Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it (Ezra 10:4).

After surgery, I could only put “big toe” weight on my right leg for a month. That meant my left leg, supported by a walker, had to bear the load. In order to keep me from ending up with one weak, puny leg and one buffed one, I have non-load bearing PT exercises for the right one.

Why only big-toe weight? Our big toes are big for a reason. Our bodies use them to balance. Ever watch a ballerina “on toe”? It provides the rest of the foot leverage. Without thinking about it, you put your weight mostly on your big toe when you lift off a chair. Go ahead, try it using any other toe or your heel instead. I’ll wait…

Back now? To continue…

I need to consistently practice this unique way of walking even if it feels unnatural.

That made me think about how much I lean on God for support, especially when I am weak. But even if I feel strong, I should still use Him as support. Most of us don’t want to lean on a crutch. We were taught to stand on our own two feet. I’m not saying Christians should be wimpy. It takes strength of character to admit you need assistance.

This cultural environment wants to pull us out of balance. We need our Lord for support. We can only walk this life well if we press into God’s Word and prayer for support, and lean on His understanding, as it says in Proverbs 3:5, fully trusting in His strength to bolster us. He is my spiritual “walker” and I don’t want to let go, lest I fall.

Julie Cosgrove, besides being the author or fourteen traditionally published faith-based novels and novellas, is also a devotional writer and editor for CRU’s digital ministry as well as for three other publications. Her own blog, Where Did You Find God Today? has readers in over fifty countries. Check out her latest mystery series, The Relatively Seeking Mysteries, and the rest of her books at www.juliebcosgrove.com. (Photo courtesy twitter@bigtoe.[/caption])

 

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I enjoyed crafting magnets with encouraging sayings to give as game prizes at my weight-loss club. But the ones that said “Hello, Beautiful!” sat on the eight-foot table like unadopted pound puppies. What is wrong with these people, Lord? I muttered. Why don’t they like themselves?

But when I looked at my own fridge, I noticed the lack of a “Hello, Beautiful!” magnet. I couldn’t take a dose of my own encouragement. Perhaps we’re afraid to come across as arrogant. Or perhaps it’s because our society equates beauty with outward appearance only.

Even though God made us in his image (Genesis 1:26), we’ve believed the lie that unless our bodies are perfect, we’re less than attractive or valuable. We’re quick to tell our friends how great they look or how special they make us feel. But we can’t say it to ourselves.

I decided to help those around me—and myself—get a glimpse of the beauty God put inside us. I started handing out genuine compliments right and left. I told the cashier at a restaurant I appreciated her cheerful attitude. I thanked the nurse at my mom’s assisted-living facility for her dedication. I wrote a note of gratitude to my easygoing co-worker. I made a habit to look for ways to say, “You are beautiful—I see God in you.”

Every time I shone a light on someone’s inner loveliness, I felt better about myself. Helping my neighbors see their value made me more aware of how God sees me: one of “his chosen people” (I Peter 2:9 ERV). I even made another magnet that said “Hello, Beautiful!” and put it on my own fridge.

(Adapted from Hello, Beautiful: Finally Love Yourself Just as You Are)

Jeanette Levellie, a spunky redheaded pastor’s wife, is the author of five books and hundreds of published articles. She is the wife of one, mother of two, grandmother of three, and waitress of two (cats). Find her mirthful musings at www.jeanettelevellie.com.

 

 

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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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Paisley Abbey in Glasgow, Scotland
Paisley Abbey in Glasgow, Scotland

Paisley Abbey in Glasgow, Scotland.

Recently my family and I were able to travel around historic Scotland researching our ancestral ties to this beautiful country. One of the amazing places we visited was Paisley Abbey where our ancestors, the Lords Cathcart I & II, were interred. We searched and searched all over the huge church for their tombs. But we needed to know some crucial information.

Traveling Historic Scotland can flip your assumptions 180 degrees.

The interior view of Paisley Abbey's new altar area

The interior view of Paisley Abbey’s new altar area.

Paisley Abbey was built over time in the 12th century. Major benefactors included the Cathcart family. Over the centuries, major benefactors and important people in society were very often buried nearest the altar inside churches. The less important a person in society, the farther from the altar. knowing this, we searched every brick and tomb. We searched all the carvings and stones.

The volunteer guide pointed out Cathcart Aisle and a small alcove behind the choir. We found more recent (1800s) Cathcarts that would be very distant cousins. But no sign of the lords’ gravesites.

 

Then, our guide mentioned that the  huge cathedral had a different design than its original. 

The historic altar had been destroyed as the Paisley Abbey, several times from war and a huge architectural mistake when one of the roof rebuilds crashed down from poor workmanship. Over time, the altar was moved as the abbey was expanded and rebuilt.

But one wall, the Old Wall, still exists.

Cathcart Memorials at Paisley Abbey in the Old Wall

Cathcart Memorials at Paisley Abbey in the Old Wall.

The guide pointed out the difference in the height and narrowness as potentially guards against Viking raids versus the new walls with windows at a more normal height. Then he mentioned the original wall, hidden mostly behind a long line of screens that told the story of the abbey. He pointed out where the original altar likely stood. People commonly interred in the thick walls of historic Scotland’s cathedrals over the centuries.

We’d been searching in the wrong place the entire time because we didn’t know the altar moved!

The ancient Cathcart tomb is a large stone carved in Latin, pretty high up below very narrow windows on the original monastery wall. We all admired the beautiful stained glass, more recently placed, but still gorgeous in the ancient church. Then…

We found them! A long brass plaque beneath the carved words, different centuries and yet the root of our Cathcart roots. Just one branch on our family tree. But I am so happy to have found them and a little more information to share with future generations.

All that time scouring every nook and cranny in the choir, altar, walls, and floor. Often we chase all around the answer, not realizing it’s the wrong spot because of an assumption based on the way things look right now. What a great example those few hours gave me! When I’m methodically searching and not finding, I learned from historic Scotland to ask God to point me in the right direction regardless of my assumptions.

Angela Breidenbach and her daughter pay their respects to ancestors at Paisley Abbey

Angela Breidenbach and her daughter pay their respects to ancestors at Paisley Abbey.

 

Author and genealogist, Angela Breidenbach

Author and genealogist, Angela Breidenbach

Angela Breidenbach uses the research from her travels in her historical novels.

She’s a genealogist and the president of the Christian Authors Network.

You can find her at AngelaBreidenbach.com and on social media with @AngBreidenbach including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.

Try one of Angela’s historical novels that include genealogical research like:

 The Captive Brides Collection telling the story of Scottish immigrants who endured indenture to come to the Colonies as the American Revolution is birthed.

Captive Brides Historical Romance Collection

Captive Brides Romance Collection featuring CAN author Angela Breidenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In May of 1948, as the British Empire ended their mandate and withdrew from Palestine, five Arab nations sat on the border ready to invade. At that moment, David Ben-Gurion, the leader of the Jews, stood in Tel Aviv and declared the establishment of the State of Israel—marking the rebirth of a Jewish nation in the Holy Land after 2,000 years in exile.

I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel tells the amazing true story of Israel’s rebirth—promises made, promises broken, and ultimately the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy that this people would indeed return to their Promised Land.

Beginning with the birth of both the Zionist Movement and Harry Truman in the 1880s, I Am Cyrus chronicles the growth of Zionism and the unlikely emergence of Harry Truman on the American political stage. It then describes the prophetic and historic days leading to the rebirth of Israel and the vital role Harry Truman and his former business partner, Eddie Jacobson, played in those crucial moments.

The rebirth of Israel declares for a modern generation that God still keeps his promises. His Word is as reliable today as when these words were written.

“Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant” (1 Kings 8:56).

Has God given you a promise? Then live in expectation.

Dr. Craig von Buseck is an author, editor of digital content for Inspiration.org, and a contributing writer for CBN.com, MTL Magazine, Charisma, and ChristianPost.com. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and an MA in Religious Journalism from Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. His latest book is I Am Cyrus: Harry Truman and the Rebirth of Israel. Contact Craig at www.vonbuseck.com, craigvonbuseck@gmail.com, http://www.facebook.com/craigvonbuseck, http://twitter.com/craigvonbuseck

 

 

 

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