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.

At the Heart of Friendship by Kathy Collard Miller

At the Heart of Friendship by Kathy Collard Miller

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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I have found it is A LOT easier to DISCOVER JOY if you are looking for it! This summer, let’s go on a #JoyHunt

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. (Psalm 3:11)

I created this Radiant Joy Praise sheet so those going through Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience — or anyone who wants more joy in their lives, can keep track of the goodness of God and the #JOYMoments He gives.

Post it on your refrigerator and let the JOY radiat from your heart as you capture God’s goodness and grace~!

 

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience and Discovering Hope in the Psalms, She makes her home on a live-aboard boat slipped in So Ca. Connect to Pam and see more of her bible teaching on the Bill and Pam Farrel Facebook page.

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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 the tongue is just “a small part of the body but it makes great boasts.” Then he compares it 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

Susan G Mathis

Katelyn's Choice

Katelyn’s Choice

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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My friend locked her gaze on me. “What are you afraid of, Sarah?”

Those words threw me for a loop. For years I’d written novels. For years I’d received rejection letters. I’d just told my friend about my tortuous road to publication when she slammed me with that question.

Afraid? I wasn’t afraid.

Oh yes, I was. I was afraid of another rejection. I was afraid I’d get published and disappoint my publisher and readers. I was afraid I’d misheard God’s voice and was on the wrong road altogether.

The world is a scary place. Current events, illness, and family crises cause enough fears, but on top of that, God asks us to do scary things. Spread the gospel to the farthest corners of the world. Teach Sunday school. Care for the widows and orphans and homeless and immigrants.

Fear is a natural emotion, but if we don’t counter it with God’s truth, it can cripple us and keep us from the life the Lord intends for us. We need to step out, despite our fears. God can use our quivering fingers and quavering voices, but He can’t use our frozen feet.

After my conversation with my friend, I acted. Although my hands still trembled, I prayerfully submitted my novel to yet another publisher. That publisher gave me my first three-book contract.

When you feel fear’s clammy tentacles writhe inside, analyze your fears. Then take those concerns to God and trust His promises.

Now, go out there and live the life God intended for you.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of World War II novels, including The Sea Before Us and The Sky Above Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California. www.sarahsundin.com.

 

 

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