Don’t you love a spring shower? Refreshing. Relaxing. Rejuvenating.

But what happens when it doesn’t stop raining? Flooding.

Only one kind of flooding refreshes, relaxes, and rejuvenates––the reign of God flooding our heart.

How do we know He reigns in our heart?

  • When He reigns in our heart, His praise flows from our lips.

“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad” (Psalm 97:1 NIV). Our great God overflows from his creation. We can see His greatness through his creation. We are His creation. If He reigns in us, He flows through us. We not only experience refreshment but also others feel refreshed by our testimony. We should praise God’s great and awesome name because it symbolizes His persona and His nature. Our best witnessing happens when our hearts overflow with appreciation for what He has done. God has chosen us to declare His marvelous works.

  • When He reigns in our heart, we want to evangelize the whole world.

“…let the distant shores rejoice” (NIV 97:1b). How will His Word spread to distant shores so others, too, can rejoice in His presence? Only if God’s ambassadors take His Word to those distant shores will they know of Him and rejoice with us.

  • When God reigns in our heart, we worship Him and respect His name. We give Him praise by both our words and our life.

“The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake” (Psalm 99:1 NIV). God’s holiness is frightening for sinners but a wonderful comfort for believers. God cannot tolerate sin. But for believers, God’s holiness gives comfort. And, because we worship Him, we are lifted from the mire of sin.

Have you seen these three examples flowing from your heart, soul, and lips?

You will if you let Him reign!

Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a prolific writer. Book 1 of her newly released children’s series, Hooray for Holidays, and her devotional for adults, Dancing Like Bees, are available on www.Amazon.com.

 

 

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I’ll never forget the day I was cleaning my top dresser drawer and found a treasure.

I read through the stack of aged, yellowed papers and instantly realized why I’d kept them. On them were written words of endearment—nearly 30 years ago—from my husband. They contained irresistible phrases like, “You complete me like no other” and “I love you desperately.”

As I read through them, my eyes teared. And then my heart dropped. Why doesn’t he write these words to me anymore?

It would have been easy to believe he was the one who had become distant, more critical, and less interested in me through the years. It was a little tougher, though, to ask if I were the one who let resentments build or baggage get in the way.

That night, I lay awake next to my husband and wondered how to turn back the clock. How could I make him see me the way he once did—as the captivating woman he fell in love with? Then I realized there was only one way to recapture his heart: be the woman I was and do the things I did when he first fell in love with me.

In Revelation 2:4-5 Christ told a first-century church, “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first.”

While that verse can apply to complacency in our relationship with Christ, it can also apply to marriage. God is not the only One who recognizes when our enthusiasm for Him has waned. Husbands recognize when our enthusiasm for them has waned, too.

That night I asked God to help me look to Him as my first love and then begin responding to my husband the way I did when we first married.

Cindi McMenamin, a national speaker and author of sixteen books, has been married thirty years to a pastor and introvert. Her newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, just released from Harvest House Publishers. For more on resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or parenting, visit Cindi’s website www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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In this three-book novella collection, each story is based during a different calendar season, as well as, a different season of life, which makes this collection entertaining and something for every reader.

In An Apple a Day (1st Novella), a summertime romance kindles when Doctor Brian Coridan spends time away from his practice at Blossom Lake, Wisconsin, and he meets Talia Fountain, a health food store owner with her own non-medical license remedies.  At first the two don’t see eye-to-eye, but the charm of small town living, “mom’s apple pie”, and church-goer get togethers bring them together for an unforgettable romance.  I found this story fun and entertaining.  The summertime experiences living in a small town felt real.  I especially liked the banter between the main characters.

September Sonata (2nd Novella) tells the story of newly empty-nesters Krissy and Blaine finding love again.  After a work-related injury, firefighter, Blaine is in pain and frustrated with his homebound recovery.  He has no idea that his marriage has lost its spark.  Krissy is a school teacher who is struggling with her new season in life.  Her daughters are away at college and she’s suddenly aware she’s been taken for granted too many years.   When a new principal at school shows interest in getting to know her, she struggles with what ifs.  I found these character’s struggles realistic in every way and was drawn into this story from the first page.  This story was well-written and touched on a topic that isn’t seen in many Christian books.

Let It Snow (3rd Novella) takes place on a snowy Christmas Eve.  Widow Shari Flannering plans to spend her first Christmas without her deceased husband in her hometown of Forest Ridge, Wisconsin, but a blizzard changes those plans.  She finds herself stranded at the bed-and breakfast inn of her ex-fiancée’s mother.  Doctor Brenan Sheppard never got over Shari ending their engagement in a letter and running off to marry someone she’d just met.  Now a missionary in Brazil and home for the holidays, he’s ready to take the plunge and propose to a woman he met on the mission field.  Seeing Shari again stirs old feelings, but can he get past her betrayal and trust his feelings again?

Andrea Boeshaar is a great story teller.  Her characters are well developed and relatable.  Although I eagerly turned the page with each story – totally captivated- my favorite was Let It Snow.  I liked Shari’s determined cheerfulness despite the painful loss of her husband.  And of course, Christmas themed stories are always fun to read anytime of the year.  If you like sweet inspirational romances, you’ll fall in love with this novella collection!  I look forward to reading more of Andrea Boeshaar’s books in the future.

Seasons Of Love, Published by Prism Book Group (Dec., 2015); 200 pages

Reviewer:  Ruth Reid

 

 

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In every premise, it is conflict that drives the communication forward. To prove your premise you must disprove the negation of your premise. The disproving of the negation of your premise is what actually propels your communication. If there is no negation and no conflict possible in your premise, then your communication will be stillborn, with no direction or goal. Many Christian movies fail from a lack of conflict. They should keep in mind that the world is caught in a spiritual battle; thus, conflict is both necessary and inevitable.

Drama means, “to do” or “to perform.” In performance, for every action, there must be a reaction. To illustrate this, have two friends stand five feet apart, facing each other, and ask them to tell each other in as many ways as they so desire, “ I love you” for no less than two minutes. After a very short period of time, this dialogue without conflict will become very boring. However, if you ask one to convince the other of his or her love for the other, and you ask the other to resist this advance, the dialogue will be very entertaining, and one, or the other, will have to relent, thereby establishing the premise for that brief scene as either “love triumphs over rejection” or “resistance destroys love.”

Some Christian radio and television interview programs are boring to all but a few loyal supporters, because the host avoids conflict or loses sight of the value of loving conflict. In these boring programs, the host and the guest spend all their time affirming each other so that the program remains static and uninteresting. If the host defines what he wants to discover in the interview, which is his premise, in such a way as to probe who his guest is and why the guest is there by asking the tough questions which the audience needs and wants to know, then there will be real dialogue. The interview will be interesting because there is conflict built into the program, even if only on the level of a premise such as “curiosity discovers important information.”

This conflict does not have to be mean, petty, or angry, as so much conflict is on non–religious television. The conflict can and will be loving if the tough questions which prove the host’s premise are asked in love. A thoughtful, loving host can ask tough questions in a loving way to reveal the interesting story that every guest has to tell. The conflict in the interview is merely the vehicle by which the guest proves his or her story to the host and the audience. Without a clear –cut premise, there will be no conflict, and neither the host nor the audience will have any idea what the host is trying to communicate.

There are four basic plots that categorize the primary types of conflict inherent dramatic stories: 1) Man against man, 2) Man against nature, 3) Man against himself, and 4) Man against the supernatural or sub–natural, including aliens.

These categories help us to evaluate the premise or main proposition in a story, but they may not help us determine whether the story fits the Christian worldview. Another traditional literary approach proposed by Northrop Frye[1] divides stories into five different kinds:

Mythic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by an act of God or god(s).

Heroic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by his or her own means.

High Ironic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by a quirk of fate.

Low Ironic: The failure of the hero/protagonist(s) by a quirk of fate.

Demonic: The defeat of the hero/protagonist(s) by evil, demons, et cetera.

A story that fits the Christian version of the traditional mythic story, where the God of the Bible or Jesus Christ helps the hero or protagonist overcome his or her antagonist, is a story that fits the Christian worldview. A story, however, where the hero or protagonist—especially a Christian one—is defeated by demons is probably not a story that Christians should want to see because it contradicts the biblical worldview.

Beyond the basic story types, there are various themes.
The eight basic themes are: Survival, Redemption, Revenge, Betrayal, Coming of Age, Love and Romance, Mistaken Identity, and “Fish Out of Water.”

To be continued…

Please read HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD (WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL) for a complete guide to filmmaking.

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by Judith Couchman

Rock-House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I write the first sentence and trust in God for the next.—Laurence Sterne

Jesus told a poignant parable about a man who built his house on a rock. The rains descended, streams rose, and winds battered the house, but it didn’t fall. The foundation held firm.

He compared this to a man who built his house on the sand. Again, rains pummeled the earth, streams overflowed, and winds toppled the house with a crash.

The great teacher then warned about metaphorically building a life on solid ground versus shifting sands. He admonished his listeners to build their lives on spiritual principles that won’t fail or crumble during hardship (Matt. 7:24-27). And we’re to participate in His kingdom, not build our own (Jn. 18:36). Sometimes as writers, we can forget this.

A writing life compares to the proverbial two houses. If you construct a career expecting money, recognition, promotion, and outstanding sales, you’re standing on shifting sands. Although none of these aspects are inherently bad, depending on them to prove your worth as a writer will fail. The industry changes, manuscripts get rejected, social networking fails, and critics look for flaws. On the other hand, if you’re called by God and offer your work as a sweet-smelling offering to Him, publishing’s winds won’t demolish you.

Build your writing life on a dependable spiritual foundation that weathers personal storms. You’ll keep writing, no matter the outcome.

Judith 1

Judith Couchman is currently writing the book, 365 Ways to Keep Writing & Loving It, available in time for Christmas through Elk Lake Publishing. She is an author, speaker, writing coach, and adjunct professor. Judith has traditionally published more than 42 works.  Learn more about her at www.judithcouchman.com. Write to her at judith@judithcouchman.com.

 

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