Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

The evening had come on the day her little darling was born.  She cradled Him in her arms as her husband gently and quietly asked if she was hungry. She smiled and replied, "A little, but I just want to look at him and hold him for a little while more.  Look at how beautiful he is, and how his eyes sparkle!  Look at his tiny fingers and toes!  Oh, I'm so in love with this little one already!"

Her husband smiled and brought her a warm drink and made her comfortable.  They both stared in awe at the miracle of God's work.  They named him Jesus as the angel told them.

"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

Merry Christmas and God's blessings for a joyous and prosperous New Year!

(From "From My Heart to Yours" by Deirdre Tolhurst)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Glory to God in the Highest!

"Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       “ Glory to God in the highest,
         And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them."
Luke 2:8-20

Can you imagine being one of the shepherds that holy night?  Can you imagine taking care of your flock (as this Child would one day) and being interrupted by an angel of the Lord?  And then a 'multitude' of heavenly host appear and in heavenly choir sing praises of glory to the Lord?  Can you imagine the depths of wonder your soul would experience?  In the light of the stars and moon and in the glory of the angels, you must be unbelievably scared!  But you are told to not be afraid but instead to know that a Savior is born and He will take care of you forevermore!

So after the angels disappear, imagine standing there in the field with your sheep and your friends and wondering what was going on!  Your life is changed completely!  You didn't see just one angel, as Abraham and Jacob did, you saw a multitude of heavenly host!  A multitude!  How do you catch your breath after that?  After the honor that was bestowed on you to be a witness to such a miracle!

And then you do what they told you and you journey to the cave that houses an infant who will save the world!  How do you even comprehend all that?  You see His young mother cradling the Savior of the World and His earthly father watching nearby, protecting them both.  You fall on your knees and you worship the Babe.  You tell about what the angels told you, and you see His mother listening intently.  What an amazing honor to be chosen to be one of the first to see this and to bring a message from heaven to Mary!

You know how when we see a newborn baby we always marvel at the perfection of their lips and their eyelashes and tiny fingers?  Can you imagine seeing Jesus just hours old?  Knowing, because the angels told you, that He would save the world?  That He was the King of kings?  Do you dare to touch His little hand so that His fingers rest around yours?  What would it be like to touch the Son of God? 

Dear Reader, we can touch the Son of God anytime we want to!  He is in each one of us.  He is in your wife, your child, your husband, your friend, your co-worker.  He is in the guy down the street that doesn't bring his garbage can up right away.  He is in the homeless, he is in the downtrodden, he is in the teacher, the fireman, the executive, the secretary, he is in us!  Bless someone today with a hug.  If that is too uncomfortable for you, than bless them with a smile right from your heart!  Think of that person as Jesus, your Savior!  Love your fellow man; today do something extra special for someone you don't know.  Let the angels sing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men." 

Have a beautiful Tuesday, and God bless you today and always.  Wrap yourself in the miracle of Jesus' birth!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dear Child of Mine Has Been Released!

Dear Reader,

I am so pleased to announce that Dear Child of Mine, An Heirloom Devotional for the Unborn Child has been released at WestBow Press

It took over three years to get to this place, and I have learned so many things along the way, the most important being that I had unknowingly made the pictures I wanted for the gestational ages an idol!  What a terrible thing.  It was so subtle, as are most of the devil's lies, that I didn't notice for 18 months while the book sat in a drawer.  One day the Lord took me aside, so to speak, and asked me why the words He inspired me with weren't good enough.  I was under the false impression that the pictures from inside the womb that I wanted were what would give God glory and make the book sell.  I put something man did before the beauty of God's very own words!  Not only was I astonished at the subtlety of it, but ashamed, convicted, and humbled. He forgave me and I moved on. 

I rededicated my life to Christ on the 28th birthday of my salvation. I asked God to give me the Holy Spirit gift of faith for a present.  Although I didn't change immediately, my faith has grown considerably, and my hope is restored.

Writing this devotional, something I don't think I would ever had tried to do, brought healing to my heart and restoration for a relationship lost.  I am now planning my marketing strategies to pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and churches across this great land of ours. Babies need to be prayed over long before they are born.  And they need to hear those prayers while they grown in the womb - first with spiritual ears and then with physical ears.  Jesus is right there in the womb with that baby! His finger is the first one that sweet innocent child puts his little hand around!  It is His voice that first says, "I love you, child", and it is He who forms and perfects every bit of that child's life. What a glorious thing - we know our Savior before we know anything else! 

But unfortunately, the moment of birth into this world brings with it a cloud of forgetfulness about the beauty and love and peace that surrounded us for nine months.  I believe though, that Jesus has placed His memory in the child's heart.  The scripture readings he will hear later on in his life will be familiar to him.  He'll have a tugging on his heart that something is missing until he turns once again to the Sustainer of Life, his Creator and Redeemer. 

As the mother writes her own notes on the provided lines, she is leaving an heirloom for the child and her descendants.  She will write things that she may never say later on. It is something her child will cherish its whole life!

My husband and I were blessed on Thanksgiving with the news that our daughter is pregnant once again!  The sweetness of God cannot be described.  My husband and I are now writing in the book that I wrote for my first grandchild, almost three years ago. We don't know how long our time on earth is, only God knows that, so we want our grandchild to know us--our likes and dislikes, our hopes for its future, our dreams and memories. And as we read it each morning we are in agreement with our daughter and son-in-law in the prayers we pray. There are 241 powerful devotions to bless the baby with.  It's more amazing than I can say!

So if you are pregnant or know someone who is; or if you'll be a grandparent, please get this book as soon into the pregnancy as possible and begin what will be the greatest gift you could give that unborn child--your heart!

Have a glorious and joyful day!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dear Child of Mine, An Heirloom Devotional for the Unborn Child

Dear Reader,

I want you to imagine something.  Picture yourself rummaging around in your father's attic.  You have the task of cleaning up all of this 'stuff' because you are moving your dad to your own home, and are selling his.  After your mom died, he took a turn for the worse, and became almost a recluse.  You believe that being around his grandchildren and living in the country will help him with his loneliness.  So you are busy in the attic going through boxes and furniture, and all sorts of things, trying to decide what to take along and what to get rid of.  He has accumulated so much over the 51 years he and your mom were married!  You are hot, sweaty, and filthy from all the dust.  It would sure be nice to have air conditioning up here!  Maybe a fan would help.  But not wanting to spend any more time than you absolutely have to, you continue on.

Several hours have passed.  You are ready to call it a day and start again early tomorrow, when you notice a beautiful piece of furniture.  As you go to investigate, you hit your head on a joist.  "Ouch!" you all but scream into the empty space and quickly rub your head.  While walking to the beautiful buffet you saw before your mishap, your attention is drawn to a dusty old box, almost hidden beneath the rafters.  It has something written on it.  Getting closer, and squinting through the darkness in this part of the attic, you see that it is labeled 'Endearments'.  Now you're so curious you forget all about your head, gather up the box and bring it to the center of the attic, under the light, and you sit yourself down on an old stool, wondering what kind of endearments could be inside.

Wiping dirt and sweat off your forehead with one hand, you pull apart the flaps on the top, neatly tucked into each other.  You pull out an old baseball glove, stained with oil from days long gone by.  There are baseball cards too!  You rummage through old pictures, and a boy scout manual, and then see a book.  Pulling it out, you once again wipe the sweat from your brow.  You open the book, and inside you recognize your grandmother's handwriting. 

It is a devotional with lines filled with writing.  No longer caring about the heat, you settle in to read the words that were written over 75 years ago.  You read the first devotion:

Week 6, Day 1 - Trust. 

Dear Child of Mine,
I almost can't believe that I am pregnant!  I haven't been feeling quite myself, but I didn't realize why.  I am your mommy!  I have been very tired, and now I know why.  You are growing rapidly inside me and my hormones are rising, giving me an occasional headache.  I have mixed emotions.  I'm excited about being pregnant and a little scared of the next eight months too.  I will love you and I will take care of myself so you will be healthy.

Dear Father God,
I love You!  I am going to have a baby!  That makes me a little nervous.  I am excited, but I don't know what to expect.  Am I ready for this?  Will we have a healthy baby?  Will I be a good mom?  Will we be able to afford a baby?  Whom will he look like?  Will it hurt having a baby?

Father, I give these concerns over to You.  I lay them at the feet of Jesus because they are too much for me.  I know that You already know my child's name and face, and each day of his life.  I trust You to help me through the next eight months.  I love You and I am so glad I have You in my life to see me through.  In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

How beautiful the devotion is.  Then you read what your grandmother penned on the lines provided for that day.  "Lord, I feel exactly like what is written here.  I'm nervous about this whole thing.  I've heard so many stories of the pain and how much it costs to have a baby.  Johnny doesn't make that much, I mean with layoffs and all, we're lucky to make what we do!  But this life is a gift from You.  I must keep that in my mind.  You will always make a way where there is no way.  Help me to fight my fears and just leave it at the cross.  Thanks.  Just one more thing, Lord, will I have a boy or a girl? Oh well, whichever it is, I promise to love it and cherish it.  I will bring it up in the way of the Word. Wait until Johnny hears this news!"

Wow!  You flip through the pages, there are hundreds of pages with her writing on them.  You decide to stop your work for the day, and go downstairs and have a cool drink and just read.  You are amazed at all the emotions that spill out of her words.  On some pages you even read your grandfather's words!!  You cry at the words about sun showers and how the stars sang when the earth was created.  There are devotions about eyes, facial features, bones, hearing, the heart and brain, fingerprints, teeth, tongue, even friends, and wonderful things about God.  There is a synopsis at the beginning of each week telling what is happening to the baby and the mom at that time in her pregnancy!  What a find!  What a treasure!  You wish you had something like that when you had your own three children, but if you can find this book you will be sure to give it to them when they are expecting their own.  What an heirloom!  Seeing the prayers grandma prayed over daddy before he was born!  You pack up your things and head home filled with joy and a new found sense of love, a love you never knew before.  Surely, when you read this to your dad, he will begin to feel better!  You have uncovered a secret door to the past, a part of your family history that few people have the privilege of finding.

Well dear Reader, this is only a story about finding such a treasure, but the good news is, the book is real!  It is called Dear Child of Mine, An Heirloom Devotional for the Unborn Child.  The devotions are meant to be read aloud each day from Week 6, Day 1 through the time the baby is born.  It ends at Week 41, Day 2.  The baby can hear with it's spirit long before he can hear with his ears.  But Jesus is right there in the womb forming and shaping each little life He created!  It should be purchased as soon after finding out about the pregnancy as possible, because it is filled with prayers of love and awe.  The baby will hear each word, and later in life when he hears scripture, it will feel familiar. 

Dear Child of Mine will help the mom to pray each day, even if only for a few minutes.  Moms will come back to Jesus, moms will find Jesus.  Babies will live a happier life.

There is just something about a praying mom, and a child prayed for.  Grandmothers can read this as well, especially if they live far away.  Then they are in agreement over the life of the unborn baby.  It is a beautiful gift to give yourself or someone else.  A gift that will keep on giving for generations to come!

My book is currently in the editing stage at the publisher.  I will keep you informed as to its progress.  Thank you so much for sharing, and commenting!  May God bless each and every one of you!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 12, Day 4 - Your Face

Dear Child of Mine,

You look much more like you will six months from now.  You have a chin and a nose and a facial profile.  You can suck your thumb and get hiccups!  I wonder who you look like, your father or me.  I have to smile when I imagine everything God is doing with you, how He is making you whole, and more like Him and me every day.  It amazes me when I acknowledge how little you are, too small to even feel yet, and still so much like me!  I love you.  I praise God for His mighty miracle within me.  He is a loving and caring Father.

Dear Father God,

You have formed my baby's face!  I see how small she is, perhaps about the length of my ring finger, yet she is living, crying, hiccupping, moving around, and looks like she will when she is born!  When my baby is born and I look in her face, I will see the face of God looking back at me because You are her Creator.  I will try to remember always to see You in her.  I love You so much, Father, and wonder, do I have Your eyes?  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

"As for me, I will see your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness."  Psalm 17:15

(From Dear Child of Mine, A Devotional for the Unborn Child by Deirdre Tolhurst, with Foreword by Pastor Mark Price, published by Westbow Press)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Give Thanks in the Storm

Thank God today for whatever is troubling you the most.  It may seem a crazy thing to do, and the world would certainly attest to that!  Why would you thank Him for your sickness or poverty or loss of a loved one?  Not because you’re grateful for the actual circumstance that brought you to your knees.  No!  But for the strength you will gain and the wisdom you will receive when you praise Him in your storm.

He’s making you a light in the dark for another weary soul.  He’s instilling compassion in your heart, enough to overcome the pain and bitterness.  When you are able to pull someone else up from the depths of despair because you have been there, two hearts that may never have met are beating as one, glorifying the Lord.  And joy returns once again. 
“Two are better than one because a a good return comes when two work together.  If one of them falls, the other can help him up.  But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone?”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Voice
Taken from From My Heart to Yours

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Just Ask and Believe

"All He did was touch me and I was healed!  He's so nice!  He told me not to say anything, but how could I not?  I am clean!  I'm not an outcast anymore!  Look at me!  Touch Me!  Don't be afraid, it's real!  He said my faith healed me!  It's a miracle!  He can heal anything, just ask and believe!"

Can you imagine the looks on the faces of everyone who had from afar seen this person afflicted with leprosy and now completely cured?  Do you think they were frightened, perplexed, or stood in shock?  One thing is certain, they must have believed.  More and more people came to Jesus, and never once did He deny them.  His heart is filled with indescribable love, and peace is His demeanor. 

He will do the same for you if you just ask and believe.

"If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."  John 14:14 NKJV