What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts 

and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.

2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (TLB)

People need hope more than advice. What a freedom to know that it is never necessary to have our life all in order before helping another. God does not expect us to be experts but He does call us to come alongside each other.

All human beings have two things in common. We all experience pain and we all need a Savior.

 A crisis can destroy someone or make that person stronger. How we face the crisis often depends on what kind of support we receive. Often the best comfort comes from one who has been there. Each of us has real life experience that could support another who is facing a crossroad.

We know from our own journey that comfort comes from large as well as seemingly small gestures. As we touch those who are in distress, we become a conduit connecting them with God’s unfailing love.

Life is a team sport. We have an enormous opportunity to be the hands of Jesus that reach out and bring hope and encouragement to a hurting world. As Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

 

Lord, as you say in 2 Corinthians 1:4, when others are troubled, needing my sympathy and encouragement, I can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given me.

 

PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells

Chasing Sunrise

Chasing Sunrise

History buff and island votary PeggySue Wells is the best-selling author of twenty-nine books including Chasing Sunrise, and Homeless for the Holidays.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

 

Have you ever had a dream that just wouldn’t let you go … but it didn’t go anywhere, either?

I’m a freelance writer, and long seasons of waiting for dreams to become reality just come with the territory. But sometimes those waiting periods can feel like an eternity. Even if you’re not a writer, I’m guessing you can relate.

About twenty years ago, I had the idea of doing a devotional for people who love fiction. Since I’d been teaching at writers’ conferences for years, I’d connected with authors at all levels, including well-known best sellers. So there were a lot of people I could ask about submitting stories.

Since I’d been a professional freelance editor for several years, I could edit the submissions I chose without losing the authors’ voices. And I’d developed a strong social media presence, so I could get the word out to other writers who might want to be included in the compilation.

I started pitching the idea to the publishers I met at writers’ conferences. Some were excited about the idea, but the proposals never developed into a contract. In spite of numerous rejections, I knew God had a plan for this concept, so I kept pitching it—working on other books (and my editing business) in the meantime.

Finally, BroadStreet Publishing caught the vision I had—and offered me a four-book contract! They created these devotionals as beautiful hardcover gift books, with full-color interior pages, even ribbon page markers. They were so gorgeous, I was actually glad the other publishers turned me down!

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this dream. I know God made sure these books got published in just the right way and at just the right time … according to His plan. He is making sure they get into the hands of the people He had in mind when He called me to do this in the first place.

Have you harbored a dream in your heart for a long time? Have you begun to disparage of it ever becoming a reality? Don’t give up.

Trust God to come through—in His time and in His way.

Kathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and editor/compiler for the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. She is a professional freelance editor, director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and co-owner of the Christian Editor Network. You can read her blog on her website.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

 

My husband Dale and I have experienced medical challenges—cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, and illnesses. We’ve had challenges in our adult children’s lives—financial stresses, unemployment, school struggles, health issues, and major moves across the country and the world. We’ve had life challenges—job changes, aging parents, home and car repairs, and so much more.

Yet all these circumstances have actually brought us closer together because we’ve chosen to lean on each other, to draw strength from each other. You can, too.

Sometimes your marriage will be easy. But other times the potholes or detours of life, the circumstances and the challenges that come your way, will test your marriage and your faith. Yet if you embrace the wisdom of God, He will lead you and guide you through the tough times. He will even carry you over those treacherous mountain passes and through the valleys of hard times . . . if you allow Him.

Especially in the tough times, remember that your marriage is so much bigger than just two people joining forces to journey through life together. It’s even bigger than your family, although that is definitely big!

It’s about how you love each other God’s way. Dale and I make sure we keep this in mind as we make life-decisions.

How have your marriage challenges brought you together? Leave us a comment; we’d love to know.

(Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness, by Susan and Dale Mathis. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.)

Author Susan G. Mathis

Susan Mathis is the author of The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

By Dianne Barker

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127:1NIV).

Got it. Unless the Lord does it, our best efforts will fail.

Synonyms for “vain” are ineffective, hopeless, unsuccessful, unproductive, futile, useless, worthless.

Why would anyone pursue such a life? Who gets up in the morning desiring your day’s work be ineffective, unsuccessful, unproductive, futile, useless, worthless?

We’re off and running, determined to achieve something significant. But if we’re trusting in our own wisdom and strength, our best efforts will be futile.

God created us for a purpose. The greatest disappointment in life is coming to the end of it, never having achieved the purpose for which we were created.

How do we discover God’s purpose?

I accepted Christ at seven and during teen years sensed a desire in my heart to write. At eighteen I landed my dream job writing for the local newspaper while attending college. Within a few weeks, I had my own weekly column. Being young, bold, and confident I had answers to life’s big questions, I often injected my Christian faith.

After finishing college, trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

There was no passion for anything else.

I joined the newspaper’s fulltime staff. Besides writing my column and news stories, I covered many religious events and evangelistic crusades. The Lord brought a host of celebrities across my path: Corrie ten Boom, Vance Havner, Bob Hope, Joan Crawford, Debbie Reynolds, Johnny Cash, Jerry Clower, and others. I shook hands with President Richard Nixon.

The newspaper sent me to Minneapolis to attend the School of Christian Writing, sponsored by Decision Magazine, founded by Billy Graham. I met Dr. Sherwood Wirt, founding editor, who became a friend and mentor.

A year later while covering Dr. Graham’s ten-day crusade in Knoxville, Tennessee, I reconnected with Dr. Wirt. Through his influence I was chosen to write a book about the crusade, Billy Graham in Big Orange Country—my first book at twenty-four.

Clebe McClary, a Vietnam hero from South Carolina, saw the book and asked me to write his story, Living Proof. Through Clebe I met Harold Morris and wrote his story, Twice Pardoned, first book for Focus on the Family Publishing and a 1986 national Christian bestseller.

That book (still available on Amazon, 1.5 million copies in print) surpassed my dreams.

God built the house! I simply followed Jesus, sensitive to impressions of my heart and opportunities he presented. He kept me close, whispering encouragement, whenever the path wound through disappointment and difficulty.

Have you grown weary pursuing dreams, only to slam into a stone wall? Pick yourself up and dare to dream again!

  • Pray, diligently seeking guidance from the Lord, and study his Word.
  • Be sensitive to desires of your heart.
  • Consider your natural talents and learn your spiritual gifts; often natural talents and spiritual gifts are related.
  • Ask godly friends for counsel. They may recognize abilities you haven’t seen and suggest opportunities you haven’t considered.
  • Use what you have and serve where you are. Don’t wait for something amazing to come along. Be faithful where God has placed you.

Your purpose on this earth at this moment in time is to serve and glorify him. Stay as close to Jesus as you can get. He still calls disciples with a simple invitation. “Follow me.”

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 a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

By Mary Tatem

Tiny footprints. Waffle soles of sporting shoes. Delicate three-pronged bird tracks. What an interesting variety of footprints I saw in the sand on my early-morning walk down the beach. Read More →

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube