What does walking by faith mean?

Romans 1:17 caused me some consternation. “The just shall live by faith.”

Sounds simple enough. But when I was a young believer seeking to know Christ better, this idea seemed vague and confusing. I needed a how-to. You know…five simple steps.

I heard this explanation: we’re saved by faith, trusting Christ alone; and we walk by faith, trusting Christ alone.

Being an emotionally expressive person, I let feelings trip me time after time. When anger, worry, or discouragement robbed my joy or a bad decision knocked me off track, I’d come to the Lord confessing my failure and expecting him to forgive and cleanse me and restore my joy.

Going on with my day, I didn’t feel forgiven…or joyful. I’m not clean enough! I’ll never be clean enough!

Living by feeling plunged me into despair. How will I ever be able to please the Lord?

Reading Hebrews in The Amplified Bible, I came across this explanation of faith: “leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness” (4:2).

As that truth soaked in, I recognized my error: I didn’t believe the promise of 1 John 1:9. “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”

If I confess, he will forgive and cleanse. My feeling doesn’t change fact. I can go my way rejoicing that God has done what he promised, whether I feel it or not.

Walking by faith is simply moment by moment leaning my entire personality on Christ in absolute trust and confidence in his power, wisdom, and goodness.

I think I’m getting the hang of it!

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books. This post is adapted from Cabbages and Kings—Reflections on Living Abundantly in Christ. She serves as secretary of Christian Authors Network and is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.


St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks

by Susan G Mathis

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, because I’m Irish, and because my novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, is about the Irish immigration, I want to share with you how St. Patrick used a simple weed to share the Gospel.

St. Patrick lived in the fifth century Ireland where the shamrock clover was abundant, even a staple food for livestock. The shamrock is a weed that grows quickly and is hard to get rid of. In Ireland it was everywhere, so as Patrick traveled the country, he had a ready-made symbol that he could easily find, pluck, and use as a teaching tool. Sounds like something that Jesus would have done, doesn’t it?

As he spoke Patrick would note that the shamrock has three leaves, just as there are three persons in the trinity. In using the shamrock as a symbol, he taught about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who they were, what they did, and how they could change the listeners’ lives. Then, whenever folks would see the shamrock in their garden or fields or yard, their minds would instantly connect to the Trinity and think of God. Brilliant!

As Patrick traveled throughout Ireland spreading Christianity, the shamrock became an important symbol of the Trinity and of God’s work in man’s life. Even today, the shamrock is Ireland’s national symbol and still points to the Trinity as well as to 1 Corinthians 13:13, “and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love”. The number three is so important to the Irish that they use three cords in their Celtic knot, in their three-fold repetitive rhythm of Irish storytelling, in their idea of past, present, and future, and a lot more.

So when you see a shamrock during this holiday, remember that it means so much more than just “the luck o’ the Irish.” It’s represents biblical truth, wise teaching, and a beautiful way to share God’s story.


Dear Lord, Like St. Patrick and the simple shamrock, help us to find all kinds of creative ways to share biblical truth. In Jesus name, Amen


About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.




Often times when we are on the cell phone or having a conversation in a public place, we become oblivious to others within listening range.  At a restaurant, I was helping a fellow author friend plot her novel. She had reached a stagmire in the plot, basically dug a whole for her protagonist that she couldn’t climb out of.  It involved a murder.

As we brainstormed the crime, I  glanced over her shoulder to the next booth where an elderly woman appeared wide-eyed and nervous. She quickly glanced way when our gazes locked.  Sensing her angst, I slipped out of the booth, handed her my bookmark, and whispered, “It’s okay. We are authors.”

Her shoulders relaxed as a smile crept onto her lips. I winked and went back to my table confident our conversation no longer gave her indigestion.

Julie B Cosgrove

Author of the award winning Bunco Biddies Mysteries 


Dr. Ted Baehr

A chat with author Dr. Ted Baehr

C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

Kevin Thompson here. We sit on the Florida front porch, rocking away “in all kinds of weather,” as the song We are the Boys of Old Florida states. And it’s true. We are the “pollen state” right now. Mow your yard, and you look like a bad impression of Pig Pen from Peanuts. Everything is yellow, and we haven’t had any significant rain in over a month. Without further delay, I want to introduce a gentleman who has been working to transform the minds and hearts of moviegoers with the message of God’s truth for years now. His work has opened doors for screenwriters and many others in the movie industry.

Dr. Ted Baehr

Dr. Ted Baehr

Welcome, Dr. Ted Baehr, to the Florida front porch! Dr. Baehr, grab a chair, a glass of tea (do they drink sweet tea in California?), and tell us about your book like we’re a reader in a bookstore who has just picked it up, and we know nothing about it.

Ted Baehr’s Reel to Real provides 45 inspirational devotions that exemplify principles from God’s Word, using powerful moments from over 150 great movies. Each devotion is insightful and uplifting, illustrating a meaningful theme. Read More →



“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I’m reevaluating the pace of my life, my priorities, and how I use my time. What’s really, really important? Yes, there are expectations, obligations, and demands that try to push and pull me in all kinds of directions, but what is an appropriately paced life?

While I know that my gifts will make space for me, there is a season for everything. Yet I also know that I need to manage that space. So what does that look like for me—and for you?

First, prayer, worship, and reading the Word needs to be the plumb line that will keep everything else in balance. When these get messed up, the pace of life simply gets out of whack. Right now, I need to adjust my schedule to allow more time for all three.

Second, I need to avoid unhealthy and unbalanced expectations. Moderation is key. I need to pace myself with work, play, relationships, exercise, and even my writing. I need to find the balance in all of it and reject the oppressive demands that weigh on me, whether that comes from inside myself or from others and remember that, ultimately, people and relationships are the most important.

Third, I need to preemptively replace guilt with peace. For me, this is the hardest of all. I’m a perfectionist and ultra responsible, so I feel the pressures of the “should dos” and “must dos” way too much. So I must choose to rest in Him and trust Him with my days, weeks, months, and year, even when they don’t turn out the way I wished they would.

Recently, on top of all the busyness, health issues, and family situations have pulled me away from my agenda, my to-do list, and my timelines. I have so much more that I’d like to do, see, and write than I can possibly get done. So I have to let some of them go and find peace and contentment with whatever the Lord allows.

And what about you? What advice to you have to create an appropriately paced life, find balance in this busy world, and enjoy the peace that comes with it?

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former Editor of twelve Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.