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


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year. A New Blog. A New Outlook

Hi. Remember me? I haven't blogged since... oh August. I've been *busy*. That's what happens when you have four bestselling novels, more to write, editing, working basically two jobs, with three kids... and a husband...

And it was also an excuse. 

I started this blog in 2010 (I think lol). The goal was to write 1 devotional every day for a year (hence the 'Encourage 365') And I did it. I wrote every day for a year... and I was so proud.

I'm not sure if it was right or wrong to be proud. I mean, it was good that I fulfilled my commitment, but was I really writing what God wanted or was I just trying to fill spaces until the year was up so I could say 'I did it!'

I gained followers. Over 100 in fact. I was over the moon. And I was grateful for it.

encourage365I also started the Devotional blog directory. It grew and I was so grateful for it.

And I started to get regular contributors... and I was grateful for it.

We were growing. And I was grateful. And proud.

And then I got 'busy'. And I got, honestly, burned out.

Last December, I announced that I was going to blog every day again. We were going to read the bible in a year, I said. It was going to be Epic, I said. We were going to do it together, I said.

I stopped after January.

Then, this December I was shopping right before Christmas (like RIGHT before.. on the 23rd) and a woman stopped me. She'd almost completed the 1 year bible plan I started in January. She was so excited! I felt like a huge loser.

BUT, this isn't about the past. It's not about the 365 days of blogging I did. It's not about the directory. It's not about my books. It's about me. That might be selfish lol, but I got to thinking and I was missing something. I do a lot... but I'd given up something I really liked in the process.

I don't know all the answer... Heck, I don't know any of them to be honest. I have lots of questions though. On facebook, there is a lady called 'The World's Worst Missionary' (or something like that). From her, I realized, I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to know 'everything' to blog. I don't have to know all the biblical answers to write about it.

I just have to do it. Because I guarantee most of you don't have all the answers either.

SO, where does that leave us. My goal for 2014 is to blog once a week (Encourage 52 would be more apt I guess lol). I want to blog over things that are happening in my life. Maybe things I don't understand. Maybe things we can work out together. I'm excited about this. I'm not worrying about replies (though comment if you want :) ). I'm not worrying about 'reach' or people who have seen my post... or anything like that. I'm just blogging-- and hoping-- and praying it helps someone (maybe even me).

My first devotional for 2014 will be up tomorrow. It' about anxiety. I'm so excited to write one again. Like I said, it's been a while.

That said, I'm deleting the Devotional blog directory. I'm so thankful for everyone who has signed up over the years. Truly, from the bottom of my heart. But I can't maintain it any more, and it's not what this blog is about any more. I hope you all understand <3 If you 'Unfollow', I understand. I love you all very much and appreciate what you've done. I also love your blogs :) I still read them (mainly if I see the link on facebook).

So, there is it. A big confession. A big bombshell. And a big goal for 2014. Here's to 52 weeks of devotionals <3


Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Blog in Directory-- CATCHING THE OVERFLOW

Catching the Overflow is about seeing all the grace that God has heaped on us. Being able to find the moments when we are filled with his overflowing love. Life can be hard, but with Jesus in our hearts we will always have someone who cares about us. 

**I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything (Nearly 2 months!), but I wanted to welcome Andrea to the blog directory! If you have a moment, please go check out her blog. :)


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

THis Woman Writes-- New Blog in the Directory :)

I'm excited to announce a new blog in the directory....
This Woman Writes addresses modern life’s oddities and ends through the eyes and perspective of an ordinary Christian – me. Contempo Christianity -- -- is my weekly Wednesday Christian-based article, delving into what it means to live one’s faith in the 21st century environment – both religious and secular.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Life Stinks... without God Guest Post by Mike R.

Life Stinks...

...Without God.

"live in such a way that those who don't know God
 will come to know God because they know you"
- Unknown 

Our life in God is essential to the eternal life that awaits our coming. Christ came and made known God. He made known the God, that prophets tried to teach, but no one listened. Christ took off his heavenly, king robes, and appeared as one of us, so that we may have life in him. 

It is necessary that we, whom believe in God, keep that life going; making sure it doesn't get flat. Like a car tire. It will eventually go flat, because of all the driving, so for the protection of the car and the tire it is an absolute thing to keep filling it up with air. 

Same as our life in Christ. It can and will get flat.We often must go to mass, confession, and when we can renewing retreats. But we must watch, that going to mass doesn't turn from a ritual to a habit. We have to watch to make sure we are need and want to, not that we have to. We have to be careful for it easy for this it to turn into a regular habit.

But that isn't enough. 

No, not even close. Our life in Christ isn't simply one that requires us to go to a building we see once a week. As St.James puts it, "...Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead" [James 2:17] It it the daily action we do, that also keeps the tire spinning. It is how we walk about, and living our lives. It's if we choose to be the Priest filled with pride, or the kind Samaritan that decides to help out those in need. 

Moreover, our Christian life isn't one that's easy, and lazy. It's a life that takes courage and it takes us going out of our own way to do the Lords will. It is a call, to go and be brave, to go against the 'wave.' It is a life that requires us to practice what we pray. It is a life dedicated to the work of God.

When we are done this earthly life, and have moved in front of the gates of heaven, God will be happy to accept us, when he sees his will, not ours. It is hard, to have that listed, but of course through the power of prayer, it is possible. 

May we, the people living the Christian Faith (and the Future ones) live the life of Christ. By praying for the strength from God to be able to preach and to do his will! 

Come see my Blog at:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

You Never Know...

James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will[g] go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

I’m a planner. I like to plan things. If I don’t know what’s going on a few days or weeks down the road, I get antsy.

My middle daughter is the same way. She has to know when everything is going to happen. Honestly, it does get tiring planning so far ahead so she won’t meltdown.

Yesterday, I took my girls on a little shopping trip. The whole way there, they kept asking where we were going first, then what… then what… then what!

Finally I told them, “Girls, let’s just not plan. We’ll end up where we end up. Let’s have an adventure.”

We did.

And it was fun.

It was nice to have a few hours without a strict plan.

I need that more often.

I have an internet friend named Nicole. She was pregnant and planning for her fifth baby: a boy. They could tell from the first ultrasound that something was wrong.

Like all of us would, she planned.

She went to the best hospital and stayed in the Ronald McDonald house (not in TN. They live in Canada.). She looked toward the future, and though it looked rough for her little boy, she stayed strong. Nicole took pictures of her baby belly, excited about how much her little man was growing. They were going to love him no matter what.

A few days ago, Nicole’s family learned all too well about the ‘vapor’ in the scripture above. Nicole was found dead in her room. The baby didn’t make it either. The medical examiner did an autopsy, but so far no cause of death. Nicole was 37.

We were due date buddies. My youngest child and her forth were both due in July 2010. Please pray for her family. She has 4 other children (one turned 3 on the day his mama died). It’s sad all around. The daddy is trying the best he can, but I know they could use prayers.

We can plan all we want, but when its time, it’s time. Enjoy life. Enjoy the moment. Take time to do something without planning ahead. And don’t hold grudges because you never know when it’ll be the last time you see someone.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Water from the Well-- New Devotional Blog Added :)

I'm excited to announce a new blog added to the directory :) Water From The Well :)

Let Go and Let God
Water From the Well, dedicated to spreading the great commission one word at a time. The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Study in Patience

A Study in Patience

When my daughter was four years old, my mother (her Nana) asked her what she wanted for her birthday. My daughter said an Easy Bake Oven. Nana (thankfully) didn’t want to get her one and, as an excuse said, “Oh look, the box says you have to be 8 to have it. Are you 8?”

“No.” My sweet girl shook her head.

“Okay.” Nana smiled, happy to have that crisis averted. “You can have it when you are 8.” They went on their way, and Nana assumed she forgot it.

As parents, we’ve all done that (or I assume you have. I have). If we don’t want our kids to have something, we tell them something and hope they forget it.

My daughter, though, surprised us all.

On her fifth birthday she announced, out of the blue, “Only three more years until I can have my Easy Bake Oven!”

On her sixth birthday, “Only two more years until I can have my Easy Bake Oven!”

On her seventh birthday, “Only one more year!! I can’t wait to be eight to get my Easy Bake Oven.”

In the four years since Nana told her those fateful words, “You have to wait until you are eight”, my daughter has never once begged for an Easy Bake Oven. She hasn’t cried. She hasn’t whined. She’s just been very upbeat that she WOULD get an Easy Bake Oven. All she had to do was wait.

I wish I was more like my eight year old.

Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.

I can think of this two ways. 1) She KNEW her Mama would give her exactly what she promised. 2) She had patience to wait (four years… an eternity to a kid) for it.

I don’t know about you, but I want things NOW! I write fast because I can’t stand having an unfinished story. I can write a book (60,000 words) in about 3-4 weeks. Because of that, I have this tendency to want EVERYTHING fast. I’m a horrible, “I want it now!” person.

I guess you could say my daughter got my patience… because I sure don’t have any left ;)

Now, don’t get wrong. I’m patient with people (in my line of work you have to be). I’m patient with kids. But when it comes to things from God, I’m not! I have everything planned out and if He doesn’t hit *my* marks, well He’s slow and I’m sad.

I need to take a lesson from my daughter. She never complained once about having to wait four years for her Easy Bake Oven. But she never forgot it either.


Be hopeful.

Look to the future.

Know your blessings will come (Who doesn’t want an Easy Bake Oven?)

But be happy with what you have now.

Did my daughter just not play with any toys while she waited for her Easy Bake Oven? Did she sit, mope, hate life, and stare at a wall until her blessing came?

No, she enjoyed her other toys (her blessings as it were), waiting for the big desire of her heart.

Don’t miss out on playing with your other *toys* because you are waiting for your *Easy Bake Oven*. It’ll come… and hey, it might even be the new and improved ‘Ultimate Oven’… a much better blessing than you would have gotten four years ago.

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(My oldest and youngest kids have the same birthday. My 8 year old with her new Easy Bake Oven. My 3 year old... all she wanted was a big ball. Yeah. ;) )


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Planted and Growing in the Word... New Devotional Blog Added

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Vickie Lutz writes “Planted & Growing in the Word” and has written two books about worshiping God during Bible study with active listening and note-making,using a learning technique called graphic organization. She says, “My blog is grounded in what I learn about God through Bible study and worship and inspired by what I see God teaching me in life.”

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Patience and Pancakes

Today, I was about to cook breakfast for my family. The husband didn't want pancakes. 2/3 of my girls wanted cereal. Just me and my oldest wanted what I had started cooking.
"Okay," I thought. "I normally don't do this, but I'll cook everybody what they want." Normally, I'm a stickler for things. If I cook it, you eat or do without. I have been told (recently) that I might be a tad bit uptight about things so I decided, okay, I'll be 'good' today.
That was my first mistake....
While I was cooking the pancakes, the husband fixed himself some chili fries. Okay, no big deal. He's a grown man.
My kids were different.
My youngest two started in it. Apparently, life as we knew it was about to cease to exist. They were starving... like STARVING! So, being good as I was, I fixed their cereal while I worked on the pancakes. They ate. I cooked.
My oldest daughter saw her sisters eating and wanted her pancake early. She didn't want to wait for the eggs or strawberries. She just wanted her pancake.
Okay, whatever.
I gave her pancake to her and started on mine.
They were still hungry, so I fixed some strawberries. They ate. I cooked. Finally, when I got finished cooking the pancakes and eggs, I sat down to eat. My family got up because they were finished. All except for my 2 year old, who decided she needed a pancake (even though she'd already eaten a bowl of chocolate cereal.) NOTE: she didn't get a pancake, but I did give her 2-3 bites of mine.
I was sitting (alone), eating (alone), thinking (alone) when I started laughing. (NOTE: laughing alone just makes you look weird... But I did it anyway. Make your own conclusions.)
 Years ago, I asked God for a husband. I got one.
After that, I asked God for a job. I got one.
After that, I asked God for a child. I got one.
After that, I asked God for another child. I got one.
After that, I asked God for a third child. I got one.
After that, I asked God to allow me to write a book. I did.
After that, I asked God to allow the book to be published. It was.
After that, I asked God for big sales. It was on the bestseller list.
After that, I asked God for a second books to sell. It did.
After that.... you get the idea.
Like my 2 year old (yeah I admit it), I always want more. God is the cook in the kitchen trying to get our lives... our blessings prepared for us to enjoy, and sometimes we are the impatient children wanting it NOW! Had my 2 year old waited, she would have gotten a treat-- a pancake-- and not cereal that she eats every day.
We forget that God is working behind the scenes, cooking if you will, to get everything ready.
But we want it NOW!
I've been praying for something (again... Not a baby lol) and I seem to want it NOW and get upset when it doesn't happen. I'm like my two year old. Sigh.
When you get upset over something or don't see it happening, remember God is always working behind the scenes. He's cooking you up something much better than your ordinary cereal. Be patient. Enjoy what you have now-- but look forward to those pancakes in the future.
Proverbs 16:32: Better to be patient than powerful;
better to have self-control than to conquer a city.

Are you wanting something very much?
Have you asked God for it?
Are you being patient and waiting?
Or are you being like me (lol)?

My goal is to enjoy where I am now and look forward to what is in store in the future :) I hope the same for you :) :)


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Little R and R-- New Blog Added to Directory

Who doesn't need a little rest? Here is a blog that hopes to give it to you.

A Little R & R

A Little R & R seeks to encourage women to be content in what God created them to be.  With posts ranging from spiritual application to recipes and organizing tips; there is something for everyone.  So grab a cappuccino, put your feet up and enjoy A Little R & R!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Where The Dice Fall

Saturday’s Devotional:
Proverbs 16:33
We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.

I haven’t written a devotional since February.


Because I threw my dice…

Some of you may know that I write books. I have two out now: CROSSING THE DEEP (Grace Award Winner for best young adult Christian book) and SAINT SLOAN (Amazon bestseller in Teen/Religion). I’m not telling you this for you to go and buy them. But there IS a point.

Despite the wonderful reviews, there isn’t much money in writing Christian fiction. Most people think they are ‘preachy’ or ‘out of touch’ with life. My books are not preachy and are actually pretty edgy for Christian fiction. They get their point across and God across with relatable stories and suspenseful mysteries. In short, I love them.

So what’s the problem? Like I said. There isn’t much money in writing Christian fiction.

That formed the idea in my head (you can’t kill an idea). Hey, I have great reviews! People have complimented my writing style! People say I am a good storyteller! The only issue is what I write! I need to write mainstream… Throw God in there as an afterthought… and sell more books.

I threw my dice.

Anyone want to know how it turned out?


Writer’s block.

I’ve been working on this one book for months, but it won’t flow right. Why? Because I’m trying to do it my way, not the way God wanted.

When I finally got it through my head that it’s okay to not sell 1000 copies as long as it touches one person and started on the Christian fiction side again, the words just flowed out. No more writer’s block.


I threw my dice, but the LORD determined how they fell.

I still wish there wasn’t a stigma with ‘Christian fiction’, but maybe it’s my job, my calling, to change that. I went on a blog tour a few weeks ago where people (mostly non-Christians) read Saint Sloan… and loved it! I’ve always wanted to write books so compelling that even non-believers would like them so they would think about God… maybe for only a few minutes, and maybe for just that one day… but at least they would think about Him.

You can’t kill an idea.

What changed my outlook on this? One review on Goodreads. I got it a few days ago. My first 1 star. At first I was sad. No one likes bad reviews. Then I actually read it. Here was a person who hated the characters, hated the story, hated everything about it. Then went on to say maybe it was because she was an atheist. When I read that part, I smiled. One, she could have had such a bad reaction because she really hated the book (her right. I’m not mad about it.) Two, she could have had such a strong reaction because God was dealing with her, and she didn’t know how to handle it (that’s what I hope).

Will I ever know? Not unless she tells me some day. But I can be assured that for 224 pages, she thought about God. And maybe something in there planted a seed… an idea (and, remember, you can’t kill an idea)

What does this have to do with you? Well, do what God tells you to do and don’t try to throw your own dice. You can of course. You can throw your dice until your hand is tired, but in the end God is the one that determines how they fall. If God has put on your heart some way to serve Him, do it. Don’t try to talk yourself out of it… and don’t try to follow the money ;)

God has big things for you… even if they don’t seem big to you at the moment.


BTW, CROSSING THE DEEP and SAINT SLOAN are now in paperbacks!!!! *happy dance* You can only get them through Amazon though. Maybe someday I'll be in a bookstore, but hey, that's up to God. I just write the books ;)

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

God's Side of the Line-- Guest Post by Jeanne

God's Side of the Line
It's so easy to tell when I am on God's side of the line instead of being on my side.  So, I am always  amazed  at how long it takes  for me to figure it out!  I sit around feeling completely overwhelmed.  Everything  is so huge and I am so tiny.  "I'll  never  be able to do any of this,"  my head screams,  "I just want to go hide."
"You're no good at any of this!  You can't possibly do it!  You failed before and you will fail  every  time!!"   

 I hear it over and over again.

Oh Brother!  I recognize this voice!!  I wish I had recognized it sooner.

It is the accuser. The one who knows what I want my life to be about.

I want to live for God.
I want my light to shine  
so that people around me will see Jesus.  
This is who I am.  

 When you read what I write I want you to see God not me.  When I sing my songs I want you to hear God not me.  He put a light in me, not for me to shine, but to illuminate Him.  

I am here for only one reason -  to lead you to Jesus.
 Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
"...let your light shine before men (and women),
that they may see your good works and praise your Father in Heaven."

The accuser does not want that to happen!

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So Satan, the accuser, starts whispering in my ear.  He starts with the truth to make it look good.  He tells me I am responsible for taking care of my home, my family and my husband.  OK those are jobs God gave me.

Then he begins to  redefine  'taking care of '  to mean keeping my home perfect at every moment, pictures perfectly straight on the wall, nothing out of place, not even a speck of dust.  He goes on to tell me I must keep my children entertained, I must buy them every new thing that comes out, and I must allow them to do what they want - or -  they might not like me!   Soon he's on to my job as a wife, saying I must anticipate all of my husband's wants, that Satan of course  redefines as needs.   It becomes my  job to do  everything  for my husband, even the things that he should do for himself, even the things he would rather me not do!  It's becomes my fault if  anything  goes wrong in our relationship.

Satan assures me that the world  will  end if I allow my husband or my children to be  unhappy  for even a second!
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Good grief!  No wonder my jobs look way to huge!!

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They have become not only huge but also  quite impossible!    I could do them with God's help but I don't believe He would help, because I don't believe that is His will for me.  

I believe God's will for me is to do those jobs as God defined them. {<--Tweet this}

I believe that I am to obey my husband 'in the Lord.'  To obey him as he obeys Jesus. To follow him as he follows Jesus.  To love Jesus and my husband, as my husband loves Jesus and me.

Ephesians 5:23-25  (The Message)
 The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church,
not by domineering but by cherishing.
So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership,
wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church
a love marked by giving, not getting.

Loving  this way means respecting my husband enough to let him do the things  he should  and  wants to  do for himself.  It means releasing him from  my control  back to  God's control .  It means I need to do the same for my children.  It means working with  joy  in my home - not allowing it to become an  obsession.

"Satan I will not allow these things to become idols."  {<--Tweet this}

God promised us joy everlasting,  not  happiness every moment.   They are very different things!

I am calmer now!
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Say!  This is looking better.  I'm getting bigger and the jobs are getting smaller.  Here Lord -  let me hand this last piece of  Your job back to You and I'll just step back across this line, onto  my  side.  Hey, everything is right sized over here, how about that!    Please Lord forgive me  for once again trying to run the show.  I'll just  -  stay over here  -  cool my heels  -   and mind my own business   -  instead of  Yours.

All of a sudden I have more than enough time to do what I am supposed to do and I have time to hang out with You, God! {<--Tweet this}

How cool is that ?!    I like this a lot better!!
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Are you trying to be perfect?
Are you doing things for other's that they should be doing for themselves?
Who's side of the line are  you  on?
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Life is so much more pleasant on our side of the line.
You might ask God to help you get back.
I'll be waiting over here for you.

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Jeanne from

Happily shared with Simply Helping Him, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Christian Mommy Blogger

~*~*~Thank you so much for being on the blog today, Jeanne! We've needed a new devotional for a long time :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blog Added to the Directory

I'm very happy to announce a new blog added to the directory. Please, check it out. I know you'll love it :)

My prayer for Essential Thing Devotions is that it becomes a place where God speaks, encourages and inspires.  That it helps women to know His love, feel His embrace and enable us to be our true selves.

Also, I should apologize (again) for the lack of content on this Encourage 365 blog. There is really no excuse. 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Post in Directory :)

I'm very excited to welcome our newest blog in the directory :) Check it out!

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Walking with God, peaceful married life, infertility, motherhood, homeschooling, aging parents, grief, family ties...these things I live and breathe and know.  These things I write about."


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Our Days are His-- New blog added to the directory :)

We have a new blog added to the Devotional Blog Directory :) Check out Steve's blog...

daily devotional site to help and encourage believers and those seeking to find light and life for their lives. Through God's great love, we are saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and it is in Him, that we find light and life. "In Him was life and the life was the light of the men" (John 1:4 NKJV).

If you have a devotional blog, email me at to add it to the directory. ~Kelly

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Silent No More... new blog in directory

I'm very excited to add this new blog :) And I'm so sorry for the lack of updates. There isn't really any excuse for it.

Here's our newest member:

“Silent No More” – In November 2000, I had a supernatural encounter with the Lord that changed my life as He opened my ears to hear His voice.  For 12 years, I have enjoyed the constant nearness of His presence and the impartation of His heart.   It’s my desire to share what I have learned – and am learning still -  as to encourage others to seek Him, to know Him, to hear Him for themselves in their daily walk. 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Blog added to the directory :)

I've very excited to add a new blog to the Devotional Directory :) 

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I Am Not Perfect-- Yet: "I have a passion to use the gifts God has given me to help women. I do this by sharing my journey: with God, away from God, without God and back home to God."

Please head over and check out this wonderful blog :) :)


I'm also looking for people who would like to guest post on this blog. Send me an email at kellymartin215 yahoo dot com if you are interested :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New blog added to the directory :)

So excited to be adding another wonderful blog to the directory!!! Check it out. You'll be blessed :) :)

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In The Shadow of His Wings-- I write about my daily walk with Jesus; my victories and my failures, the joys and sorrows I encounter. My sincere desire is to encourage and give hope to others with my stories, reminding them that no matter what, God is always with us.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Blog Added to the Directory :)

On this Easter, I'm happy to add a new blog to the directory :)

Thebeggardanced is about trusting God when nothing seems to go right. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement to know we are not alone. Through these simple Bible based posts I hope we can encourage each other to dance again just like the beggar at the gate called Beautiful.

Head on over and see what this blog is all about :)




Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday Post...

In the words of my 6 year old daughter....


(she came bounding in my room this morning and told me that :) )

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Are You Willing to Die For Me? by Mike R.

Are You Willing To Die For Me?

Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.
38 Then Jesus answered, Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
John 13:37-38

Peter the one disciple that shows he has the most Faith, but does he really?

Peter the one whom, was always first to answer, and not really know what he was saying. He did truly believe that Jesus was sent from heaven. But then he, in his humanity, began to doubt, began to wonder. Satan had sifted him like wheat.

Peter is probably one of the closest disciples that can relate to you and me. We all will listen to the words of Christ, proclaim the Gospel, help others on the way, but we can all deny Jesus. Peter is also one we should look up to. One whom, gives the example that it's okay to mess up.

One of the most asked questions about Peters denial is, " Why did Peter deny Jesus?" Simply, it was because he was afraid. He was not ready to loose his life for this man. He did not want to die for knowing Jesus.

Although Peter did proclaim it, he didn't put it into practice. Just like the Scribes and Pharasiees, whom Jesus had talked about. " So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." Jesus, knew that eventual Peter would give up his life for him, but he knew it wouldn't happen tonight.

Peter was taken in by Satan.

He denied Jesus because he was frightened.

Then we hear that Peter went away bitterly weeping after the cock crowed three times. At that moment he knew that he was not loyal to his words. He knew what Jesus said came true. Even though, however, he wished they hadn't.

Peter was sad that he betrayed, whom he knew, was the Son Of God. He was called to repentance after Jesus resurrected from the dead. Jesus made sure 3 times that Peter loved him more than the rest. And after that Jesus secures that he will be the first pope by saying, " Take care of MY sheep"

Judas also does evil in this week. We all know what he does. He hands Jesus over to his enemies for Jesus to be crucified. After the fact once Satan left him, Judas went to hang himself. He had thought he had done a bad thing he could not be forgiven. But, he could have. He was flooded with sorrow and sadness he went and hanged himself.

Peter therefore is certainly the one we should imitate during our life, and Easter as it comes. We have to recognize that we have sinned, feel sorry that we turned against God, and ask for repentance. Certainly unlike the betrayer Judas.

We can be forgiven.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Blog Added to the Directory

Yes, folks, I'm still alive. I've been horrible at my 365 days of blogging (sigh... hopefully I'll get to write more this summer). But God is still blessing this little blog. JoAnne emailed me and asked if her awesome (my word) blog could be added to the directory. I said, sure!!! And here it is.... head on over and give her some love :)

"By This Still Hearth" grew out of what I have come to regard as some of God's greatest gifts, His small, step-by-step revelations that connect the Word to our lives and show us how He is new every morning. I hope to build these blessed intersections between our every breath and His truths into altars that fill our days with worship and joy.


Monday, March 4, 2013

When Joshua Met Jesus... and More by Rebecca Aarup

When Joshua Met Jesus…and More
Reading: Joshua 4-6

Key Verses:
•Joshua 4:21 (the Memory Stones);
• Joshua 5:15 (Joshua meets Jesus);
•Joshua 6:26 (Joshua the Prophet)

Part I: Memory Stones

“In the future, when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them…He did this so all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” (Joshua 4:21, 24, NIV)

Two years ago my daughter (who at the time was 3 years old) and I started a stone collection, our own memory stones. Every time we prayed and asked God for something, we’d write that request on a river rock-like stone. And every time God answered that prayer or sent a blessing, or in another way showed Himself to us, we’d write that down on a stone and put it in a container. It was our way of remembering how good our God is, and that He hears our requests.

It’s not unusual (and is to be expected) that in the Christian life we will encounter some dry spells. God will seem distant, our prayers will appear to be unanswered, or one tragic circumstance after another will roll over us like a tidal wave. It’s in these moments we need to pull out our own memory stones and remind ourselves how loving, just, and faithful God is, despite our feelings and circumstances. God knows how easily we forget such things, which is why he told the Israelites to erect their own monument of stones in memory of that epic moment when God did the impossible (as He usually does).

God works in the unexpected, unlikely, and unknown. We pray, and usually have an idea of how we think God will answer, but in the end, He often answers in ways most unexpected. And when we’re in that treacherous time of waiting and uncertainty, we need to pull out those memory stones and meditate on His sovereign goodness.

Part II: Joshua Meets Jesus

“’As commander of the Lord I have now come,’ then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:14-15, NIV)

Jesus first appeared on earth in human form as a baby in a manger, but He often appeared in another form to the people of the Old Testament. (When Jesus reveals Himself in a visible form in the Old Testament it is known as a Christophony). If you want to keep a lookout for these Jesus sightings, keep in mind a few key words: The Lord of Hosts or The Angel of the Lord of Hosts (because Jesus is the only leader of the heavenly armies--see Revelation 19:11-21).  

A couple of other notable Christophonies would be Judges 13:17-18, “Then Manoah [Samson’s father] inquired of the angel of the Lord, ‘What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?’ He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.’” (Compare this with what is said about Jesus in Revelation 19:12, “And he had a name written, that no man knew but Himself.”)

And who can forget the fiery furnace, “He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like the son of the gods!’” (Daniel 3:25)

Point being, Jesus was always the Father’s representative to us (see John 5:37), God’s children, and this has always been the case. Sometimes we think the God of the Old Testament operates differently than He does today, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Part III: Joshua‘s Prophesy

“And at that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: ‘Cursed before the Lord is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gate.” (Joshua 6:26, NIV)

Joshua declared this prophecy around 1406 B.C. and some five hundred years later this prophecy was realized in 1 Kings 16:34 with a man named Hiel. In this we are reminded that God’s word never EVER returns void. He is faithful to keep His word.

Three Key Takeaways:

1: We honor God not only when we remember His character and goodness towards us, but we also honor Him through teaching His character and good deeds to our children.
2: We honor God when we listen to His Son, Jesus, and represent Him well to the world.
3: We honor God when we remember His word and repeat His word, because it cannot return void (see Isaiah 55:11).

Next Reading: Joshua 7-9

Rebecca Aarup has written devotionals and Bible teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson Press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), Mustard Seed Ministries, and the SERVANT Sisters Women's Ministry. She is also a regular columnist for The Christian Online Magzine. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha. You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.