Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A young friend's letter to her grandma and grandpa

Dear Grandma and Grandpa, First of all, I know you think that I am cute but I am really serious. I love you and I want you to know Jesus the right way. You may already know a lot about him, but may not have him in your heart quite yet. Jesus is the Son of God. I think you already know that. Jesus loves us and he came to take our sins away so we can go to Heaven. Nobody can go to Heaven unless they have Jesus’ spirit in their heart. When you have Jesus in your heart, you live for him and not yourself. It is important to learn God’s words so you know what God and Jesus want you to do. There is a picture in my bathroom at home that has the 10 Commandments. It helps me to know what God wants of me. God wants us to know that he created us and loves us. God must come first in our lives. He is more important than our family, our favorite possessions, our friends, or anything else we can think of. He doesn’t want us to dishonor him by using angry or bad words. We should only use God’s name when we are talking to him or talking about him. He wants us to remember that Sunday is a special day and it should be spent with God and our family. God wants us to respect our own life and the life of others. God gave us life and it is a great gift. God wants us to always tell the truth. Lying and saying bad things about others hurts everyone and makes God sad. God wants us to always be grateful for the life, family, home and faith we have. He wants us to thank Him every day. I am learning Bible verses in school. I am learning that everything I have comes from God. I am learning that I am supposed to trust God all the time. I am supposed to love my enemies and help others. I am supposed to tell God my sins and ask him to forgive me. I am supposed to obey God even when I don’t feel like it. I’m not supposed to gossip, judge or say things to people that will hurt their feelings. I am supposed to tell people about Jesus and how much he loves them. People who have Jesus in their heart are different than other people. They are not better, but they don’t want to be like other people. They want to be like Jesus. They try not to do the things they want to do, but the things Jesus wants them to do. Jesus is their best friend in the whole world. I love you so much! Emma

Thursday, October 04, 2012

To the creators of 16 and Pregnant, Recently, it has been brought to my attention that your television series glorifies teen pregnancy (actually, I just read the title); and I would like to congratulate you on your horrendous morals. In fact, I would like to propose a few ideas for some new series that I believe would be a hit on MTV. My first suggestion is 14 and Pothead. In this series, we follow four teens throughout their everyday lives as they deal with their dealers, friends, and their horrible parents who don't understand what it's like to be young. Tune in this "Marijuana Monday" at 8/7 central to find out if Johnny's parents find his stash! My second proposal is America's Next Top Murderer. Young people of various backgrounds, shapes and sizes compete to prove that they can make it in the high-stress, high-stakes world of murdering. With mentoring by serial killer Tyra Shanks and exposure to prolific criminal gurus, the finalists compete in an accelerated murdering boot camp. Participants learn to handle difficult victims, public venues, and more, all under a 24-hour-a-day surveillance. In the soon-to-be hit series Juvie's Got Talent, we draw that talent from juvenile detention centers all over the United States! Our amateur performers set aside their orange jumpsuits as they compete to win one million dollars in cash. Join us and our three judges as we watch America's most troubled teens battle it out prison-style in hopes of winning our cash prize and their potential bail money. My final suggestion--Grey's Animal Cruelty--follows the animal haters of Seattle as they find new ways to abuse innocent puppies and kittens (as well as some exciting new endangered species)! If you like my ideas, I have many more similar to these, such as Pretty Little Shoplifters, Covert Offensive Language, Saturday Night Lies, Project Run-Away, and So You Think You Can DUI? Thank you for your consideration. You can contact me at Sincerely, 16 and not Pregnant. Mikayla Rye Mrs. Smagacz English 11 30 September 2012

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

He Lifts Me Up

I love holding our baby and gazing at his perfect nub of a nose. Suddenly a silly thought ran through my mind, I pick up the edge of my skirt and lift it over his face and whisper “Ha!” as I drop my skirt. His squeals of delight draw the whole family in to watch. Lift, “Ha,” squeal! Our laughter fills every corner of our home. As someone standing outside our door calls out, “Do I hear a baby in there?” our laughter freezes! The day we have feared for our baby’s entire life has come true. My parents exchange glances as mother scoops the baby out of my arms gently singing and cooing in his ear. She hands the baby to my father as she pulls out a basket I saw her weave a few weeks back. My mother starts to paint the bottom of the basket with tar and pitch. “Mom, why are you painting that basket with tar?” “Miriam, this is not going to make a whole lot of sense to you right now, but we are going to place the baby in the basket on the Nile River. This will keep the baby from getting wet.” Tears start rolling down my face in cascades of want. I can barely lift my head to look her in the face. Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I lift You up! I trust You! Help our baby! I walk beside my mother and father and watch them kiss our baby good-bye one last time, as they lay him down in the Nile River. They could not bear to watch, so they turn and walk away. I hide in the twenty-foot reeds and watch our baby in the basket. I fear for his life. The anxiousness makes me feel as if I might throw up. I wade into the water amidst the reeds as the leaves sharply scrape my arms and legs as tears stream down my face. I love our baby so much! I do not know why my parents put our baby in a papyrus basket, but they did! I hear them coming before they arrive at the riverbank. I inhale as I realize that Pharaoh’s daughter and attendants are approaching our baby in a basket. “Look, there is a basket lapping in the reeds at the edge of the river.” Pharaoh’s daughter reaches over and touches the shoulder of one of her slave girls. She says something to her in Egyptian. The slave girl nods her head and walks to the riverbank and picks up our baby in his basket cocoon. I draw in my breath and cannot breathe. She has our baby. She is carrying our baby. My mind screams the reminder that Pharaoh has ordered that boys be thrown in the river to die. If she throws him in I will rescue him. I do not care if she sees me or not. I must protect our baby. “Oh, LORD help!” The slave girl takes the basket over to Pharaoh’s daughter and she sits it in front of her on the ground. Curiosity wrinkles the smooth features on her face. She wonders at such an interruption during her day. She bends over the basket and tentatively lifts the lid to peer at the contents. As the light of day breaks through the crack of the opening, our baby lets out a hungry wail. I can see it stirring on her face—that same look everyone gets when they look upon a baby. It does not matter to her that he is Hebrew. She just feels sorry for the hungry babe. Compulsion, fear, and adrenaline over take me and I can’t hide anymore. As they gaze upon our baby, I rush to their side crying, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter looks at me for a moment. Her eyes travel up and down my body. She can see the scratches from the reeds in the river on my face. My clothes soaked up to my waist betraying me further. I am sure she knows I know the baby. “Yes, go.” I felt as if all of heaven opens up for me as she grants me favor. “Thank You, Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!” I need not hear more. I ran as fast as I can to my mother and father to tell them about Pharaoh’s daughter. My mother falls to her knees and cries tears of joy. Pharaoh said all boys had to be thrown into the river. We threw our baby into the river—we just put him in a basket first. YHWH had Pharaoh’s own daughter raise him up out of the river. He lifts us up! She names our baby Moses, because she drew him out of water. My mother nurses him until the day he is weaned. So each day as she nurses him, she sings to him songs of our heritage so he will remember whence he came from. She speaks to him only in Hebrew so he will know our language. Our baby lives in two worlds—born a slave, yet raised, as a prince. My parents warn me that I must never again say, “That is my baby brother” out loud. But the passion and fervency with which I love him cannot be contained in just words. I knew in my heart he is our baby and so as I watch him grow, I make a point to know all that goes on with him in his life. My intensity for protecting him grows each day. I struggle to keep my thoughts contained. Moses consumes all my thoughts as I bend over in the sun collecting the mud for bricks. I keep my eyes open for the features of our baby. Through the course of time, he grows into a comely man and my passion to serve him by protecting increases all the more. My prayers center on his return to our people. “Miriam, did you hear what Moses did?” “No, what happened?” “He killed an Egyptian and buried him in the sand. He was confronted by two Hebrew men fighting. He was last seen running off into the desert.” My heart begins to break in two. It cannot be true! Moses, our baby gone? He fled the land of Egypt. According to the story whispered among the Hebrew slaves as they work to build Pharaoh’s kingdom, as Moses watched over the Hebrews, one of the Egyptian labor masters severely beat a Hebrew slave. Moses rushed to rescue his people, and in a fit of rage, he killed the Egyptian labor master. His rage cost me not seeing his chiseled features. But I knew his face so well, and I turned my passion into praying fervently for Moses to return to his people. The passage of time seems so eternal, but through the course of time he does return. One night in a dream, GOD tells my brother Aaron to go and meet Moses in the dessert. Oh, the excitement we all feel that our baby will return. Oh, I know he is a grown man by now, but in my heart he will always be our baby. I watch for him day after day waiting anxiously to gaze upon the face of the baby GOD lifted up from the perils of death in the River Nile. The moment I see a shadow on the horizon, I knew it was them. My heart flutters and races with abandon for our baby, who has returned home. Excerpt Taken From REDEEMED TO PRAISE, p. 14-16, Confident Singing: No Excuses, Lift Him up!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Radio Moments 2012

LOVING MEMORIES - Steve (3/08/07)

We were so young and innocent as we walked side by side. It seems like only yesterday, how did those years fly by? The summer of our wedding brought loving walks with you And a flower that you picked for me to show your love was true. Our love sometimes a coaster ride with life’s many ups and downs, But through those times our love did grow as we moved to many towns. A son to us was born on a cold December day, So sweet, so cute a bundle that brought us laughter along the way. A few years passed and we were blessed with a daughter just as sweet. She came to us in February and more joy our hearts did meet. Then many years went by as we raised our two with love, They grew up so wonderfully any parent would be proud of. God gave to us a child to love as Jeff chose for him a wife, We never really understood what joys were to come into our life. Their love produced three beautiful boys for us to love and treasure. They brought more love to all of us than we could ever measure. A few years down our happy road our Kim found her true love. They married and our new son brought blessings from above. Our God has always been there but now it is so clear, His loving plan was to draw us both to Him my sweet, sweet dear. He also sent another blessing a little precious one, A granddaughterfor us to love and time to have some fun. And now as we walk down, the last season of our years, We’ll thank our God for all we shared without any shedding of tears. He brought more love to all of us than words could ever express, His promise is to give us so much more and never any less. We’ll leave this earthly place with a plan to meet again, With no more tears or sorrow and absolutely no more pain. How awesome is our God to have this plan all set I marvel at the love I found when you and I first met. So thank you for all your love and times that you forgave My love for you will never die and in my heart I will save. All my love to you Sandy

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Story Prayer

As I walked out of my Community Group on Sunday morning my friend Jill said to me that our friend Shelly was placed in hospice care. Shelly survived breast cancer, but then bone cancer came unexpectedly. I knew immediately that I must leave church. I heard in my heart, "Today, you will worship me with Shelly." As I walked into the care center, Scott and Jill arrived as well and called out to me. I thought in my heart, "Where three or more gather HE is in their midst." My friend Jill has the gift of mercy like no other. As we walked in, she whispered to me, "You know they say that hearing is the very last thing to go. She will be able to hear us." As I walked into the room, God pressed on my heart that I must remind her of heaven and His glorious rest. Without much thought about it, I began to pet her arm and as I held her hand, I quietly prayed through what I know about the Splendor of God, His promises and the glory of heaven. I prayed about Shelly seeing the streets of gold and standing on the crystal sea. I told her about the radiant rainbow of colors made out of precious stones and the glorious rest she will enjoy while she talked with Jesus. When I left, I wondered who the prayer was really for her or me. I felt His comfort overflow. While sitting at her celebration service, my phone quietly buzzed with an urgent call. A dear from Iowa shared that a young woman was in the hospital in Omaha that does not know the LORD and she just found out that she has a brain tumor and there is not much time. She asked, "Will you go?" How could I not? For the second time that week, God called upon me to pray through heaven with someone lying in a hospital bed suffering the evils of cancer. As I pondered over the journey I walked with these two friends, I realized that I story pray. I always feel so inadequate when called upon to minister in such crises, but I have learned to hold onto the confidence and authority of the Word of God. I know my words are not what are needed so after I discover the need and yes even the want, I begin the process of thinking through what I know about God, His character, His power, and His promises. I then allow myself to pray what I know. It occurred to me that I pray through both Old and the New Testament. I allow myself to speak God's story into the story of the one I am praying. I allow the Spirit to show me how to connect their stories so that they become one. So, I story pray. How do you pray God's Word into life circumstances? Father, Your Word does not return void and it is alive and active. Please teach us to pray Your Word into our lives and those we are called upon to pray.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


Once upon a time, in a far, far away land called Nebraska, there lived a tassel princess named Tassunzel. She had been locked up in a tall thin and green tower ever since she was a little girl, for the evil Cornelius had trapped her in there so that she could never get away. She often wondered why Cornelius had locked her up in the tower, and one day she even found herself brave enough to ask Cornelius why he had done it, but he replied with a threat to turn Tassunzel into a Hangar, which was a tassel princess that was forced to hang on to the bricks of the tower with her own brute strength for the rest of her life. One day Tassunzel was pondering why he had locked her up there, as she often did through out the long, and dreary days, when all of the sudden she heard a loud, “THUMP!” Tassunzel thought that it was an earthquake and cried out to the, “Oh, Please Lord, let it take me! So that I may join You in Heaven and leave this miserable life.” But what Tassunzel did not know was that it was not an earthquake that had made the noise, but truly the thunderous footfalls Sir D.T. So Tassunzel closed her eyes and waited for fate to take her. And I can say she was solely surprised when she was pluck from her tower instead of plummeting to the earth. At first she was relieved to be free of her tower, but when she opened her eyes she stared into the face of a giant. “Ahhhh!” she screamed, “Put me down, foul beast!” “Shh! Calm down fair maiden, I may be taller and bigger than you are but I can assure you that I mean you no harm. And besides, you do not want to arouse the evil Cornelius. My name is Sir D.T. What is yours? Tassunzel stared at Sir D.T. Warily, but decided she could trust him, “My name is Tassunzel.” “Well, Tassunzel, how may I serve you?” Tassunzel was astounded. All of her life she looked for the answer of why she had been locked in that tower, and now it was being handed to her, “I… I heard you say some thing about Cornelius earlier,” she began, “do you know why he had me locked in that tower?” Sir D.T.’s face was solemn,”Cornelius is an evil plant, indeed, he has planed to take the power of pure hearts, which come from the tassel princesses, and instil it in his evil cornlings. The towers takes the power from you and sends it straight into the them. Then he plans to take over all of the corn fields in the land of Nebraska, so that he may become the King of Corn.” So, that’s why he had me locked up there.” Tassunzel muttered to herself. Sir D.T. Went to set Tassunzel down, ” I am sorry fair maiden, but I must leave now for their are many more princesses to save. You are free now, go, and do as you wish.” Sir D.T. Stood up to leave, but Tassunzel stopped him. “Wait! I want to come with you and aid you on your journey.” Sir D.T. kneeled down again, “It is a dangerous trek, with many a toils and hardships, but you may follow if it pleases you.” “Oh, it does!” cried Tassunzel, “It would be a great joy to accompany you.” “Very well.” Sir D.T. lifted Tassunzel up and slid her in to a slit in his pack as they set off on their adventure. . . . “So they are going to try and spoil my plans, are they?” said Cornelius to himself, “Well, I guess I will just have to make it harder for them then.” So Cornelius headed out to hide all of the tassel princess by curling the leave of their towers around them. Then he began digging trenches throughout the fields off towers, so that Sir D.T. and Tassunzel might be succumbed by their depths. But what Cornelius did not know was that by adding these dangers, it sparked Sir D.T.’s soul ever more to save the princesses and to persevere with Tassunzel until the very end. And so, Sir D.T. and Tassunzel began too recruit followers to save the tassel princesses, so that they could make a wider impact in the war. They called themselves NATS… But will Sir D.T.’s efforts prove futile? or will Cornelius’s plan ultimately fail? The choice is yours. Tassunzel= Tassel Sir D.T.= DeTassler Cornelius= Corn By Grant Rye

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Tithing Chases Away the Devourer

I recently sent this thought to family and then my dad asked me to post it on facebook and my sister-in-law Kathy asked me to post it on the blog. I have been amazed at how many people have shared that they are resharing. I would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts. This morning as I dropped Grant off for detassling I was listening to a sermon and the pastor said something I had never heard or caught before. He said that tithing rebukes the devourer from our lives. I thought… What? Really? Look at Malachi 3:11. It is so clear. I never caught this before. WOW! That right there should make any solid believer want to tithe. The other thing he said, the devourer will be prevented from destroying our fruit. Our fruit is where our seed comes from for the next harvest. Without the seed we can’t plant, reap or sow. See little foxes would eat the vines for the liquid inside them. Little foxes were symbols of the enemy. If the vine is chewed through then the fruit will not grow. They will die and fall to the ground before full maturity. So, tithing becomes a tool for chasing away the little foxes from eating our nourishment spiritually. In a way, tithing becomes the fence that keeps the little foxes out of our spiritual garden harvest. Mmmh… This was so cool. Just wanted to share. Malachi 3:8-12 (NASB) 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. 9 "You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! 10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 "Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes," says the LORD of hosts. 12 "All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land," says the LORD of hosts. Tithing: 1. Rebukes the devourer from my life. 2. Prepares the way for the fruit to grow. 3. Sends delightful blessing to the land. (The land can symbolize physical land or spiritual land). The idea for this thought process comes from Pastor Jay West. He is an speaker/pastor in the Omaha area. Simply, Tara

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Compression Strength

But, we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Cor. 4:7-9 One Sunday as I suffered the consequences of a sore throat and cold, I sat with my son as he watched a science special on the strength of structures. As I dozed in and out of sleep, Grant said, "Mom, wake up! You have got to see this." I woke up in time to see a 185-pound man stand on a single wine glass placed between two boards. Unbelievably, the wine glass did not break. The scientists pointed out that everything has compression strength. As stress presses in on an object, its ability to withstand the pressure is determined by the compression strength. Obviously, the more bonds the object has within it determines its compression strength. As the weight of stress presses in, the object will bend, bow and depending on the weight of pressure eventually break. In many ways, this is like the body of Christ, but with one difference. Christ is what gives us compression strength! He is the all-surpassing power that fills us. We can be pressed on every side, but not crushed! In Christ, we may bend or bow, but we will not break! We have a spiritual compression strength that enables us to withstand great pressure. It is obvious to the non-scientific mind that if you line up wine glasses, then more weight can be added, thereby increasing the compression strength. As we stand alone in Christ, we have one level of compression strength. But, when we stand side-by-side, our bond gets stronger and our compression strength is greater. Interestingly, one glass can hold 185 pounds, but two glasses can hold well over 425 pounds. Two are greater than one, the strength more than doubles. Do you feel pressure? What stressors press in on you? Allow Christ to give you compression strength and then bond with other believers to withstand the pressures surrounding you. This is why we need the fellowship of the saints, Bible studies, prayer gatherings, and meals with other believers. It is in these times that we build each other up in Christ increasing our ability to withstand the pressures of this world. Simply, Tara

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Challenge to have a foreign exchange son or daughter

Have you ever thought about having a foreign exchange student come live with you? I know what you are thinking when you read the invite from the KOAM foreign exchange program. "We can't have a student from Korea live with us. We are too busy. We don't have the time or the money. We can barely keep up with our own children." I know this because this is what we said. Five years ago, our family read in the school paper that a student that was already in the program needed a place to stay. I will confess to you that I prayed for the student to find a home, but never intended for the student to live with us. Over the process of one week, on four different occasions, I had four different people say to me, "Your family would be perfect for that student." My response, "No, my husband would never go for it. He doesn't like change. We don't have the money or time. Our lives are so busy already. And, I am a terrible housekeeper." But, God had a different plan. Mison Cowell (KOAM's Area Coordinator) called our family, "Hello Tara, I have heard that your family would be perfect for this student. Can we meet?" I said the same thing to her, but promised I would at least mention it to Greg this time. To my utter surprise, Greg's first response was "We would need a bunk bed." He didn't say yes, but stated an observation. I emailed to my women's Bible study and in thirty minutes, we were offered three bunk beds and four dressers. This is when we opened our doors for Sojin Yun to join our family for eight months as a sixth grader. Nearly a year after Sojin went home Mison called again. "Hello Tara, I have a boy that wants to come and his parents want him to have an older sister and brother. Your family is perfect for him." We prayed and this is when Junwoo Hwang came to live with us for a short six months as a third grader. Up to this point our family never once said, "We want to host a foreign exchange student." It just sorta happened. But, after opening our home to Sojin and Junwoo, we realized that there is something beautiful that happens to our family when we have a foreign exchange daughter or son. We are a better family. We live more intentionally and we observe life with a different view. So, we called Mison and said we want to have another girl. Mison did not have a girl signed up, but she did have DongMin Shin. He came to stay with us for ten months. He will return to live with us next year as well. This process of inviting a student into our home became not just a cultural exchange of students, but a cultural exchange of family units. They are our children. Our lives have become richer, stronger and more like Jesus simply by having an open home. The LORD calls us to serve one another and to be hospitable. KOAM provides an opportunity for our family to be on the mission field of Korea. Two of our Korean children came to know Jesus as their personal Savior and went home with the daily habit of reading their Bible. In Isaiah 60:22, the LORD reminds us that HE uses that which is small to change nations. Having a foreign exchange son or daughter allows us the privilege to effect spiritual change in Korea though up to this point we have never been there. I am so glad that GOD moved our family beyond excuses because the relationships have become a rich reward that will be with us all the days of our lives and the eternal rewards are beyond measure. Simply, Tara

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Invitation

I fumbled through my fingers the dinner invitation I received from Jesus as I entered the banquet hall. I stood back not knowing where to sit. I had never sat at a Heavenly Host's table before. I did not know what to do. My heart raced as if I had just received the best Christmas gift ever. Me… an invited guest in Jesus’ home! He noticed my awkwardness and gracefully crossed the room to where I stood and said, "Tara, come sit right here by me." My cheeks flushed with a blush of surprise. My heart cried out, “Oh, Thank you Jesus.” He was so close to me I felt His body heat. What would He do if I reached over and touched His hand? I noticed the hair curling above His knuckles and the creases of His flesh. His veins were blue just like mine. I lifted my hand and touched my veins imagining the blood flow in my body and His. Remembering that His blood is why I am here. The table was set with simple elegance. The white linen tablecloth displayed bone white china bearing no distinguishing marks and crystal flutes holding our beverages. How can I eat with His Splendor before me? The Bread of Life is sitting beside me! Satisfaction filled my soul. I inhaled contentment, as holy bumps coursed up and down my spine. I glanced over my shoulder at Jesus picked up a crystal fork illuminating iridescent rainbows as He moved it around. He began to eat something off His plate that looked familiar to me, but I did not know what to call it. I did not want to offend Jesus by not eating His food, so I picked up my crystal fork and gingerly tasted a morsel. Mmmmmh… The tantalizing aroma splashed sweet and yes, a bit of spicy across my taste buds. My tongue savored the sweet and spicy as it penetrated my palate as never before. Do I dare? What will Jesus do if I reached over and took a bite off His plate? I raised my fork and swiftly snatched a bite of His food. Exquisite! Every taste bud in my mouth craved more. I could get enough of it, fast enough. I dived into my food tasting this and that and my plate never seemed to empty. I kept eating and eating just to taste the flavor of God's choice food. His manna from heaven that satisfies likes no other. I realized how I must look. I glanced at Jesus with a look of embarrassment. His eyes lit up as His face crinkled into a smile that took my breath away. He said, "Go on Tara, and eat more. My table is always set for you. You may come and dine with me anytime. Eat and find contentment. Eat and be satisfied. Drink and thirst no more. Enjoy my child. It is all yours." My eyes traveled the expanse of the table filled abundantly with a feast. My heart sunk and my shoulders slumped as sobs caught in my throat. I sit here eating satisfaction and did not notice, His table set with many places displayed name cards waiting for recognition for someone to come, sit and dine. My hands flew to my face as I wept. How many people know Him, yet they will not come and dine with Him to take hold of what He had laid out for them? How many people are too busy searching for satisfaction and fulfillment when the table has already been set with the fragrant aroma of Heaven's satisfying manna? Slowly, I lowered my hands from my face, as I turned and looked at the Lord and asked Him, "Jesus, who do you want me to bring with me the next time I come?" Jesus said, "Listen closely and I'll tell you with each person you meet." I can’t wait because it is you! When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. Jeremiah 15:16 Simply, Tara

Friday, March 23, 2012

What is a Good Samaritan?

I serve as a women's ministry leader through speaking and teaching on the radio and at various women's ministry events. This opens the door for me to meet women in many places with a variety of needs. I have prayed that the LORD will give me compassion in action for years and I have known Him to answer this prayer as I look at a group of faces and I feel the expression of His love warm my heart. Yet, as I study the Good Samaritan, I feel overwhelmed by the must of compassion in action. In a given week, I receive numerous contacts via email, facebook, and phone calls for me to meet a need. I cannot meet them all. I often feel guilty that I am not living compassion in action because I can't stop for each one. I feared that I am becoming like the priest or Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan that walked away. Does the parable of the Good Samaritan imply that compassion in action is a call to meet all needs expressed to us? Or is there more to this passage? How many times has someone with a perceived need pressed upon me the want of me to meet the need when honestly as a wife, mother and lay Christian leader I could not? I read every commentary I could find on this passage and all say clearly it is a "must" of the believer to show love to the neighbor in need. Let's just say, my anxiety increased! This is when the LORD caused me to realize that in this parable the emphasis was upon a physical need of someone that could not help himself, not a mental or emotional need expressed by another for me to meet. This person could not meet his need because he was so injured he was out of it. A good neighbor is willing to stop and minister to the physical needs of another. It does not matter if the person is of the same socio-economic status or cultural background. The person needs safe passage physically to wellness and a place to stay. So, I ask myself, would I stop to meet the need of an injured person? Yes, without a doubt. Am I willing to open my home for the one passing through? Yes! Indeed! My heart is not hard to even emotional, social, and mental needs. I am willing to help, but the help is different. These often require spiritual insight. The Good Samaritan expressed compassion in action through seeing the person, dressing the wounds, finding a safe place for recovery and even providing financial help to see the person through to healing. My struggle occurs when the need is expressed by the other that I am the one to meet the need; this is not a person that cannot help herself. She just does not know yet how. The struggle happens when it is an emotional or mental need brought to me by the other. It is in these moments that I am learning to redirect the individual in need to the Word of God to meet Jesus and find the answer to her need. It is no longer my responsibility to meet the need. At this point, the most compassionate thing I can do is help the person find the right passage that applies to her need. The need might be the confession of sin and returning to God or it might be the owning of a spiritual truth in order to find release and relief. I then help the person process how to apply this to her life. Some are willing. Some are not. This process is never easy. There comes a point in helping that the most God honoring thing to do is to let the person walk away. A person has to be willing to do what is necessary for health and healing. In the case of physical injury and immediate crisis, we meet the need. In the reality of habitual sin or deliberate disobedience, we must release the person and pray. We are to meet the need of the one, but not every need expressed to us to meet is our job to meet. As a women's ministry leader, I must pray and ask GOD for discernment in order to know to whom I am called to serve. Jesus showed love and compassion upon all people. He looked upon the crowds and had compassion upon them. But, Jesus did not heal everyone. He focused on the one that demonstrated faith. Jesus affirmed over and over the one that had faith. Jesus said, "Your faith has healed you." I have found peace in providing the scriptures that deal with the issue when it comes to a mental, social, or spiritual issue. Compassion in action related to these situations provides the WORD because Jesus is the WORD and HIS compassion will overflow through it. When I give the WORD I know that I have given what is most important. The Good Samaritan does meet the physical immediate needs, but more often then not the Good Samaritan will meet more people with mental, social and spiritual needs than physical and in these situations compassion gives what matters most the Word of God to guide the person toward inner healing. Simply, Tara Rye

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Over several days, I had several difficult things shared with me. "I have an inoperable brain tumor." "My husband is seeing another woman." "My grandson is going to India to join a cult." As I listened to these requests, I felt so inadequate to answer, much less know how to pray for fear that I might ask amiss. I know that I am not sufficient and my words will definitely fall short. This is when I practice what I know. I know that God is sufficient in all things and I remind myself that the enemy of God is out to destroy the Character and Word of God. How can I bring the Character of God and the Word of God into these circumstances when I pray? When I focus on the Character of God and the Word of God, I find that, it reminds us of God's sufficiency. Suddenly, what seems impossible becomes a moment for faith building in both of us. For my friend with the inoperable brain tumor, I called upon God our healer, sustainer, strength, and help in time of need. For the wayward husband, I called upon God our reconciler, redeemer, Groom, and lover of my soul. For the grandson following a cult, I called upon God as Truth, righteousness, deliverer and router of enemies. Suddenly, both of us find that our heads are lifted in the circumstances as the shield of God's Character and Word surrounds us. This is not a magical formula or performance standard. It is about drawing near to God. The Father promises that if we draw near to Him; He will draw near to us (James 4:8). What better way to draw near to God than to use His Character and His Word as a reminder as I pray! What circumstances need the Character of God or the Word of God prayed into them today in your life? What name of God might you pray? What scripture can you hold onto? Father, YOU are sufficient. Help us to hold to Your sufficiency through Your Character and Your Word. In Jesus' Name, AMEN! Psalm 3:3-4 (HCSB) 3 But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cry aloud to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain.Selah Simply, Tara

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Miriam's Perspective

Her screams filled the air as my mother tensed with the pain of labor. “Aah!” “Miriam! Come quick! Run to the midwife and tell her the baby is soon to arrive!” cried my father. I peer around the doorpost for a quick glance at my mother. Apprehension and excitement line her eyes as she prepares for the arrival of our newest family member. I quickly run from our home in search of the midwife named Shiphrah. A baby is ready to enter this world and I am responsible for getting the little one’s help. The surge of protectiveness rising in me stirs a new feeling of power. What will Shiphrah think when she sees me running up to her home? Will she know our baby is coming? Will she be gone? I cry silently in my heart, “O, LORD Almighty, help!” As my feet touch her front yard, I double over gasping for air. I can barely speak from the adrenaline pumping through my veins. My eyes focus on the dirt below to find two tiny feet appear. I stand up and look into the midwife’s face only to see my breathless expression reflected in her eyes. The smile caressing her cheeks hints that she knows a baby is coming! She immediately gathers a few personal items and the two of us rush off to the side of my mother. “I want you to hold your mother’s hand and wipe her forehead” Shiphrah says as she calmly begins to minister to my mother and nudges my father away. As I rub my mother’s hand, I decide in my heart that I really like Shiphrah. “AHH!” My mother squirms beneath the pain. Hot tears roll down my face as I watch my mother struggle to birth the life within her. Tremendous awe captures my soul as I witness the forging of a new life. As intense emotions rage on my mothers face for this baby, they mirror my heart. To be so wanted, so loved that my mother would subject herself to the anguish born on her body causes me to tremble from head to foot. With one great push and a scream that turns into a moan my mother births a baby—boy. My heart cries out a prayer, “O, No dear LORD not a boy!” Pharaoh wants all baby boys thrown into the Nile. My parents will not do this. How will we keep him safe? The midwife hands the squealing babe to me. I hold him in my bare hands not yet cleaned from his entrance to this world as she clips his life cord separating him from my mother’s food supply. I do not know how this baby came to be, but I know with all that is in me, I will protect him onto my death. His dark eyes squint at the light of day, his first glimpse of Egypt’s sun. He has a thick patch of hair upon his head that contrasts his fresh baby flesh, free from the bronzing of the sunrays after endless days of hard labor in the scorching sun. I watch his feeble attempts to struggle against the air of this new world he has entered. I realize a depth of love as never before. I make a silent vow that I will be his protector. Isn’t that what sisters are to do? Protect! Mother reaches for our baby and begins to coo to him songs of sweetness. His little body begins to relax and cuddle into her warm and soothing lullaby. I sit mesmerized by the wonder of a mother and child. A hunger for that bond swells up within me. I reach over to caress his little arm. Our baby is so tender and smooth. I bend over to kiss the top of his head. His hair kisses my lips with the softest sensation. As I inhaled his baby scent, I whisper to my mother, “I just want to nuzzle and cuddle him all day long.” My parents pass a look between them that make my arms crawl with flesh bumps, as I remember the edict against all baby boys. We begin to conspire how we will protect him from such an ugly fate. I decide to memorize his face. For nearly ninety days, we cover his cries with coughs, his squeals with our laughter, his coos with our songs, all with the intent of keeping him hidden. With each passing day that I cover the signs of a child living in our home, my intensity for protecting our baby increases. I have never in my life felt more trusted, wanted or needed than when I watch over our baby. Excerpt taken from REDEEMED TO PRAISE, p. 10-11

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Chubby Little Cross

My counsel now is to pour on the love. 2 Corinthians 2:8/ MSG I did it again LORD. I hate it when I lose it! Father, why? Why do I yell at Greg and the kids? I am so tired LORD. I feel like I can’t keep up with the house, their needs, and as for me well, somehow I feel as if I have lost myself trying be wife, mommy and perfect housewife. LORD, help! I feel so numb. Where is the love that I am supposed to have when you have a husband, two kids, a mini van and the dream home? Show me love LORD! Show me I know how to love as I should! I opened my eyes to see Greg kneeling beside the bed while Mikayla and Grant stared at me wide eyed with their round little cheeks smattered with tears. “Honey, are you okay?” “NO! YES! I dunno know! I am tired that’s all.” Mikayla clambers up on the bed and lies beside me with her face lying on my chest. Grant trying to follow his big sister’s climb tries unceremoniously to follow in her footsteps, but his eighteen month old chubby legs cannot make it. Daddy gingerly pushes his bottom from behind so Grant can climb upon mountain bedrest with us. “I think Mommy needs a tickle fest!” Daddy says. Mikayla jumps up instantly with a delight shining from her eyes and begins to spider crawl her fingers across my tummy. Greg pins my arms down and with gusto, the two of them tackle me as if I am a treasure that must be unlocked with tickles. Grant watches as he giggles with delight at my squeals, as I squirm all over the bed. My laughter bubbles over and out and I begin to shout, “No, stop! I can’t take it anymore! Stop!” Greg and Mikayla laugh at my predicament and press harder in tickling me. So I shout louder. Suddenly Grant jumps on top of me and lays his little chubby body across mine. He covers as much of my legs with his as he can. He stretches out his arms across mine and his torso covers me. He cries out, “DON’T HURT MY MOMMY!” My nose begins to burn as tears well up in my eyes. What a sweet cherub I have in him! The mother’s heart in me begins to break. Love is sacrifice. Grantie willingly laid his life across mine to sacrifice himself to protect me. His body formed a cross as he covered me. Now my tears roll down my cheeks as I remember my prayer, “LORD, show me love!” GOD reminded through my little guy of the cross and the sacrificial love of Jesus for me. Cleaning house and meeting my family’s needs almost instantly became my delight. Love, laughter and one little guy reminded me true love is not about my emotions but in the giving of self. Father, forgive me for grumbling and complaining. I return to You and to my family. You, Father are my first love and I love them, too! Thank You for reminding me that love never fails and it is not about me receiving but about me giving. Help me to give sacrificial love without complaint to pour on the love. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN! Published in Cup of Comfort For Mothers, February's Intro 36-37. 2007

Monday, January 16, 2012

Saggy Pants Epidemic

Leading scientists have just revealed that the power of gravity is increasing. They have concluded that this is the cause of the recent outbreak of the saggy pants epidemic. Every day, thousands of people who suffer from saggy pants walk around with their pants around their ankles. If you have been diagnosed with saggy pants, it is possible that you may also suffer from what scientists are now calling “swagger.” Swagger causes people with saggy pants to walk or behave in a very confident and typically arrogant manner. Citizens are frantic, trying to keep their pants around their waists—but not to fret!—recent studies have shown that there is, in fact, an antidote. One way to keep this epidemic from spreading further is an ancient concept invented by the Sumerians in the year 400 B.C. This rare antidote is known as B.E.L.T. (band ensuring the levitation of trousers). The number of belts in the United States is dwindling, so if you think you might have saggy pants, be sure to wear boxer shorts displaying Hello Kitty, Iron Man, or perhaps Winnie the Pooh underneath your possibly saggy pants to avoid public humiliation. There is an alternate cure for saggy pants, but scientists have not yet concluded if this is a safe way to rid citizens of the disease. Skinny jeans, sometimes referred to as denim skin, have been known to limit the movement of legs and occasionally cause paralysis. Side effects may include love handles and the occasional tingling of the limbs. It has become socially acceptable for women to wear skinny jeans, but men have been advised to avoid the adornment of skinny jeans at all costs. Wearing skinny jeans as a male may cause you to be mistaken as one of the three Jonas Brothers which may result in your being mobbed by large numbers of screaming thirteen year old girls. If you or a loved one suffers from saggy pants or swagger, talk to your doctor before switching to skinny jeans, as the sudden increase in tightness could be hazardous to your health. Go to to see where you can find a band ensuring the levitation of trousers manufacturer near you or to see if you qualify for our three week risk-free trial. 3 month saggy-sober blogger NoLongerTrippin195 posted this testimonial on our website on December 19, 2011. “Just a few months ago I was in a terrible place, my life was moving so quickly in the wrong direction. I knew I had saggy pants but I didn’t want to admit it. I was afraid of being judged. My illness got in the way of my education and my family. I got kicked out of medical school because of my swagger and soon after my dad kicked me out of the house. I was walking the streets with my pants around my knees wondering how I got here. I was repulsive. People couldn’t look at me without shaking their heads. That’s when I saw him. There was a man on the street handing out pamphlets for this thing called Pants Above the Influence. I took one and started asking him questions. Right then and there the man took off his belt and gave it to me. I put it on as quickly as possible and from that moment on I was a new man. Now I’m back in school studying the dangers of saggy pants and swagger. One day I hope to inspire youth all over the world to wear their pants in the right place. Thank you for your service. Pants Above the Influence has made the world a better place.” Written by Mikayla Rye for Mrs. Smagacz' English 10, Period 5, 17 January 2012. A Satire. Saggy Pants Epidemic