Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58


Monday, December 31, 2012

1 More Day until the 365 Day Reading Starts :)

Hi, friends :) Stretch your eyes, your fingers, and you brain because tomorrow starts day 1 of the 365 Day Reading through the Bible Challenge.

I've already talked about this last night, but I wanted to mention a few things again.

  • This isn't something you have to sign up for. Commenting isn't required but OH so appreciated.
  • You can choose any year old reading list you want. I'm going with the one found HERE-- BIBLEGATEWAY.
  • You can read any version you want. I'm going with the NLT because I can understand it more
  • On the last day of every month, I'm giving away a prize. The task or question to be considered for the prize will be something related to the reading... so even though you don't 'have' to keep up or check in, your chances of winning a prize increases if you do (I'm so mean ;) )
  • Join any time. If you don't find this until May, go with us. It's better to read some of the Bible than none at all.
  • Regular 365 Contributors will still post on their days. :)
  • Pray for me... I've done this once (well, blogging every day) and it's not easy. 
  • Pray for yourself as you go on this ride with me. It's going to be a commitment :)
For the original post, CLICK HERE.




Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Bible in.. 365 Days :)

I wish I had more time to 'promote' this idea, but it just came to me tonight after praying what God wanted this Blog to do in the new year.

It's called 'Encourage 365' after all, but I haven't been good on the '365' part any more.

I had a plan. God had another for 2013... and I'm SOOO excited about it!!

COMMITMENT is my 'One Word' for 2013 and now I know why.

I've read the Bible all the way through before in the B90 program. I've been a mentor twice and have loved it! I think the Bible in 90 days is a great program, but I'm ready to try something else. Something slower...

And I found the 365-Day Reading Plan...

It dawned on me that 365 reading plan... 365 blog... PERFECT!!!

The best part, for you, is that you don't have to sign up, don't have to check in, don't have to do everyday if you don't want (I'd welcome it, though. It would make me happy if you decided to commit to reading the plan every day, but I'm not going to keep up with it or anything like we did in B90).  

Here's the plan for 2013:

  • Daily devotionals by me over the daily reading (with questions, tidbits I've learned, etc)
  • At the end of the month, we'll have a giveaway to keep us going and our spirits high :) The task to win the prize will be Bible related and about the verses we've read during the month. On January 31st, I'll giveaway a free ebook copy of CROSSING THE DEEP (my YA/Christian novel) and a $5 Amazon Gift Card. If you'd like to sponsor a end of month giveaway, please email me at kellymartin215 yahoo... It would be a big blessing.
  • I'd love love LOVE a lot of participation in this. I think it'll be fun to discuss these verses and what they mean to us (especially the law books ;) My favorite ones!)
  • Encourage 365 monthly contributors are more than welcome to blog alone with this plan on their day. However, if you want to do a totally different post, that's perfectly fine. I truly appreciate all of you who write for this blog! :)
I know this is short notice being as it's already almost the last day of the year, but I'm very excited about this.  *happy dance*

Will you join me? I'm going to use THIS reading plan from to do it. It'll be easier on you that way as well. Every day, you can just click on the verses and read on the computer if you want or read your personal Bible like I plan on doing.

Folks, I'm excited about this. Leave a comment if it's something you'll consider doing with me :)

site owner, writer, blogger, big dreamer... 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Are You Prepared? by Mike R.

A voice is shouting  in the wilderness,
'Prepare the way for the Lord,

    make straight paths for him. 
Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.'
Luke 3: 4-6

     Are you prepared? Are you prepared to welcome Jesus? With this Advent season that has come  and gone, it was so  hard to make time to become prepared. Christmas decided to come early this year. It decided to give us one day to celebrate the fourth week of Advent. I think it is save to say, Advent zoomed right past us.

We heard this message from John two weekends ago, with a voice shouting in the wilderness. In this passage John is telling us to be prepared. We are to prepare the way for the Lord. Now, John, isn't talking physically. He is talking about us and our lives.

He wants us to be prepared for the coming of Jesus. He wants everyone to be ready for when the Lord comes and so he does this by shouting to the people. Now, John didn't own land. He would have travelled to many different places. John was from the tribe of Levi. And so he was out there proclaiming to the people what God had filled him with.  

     Most of us have heard about John the Baptist ever since we were little children. Some people don't connect that John and Jesus are cousins. Mary and Elizabeth are cousins- Making Jesus and John second cousins. I don't know why, but I have always found it hard to teach little children on John The Baptist. I haven't found cool techniques that will help them remember him.  And plus the bible doesn't give us very much about him.

     According to this passage, John is telling us to make hills flat and path ways straight. So what does this mean for us? For us this means that we must forgive. We must lower the hills of pain, and evilness within us  by forgiving. We must forgive others, and let go of the grudges. has hard has it is to really forgive on the inside; We must to be prepared.   We are told to make straight the paths. The paths to our hearts. The path in which Mary and Joseph will travel into our heart and there Mary will bare her child.

At this time of year it will be easy to be greedy; and yes it will be easy to have pride; and yes it will be easy to want everything that anything. Yes it will be easy to envy what others get and what your don't. But really all we should be wanting is to receive Jesus Into our hearts this Christmas.
This Christmas we should seek God in everything we do, and in every moment of everyday. And a way we can seek God is through prayer. In dropping all our envy and pride, we unite our body, heart, soul, and mind together to seek God.  Every time we seek God, we build up room for him. Where? In our precious hearts. We begin to build a space that perfect for a new born king.

United together has seekers of God, and filled with his holy spirit we begin to form a community. We begin to form a church. We begin to build up Gods holy and ever living building here on earth, other known as the church. 

Jesus wants us to be prepared. He wants a comfortable and everlasting place to dwell within. And that place is YOU! He wants a place where he can live and be in. He wants a place where the hills are low, the path is straight, and the valleys are filled in. We must forgive others and humble ourselves and welcome Jesus.

As we draw closer and closer, and now counting the hours till Christmas, let us reflect on how well we are prepared for Jesus. How well have we forgiven. How much have we seeked the face of God in everything we do. 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Your 'ONE' word for 2013

Lots of bloggers have been writing about their/your 'word' for the year. Basically, your word is kinda like your mission statement for the year. Last year, my word was 'LOVE'.

Looking back, I can see how 'LOVE' fit into the year. I wrote 3 'romance'/Inspirational/Christian books (one is out, 2 more are coming out next year from Astraea Press... YIPPEE!!!!). And yesterday while looking at my husband while we were going Christmas shopping, I do believe I 'LOVE' him more than I did 9 1/2 years ago when I married him (and I thought it was a lot back then lol).

To have a 'WORD', you need to get rid of a negative word. To be honest, I don't remember what my negative word was last year (see how well I threw it away), but I know what my throw away word is this year.... CAN'T.

As in...

  • "I can't write that book!"
  • "I can't read the bible in 90 days."
  • "I can't write a bible study."
  • "I can't be a good mama/wife/etc."
Of all the negative words, CAN'T is by far one of my worst (I talked to my editor about it yesterday. I think it's a 'writer' thing lol, but I know it goes with all other aspects of my life.)

What negative word are you throwing away? What will be your one word mission statement for the year? Pray about it and let God show you the word you need to work on.

When you receive your word, head over to ONLY A BREATH, and Melanie will make you a blog button for free! (how awesome is that!!!!!)

So.... what's my word for the year? 

This word popped into my mind right away.

It's something I honestly struggle with...

I always want to quit (I don't normally, but it does take a lot of effort not too...)

My one word for 2013 is....

What's yours?

(This is also posted on my other blog:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Email Address Change

A few months ago, my ohthatmomagain email got hacked. It hasn't been right since. I get emails, but when I reply they don't either get back to people or I don't get their reply.

I've lost quite a few devotional blogs that way because it looks like I'm ignoring you, but I'm not. It's my email. 

From now on, if you need to reach me, if you'd like to have your blog listed in the directory, if you'd like to guest post, if you have a prayer request... please email me at kellymartin215 yahoo (you know the dot com and at part... I don't want to get hacked again by putting it on there).

If you've tried to get your blog added to the directory, please email me again at the new address. I want to add new ones :) :)

Also, I have some spots open for regular monthly contributors. If anyone is interested, please send me a line.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Were I One of the Wise Men by Suzanne Harden

The Three Wise Men Follow The Star of Christ


Were I one the Wise Men that came from afar
Seeking for Christ in the Heavenly Star
My finest riches I would bring
To lay before the Lord, my King.
I would sacrifice my life
To give my priceless gifts to Christ.
I would travel many miles
Through endless storms and fiery trials;
Face many dangers, toiling hard
Just to give my gifts to God.
Over mountains I would climb
Falling down time after time,
But getting up and moving on;
The journey would seem ever long;
But always there to lead and guide,
The Star of Christ up in the sky.
O always to rejoice the heart,
The Star of Christ to light the dark.

Were I one of the Wise Men that journeyed far
That never took their eyes from the Star--
When tempted to trade their gifts for sin,
They never took their eyes from Him--
And if their journey took many years
They never gave up through doubts and fears,
They clung to God’s promise revealed in the Star,
To their love for Christ, the King of their heart.
They clung to their hope in Christ their Dream;
Someday to Him their gifts they would bring.
Someday at last they would find the place
Where they would see Jesus face to face.
Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the priceless gift of Your Son Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.
Please give us the undivided hearts of passionate love for our Savior that the Magi Kings displayed for Christ when they left all to follow His Star to give Him their precious treasures. These foreign kings were more devoted to the promises prophesied in Your word than were some of Your own people.
The passage of two thousand years has not tarnished their example of faith and love for You. May You give us such hearts to serve You in passionate commitment, come what may on on our own journey to meet You someday face to face. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.

 "Were I One Of The Wise Men"  Copyright 2012 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. 
Unto The Least Of These

Thursday, December 13, 2012

No Offense Taken-- By Jan Christiansen

Yesterday I attended a Christmas luncheon. The hostess and I have been good friends for several years, but this was the first time I’ve ever been to her home. It’s beautiful. Small and cozy and beautifully decorated - even more so because of all the Christmas decorations gracing each room.  I was admiring them when I spotted the stocking I had given her for Christmas last year. Now, this isn’t just any Christmas stocking. You see, my friend loves the color purple. She wears it all the time. Clothing, shoes, jewelry, handbags. Even her cell phone is purple! She decorates her house with tasteful splashes of purple and I bet she would even drive a purple car if she could found one in just the right shade.

So, when I spied this 4 foot purple stocking hanging in the store last year, I knew she would love it. It’s ornate, it’s plush, it’s luxurious, it’s purple!

And there it was, yesterday, hanging predominately on the kitchen wall under a delicate spray of lilacs.

Warmth flooded my heart. She really did love it.

“Oh, you have your purple stocking out,” I said, casually.

She paused to look at it for a second and then said, “Yes, it’s so imposing, but one of my kids bought it for me a few years ago, so I feel obligated to put it out.”

It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. Instead, I just nodded with heart-felt understanding. Not about feeling obligated to display gifts that others have bought, but because I understood perfectly those moments when your memory takes a holiday. I have them all the time.
Years ago I might have been offended that my good friend forgot in just 12 short months that I had given her the ultimate Christmas stocking. Back then I was very easily offended. I had a chip on my shoulder and assumed that people didn’t really like me, so I looked for some hidden meaning behind their comments. I was ready to argue at the drop of a hat, quick with a snarky comment of my own and a pro at holding grudges.

Thank God for the life-changing experience of salvation through Jesus Christ! Since the day I invited Jesus to be the Lord of my life, God has been systematically changing my character. Some things fell away quickly, some things took a little longer and some things He’s still working on, but I am a different person today than I was way back then. God’s transforming power and 1 Corinthians 13:5 have taught me that love – real love,  is not easily angered (or offended).

That’s been one of my guiding verses for years – love is not easily offended.  I’ve come to the place where someone has to go a long way in order to offend me. And my life is so much better for just this simple change.

How about you? Are you easily offended? Do you tend to read things into what your friends say? Do you mull them over in your mind until you’re all worked up?

Do yourself a favor and ask God to change that part of your character. Life is so much more pleasant when you can laugh at what once would have offended you.

Jan blogs at  She Fancied Herself a Writer and Fellowship of Christian Bloggers among other places.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Short, Sweet, and Simple by Jan Christiansen

Short, Sweet & Simple
“Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31 NLT

What a short, sweet and simple verse.

Look at life through the eyes of a troubled friend and think...”What would I like people to do for me if I were in that situation?” and then do it.

Yes, there are some things that you can’t do, like pay off all their bills, restore their health or un-break their heart, but there’s always something comforting we can do.

I really wanted to list a bunch of simple, loving things we can do for those who are down, but every time I start it, I delete it. Perhaps the Lord wants to whisper some things to you Himself when you are wondering what to do for your friends or maybe He already has...just do what you would want them to do for you in the same circumstances.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What to Do When You Are Angry by Wendy Van Eyck

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV)


Someone made me so angry today that I just wanted to fight.


I wanted to shout angry mean words at them. And tell them how I felt.


But then I remembered that isn’t what Jesus would do.


It’s not that Jesus didn’t get angry. He did. It’s that when he did, he allowed the Holy Spirit to take the lead.


Jesus allowed his own passions and desires to take second place to what the Holy Spirit wanted.


And as Jesus did that, as he allowed love to replace hate, joy to replace sorrow, peace to replace irritation and patience to replace annoyance he made people want a relationship with him.


So often we allow anger to destroy our relationships. We speak too quickly, and we do not take the time to ask the Holy Spirit to replace our negative feelings with his passions and desires.


It is difficult in the heat of the moment to stop and pray - harder still to share love, joy and peace instead of a piece of your mind – but it’s possible.


Today someone made me so angry that I just wanted to fight.


Instead I prayed that the Holy Spirit would take all the anger and pain and hurt and replace it with his passions and desires, I prayed that God would show me how to act in love, joy, peace and patience. I prayed that he would help to preserve the relationship that my anger tried to destroy.


If you are feeling angry with someone right now pray that the Holy Spirit will come and exchange your passions and desires with his.


Did you enjoy this? Wendy shares devotionals every Monday and Thursday over at You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Yes, He Does by Rebecca Aarup

Yes, He Does

“[Jesus] became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” John 1:14 (MSG)

It was God who made the first move, not me, not you, not mankind. Just like He did in the Garden of Eden as God Himself walked through the thick brush of foliage to find His children. “Where are you, my son, Adam? Where are you my daughter, Eve?” God made the first move to seek out His beloved while at the same time His beloved were running the other way.

Jesus became flesh, He became human not only to save the world from sin, but to show us that He does care, He does understand, He does empathize.

Imagine being the King of all kings and coming down to this sinful planet, all the riches of the world at your disposal and yet you are essentially homeless. You choose a life of servant humility so no one can say you don’t understand. Of course He understands. He felt loneliness, injustice, persecution, rejection, loss, and grief. He knows, He hears, He cares, and He understands. Yes, He does. He lived it, walked it, breathed it, and yet persevered without doubt. He knew His heavenly Father was always moving toward Him and us. He demonstrated that truth through His life, by coming to us as flesh and blood, walking among us, serving us, and loving us, and finally, dying for us.

“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to Him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” Hebrews 4:15-16 (MSG)

Hunched over the toilet, tears streaming down my face, uncontrollable wretching—probably the worst physical reaction I have ever had to stress. I found myself on my knees in the bathroom asking God if he really understood. “Really, God? Really? You’re up there, you can do whatever you want, and yet you allow this…this nonsense. Do you even know what I’m going through?”

In one day I had lost a beloved pet of nearly twelve years, quite unexpectedly. My five-year old wept, unable to comprehend why her beloved kitty was not coming home--how she was fine one day and just—gone—the next. And just moments before finding out about my cat, we received notice of a lawsuit against us; a dispute with a previous landlord that had been ongoing for over a year. They had summoned us to court by sending the order to a previous address (an action that is legal in my state), despite having our new address, so we were unaware of the order to appear in court. They sued us for damages well documented on our move-in sheet (in other words, the damages were there before we moved in). This lawsuit, barring a miracle, will ruin us financially (not that we were doing that well to begin with!)  Just when our family was beginning to recover from a financially difficult year, a bombshell blows. Unable to find work, the burden rests on my unbelieving husband. He asks me why my God would allow such unfairness to continue in our lives and I had no good answers.

But then…

As the pastor preached on John 1, he prayed that our eyes would be newly opened to truth despite the familiarity of the passage. Surely God moved toward me in that moment and revealed Himself again. He didn’t change my circumstances, but He did allow me to accept them rather than fight them.

Something awaits me in this mess. I don’t know what, exactly, but I know God is not sitting “up there” with His arms crossed, laughing His head off at our plight. Probably a thousand different reasons could be drawn up as to why this is all happening once again around Christmas (which seems to be a theme in my family—December disasters is how my husband refers to it.) But one thing was certain to me as I listened to my pastor, God is here, He is moving toward me. Toward me? I am overwhelmed with mercy and grace. All of a sudden I don’t need to know the why, how, or what. God ordains my steps, and now I ask Him, “Where do I go now? What is my next move? Give me wisdom to know and faith to believe you’re in control.”  

He doesn’t want us to toss aside our pain as if it doesn’t compare to what He did for us, He is not trying to give us some divine guilt trip. Instead, He offers His presence among us to comfort and heal us. We learn faith as we experience these things. It hurts and that is ok. He knows and He pursues us in our grief. I can almost hear Him saying the same thing to me as He did to Adam and Eve, “Child, where are you? I am here, I want to help you. Come to Me; rest in Me; find peace in Me. I understand, yes, I do.”


Rebecca Aarup 

Staff Writer with The Christian Online Magazine

The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 now available on Amazon!

For Free Bible Study/Devotional Resources for Individual or Group Use Visit:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

25 Days of Christmas Songs-- Joy to the World

Happy Sunday!! Today's song to get you (and me) in the holiday spirit is 'Joy to the World' by Third Day (there will be a lot of Third Day this week... LOVE THEM :) )

(video by beanscot. Music copyrighted by Third Day. Can be bought HERE)


Saturday, December 1, 2012

25 Days of Christmas Songs :) Dec. 1st-- ONE KING

I did this last year and thought I'd do it again. 25 Days of Christmas songs to get you all into the Christmas spirit (because, frankly I need it. I'm still in October mode...)

Our first song is: One King by Point of Grace... LOVE this song!!

(by Bob4God on youtube... song copyright Point of Grace... you can buy it on iTunes HERE )