Are you having a bad day? A bad decade? If you’re struggling to find peace, if you feel a certain emptiness, or you’ve misplaced your faith, there is hope.

In the midst of your mess, take heart and remember anew that the power of the resurrection is available in your life today.

Recently, Christians around the world celebrated Easter. We remember each year the true story of Jesus Christ dying on a Cross and rising from the dead—alive and victorious! He said He would and He did! Christ defeated death so we could live forgiven and free, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The good news is that we can live alive and victorious, too.

What was true thousands of years ago is still true: the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is available to us today—and every day. (Check out Ephesians 1:19-20)

While things may seem dead or dormant in your life, the power of our living and loving God can resurrect and bring to life again. He has the power—the strength and ability fueled by love—to make real and lasting changes in your life.

He brings wholeness from brokenness.

He creates order from chaos.

He brings prodigals home.

He heals our infirmities.

He frees us from the grip of sin and temptation.

He resurrects dreams and desires.

He helps us to love again.

And so much more.

Just as an expectant gardener tills the soil, plants seeds, and waters the ground, surrender your hopes and dreams and brokenness in the soil of faith. Keep it well-watered by reading God’s Word, talking with God in prayer, praising Him and thanking Him for all He has done. Expect God to grow new life in you and your circumstances.

It’s time for a resurrection.

Jackie M. Johnson is an author, blogger, and freelance writer who inspires readers worldwide to grow a better life. She’s the author of the popular Power Prayers for Women; the breakup recovery resource When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty; and the inspiring Praying with Power When Life Gets Tough. Connect with Jackie at www.jackiejohnsoncreative.com.

 

 

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By Jackie M. Johnson

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Life is full of challenges. You want to lose weight but the pounds stick to you like super glue.

A friend needs a new job or is having marital problems. Your niece is wondering if she will ever get married. Our country is divided on political issues. And on it goes.

As believers, we are taught early to “trust in the Lord.” But what does that really mean and how do we do it?

Trust means letting God be God. Not freaking out when the bills pile up like snow in the Rocky Mountains. Not striving to make things happen on our own. Trust is releasing worry and surrendering stress. It’s letting go of the problem and believing that the One who loves us most will take care of our situation.

So when you submit a book proposal, you don’t keep calling your agent every few days to see how it’s going. Or, if you don’t have the money for rent or the mortgage, you don’t worry incessantly. You pray and take action, and trust God will provide instead of trying to control outcomes and letting the stress keep you awake at night.

As you pray, God acts. He may ask you to do something or he may direct you to wait and be still. Either way, you learn to lean, not on your own understanding of how things should be, but on the strong shoulders of Jesus Christ. He has the wisdom to know what to do, even when the next step seems unclear. He has the strength and power to make real and lasting changes. And, he acts out of ultimate love for his daughters and sons.

God will do what is best, in His way and in His timing. On that we can rely.

Trust in His goodness. Rest in His love.

Jackie M. Johnson is the author of the popular Power Prayers for Women, the helpful breakup recovery resource When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty, and Praying with Power When Life Gets Tough. She also writes a blog for single and single again readers, Living Single, on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website. Connect with Jackie at www.jackiejohnsoncreative.com.

 

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Jackie Johnson

Jackie Johnson

Greetings from Jackie M. Johnson!

Are you working with a literary agent for the first time? Or, are you looking for ways to improve the working relationship you have with your current agent? If so, here are six essential things you need to know.

As an author, it is vital to know what your agent does—and what he or she does not do. Knowing this information can help alleviate misunderstandings and create a sense of realistic expectations.

 

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A Jackie M. Johnson photoGreetings from Jackie M. Johnson!

What do Olympic athletes and contestants on reality music competition shows have in common?

They both practice their craft intensely. Knowing that swimmers, runners and artists who sing their hearts out practice for hours each day, humbles me; it gives me pause to think about my own dedication to the writing craft.

Over the years I’ve written books, articles, blog posts, marketing collateral and other material. Like those athletes and artists, I’ve have to make hard choices.

When I am writing a book, I judiciously guard my time. If I didn’t remove distractions and focus, I wouldn’t meet my deadlines. But, it helps to keep in mind that it’s only for a “season.”

Whether you write professionally or on a freelance basis (either full-time or part-time)—or, you’re a writer wanna-be—it is essential to choose to make time for your writing. Easier said than done, right? Life happens. I get it. Despite our best intentions, we get busy with family, friends, church activities, sports, hobbies, work, travel and more.

How do you find time to write even when life is full? Here are some ideas to consider:   

Schedule time to write. Yes, you may have heard this before. But, don’t freak yourself out. The key here is to start small and build momentum. Whether it’s a block of one hour or ten minutes, put something on the calendar for writing time.Then, just start. And, as you do, you will find yourself writing more and increasing your time working with words. 

Some writers I know block out entire writing days or weeks. Others don’t have that luxury. No matter what your life looks like, schedule a few hours a week on your calendar. They could be all at once, or one per day, or whatever works for you. 

Here’s the thing. Some people find their efforts stalling, like a car on the freeway, when they attempt to write and edit at the same time. Instead, just write—no matter how good or bad it is—then return to the piece later and edit what you’ve written.   

Find “pockets” of time. I am notorious for jotting down ideas on a napkin at a restaurant or on the smallest possible scrap of paper because I don’t want to lose a good idea. Keep pen and paper (or electronic device) in your purse, in your car, near your bed, in your kitchen to capture your thoughts before they fleet away. 

Create a writing place. Some writers set up a desk and deem that their “writing place.” Others write on their laptop or other portable device while sitting on the couch or lingering at a coffee shop. Find what works for you so when you get there, it signals, “Time to write.” 

Deal with procrastination. Recently, I heard a good phrase that is supposed to help people do something they don’t want to do: Do it anyways. The key to getting things done, in my opinion, is to break the task into smaller pieces. I mean smaller pieces. Go buy a few reams of paper. Turn your PC or MAC on. Sit in the chair. Write something, anything, just to get warmed up. Baby steps can be helpful for people who just need to begin. 

Make your writing a priority. If you want to write and you never seem to get around to it, then your writing is a back burner item. It’s an afterthought, and you need to make it a priority. Put it on the front burner of your life, like a pot of soup that’s bubbling over. You need to attend to it now! 

Limit your social media. This may be hard for some people, but if you’re going to make your writing a priority—and your life is already full of activity—then cutting down on social media can shave minutes (or hours) from your jam-packed schedule and free up time to do what you say you want to do: write. Set a timer (like the one on your kitchen stove or smartphone) for a set number of minutes. Engage in your social media, and then stop. Don’t keep checking your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop or other device. It’s time to focus. 

Create a prayer team for your writing life. We need the power of God to work in us and through us to be efficient and effective, even when life pulls us in myriad directions. A number of writers I know have created a prayer team for their writing life—or for a specific project (like while you are writing a book). I do this too. 

Ask a few friends if they would be willing to pray for you and your projects on a daily or weekly basis. Send email to update them on your progress and your prayer needs. You may want to ask for specific prayer items (such as time, energy, creative ideas, and for God to order your steps) or keep it general; it’s up to you. 

Before the busy fall starts, decide when you will write. Set appointments with yourself. Make it a priority. 

It all adds up to this: If you want to write and you’re too busy, then you’re too busy. Something’s got to give. You’ve got to want it. Add to your passion for writing the other steps of planning, prayer and perseverance. 

It’s about choices. Choose wisely, and watch your writing life come alive!

 

Jackie M. Johnson is an author, freelance writer and book publishing consultant. Visit her blog, A New Day Cafe, or website for more information.

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A Jackie M. Johnson photoGreetings from Jackie M. Johnson

Most people are familiar with “brands” for products and services. For instance, a can of Campbell’s soup (the original line) is always red and white with the name in a unique cursive font. It’s instantly recognizable on a grocery store shelf crammed with different brands of soup.  

As an author, your brand is essential too. First, you need to know who you are and how you want to be perceived. Then, get your message to your readers—and do so consistently. By being immediately recognizable, you are in a better position for readers to find you, to connect with you and, ultimately, purchase your books.   

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