Horse Dreams now available!

Horse Dreams now available!

Order personal copies through me or pre-order copies from http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625638304 Thank you everyone!

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Horse Dreams is Here!

Horse Dreams has now been placed for sale on the Tate Publishing web site.  Here’s the link:  http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625638304 .  My release date is July 30, 2013.  Books can be pre-ordered from the website and this helps the bookstores know this is a good investment if orders are already waiting.  So please spread the word.

If you’re really anxious, and you want me to receive the highest royalties, please notify me and I can go ahead and send you a signed copy from my personal copies.  These will sell for $12.98, which includes the tax.

This is duplicate information for many of you who follow me on Facebook, but for any of you not yet on that (I just joined and am still trying to figure it out!), I hope you find this news as exciting as I do!  Of course I’m excited about the sales, but most of all, my greatest desire is that this book gets into the hands of the students who might benefit from it.  It is a book appropriate for all students, 3rd grade and up, especially those who love horses and/or are going through their parents’ divorce, or the struggles of middle school.  This can be a really tough time for young people and this message carries a message of hope I feel God laid on my heart to tell.

Thank you all so much for your support in getting the word out there.  If you have any suggestions for how or whom to market the book, please let me know.  All connections and suggestions welcome.  I loved the writing, revising, even the editing of the book.  But this marketing part, is for me the most difficult.  I thank you for your prayers and support.

Outcomes and Opportunities

Last night I called a few friends to check on them.  As they shared, my heart hurt for them and I began to pray.  This morning I awoke thinking about Evil vs. Opportunity.  Opportunity for good.  Our world is such a mysterious place.  The battle between good and evil are constantly ongoing, in and out of our sight. 

Two of my favorite verses come to mind as I ponder this morning:  Genesis 50:20 NIV – Joseph is speaking to his brothers who earlier in their lives had thrown Joseph into a well, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” 

The second verse comes from Esther 4:14.  Mordecai is encouraging his cousin Esther who has been put in the precarious position of going before the king to keep her family and all the Jewish people from being destroyed throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.  He tells her, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  Who knows?  Why God, of course!  He has put her there, given her an opportunity, an opportunity to face evil head-on.

The last chapter of my little book Horse Dreams is entitled “Outcomes and Opportunities.”  I won’t tell you the ending, you’ll have to read that for yourself, but just let me give you a little nibble…even admidst the evil, even we can’t see it…God has been, is, and always will be at work.  And if you need further proof of that, read Revelation.  And here, I’m going to shout the ending – “GOD WINS!”  Hallelujah!  Have a hopeful day.  🙂

 

 

Focus on the Party!

Yesterday, I received the proof copy of my little book Horse Dreams and in my excitement, anticipation, fear…I’ve been focusing, yes obsessing over it all.  So I confessed my idolatry (putting things before God) and yet again, for the upteenth time, I wrote in my morning journal, “Are you mad at me Father?”

He had already answered that for me just a few days ago by bringing to my attention an article from the Upper Room entitled, “Courage to Keep On Praying.”  The author of that article asked Charles L. Allen, former pastor of First United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, what he had found to be his number-one problem in working with people.  Without hesitation he replied, “The notion that God is mad at them.” 

Boy (or girl) do I struggle with this!  Almost everyday I fall into this pit.  “Father, are you mad at me?”

So today, anticipating the sandblasting I deserve from God for idolatry, I prayed.  And what was God’s response?  Patiently yet again, God focused not on beating me up, but on His love for me.   God took me back to the Upper Room for reassurance, quoting from the parables Jesus spoke in Luke 15. 

The Pharisees accuse Jesus saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  Then Jesus began teaching with parables that addressed the accusation.  To stress the point, he told them not one parable, but three!  He gave them (and us) The Parable of the Lost Sheep, leave the 100 to find the 1 lost one; The Parable of the Lost Coin, light the lamp, search carefully until you find the 1 coin; and finally if we still haven’t got the point, The Parable of the Lost Son, also known as The Prodigal Son story, where the Father runs with open arms to meet the lost son.

So I read all three parables carefully.  What God pointed out to me today was the Father’s reply to the elder son, “My son, the father said, ‘you are always with me…But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” 

Ta-dah!  “Mary,” God shouts to me! ” You are always with me.”  I’m not mad at you!  Now let’s get on with it.  Take the focus off of you and put it on Me.   Together, let’s focus on the lost one.  Then together, we can all celebrate!

Thank you Father!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You love me, you really love me!  And not only me –  in case you were wondering, dear ones, GOD LOVES YOU TOO!  Are any of you out there feeling like a lost one?  Come, come to the table…now…what are you waiting for?  God the Father wants us all together!  Hurry!  He wants to get the party started!

Horse Dreams is Getting Closer!

Horse Dreams-Johnson_Coverproof

I am so excited to report that the release of my book Horse Dreams is getting closer!  The publisher has approved the Cover and Layout of the book and the final steps of Marketing and Printing are quickly approaching. (For a sneak preview of the cover, please click on the link above!)  Here faithful followers is where I could really use your help.  Please pray for this project.  First and foremost pray that this humble offering will be used for God’s glory and purpose.  Secondly, please pray that the book might get into the hands of “invisible kids” everywhere out there and that they might come to realize the truth of Jeremiah 29:11-  that God has a plan for them, “plans to give you hope and a future,” plans that include recognizing God’s ever-present faithfulness and love.  And finally pray that my readers will have some fun reading and dreaming of horses!

Preparation Day

Over the last few days I’ve been reading the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all about Jesus’ death and resurrection.  This time I was struck by the repetition of the words, “Preparation Day,” written in caps, which is usually a point of importance.  So today I’m pondering about what Preparation Day meant at the time of Jesus and what it means to us today.  As always, I hope that you will read the scriptures referenced so that you can ponder with me on God’s Word as it is stated and not simply take my word for it.  So, to get the full grasp of the ponder, please read over Matthew 27:45-28:20; Mark 15:21-16:20; Luke 23:44-24:12, and John 19:17-20:18.  This is a lot of reading, and heart-wrenching reading at that.  But, take your time and push through it.  It’s worth the read.  Please share with me anything that the Spirit highlights for you.  In this way we can encourage one another.

Each gospel tells this part of Jesus’ story a little bit differently.  Don’t get too bogged down by that.  Think about eyewitnesses.  In each recounting the author told the story from their perspective, much like we give our testimonies depending on our own experience. 

In each of these four accounts, some things are very close to the same, one of those being the reference to the “Preparation Day.”

In each account Jesus has been crucified.  Also in each account, Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned.  He is referred to as a good man, godly man, a man waiting for the kingdom of God.  This, to me is key as we ponder “Preparation Day.” 

In several passages in the Bible, forgive me I don’t have the exact references, the Sabbath Day is described as the day of rest.  And I believe the perfect Day of Rest will be when all our earthly trials are over and we are resting in heaven with Our Father. 

In the meantime, are we not in the Day of Preparation?

So, in that day, Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God, focusing on it, working toward it.  He sacrificed his own tomb, bravely went to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body, bought the linen to wrap the body, actually wrapped the body and put in some spices, including myrrh (also one of the gifts given to the Christ child) and rolled the stone into its groove to seal the tomb.

Mary Magdalene and the other Marys were also preparing for Jesus, trying to get things done before the Sabbath.   There is some confusion about who all these Marys were, but most of what I’ve read on the topic leads me to believe those present may have included this sinner “that had several demons removed from her,” Mary the mother of Jesus and her sister. But scripture tells us, whoever was present that day was watching all that was happening. They were continually seeking Jesus, and they made preparations for Him. 

So, through these passages we see people, not perfect people, but forgiven, godly people, who were present, looking for Jesus, taking active steps to get ready for His, and ultimately for their own, day of rest.

Bible study for me is not a history lesson.  The Bible is God’s love letter to us, the Living Word.  There are actual application lessons there for me, communication from God to me – real life stuff.  So, I’m always looking for the application, seeking the way of life Jesus taught us to strive toward.  Maybe this is the first part of my preparation for my own Sabbath day of rest.

There is an opposite way of living, that does not focus on this truly important thing in life. It is the worldly kind of prep day that I can slip into very easily.  For me these distracting prep days before Easter look like…buying the ham (one of the meats God asked those in the Old Testament not to eat, dirty pig meat of all things!), coloring and hunting for eggs (I know, we have to do it.  It’s just too fun not to do it, and I have little grandchildren!), buying beautiful new clothes (It’s just so fun finally coming out of the coats and dark colors of winter!), and for me my worst addiction – buying spring plants to replenish the color I’ve missed so much during winter!  Oh my it is so easy to become distracted from the things of God!

But the good, in fact great news is that unbelievably, He still loves us anyway!  Like the Father of the prodigal son who just wanted to go have a little fun, God runs to us when we are ready to come back to Him, every time we come back to Him!  And for that wonderful gift, what does He ask of us?  “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40 

So I ask, are we preparing for that last day, our final day of rest?  Sometimes our death comes quickly, like a thief in the night.  Will we be ready, or are we too distracted by having fun, running around like chickens with our heads cut off, coloring Easter eggs?

I reread the final words of Jesus as recorded in the four gospels. Matthew testifies Jesus’ last words as, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Mark quotes Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

In looking foward to the final Sabbath Day of Rest, Luke remembered these words that Jesus said, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44)

Finally in John’s eyewitness account, he finds it intriguing that Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?”   Then Jesus told the disciple, “Take care of my sheep…Follow me!”

With all the love in me, I beg everyone reading today, please join with me and prepare! 

 Quickly we must run back to God each time we stray.  Share the “Good News” that this is possible! And as diligently as we can, let’s all huddle together, helping each other, under the protection of Our Father’s mighty wings of love until the day Jesus returns.  Let’s be ready!   Heaven will be amazing, but we can start right here and right now by preparing.  Live the abundant, joyful lives Jesus promised while we wait.  Don’t forget to “Give thanks in all things,” especially for God’s incredible, mysterious gift we simply call – Easter.