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Lorraine Hossington | @lorrainehossing
God wants us to come to him in prayer. He wants a close relationship with his children, and the longer we spend with him the closer our relationship will become.
Persevering in Prayer
Luke 18:1-5 (NIV) The Parable of the Persistent Widow
In this parable we see how this widow would not give up! She kept coming back and asking for her plea to be granted, she wanted justice against her adversary and finally wore the judge down. And she was granted what she asked for.
When we have a prayer request we should keep asking. An example is of a friend of mine. She came to know the Lord after she married. Her husband didn’t want to know anything about God and refused to believe in him. She and a friend whose husband didn’t believe, began to meet regularly every week to fast and pray together. Asking that their husbands would come to know Jesus. It took seventeen years before my friend’s husband became a believer in Jesus Christ. And shortly afterward her friend’s husband came to know the Lord.
Those years weren’t easy ones, yet they persisted and wouldn’t give up. If you are praying for someone and feel as though you are getting no where let me encourage you to keep on praying. Be like the persistent widow who refused to go away and kept coming back and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Waiting for Answer to Prayer.
A friend described prayer as a traffic light.
Red: This is when we are praying.
Yellow: This is when we are waiting for our prayer to be answered.
Green: This is when we have received our answer and we can go forward.
It’s wonderful when we get the green go sign. Not so good when we are in the yellow and having to wait for our answer. This can be so difficult, we want to know now! God is never to late or too early, but always on time with his answers.
Acts 16:22-35 Paul and Silas in Prison
Praying and Worship
Imagine being flogged and then having your feet put in the stocks. This is what Paul and Silas endured. Then having gone through all of this to start singing and praising God. In our lives we have times of testing and trials. When this happens it is a difficult and challenging time, and as the storm rages around us we can feel depressed and start to feel worn down. This is when we need to focus on God and pray our way through the turmoil in our lives. It’s a hard thing to do. Sometimes it makes us feel as though we just want to give up.
1Peter 5:6-10 (NIV)
Verse 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
God cares about every detail in our lives and he wants us to give all of our frustration and pain to him. He wants to hear about what we are going through. He longs for that deeper relationship with us. If we can go to that quiet place and talk with him and listen to what he says to us. He will see us through the storm. At one time I was going through so much hurt and pain that I couldn’t even pray. Then I went to a place in the quiet countryside for a few days. As I sat in my room overlooking the sea I began to see God’s amazing creation and how much beauty he had created. Then slowly his peace washed over me, I knew that even though I couldn’t pray or worship him he knew what I was going through, and he would be with me all the way through it. And he stayed with me all the way through the storm, and he will be there with you. Be encouraged and keep praying God will never leave or forsake us. He is always with us.
Lorraine Hossington lives in the Gower Peninsular in Wales. She writes contemporary Christian Fiction. And loves nature and being able to see the wild ponies and sheep on the hills in the area she lives in. As she used to live in the city, but loves where God has put her in the country.
Twitter @lorrainehossing Facebook Lorraine Hossington
By Elizabeth Musser @EMusserAuthor
When I was writing The Long Highway Home, one of my very favorite Persian proverbs was this:
Oh, how that proverb made my heart sing, and I found it profoundly true.
In our lives as Christ followers, we long to ‘bear fruit’, by doing the ‘good works’ He’s chosen for us before time to bring Him glory. But sometimes it takes a long time—maybe even a lifetime—to be humble enough to ‘bend ourselves thankfully to the ground.’
Sometimes it takes months or years or decades to get over ourselves and realize to Whom we owe our gratitude.
I recently attended my 40th high school reunion. Since I live out of the country, I don’t have the opportunity to attend many reunions, but I’ve been to a few, enough to have been able to say after this one, “Well, we’ve finally gotten over ourselves. As we approach sixty, we are, for the most part, more self-aware and less out to impress.”
This has been true of my experience in ministry and in writing.
Early on, I tried so very hard to produce fruit.
These were the two things I could do, and I had to prove that I could do them well. For the Lord, of course. I literally wore myself out, trying on my own strength, and failing, until I learned to come humbly before the Lord and trust Him for the results.
So now, when there is fruit, I know, I KNOW, Who to thank, and it isn’t myself. I love that visual of a branch, laden with fruit, hanging toward the ground, so that even the little fingers of children could pluck a piece of the tree’s juicy fruit.
But something that happened in our yard recently forced me to ask this question: Can we at times bear too much fruit?
My husband and I returned to our home outside Lyon, France after having been in the States for over ten months. We had a wonderful young couple renting our home. They kept the house in great shape, and they mowed the yard when necessary, but we didn’t ask them to prune our fruit trees. We figured, with three young children, both the husband and wife had enough to do without worrying about our trees. So we came back to an immaculate house and an overgrown yard.
Last week as I was blithely typing in my little writing chalet, a tool shed that sits in our front yard, I heard a strange noise. I stepped outside the chalet to listen. It sounded like a squirrel or some other animal was frolicking in one of our little apple trees.
But we don’t have squirrels in this part of France. And the only things that tend to frolic are birds and bees. But this noise was of leaves rustling and apples jingling and then a crunch. I walked over to the tree, careful not to step under it. Upon closer inspection, no animal or insect was bothering our dear little tree. She had another problem that was, unfortunately, much worse. One of her biggest branches was breaking off because it was overladen with apples, hundreds of apples on this one branch. Little by little it groaned and gave way, the branch bending ever more towards the ground, although I do not believe the tree felt thankful. She was literally having a limb ripped off because of too much fruit.
We hadn’t been here to prune her back in the right season and she, bless her sweet soul, had just done her job as best she could: producing apples. Now it looked like she had done her job too well. Indeed, my husband sadly had to come and cut off the branch where it was irreparably broken.
I wonder if sometimes, as we strive to serve our Lord, we are in danger of producing too much fruit?
We serve and we give and we bear the burdens of others and we keep on going, ignoring our bodies’ plea for Sabbath rest. We become overworked, but often we tend to ignore self-care which in time leads to broken branches and burn out. We dodge our Master’s pruning shears, avoiding them at all costs.
The bough breaks.
We need the Lord to cut us back and often that involves calling us to slow down. While wearing myself out in ministry and writing, I became very ill. I felt the Lord’s pruning shears as I was forced to rest. But I learned invaluable lessons about life rhythms and seasons and Sabbath.
May we take heed and allow our dear and perfect Gardener to cut us back. May we abide in Him and soak up the perfect rest for our souls that He offers. So we will bend, but not break.
“I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit…” John 15: 1-2
ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Her new novel, The Long Highway Home
, has already been a bestseller in Europe and is a finalist for the Carol Awards.
For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe with International Teams, now called One Collective. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.
Rita Stella Gailieh | @RitaSGalieh
|Front Cover Photo - Brian M Tully |
I have just this week finished reading an inspirational memoir of a lovely lady who happens to be an anchor on the morning breakfast TV show, Fox & Friends.
We often watch this TV show at about 9pm EST and have always appreciated Ainsley Earhardt's warm personality.
The words of some of her contemporaries tell it all:
"Very few public figures would ever be willing to be vulnerable and real by sharing their innermost thoughts and secrets. In The Light Within me
, Ainsley does just that revealing the true secret of her success - her deep faith in God."
--- SEAN HANNITY
Fox News Channel television host and nationally syndicated radio host
"If you are looking for a refreshing and uplifting account of a person who has found success without losing her bearings, this is it. Ainsley invites us to meet the people who shaped her, the principles that sustain her, and most of all, the faith that grounds her. In a day when so many public figures struggle to maintain balance, her story is a welcome breath of fresh air."
--- MAX LUCADO, pastor and author
I enjoyed reading about her passion for journalism and how much she was tested. But in that long road to the top, she maintained her dedication through plain hard work - never giving up. She is so open the way she shares those low moments many of us go through and the challenge of being a working mother.
|At the White House - Photo, Brain M Tully |
Tim Tebow, a professional athlete, shares her secret. "Among other things, Ainsley is passionate about her relationship with Jesus."
I also believe such openness is God honoring and her reliance of the Lord for her strength really resonated with me. Reading the highs and lows of her story is a real inspiration for readers and writers alike.
Australian Historical Romance novelist, Rita Stella Galieh, has Indie Published a trilogy and is now working on a third series. Her brand: Everything can change in a heartbeat. She has also contributed to several US Cup of Comfort anthologies. As a member of ACFW, CWDU, ACW and Omega Writers, she can also be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/galleyslave
Twitter: @RitaSGalieh and connect with her at www.ritastellapress.com
Currently she co-presents Vantage Point, an Australia-wide Christian FM radio program. Her fun-filled presentation of "Etiquette of the Victorian Era" in costume is also inspirational. Contact ritagal (at) optusnet (dot) com (dot) au
Karen Rees | @ICFWriters
Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Romans 13:14
Sometimes mannequins have faces, sometimes they don't. It doesn't really matter which it is because, unlike beauty pageant contestants, mannequins aren't there to display themselves. Their purpose is to display their clothing.
The year our Hong Kong Flower Show included mannequins, pictured here, people didn't go to see the mannequins. They went to see the dresses of flowers the mannequins were wearing.
As followers of Christ, we're to live like mannequins, not like beauty pageant contestants. Rather than 'wearing' behaviors that call attention to ourselves, we're to be clothed with Christ. When people look at us they should see Him.
To wear Christ is to wear Love. Not the emotional 'hearts and flowers' kind of love. It's the compassionate, self-sacrificing love that Jesus showed when he died for sinners like you and me. It's the love that does what's best for the other person even when I can't stand the person.
If you're like me, becoming a mannequin for Christ is easier said than done. It takes time and effort to become clothed with Christ - our time and the effort of the Holy Spirit working in us. Why? Because we still have that old sinful nature to deal with.
It would be much easier if we only had to clothe ourselves with Christ on Sundays or when we're with other believers. But that's not how it works.
We're to wear Christ 24-7. Everywhere we go, everything we do, everyone we speak with, whether at work or at home, at the grocery store or at the park, driving on the highway or playing on the beach. And especially when we get on Facebook. Our every word and action should show Christ.
Thankfully wearing Christ 24-7 has a completely different result than wearing some outfit 24-7. With constant wear and our body odors, a garment will eventually turn into a smelly rag. But when we're clothed with Christ, he has the power to renew us and dispel our spiritual body odors of sin. As a result, the longer we're clothed with Christ, the better we look and sweeter we smell to those around us.
Colossians 3:12-14 lists some of the items, including the most important one, we'll be wearing when we're clothed with Christ. I know which I'm still struggling to fully put on. What do you struggle with?Bio: Karen Rees exchanged life as a farmer's daughter for SE Asian “big city” life when she and her husband began mission work in Hong Kong. They've worked with local Chinese, household servants imported from the Philippines and Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka.As a result she's eaten chicken's feet, baby octopus cooked in its own ink, barbecued pig's ear and several other delicacies that she didn't ask about.Karen is the mother of two and grandmother of three, an avid reader, quilter, lover of history and an author of historical fiction set during the English Reformation.Facebook Author Page: https://www/facebook.com/Author.KarenRees
By Patricia Beal | @bealpat
I’m a known procrastinator and often write my posts late, but this one takes the prize. T minus 14 hours. Yikes.
Habit. I like what I produce under pressure. But this is different. Today is different.
Maybe it goes back to the old advice: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Maybe it’s fear of being exposed and feeling vulnerable through/because of what I have to say.
Maybe it’s the enemy planting doubt and fear in my head because a post like this can bless others who might be feeling the same way, thinking they’re alone, inadequate, and lacking.
Well here we go.
I read a lovely guest post by Joanna Davidson Politano, author of the new novel A Rumored Fortune
. I encourage you to read it (the post and the novels—she’s very good) - https://www.morethanareview.com/guest-post-by-joanna-davidson-politano-author-of-a-rumored-fortune/
In the post, she talks about her vineyard research for this latest novel, and I had a “Tig” moment. Yes, I know, The Tig is now history. But I will always thing of “aha!” moments as “Tig” moments, thanks to Meghan Markle.
Vineyards do produce more fruit than they can possibly support while still maintaining a healthy and strong connection to the vine.
Lives too can produce too much fruit for the Christian to nurture while still maintaining a healthy and strong connection to our True Vine, Jesus Christ.
Pruning is a must. Something’s gotta give. And you don’t want it to be the quality of the connection to The Vine. Like Joanna says on the post, a poor connection results in fruit that may look good but is bitter and immature.
You can do some pruning yourself, but God will often prune too.
I think this is the hardest part. There are tons of great and godly things out there for us to do, and we says “yes” a lot. Then next thing we know, we are too heavy with busyness to have enough quiet time with God and enough time in His Word. The connection gets weak. We begin going through the motions. Our fruit may look good on the outside (emphasis on “may”) but is bitter and immature. Fruit on survival mode.
Last month I cut off one big thing and a smaller one, and God cut another big thing.
Self-pruning part I:
I stopped dancing. I was in three studios and struggling to pick one. In my attempt to decide, I realized that my motives were all wrong. I was doing it for the applause. I was doing it because it felt good to be an older dancer. I was doing it because people always talked about how good I looked. That’s no reason to spend time away from family. I waited for a good class, one I could hang my hat on in case I never go back and walked away. I was taking lyrical for the first time and stopped after dancing Hamilton’s “Dear Theodosia.” It felt good to dance that song, and it feels good to be done. When/if kids leave the home, and I get bored, I can do something with dance again.
Self-pruning part II:
I stopped promoting Facebook posts to the rate I used to and at times don’t post daily anymore. I did this in part because I’m depressed about the writing life—there, I said it—and in part because I don’t think it’s wise to continue spending what I spend in writing endeavors.
Oh my goodness, there are so many folds to this statement. It could be a post in itself, but it would be too sad. Having Asperger’s, I have to fight for joy and fight to be comfortable in my own skin. As a Christian, I feel horrible. I’m supposed to be full of joy. I shouldn’t have to fight for it. I’m supposed to be thankful, but I have to constantly remind myself of what I have and if how far I’ve come, or my brain navigates naturally to the negative.
It’s okay though. Allen Arnold says feeling stuck is an opportunity to go places brand new with God. These are great podcasts.
Link to part 1: https://www.ransomedheart.com/podcast/when-your-story-stalls-part-1
Link to part 2: https://www.ransomedheart.com/podcast/when-your-story-stalls-part-2
And homeschool will begin soon with the best antidote to depression: Hope.
That (homeschool) brings me to the pruning God did.
The pruning God did:
He planted in my daughter’s heart the desire to go to school outside the home, and she begins fourth grade at our church’s academy on Friday.
Break to take my son to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu… Back. T minus ten.
My son… We struggle. I pray that in this year of homeschooling just him, we can figure out the way ahead. We’ve tried a lot of different strategies to help him. Nothing works. He now refuses to go to any place for any therapy or program. Jiu-Jitsu is it. He goes to church, but his participation is all over the place. The day he was supposed to go to the Hope Through Horses place (July post), he barricaded himself in his room and refused to come out.
I’m to the point I want to ask his pediatrician to reevaluate him and maybe take autism out of his official record since autism specialists who’ve spent hours and hours in our home have failed to help him time and again. I haven’t decided what to do about medication either. I took him off ADHD meds for the summer and am not sure if I want him back on. I don’t think it will be necessary for homeschool. I don’t think it has a positive impact on behavior.
As for now, the plan is to love him to death and see if I can figure out what’s really going on in that head of his. He is considering going to an academy too, but this year, when he asked, sixth grade was already full. I'm kind of glad. Maybe this is the year that we can figure each other out, bond better, and start working together as a family instead of hurting because of Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).
If you know someone who struggles with ODD in the family, give them a hug for me. It’s so heartbreaking. As a parent you’re baffled every hour on the hour. Everything is a fight. And people think you just failed as a parent. With time you begin believing it’s really all your fault. Then you have to remind yourself about just how early the chaos started. For us, I remember locking myself in a bathroom with my newborn when little man was less than two. Yep, the anger and lack of control was so intense I was afraid that early. ODD is real. You don’t teach that intensity to a kid under two. Some people are born that way. Many end up in institutions. I’m committed to not letting mine end up that way.
I might be the one ending up in an institution though… Lol…
Okay, I will stop writing this blog post and take up journaling to sort out my emotions. Thanks for reading this far :o
A Mother’s Prayer
Oh, Daddy… (if you’re a Lucado fan, you know where this comes from)
How did I end up here and how do I get someplace better?
I have less than ten years left in these formative years with my kids. I’ve given it my all, but it doesn’t show. Why? Trips to the book store, to the library, to the playground, playdates, programs, intervention, no intervention, church, friends, parties, things, people. Is it me, Lord? Am I not enough for them?
I might not be enough, but You are. Give me wisdom to do this right. You promised you would. I’m begging. Give me wisdom.
Please give us a good school year. Please help me be joyful for them. Please help me show them my love. Please help them understand I’m human too and have weaknesses and needs.
If You don’t help me, I will continue to do all the work while they play. I can no longer fight over chores. I don’t have it in me. Not anymore. They win. I would rather just do it myself. But I know that’s bad for them. Give me wisdom. Strategies that work. Do a work in their hearts. I need You to intervene. I’m exhausted.
Forgive me for applying for government positions (five in the last 24 hours!) that I know I will probably not accept. Right now, how could I? I just need to know that beyond my front door there’s a normal world, where hard work pays off and achievement is recognized.
I know that within the front door You recognize my labor too, but I feel You so far away. A silly job offer for a job I cannot now take would give me more validation than Your love, always there. Isn’t that sad?
That must mean I’m ill connected. But this is something else I don’t know how to fix. In our walk too I’m doing my best. Now what?
“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
1 Corinthians 13
By the way, we’re on waiting mode on the writing front. I don’t like waiting modes on any fronts. Boo.
Advice? I obviously need it…
Tales from mature parents of demanding kids? Those bring amazing comfort and that’s why I share my stories. It’s not to hear myself talk. It’s to let others in the trenches know they don’t hurt alone.
One more plug: Tricia Goyer’s new book is awesome when it comes to not feeling alone in the whirlwind. She talks a lot about letting God shape you in the middle of the madness instead of focusing solely on outcomes.
I promise I will try to post something more uplifting next time :)
Patricia Beal has danced ballet her whole life. She is from Brazil and fell in love with the English language while washing dishes at a McDonald's in Indianapolis. She put herself through college working at a BP gas station and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature. She then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years.
She now writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, came out in May of 2017 (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). A Portuguese translation just came out in her native Brazil on August 3, 2018 (Editora Pandorga). Patricia is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.
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