Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!
I can hardly believe that 2011 is almost over!
The year has gone by SO fast!! :)

This year has been amazing!
I have learned so much
am looking forward to
the new year.
God has been SO good to
ME and my family!!!
I can not wait to see what His
plans are for my life in the

The Doctrine of Propitiation

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011


Merry Christmas!!

photo credit

For unto us is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.
~Luke 2:11~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Proverbs 31:10-31

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like a merchants' ship; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She grideth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: er candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh her self coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
~Proverbs 31:10-31

I Am- Creation Psalm 139

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Jenna from Feminine Farmgirl is having a giveaway!!
Her giveaway is for a gift certificate valued up to $15;
redeemable for a flexi-clip or any Lilla Rose item of the winner's choice!
Head over to her blog, Feminine Farmgirl, to enter.
Giveaway ends December 22.

Stay in the Castle - Epilogue

I left the ghetto apartment, not knowing whether I had helped or not. Teenagers have a way of leaving you wondering. A week later Lidia found me outside the church on a Sunday morning. Her old smile was back.
"Thanks, Brother Jerry," she said as she pushed a not into my hand and then walked away.
After I found my seat in the church auditorium, I unfolded the paper and read with joy the simple message in contained.

Brother Jerry,

I've decided to stay in the castle.


Six years later, I received an invitation in my mailbox. My wife and I now live in a small town that in no way resembles Chicago. I am into my third year of my first pastorate. I break the seal to find that we are being invited to a wedding. It seems Lidia has met a young man in Bible College. It seems that he is planning on being a missionary to Mexico. It seems that they are deeply in love. It seems perfect.
And it seems is was wise to stay in the castle.Link


(epilogue from the book Stay in the Castle by Jerry Ross. Page 21)

What will you do? Will you choose to stay in the castle? Wait for God's best in your life?

You can check out Ultimate Goal Publishing to find more books by Pastor Jerry Ross.

~Stay in the Castle
~The Seven Royal Laws of Courtship
~Grace will Lead Me Home
and several more!

Stay in the Castle Part 5

She woke with the dawn, not knowing that it was a year to the day since her departure. Her back hurt. "Just part of being in your last month of pregnancy," the village woman had told her. Rising with difficulty, her husband muttered something in his half drunken state. He had come home only hours before and they had argued--again. Oh, well, after the baby is born maybe things will get better.
There was still a house to clean and chores to do. Picking up a worn, straw broom, she walked outside to sweep the front porch. Their house was small. It sat at the edge of town, not far from the bridge where he had waited for her that first night. Her wyws followed the path up to her Father's Castle. The King had still found little ways to show her that he had not forgotten her; that she was still loved. But what he had said was now true. Nothing was the same.
Her eyes wandered to the East to spend a few minutes watching the sun rise, a simple pleasure that she shared alone each morning. Its rays almost blinded her, distorting the trees and hills beyond. Squinting against its brightness, she returned to the job at hand, first glancing absently up the High Road.
Her heart seemed to stop, gripping as if by a strong hand. The broom quivered in her grasp. Far down the road came a white horse, its rider sitting straight and tall. He seemed to be coming straight out of the sun. The horse quickened its pave as it neared the castle, sensing the excitement of its master. her heart began to beat, now loud and in rhythm to the pounding hoofs. he reigned his mount to a stop outside the castle's front gate. She could not make out his features, but his stance spoke of honor and character. He knocked on the font door, her font door not that long ago. The King stepped out to greet him, and she watched as they conversed; watched as the King spoke with his hands, and then pointed toward the village. Involuntarily she took a step back into the shadow of the porch.
The noble Prince listened carefully, his strong shoulders sagging in disappointment and sadness. Shaking the King's hand and receiving from him a consoling hug, he mounted his horse. He looked toward her village home, his eyes finding her in the shadow. For a moment they both stared. Then, pointing his mount back toward the sun, he rode away into its brightness.
She felt the hot tears on her arms and hands long before it occurred to her that she was crying. Nothing, she thought, will ever be the same.


(the following passage is from Stay in the Castle by Jerry Ross. Pages 19-20)

Stay in the Castle Part 4

Three months later, a slightly older, but much changed Princess marched in into the Great Room to announce to her Father the decision she had made on the previous night. Her midnight visits had increased in frequency since that first visit a lifetime ago. The village night life was more exciting than she had ever dared imagine. The people, though sometimes crude, laughed and sang and danced and chased each night into dawn. They were living! Living now! Not just for a dream that might never come true.
The young man that had met her that first night had treated her, well, like royalty! In a hundred ways he had made her feel special. Then last night, the greatest of all nights of her life, he had proposed to her. She clutched the ring he had slipped onto her finger tightly in her palm, drawing courage from the pain it produced.
"Father, I have something to tell you."
He sat in his chair, the Book of Lessons on his lap, its pages freshly stained with his tears. She almost lost her resolve.
"I've met a young man. I know I shouldn't have gone without your permission but...anyway, we are going to be married--right away!"
The King shut the Book and stared out towards the Highway. "I watched you go each night, wishing you back." Then turning His eyes to her and through her. "This castle has never been a prison. This castle is a decision. I want you to know that if you leave here, things will never be the same again. My love for you will never change, but everything -- everything--else will."
She wavered for a moment, but only a moment, her head filled with the village ideas.
"I know that this is what is right for me. He may not be Royalty, but I love him." And with that she left the castle.


(the following passage is from Stay in the Castle by Jerry Ross. Pages 17-18)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stay in the Castle Part 3

A year passed. Then another. The dream became harder to envision, and the night sounds of laughter and glee from the village below again began working their way slowly into her thoughts. It became harder to concentrate on her preparation; harder to be patient
One morning while taking her breakfast in the Royal Kitchen, a knock was heard at the back door, the door where deliveries were made from the village below. She waited for one of her Father's servants to answer, but when none immediately did, she decided to answer it herself.
"Hello," said the young delivery man as he pulled off his crumbled hat and bowed. (It was an exaggerated bow, very low and lasting, followed by a winsome smile.) She couldn't help but laugh.
"Delivery for his Royal Highness, the King." he proclaimed with just the slightest shade of irreverence. "And my, but I must say that he has hired some lovely kitchen help, a great improvement indeed!"
"Why, thank you. but I'm not the kitchen help," she replied blushing, "I'm the King's daughter."
"I had heard that he had a daughter. But I was never told how beautiful she was! Do you live here all alone with your Father?"
"For now," she replied, thinking briefly of the now fading story her Father had told her.
He carried the supplies past her into the kitchen. "You ought to come down to the village some night. The lads would be taken with you! Lots of friends your age and wonderful parties."
"Tell me about the village."
For an hour they talked--talked and laughed. Every story of the village life seemed so full of humor and excitement! He acted out the stories he told and sang a village favorite, dancing merrily to the tune. She could not remember ever laughing so much, and found herself resenting her Father for not allowing her to take part.
"You must come to the village this very night. The Fall Festival begins, and it is the best of the year!"
She glanced awkwardly at the closed kitchen door. "I don't believe my Father would allow me to attend."
"Then sneak out after dark. I will meet you at the bridge this side of the village. You'll have a great time!"
"Perhaps." She hesitated. "But I can't promise."
"I'll meet you there," he said, then shut the dorr and was ghone before she could answer.
That evening, she sat with her Father in the Great Room, he reading aloud from the Book of Lessons, and she pretending to be listening. In reality, she was measuring the diminishing light from the setting sun. The distant music began to loft up from the festival below, her imagination going skyward with it. It took several moments before she realized that her Father had stopped reading.
"You seem far away tonight."
She straightened her dress nervously, "No, just tired I think. Perhaps I should go to bed early."
"Really, Father, I'm fine," she said quickly getting to her feet. "Good night," she said back over her shoulder as she scampered up the stairs.
Two hours later, when it was believed that all in the castle were sleeping, a lithe, young figure stole out the kitchen door and disappeared into the night.


(the following passage is from Stay in the Castle by Jerry Ross. Pages 14-16)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stay in the Castle Part 2

Once upon a time there was a princess that lived in a beautiful palace overlooking a simple but worldly village. She lived in the castle her Father, the King, and a handful of servants. Her Father doted over her, supplying her every need and most all of her wants. Over the years, she blossomed into a beautiful teenage girl, quick-witted, full of laughter, and always obedient - but increasingly lonely.
Often, late at night, she would gaze from the window of her room, high in the castle wall, watching the people far away in the streets below. She would lean towards the gaiety, straining past the sounds of music and laughter, to try and pick out the words of the young people. No sad, lonely sounds ever reached her ears, and she began to believe that they must be the happiest people in the kingdom.
"Father?" she asked one evening as they worked together on what he called her
preparation. "Do you think that perhaps I might one evening be allowed to attend one of the festivals at the village? Perhaps just for a short time?"
The old, but wise King laid aside the Book of Lessons and looked upon his daughter with compassion and concern. "My child. the village is a worldly place full of sad people. The sound of merriment that you sometimes hear is their attempt to drown out the emptiness and despair of their lives. It is best that you stay in the castle."
Though she loved her Father, it was not the answer she wished.
"But Father, how will I ever meet...I mean...someday I would like to...Oh Father, you are so good to me, and I do so love it here, but at times I get so lonely!"
The King sat back in his chair, his eyes suddenly seeing his daughter not as the little girl she would always be to him, but as the young lady she was becoming. He then decided.
"It is time that I tell you."
"Tell me what, Father?"
Standing to his feet, he walked to a window overlooking the countryside to the East. His eyes fastened onto the King's Highway, a straight road that passed high above the village and led to the castle gate.
"Shortly after you were born, I foresaw the day when you would need someone special--someone with whom to spend your life. I set out to search; to visit other castles in the Kingdom; to find a prince for you. Not just anyone, but that special someone."
The King turned to look at his Princess, her eyes full of wonderment.
"I have met him. I know who he is."
"Oh Father, where does he live? When do I get to meet him?"
"He lives far away, but not so far. In a castle not unlike this one. He, too, is being prepared as you are--both for the other. Come and stand beside me, my child."
She walked to where her Father stood by the window.
"See there? That's the King's Highway. When the time is right and not before, he will come on a white steed. You will know him."
Then taking her hands into his, he looked into her tear brimmed eyes.
"Princess. Never forget you are a child of the King. You are Royalty. The one being prepared for you is also of Royal Descent. Be patient. Prepare. And stay in the castle."
She hugged the King, jumping into his arms, happy now and determined to prepare and wait. For many months, at night, she looked out her bedroom window, past the village and its sounds to the Highway above, watching and dreaming of the one who would some day come.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~
(From Stay in the Castle by Pastor Jerry Ross. Pages 11-13)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stay in the Castle

Stay in the Castle by Pastor Jerry Ross is extremely good!
I love to read this book over again every now-and-then.

Stay in the Castle is the story
of a young lady who finds herself
at a crossroad.
One Road is marked, "My will".
The other, "God's will".
It is a Love Story.
A story of misplaced love, lost love
and genuine love realized.
Best of all, Stay in the Castle is a true story.
(book description on the back of the book Stay in the Castle)

Over the next few days I am going to post a chapter of the book. Enjoy!


"I know what is right, and I want to please the Lord. But I have feelings too!"
I looked down into the tear-brimmed eyes of a sixteen year old Mexican girl named Lidia. We stood in the steps leading up to her parent's apartment, one of six in a dull, brick building on a block of dull, brick buildings; just one block of many endless such blocks that created the "Little Mexico" district of Chicago. The concrete, asphalt, and bricks had absorbed to capacity the sun's power and now simply joined it in bombarding us with choking, intense heat. This afternoon the city was windless. I was tired from having spent the day visiting my "bus kids", the children, teens, and families that rode First Baptist Church Bus 122.
I had first met Lidia a year and a half earlier when I became a Bus Captain of Route 122. She was fourteen then, a semi-faithful Sunday morning rider with a sweet smile and atrocious English. Shy and quick to laugh, she stole the heart of my wife and me. We adopted her, unofficially, as out little sister, or more honestly, the child we were yet to have. In the next twelve months, we encouraged her to read through the Bible and rejoiced at the change it made in her. Most Sunday evenings during that year found me at her dining room table tutoring her through Algebra, working to improve her English (and her my Spanish), or helping her cope with the challenges that come with being a teenager. Her faith in God grew, and I knew that God was preparing her for something special.
During those short, wonderful visits, she often dreamed out loud of becoming a missionary to her homeland. She spoke of attending Bible college and someday returning to the land she had left as a young girl. She spoke of her lost family members still in Mexico whom, she was sure, would be saved, if she was given a chance to share the gospel with them. I dreamed with her and prayed she would someday be allowed to go.
At the end of those twelve months her parents moved her just five blocks west but outside the boundaries of Route 122. We were saddened to lose her, but were confident that her new Bus Captain, Rich Stults, would faithfully shepherd her. At his invitation, we still tried to visit her when possible and saw her on Sundays at church.
A few months later, Brother Rich stopped me after the bus meeting on a Saturday morning and asked me to visit Lidia.
"Is something wrong?"
"I'm not sure. Something about her is different. Something is bothering her, and I thought you might be able to find out what."
Later that summer afternoon, I walked the four blocks to her home and knocked on her apartment door. She was home baby-sitting her younger brother, Tony. He was twelve years old and had lived his life in a wheel chair, having never walked or spoken. Wheeling him to the font window of their apartment so that she could watch him and he us, she then joined me on the front steps.
"How is everything?"
"All right, I guess." she answered, her eyes averting mine.
The "I guess" in teenage talk means "something is wrong, but I'm not sure I want to talk about it". The challenge then is to find out what. So I went down the list.
"How is everything with your parents?"
"And your sisters?"
"Is Tony all right?"
"Yes sir." Very polite.
"Are there problems with the gangs?" Little Mexico was the territory of the Latin Kings street gang, and there was constant pressure on the teen-agers to join. Up to this time they had left her alone, branding her a "Jesus girl".
"No sir."
"Lidia, look at me."
Here eyes met mine.
"I've known you too long not to know when something is bothering you. We've always been able to talk about everything. Is it something you need to talk to me about? If not, I'll bring Miss Sheryl...."
"It's a boy." She interrupted, her eyes again on the ground.
I half smiled to myself.
Of course, dummy, she's sixteen now.
"Tell me about him."
Slowly at first, and then in a rush, she explained. A few months ago she had gotten a job at a small store at the end of the block. A young man had begun to hang around and talk to her. He was really nice--and funny. She really liked him; maybe even loved him.
Warning bells began to go off in my mind. I began to ask "preacher questions".
"Does he go to church?"
"Is he saved?"
"I don't know."
"Well then, what are you thinking?"
Then, I began to "preach". After all, it;s very cut and dried. Saved people are not supposed to date unsaved people, let alone marry them. What about being a missionary? What about the will of God?
Sometimes goes to church? He probably belongs to the Latin Kings. What was she thinking?
And then the statement that cut straight through my "pat" answers.
"Brother Jerry, I know what is right, and I want to please the Lord, but I have feelings too!"
This wasn't just a high school crush. This was a crossroad. She was trying to think, but it's hard when you're feeling so much.
I had no idea what to say to her. I mumbled some excuse to go, secured a promise that she wouldn't do anything foolish, and ask her to let me think and pray about it for a week.
Of course she agreed. I think she wanted an answer that would help her to do what was right. This was a good kid.
I walked the four blocks back to my route, waited for my ride, and prayed. I asked the Lord for the right words to say: words that would not sound like an adult who had forgotten what it was like to be sixteen. For a week I prayed, and thought, and fasted. The thought of Lidia falling in love and marrying someone who would take her from God's perfect will was almost unbearable.
The following Saturday I again made my way to her home, praying that what I would tell her would make a difference. Her mother greeted me at the door and invited me to sit at the dining room table. Soon Lidia arrived, and we were served fresh lemonade. Her mother busied herself and left me alone to talk to her--to tell her a not-so-make-believe story--to ask her to stay in the castle.

(From the Introduction of Stay in the Castle. Pages 5-9)