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Devotional Encouragement

Praising God in Uncertain Times

 

We are living in uncertain times. A global pandemic is not something we are used to coping with. When life changes quickly it often causes anxiety and fear. But the one constant we have is that our Almighty God never changes. Knowing and believing that God is greater than our circumstance gives us hope and peace.

In Psalm 150:2 the psalmist writes, Praise Him because He is greater than anything else. That means God is greater than our worries and fears. He is greater than our circumstances. And He is greater than a global pandemic.

One of the best antidotes for fear is praising God. When our focus is on praising God for His power and love, our fears slip away. Many verses in the Bible remind us that all of creation gives praise to God.

Isaiah 55:12 says, Mountains and hills burst forth in praise and trees of the field clap their hands. In Psalm 96:11 we read, Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad, let the sea resound and all that is in it.

If all of creation praises God, then we, who are created in His image, can praise His name even in uncertain times. Let’s lift our praises to God today and let Him be greater than our circumstance.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:6 NIRV)

 

Crystal Bowman
Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman is an award winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books. She is a speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at writers’ conferences. She is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music.

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Untethered

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Therefore, do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil (Romans 14:16).

Upon my recent retirement from a demanding leadership position, I found myself nearly paralyzed with fear. So many “I never thought I’d…” statements danced chaotically through my mind, robbing me of peace.

Unbidden, my long-since-settled divorce reared its ugly head, reminding me of all of the losses I’ve incurred. My ideal picture of retirement had always included a husband, a family, and grandbabies. The real picture of my solitary leap into the golden years stood in sharp contrast before me, filling me with dread.

One of the first metaphors to come into my mind during my transition process was a great ship, cast about by wild waves, untethered, silhouetted by a full moon hanging low over dark waters.

Feelings of terror accompanied this picture. I had to nearly tie myself down to stop from soothing those unsettling feelings by jumping back into overworking—my life-long drug of choice.

Knowing myself well, I resisted temptation to continue my Type-A ways in my new world. I gave myself the gift of saying “no.” And I gave myself the gift of unscheduled time alone. Allowing time to grieve the changes in my life—and the loss of yet another dream—released the anxiety of uncertainty. A quiet peace took its place.

From this place of peace, the sound of His voice rang true. Child, what brings you joy?

His voice led me back to my first loves—nature, horses, writing, loved-ones around my table sharing great food and better conversation.

The untethered metaphor still rings true—though the feelings evoked today are of excitement and unbridled joy for a new adventure yet unfolding.

Catherine Finger
Catherine Finger
Anchored in Death

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Recently retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to choose how to spend her time in a new way during the second half of life. So far, she chooses to write books, ride horses, serve others, and generally find her way into and out of trouble both on the road and at home.  She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends. Capsized by Death, the fourth novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, releases November 2019. Anchored by Death, third in the series, was a Bronze Medal winner 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards; a 2018 Selah Awards finalist; and a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards. Her second Jo Oliver Thriller, Shattered by Death, was a finalist in the International Book Awards and the National Indie Excellence Awards. Interact with Catherine www.CatherineFinger.com. Follow on Facebook at Catherine Finger, Author; and Twitter CatherineFinger@BeJoOliver.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Living Beyond Our Comfort Zone

 

Life is marked by change. Eighteen months ago, my husband and I purged our earthly belongings and moved aboard a sailboat. This was no midlife crisis. We did it because God said “go.”

Transitioning from house to boat was my husband’s dream come true. He grew up in a waterfront home and drove a speedboat when he was six years old. He later built a small sailboat and then owned a 27-foot Catalina. As for me—well, I grew up on the Alberta prairies. The first time I rowed a boat, I did it backwards. I don’t even like cold showers.

Moving onto a sailboat was far beyond my comfort zone. Fear might have overwhelmed me except for one thing: understanding God’s character.

A lifetime of walking with the Lord through sunshine and shadow has taught me a few things about what He’s like: He’s faithful. He always has our best interest in mind. He never leaves our side. He surrounds us like a shield with His lovingkindness. He provides. He brings joy.

Change is inevitable. Sometimes it comes in a nanosecond with no warning whatsoever. Other times we see it approach and have time to prepare. Regardless, it often brings uncertainty, and uncertainty breeds fear.

Next time change knocks on your door, refuse to let fear stop you from opening it. Instead, focus on the truth about who God is. Thank Him that change brings opportunities to know Him more intimately.

Eighteen months after making our significant change, I have no regrets. I’ve experienced more joy and peace—and opportunities to give thanks when things don’t go as expected—than in the past two decades. Walking in the truth of who God is made the difference for me, and it can do the same for you.

Grace Fox is the author of nine books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation (Harvest House Publishers). She regularly speaks at women’s events across North America. As a career global worker, she also trains church leaders and national missionaries in Nepal and the Middle East. www.gracefox.com.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

God Can’t Use Frozen Feet

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
Sarah Sundin
The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin
The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

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.

 

 

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

A Strong Dose of Charity

 

Excerpt from Christmas Charity by Susan G Mathis

“I heard you were newlyweds from Canada. From Wolfe Island? It’s a mighty lot to adjust to, that’s for sure. But how’s you doing, dearie?”

Susan bit her lip and studied Mabel. Could she trust her, this stranger? Susan needed to talk with someone, especially since her mama wasn’t here. “It’s … all so sudden. Patrick is a good and kind man, but …” She looked toward the door and sighed. “I’m sure I’ll adjust … with time.”

Mabel took Susan’s hand in her tiny, wrinkled ones. “Change ain’t easy, I’ll give you that. But you can nudge it in the right direction. Charity is what you need, dearie. God’s love for that spitfire of a girl. I ’spect she be hurtin’ a mighty bit with all the goin’s on. She’s a child sneaking her way to womanhood I ’spect. You be a woman who must guide her along the path with a strong dose of charity.”

“That’s what my mama said. Not quite in those words.” Susan smiled and swiped a tear that had leaked out.

“We old folk knows such things. We’ve tried and failed many a time afore learnin’ the way. You’ll learn to, in time. But I feel in my bones that charity is the tool you need to use to crack that hard shell your girlie has formed around herself. What happened to her mother?”

“Died of pneumonia when Lizzy was seven, short of four years ago. Patrick and her had several stillborns and miscarriages before Lizzy came along, so Patrick …” Her words trailed off.

Mabel finished her thought. “Spoils her.” She grinned as Susan shrugged. “I could see it in her eyes the minute she cast her icy glare at ya.” Mabel chuckled. “She be a stubborn one?”

Susan sucked in a breath and nodded. “She hates me.”

“Naw. She fears you.”

Susan’s brow furrowed and she shook her head. “She doesn’t fear anything. I, on the otherhand, fear her.”

Mabel patted her hand. “Now you just stop that right now. You’s the grownup and mustn’t fear her. She’s but a child and needs you, dearie.”

Susan countered with a furious shake of her head. “She needs her father, not me. She despises me, and my marriage to him.”

“She’s just protecting herself, afeared to let you in, afeared you’ll take her daddy, afeared that she’d be betraying her mama, afeared that if she lets you in and loves you that you’ll die like her mama. It’s just the way them babes think.” Mabel touched Susan’s cheek and tenderly gazed into her eyes stinging with tears. “Now, be puttin’ away those tears and straighten that spine and fill that heart of yours with a boatload of charity for that prickly little thing. And do not fear! God will give you victory, dearie.” Mabel grabbed a towel that was lying on the table and wiped away her tears. Like her mama would have done.

Susan G Mathis is vice president of Christian Authors Network. She’s a multi-published author of stories set in her childhood stomping ground, the beautiful Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River in upstate NY. Her newest novella, Christmas Charity, her first novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, her Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, and her novellas will take you to a time and place few have gone. Susan is also author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children’s picture books, seven stories in compilation books, and hundreds of published articles. Visit her at www.SusanGMathis.com.

Categories
Encouragement

Strength for the Modern Victorian Woman

 Here’s what the Savior has to say to you today. “Beloved, come to me, you who work so hard that you’re weary. Your responsibility and needs wear you down. However, it doesn’t cost a single cent to gain a hearing with me. You can pour out your troubles to me anytime. Tell me of your fears and sadness. My love for you is free of charge, unconditional, and everlasting.”

Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 50:1; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 13:8

Thoughts of Monday morning carry with them negative connotations. Why? We know Monday is coming all weekend and yet we’re so bummed out when it actually arrives. Then we sluggishly move through the next four days, dreaming of Friday and the weekend when our time is our own to spend as we wish.

But, in actuality, Monday is no different from any other day of the week—at least it’s not to the Savior of the world.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It matters little to him that it’s Monday for us. And the great blessing comes when we invite the Lord to share our day, to walk with us, talk with us. He promises to be with us at home or at the office. We’re never alone.

And with Jesus strengthening us minute by minute, hour by hour, we’re sure to walk in confidence and peace—on Monday or whatever day of the week it happens to be.

(Excerpt from Strength for the Modern Victorian Woman, coming 2019, Steeple View Publishing, LLC.)

Love's Guiding Light
Love’s Guiding Light
Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar
Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a Wisconsin author of over 40 books with one million copies sold. The three components in all her stories are faith, family, and forever relationships. Her latest novel is Love’s Guiding Light (Steeple View Publishing). In addition to fiction, she blogs and writes devotionals and magazine articles to encourage readers wherever they are in their spiritual journeys. For more information and to sign up for her quarterly newsletter, go to www.andreaboeshaar.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/Andrea.Boeshaar. Twitter: @AndreaBoeshaar.

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

Lessons from Birdsong

 

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

This morning I awoke to the sweet sound of birdsong. The feathered creatures seemed to be singing their praise for a new day, for sunshine just breaking through the darkness, for an ample food supply.

I wonder…am I as grateful for these and a multitude of other blessings?

The cheery chorus reminded me these little ones diligently pursue their sole responsibility—being the best winged-creatures they can be. They do not appear to worry about anything.

They don’t fret about position, problems, or power. They show no anxiety over relationships, no remorse over past failures, and no fear over what lies ahead.

We can learn much from these happy singers, just trusting God for every need.

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).

Our Lord cares for even these delicate creations. Yet he considers me of more value than many sparrows.

That certainly builds my self-esteem!

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

 

Categories
Encouragement

When Life’s too Much

 

“Your mother is dying.”

My mind understood the doctor’s words, but my heart refused to believe them. Only a few days prior, my ninety-four-year-old mother had taken a day trip to Reno with my husband. How could she be dying?

Why now, God?

This was supposed to be the weekend I would put the final touches on my novel before sending it to my agent.

Too many circumstances in the past six months had kept me from diligently writing. Moving in with my mom after her stroke. Readying our house for sale. Packing the things of my own I wanted to keep. Thanksgiving, Christmas, visiting with my daughter’s family on their return from overseas. Stomach flu – three times in two months.

And now, this.

I was afraid.

Afraid if I don’t keep writing, my agent will drop me.

Afraid if I don’t finish my next project soon, I’ll never find a publisher.

Afraid if I don’t keep blogging and posting on social media, I will lose the tiny bit of platform I’ve gained.

The Caregiving Season by Jane S. Daly
The Caregiving Season by Jane S. Daly

Afraid to watch my mother die.

Like the song from Christian recording artist, Zach Williams, “Fear, he is a liar.”

God’s word is the truth.

“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16: 9).

Though I’m afraid and overwhelmed, God is showering me with His peace as I meditate on His word. I encourage you to “take His yoke upon you” so He can give you rest.

Jane Daly at a book signing
Jane Daly at a book signing

Jane Daly is a banker by day, blogger by night. She makes her home in Northern California with her husband of forty years and two cats. Connect with her and see her published books at www.janeSdaly.com. Check out her blog, The Caregiving Season.

 

 

 

 

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In The News

New Language Translations and Speaking Engagements From Your CAN Authors!

Your CAN authors are out and about in their communities–is there one coming to a town near you? And don’t miss a special book for your Korean or Portugese friends!

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Cindi McMenamin, Topics: Prioritizing God * Rest & Rejuvenation * Mother-Daughter *
Cindi McMenamin

Cindi McMenamin’s book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom (which released from Harvest House Publishers in 2016) is now available in print and e-book in two other languages — Portuguese and Korean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Davalynn Spencer will be the guest speaker January 12th for Canon City, Colorado’s Davalynn Spencer130th Annual Chamber of Commerce banquet, “Western Night Under the Stars,” featuring her latest release, The Canon City Chronicles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What a privilege for Janet Perez Eckles to be addressing this group of women on January 27th in West Palm Beach, FL. Who are they? Those who battle with stress, worry, fear and want to begin a victorious life.

This 2-minute video has the details;

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Are you in the North Central Texas area? Lena Nelson Dooley is the speaker for the Christian Writer’s Workshop Kickoff near Waco, Texas, @ 9 a.m. January 27 at First

Lena Nelson Dooley
Lena Nelson Dooley

Baptist Church of Woodway, 101 Ritchie Road.

Tickets: Adults, $20; students, $5. Tickets are available online at www.firstwoodway.org/or at the door. Light refreshments will be available. Tables in the common area will display books for sale by local authors.

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In The News

Along Came A Writer on BlogTalk Radio and iTunes

CAN members Linda Kozar, Lena Nelson Dooley, and Angela Breidenbach host shows on the Along Came A Writer Network.

Along Came A Writer Network 

2017/2016

Chat Noir Mystery and Suspense, with host Linda Kozar on the Along Came A Writer Network

The Lena Nelson Dooley Show, with host Lena Nelson Dooley on the Along Came A Writer Network

Historically Speaking, with host Angela Breidenbach on the Along Came A Writer Network