Saturday, January 31, 2015

Never Walk Alone
























"When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now." Psalm 138:7-8 The Message


Life is complicated and has many twists and turns. I don't think I know anyone who has a life free of complications. Sure there are some who are enduring extreme hardship while others are hitting what looks like potholes in the road we call life. If you are the one who is free from any complication we are thankful and praise God with you, but if you are amongst those who find many days a challenge you are not alone.

Sometimes, we isolate ourselves. Isolation is never a good plan. During those dark days most of us just become more consumed with the pain of what's going on. Often, it is hard for us to focus on God while we stand alone. Yes, God is with us, but many times we do not feel Him.

If you find yourself in a dark place seek out a healthy friendship. Seek someone who can walk alongside you giving gentle nudges towards Jesus when needed. This healthy person is not someone you should expect to have the answer to your problem, but someone who will stand with you praying and encouraging you. Never walk alone.

If you see someone in a dark place don't be afraid to stand with them. You don't have to fix their problem. You need only allow Jesus to shine through you as you love, encourage, and pray for your friend. It's not your job to have the answers. That's God's job. So, take a deep breath and take a long walk with a friend who could use some fresh air.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Dark Night~Journal Notes

















When at the end of myself....I was unable to think or function on my own. Not all times were times of extreme suffering, but in my life many have been.
It's been a peeling away of things...some good and some not so good.
As I reflect, every dark night has produced a better me.

God heals my soul not in the doing, but in the being with HIM. God loved me so much He took me into the dark night so I would learn not to depend on feelings or other external things, but to live a life of simple trust (still learning). Looking back, I recognize I've grown through the pain while standing in the muck. 
 
I'm learning to face adversity looking for what God is going to do instead of looking at the mess.
Initially, I don't like a "new mess," but after a brief temper tantrum with God I'm beginning to say, "Lord, this is a mess and I can't wait to see what You are going to do."

I'm learning to wait on God's goodness and perfect timing. My feelings are superficial and limited. I like feelings and emotion, but my love and my relationship with God goes far deeper than feelings. He is fully present with me whether I feel Him or not and I need to be okay with that.

I want to live a life worthy of God's calling....I want to be deliberate, but I struggle. When I'm able to see the good in any given mess I'm able to receive His peace. Eventually, I'm able to find purpose in the pain.

I'm learning to lean into God even on days when I can't see or feel Him.....trusting Him when it doesn't make sense by earthly standards or views.....and waiting on God when I don't want to (probably the hardest).

The souls heartbeat and breath never stops. One day we transition to eternity and I'm thankful I've seen and observed God in this moment in the lives of others. Yet, I feel as though I was a bit of an intruder whose brushed the garment of the Lord.

There have been times I've slept with my bible, yet I couldn't think enough to read it. Doing so represented in some way the only hope I could cling to. During those times I couldn't feel God or see Him......or even comprehend how things could be better much less "right." I know God was working....I can now look back and see that.

The things I sought to hold onto during the dark night were peeled  away and I don't miss them anymore.....well, accept my memory and I'm still working on being okay with that one. I'm praising GOD for what He has given me back and leaving my focus there rather than on the times I struggle. I'm learning to be okay with God's plan. I hope to one day be able to trust God as easily as I breath.......every time I think about "trusting" God...I think about breathing.....constant, steady, smooth, and peaceful....a divine rhythm of Holy God living in us.

"4 1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
7-13 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,
He climbed the high mountain,
He captured the enemy and seized the booty,
He handed it all out in gifts to the people.
Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love." Ephesians 4:1-16 The Message

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Plan Versus God's Plan


















Did you start your journey through life with a beautiful plan? I did! Well, I thought I had a "perfectly" beautiful plan. To say life has not turned out the way I planned it would be a little like saying water plus dirt equals mud. What we call in our family "a no-brainer" or "duh."

Many of the plans I had over the years were not wrong in and of themselves. Each were worthy life goals. The problem was they were not what God wanted for me.

By nature, I am selfish and want my own way.I want to be in control and I am stubborn to a fault. Now, my family and close friends have it in writing with my name signed to it. In one paragraph I have confessed both my greatest strengths and weaknesses. It truly is what you do with the strengths God gives you. The choice is mine whether to use them for good or harm.

My desire has always been to be the "perfect" wife, mother, and friend while holding down a successful career. Let's just say the journey has been long, hard, and humbling. While I haven't messed up entirely I have messed up a lot along the way. Before I fall into the pit of despair taking you with me let me share the beauty of God's love, grace, forgiveness, and redemption.

God has a plan I still can not fully see. He has taken all of those weaknesses, strengths, times of getting it right, and times of sin and failure and weaved them into what Doug and I affectionately call a "Beautiful Mess!"

Through sickness and life's messes God carried me. He gave me a husband who while walking in his own pain gently loved me and walked with me when I wasn't sure I could put one foot in front of the other physically, emotionally, or spiritually. God was fully present with me when I could not form words to pray or even express my needs. When I became fearful of humans and their judgement God used the most unlikely of people along the way to drag me out of that fear and into His presence. I wish I could say the fear is completely gone, but occasionally it rears its ugly head. Yes, ugly. Fear is not of GOD. God wants us to trust Him.

If you asked me at any point in my life I would have always said, "I trust God" and on some level I have always trusted God, but never before like I do today. My trust in God is ever growing. He is stretching me and yes, being stretched scares me.

I'm not doing what I thought I would be doing. The life I live is no where near the plan I had for my life. I don't have a title for what I do. By the worlds standards there is no monetary reason to do what I do. And, when questioned I continue to stumble as to explain how I spend my days or what value I give to this world.

While once bothered by what others thought or perceived about this allusive and strangely unique career God has given me I'm becoming more comfortable. I am becoming me and I actually sort of like me. You heard me. I like the person I am becoming. Yes, I still get scared of all the unknowns and when in a room full of my friends who are highly intelligent professionals I can sometimes feel myself drift toward insecurity and the feeling of "not being good enough." There is instantly what I call a check in my spirit. God grabbing a hold of me saying, "NO MAM....Do NOT go there, Andrea. You know that is a bad and unhealthy place that has absolutely NO value." Yes, God raises His glorious voice to me in my head. The cool thing is I am finally learning to listen to Almighty God and after forty eight years of running through this life, I'm a little closer to being secure in becoming who God created me to be.

"139 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit or stand. When far away you know my every thought. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say before I even say it. You both precede and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head.
This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe! I can never be lost to your Spirit! I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me. 11 If I try to hide in the darkness, the night becomes light around me. 12 For even darkness cannot hide from God; to you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. 15 You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! 16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!
17-18 How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me.[a] And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!
19 Surely you will slay the wicked, Lord! Away, bloodthirsty men! Begone! 20 They blaspheme your name and stand in arrogance against you—how silly can they be? 21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I be grieved with them? 22 Yes, I hate them, for your enemies are my enemies too.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. 24 Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." 
Psalm 139NLT




I am now finding "joy" in becoming who God called me to be whether it makes sense to me or anyone else. I often go back to Psalm 139 and read it out loud. It's a little like going back to my roots or revisiting where I came from or those places in life that were a part of what makes me who I am. God made me with a plan and gave me the freedom to find my way to that plan. He loves me when I get it right and He loves me when I stumble in the wrong direction. He is "always" there. 

So, as I continue to make peace with where I am and find joy in the presence of Almighty God while standing in the muck of life I pray the same for you. We may not be able to change where we are standing, but we can change our attitude about the situation. We can peacefully and joyfully cling to all that is good within us and that is God's spirit! 

Freedom comes while standing in the muck as you rejoice in the Lord! 

By His mercy and in the grip of His grace,

Andrea Bowling Perdue 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Seven Year Old Wisdom and Answered Prayer

Our Beautiful Blessings  

















Recently, our oldest granddaughter, Savannah spent the day with me. I asked her how things were going at school expecting a normal response such as fine or great. Instead, she began telling me about a situation with some of her friends. She said her friends were saying something that was not nice. She explained to me they didn't know what they were saying was wrong, but she knew it was and she shared it with her teacher. She also told her teacher she didn't want her friends to get in trouble, because she knew they didn't understand what they were saying was not nice.

As I continued to listen, Savannah explained to me that her friends did not know Jesus and that's why they didn't understand they should not say, "OMG." She continued to explain why she had to tell her teacher . She said, "when you love your friends and family you have to do the right thing whether they like it or not."

At this point all I could say was, "that's right" and continued to listen. Speechless doesn't happen to me very often, but this was one of those times.

Savannah continued to share her heart by saying, "God created the world and he created me. I don't know how I know that, but I do!"

I hugged her and told her I loved her and I was thankful she was wise enough to do the right thing even when others might not like it.

This story is far from over. What you don't know is two nights before Savannah's visit I could not sleep. I was overcome with fear for my children and grandchildren and what "might" happen in their lives. I began to pour out my heart to God sharing fears for each of them, their spouses, children, and friends, and even future generations. As I began to share every detail of my fears with God, I prayed specifically that each of them would trust God and recognize His presence even when they didn't understand why. I reminded God that I could not remember a time when I did not know He was God and I had NOT  trusted Him even in the midst of my deepest fears. Eventually, I fell asleep. Two days later in the middle of a normal day Savannah shared her heart with me. What an affirmation to continue to trust GOD, no matter what!

So, when times come and you worry about the many ways you may have failed at parenting or the mistakes you may or may not have made, know that God truly is in control. Know He loves both you and your children far beyond what you can comprehend and He truly is at work in the midst of the messiness of this life, whether you understand or not. And if you are like me and you struggle with "doing the right thing,"  because you don't want to hurt the feelings of someone you love or get them in trouble, recognize "doing the right thing" is an act of LOVE!

"28 And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.
29 For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him—and all along he knew who would—should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers. 30 And having chosen us, he called us to come to him; and when we came, he declared us “not guilty,” filled us with Christ’s goodness, gave us right standing with himself, and promised us his glory.
31 What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us?" Romans 8:28-31 NLT


By His mercy and in the grip of His grace,

Andrea Bowling Perdue

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Greatest Gift

















Today, I share at Women Walking With Jesus about the greatest "GIFT" I've ever received,  who gave it, and the importance and value in my life. Please visit and feel free to share with others.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,

Andrea Bowling Perdue



Thursday, December 4, 2014

God is God!


















God doesn't have to use us, yet He does. God doesn't need to use us, yet He does. He is God and He graciously chooses to include us as He works in the lives of others. Pretty cool if you ask me!

Let's be ready and willing when God chooses to use us. Don't ignore His tug on your heart. Just do it, while remembering it's an honor to be His usable vessel. 

By HIS mercy and in the grip of His grace,

Andrea Bowling Perdue

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Killem With Kindness





















Today, my article "Killem With Kindness" has posted at Women Walking With Jesus. I share my heart and the wisdom of Godly grandparents that has served me well. I am thankful they set the foundation and while they died when I was young I can still hear their voices when I struggle with making healthy decisions. I hope you will visit WWWJ and learn from the wisdom they shared with me so many years ago.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue






Sunday, November 9, 2014

Soul Care

















I've been thinking about soul care a lot lately. Everywhere I go I am faced with the deep need to address what is going on "inside" of me. At home, at church, at play, and most importantly in the messiness of this life I am recognizing the importance of what's happening in my soul and how that impacts every aspect of my life and also impacts every person in my path for good or bad.

Wow, it's not just about me. Not sure I was quite ready to realize what I thought was carefully packed inside has the potential to help or harm others. As I attend to caring for my soul, I am reading "Soul Keeping," by John Ortberg for the fourth or maybe it's the fifth time now. I'm reading and re-reading the new testament and also many old testament passages that relate to "soul care."

It must be pretty important to God that I get this "soul care" thing right, because everywhere I go and everything I do speaks to soul care. God is continually revealing Himself and reminding me of His presence and His desire to be fully present with me during every step of my journey through this life.

This weekend, I picked up my Message version of God's Word and read Matthew 5-7. Yes, those are chapters and I couldn't put it down. So, I am sharing this passage with you:

You’re Blessed

"5 1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Salt and Light

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Completing God’s Law

17-18 “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.
19-20 “Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.

Murder

21-22 “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.
23-24 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
25-26 “Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.

Adultery and Divorce

27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.
29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.
31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.

Empty Promises

33-37 “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

Love Your Enemies

38-42 “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

The World Is Not a Stage

“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.
2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.

Pray with Simplicity

“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
    as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

14-15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
16-18 “When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.

A Life of God-Worship

19-21 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
22-23 “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.
25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

A Simple Guide for Behavior

1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
“Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.
7-11 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
12 “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

Being and Doing

13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
15-20 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
26-27 “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
28-29 When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard."

Okay, I hope I didn't lose you with several chapters of God's word, but I wanted you to know what's going on in my world and I pray God will speak to each of you as powerfully as He is speaking to me. Together, we can all run this race called life and do our best to become the person/people our Heavenly Father created us to be.

By His mercy and in the grip of His grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tribute to Jesse Weston

























Recently, I received the phone call no friend wants to receive. At 5:30 am on Sunday, September 21st, 2014 my son called to tell me his friend Jesse had been killed. I will never forget my sons shattered and broken voice. In the days after we all tried to help our friends family, but there is nothing any of us can do to ease their pain. Sure, our presence and support means much to them, but their hearts are broken and their lives are forever changed.

Along with many others, I've been thinking a lot about Jesse and his life. He was known to always be there for his friends and family, even unto death. At age 20, he already seemed to understand and live out the greatest commandment by loving his LORD and loving his neighbor as himself. Through the actions of being there for friends he revealed Jesus.

Jesse was no more the perfect kid than any of my kids, but loving and caring for others the way Jesus did came naturally to him. Did he always make the right decisions? Of course not. Like the rest of us he took a few wrong turns and hit a few speed bumps along the way. However, Jesse's most important decision was made when he was young as he accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. We, his family and friends can know we will see him again. Sure, our hearts are broken, but we have assurance of where he is and our future with him.

Jesse's death reminds me of the love of Jesus. By coming to the defense of others he put himself in a vulnerable place and another human took his earthly life. It's likely he never thought about the risk to himself, because that's just who Jesse was. He simply chose to defend those whom he loved. Similarly, Christ chose to die on the cross taking our sins upon Himself. In doing so, Christ made a way so that we could live forever with Him.

I believe if Jesse could shout back from heaven to his friends he would ask each of us to evalute our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Asking:

"Do you know what your eternal destiny will be? And if not, PLEASE pray/talk to Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart and life and forgive you when you mess up. We all mess up even with Jesus in our hearts. I want to see you again. So, do it.....talk to JESUS and make sure at the end of your life you step into heaven with Jesus, me and many others who have gone before you."

"16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him." John 3:16-18 The Message 

The words above are what Jesse's family and I believe Jesse would say to each of us if he could.

By HIS mercy and in the very grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Running In Circles





















Today, my article "Running in Circles" is on Women Walking With Jesus! If you feel like you are running in circles and have lost your focus, jump over, read, and find comfort in the Jesus who died for you.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mesothelioma Awareness



















Recently, I read an article about a young woman (photo above) who was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. I don't know about you, but I always thought of it as a disease occurring in older adults. While statistically most people are diagnosed between age 50-70 the numbers for younger adults are on the rise due to second hand exposure either from parents or spouses. 

As I began to read the facts about Mesothelioma I was astounded. The only known cause is asbestos exposure. In 1989, the EPA issued a final rule banning most asbestos products. Unfortunately, in 1991, this regulation was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and few asbestos products remain banded.  This fact alone took my breath. If we know asbestos causes Mesothelioma and other cancers then why are we not working toward a total elimination of the products? 

Other staggering facts about Asbestos use:

~30 million pounds still being used in the United States today
~#1 cause of occupational  cancer
~This year 10,000 Americans will die of asbestos related disease and 200,000 people will be living with asbestos. 

~Asbestos is still found in many homes, schools, commercial, and industrial buildings. The EPA estimates there are asbestos containing materials in most of our 107,000 primary and secondary schools and 733,000 public and commercial buildings. 

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer and most patients are given a ten month prognosis upon diagnosis. Mesothelioma commonly sits dormant in the body for 20-50 years after initial exposure. However, more and more young adults are being diagnosed.  It seems asbestos exposure could be best described as a ticking time bomb just waiting to ravage the body.  

I don't know about you, but I am not happy knowing virtually everyone is at risk because of the continued use of asbestos. There is a great need for both awareness to the problem and research to attain a solution, as well as cure.

Hoping and praying the more aware each of us becomes of the risk asbestos exposure the more willing we will become to be apart of the push for change. 

For more information and links: Heather's awareness page

 By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,


Andrea Bowling Perdue

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Mother's Love



















Today, my article "A Mother's Love" is posted on Women Walking With Jesus. If you are struggling along the journey of raising your children, please visit and be encouraged.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Storms

















Storms come in all shapes and sizes. Our lives are full of them. Some are treacherous, even hurricane like; Some are just plain messy and annoying. The storms I find most annoying are not those that affect me, but those who have the potential to harm those I love. And even more annoying are those I can not do anything to control. There you have it....the "big" problem is my need to fix/control the situation to obtain an optimal outcome for all involved.

Recently, God spoke loudly to me about the "need to fix/control" the problems/storms around me. It's really nothing new, but something He's been trying desperately to get through to me all forty eight years of my life. Nearly half a century and I might get it this time. I am trying.

As I walked, God spoke these words to my heart:

"You are NOT in control. You have never been in control and even if you were, you could NOT fix any of these situations on your own. I am not asking you to do NOTHING, but what I am asking you to do is trust ME to do the work in each area/person while you pray, love, and encourage and keep walking toward ME."

It seems so simple, yet we humans make it difficult. So, if you are struggling with storms in your life join me in fully surrendering the storm(s) to our Heavenly Father while walking in love toward HIM.

"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord." Psalm 89:15 NIV

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,

Andrea Bowling Perdue

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Looks Are Deceiving

















Today, my article "Looks Are Deceiving" is published at Women Walking With Jesus. I pray each of you will hop over, read, and be blessed by what God is doing in and through my heart and life. God is faithful!

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blessings

















A house
A dwelling
Beautiful
Glorious

Yet, built only from sticks, nails, and a few stones.

Without a doubt this beautiful home sits in all it's glory waiting to bless it's next guest with a wondrous experience. The house on it's own can not fulfill the hearts of those within. Only God can heal their pain and restore their hearts.

Over the last few years, Doug and I have been blessed to share in the experience of visiting this home in Pine Island, N.C.  Our friends have invited us year after year to partake of the blessings they inherited through a hard working, God-honoring father and husband. None of us take our experience here for granted and while each of us would be just as happy in a tent with an air mattress we recognize the sacrifice of those who have gone before us to provide such amenities. We praise GOD for preparing the way before each of us and helping us to remember our happiness is found in HIM and not the material possessions around us. We are thankful for the deer who graze on the dunes around this home and the butterflies that light all around us. Each sunrise and sunset beseech us to draw closer to our Heavenly Father and listen intently to HIS voice.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue

Friday, July 11, 2014

Keep Hiking

















Do you ever feel overwhelmed or like you are standing a little to close to the edge of life? I know I certainly do. Today, I'm reminded of God's presence no matter where life takes me. There will always be scary times and unbelievable adventures this side of heaven. However, God gives us the Holy Spirit to live within us as a comforter and guide. He will  never fail us no matter how unbelievably difficult life seems.

Having the strength of Jesus within me puts new meaning in my heart to "...the joy of the Lord is my strength." Nehemiah 8:10

Join me as I embrace the strength our Creator places with within each of us. Keep hiking through this life, dear friends!

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

HOPE

















At birth, my parents had chosen my first name, Andrea and I've been told the doctor who delivered me chose my middle name, Hope. In fact, when I was a small child the same doctor was my family doctor and he quite often called me by my middle name, not the name everyone else calls me.

Over the years, I've thought a lot about my name and what it means. I've often wondered why Dr. Miller chose the name "Hope." I've come to believe God used Dr. Miller to plant a seed in my life. When there is nothing else, there is HOPE!

 "It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone." Ephesians 1:11-12 The Message

"We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek" Hebrews 6:18-20 The Message 

So, today I cling to "hope" in Christ and I pray this hope is contagious to all those I love.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,

Andrea Bowling Perdue


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Garden Of My Heart



Today, you will find my article "The Garden of my Heart" over at Women Walking With Jesus. I hope you will be encouraged as you read how God is weeding and working in my heart.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue 







Monday, May 26, 2014

The Little Girl

















Visit me over at "Women Walking With Jesus" and read my article "The Little Girl." Everyone leaves an impact on the lives of those they nurture. You may not realize the impact you are leaving. Be encouraged, your impact may be far greater than you realize.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,

Andrea Bowling Perdue

Monday, April 28, 2014

What "Prayer" means to me.

















What "Prayer" means to me:

Indwelling presence and power much greater than my own, continually translating my groaning and fear into gentle whispers entering the heart of God. All the while each prayer transforms my heart and spirit. With each heart-transformation, Jesus is reflected through my responses to adversity and pain sweeping fear out of the deep recesses and crevasses of my heart and filling it with His peace.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:18 NIV

No request is too great for God. He cares about every detail of our lives.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue

Friday, April 25, 2014

Perfect, not me!




















If you struggle with the "Need to be PERFECT," I've written an article for Women Walking With Jesus you may want to read. I pray God will speak through my words to each of you and work miraculously through each heart and life. Healing is yours, my friends. God wants you to soar in freedom with Him.

As you read, "Perfect, not me!" May you find strength and courage to fully surrender those unhealthy needs to Jesus and begin living the life He created you to live.

By His mercy and in the grip of His grace,

Andrea Bowling Perdue

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Healing


























'Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this." Proverbs 3:4-6 The Message


While biopsies may not be fun, Doug has settled into a regimen of obtaining them yearly. It's been two and half years now since his diagnosis of prostate cancer. Initially, we were in a state of grief and emotional distress. The word "cancer" evoked countless emotions within each of us. Over time, God has taught us many things about ourselves and also about Himself, the Great Physician.

In January, Doug had his third biopsy. This is our second "cancer free" biopsy. The doctor can not explain where the cancer went, because the course of treatment we chose was holistic.  Doug's  treatment plan was a change of diet and a decision to pray our way through it. Our initial decision was based upon the type of cancer and fully supported by his doctor. In fact, Doug and I were inclined to seek surgery or other options, but his doctor recommended we proceed slowly. He said, "research showed the type of cancer he had was slow growing."  We chose to have yearly biopsies and bi-annual check-ups with blood-work, etc.

In January, Dr. Morgan said, "I don't know what you are doing, but keep doing it. I can not find the cancer. We know it was there and we know we have not done anything to remove it. I know I am biopsying in the correct area, yet it is NOT showing up."

Doug said, "God can take it away!"

Dr. Morgan jumped up and hugged Doug and said, "Stay focused on that!"

Doug was Dr. Morgan's last patient of the day. It was a beautiful sight to see Doug and Dr. Morgan basically skip down the halls chatting about how good God is as we prepared to leave.

Doug will continue to have biopsies and tests as scheduled. With each positive result we are thankful for the time we have been given and pray God continues to bless us with many more years together. Doug and I have learned to trust God with each moment of our lives. We have also learned to embrace the blessings and adventures in our path. Each day is a new day; keep your focus on God and trust Him with every detail of your lives.

By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue