Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Litfuse Publicity Group blog tour for "Grace Revealed" (book)

This is my last book review for Litfuse Publicity Group because they are closing their doors.

Sad news aside, I hope that you will enjoy this post about Fred Sievert's book Grace Revealed: Finding God's Strength in Any Crisis.

Discover the God who is present in our time of need and who delivers His unmerited gift of grace in His perfect timing in Fred Sievert’s new book, Grace Revealed. Whether you’re facing health problems, emotional issues, career challenges, gut-wrenching losses, or other failures, these experiences can destroy your morale and lead you into despair. Some crises may be a result of your own choices, while others may be completely out of your control. Whatever the source, there is a lasting solution that comes to you free of charge from above: God’s amazing grace. Read these undeniable, modern-day examples of God’s loving grace and its transformative power, and discover that God is always present in your time of need.

Trust in the unmerited gift of God’s grace
You can’t escape the inevitable crises that will face you throughout your lifetime. Whether it’s health problems, emotional issues, career challenges, gut-wrenching losses, or other failures, these experiences can destroy your morale and lead you into despair. Some crises may be a result of your own choices, while others may be completely out of your control. Whatever the source, there is a lasting solution that comes to you free of charge from above: God’s amazing grace.

In Grace Revealed, you will:
—Experience real-life stories of others who discover they are not alone and that relief is within their grasp.
—See how devastating afflictions can be overcome through faith in Jesus and His love, mercy, and grace.
—Learn how God’s grace transforms lives and leads you into enduring and rewarding Christian service.
—Be inspired to encourage others who are suffering but cannot seek help on their own.

Read these undeniable, modern-day examples of God’s loving grace and its transformative power, and discover that God is always present in your time of need.

Author Bio:
Fred Sievert is a speaker, author, and former president of New York Life Insurance Company. Following his early retirement at age fifty-nine, Sievert attended Yale Divinity School and received a master’s degree. 

Sievert remains actively engaged in his greatest passions, which include speaking and writing about his faith, mentoring young executives, and serving as a lay leader of his church and on the boards of several organizations with missions well-aligned with his beliefs and values. 

Fred and his wife have five grown children, three grandchildren, and reside in East Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Find out more about Fred at https://www.storiesofgodsgrace.com.

Excerpts from Grace Revealed:

Teresa's Story: God Puts People in our Paths to lead us to Him

This book is not for the faint of heart.

It's a collection of real-life stories about real people who deal with deep pain in the forms of abuse, alcoholism and a myriad of other serious life-threatening situations.

However, the stories in this book are not without hope because the author shares how God's grace entered these stories and changed the people involved from the inside out.

The reader may be drawn into each person's story and find comfort in each person's unique testimony of how God helped them to rise above their circumstance and receive healing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is going through a crisis or know someone who is in a crisis. It may be just what the doctored ordered to help them survive their darkest days.

*Litfuse Publicity Group provided me (Alexis A. Goring) with a complimentary copy of Grace Revealed: Finding God's Strength in Any Crisis. My opinions in this book review are my own.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Nanci's thoughts on Springtime and CPR

Springtime: God's CPR
A devotional by Nanci Rubin

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."~Genesis 8:22 (KJV)

In February, you’ll find me pouring through the Burpee seed catalogue in anticipation of spring planting as God makes preparation to perform CPR and revive the earth from its winter repose. Nothing excites me more than to see crocus as they emerge through the snow-covered earth and the unforgettable sweet aroma of lavender and pink Hyacinths heralding re-birth. Nature fulfilling God’s promise found in Genesis.

To me, gardening epitomizes seed time and harvest and brings scripture to life. After many years of planting my garden, I can safely say you reap what you sow. If I plant green beans, I don’t expect to harvest beets. It’s the same in our daily lives. What seed are you sowing? Envy? Strife? Mercy? Love? Forgiveness?

In spring, as the earth goes through re-birth, I am reminded of the ‘born-again’ experience. As my seedlings sprout, I remember what Jesus said in Matthew 13:4-8 about the sower sowing the seed.

“And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth. And when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and chocked them. But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” ~Matthew 13:4-8 (KJV)

Interesting how the seed (Word) was sown in different types of soil. The soil makes all the difference in your garden. I cultivate the soil, add nutrients when needed. My seedlings without good soil won’t develop to their expected potential. It’s the same for us as new creations. God has called us. He has forgiven us, written His Word on our hearts and desires for us to grow. It is up to us to cultivate and guard the seed sown in our hearts.

After you’ve received Jesus in your heart, the enemy will come immediately to destroy that which has been sown. He’ll accuse you, remind you of your past, beat you down with his weapons of mass destruction, his attacks individualized as we tell him our fears. We talk too much. Social media has become the enemy’s new battleground.

Most of us have purchased indoor plants or outdoor scrubs. They all come with instructions on care, how we are to nourish them and keep them alive. God has done the same for us. He’s given us his instruction manual, His Word, the Bible. Read it. Let it water your soul, nourish your body and give you direction. It is the fertilizer you need to grow up in Him.

Last summer, I experienced an infestation of Japanese Beetles, of Biblical proportion. Nothing I used worked. I had to ‘hand pick’ every single one. It took me weeks. The beetle fiasco reminded me how we should never allow our hearts to become hardened and immune to the Word of God.

As I hand-picked those beetles, I thought about God’s Word and how much the enemy hates it. He desires to infest our minds with his lies, pulling at us so he can divert us from God’s plan. However, no matter what he says or does, the enemy can NEVER pluck you from God’s hand.

Your mistakes don’t cancel God’s plan in your life. He’s planted you in the orchard of His heart. You're the apple of His eye, and He loves you. Bloom where you’re planted.

Author Bio:
Nanci writes Inspy Amish romance. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two fur kids, Romeo and Juliet, rescue cats. She is working on her debut novel, Plain Justice

She retired earlier than planned from nursing to care for her mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her mom passed last year at the age of ninety-nine and Nanci has delved more into her writing.

She is active in an intercessory prayer ministry in her church, belongs to The Woman’s Club, a service-oriented volunteer organization dedicated to the welfare and enrichment of the community and volunteers two days a week at the Mary Washington Museum.

Currently, she's enrolled in Rhema Bible College’s correspondence Bible studies. She belongs to ACFW and RWA. When she’s not working, reading or writing she’s hiking with her husband at Shenandoah National Park.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: God as your source of strength

Where Strength Is Found

A devotional by Shellie Arnold

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 
~Isaiah 40:31 ESV

In August 2002, I was a homeschool mother of three (including one toddler), I worked part-time, and my husband commuted over an hour each way to work at a church that had seven services each weekend. I was pursuing a career writing and speaking on marriage and family issues. Busy doesn’t begin to describe my life.

I was also scheduled to have a much-needed surgery that included three procedures. I was nervous about that, and a bit unhappy about the recovery time involved, as well as the accompanying disruptions to life and schedule. Consequently, in the days leading to the surgery, I had trouble sleeping. I expressed as much to my doctor, and he prescribed something to help me sleep.

Unfortunately, I was highly allergic to that medication. After taking it, I had an anaphylactic reaction and almost died. My husband found me and called an ambulance, and I spent the rest of that night in the critical care area of our local emergency room.

That reaction fried something in my brain and left me with residual symptoms that increased over time. I experienced coordination issues, tremors in my hands, memory issues, and headaches. But the worst problem was intermittent paralysis on my right side. As days and weeks passed, my right side often looked like I’d just had a stroke—my right foot turned in, my right hand drawn up, my head falling over, mouth and eye drooping. Eventually, I had to take a medical leave from work, I could not drive, go to church, or do other normal life things to take care of my family. My career pursuits completely stopped.

To say I struggled with God during that time is an understatement. I could not reconcile a holy God who called me to write and speak, yet left me with a body that could not write or speak. Sitting in church while others sang around me, left me feeling hurt and abandoned.

As I sought God and He impressed upon me three things: Shellie, do not go to dark places inside. Do not tell yourself your life is over. Thank me for every breath.

With all my physical abilities nearly gone, I determined to be obedient to what I felt God saying in my spirit. And I decided if the only thing I could offer as a sacrifice to God was my attitude—not my writing or speaking or anything else—I was going to have the best attitude possible.

So, I waited for healing. I waited and waited, following what God had spoken to me, and maintaining the best attitude I could. Positive, hopeful, and thankful. And I learned the meaning of Isaiah 40:31.

It is in the waiting we find strength. Not when our needs are met. Not when we get relief from our burdens. Strength is found only when we wait on God. When we stay in His presence, listening for His voice, following His directives, and in total dependence on Him. That’s where strength is found.

God healed my brain on May 18, 2005, almost three years after the reaction. But I know it took more of God to carry me through those years than it did for Him to heal me. If I had not found strength in waiting on Him, I’m certain I would have lost hope, become bitter, and turned from Him.

I’m so thankful for this verse because it takes the pressure off. We don’t have to figure out the answers to our challenges. We don’t have to guess or figure out how God is going to take care of us. Rather, we simply have to wait in His presence with hopeful expectation as He does His work. Rest in Him, my friend, and find strength.

Author Bio:
Shellie Arnold is a writer and speaker on marriage and family. She truly believes—despite baggage, neglect, or mistakes—if a husband and wife listen to God, they can live happily ever after. Her passion is sharing how God is helping her do exactly that.

She maintains a blog at www.shelliearnold.com and is the founder of YOUR MARRIAGE resources. 

Shellie is a mother of three and has home-schooled for over twenty years. She lives in Ohio with her husband of thirty-one years.
Connect with Shellie:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/shellie.arnold.7
Twitter - https://twitter.com/ShellieArnold1
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/ShellieLArnold/
Website - www.shelliearnold.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: A relief for heavy burdens

When burdens are heavy…
A devotional by Melissa Henderson

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 
~Luke 22:42 NIV

Easter is quickly approaching. Preparations are being made in homes and in places of worship across the world. From Lenten services to special sermons to travel plans and more, many people are thinking about Easter. Some folks are planning family activities for Spring break from school. New outfits and shiny shoes are displayed in store windows. Candy and colorful baskets overflow store shelves. Others are thinking about a delicious meal to serve on Easter Sunday.

Yet, in all the rush and hurry to get everything just right, I pray we will remember the events surrounding Easter Sunday and the special glorious truth that Christ is Risen.

On the day and evening of Christ’s suffering and death, He endured more than we could ever bear and yet, He suffered for us, for our transgressions. The details given in the Bible are read over and over and each time our hearts break for what He experienced. Just imagining the pain and heartache overwhelms us.

Tears flow from our eyes as the story is read aloud. Thinking of the pain and anguish of His family and friends is heartbreaking. We watch movies depicting the events of His time on the cross and afterward.

Scripture tells us through all His suffering, Jesus knew God’s will was best. At the hardest point, Jesus asked His Father to take the cup from Him. He was asking God to take away the suffering if God was willing. Even while asking for the cup to be taken away, for the suffering to end, Jesus accepted God’s will, not His own.

How often do we beg God to take a heavy burden away? Do we fall on our knees and ask for His mercy? Are we ready to accept His answer? The answer to taking away the burdens from us might be yes, no, or not now. When prayers are not answered right away or the answer is something totally unexpected, how do we react? Do we say, “Thank You, God. Your will be done”? Or do we simply continue without considering His plan for us is always best? Think of a past time when the burden was heavy and the way out seemed impossible. How did you approach God?

When burdens are heavy and our hearts are sad, God is holding us in His loving arms. HIs mercies are new each day. Call to Him. He is waiting for you. God is waiting to comfort us during our burden filled times.

Let us remember through all our trials that God is an awesome God. His will is best is every circumstance, no matter what we are facing. If we are not happy with His answer, remember He loves us and He always has a plan for us. We may not know the plan and may never know the plan. We do know God is always with us. He loves us forever.

This Easter, share the love of God with family, friends, and strangers. You just might be lightening the burden of someone who is waiting for the answer.

Christ is Risen!

Author Bio:
Melissa Henderson and her husband Alan live in South Carolina.

Married for over 38 years, they have one son (Mike) who is married to daughter-in-love (Christine) and now are blessed by precious grandson (Rowan).

Melissa was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age from her parents. She is now working on her first inspirational fiction novel.

Her passions are volunteering, Bible Studies and reading and writing. Connect with Melissa online, https://mimionlife.wordpress.com

Monday, March 12, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Tammy's thoughts on technology and disconnect

How Can We Be So Disconnected in Such a Connected World?
A devotional by Tammy Karasek

I wonder if any of us ever give much thought to how many ways we are connected to people these days. Think about it. To check in with friends or family, we are able to walk or drive, to call or at least send a text, write a note or send an email. It’s enough to make you dizzy thinking of the many ways we can reach out and connect.

Yet sometimes, even though we can do something, it doesn’t always mean we do. I’m guilty of this. Often someone will come to my mind and I’ll think Oh, I need to call her. I’ll continue with the task at hand because I don’t have time to talk at that moment. I plan to send her an email when I finish what I’m doing. Then I move to the next task and head out the door for an errand. As I back out of the driveway, I remember and tell myself I’ll do it tonight when I get back home.

But I don’t remember.

Recently, I felt overwhelmed with all the “doing” I was attempting and never quite feeling like I had accomplished a thing. It was as if every time I crossed one thing off of my to-do list, three were added before the ink was dry. I kept meaning to slow down and reconnect with friends. Really, I did.

The days continued on and I noticed God putting the same scripture verse in front of my eyes, and in places where I didn’t expect. Whether written on a painting, a sermon on the radio or even someone sharing it at Bible study.

“A friend loves at all times." ~Proverbs 17:17a (NASB)

Time went on and it became more and more evident that God was working hard to get my attention. There was no way I was going to be able to ignore God’s promptings. People I wanted to connect with kept coming to my mind. I was so hooked on my electronic gizmos and gadgets and the many things commanding my attention on those screens that I was missing an important fact. I was so busy being connected to the world I’d become disconnected with my friends and family. How could I say I love them at all times when I wasn’t making them a priority?

It’s amazing how electronically connected we are to people all over the world. But how many of us are paying attention to those around us who are quietly crying out for just a few minutes of our time. We spend hours on our screens, but we no longer sit across the table from a hurting friend over a cup of tea or at least check in with them regularly. Do we add a friend’s name to our daily to-do list to check in on them? People are hurting all around us. I’ve heard others’ say, "I don’t know what to say, and I don’t understand what they are going through." Who says we have to say anything or understand the situation? A card in the mail is great, but your presence is even better.

I’ve been quite convicted of this recently. I hope you will give this some thought about the people you are connected to as well. Is there someone God keeps bringing to mind? Trust Him, there’s probably a reason for it. In our overly connected world, they may be feeling very disconnected.

Step out of your comfort zone and give them a call. Maybe they are craving some time with you. You may find it did you some good, too.

Author Bio:
You’ll find Tammy seeing humor and causing laughter in every aspect of life. Tammy’s past filled with bullying and criticism is the driving force of her passion to always encourage others and share with them the Reason to smile. 

She’s been blissfully wedded to her college sweetheart, Larry, for 36 years, mom to their grown daughter, Kristen and wrapped around the paw of a little puppy named Hattie.

She’s the President of Cross N Pens Christian Writers and a member of ACFW. She will be published in the 2018 Divine Moments book – Cool-nary Moments.
Connect with Tammy:
Blog - http://www.tammykarasek.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/tickledpinktam
Email - tickledpinktammy@gmail.com

Friday, March 9, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Jesus Christ as The Lion and the Lamb

The Lion and the Lamb
A devotional by Sara L. Foust

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." ~ Matthew 28:18 (KJV) 

"And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!" 
~John 1:36 (KJV) 

Spring is coming! I’m so excited. I often joke that I am really a lizard. I miss the sun when it is cold and wet all winter. And as soon as it starts to warm up, I am outside soaking in all that glorious Vitamin D.

I love the way the winds blow spring into East Tennessee. Like with each gust, it is pulling spring from the other side of the world, bringing it to us in warm breaths. Wrapped up in the power of those winds, I find myself looking to the Creator and each spring being in awe of His amazing creation. The tiny stems of life that sprout from the ground and in the nests in the trees never cease to amaze me.

Each March I think of the old saying, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” March here is often unpredictable. Sometimes warmth creeps in early. Sometimes late. Sometimes early warmth fools us into thinking spring is here and we get slammed with a late snowstorm. (Like the blizzard of ’93, which, if you lived through it, you still talk about like it is a big deal 25 years later, because nothing has happened like it since.) In the middle of these unpredictable changes, I am reminded of my Savior, whose perfect sacrifice was enough to cleanse me from my sins. Not because He changes, but because He changed me. That He willingly laid His life down for me is humbling, to say the least. I am not worthy of that kind of sacrifice. There’s nothing I could ever do to earn it. Yet, He offered himself as a lamb on a pain-filled cross altar for me. Never had a more perfect sacrifice been found. Never will it be found again.

Now He protects me with his lion-like majesty and power, watching over me, guarding me, guiding me each step I take. Protecting my soul from harm and lending His power as a blanket over me.

Thank God, Jesus was that perfect sacrificial lamb! Thank God He loved me enough to suffer and die! And that He continues to love me enough to get me through each and every day. To bring me to another beautiful spring. To let me witness daily the incredible intricacies of His creation.

Have you heard this song, Big Daddy Weave, “The Lion and the Lamb”? It’s such a beautiful expression of Jesus’s twofold ability to be both the lion and the lamb. To both save and protect, humble and make strong. I am so thankful that God is able to be everything I need. 

Aren’t you?

Author Bio:
Sara writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children. 

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Tennessee Mountain Writers. Her debut novel, Callum's Compass, won second place in Deep River Books' 2017 Writer's Contest. She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com

Thursday, March 8, 2018

FlyBy Promotions presents "The Star" movie...it's not just for Christmas!

Today, I'd like to tell you about a new movie by a famous Hollywood producer. The Star is the name of the movie and DeVon Franklin is the name of the producer.

Franklin is the CEO and founder of Franklin Entertainment which is a faith-based production company. "The Star" is his first Christmas movie that was produced by his own company.

I watched the movie today and loved it! The story is told beautifully and the voice actors who lent their voices to bring the animated characters to life were very convincing! The music perfectly supported the storyline and the production of this animated movie based on the Bible story about the birth of Jesus Christ was spectacular!

The movie is available for purchase in three formats: DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital.

FlyBy Promotions would like for me to mention that there are many fun bonus features on the DVD, including a children's Bible study.

To give you a better idea of what "The Star" movie and bonus features are about, I'm including a press release from FlyBy Promotions that I tweaked to make it shorter. 



“Full of humor and heart” – Huffington Post

“The Star is destined to become a classic!” – The Dove Foundation

Golden Globe® Nominated for Best Original Song by Mariah Carey & Marc Shaiman


The Tale of Faith and Friendship Includes Six Sing-Along Videos from Mariah Carey, Fifth Harmony, Kelsea Ballerini, 
A Great Big World, and Kirk Franklin 

Includes a Dance Along, “How-to” Crafts Video and Much More

Available on Digital February 6 and

On Blu-ray + DVD + Digital on February 20

CULVER CITY, Calif. (January 2018) – From the studio that brought you

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN & CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS comes the timeless tale about faith, friendship, and the importance of believing in yourself. 
Bo and his new friends follow the star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told.

Rounding out the all-star voice cast including Gina Rodriguez as Mary, Zachary Levi as Joseph, Grammy® Award-Winner Kelly Clarkson as Leah the horse, Anthony Anderson s Zach the goat, Ving Rhames as Thaddeus the dog, Gabriel Iglesias (Coco, Ferdinand) as Rufus the dog, Patricia Heaton as Edith the cow, Emmy® and Tony® Award-Winner Kristin Chenoweth as Abby the mouse, and Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) as King Herod.

THE STAR is filled with more than an hour of engaging bonus materials including the “Star-aoke: Sing Along with Bo & Friends,” a dance along to “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World, plus a collection of fun lyric videos that will have you singing along to the inspiring music from THE STAR. Families can enjoy crafting and baking with “how-to” videos “Star Mason Jar Votives” and “Sweet and Sparkly Stars,” and they also can go behind-the-scenes to explore the amazing talent who bring these characters to life. In “Faith All Year Round,”
renowned pastor and motivational speaker, DeVon Franklin delivers a fun and engaging children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and keeping the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day.

THE STAR is directed by Academy Award® nominated writer/director Timothy Reckart, screenplay by Carlos Kotkin, and story by Simon Moore and Carlos Kotkin. The film is executive produced by DeVon Franklin, Brian Henson and Lisa Henson, and produced by Jennifer Magee-Cook. The Star is presented by AFFIRM films and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Walden Media, Franklin Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company. The uplifting theme song, “The Star” by Mariah Carey and veteran songwriter Marc Shaiman was also nominated for a 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. “The Star” song is now available on The Star: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which assembles new music from a bevy of powerhouse superstars.

Bonus Materials Include:

· Star-aoke: Sing-Along with Bo & Friends: In this all-new song, sing along with your favorite characters including Bo, Dave, Ruth, and the unforgettable camels

· "Life Is Good" Dance-Along: Shake your tail feathers and move your hooves in this fun dance along

· Lyric Sing-Along Videos: Enjoy the eclectic and inspiring music of THE STAR with these colorful lyric videos that allow you to sing along with your favorite recording artists

o “The Star” by Mariah Carey

o “Can You See” by Fifth Harmony

o “Children Go Where I Send You” by Kelsea Ballerini

o “We Three Kings” by Kirk Franklin

o “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World

· Sweet and Sparkly Stars: Create star-themed cookies to be enjoyed year round

· Star Mason Jar Votives: Let the light of THE STAR shine with this simple yet stunning craft

· Faith All Year Round with DeVon Franklin: A children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and how to keep the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day

· An All-Star Cast: Meet the stars of the film and explore the exciting voice cast who bring these amazing characters to life

THE STAR has a run time of approximately 86 minutes and is rated PG: for some thematic elements.

Don't delay, check out this wonderful movie and bonus materials today! 
*DVD bonus features include a Bible study by "The Star" movie producer DeVon Franklin.