The second annual 5K benefit to aid the building of a local homeless shelter had ended successfully with a whopping $25,000 raised.

Two walkers remained steadfast on the course. One had no original intention of walking; the other had every intention of completing the journey, no matter how long it took. That journey would take two hours.

With the assistance of crutches, college-student Erin began the race. Runners whizzed past and walkers trekked toward the goal. The distance widened between Erin and other participants. Born with cerebral palsy, Erin displayed the fortitude of one who is not used to giving up.

Angela wanted to support the event and registered as a volunteer. Posted near the first stretch of the race, she directed participants and waved encouragingly to those she knew.

Angela said, “When I saw Erin, I admired her determination and didn’t want her to walk alone.”

Leaving her post, Angela asked Erin if she could join her and, with water bottle in hand, one friend joined another on the journey.

“Her spirit was joyful the entire time,” Angela said of her friend. “She never complained. She was determined. It was inspirational for me.”

When the organizer of the event heard two walkers were still on the path, she returned to the location and waited at the finish line. Dee later said she was reminded of the verse in Acts 20:24. “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”

Where are you today on your writing journey? Struggling to complete the task? Crossing the finish line with zeal? Supporting another writer on the trek?

Finish the race, with God’s help, and inspire others along the way.

Julie Lavender

Julie Lavender

365 Ways to Love Your Child by Julie Lavender

365 Ways to Love Your Child by Julie Lavender

Julie Lavender is a journalist, author, and former homeschooling mom of twenty-five years who holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. She is married to her-high school and college sweetheart, David, a wildlife biologist, who’s spent the last thirty-seven years encouraging her to love and appreciate all of God’s creations. Julie’s parenting book, 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories, releases in October.



Yes—you are in a battle.

You might see it. Maybe you don’t.

Perhaps your anger flares, you lose control, your heart is broken, or you feel isolated. The enemy is trying to gain a victory.

Reject defeat.

Through Christ you can win.

Purpose in your heart that God’s love will work in you to conquer doubt, fear, and distress.


Keep fighting.

Don’t give up.

God will provide the power and strength. The right methods. Keep going back to him. Every minute if you have to.

From Him come understanding and knowledge. Our struggles aren’t merely with people we face daily, but against the forces of darkness arrayed against us at various levels.

Combat is divided into three areas: tactical, operational, and strategic.

Tactical battles are directly in front of us, easy to see. Examples include internal conflicts with yourself, family, friends, co-workers, or bosses.

Operational battles seem hazier, even a bit foggy. They are indirect engagements—perhaps people you influence like grandchildren, your adult children’s co-workers, church leadership, or organizations you support.

Strategic battles can be difficult to grasp or comprehend unless you refocus your brain. This final level is the big picture, where you’re one small part of a complex puzzle. Imagine regional or national levels.

Whatever level your battle occupies, take your broken heart to the Father. Lug your failures, conflicts, tears, sorrows and sadness into His presence. He’ll listen. Provide new perspective. Flood your heart with peace, joy, resolution, and understanding. He created the marvelous puzzle of life, each intricate piece and connection. The best solution to molding the pieces together comes from Him.

Start again. Be that renewed person in Christ. A Christian warrior. Fight the battle against darkness.

Lay down the old self, the mistakes, and the regrets.


Aaron M. Zook, Jr.

Aaron M. Zook, Jr.

The Isle of Intrigue by Aaron M. Zook, Jr.

The Isle of Intrigue

Aaron M. Zook, Jr. is a multiple-award-winning author and speaker. He’s thrilled thousands with his YA Christian mystery/adventure series about two inquisitive brothers and their dogs who solve one crisis after another around the world. Aaron is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and lives with his wife, Joyce, in Texas.




Put yourself in the scene for a moment. You are sitting in a crowd staring longingly at Jesus. He has just said His followers should be glad when they are persecuted because they will receive a reward in heaven. Then he says, “…if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?”

Keep in mind being involved in a rebellion against Roman rule is no small thing. Many rebellions against the Romans have been squelched as the leader and followers are murdered.

In those moments, could we possibly have a sense of the magnitude of what Jesus knows will happen? No. We can’t see through the ages to understand Jesus’s teaching of the Gospel, the “good news,” is His sacrificial death for the forgiveness of sins and the restoration of the relationship between God and man. This wonderful message will spread throughout the whole world. The saltiness Jesus is referring to will reach every nation and develop a thirst for knowing God through His Messiah.

Jesus always purposefully crafts his words. His reference to salt is clear to his listeners. There are three basic purposes of salt at that time: thirst, preservation, and seasoning. Jesus teaches his followers to first, create spiritual thirst in others. Secondly, preserve godliness in culture. And thirdly, season their actions with godliness so their fruitful lives seem attractive—“tasty”—to others.

Knowing God is in charge of the result of our representation will comfort and strengthen us. Even when we represent Him well, we can’t force anyone to become spiritually thirsty, or culture be preserved, or our godly actions be attractive to others. God must work, even using us when we are persecuted. Thankfully, He graciously and generously wants to use us to be a part of His plan, no matter the result.

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of fifty-eight books and an international speaker. This devotional is adapted from her book God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature. Kathy loves to share with others about God’s perfect nature as the means of trusting Him more. Find her at
Twitter: @KathyCMiller




Anxiety is running high these days—riots in the streets, political confusion, and a silent virus  infecting the world. It’s enough to make anyone lose sleep. But Jesus reminds us to cast all our cares on him (1 Peter 5:7). He also invites us to ask for anything in His name (John 14:14), and He will grant it.

In a world that seems hopeless, Jesus is our hope. In a world that seems helpless, He is our helper. In a world of anxiety, He is our peace.

As I’m reading Bible verses and devotions to help me listen to God, I have been coming across many verses on thanking God. Thanking Him in all circumstances. Thanking Him in the midst of trials. And thanking Him as I bring my prayers and requests to Him.

I’m pretty faithful in bringing my “to-do” list to God. I’m never shy about asking God for what I need. But I am learning to add thanksgiving to those prayers. When I tell God what I need, or ask Him to resolve pressing issues, I add, “Thank You that You hear me. Thank You that You will answer. Thank You that Your timing is always right.”

Does this mean my prayers will be answered faster? No. It means that when I pray with thanksgiving, God replaces my anxiety with peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman

Mothers in Waiting by Crystal Bowman

Mothers in Waiting by 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 newest book is releasing soon, I Love You to the Stars—When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembers.




“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Have you ever stared into space with nothing but your very own eyes and been in awe? Have you ever witnessed firsthand such a phenomenon as the Aurora Borealis? Or seen a shooting star?

Have you ever stood on a beach and marveled at the beauty of the ocean? Have you ever been astonished by power of the waves? The curiosity of its depths?

Have you ever stood on a mountainside and had your breath taken away by the valley below? To be high above the winding river and myriad of trees, knowing your view is nothing compared to vision of our Creator?

If you’re a follower of Jesus, then you must admit that God has quite the imagination. To think He spoke all this into existence and made all of it work harmoniously together, like an intricately exquisite timepiece, is beyond anything our finite minds can fully fathom.

When you view God and His Creation in the right light, with the right heart, and the right spirit, you soon realize just how poor in spirit you are. The Greek word poor in Matthew 5:3 means “one who crouches and cowers,” “beggarly,” “poor,” “deeply destitute.” The scene in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah gets commissioned by God, gives us a picture of how a person who is “poor in spirit” responds when faced with the majesty of the King of the Kingdom of Heaven.

You see, the first step to entering the kingdom of heaven is having a right understanding about ourselves by knowing and honoring the King of that kingdom (Isaiah 45:22-25). When we do that properly, then we can feel nothing but poor in spirit, which is not the final resting place of believers in Jesus, but the first step toward “kingdom living.” However, it is not a step that can be skipped. It is the crucial foundation.

The rest of the Beatitudes mark the progression of the believer’s life and faith when he or she does things God’s way, so that by the time the believer is living out each and every Beatitude, he or she will have become a true follower of Jesus. Jesus, in response to such heavenly living, says in verse 12, “Rejoice, and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The life of a believer. To stand in awe of the Almighty and follow Him unswervingly. When you are poor in spirit, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That is when the kingdom of heaven gets real. Here and now. And for all eternity.

C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

The Letters

Kevin Thompson is an ordained minister, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, the first in a continuing series. His latest novel, The Letters, released in February 2020.; blog:; Facebook C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page; Twitter @CKevinThompson; Instagram ckevinthompson; Pinterest ckevinthompsonauthor; Goodreads C. Kevin Thompson; BookBub C. Kevin Thompson.