Friday, May 9, 2014

A to Z Blogging--{Almost all the way caught up!} Yesterday


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Matthew 5:37

In our lives here on earth there is very little we can count on to be the same from day to day. Often our circumstances change dramatically in a very short period of time, with an unexpected death…or the loss of a job…or a devastating betrayal.

Society changes take place almost day-to-day as well. Not so many “yesterdays” ago, it was a given that marriage was between one man and one woman. Life—from conception to death—was sacred. Children were rarely born out of wedlock. Honesty and hard work were something to be proud of, something expected of everyone. Sunday activities included church and Sunday School before anything else.

I am a nurse and in my job at a surgery center—we do mostly eye surgeries—I have seen many changes in the last year—changes in medications, changes in surgery techniques and changes in how different eye problems are treated.

Within the last few weeks I took several classes—ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support). These classes teach the steps to take and medications to give when an adult or child is critically ill. Many times during the classes we talked about the changes that had been made in diagnosis and treatment over the last few years. 

When your head is spinning due to the changes in your life—be they good or bad—be reassured that one thing will not change—Jesus. His Word remains the Truth. You can always count on His promises –He will always keep them—no matter what. His grace and forgiveness will always be free to us, just for the asking. Thank Him today, for not changing.

(I’m also blogging at Check it out!)

A to Z Blogging...{Almost Caught Up!} X-Tra


And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. And God saw that it was good…
Genesis 1:11-12, excerpted

I am amazed, at this time of year especially, all that the Lord has blessed us with.

He gave us plants, trees, fruit trees.

But not just one single kind of plant, or tree, or fruit.

He blessed us with many, many kinds of growing things. Just in a walk around my neighborhood I see trees bearing white flowers…pink flowers…bright pink flowers. I see flowers of every shape and color. When I go to the grocery store I have many varieties of fruit from which to choose.

The Lord could have given us just one kind of plant, one kind of flower, one kind of tree,  one kind of fruit.

But He did not.

He gave us an almost countless variety of growing things. And we are so very blessed that God gave us so much x-tra—so much more than we deserve or even need.

Thank You, Lord, for the x-tra you give us in variety. You have blessed us with so much; help us to appreciate Your love for us.

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Check it out!)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A to Z Blogging {Almost Caught Up!} Wait

for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:14

I am not a very good wait-er--I don’t like to wait.

I want all of the answers, right now.

I want to know—now!-- the direction in which I’m to go in life.

I want to know how situations are going to resolve themselves and I don’t want to have to wait to find out.

I am so often tempted to jump right in and act—call someone!! Do something!! Send an e-mail!! Speak my mind!!

Sometimes I react quickly—in anger, in retribution, in fear and depression.

But the above verse reminds me—twice in one verse, to “wait for the Lord.”

And it doesn’t tell me just to wait, it gives me something to do while I wait: “be strong and let your heart take courage.”

I can be strong, by reading the Bible and praying to the Lord to guide and lead me. I find strength in knowing that He is with me every single step of the way, no matter what. And He is stronger than anything, any circumstance, that I will encounter during my life.

I can have courage while I wait because I know the Lord knows what is happening. He knows every detail about every aspect of my circumstances, even when I’m blindsided by something. He is right beside me, every second.

He knows the direction in which He wants me to go. He knows all the details. He knows the bigger story.

And truth be told, I know the bigger story too. I know the end of the story. At the end of the story, no matter what happens to me here—I will spend eternity with Him.

Knowing that enables me to “wait…” with courage in my heart.

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is . Check it out!)

A to Z Blogging Challenge {Still Catching Up!} Vine


I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

Apart from Him, I can do nothing.

With Him, I can do anything.

For fruit to grow, it must be attached to the vine which nourishes it. For me to grow, to do His will, I must be attached to Him, or as this verse says, I must abide in Him.


By reading His word. By going to church and Bible study. Through prayer. By listening for His still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12, King James Version) to lead and guide me. By being still, and knowing Him (Psalm 46:10).

Abide in Him, and bear fruit!

How will you abide with the Lord today?

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Home is Where the Mom Is . Check it out!)

10th Annual Christian Cross Festival June 7th in Norfolk!

By Shelly Burke, Editor

(This article appears in the May issue of the "Nebraska Family Times." If you would like a FREE sample copy of the "Nebraska Family Times," e-mail with your mailing address.)

The Christian Cross Festival, which celebrates its 10th year this year, had humble beginnings. In August of 2001, the (future) founder of the Christian Cross Festival (CCF), Brett Simonsen, arranged for fireworks and Christian music at their church’s block party at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Norfolk. Someone at the event took pictures of the fireworks; when Brett had them developed he was drawn to one in which the fireworks exploding around a cross outside the church looked like Jesus hanging on the cross.  

The inspiration of the picture made Simonsen want to share the event so that others could have a chance to know Christ through Christian music and testimonies from those who had found Christ in their lives. The Outreach team at St. John’s worked to make what became known as the Christian Cross Festival a community event. Today the planning team represents seven denominational as well as non-denominational churches in Norfolk.  The event itself is non-denominational and everyone is invited, whether or not they belong to a church or even know Who God is.

According to Simonsen, over the past 10 years the CCF has grown in size; currently a permanent canopy is being put on the stage at the park. The CCF now also includes a ministry tent at which Christian ministries are highlighted so people can see what they’re all about. Simonsen adds, “Our focus continues true to our belief that we need to reach out to northeast Nebraska and beyond to share God’s message, in a fun and family friendly event where inspiring Christian bands come and share their message through music and testimonies.”

Simonsen says that just thinking of the things that God has done through the CCF humbles him. He has seen many people—addicts, former addicts, dysfunctional families, the homeless, troubled teens (including a 13 year old who had tried many drugs and alcohol)—come to the CCF to “get away”, just meet with friends, or enjoy a nice day at the park, but through the music, speaker, or wandering into the ministry tent, being touched by God and giving their life to Christ.

Simonsen also saw God’s hand a few years ago when a huge storm was bearing down on the festival, making shutting it down early a distinct possibility. He remembers, “We were all nervous watching this huge storm approach on radar, knowing it was way too big to go around us. As we watched on the radar, the storm slowed down and split about 10-15 miles out and put us in a “bubble” that stayed over us as the storm proceeded to pass around us. Lightning was all around and we were ready to call off the festival at any moment. We decided to start the fireworks about 15 minutes earlier than scheduled and the fireworks from the lightning and our fireworks were quite a sight! The “bubble” collapsed and the rain came down, but not until the last car was driving out of the park. The workers were rained on but they didn’t mind—the crowd was spared and everyone was safe!”

The CCF is free of charge; events will run from 1 pm – 11 pm on Saturday, June 7th  at Skyview Lake in Norfolk, NE.  A detailed schedule will appear closer to the time of the CCF; this year Allan Greene (CEO/Founder of Life Light Festival from Sioux Falls, SD) and the Passion Painter from Missouri are scheduled to speak, and bands scheduled to perform include the Peter Furler Band, Big Daddy Weave, Remedy Drive and many more. Other attractions include food, children’s inflatables, face painting, and the Christian ministries tent.

People are invited to come and go as they are able and enjoy the park, the music and the speakers and the day! Bring a lawn chair or blanket if you’d like to relax while you listen to music and spend time with family and friends.

The CCF is committed to never charging an admission fee. If you would like to support the event by being a volunteer, financial sponsor, or donor, contact the CCF (information at the end of this article). 100% of your donation will go directly toward the event.  Freewill offerings are also accepted.

Have you attended the CCF? Do you plan to attend this year? Please help promote the event by telling your friends about it! Invite them to go with you!
The Mission of the CCF: The CCF is an outreach event in an relaxed outdoor setting to promote Christian fellowship and unity in the Body of Christ. Our purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ through Christian music, testimony, and other talents as He provides.
 For more information about the Christian Cross Festival go to The festival is on Facebook; type in “Christian Cross Festival” or go to You can also contact Brett Simonsen, CCF Director, at or (402) 649-2317. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A to Z Blogging: Understanding


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Are you trusting in the Lord today, or leaning on your own understanding?

Trusting Him means asking Him before you make decisions, before you take action. Your understanding is limited to what you know, at this moment. He knows absolutely every aspect of your situation, every single detail of your life. He knows what will happen as a consequence of your decisions in a day…a month…a year…a lifetime. He knows how your actions will affect those around you…even those you might not even know. He has a plan that you do not know…but His plan is always better than yours.

Are you acknowledging Him in everything you do, in all your ways?

Thank Him, give Him credit for your life. When you go about your daily life, ask Him to guide you, ask Him to show you what to do, strive to live a life that honors Him.

I see the final part of this verse as a promise. When you acknowledge Him in what you do, He will keep you on the straight path. He will keep you from making mistakes. He will guide you.

With what will you trust in the Lord today?

(I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Check it out!)