Help your children develop a servant’s heart as you discover more about the lifestyles of people who serve— first responders such as firefighters, police, and EMTs; military, missionaries, and families who volunteer? Understand the call to serve, the sacrifices, living with a member in a dangerous career, and dedication that impacts the entire family, plus the rewards and joys of really helping people. That’s what you’ll discover in 52 Weekly Devotions for Families who Serve as you choose to do it family time your way.Each week includes a family beatuitude, scripture, relevant hands-on activities, contemporary story, Bible story, chat prompts, family scrapbook prompts, frontline tips to help with issues in the story, wrap-up, and closing prayer.
About the author:
Karen Whiting has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She lets creativity flow into her writing to encourage women, families, and children. She’s a writing and Marketing Coach (www.karenwhiting.com), international speaker, former television host, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, military, and families. She’s also a mom of five (including two rocket scientists) and a grandmother. She writes to help families thrive. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications. Her awards include the Christian Retailing 2014 Best Award, children’s nonfiction (The One Year My Princess Devotions) and the Military Writer’s Society of America Gold Medal (Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front).
If I am lost in a city, I like to go to a map so I can see the “big picture.” The same thing is true of discerning God’s will. Having an overall general understanding of God’s book, character, actions and words helps us to understand God and to understand how He works.
Read the Bible through in a year.The One-Year Bible or one of Tyndale’s One Year Bible Devotionals, like Devotions for
Women on the Go are options. You might read a new translation or use a different study tool as you read, but year after year – even if it takes you a few years to read it through – God’s Word will become anchored into your heart.
Study the Bible chronologically. Studying the Bible this way has helped me form my philosophy and methodology of ministry. For example, because I see how God lays foundations, then builds on them, I want to do the same in my ministry.
Study the character of God. By studying who God is, I get to see how He thinks, acts, and relates to people. When I am in a tough spot, especially when I have to make a quick decision, I go back and ask, “What would God’s character have me do?” This year, I had several important decisions on my mind, decisions that would dramatically impact my family, my ministry and my future. I felt compelled to travel back to the place I started my Christian walk more than 30 years ago – in the book of Matthew.
I re-read all the words of Jesus in the gospels, seeking the heart of God on the matter before me.
Dive Deep Into A Topic: For several years, I have been in the psalms. First as one of the writers for Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, then the following few years as a teacher of that study of the Psalms. The benefit of a focused topical study is you move closer to the heartbeat of God in that area of life or scripture.
Other ideas for study are the names of God in the Old Testament, the verses that speak of God as the Father, the names Christ is called in the Old and New Testament, and the names and character of the Holy Spirit. When you layer God’s Word into your life on a daily basis, you gain the ability to see things from God’s perspective. Jesus explains it with the phrase, “You are in me and I in you” (John 14:20, John 17:21-22). The Word of God is the key ingredient in protecting your life: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23).
Before I began writing fiction, I became a freelance writer. My late husband’s job required us to move a lot (28 times in 35 years.) The best way I could bring in income was to click away at the keyboard. Wherever there was an internet connection, my customers could find me!
I immediately landed bids. In thanksgiving, I tithed my work day to God, writing for Him first. I came across a devotional blog site through Truth Media, Christian Women Today. I queried them in 2008, and from then on wrote two devos a months—pro bono. The leader of our writer’s critique group chided me, stating I should charge. But I felt God firmly saying, “No.”
After my husband died, I prayed for a steady income which would allow me to pursue my fiction writing. I landed a job as a church secretary. Most days, I was the only one there, available to answer the door and phones, and open rooms for various groups. It gave me plenty of time to write. The priest was fine with that. He told me, “I’d rather you write Christian fiction than play Angry Birds.” I still wrote devos for four sites, pro bono, as my ministry.
Truth Media became Power to Change. Two years later, the church laid me off. I knew God had plans for this widow who now had no income. Within two weeks, the editor in chief of The Life Project, one of the divisions of Power to Change, asked if I would consider coming on staff. As a branch of Campus Crusades, the position required me to raise my salary through partnerships. A huge leap of faith!
Now I am a writer and editor for their digital ministry. Our free articles and devos average half a million clicks a month, and encourage both Christian and secular readers to seek spiritual mentors in one of three, soon to be six, languages. Never did I imagine that what I write, and help others write, woul
d have such a global impact.
The world is on the internet. We help them know Jesus. Right now, donations will be matched by an anonymous donor through 2017. If God has stirred your heart to learn more about this amazing mission field, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary’s Monday Musings on Encouraging words by Mary Tatem
The hotel was amazing. With its size, extravagant lobbies, chandeliers, and shiny stair rails, the establishment reeked money. One can only imagine what a night there would cost. But the staff was lovely, not an ounce of exclusiveness in evidence. A night’s lodging or a dinner in one of the several restaurants might cost a mint, but a dish of ice cream was reasonable and a cup of tea affordable. Both were served with elegance and thoughtfulness as if we were as ritzy as the overnight guests.
Does God enjoy dropping unexpected treats like that on his people? We are His children, and I think He likes to give us surprising and undeserved blessings because He loves us even more than we love our children. As parents, we don’t want our children to expect such experiences and consider them their right, but we love to provide sweet treats occasionally. God relishes surprising us with special delights.
Let’s keep our eyes open so we recognize His blessing and thank Him when He supplies the unexpected and undeserved treat. Keep your eyes open to see Him at work in your writing, or your business, as well as your family. Thank Him for both the amazing and the mundane blessing. He is the author of both. A letter to a shut in is as important an accomplishment for an author as a best-selling book. When we awake each morning, ask Him to allow us to use our skills to bless people—be they organizing skills, creating skills, or simply a word of encouragement.
Dianne Barker here, doing my favorite thing—spreading encouragement.
I’ve chosen my verse for 2017. “…Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:10b).
This Christmas, I had the joy of speaking at many women’s teas and Christmas events. My message was on “Christmas Light” and it is based on our family’s Christmas Advent Wreath and Dinner and Dialogue tradition. We use Isaiah 9:6 as the center of our celebration and conversation because it is the center of the hope and light we all enjoy because of Christ’s birth.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”
This Christmas, which name of Christ are you leaning on? Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father or Prince of Peace?
Those same four names can lead us to creative ways to bless back those who have been a blessing to us during the past year. In doing so, we reflect the light of God’s love.
For with you is the fountain of life; in yourlight do we see light (Psalms 36:9)
For those who have blessed you, not just personally, but professionally, let’s look at 4 simple ways you can boomerang back some of the blessings that have been extended to you:
Wonderful Counselor: Give those who supported you a little support too. Send them a book (video, conference scholarship, a meeting with a mentor or counselor, a day away at a conference grounds for solace) that equips them for an upcoming important event in their life (marriage, birth of a child, care for a parent), or comforts or lends wisdom for a struggle he or she might be working through (that they may have shared with you).
This can be a fun way to express your creativity too. For example, we often give our book, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, and wrap it in a pasta bowl with spaghetti noodles, waffle iron with waffle mix and the utensils needed to cook these up. On occasion I have a friend in ministry close enough to send a fun gift to– like our Red Hot Monogamy book wrapped in a set of sheets, or in a basket of fun “hot items” like Red Hot candy, hot tamales, a gift card to a Mexican food café, or a collections of hot sauce bottles.
Mighty God: Offer to pray them through a difficult situation or circumstance. Send Bible verses, prayers, or a Bible gift item with a verse they can hang their heart on to have hope. My friend, Lisa Copen, of Gutsy Goodness, has an invisible illness that keeps her in daily pain, yet she runs Rest Ministries to help others in pain and she also creates beautiful messages of hope on necklaces. During a difficult season in my life, God led me to Neh. 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Today, I wear that phrase to encourage me on a necklace Lisa made for me.
Everlasting Father: Good dads make life just a little bit easier. Perhaps your gift can help lighten the load or ease the work of someone who has eased your load. Options can include gift cards, but you can also add your logo (or theirs) to tools that people need for work as a small reminder that you care: usb drive, coffee mugs, water glasses, sticky note holders, coasters, desk accessories are all items we have received and given. (Often your local Christian bookstore is a great place to find unique gift items with some deeper scriptural meaning– and it is a terrific way to thank your bookstore with your business!) For example, to go along with my book Becoming a Brave New Woman, I was able to purchase a coffee mug with a verse on courage on it to give to some brave women who had helped me be brave.
Prince of Peace: One of the best gifts you can give a leader is to enrich their own walk with God. You might give them a beautiful book mark, a new Bible, or a new devotional. The year A Couple’s Journey with God book was released, some of our friends got a copy of that devotional with some travel items like luggage tags, flight ticket holder and passport cover. Our book Devotions for Men on the Go and Devotions for Women on the Go have been given with items to keep those friends “on the go”: coffee gift card, coffee thermos or dark chocolate espresso bean candy; gas fuel card; or cute key chain or fitness item.
To gain creativity, think of your life, and a walk a mile in your own shoes and ask, “What would make my life easier, stronger or better?” Make a list of those items, then put on your friend’s tennies or heels and walk through their life asking that same question. Chances are the circle of their life and the circle of yours will over lap and there may be items in your world or the books and resources of other author friends you know that could bless those around your ministry.
Every name God calls Himself and every name His people called Him holds clues to who He is, how He relates to His children, and the promises He has made – and kept.
Daily Reflections on the Names of God
offers you a wonderful opportunity to spend time each day getting to
know God more intimately by exploring 122 of His names and attributes.
Using three individual devotions for each name, you will discover
something new about who God is, who you are, and how you relate to
One year from now, will you be able to say that you know God better than you did before? Revitalize your devotional life with an intimate journey through the names of God.
So come, settle down with this book, and know God more fully. The next 366 days will pass quickly—make each one count!
About the Author:
Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional,
is endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries International.
She is a passionate speaker, engaging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit www.AvaWrites.com
Girls will be delighted to learn they are beloved princesses as daughters of the King. Each daily devotion includes a scripture (Royal Words), a special message (Royal Thoughts), a prayer, and an activity to apply the scripture (Princess in Action). Lovely artwork adds to the joy of these do-able devotions. Young girls will enjoy connecting to God and start a great lifetime habit of spending time with God…
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not
commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be
discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
FACT—According to The Book of Lists, the
fear of public speaking ranks number one in the minds of the majority of
people. Far above the fear of death and disease, comes the fear of standing in
front of a crowd.