My Favorite Book. It Is Yours? by Darlene Franklin

 

 

Since I’m an author, it’s not surprising that I read. Some books I never finish, some I’ve read five times. But even with my favorite books, I reach a saturation point and let them gather dust on a special shelf.

But there is one book I started reading as a child which I find as endlessly fascinating and worthy of study as the first time I opened it over fifty years ago: my Bible. No other book stirs so much discussion with friends and strangers. Whenever I’m sad, it gives me solace. I chose to memorize chunks of scripture to keep my aging brain active. No other book speaks life to me.

The written word, teaches me so much about the living Word of God, His Son. Whether I open it at Bible study, rehearse memory verses, read through the Bible, research a theme, look up a verse, or read the day’s passage in a devotional—nothing else convicts me, inspires me, teaches me, or draws me closer to God. Nothing is a greater tool for devotion, for prayer, for ministry.

Recently have I have begun the practice of praying the Bible. What a freeing experience! I no longer need to know someone’s exact needs today to know how to pray (although it helps). I pray for unknown situations and never met people, missionaries, the unsaved, leaders—simply by praying God’s word. Not the mention the insight I get into God’s answers for myself and known needs by praying His word.

How about you? What excites you about the Bible, about prayer? Do you struggle with Leviticus and freely pray the Psalms, like I do? So dig in to the daily spiritual nourishment from the Lord. Enjoy the mountain tops in the Psalms. I learn something new every day.

Darlene Franklin is a contributing author to the currently available Daily Wisdom for Women 2018 Edition (http://www.barbourbooks.com/product/Daily-Wisdom-for-Women-2018-Devotional-Collection,14789) (and to the upcoming 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women (TBR Feb 2018). I’m also the author of Praying Through the Bible in a Year, TBR in Nov 2018.Darlene Franklin is a contributing author to the currently

Darlene Franklin

available Daily Wisdom for Women 2018 Edition oduct/Daily-Wisdom-for-Women-2018-Devotional-Collection,14789) (and to the upcoming 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women (TBR Feb 2018). I’m also the author of Praying Through the Bible in a Year, TBR in Nov 2018.

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Being a Digital Missionary  by Julie Cosgrove

Digital Missions

Digital Missions

Before I began writing fiction, I became a freelance writer. My late husband’s job required us to move a lot (28 times in 35 years.) The best way I could bring in income was to click away at the keyboard. Wherever there was an internet connection, my customers could find me!

I immediately landed bids. In thanksgiving, I tithed my work day to God, writing for Him first. I came across a devotional blog site through Truth Media, Christian Women Today. I queried them in 2008, and from then on wrote two devos a months—pro bono. The leader of our writer’s critique group chided me, stating I should charge. But I felt God firmly saying, “No.”

After my husband died, I prayed for a steady income which would allow me to pursue my fiction writing. I landed a job as a church secretary. Most days, I was the only one there, available to answer the door and phones, and open rooms for various groups. It gave me plenty of time to write. The priest was fine with that. He told me, “I’d rather you write Christian fiction than play Angry Birds.” I still wrote devos for four sites, pro bono, as my ministry.

Truth Media became Power to Change. Two years later, the church laid me off. I knew God had plans for this widow who now had no income. Within two weeks, the editor in chief of The Life Project, one of the divisions of Power to Change, asked if I would consider coming on staff. As a branch of Campus Crusades, the position required me to raise my salary through partnerships. A huge leap of faith!

Now I am a writer and editor for their digital ministry. Our free articles and devos average half a million clicks a month, and encourage both Christian and secular readers to seek spiritual mentors in one of three, soon to be six, languages. Never did I imagine that what I write, and help others write, woul

Julie Costrove

Julie Cosgrove

d have such a global impact.

The world is on the internet. We help them know Jesus. Right now, donations will be matched by an anonymous donor through 2017. If God has stirred your heart to learn more about this amazing mission field, contact me at julie.cosgrove@p2c.com.

 

 

 

 

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My Chaos Theory  Sydney Avey

Chaos is an element of most transitions. My husband and I live two lives.  Half the year we shelter under the California Gold Country oak and pine trees in the shadow of Yosemite’s granite cliffs.  The other half a year we settle into Arizona’s Valley of the Sun, nestled up against the White Tank Mountains. In California, I sing on a praise team in a small community church. In Arizona, I sing with a fifty-voice choir in a large Presbyterian church. The Phoenix area offers resources we don’t have in Groveland—recreation centers, accessible shopping, theaters, medical centers, a university, and an airport. Groveland offers rural peace and a close community.

As we pack to leave, I am re-launching my first novel, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, and readying the house for six very welcome houseguests (family) who will visit until departure day. When stress over deadlines mounts, I remind myself that I chose a life that supports my work, not work to support my life. A bit of chaos is good for creativity.

The contrary nature of chaos

Recently I asked some friends to pray for me. Their prayers changed my approach to dealing with stress.The very act of requesting prayer helped me articulate the real need, and the answers I received were refreshingly counterintuitive. Contrary to popular wisdom, striving isn’t always the answer. Here is what I learned:

  1. Cease your striving.I reset my internal clock, which runs fast, to be more in tune with God’s timing. Facing anxiety over being in the public eye, my prayer is “Lord, make me dwell in safety.” NIV Ps. 4:8b (Courtesy of a prayer partner.)
  2. Bigger effort doesn’t always yield better results. A prayer partner reminded me of the fishermen who struggled with more than they could handle. They asked their partners in other ships to come help and both ships benefitted. Power is available to us when we do it God’s way.
  3. Learn to wait. Creativity consultant Dan Blank cautions artists to spend the majority of their time improving their craft and helping people connect with the soul of their work. Trying to master every promotion strategy is time misspent. Amen!
  4. Stop pushing and let some things go. It is easy to say it is all in God’s hands. His timing is perfect. It is harder to see a publication date slip and not want to do something about it. If my identity is truly in Christ, I need to trust that it is Christ who is in the details, not the devil. If I identify first as being in Christ then I shouldn’t stress over my identity as a writer. That takes a lot of pressure off!
  5. Count God faithful.I had a moment when I was solving one tough technical problem after another and God said, “See? You couldn’t have done this four years ago.” He brought to my mind his faithfulness. As we push through chaos, it is good to acknowledge how far we’ve come, and count God faithful.

Sydney Avey write historical fiction novels about dynamic women in changing times. In each of her books, small graces foster hope and and give people courage to step over uncertainty and continue the journey. She is the author of The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, The Lyre and the Lambs, and. coming in February 2018, The Trials of Nellie Belle.

Sheep Walker’s Daughter

When Dee Moraga’s secretive mother dies in the 1950s, Dee gives up hope of ever learning her father’s identity. But a series of puzzling discoveries causes her to reconsider. Why did her mother send money every month to the Basque Relief Agency? And what does the Anglican priest who shows up at her door know about her cultural heritage that he isn’t telling? A tribute to the resilience of immigrant families, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter pairs one fractured family’s history of loss, survival, and tough choices with one lonely woman’s search for reconnection.

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THE MUSIC OF SOUNDS  by Jeanne Gowen Dennis

Sing to the Lord all the earth. (Ps. 96:1)

 Musical Sounds

I’ve been thinking lately about the amazing gift of sounds. The songs of birds. The tinkling of water in a stream. The whispers of wind through leaves. The crashing of waves. The music of various instruments. Voices lifted in song.

The Human Voice

Most of all, I’ve marveled at the human voice. We can hum a tune, belt out a popular song, sing an aria, cheer someone on, shout out a warning, talk in normal tones, or whisper a prayer. So many sounds from one wonderfully designed instrument.

I think of the sweet sound of a mother’s voice singing a lullaby or comforting her child. Something akin to the still, small voice of God, perhaps. My mom went to heaven last year, but I can still hear her voice. One of the last things we did together was to sing one of her favorite hymns.

It seems countless times the Bible tells us to sing to the Lord and praise His name. And doesn’t it fill you with joy to do just that? It does me. Our choir plans to sing Handel’s “Halleluiah Chorus” this Christmas. Every time I hear or sing that majestic piece of music, my heart soars heavenward. No wonder people stand when they hear it.

The Music of Language

Great writers make music with words. I often stop to savor a well-written phrase as I would a luscious peach. Some have a natural gift, but most writers have to work hard to reach that level of skill in their craft. And they really appreciate it when readers write to encourage them. You might say readers’ kind words are “music” to an author’s ears.

Our speaking voices hold music in them too. I’ve always had a fascination for languages and wanted to speak several. I’m working on my third and fourth right now – not very successfully, I’m afraid. But as I’ve studied foreign languages, I’ve been astounded at the different sounds the human voice can make – including drumbeats, chirps, whistles, twitters, and various vibrations. Among other things, language sets us apart from the animals. Yet each language has a rhythm and beauty all its own.

Heavenly Music

When God made humankind in His image, he made us to praise Him with our voices, both in song and words. Just think of the music that will rise to the throne of God when every people, tongue, tribe, and nation worships Him together in heaven! Rather than a cacophony of widely different tongues, I believe we will hear every language blended together into the perfect harmony of praise.

At least that’s how I imagine it. For now, I’ll enjoy the music of life here on earth and lift my heart and voice to the God who made it all. I hope you’ll join me.

“Live your faith. Pass it on.” An award-winning author and songwriter, Jeanne Dennis hosts Heritage of Truth TV at https://jeannedennis.com. She is also a commissioned Colson Fellow and Centurion. Through her writing, speaking, music, and online ministry, she encourages families to live biblically in our spiritually confused culture.

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To celebrate my 25th book release I held a party at a boutique that showcases local artists and authors. I created a special scavenger hunt to get everyone checking out the store.

I hid small signs of my book covers all around the store. Each one included a number of the release order. As people arrived, they received an alphabetical list of the titles so they could fill in the corresponding numbers as they spotted the signs and turn them in to win pries. The newest titles included a devotional cookbook The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table and a teen book on communication Girl Talk Guy Talk. Prizes included little recipe books and fun items.

I also demonstrated how to make bread centerpieces such as

muffin bouquets and provided a variety of breads for everyone to taste. My oldest daughter snapped photos. We can design anything to celebrate milestones.

I recently attended a show where singer Jimmy Wayne spoke and signed his new book. To celebrate, he had a video made of signing the first copy as he signed his name and circled the number one on the book. I received the first copy.

 

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