Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Ride Home - 1/27/11

Mountain View
A mountain view can literally take your breath away. Getting a clearer view of God can do the same. Here at the Warming House, you’ll find truth that will help you know and understand who God is and how He feels about you. What you find here may cause you to live your life a little differently.

Do you ever doubt that God exists? Do you ever doubt that He is loving and good? For the past two years, our family has experienced some extraordinary hardship. Although we knew God was with us, we didn’t feel His presence. We didn’t see clear evidence of His hand at work in our situations and longed for Him to demonstrate Himself to us. We were at the bottom. Things had gone so wrong and were so bad that I wondered to myself, “Am I a fool to believe?”
In times like this, it is so important to cling to truth. Our emotions can trick us and give us an inaccurate picture of God. The evidences of God are the truths we need to cling to. Evidences of God can be found in the Bible where the truth about His true character, His promises, and His ways are displayed. Other evidences can be found in your past where God has demonstrated Himself to you in various life situations.

In my situation, I chose to focus on the things God has taught me about Himself in the Bible. I clung to them like a winded person sucking oxygen through an oxygen machine. I also looked back through the years of my life and plunged myself into memories of the times God has demonstrated His love and faithfulness to me – and there are many. Regardless of what has happened in my life, I continue to believe. Yes, there is a God and He is good.

This past week, God evidenced Himself to us yet again.

Our son came home one night with an incredible story. He told us that when he was getting ready to leave for Bible study earlier that evening, he had felt uneasy about driving – something he has never felt before. As he left home, he felt God say to Him (like an internal whisper), “Take it easy driving tonight.”

He was extra cautious and arrived at Bible study safely. Coming home, he got on the highway behind a car that was going really slow. Normally, Tanner would immediately get in the left lane and zip past but something compelled him to stay put. He then looked up ahead and thought, “Are those headlights coming toward me?” This was a divided highway with a median in the middle – two lanes on each side. The oncoming car was on the wrong side of the highway going south in a lane meant to go north! The car flew by at full speed. If our son had pulled over into that lane, the oncoming car would have hit him head-on.

I am so thankful for what God did for us that night when our son went to Bible study. He didn’t do it because of anything good in any of us. He did it because of the goodness in Him. It is absolutely extraordinary and it was as though He was saying to us, “I’m still here.” My heart desperately needed that. Friends, be encouraged. God is real. He exists. He may be working behind the scenes in your life, but He is most definitely with you today.

“Oh, Church. Come stand in the light. Our God is not dead. He’s alive! He’s alive!”

Join me by the fire for conversations about how to nurture your family and create a warm and inviting home for family and friends.

We love our friends. Unfortunately, many of our friends (and family) live in other cities around the world. That’s why I cherish the photo Christmas cards we receive each year. They give me a chance to see the faces of those we care about and they allow me to watch their kids grow up. For years, I struggled with what to do with those cards after Christmas had passed. I couldn’t throw them away, and I didn’t want to just stash them in a box in my storage room so I came up with an idea. It may be a little late to share this with you since Christmas was a month ago, but if you’re like me, you probably still have those picture cards lying around.

I’m not super crafty so this is really simple. Buy a frame to match your home d├ęcor. I bought one of the inexpensive wooden poster frames you can get at Wal-Mart or Target, but you can get a nicer one if you prefer. Buy a piece of poster board. Take your frame and remove the cardboard or paper piece just under the glass. Lay it on the poster board and trace around it. Cut it out to fit your frame. Get your pictures and cut around the faces. An option is to use decorative scissors to give a nice edge to the photos. Lay them out on the poster board and arrange them so they cover the entire surface. You could also print a quote or scripture to place in the middle of your poster board then arrange the pictures around it. Once your photos are positioned, attach them with photo-safe glue or double-sided tape. Lastly, turn the poster board over and write the year on the back. This makes a nice keepsake. Each year you can remove the old photos and store them easily, then arrange your new pictures on another piece of poster board for display. That’s it! Super simple but a great way to enjoy the smiling faces of your friends the whole year through.

Pinecones and Twigs
Just like gathering nature’s treasures on a hike through the woods, you never know what you’ll find here – a great read, an inspiring photo of nature, or maybe the latest bargain. Check out this spot at The Warming House for something fun.
Mission Trip Scholarship!

 Children at missionary school (Uganda, Africa)

I’m so excited about this! Through the years, I have watched God do amazing things through short-term mission trips. As God shares His ministry with us, He teaches us something about Himself and we are changed forever. There are huge benefits to those being served – and to those who go to serve. As a former mission ministry leader, I have had a front-row seat to see how God changes lives on both ends.

At The Warming House, we want to be a part of what God is doing in hearts around the world - as He allows us to. Our family’s strong belief is that God provides for us so that we can provide for others. As a result, The Warming House is now accepting applications for a mission trip scholarship. Up to $2,000.00 will be awarded to one applicant. Adults and youth are welcome to apply. There is no age limit.

Submit your name, an explanation of the mission journey you have been called to, the dates of travel, how much money you still need, and a short essay (125 word maximum) on your passion for this particular place of service and why you feel called to go.

A panel will select finalists then post them on a link through (To protect your privacy, we will not post your last name.) The Warming House bloggers will then have the opportunity to vote for the person they would like to see receive the scholarship. Applications should be submitted to no later than Friday, February 4th. Please note: all funds must be distributed to/through a not-for-profit ministry with a 501(c)3 status.

Spread the word to people you know who might need some help with their mission trip costs!

 A Steaming Hot Mug
Stories of Compassion to Warm your Soul from the Inside Out

Okay friends . . . it’s time to get this piece rollin’. I strongly believe that this section of the blog will soon become a favorite for many of us. To get you going, I’m offering a little incentive. Those who submit stories by Friday, February 4th will have their names placed in a drawing for Starbucks gift cards and I-tunes cards.

Submit your stories (150 word maximum) to and I’ll select some each week for publication on this blog. Your stories must fall into one of the following three categories: 1) Stories of a time when you experienced God’s compassion directly or through the actions of another person; 2) Specific things you’ve done to teach your children compassion; or 3) How your church or someone you know has demonstrated the compassion of Christ in your church or outside its walls. Can’t wait to hear (and share) your stories here at the Warming House!

I want to tell you how encouraged I have been by your visits to The Warming House. Some of you have come from the other side of the world. Please know that even though we have never met face-to-face and I don't know your names, I keep you in my thoughts and prayers each week. Until next time, stay warm and cozy.