Mary L. Hamilton, volunteers her time to help others through the Christian Authors Network as the Christian Contest Coordinator.

Mary L. Hamilton, volunteers her time to help others through the Christian Authors Network as the Christian Contest Coordinator.

We appreciate our volunteers who give of themselves to help others like Mary L. Hamilton. Volunteers like Mary touch lives with a few minutes of their time and have important contributions for the Christian Authors Network and our readers. If you haven’t read Mary’s work, let us tell you a little about this special and generous person and why she’s in our volunteer spotlight today.

Mary L. Hamilton’s writing credits include non-fiction articles, a play, as well as novels for middle readers and young adults. Her years growing up at a youth camp inspired her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series for middle grade and young adult readers. She’s moved into writing mystery/suspense novels aimed at the adult market, recently publishing Pendant. A graduate of Long Ridge Writer’s Group, Mary belongs to the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Texas Association of Authors (TAA), and two local writers groups.
As a CAN member, she coordinates the quarterly Christian Contest with the Munce group, and says it has given her an appreciation for the variety of Christian books and gives her a chance to look over the new releases to find some great books. Being a CAN member has also allowed her to get acquainted with other Christian writers and their books. We hope you, the reader, will check out her books, too. Mary is deserving of praise—and a good read!

Pendant by M.L. Hamilton

 

Rustic Knolls Series by Mary L. Hamilton includes Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, and See No Evil.

Thank you, Mary, for helping other CAN members’ books receive more exposure through the Munce Group.
(The Munce Group is a marketing group focused on serving the needs of independent retailers who serve readers.)
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It’s interesting how God works. My picture book, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient, teaches children to be patient, and I’ve needed a lot of patience lately. For all of you who need a bit of encouragement as you learn patience now or in the future, here are a few inspiring quotes that may help. God’s not finished with any of us yet!

“God’s way of answering the Christian’s prayer for more patience, experience, hope, and love often is to put him into the furnace of affliction.” Richard Cecil. Yup, I think surgery might be my furnace at the moment.

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.” Helen Keller. What a woman she must have been!

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait—it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Joyce Meyer. Very true. I’ll remember that when I have physical therapy. Smiles.

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” Joseph Addison. Hmmm. Got to ponder this one.

“Fruit doesn’t mature overnight. It requires sun, water, and time.” Susan G. Mathis. Note to self…remember this!

“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience, and to respect the fury of nature.” Paulo Coelho. Interesting.

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.” Heraclitus. When all is said and done, may you and I be found with a new measure of patience and stronger, more godly character that will bless others, especially God.

How is God teaching you patience?

Susan Mathis is the author of Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and four other books. She is vice president of Christian Authors Network, 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.

 

 

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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.

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“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.

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If hacking hasn’t happened to you, it will.

Hackers are on the rampage. Facebook posts, emails, tweets are compromised. “Share” posts contain hidden lewd images. Links illegally access your profile. Banks, hospitals, even government entities are not immune. It seems there is no firewall strong enough.

Our souls are not immune to being hacked. Call him what you will…the devil, the evil one, Satan, the father of lies. Trust me, as soon as you begin to do God’s will, this hacker will show up. Big time!

Satan knows the places where our “firewall” is the weakest. He wiggles in with a negative suggestion and clouds our positive viewpoint. God didn’t mean for you to take this on. Everyone does it. That verse doesn’t pertain to today. God will never forgive you.

Soon, like a virus, it begins to affect our thoughts and actions, even our prayers or desire to pray. Step by step, we become more and more vulnerable to his fiery wiles.

Where is your spiritual firewall the most vulnerable? How can you make sure your soul is unhack-able?

Paul shared the algorithm two millennia ago. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). Prayer is the best defense against becoming compromised. Scripture is the best method to detect hacked messages.

A joy-filled attitude that knows without a doubt God is faithful and true and loves you is the best way to have uninterrupted power.

Julie Cosgrove

Julie Cosgrove is an editor and writer for Cru Canada’s internet ministry, Power to Change. Her income, like any missionary’s, is dependent upon prayer and financial partners. She is also a professional speaker and a multiple award-winning author of ten novels with four more under contract.

 

 

 

 

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