Let’s be honest. Life is filled with ups and downs. Oftentimes there are more downs than ups, and it’s important to remember where our hope lies.

Our hope is in the Lord—and sometimes the things that seem so important really aren’t. Other times there are pretty big and scary things we have to face.

No matter what the issue, my faith and trust in the Lord help me to deal with whatever I’m facing. My go-to verses to remind me of this are Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and He will guide you.

I’ll admit I have trust issues, but when it comes to the Lord, I completely trust Him. Knowing He is in control and that He loves me and wants the best for me is literally the only way I make it through some days.

He wants the best for you, too. Isn’t that great news? I claim this verse often. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

God’s peace is incredible.

I hope these verses encourage and remind you that He is on your side. He is there for you and He loves you.

Kimberly Rose Johnson, an award-winning author, married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly, has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. She holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/.

 

 

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A Tap Says Notice me! While sitting at my kitchen table, I often feel a tap on my arm. Looking down, I find my white kitty touching me with his paw. Sometimes he lets out a pitiful mew as his blue eyes gaze with longing.

Sir Edmond usually wants me to feed him, but sometimes he’s pleading for his morning brush-down. Or he might initiate a game. He hovers around me as I do household chores, and he curls up nearby when I sit down to write.

I think he’s discovered I’m his best source for food, comfort, and play. I hear people say cats aren’t affectionate, but I know better.

In much the same way, people get confused about God. Perhaps they see him as an angry judge who lies in wait for them to sin, or someone so distant he doesn’t care. However, I crave his love, grace, and mercy.

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good, I have made the Lord God my refuge” (Psalm 73: 28 NAS).

My days flow more smoothly when I stay close to the Father. Just like my kitty, I often “tap” my Father when I need love, wisdom, or an eternal perspective.

 

 

Cynthia L. Simmons

Cynthia L. Simmons

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband reside in Atlanta. A Bible teacher and former home-school mother, she writes a column for Leading Hearts Magazine. She served as past president of Christian Authors Guild, directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference, and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio. Her author website is www.clsimmons.com.

Pursuing Gold

Pursuing Gold

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Winters in Michigan, where I grew up, were long, cold, and dreary. Gray skies, leafless trees, and a colorless landscape made the winter months feel endless. Occasionally, the sun would peek out in March with a patch of blue sky that gave hope to a frigid existence.

Then came April. As daylight lingered a little longer and snow melted away, the sky became brighter and creation began to wake up.

I love that we celebrate Easter in the spring because it’s a celebration of new life. Just as brown grass turns to green, flowers sprout from the earth, and tree branches blossom with new foliage, the resurrection of Jesus gives new life to those who are spiritually dead. And the new life that Jesus gives to those who believe in him lasts through all eternity.

Even more than the blue skies and colorful flowers, what I loved most about spring was the melody of birds singing praises to their Creator from early morning until evening. This Easter, as we celebrate our new life in Jesus, may we join our feathered friends by praising the One who is worthy of our song.

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land (Song of Solomon 2:12 NIV).

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).

Mothers in Waiting

Mothers in Waiting

 

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Practicing Patience

By Susan G Mathis

My husband has Parkinsons disease, so I am learning to employ a good deal of patience—the very thing I taught in my children’s picture book, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patience —while we adjust to the challenges of such a terrible disease. God is never finished teaching us patience, so to that end, for all of us who need a bit of encouragement as we learn patience now or in the future, here are a few inspiring quotes that may help:

“God’s way of answering the Christian’s prayer for more patience, experience, hope, and love often is to put him into the furnace of affliction,” Richard Cecil. Yup, I think surgery might be my furnace at the moment.

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world,” Helen Keller. What a woman she must have been!

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait—it’s how we behave while we’re waiting,” Joyce Meyer. Very true. I’ll remember that when I have physical therapy. Smiles.

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures,” Joseph Addison. Hmmm. Got to ponder this one.

“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience, and to respect the fury of nature,” Paulo Coelho. Interesting.

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character,” Heraclitus.

When all is said and done, may you and I be found with a new measure of patience and stronger, more godly character that will bless others, especially God.

 

Dear Lord, Help us learn patience more and more each day. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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Spiritual Needs 

By Susan G Mathis

It’s always good to revisit your spiritual needs—individually and as a couple—and discuss how each of you can help meet those needs. As we grow and mature, our needs often change, so it’s good to adjust to them accordingly.

First, if you haven’t already, find a church and commit to attend regularly. Next, be sure to pray together. For some, this isn’t easy, but start by saying a prayer before meals. Then you can learn to pray at other times and for other things—for safety on a trip, for God’s will, and for His plan for your marriage. If you’ve let either of these fall by the wayside, reignite your commitment to prayer and fellowship.

Third, plan to grow spiritually together. If you aren’t in one, find a Bible study or small group with other couples with whom you can “do life” together. If your church doesn’t have a group, start one!

Fourth, find another couple and ask them to mentor you. Meet with that couple every few weeks or monthly. Be honest, transparent, and inquisitive. Ask them how to deal with issues you’re encountering. Seek their advice on struggles you may have. And be accountable to them for your walk together as well as individually.

Fifth, but possibly the most important, maintain your covenant commitment to God and to each other. Choose, daily, to maintain and develop your walk with God through faithfully growing in His ways. It’s not always easy, but who expects that everything should be easy?

Finally, realize that, as you grow and mature spiritually, these needs will continue to change. Life is ever changing, and so is your spiritual life.

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to get so busy we forget grow together spiritually. Help us draw closer together by making You the very center of our lives. In Jesus name, Amen

 

Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness  and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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