On Mother’s Day morning we witnessed the baptism of our baby granddaughter in a wonderful service filled with praise and worship. Though I believe every new life is a miracle, we waited a long time for this baby girl since my daughter-in-law was told she would not be able to have children. It was a very special morning for our family.

Later that afternoon, I received a call from my sister telling me that my ninety-seven-year-old mother would soon be entering heaven. I was a few states away and quickly booked a flight to my hometown. My mom’s funeral was a beautiful celebration of her life, which was defined by unconditional love. It didn’t matter if her children, grandkids, and great grandkids were born into the family, married into the family, “stepped” into the family, or were adopted into the family. She loved us all the same.

In the days that followed, as I processed my emotions, I found myself grateful for a new addition to our family, and grateful for a mother who showed me what it means to love and accept others the way Jesus did.

In life and in death, our hearts can be filled with gratitude to our heavenly Father—the one who gives life and holds us in His hands.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High
(Psalm 9:1-2 NIV).

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman

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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This is my favorite photo of my husband with our sons. He is their hero!

Father’s Day  is a great time to o two things

(1) Thank your earthly father with a card, a call or companionship. Tell him why you are appreciative and grateful. Honoring your mom and dad comes with a nice “boomerrang” promise too!

Ephesians 6:1-3

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 

(2) Take time to tell your Heavenly Father thanks too! Take a prayer walk and thank Him for what you see along your path; pull out a photo album or the gallery on your smart phone and scroll through photo memories and give him praise; Or kneel and honor Him in humility by praising Him for his character traits, attributes and names.  Abba is the name Jewish children call out to their father, it means “Daddy” Thanks your Abba Father for walking alongside you and His spirit being in you.

the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15) 

Pam is married to Bill, a leader of men. Bill speaks internationally to men often on his books for men, 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make; 7 Simple Skills for Every Man; and Devotions for Men on the Go. Learn more about Bill’s ministry to men at www.Love-Wise.com

 

 

 

 

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I don’t like to not know. I don’t like to not have an answer or an opinion. Not knowing or not being able to reply makes me feel tense. And dare I say it? I feel stupid.

What’s even sillier is that I will give an opinion even though I’m not sure I’m right—so that I can avoid saying, “I don’t know.” That’s pretty bad. Oh, my.

So it was with interest I studied Zechariah 4:5. The prophet Zechariah had been shown a vision of a lamp stand and several other things. He asked what the items meant. “So the angel who was speaking with me [Zechariah] answered and said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.'”

If I had been Zechariah, I wouldn’t have asked what the things are because that would have shown my—there’s that word again—stupidity. And then when the angel asked, “Do you not know what these are?” I would have bluffed my way into some sort of answer (said as if I’m Rocky Balboa). “Well, sure, I know what it is. Whatcha think, I’m stupid or somepin’?”

So I’m admiring Zechariah. He had the humility to admit he didn’t know and he was willing to be instructed. I need to remember him as my inspiration for admitting when I don’t know.

It’s okay even if I appear to be stupid because it doesn’t matter what other people think of me. What matters is God’s view of me, and He already knows when I don’t know. He would much rather I admit my lack of knowledge and ask to be informed. Because He’s eager to teach and guide me. What a patient God.

Kathy Collard Miller is growing in being able to say, “I don’t know.” Even though she doesn’t know a lot, God has graciously empowered her to write over fifty books, including her latest, At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. It’s a ten-lesson women’s study for groups or individuals. Kathy has also spoken in over thirty states in the U.S. and eight foreign countries. Visit her: www.KathyCollardMiller.com. Twitter: @KathyCMiller FB: www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor.

 

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Words matter. Proverbs 15:4 says that words can heal, but they can also break a person’s spirit. Who hasn’t experienced both of these? I sure have! And in my latest novel, Katelyn’s Choice, my protagonist, Katelyn, does too.

Thankfully, Katelyn has some faithful mentors who speak into her life and nudge her to change. Do you? Do you have those who are free to challenge your words, encourage you to speak truth and life, and nudge you to change when you need to? If you don’t, I’d like to encourage you to find that friend who is closer than a brother, one who can help you to tame your tongue and bring God glory through your words.

So many of us struggle with gossip, frivolous chatter, and unwholesome talk, especially with the world of social media screaming at us. James 3:5 says that it’s just “a small part of the body but it makes great boasts.” Then he compares the tongue to a spark that creates a forest fire. Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue has “the power of life and death.”

With this in mind, my novel, Katelyn’s Choice, explores this principle. Here’s a little about the story:

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

And boy, did Katelyn get herself into some terrible predicaments because of her prattling tongue.

In and of ourselves, we are utterly unable to tame our tongue.

Only the Lord can help us, but will Katelyn—will you—turn to Him for help? I know I need to regularly, and I suspect I’m not alone.

Susan G. Mathis is vice president of Christian Authors Network and a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in Upstate New York. Katelyn’s Choice,The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, and Christmas Charity will transport you to a time and place few have visited. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her husband, Dale, and relishes time with her four adorable granddaughters. Find out more at www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Poignant words from the heart of Jesus, who would soon lay down his life for his friends.

The words hold deep meaning for families who’ve lost loved ones in battle. They hold deep meaning for all of us who live in America, land of the free, home of the brave.

We’re grateful for those who spilled blood on foreign soil, sacrificing their lives—the cost of freedom.

Most of us will never find ourselves in treacherous war zones dodging enemy fire and literally laying down our lives. But we have opportunities each day to lay down our life for people we love.

Today offers a chance to give ourselves sacrificially—even when we don’t feel like it or don’t want to be inconvenienced.

This kind of laying-down-my-life is a hard thing because it’s totally opposed to the flesh. The flesh hates sacrificial giving—the selfish self must be denied. The flesh asks, “What do I get?” One committed to following Jesus in the laid-down life asks, “What can I give?”

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brother” (1 John 3:16).

Supernatural love. Superior love. Sacrificial love. Laying-down-my-life love. Christ-followers cannot give less.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]’” (Matthew 16:24 Amplified).

(Scriptures from NIV unless noted.)

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s secretary and blog coordinator for Christian Authors Network and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

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