Forward Friday: Sheltered From Fear

The morning was overcast, but beautiful. The leaves were golden, crimson, burnt orange. Glorious. The weather was crisp but not cold and I spent the better part of it outside with my earbud in and worship music playing. Intimate worship–my favorite. Just me, the Creator of heaven and earth and ground to eat up as I walked and prayed and praised.

It started to rain (just a sprinkle but it was cold!) and I came inside and opened the curtains to our glass doors so I could view the pond and woods. One of the random cats in our neighborhood likes to roam around that pond, fishing I guess. Who knows! As long as he eats things I don’t want in my house, I’m happy and he can hang out as long as he’d like.

I was listening to Dara McLean’s song:  Find Rest  (so powerful, give it a listen!)  

The cat was strolling the bank, pausing, dipping his paw into the water then moseying on. I was worshiping inside. 

And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the cat spring into action and high-tailed it across the property. So. Fast. 

Something had startled him, frightened him. Threatened him–could have been a snake! He bolted.

That blur of white beelined it straight into our barn. At first, I thought maybe he was sick of getting wet. But the way he ran–the way it hit him out of nowhere…couldn’t be. It was barely sprinkling at this point.

He was afraid of something.

Ugly Cat (mean name but I can’t help it. He’s not an attractive cat!) raced right into the barn. But he never would have found shelter from his fears if the doors hadn’t been open. But they were.  

He found safety inside.

You and I have fears. Sometimes they hit us out of nowhere. Sometimes we see them creeping up on us day by day. Minute by minute.

It’s a loved one making choices that are going to affect them in horrific ways.

It’s the disturbing news.

The bad report from the doctor.

It’s a threat.



Loss of insurance.


You fill in the blank.

But like that cat, we can run to safety. We can find shelter in the arms of our God. They are always open to us. Always a safe place to run. Always trustworthy.

Oh, but we run in so many other directions, don’t we? We run aimlessly which is exhausting, especially if we sprint. We run to things we call “guilty pleasures” and to comforts like food, shopping, entertainment etc…good things. Bad things. Doesn’t matter. We will not find rest. We will not find peace. We will not find joy unless we’re running to the LORD. Into His arms. Into His grace. Into His unfailing love. 

So many things ruin us. Let us be ruined for better, not worse. Let us be ruined for any useless thing because it’s in HIs shelter where we’re blessed, changed, made new. It’s in His shelter we find our identity. Our passion. Our purpose. You’ll find it nowhere else, friend. 

Let’s run to Him today, and not go back. 

Where do you run when you feel afraid? 

Forward Challenge: Whatever has you anxious, afraid, nervous–take it to the powerful arms of God today. Lay them at His feet. Let Him crush them for you today. There is nowhere safer to run than to His shelter.

Forward Prayer: Lord, thank you that we can run to Your loving arms when we’re afraid, nervous, insecure, concerned or even when everything is okay. They are always open under any circumstance. Today, Lord, show us somehow, some way how much You love us and want to secure us in Your arms. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Forward Scripture:  




Grateful Heart

Everyone gets their study, CD, Bible,
steno pad, and a pen. All set!

I wouldn’t say I’m ungrateful. I could say, I don’t think about being grateful. I’m a take-it-for-granted kind of person at times. I suppose we all are. 

Lately, I’ve been acutely aware of how blessed I am. I wrote a blog post titled FORWARD several weeks ago. You can read it and see all the cool pictures HERE! I talked about letting hurts go. How I had to let some of mine go and when I did, God opened up an amazing opportunity for me at my church.

The last few months, while still working on my novels and getting them off to critique partners, I’ve been writing a study for new and growing believers. If you’ve been around the last couple of months, here or on fb, you know this. (Plug: Please stop by and “like” my facebook page. You can click “like” on the sidebar right here on my site!)

The week before I went on vacation, my BFF “Jane”, and I printed the studies, coversheets, bound them  and then burned and labeled CDs. Yep, I made a mixed tape (giggle) for my class. One or two worship songs that go along with the chapters of study I wrote. 

As Jane handed me the books and I bound them, we listened to the CD. And in the middle of it God, with a powerful force, stopped me in my tracks. 


And this is what I heard inside me.

“This will be the first Bible study most of these people have ever done. And they’re your words. My words. Our words.”

The weight of that overwhelmed me like a tidal wave. At that moment it was like the song says, “If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking…”

I looked at “Jane” and she stopped gathering books and stared at me. I couldn’t even speak what I’d heard, the raw emotion had gathered in my throat and squeezed. But somehow she knew. And she cried with me. For me. Because of me.

I seriously doubt any of those people coming to this study will ever know the magnitude of gratefulness I feel or the love I have for them. I so desperately want to see them succeed to live a consistent Christian life. I want them to find the treasure of God’s Word to see it vividly come alive in their hearts, in their minds, and in their lives (same in fiction). I know it’s what “Jane” wants as well. 

I doubt they will realize how blessed I am and will be to see them work through the pages of the study. 

I don’t deserve it. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be used. 

And you know what? 

I can honestly say, that while I’ve been writing fiction–I haven’t been discontent. I haven’t whined and wondered, “When Lord? How much longer will I have to wait to see our message, our stories in print?” (Because as an inspirational writer, I feel like God nudges me in the right direction and gives me ideas and words to say so they’re mine and His–Ours.)

Tonight Jane and I will start our first class. We might have five, we might have 25. I’m not sure. We might have 1. Doesn’t matter. 

What matters is growing and maturing in God. Learning and living His Word. Knowing Him intimately. Using what He’s given you to bless others. And whoever shows up in that class tonight has made their first step forward. 

“I’m not saying that I have this all
together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for
Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong:
By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on
the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and
I’m not turning back.” Philippians 3:12-14 MSG

What have you been doing to bless others in your church, to move forward? What has someone done to bless you? 
Join me over at Living By Grace on Facebook and encourage other women. Come be a blessing! (You can find and “Like” Living By Grace to sidebar of the site!)

Moving Forward

*This post looks longer than it is due to pictures!

 “If you want to experience God’s blessing in a new way, get
ready to leave your comfort zone.” ~The Word for you Today devotional

I can generally tell
when God is moving me to a new ministry or direction because I feel the pain as
a tight ball in my stomach, blood drains from my head leaving me dizzy and my
first thought is, “No way can I do this.”
God is neither enhanced by
our strengths nor inhibited by our struggles. There’s more HE wants
to do through us than what we’ve experienced so far. Let’s
have high expectations of God!!
~Robin Reed, Cornerstone Church member
When God nudged me
to lead the Women’s Ministry at our church, I balked. That was out of my
comfort zone. One of the biggest things I’ve ever done. And it came off the
tail end of recommitting my time to God.
Even when I go from the frying pan into the fryer, 
I’m pressing FORWARD.~Jerry Thompson, Cornerstone Church
Baby Gabriel Bullard, son of Marshal and Jennifer Bullard
is moving forward in his car seat!
I didn’t deserve that opportunity. But God gave
it to me anyway. I loved doing it, after I got over the fear and learned to
trust Him more.
Moving Forward while fast forwarding commercials 
during the
Grizzlies game
 as they move forward into the
 ~Ron Mayfield,
Cornerstone Church member 
Moving forward with a Bronchoscopy! 
Chelsea Davis, Cornerstone Church member 
Same thing happened
when I started teaching a Bible class for Young Adults, especially when God
nudged me again to write the studies, teaching them about the Old Testament.
What did I know about OT? Not much. A new mission arose–it was called learning.
Forwarding teaching
 ~Pastor Shari Robbins, Cornerstone Church Worship Leader
I’ll admit, lately,
I’ve been comfortable. In my writing for one. I absolutely pray over my
stories, plots and writing time. I need God’s guidance. It’s not just about
entertaining, it’s about ministering and speaking into lives–but I’ve been
writing it so long, I feel comfortable doing it. Does that make sense?
Forwarding at the
fire station. ~Jim Carroll, Cornerstone Church member
“Forwarding” with some of my friends at Gus’ Famous Fried Chicken.
~Pastor Jeff Robbins, Associate Pastor, Cornerstone Church
Putting gas in the car
so I can keep going forward!
~Melanie Williamson,
Cornerstone Nursery Coordinator
and zumba partner!
I haven’t had a real
fit in ministry at our church since I taught Young Adults, but like in the
movie Robots: “See a need. Fill a need,” I’ve been helping my BFF,
who’s the nursery coordinator. It’s not a challenge. It’s not hard. To me
anyway. I was a teacher then director for a corporate childcare center nearly
ten years.
Forwarding in the elevator…going up!!!
~Gayle Adams, Cornerstone Church member
But here we are
again. I’m coming off the tail-end of harboring some anger and even some
bitterness. Yep, I teach about it but I’m guilty of it. Pretty sure I never
said I was perfect…you must have gathered that on your own. 🙂   I finally released some old pain and anger.
Forwarding on the keys! ~Pastor Doug Shuff, Creative Arts Pastor
Cornerstone Church
Forwarding with new baby, Nathan! ~Emily Shuff, 
Creative Arts Pastor’s wife, Cornerstone Church
It was hard. Because
I’d been trying to do that for a couple of years. Failing every time and not
really knowing why. I finally said, “God, I don’t want to be angry and
bitter anymore, but I don’t know how not to.”
God asked me for a
new commitment–a re-commitment. Through my tears, I said yes. Yes, I would.
Then God gave me a picture in my head of what that would look like, it included
a better attitude whether I wanted to have one or not. Live like I want to be and I’ll eventually catch up.
“We don’t see things the way they are. We see them the way we are.” Pastor Greg Davis. (That’s my pastor.) He said this
last Wednesday night. Profound. Think about that for a minute.
FORWARD…..not looking back!
Greg Davis, Lead Pastor, Cornerstone Church
Forwarding on the way
to Saturday night prayer!
~Lead Pastor’s wife, Nancy Davis

 I needed a heart change. Pastor confirmed what I’d already
been told by God.

I’ve already
experienced some healing, some strength just by doing those things God asked me
to. You know what?
On the tail-end of
this thing, God has orchestrated my fit again.
Using the gifts and abilities He’s given me to do something I love.
Forwarding at the Stax with Otis Redding!
 ~Pam Bruno, Cornerstone Church
Forwarding in business!
Team members, and owners –Steve & Cherie Jones
~all Cornerstone Church members
Jessica Brown Forwarding at work!
I don’t deserve this either. 
I’m out of my
comfort zone, for sure! I have the knot in my stomach, the buzzing in my head,
the pounding heart.
But I feel strength.
His strength. I feel more freedom than I have in a few years.
Me reading a book, well duh! What else
would I be doing! Oh yeah, writing!
 I’m moving
Wondering what those pictures are? Our church is moving forward as well. In fact, we’ve had an entire Moving Forward book made, bracelets as reminders that we’re moving forward as a church, we’re not staying in the same old place! And we’re moving forward as individuals. The pictures you see are members of our church posting “Forwarding” on facebook! It’s kind of like those pictures you post when you’re planking! 
this: today you are just one step of obedience away from the next truth God
wants you to learn about Him, so you can’t afford to stay where you are.”
~The Word for you Today devotional
about you? Are you moving forward? Are you in a place of comfort? Floundering
for a fit?
I’m over at LivingBy Grace today! Come by and let’s talk about moving forward. And here’s some more pictures of the Cornerstone Church family, forwarding! I wish I could have posted them all! There’s soooo many more great ones!
Forwarding together!
Pastor Bob & Alaine Hallam
~Senior Assoc. Pastor
Cornerstone Church
~Jason Turner, Cornerstone
Church member (and maybe the smartest
guy I know)!

And more pictures!

Forwarding in Staff Meeting!
~Melissa Turner, Cornerstone office staff
(love working with her!)
Forwarding while doing errands!
~Saja Stacks, Cornerstone Church member

Forwarding while working with my plants!
~Jan Kerley, Cornerstone Church member

It just keeps moving forward!

Blinging Forward!
~Amber Whiteaker, Cornerstone Church member
and jewelry consultant!

And of course….some more! LOL

Forwarding while potty training!
~Jamie McRae (little man Hudson),
Cornerstone Church member

Waiting on the harvest and forwarding!
~Kim Graham, Cornerstone Church member