With Christmas wrapped up and neatly tucked away, we are almost to the end of January. But the hope that a new year brings is still fresh in our hearts and minds.

Maybe this is the year you hope to find a new job, earn a degree, or travel abroad. Maybe this is the year you hope to meet that special someone or start a family.

Hoping for a change, or for something new, is exciting.

But when our hopes and dreams are put on hold, it’s hard to be patient.

Proverbs 13:12 says “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”  It’s only human to want things to fall into place quickly. Waiting for God’s perfect timing can be discouraging and painful.

Good things come to those who wait is a saying that’s been used in song lyrics and even a Heinz ketchup ad in the 1980s. But the message comes from the Bible and is woven into the pages of Scripture.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).

Here’s another familiar verse. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

And I love this verse. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).

When we find ourselves in a season of waiting, we can use this time to draw closer to God, realizing that His ways are not our ways, and that His ways are always best.    

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman

Mothers in Waiting

Mothers in Waiting

Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award winning author of more than 100 books for children and adults. She is a lyricist for children’s piano music, contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, and presenter at writers’ conferences. Her latest book is Mothers in Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms (Harvest House).

 

 

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In my book, Becoming a Brave New Woman, I share one of the moments of exhaustion that we all experience at one time or another:

I had weeks of back-to-back speaking engagements. On a trip to Colorado, I remember thinking, “Wow, this is great! My flight got booked with some breathing space. I’ll get there early, take a nap, shower and feel so refreshed.” I arrived at the Denver airport only to discover that my connecting flight was canceled, and I was stuck in the airport for five hours. I would have to dress for the event in the airport restroom and step off the plane and go immediately to my speaking engagement. My heart sank. How was I ever going to get the rest I needed stranded in an airport?

I walked the terminal and prayed. I spotted an empty gate; one that had a door that opened to the outside with fresh air streaming in. With a little ingenuity, I created my own lounge chair by placing my suitcase under my legs and my purse under my head. I began to read a book by A.W. Tozer about the character of God. The book was packed with verses, and I just devoured it. As I read, some birds hopped into the terminal and began to feed on the crumbs of tourist food. I thought of the verse, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26).

I smiled, read the final page of my book and drifted off to sweet slumber – in the airport! I awoke an hour later, refreshed and thankful that those who wait on the Lord gain renewed strength.

 

Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill & Pam Farrel

Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill & Pam Farrel

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 46 books including  Devotions for Women on the Go, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience. She and her husband Bill co-direct Love-Wise, helping people with their most vital relationships. When she is not speaking or writing, you may find her kayaking to get her mail from her home on a live aboard boat in Southern California.

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Who was Harry S. Truman to Israel? Find out more in I Am Cyrus by Dr. Craig von Buseck.

Who was Harry S. Truman to Israel? Find out more in I Am Cyrus by Dr. Craig von Buseck.

 Someone once said there are regulators on our lives that help control and shape our destinies. These regulators include things we often take for granted like energy, sleep, food, money, and time. Wise management of these regulators can mean the difference between an average and an abundant life.

Another important regulator is what I call “newness.” Every 24 hours we are greeted by a new day at Midnight. Sunday morning brings a new week. On our birthday, we celebrate another new year of life.

One way we human beings tend to “clean the slate” is by leaving behind the old year and forging ahead with hope and expectation in the New Year.

C.S. Lewis writes: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” I would add this.

You are also never too young to dream your dreams.

Whatever you are facing today, know that God has built “newness” into your life to give you hope and strength to press on. He has also given you talents that are available to open the door to future success.

Your role is to engage your circumstances with those talents – trusting God for His grace, favor, and strength – and then be persistent in pursuing your dream. Vern McLellan declares: “What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.”

The future is yours to write. The New Year provides you with a book full of 365 blank pages. So get out your pen, roll up your sleeves, and chase that dream!

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. … The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Craig von Buseck

Craig von Buseck

I Am Cyrus by Dr. Craig von Buseck

I Am Cyrus by Dr. Craig von Buseck

Dr. Craig von Buseck is the editor of Digital Content for Inspiration.org. His new book I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel will be available from Lighthouse Publishing on April 22. Learn more at vonbuseck.com.

 

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Several years ago, I was experiencing a season of hardships. The emotional pressure in my life had escalated – facing deadline upon deadline, bad medical news, grief over my father’s death, plus the daily stress of church leadership and family responsibilities. I sat in my doctor’s office in tears. All I wanted to do was escape, and drive to the beach to spend time with God. Only by talking to God, and having Him talk to me through the Word would salve this pain.

I knew that I would be okay if I could just get to the beach and let God’s love wash over me like the waves wash over the sand. So I drove home, told my husband I would be gone for a few hours, and I grabbed my Bible, journal, and a few devotional books. I rushed to the beach, anxious to spend time with God. I read, prayed, journaled, walked, listened – and read some more. Finally, both peace and a plan came.

Today, this is still my path to peace. The Psalmist agrees. “My soul finds rest in God alone!” Find a cozy place with God today, cuddle up with the Word, and let the peace of God wash over you. God’s peace is like the waves that wash over your toes planted in the sands, so faithful to come to shore, wave after wave, God’s peace will come to your heart, verse after verse, from His Word.

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of 46 books including Discovering Hope in the Psalms, Becoming a Brave New Woman, and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman. With her husband Bill, she runs Love-Wise and helps people with their most vital relationships, with God, in marriage and family, and friendships. Fin hope and help for your family at Living Love-Wise Community 

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This time of year, people are posting like crazy on social media the number of books they read in 2018. There are even some pretty cute videos and memes that you can use to illustrate what a productive reader you were last year.

While it’s perfectly fine to tally up your reading year, I don’t happen to keep track, nor do I want to know how many books I read. On the one hand, the number would be interesting. On the other, I will more than likely be depressed at the low number of actual books.

I read…a lot…like the newspaper every morning (yes, in print—my husband and I both trained as journalists and print’s in our blood!), weekly and monthly magazines, and fiction and nonfiction books, as well as all the reading I do in my crit group and blog writing.

Rather than focus on a number, this year I challenge you to focus on the ideas and thoughts of the books you read. I like to reflect on ideas that challenged me, that inspired me to change, and that moved me to look at the world differently. Both fiction and nonfiction books can give us much food for thought.

As we ease into 2019, by all means, keep your tallies of books read. But also, jot down what reached down into your heart and gave you a different perspective, an outlook, or a calling.

Sarah Hamaker is a writer, editor, and parent coach in Fairfax, Virginia. Connect with her at www.sarahhamaker.com.

(Illustration courtesy Pixabay)

 

 

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