1-3a NIV)

We have no trouble seeing, speaking and hearing what the world wants us to when we are blind, deaf, and mute to spiritual truth.

On an ordinary day, a man born blind encountered Jesus as he went about his life as usual - sitting and begging outside the temple. Because Jesus is all-knowing, he knew this man wanted to see. Until Jesus placed the mud mixed with His spit on the blind eyes of the lifetime beggar, he lived in utter darkness. Until the Creator gave him his sight, creating brand new eyes formed from the dust of the ground, this lonely man couldn't see Truth, speak Truth, or hear Truth. Even those in the synagogue had cast him aside because they believed his own sin or the sin of his parents was the cause of his affliction.

This is when I realized something else.

Before the man could see, Jesus had to cover up his blindness to keep him from seeing as the world had always told him he should see. Jesus covered up what the world had been telling him all of his life so he could only focus his attention on what God was saying to him in this powerful moment.

Jesus covered his blindness to blind him to the distractions of the world so he could give glory to the Creator of the world with new eyes.

Before the man could be healed, he had to be obedient to the words Christ spoke after covering his blindness with mud. "Go and wash in the pool of Siloam."

Why didn't Jesus just heal his eyes right there on the spot?

Why did He send him to wash in the pool?

Both questions have extensive answers, and those will have to wait for another time. But ultimately, I believe both answers have to do with obedience. The blind man wanted to be healed so he did what was asked of him. He acted on his newfound hope and faith. 

  • By faith he did what Christ asked of him.
  • By faith he believed he would be healed.
And, by faith he was healed physically and spiritually. 

Can't you hear him shouting, "I was blind, but now I see!"(John 9:25)


It became so clear to me that before the scales can fall off, we must desire to see Truth. God then muddies up our eyes, blinding us to the distractions of the world, to see Him, hear Him, and speak truth with assurance, clarity, and boldness.

Another man who could see quite well had a "blind" encounter of a different kind with Jesus after the Resurrection. This man's name was Saul, later changed to Paul. (To read the whole account, see Acts 9:1-31) On his journey to Damascus, Saul was seeking ways to murder Christ's disciples and others who were following the Way. As Saul was seeking evidence against believers, Jesus would be presenting evidence to reveal the real Truth. So, on the road to Damascus, Christ chose to blind Saul to get his undivided attention to hear the evidence. The Truth. He didn't use mud this time, but He did muddy up Saul's vision with the Light of the World, on purpose and for an extraordinary purpose.

Paul's physical eyes would be healed, but only if he chose to act in faith by going to Ananias' home. [And] immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. (v.18)

The result? With eyes wide open, Paul began to preach Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, fearlessly! 

Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. (v. 23)

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. 
(v. 31)

Do you see the parallel with these two stories? How does your life parallel with these guys?

Do you see God's purpose unfolding? How is His purpose unfolding through your story?

Neither could speak truth, see truth or hear truth until they encountered the Lord, Jesus Christ. 

Until the Lord blinds us from our worldly blindness we are unable to fulfill our purpose in the Kingdom. Through the Spirit's blinding power, Jesus calls us to our purpose; to further His glorious Kingdom by hearing Truth, seeing Truth, and speaking fearlessly the Truth of Jesus Christ.

Paul's purpose is still proving that Jesus is the Christ today through the power of the Word of God.

The formerly blind-from-birth beggar's story is still fulfilling God's purpose through the power of God's Word as more and more people are called to shout, "I was blind but now I see!"

Oh God, how I want to live out the purpose You have called me to. Protect my senses from the world's distractions. Deafen my ears to hear only Your voice, blind my eyes to see only Your face, and allow my mouth to speak only Your truth. May Your greatness be proclaimed through the story You are writing with my life from now until forevermore. Amen.

My Pleasure,
Melanie


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

God is Working All Things for Good...Really?

How can a good God allow all this bad stuff to happen? 

Why are people suffering if God is love?

Everyday, bad things occur. We see it in the lives of family. We see it in the lives of people we come in contact with at work, school, recreation. We see bad stuff happening all around the world. For centuries, people have asked these same questions, especially when chaotic circumstances have encroached on their personal space.

Why is God letting this happen to me?

When Evil rears its ugly head, it seems as though the first one blamed is the good God who isn't supposed to "let" anything bad happen.

But, when good happens in the world, humans jump to take the credit and the good God conversation is no where to be found.

In seeking to make sense of what doesn't, I've learned to go the source of truth, Jesus Christ, and ask for clarity to understand what His word says about such things. In studying the Bible, I've learned to search for details, things I may have missed before and examine original meanings of the text in the Greek or Hebrew. In doing so, we get a better understanding of what God is saying to us.

According to Strong's Concordance, the Greek word for good is agathos.

Definition: intrinsically good, good in nature, good whether it be seen to be so or not.

God's nature, the essence of His being, is good

Taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8 NIV). 

Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (ESV).

In my experience, when Romans 8:28 is quoted, it's often summarized to say, "God works all things together for good." 

Really? Is that what it really says? 

This verse has been used to explain God's goodness in dire situations, but I rarely hear anyone emphasize the key words in the verse - for those who love the Lord.

God is working all things for good, but for the good of those who love the Lord, for those called according to His purpose. If someone doesn't love the Lord, we cannot with a straight face tell them things are working for their good because it's just. not. true. In fact, for those who have yet to receive, or have refused to believe the Truth, Scripture tells us things are not working out so good for them.

For whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son (John 3:18 NIV).

God is just. (2 Thessalonians 2:6)

All this is evidence that God's judgement is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just; He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10a NIV, emphasis mine).

Scripture is perfectly clear. God is working all things for the good of His glory (Jesus Christ) and The Church - The Bride of Christ - those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose. 

God is love. (1 John 4:8, John 3:16)

God is also long-suffering (extremely patient). By His Spirit, He draws to Himself those who have yet to believe through the evidence of our lives, and until He returns, He will continue to woo them so He can work all things together for their good as well.

The Lord is not slow about His promise (His return), as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing that any should perish, but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9 NASB, emphasis mine).

This is why I am so passionate about a real, living faith, sweet friends. Our faith reveals our love for the Lord. Our faith dictates how we respond to what life throws at us, not only in times of prosperity, but also in times of desperation, trial, temptation, and even terror.

As the evil acts unfolded from the weekend on the news, a gentleman working on our home renovations began to share his Armenian great-grandmother's story of terror and slaughter during the Armenian Genocide during and after WWI. He knows first hand about what the Koran teaches and about the Caliphate they are seeking. His great-grandmother and her family were taken from their homes, lined up on their knees (just like what we have witnessed through horrific terrorist videos) and asked if they were Muslim. She was a Christian, a Believer in Jesus Christ. Holding onto her Bible, she watched as the radical Islamists beheaded her family one by one. Then, they did the same to her.

So how can we say God is working all things together for their good, for those who love the Lord?

With full assurance we can say so, because our Lord promised that where He is we will be also (John 14:1-6), and there's nothing "more good" than to live in the glorious presence of the King of kings for all eternity.

Do we have that kind of faith? A faith so woven into the fiber of our being that we're willing to die for the Author of our faith?

Oh, I hope so, because that kind of faith can change the world!

Faith in God is believing in what's unseen and still trusting Him to work all things together (the good, the bad and the ugly) for our best interest and His glory.

How about you? Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? I don't mean if you believe He was a real person who walked the earth or not. I mean, is He Lord of your soul, your life, your all? If not, He wants to be. He wants to begin a relationship with you today if you're willing to turn away from your own way and trust Him with your life. And yes, even with the hard stuff.

If you are a Believer, the next time someone asks you a 'blame-it-on-the-good-God' question, how will you answer them? I pray with love, grace and extreme patience.

My Pleasure,
Melanie

~ To read stories of real people living out real faith in real life, check out livingrealmag.com








Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Perfect Husband

I don't know of any woman who claims their husband is perfect (except me of course). Well, not really, but I would say he's close.

One of my husband's many nicknames he's acquired through the years is the human Quicker-Picker-Upper. Without fail, every time he walks in the house he starts picking up and putting away any and everything out of place. You may say, "Wow! I wish my husband was like that," but before you go craving the grass on the other side of the fence, it can be quite annoying. Especially if you were just about to get to it and he steps in and does it. It makes you feel like you've failed him somehow.

I know. Weirdness, but true.

When we were dating, we would go to his house between college classes (which is now our home) and make sandwiches. Before I could even finish making mine, he had put all of the condiments back in the refrigerator. Who does that?

I tease him often by calling the paper towel his security blanket because he loves to wipe down the counters. Even if I've already wiped them down, he comes behind me and wipes them again. He seems to always have one in his hand or in his pocket. The worst is finding them torn to shreds in the washing machine because he left it in his pocket.

I told you, it can get quite annoying.

Through the years though, I've learned this is his love language and not just an obsession with "everything has its place." He loves me by helping me and being intentionally involved in household chores. He has a true servant's heart, a very rare quality these days. I've even had friends ask him to teach "How To Be a Good Husband" classes.

Well, as perfect as my husband sounds, he's not. He's human. Born with a sin nature, he battles the flesh like the rest of us. No one is perfect. Only Jesus.

The Perfect Husband:

  • loves His Bride deeper than any human can ever love
  • is always faithful to Her
  • layed down His life for Her
  • honors Her
  • is patient with Her
  • keeps His promises
  • protects Her
  • provides for Her
  • satisfies Her every need

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I just started facilitating the Book of Hosea for our small group Bible study. It is so full of the heart of our true Husband, Jesus Christ. A heart devoted to His chosen even when she strays. A heart that's faithful even when she's not. A heart that woos her back to Himself time after time when she sins because He loves her deeply. He knows she's safe with Him and finds true satisfaction in Him alone. 

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD (Hosea 2:19-20 ESV).

The beauty of Hosea and Gomer's love story is also God telling His own love story with His chosen -you and me. As we study this intriguing book we will watch His story of Redemption, Love, Forgiveness, and Grace, as well as see the harsh truth about consequences when we turn our affections away from Him. I'm so excited to dig deeper into this amazing picture of God's heart.


Fabulous but flawed, I love my husband. God has blessed us and taught us so much through our 31 years of marriage. I'm forever grateful for how God designed him and chose him for me - to love me with a heart like Christ's - as Christ loves the Church, willing to lay down His life for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

Loving and serving my husband is my pleasure, but loving and serving my Perfect Husband is my Pleasure Forevermore.

My Pleasure,
Melanie