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Devotional

Spiritual Needs

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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Devotional

Lessons from Little Ones

Lessons from Little Ones

By Susan G Mathis

Children have so much to teach us. Last week I spent time with four young families. One had a newborn who slept peacefully in my arms while I gooed and giggled over every infant face she made. She was content. I want to be content too.

Another family had four busy little ones ages 3-7. The twin three year olds presented me with “gifts” of scribbled drawings that I just can’t throw away. I want to give others more gifts—gifts of myself—even if they are a bit scribbly.

The third family has a six month old, a five year old, and a seven year old. The five year old is a bug-crazy boy who just had to show me his “pet” fly. The six month old worked and worked to roll over and grab a plastic bowling pin, and we all were in awe when she accomplished her feat. And the seven year old read a book to me, and I marveled at the miracle of reading. I want to always be in awe of the wonder of life like these sweet kids.

Then I got to Skype with my grandchildren, the most precious part of my week. They are curious, funny, busy, energetic, inquisitive, and always learning. We laugh and talk and read books and blow kisses. We connect and reconnect on a deep and loving level. And it fills my soul in ways that nothing else can.

Each one of these children is a special and unique gift to me, and each one reminds me to step back from cooking and cleaning and pay bills and all the grownup busyness of life and to take time to be inspired at the beauty of Pikes Peak or create a story or dream or really enjoy moments with loved ones. Time with children not only helps me to reorient to what really matters but also enjoy my days so much more.

Contentment. Giving. Wonder. Learning. Growth. Love. These are what each child teaches me, and I want to apply all of them to my relationships with God and others. Good lessons, kids.

 

Dear Lord, Help us to be like little children, content, growing, loving and learning more about You everyday. 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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New Releases

New Releases, New Awards, and New Opportunities!

Author Susan K. Marlow has two new releases to celebrate!

Stepping Stones #5: Andi Dreams of Gold
When news of a gold strike spreads through town, Andi is sure there’s gold in the creek by her special spot. But she and her friend Cory get more than they bargain for when they set out to pan for the glittery metal.

Stepping Stones #6: Andi Far from Home
An outbreak of scarlet fever prompts Mother into sending Andi to San Francisco for safekeeping. But the noisy city and Aunt Rebecca’s bossy ways may be worse to Andi than catching the dreaded disease.

Check out all of the charming Circle C Adventure books here.


Susan G Mathis’ debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is a National Indie Excellence Award Finalist!


Davalynn Spencer’s An Improper Proposal, Book 1 in her Front Range Brides series, is
a finalist for Short Historical in the Reader’s Choice Awards sponsored by Romance
Writers of America inspy chapter, Faith, Hope & Love. The book recently won the 2018
Christian Indie Award for Romance.

An Improper Proposal by Davalynn Spencer


Kimberly Rose Johnson is excited to announce the release of The Sleuth’s Miscalculation, a romantic mystery set in small-town Oregon. Read more about it here.


Lena Nelson Dooley will be the speaker for the June meeting of the ACFW DFW local chapter. She was asked to speak on “Agents and Editors.” The author will have books and DVDs for sale. Meetings are at 10:30 am, on the second Saturday of the month at the Arlington Community Church, 1715 W. Randol Mill Road, Arlington, Texas. Everyone is invited to go out to eat with the chapter members, Dutch Treat, after the meeting.

Lena Nelson Dooley
Lena Nelson Dooley
Categories
Devotional

Just Being

Just Being

By Susan G Mathis

Just being. Just being together. What a sweet gift it is to just be together! What a sweet gift we can give to others in this busy world.

Sometimes just being means sitting alone, quietly praying or thinking or dreaming. At other times, just being together means holding the hand of the one you love, resting in the knowledge that you are loved.

Sometimes just being together means enjoying a rowdy Skype visit filled with little girl laughter and love and joy. Sometimes it means taking time to call your elderly mother to hear about her day. And sometimes it means resting in the healing process God has for you.

Our crazy world is so busy, busy, busy. It consumes our thoughts and actions far too much. We push ourselves to go a hundred miles an hour so that we can everything done, and we nearly crash and burn. Stress fills our lives and the beauty of just being gets lost in the shuffle.

So what will it take to change us? For me took thumb surgery and complications that forced me slow down. And it’s taken a little girl to remind me to just be.

Johnny Diaz has a great song called, “Breathe” that has blessed me during this time. He suggests that we rest at God’s feet and take some time to fill our lives with the One who gave us breath in the first place. He implores us to “lay down what’s good and find what’s best.” What good counsel this is!

 

Dear Lord, In this crazy, busy world, help us to slow down and just be. 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.

 

Categories
Devotional

God Talk

God Talk

By Susan G Mathis

Talking about God is not just for Sundays; it’s for every hour of the day. Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

I don’t think this Scripture is only for parents. It’s for all of us—with or without kids at home! So how do you, as a couple, make “God talk” a lifestyle and have conversations about God in a natural, comfortable, and life-changing way?

God needs to be a part of your every day life—your thoughts and actions. Attend church but don’t just go on with your day. Talk about the sermon, the worship songs, and godly conversations you have with others.

Read God’s word together daily, even if it’s just a few verses, and talk about them. For us, breakfast is a good time for us to do that. We also listen to Chuck Swindoll’s radio teaching while we get ready for the day. This has a way of leading us to some pretty interesting God talk.

Be sure to apply God’s truth to your relationship and to your life. Sometimes that takes two minds trying to figure out how to do that. As you talk about it, God can often inspire you together in ways you wouldn’t think of separately. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” There are times when Dale and I snuggle up together and just chat about a God topic or something we’re thinking about.

It’s also important ask godly questions about things that happen during the day. There are times I’ll get an email or phone call that requires wisdom from God to answer well, so I sometimes talk about it with my husband. And when we watch the news, we frequently talk about the different news stories and how God’s word applies to them. That sure makes for interesting conversation.

Last, if you have kids at home, doing all this will model for them that “God talk” is a normal way of life. Include them in your God talk—in the car, at home, everywhere. And if you have grandchildren, be sure to shine your light brightly before them. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to get so busy we forget to share Your word and what You are doing. Help us to talk about You everyday. 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.

 

 

Categories
Devotional

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks

by Susan G Mathis

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, because I’m Irish, and because my novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, is about the Irish immigration, I want to share with you how St. Patrick used a simple weed to share the Gospel.

St. Patrick lived in the fifth century Ireland where the shamrock clover was abundant, even a staple food for livestock. The shamrock is a weed that grows quickly and is hard to get rid of. In Ireland it was everywhere, so as Patrick traveled the country, he had a ready-made symbol that he could easily find, pluck, and use as a teaching tool. Sounds like something that Jesus would have done, doesn’t it?

As he spoke Patrick would note that the shamrock has three leaves, just as there are three persons in the trinity. In using the shamrock as a symbol, he taught about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who they were, what they did, and how they could change the listeners’ lives. Then, whenever folks would see the shamrock in their garden or fields or yard, their minds would instantly connect to the Trinity and think of God. Brilliant!

As Patrick traveled throughout Ireland spreading Christianity, the shamrock became an important symbol of the Trinity and of God’s work in man’s life. Even today, the shamrock is Ireland’s national symbol and still points to the Trinity as well as to 1 Corinthians 13:13, “and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love”. The number three is so important to the Irish that they use three cords in their Celtic knot, in their three-fold repetitive rhythm of Irish storytelling, in their idea of past, present, and future, and a lot more.

So when you see a shamrock during this holiday, remember that it means so much more than just “the luck o’ the Irish.” It’s represents biblical truth, wise teaching, and a beautiful way to share God’s story.

 

Dear Lord, Like St. Patrick and the simple shamrock, help us to find all kinds of creative ways to share biblical truth. 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.

 

 

Categories
Devotional

A Valentine’s Gift That Lasts

A Valentine’s Gift That Lasts

By Susan G Mathis

On this Valentine’s Day week, I’d like to remind you of the importance of keeping your marriage strong. It’s the best gift you can give your spouse.

“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails,” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Remember what a great adventure your marriage has been and can be, and be careful not to get apathetic about your relationship. As with any journey, there are slow, boring, mundane seasons, but the times of making memories, capturing intimate experiences, and finding quality moments supersedes all the rest.

Choose not to get discouraged or weary in well doing, in working at your marriage, in resolving conflict, or in struggling to make ends meet. Build memories that transcend everyday life. It’s a daily choice…to love unconditionally, to sacrifice substantially, and to enjoy each other eternally.

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to take our spouse for granted. Help us to lean into the adventure of marriage and keep our marriages strong and vibrant. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of of two Tyndale published premarital books Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness as well as 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.

 

Categories
Devotional

Resting on the Sabbath

Resting on the Sabbath

By Susan G Mathis

There was a good reason that God invented the Sabbath, and I think that’s doubly important for families. Our kids never stop. We often feel pushed to do, go, do. We’re always on the move. But we need to stop and take some time to honor the Sabbath as well as our body, mind, and spirit.

 

Rest your body.

Get your sleep. Take time to do—dare I say it?—nothing. Just sit. Just relax. Our culture is frantically pushing us to the point of craziness and so do the kids Busy is not the best.

Rest your mind.

I have a notebook beside my bed because my mind often doesn’t stop at night. A bill I need to pay. An appointment I need to schedule. As a writer I wake up and have an idea about a character, a plot point, a setting detail—whatever. Without it, I’ll ponder it and lose sleep. If I write it down, I can come back to it later.

Sometimes we need to rest our mind for a while and just stop and daydream. Stop checking Facebook. Stop watching TV. Just stop. Let our poor overworked brains rest.

Rest your spirit.

Ever watch children play with abandon? Their spirits are unencumbered and free to enjoy life. We should play too.

We get too serious, too determined, too competitive, too driven. Sometimes we just need to take some time to enjoy watching a bunny hop around our yard or take a walk and enjoy the beauty of nature or lie in the grass and play the cloud game. It reignites our creativity and energizes our spirit.

So how do I take a Sabbath rest? Hope these ideas might help you too.

  1. Besides going to church, I try to stay off my computer (unless, of course, I can skype with the grandchildren—then all bets are off!). I avoid social media, writing, or doing anything connected to work.
  2. I try to do something in nature—take a walk, sit in the yard, etc.
  3. I enjoy on a nice meal or just a special dessert.
  4. I spend some special time with my wonderful husband.
  5. Sometimes we spend time with friends.
  6. I often call someone that I haven’t talked to in awhile.
  7. I read or watch TV for pleasure not for research (i.e. work).
  8. I spend some time praying for the upcoming week.

Try it for a year and see how it transforms your life. I know you’ll be blessed.

 

Dear Lord, It’s too easy stay busy and miss your Sabbath rest. Help us to stop and experience your refreshing Sabbath. 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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New Releases

New Nonfiction Releases and a Wonderful Review!

Becky Harling
Becky Harling

Becky Harling has a new book releasing February 6th titled, Who Do You Say That I Am? This new Bible study considers the challenging questions Jesus asked and answers those question by considering His I Am statements. 

 

 

 

12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband by Cindi McMenamin
12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband by Cindi McMenamin

What do you do when your marriage isn’t broken, but it doesn’t seem to be growing, either? Noted author and speaker Cindi McMenamin shows you the small changes you can make to touch your husband’s heart in a big way in her Feb. 1 release from Harvest House Publishers:  12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband. McMenamin, who has been married 30 years to a pastor and introvert, is hoping this book will help wives regain the joy and sparks they once experienced in their marriage. The book includes biblical insights, stories of marriages that have been transformed, and practical ways to recapture your husband’s heart.

 

 

 

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“Author Susan G Mathis did a wonderful job with this dual timeline novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. Beginning in 1851 Ireland, you could “see” what was happening. The family forced to make a difficult decision. You could “feel” the ship creaking and swaying on the sea. The fear and the hope were evident. Then in the modern day, you sensed Maggie’s desperation and witnessed her spiritual growth.

I thoroughly enjoyed the historical information that was woven throughout this book. Maybe because I have Irish ancestry it meant more, but it was all so well written that you were there. Despair turns to triumph as both women learn to trust and lean on God. If you enjoy historical fiction, or stories with Irish legacy, I highly recommend this book!” —V.B. Sluiter

Categories
New Releases

New Nonfiction Releases and a Wonderful Review!

Becky Harling
Becky Harling

Becky Harling has a new book releasing February 6th titled, Who Do You Say That I Am? This new Bible study considers the challenging questions Jesus asked and answers those question by considering His I Am statements. 

 

 

 

12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband by Cindi McMenamin
12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband by Cindi McMenamin

What do you do when your marriage isn’t broken, but it doesn’t seem to be growing, either? Noted author and speaker Cindi McMenamin shows you the small changes you can make to touch your husband’s heart in a big way in her Feb. 1 release from Harvest House Publishers:  12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband. McMenamin, who has been married 30 years to a pastor and introvert, is hoping this book will help wives regain the joy and sparks they once experienced in their marriage. The book includes biblical insights, stories of marriages that have been transformed, and practical ways to recapture your husband’s heart.

 

 

 

**********

“Author Susan G Mathis did a wonderful job with this dual timeline novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. Beginning in 1851 Ireland, you could “see” what was happening. The family forced to make a difficult decision. You could “feel” the ship creaking and swaying on the sea. The fear and the hope were evident. Then in the modern day, you sensed Maggie’s desperation and witnessed her spiritual growth.

I thoroughly enjoyed the historical information that was woven throughout this book. Maybe because I have Irish ancestry it meant more, but it was all so well written that you were there. Despair turns to triumph as both women learn to trust and lean on God. If you enjoy historical fiction, or stories with Irish legacy, I highly recommend this book!” —V.B. Sluiter