Greetings from Sarah Sundin, who is rapidly posting this because my power might go out! Today I have the honor of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, but an author I’ve known for years and consider a friend—Janet McHenry. Janet made a name for herself with her bestselling book, PrayerWalk, and she’s published over twenty devotionals and books about prayer.
Welcome, Janet! Please tell us about your latest book.
Stronger Every Day is an 11-week Bible study examining personal strength—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Each week looks at a different biblical character to see how God developed strength in that person’s life. The study also includes memory verse cards and other tools to track weight loss and health.
All of us have dreams of what we want to do with our lives. Sometimes those dreams get sidetracked by the reality of life. Sometimes they’re so long in coming that we tend to give up and think, “What’s the use?”
How do we make those dreams come true? Whether the dream is about a career choice, a place you want to visit, or something you would really like to do, the dream can come true.
Fulfillment depends on attitude and faith. By attitude, I mean surrounding ourselves with the resources or the tools and information we need to pursue the dream. Faith, of course, means trusting the Lord.
Dreams don’t come true overnight. Often life gets in the way and dreams go by the wayside. We make excuses for not following through and keep putting off doing something about it.
To follow your dream, stay focused on that dream and what the Lord wants you do. Don’t let age, insecurity, or doubt creep in and rob you of the desire God has placed in your heart. Grab it, hold on to it, and never stop dreaming. God has plans for you! Remember that those plans are not to harm you but to give you hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11). He won’t steer you wrong.
Four “P’s” to success:prayer, planning, patience, and perseverance. Without these, we will have a more difficult time seeing our dreams fulfilled. It’s time to stop making excuses and start looking at what we can do to help that dream along. When we bathe our plans in prayer and we have the patience to persevere in pursuit of those plans, they will succeed in God’s timing. Maybe they won’t be exactly what we expected, but the result will be the best—because it’s God’s plan for us.
Martha Rogers, a multi-published author, writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. She and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas. They have three sons, eleven grandchildren, and four (soon to be five) great-grandchildren. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years experience teaching home economics and English at the secondary level and eight years at the college level, supervising student teachers and teaching freshman English. She is director of the Texas Christian Writers Conference held in Houston each August, a member of ACFW, ACFW WOTS chapter in Houston, and a member of the writers’ group, Inspirational Writers Alive. Find Martha at www.marthawrogers.com or www.hhhistory.com. Twitter: @martharogers2; Facebook: Martha Rogers Author.
Her name isn’t given. It doesn’t need to be. She is every mother.
“Lord, son of David, have mercy on me!” She cried out in agony.
Like you and me, she physically experienced her child’s misery. “My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Or “My child is suffering terribly from a broken relationship, an illness, an injury.”
She would not be dissuaded. The disciples urged the Lord to send her away. The men whined, “She keeps crying after us.”
That motley crew of twelve was not going to get in her way. She knew who and what she needed. This mom persisted in her passionate brokenhearted cries.
But Jesus was quiet.
Isn’t that the hardest part? We cry, beg, and chase after him. And we are met with silence.
Even when Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” she didn’t give up. Instead of withdrawing, she came closer kneeling before him determined not to leave his presence empty-handed.
“Lord, help me!”
“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” He continued to test her faith.
“Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Tenaciously she pressed on.
“Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” The Lord healed her daughter that very hour.
Having faith when life is messy is difficult. I want to trust like that Canaanite mother; to persistently petition on my kids’ behalf, to persevere with hope, and to have confidence that I will be heard even if I need to wait.
Because like the Canaanite woman, I know my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
Lori Wildenberg, mom of four and national speaker, is passionate about helping families build connections that last a lifetime. As a licensed parent-family educator she is professionally equipped to encourage and empower moms and dads to be the parents their children need. She’s author of Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home and Messy Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections. She’s co-author of three additional books. Lori co-founded the 1st Corinthians 13 Parenting Ministry, a resource site for parents and those who work with families. She’s the lead mentor mom at Moms Together Facebook Community and a freelance writer for Christian parenting magazines. www.loriwildenberg.com.
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving . . .
(Colossians 4:2 NASB)
We travel, and we really appreciate the hotels that have the small peak holes so that when someone knocks you can look out and see who’s there. That is what prayer is like. People usually aren’t phony when praying because it is a time of vulnerability before God.
Couples that pray together get a window into each other’s hearts.
You might feel irritated at your spouse all day, you might not understand why she did or said something, but during prayer, you get to see what was really going on in their life, their thoughts and in their heart. Prayer gives us a deeper understanding of our mate. Anything that gives a deeper understanding will deepen intimacy. Deeper intimacy creates the safety net for a nakedness of the soul, and if you are in a place where you both feel comfortable when your soul is naked before each other, then the physical nakedness with in marriage is the next logical step in the sharing of your live.
Reading the Bible is intimate:
The Bible is God’s love letter to each of us. If you know your spouse is listening to God, your trust level will grow. If you notice that your spouse is seeking to follow the commands of God, you will feel more relaxed when you are together. God has a complete love for you and when God has your mate’s attention, God will steer your spouse into making more loving choices toward you.
As a result, the nagging rate naturally diminishes. And less nagging and negative corrective language and more positive affirming language is the cultivated, fertile ground for marital intimacy.
The influence does not stop with your spouse, however. If you are reading the Bible and praying, God will have your attention and make you a better lover. His love will flow through you to a grateful spouse.
The Holy Spirit is intimate.
When we know Christ personally, the Holy Spirit resides in us and gives us the supernatural power to love. It is a supernatural power so that we can love, not just with our power, but with God’s ability. And since the Holy Spirit indwells anyone who asks Jesus into his life and He knows the way your spouse was designed to be loved, you have the ability to become a great lover for your mate. You will notice that the Holy Spirit gives very specific instructions. He makes it simple enough that your only choice is to obey or disobey. In our life, it may sound something like this:
“Pam, what you said just now to Bill was unkind. He is really good man and he deserves a gentle response.”
“Bill, go home. Pam does really need you right now. Do not do that next task, leave right now.”
By reading the Word and praying, you will develop the ability to listen for God’s Holy Spirit whisper, and those whispers will help you become a better person and a better partner. These spiritual disciplines will also draw you two closer if you make daily use of them as individuals.
Lord, help us make time for prayer, Bible reading and listening to Your Spirit as we do these things so we might hear Your voice louder than any other, Amen
Pam and Bill Farrel have been happily married 38 years and credit praying
together through out each day as the key that unlock’s love. Read more about what makes for lasting love in one of their 45 books, like A Couple’s Journey with God. www.Love-Wise.com
and the fragrance of fresh ink on crisp new pages.
Thank you, Lord, for these gifts and graces,
and for the many others I am too dull to sense,
in Jesus’ name, amen.
Bob Hostetler is the author of fifty books, including The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, and Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (coauthored with Josh McDowell). He has won two Gold Medallion Awards, four Ohio Associated Press awards, and an Amy Foundation Award. He is the founding pastor of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio. He and his wife Robin have two grown children, Aubrey and Aaron, and five grandchildren. You can find out more on his website: http://www.bobhostetler.com.
In today’s world with frightening headlines blasting the worst possible scenarios into our homes, and the stress of the daily responsibility of providing for ourselves and our families weighing heavy on our hearts, coupled with the unpredictable, unwelcome, unwanted, unbelievably hard or harsh circumstances like floods, fires, relationship strife, death and disease it is very easy to get depressed, discouraged and down-trodden.
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. (Psalm 71:14)
The word hope is a verb, so it is an action we choose, to wait expectantly for God to move. I like to say, “trust while you tarry” , or to wait patiently (and sometimes painfully long) for God
to show up and show off! After doing a word study, to summarize the meaning, this hoping is to be exercised: surpassingly, repeatedly, increasingly, intensely, exceedingly, continuously, regularly, consistently, and perpetually! When I drew the verse in my Bible art journal, I pictured a geyser of ever-flowing hope!
My contribution to Discovering Hope in the Psalms is a series of inspirational devotionals that help women apply the psalms to their everyday lives and keep HOPE ALIVE. To help me keep HOPE ALIVE, in my bullet journal, I have pages I write my “God-Sized” hopes and dreams and I wrap them with scripture so I can pray the Word over my life.
The key to securing a hope like an eternal spring is also in this same verse, “praise you more and more”. The “more and more” means to accumulate or gather praise—and in doing this gathering we fuel hope. One way to picture accumulating or gathering praise would be how you might walk through a garden to gather flowers to create a beautiful bouquet or through a mall gathering gifts for family and friends that will bring joy!
So to capture praises to fan the flame on hope, in my bullet journal, I have pages to accumulate praises. One looks like the sun with praises written on each ray. Another is a vase with praises on each flower petal. Accumulated praise could also be drawn as gift bags collected while shopping, presents under a Christmas tree, waves on the ocean, or shells on the beach– use your imagination to personalize your record of praise!
What an incredibly unique and creative Bible study Pam, Jean, and Karla have created! It’s multilayered, dimensional, theologically rich, touching the senses—enlightening the mind, capturing the heart. Well done, beloved Sisters! Thank you for this gift.
Hackers are on the rampage. Facebook posts, emails, tweets are compromised. “Share” posts contain hidden lewd images. Links illegally access your profile. Banks, hospitals, even government entities are not immune. It seems there is no firewall strong enough.
Our souls are not immune to being hacked. Call him what you will…the devil, the evil one, Satan, the father of lies. Trust me, as soon as you begin to do God’s will, this hacker will show up. Big time!
Satan knows the places where our “firewall” is the weakest. He wiggles in with a negative suggestion and clouds our positive viewpoint. God didn’t mean for you to take this on. Everyone does it. That verse doesn’t pertain to today. God will never forgive you.
Soon, like a virus, it begins to affect our thoughts and actions, even our prayers or desire to pray. Step by step, we become more and more vulnerable to his fiery wiles.
Where is your spiritual firewall the most vulnerable? How can you make sure your soul is unhack-able?
Paul shared the algorithm two millennia ago. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). Prayer is the best defense against becoming compromised. Scripture is the best method to detect hacked messages.
A joy-filled attitude that knows without a doubt God is faithful and true and loves you is the best way to have uninterrupted power.
Julie Cosgrove is an editor and writer for Cru Canada’s internet ministry, Power to Change. Her income, like any missionary’s, is dependent upon prayer and financial partners. She is also a professional speaker and a multiple award-winning author of ten novels with four more under contract.
Waking up early is one thing. Waking up for a date with a needle is another.
“Good morning!” A cheerful, African-accented voice called out. “I’m here to draw your blood.”
I placed my right arm on top of the blankets and closed my eyes so I didn’t have to watch. Needle sticks often took three attempts or more. My hands and arms stayed black and blue from broken blood vessels. I prayed that somehow, this time would go more easily.
Imagine my surprise when I peeked and saw a vial filling with my blood. I hadn’t even felt the needle go in. “That’s another express-line prayer answered.”
“Express-line prayer?” The worker repeated. “What do you mean?” Toby’s bright smile and infectious faith always made my day brighter in spite of his occupation.
“It’s like the short line at the supermarket, when you need an answer NOW.”
He thought about it. “I get it. Like when the people of Israel were at the Red Sea.”
Great example, but I was thinking more about Nehemiah. He committed the cardinal sin for a man in his position of cupbearer to the king: he was visibly upset in Artaxerxes’ presence. The ruler asked, “Why are you sad since you’re not sick?”
Nehemiah explained about the ruins of the city of Jerusalem in his homeland, and the king followed with “What do you want?”
Nehemiah’s response? Express-line prayer. “I prayed to the God of heaven, and I said unto the king. . .” (Nehemiah 2:4,5 KJV)
When there’s no time to call a prayer meeting, that’s an express-line prayer.
Earlier that week, God answered another express-line prayer. Our Bible study leader asked for prayer. The elderly man was subject to dry throat and high blood pressure. I prayed that he would be able to share the lesson he had prepared because Christ promised to give him strength.
Brother Ray perked right up. He made it through the entire lesson without even needing a sip of water.
I wish all my prayers were could be answered that quickly. But when they’re not, I shouldn’t abandon the practice of praying for emergency answers.
What makes express-line prayers work? Relationship. Nehemiah had prayed about Jerusalem for months before his opportunity came. The ruler understood his cupbearer well enough to invite his confidence and to grant his request.
When I prayed for Ray, I drew on a Scripture I had memorized years ago.
Do I need something? “My God shall supply all your needs” (Philippians 4:19, KJV). Am I uncertain what to do next? “I will…teach you…the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8, NIV).
Other times, I appeal to God’s character. “Lord, You love this person! You don’t want anyone to perish. You are our fortress, our healer.” The list is endless.
When a need strikes in the supermarket of life, head straight for the express line. God will meet you there.
I am a weak writer:
in over my head.
But you chose Ehud because of his weakness.
You used him,
not to mention Moses, David, Jeremiah, Paul, and others
(though I did just mention them; see what I mean?).
So grant me the faith
to believe that you can choose me and use me too.