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


Friday, November 23, 2012

The Word-- by Rebecca Aarup

Big News, Friends. Our Regular Contributor, Rebecca Aarup (, has a new bible study out!! I know it's on Amazon (because I just bought it ;) ). Not sure about other vendors, but you can get it in paperback through Amazon

Can't wait to get it!

So proud of you, Rebecca!!!


The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Thanksgiving Journal by Suzanne Harden

The Thankful Journal

The Strongs Concordance entry for the word "THANKFUL" in the Bible
has several definitions worth meditating on as one studies God’s word and its many exhortations to us to be thankful.
·      Thankful in one sense in the bible means literally to hold out the hand;
·      Thankful can also mean to (physically) throw something like a stone or an arrow
·      Thankful also means to revere or worship with extended hands;
·      Another meaning is to praise and give thanks.
Thankfulness is giving to God something of ourselves; hence, the sense of throwing a stone or arrow-aiming our specific praises at the One who has given us so much, rather then just being vague in our praise and worship.

In this sense we are telling God why we are thankful. Each stone we cast, each arrow is a gift of praise from our lips to our God who has given us such wonderful things to enjoy.

These stones, these arrows of praise are aimed directly to God Most High.

If our thoughts are wandering in worship these stones or arrows of praise and thanksgiving we are casting up to our God are not going to Him at all.

Our lips are out of sync with our heart and thoughts.

Jesus says quoting Isaiah, "This people draw near to Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me." Matthew 15:8

God desires that we be purposeful in our praise, worship, and thanksgiving.
“And when you make an offering of praise to the Lord, make it in a way which is pleasing to Him.” Leviticus 22:29

 St. Paul in Ephesians 5:10 admonishes us to, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.”
It is not only important to thank God but also to tell Him why we are thankful every day. Rehearsing our blessings from God focuses our minds on positive things and gets our minds off our needs. One of the best ways to begin this practice is to start a “Thankful Journal.”

A Thankful Journal helps us to record the specific ways God has
 blessed us each day and gives us opportunities to express our gratitude to Him for those blessings. We can LET these expressions be our arrows, our pebbles that we cast up to God.

Gratitude will bless us in many ways. Ephesians 5:20 admonishes us to “give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Gratitude awakens humility in the soul. A grateful heart is a humble heart.

Another benefit of keeping a Thankful Journal is that whenever we feel discouraged we can read over the times when God has blessed us or has come through for us, rehearsing the victories in our life. It will remind us that He is ever faithful to keep His word and that He will come through for us again no matter what the present circumstances are. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” Psalm 103:2
"And be ye thankful." A heart of gratitude toward God is a heart that loves God.

There is a passage in 2 Timothy that makes me shudder every time I read it.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Ingratitude is a defining hallmark of people living in the last days. It goes about wearing the face of dissatisfaction in the person who practices it. People will be dissatisfied with what they have and always craving after what they think is better.  They may be dissatisfied with their body, their gender, talents, mental abilities, health, social status, their house, job, their spouse, their kids, parents, education…The list is endless of things people can find fault with in their lives! People who are habitually negative and critical, though they achieve the things they imagine will satisfy them, will still find something to complain about no matter what quality of life they attain. For ingratitude is a soul sickness and one who practices it will never be satisfied with whatever they achieve or are given.
St. Paul warns us, “Be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.” ~Hebrews 13:5-6
 My earnest prayer day and night is that the sin of ingratitude will not define me. But the sad fact is, when we focus on our needs and wants and never take time to reflect on the blessings God has already given us, Paul accurately portrays what we can become apart taking the time and effort to thank God daily. For how easily we can descend into the muck of the flesh without hearkening to the Holy Spirit within us.
Gratitude helps us to focus on the positive and transforms our attitude the more we practice it into a heart of humility. God draws close to the humble, but the proud He knows afar off. To know God better, we must begin to thank Him!

To become more like Christ, we must practice the habit of thanking God in all things even as Christ Himself did. In the Upper Room at the Last Supper on the eve of His crucifixion our Lord gave thanks to His Heavenly Father as He broke the bread that symbolized His body that He would give for the life of the world. Though His heart was troubled and His betrayer was in the room, still our Lord gave thanks to God.
Likewise, even when our circumstances are not ideal, even when we are going through terrible trials may we be like our Lord Jesus who still gave thanks and praise to God. The bible says that Jesus even sang a hymn after the Last Supper. (Matthew 26:26-30)

Keeping a Thanksgiving Journal will help us to focus on our blessings rather than our needs; it will help us to set aside a special time for giving thanks to God daily, and will teach us to make gratitude a habit. Thanksgiving will indeed renew our minds into the image of our Creator as we practice it daily, drawing us ever closer to His heart of love.

Lord, we love You! Thank You for giving us Yourself! Help us today to give thanks to You and praise Your name. For You, Oh LORD are good. Your unfailing love continues forever, and Your faithfulness continues to each generation. (Psalm 100:4-5)

“The Thankful Journal” Copyright © 2012 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. Unto The Least of These

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trusting God by Jan Christiansen

While driving into work this morning a song played over the radio caught my attention. Its lyrics captured perfectly what I’ve been feeling for the last couple of days.

On Friday, I turned in my notice at work. The job just wasn’t working out for me in many ways. I have two weeks more to work and then what? That’s been the question on my mind. Scramble for another job? Figure out a way to work from home? What does God want? Is it the same thing I want? How will I know?

Then this song…You’re Already There played.  It talks about us trying to figure out the future and how it’s all going to work out. Then reassures us that God sees the big picture and when it comes to our future, He’s already there. He sees the grand design and is orchestrating your steps. To Him our future is history because He’s already there, at the end of our lives, waiting to welcome us with open arms. And maybe, just maybe we’ll get a chance to look back over our lives and see that His hand was guiding our footsteps all the time.

So, what does it say about us when we wonder, worry or fret over our future? Over our next step?

To me it’s clear…it means I am not trusting God to care for me, to lead me, to provide whatever I need. It means that if I don’t feel in control of things, I’m off kilter, but the opposite should be true. When I’m controlling things, the potential for disaster is looming just ahead and when I’m trusting God, my future is secure.

Sure that means that God may allow some things to come into my life that are difficult or even painful, but never without purpose. His intention is to mold and shape us into the image of Jesus Christ, which means for me, at least, He has a monumental job ahead of Him. (I’m sure He can handle it, though.)

My job…if I have one, is to cooperate with Him in the changes He wants to make and to trust Him when I don’t clearly see my way ahead.

How about you? Do you have a hard time relaxing and trusting God to lead you into the future? How much planning do you think He expect from us?

Want to listen to the song? Here’s a link… He’s Already There 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

W.W.J.D? by Kathy Grisham

Do you remember a few years ago when these letters were so popular?
Everywhere you looked there they were. They were on bracelets and necklaces, on t-shirts, caps, you name it, it was there. My kids made things at VBS with WWJD? on it.
I have been reading a book called In His Steps. It is set in the 1920s.
A pastor is trying to write his sermon for the service on Sunday, but keeps getting interrupted. A man comes to his door, asking for help. The man is poor. He has lost his job, his home, his wife has died, his child is living with relatives.  He is looking for work, for help. And the pastor tells him he is sorry but he can't  help him and sends him on his way.

The next day at church, which by the way, is full of well to do, well dressed people, after the pastor has delivered his well prepared, well written sermon, the homeless man steps forward. He goes into detail about how he needed help, how his wife has died, how he has lost his job, and how he had went around town to all the good christian people asking for help and not receiving it. He said he didn't think that was the way he thought Jesus wanted Christians to act.
As the man is talking, he falls over and collapses on the floor. They all gather around him and the pastor takes him to his house. The man lingers for a few days, then dies.
The pastor feels so bad about the way he and his congregation had treated the man. But, he starts really thinking about what the man said.
So the next Sunday, he delivers his sermon. But it is with a heavy heart. He asks his congregation a favor.

He asks all who will, to join him in pledging for a year to not do anything without first asking, What Would Jesus Do?

We are talking well do to, rich people. Businessmen.Wealthy women.
As they pray they feel the spirit of God all around them. They pledge to do this for a year. No matter what God asked of them, no matter what people said about them or thought, they were to do what they felt Jesus would do.
As they start doing this, things start changing. One man is a newspaper publisher. He decides that Jesus wouldn't like or would put certain things in a newspaper. The same with ads that were in his paper. If he thought or felt  Jesus wouldn't do it, he didn't.
A young woman with a beautiful voice had an offer to sing with an opera company. But she felt Jesus would want her to use her voice in a diferent way. A travelling evangelist had set up a tent in the seedy part of town. She went and started singing at the meetings. Her voice could calm down even the most rowdy people in town.
 Things started happening in that town.
That's as far in the book as I have got.

But it got me to thinking. If we started asking that question everyday to ourselves and only doing what we felt Jesus would do, what would happen?
I would  turn my tv off. I doubt if Jesus would watch some of the things I have. Or I would at least not watch some of the shows that I do. I doubt if Jesus approves of everything I watch.
I would turn my computer off and read and study God's word. Those games I play on Facebook can wait.
I wouldn't light up another cigarette. I'm sure he wouldn't do that.
I wouldn't talk about somebody. Change that to gossip about somebody.
I would read and study the word of God more so I would know how to answer the question WWJD?

If I asked myself that question everyday, as soon as I wake everyday and all through the day, I know I would change how I do things. I would change how I act and speak.
Thank God I am a work in progress. Thank God for forgiveness and mercy and grace. I need it all the time.

Philippians 2:13.. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

1Corinthians 3:15-16.... Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, Who can know the Lord's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

I'm going to try this. I am going to try my best to ask myself this question before I do anything. It will not be easy and I am sure there will be many failures. We live in a world that thinks they can do whatever they want. People think only of themselves. I want to not be that selfish.
I want the mind of Christ.

You can find Kathy at her blog: Walking in Faith 4 Him

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Go and Do the Same....


Luke 10: 25- 42

25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”[c]
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Parable of the Good Samaritan

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant[d] walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,[e] telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Crossing the Deep

I wanted to post blog spotlights on Friday... but I don't have any lined up lol. So I thought I'd post this.

A month ago today, my debut novel (Crossing the Deep from Astraea Press) was released. It's in ebook form. Right now it's sitting at #56 on Amazon's Teen/Religion bestseller list! (I really REALLY want #1, but that might not happen lol)

Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys about it in case you were wondering what that book was on the sidebar.

Crossing the Deep is a Young Adult Christian novel. It has gotten AWESOME reviews! I wrote it because while I love vampires as much as the next person, I thought there needed to be a balance in the world. There aren't many YA/Christian books out there, so I believe God called me to write this one. There was NO WAY I could have done it on my own. <3

I would be honored if you bought a copy (it's on Amazon, Barnes and noble, and from the Astraea Press site... the buy links are on the right side bar). I want to show that YA/Christian books CAN sell and 2) I want to let you know in case you want to read a good, clean story (ie. clean doesn't mean boring ;) )

Crossing The Deep

Here is the backcover blurb: 

Sixteen year old Rachel Harker expects the church sponsored hiking trip in the Smoky Mountains to be short and painless. Four days later, injured and scared, Rachel prays to just make it home alive.

Asher Jenkins, fellow hiker and handsome skeptic who is only on the hike so he doesn’t have to go home and face his abusive ‘uncle’, finds Rachel in the woods and tries to get her back to Deep Creek Trail. A small hole hidden under the fall leaves causes her ankle to twist and forces Asher to leave her to get help. As night falls, he comes back, unable to find the right trail.

As hours stretch into days, an unexpected rainstorm bears down the mountain, flooding Deep Creek and cutting off their way home. Rachel puts all of her faith in God to save them. Asher thinks believing in God is a waste of time and does what he can to prove to Rachel that He doesn’t exist. 

With their food gone and the temperature dropping, time is running out. Will Rachel be able to do what needs to be done to get home? And can Asher find faith when he needs it the most?

BTW, you don't have to be a teen to enjoy it. I call it fiction for 12-120 :)

BUY Links:



Astraea Press Website

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Encourage the Dreamer by Jan Christiansen

Have you ever shared your closest dreams with someone only to be met with a list of “practical” reasons why you shouldn’t pursue them? It leaves you deflated to say the least. Defeated before you even begin.

What would you really have loved to hear?

I know I would love someone to say, “That’s a great idea, you’d be perfect for that. I know you can do it. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. I’ll be praying for you.”

How great would that be?

If that’s the kind of encouragement you’d like to receive, then you can be sure that others feel the same way.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Or as the Bible puts it…

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you…” Matthew 7:12

5 Ways to be an Encourager

1.       Encourage by Example – People who pursue their own dreams, take risks and dare to reach for their full potential are a natural encouragement to others without even saying a word.

2.       Listen, Really Listen – People don’t want to hear cowboy up, move on or get over it. They want someone to listen really listen. Look them in the eye, listen to what they’re actually saying. Hear their heart as much as their words. Avoid throwing clichés out there. That’s just a sign that you aren’t really listening.

3.       Acknowledge Fear & Doubt – but don’t camp out there. We all experience thoughts that tell us we shouldn’t take risks, shouldn’t reach for the brass ring, shouldn’t dare to step out of the box. (Now, there’s a mouthful of clichés!). We all hear voices that taunt. You’ll never make it. You may as well not try. Acknowledge that we all experience this, but don’t dwell on it. Instead tell yourself the truth. You’ll never know until you try. Even a failure can be a stepping stone to achieve your dreams. As a believer, you can do all things through Christ, who gives you strength. (Philippians 4:13)

4.       Remember, it’s Not about You – What’s best or right for you may not be what’s best or right-or God’s will for someone else. So, when someone shares a dream or goal, don’t think about it in terms of how you would feel it about it. It’s their calling not yours, encourage them to seek God for wisdom and guidance and offer your support.

5.       Encourage Them to Begin – Your friend may not have all the skills they need to accomplish their goals up front, but they can begin with what they have and learn as they go.

So, reach for your dreams and encourage others  in theirs…or to quote the Bible again (because what better source of encouragement is there?)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Jan blogs at She Fancied Herself a Writer , Fellowship of Christian Bloggers (among other places :)


The Importance of Rest by Wendy Van Eyck

On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:2-3 (NLT)

I spent the day by a stream last Saturday.

I sat there doing nothing just listening to the birds sing worship in the trees and the wind whistle it’s praise through the branches.

I sat there and I thought, “I should do this more often”.

I should put down my phone, leave my laptop at home and my to-do list on my desk and just give my soul time and space to rest, to just be with God.

When was the last time you took time out to just let your soul rest with God?

Did you enjoy this? Wendy writes regular devotionals over at You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?
Ps. 56:11

(Happy Election Day, American Friends)

Monday, November 5, 2012

First World Problems by Rebecca Aarup

“First World Problems”

On Sunday my Pastor showed a riveting video called “First World Problems Rap” and the irony of this video should be evident to any viewer.  I appreciate the message and encourage you to watch it (it’s only two minutes).

So, yesterday our church launched a 30-day challenge to start a “First World Problems” complaint jar. You guessed it, every time we catch ourselves complaining about a “problem”--much like what is depicted in the video--we have to drop some money into the jar. At the end of the 30 days we turn in our jars to the church benevolence fund so the money can be used to help others. Immediately I knew I needed to participate (and I hope you’re challenged to do the same—donating the money to your church or charity).

Making a “complaint” jar is a great idea and something I hope to continue beyond the 30 days. Even in one day both I and my daughter have begun to realize how much we gripe about trivial things. Let’s face it, waiting in line at Starbucks really pales in comparison to the trials most children face in third world countries. I am ashamed to even admit how often I forget to pray for those children. Most of us will never get the opportunity to travel to a destitute country and personally help, but most of us do have the capability of helping out through active service in our communities.

The church I attend has several outreach groups that work with homeless people, foster children, disabled children, hungry families, and more. Even if your church does not offer these things, there is something somewhere that you could probably get involved in. Even if it’s just dropping off canned foods for a food drive or hygiene supplies to homeless communities. The needs are there, we just need to open our eyes and look (and pray) for opportunities.

All of our situations are unique. My situation requires me to be home much of the time. I’m a wife, I home-school my daughter, I’m a full time student, and a freelance writer. I am in my home a lot! But a few months ago I prayed for God to show me what I could do to get “hands-on” and He was faithful to immediately answer that prayer! Sometimes we are fooled in to thinking we don’t have the time or resources to make a difference when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. We may never know what impact our small acts of kindness could have on another life.

So my challenge to you is the same challenge my Pastor shared with the congregation. Make a complaint jar and keep track of just how often you complain about “first world” problems. The results will probably be shocking. Remember, the point is to change our perspective. Faith is supposed to be active. Jesus didn’t just sit in the synagogue all day and preach. He was out there demonstrating a hands-on faith, as were the disciples. And we’re all familiar with James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after the orphans and the widows in their distress and to keep oneself faultless from the world.” This is the kind of faith I want to demonstrate to the world; this is the kind of faith I ask God to create in my life.

A faith that moves.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

You can find Rebecca on her blog: UNDIVIDED

Sunday, November 4, 2012

WOW-- Devotional from me :)

I have a story featured on today's WOW- Writing on the Word. I'm SUPER excited about it. Please head over and check it out...

A friend’s husband, a preacher, was watching a television program and his young son told him that a preacher shouldn’t watch such shows. It convicted the father, and he changed the channel. CLICK TO READ MORE...


**Don't forget that I'm going to send a donation to the Red Cross on my other blog . For this week, for every book I sell on, I'm sending one dollar. So, if I sell 1 book, it will be $26 sent. 2 will be $27 etc. Please help me by buying books :) It's getting great reviews and I know you'll love it. PLUS can enter to win a FREE copy gifted to whomever you wish (Christmas present, anyone?)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Red Cross donation/Giveaway...

On my other blog, I'm trying to make donations to give to the Red Cross. If you could help me out, I'd appreciate it...

HERE's the LINK...


An Apology...

ID-10067246Friends, I'm so sorry I'm not posting encouragement every day on here. I'm dropping the ball big time. My priorities have gotten out of whack both online and at home. Because of that, people are either suffering, angry, or not encouraged (all three things I feel horrible about).

I'm going to do (I almost put try, but what good would that do you...) better. Even if it's just a verse a day, that's better than what I'm doing now. The Bible says things much better than I can do anyway lol.

I'm not blaming our regular contributors... they are awesome!!! And it's my site-- It's *my* responsibility to make sure you have a daily or at least weekly post. 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Go In Peace

And Jesus said to the woman,"
Your faith has saved you: go in peace."
Luke 7:50