Friday, July 20, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: The Best Rest and Renewal


The Best R & R
A devotional by Susan Lindstrom

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” –2 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT) 

I’m all for celebrating life and have no problem with aging, really, I don’t. Okay, turning 35 knocked me for a loop but that was a long time ago. The thing is, I used to look at pictures of my aunts, uncles, and my mom and dad when they were young adults and wonder how they could have changed so much. Now I look at a recent picture of myself and see that I have arrived. Who is that anyway?

Peering into the bathroom mirror, lights ablaze, I search my reflection for any new…well, character lines, life etchings, you know what I mean, wrinkles. I frown and instantly hear my mother, “smile honey, frowning makes more wrinkles.”

Even though I turn that frown upside down, and watch my face brighten, I contemplate putting in a dimmer switch.

And maybe a new beauty regimen. I saw a line of products the other day that were ‘pro-aging’ instead of ‘anti-aging’. A different spin but one I definitely like the sound of. It’s positive and encouraging, and I’ll take all of that kind of thing I can get.

I think we all need that.

There’s so much in this life that drags us down. That’s the stuff that puts wrinkles on a beautiful face. I’m convinced that’s why the One that loves us more than we can fathom, tells us in Matthew 11:28 (NIV), “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

Rest and renewal.

Did you know the best beauty regimen is to spend time with Him who renews the best part of us, our soul and spirit? Our soul, the life essence of our being, and our spirit, the part of us that connects with God.

Romans 12:2 (NLT) says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…”

Every single moment we spend with Him praying or in His Word, we are being renewed and shaped slowly and wondrously to be more like Him and to be the person He created us to be. The person you were before the world or circumstances told you who to be.

Too busy you say? I used to be as well. Or so I thought. Struggling with sporadic Bible reading, with a devotion here and there, a good friend suggested I ask Him to show me when would be the best time in my busy schedule. I wasn’t sure how He would show me but okay, guess it couldn’t hurt.

Summer hours at work meant I clocked in at 6:30 in the morning. My routine was to shower the night before, crawl out of bed at 5:30 in the morning, grab coffee and breakfast, make my lunch, dress and go.

The morning after I prayed for Him to show me, my eyes popped open before the alarm went off. I shut them tight trying for a little more precious sleep, but it didn’t work. My mind raced, was today something important? What was I forgetting?

The clock read 5:15 a.m. and I felt an urgency to get up.

I washed and dressed before I poured coffee this time. Checking the clock, I saw time to spare so I sat in my favorite chair and sipped the wake-up brew thinking over what it all meant. When I spied my bible and devotional next to my chair, I knew! Why should I be surprised? I asked and He showed me! And do I even have to tell you that my day was so much more meaningful, so full of Him? It’s been over 12 years since then and what a beautiful habit it’s become.

I look again at my reflection in the mirror and sure, I see an aging me, but I also see a daughter of the One True King, my life with Him is what I proudly wear etched upon my face. Can you see my smile?

~*~

Author Bio:
Susan Lindstrom is not an award-winning writer yet unless you count that ‘best story’ award in third grade but stay tuned to see what God has planned! 

Writing has always been a passion but raising a family, running her sewing and design business, involvement in women’s ministry and teaching Sunday School has kept her plenty busy.

Now retired and an empty-nester she trusts in God’s amazing timing and has jumped in to embrace this new adventure of writing.

Her first book is for children and will soon be released. It's the first in a series of real-life adventures focusing on the fruit of the Spirit.

She grew up on both the East and West Coast. But now, she calls the beautiful state of Wisconsin home. She’s a wife, mom, and grandma to 10 children.

Susan listens to a wide variety of music, loves live performances and believes that laughter is the best medicine.

When she is not indoors writing, reading or pretending to clean the house, she’s outdoors enjoying the beauty of God’s Creation.

She’s a proud member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Freedom


Abundantly Free
A devotional written by Paula Moldenhauer


"Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth."

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are abundantly free. Free from our imperfections. Free from our guilt. Free from the constant demand to “live up” to unrealistic standards.

Let me paint a picture of freedom. Many years ago when I was a young mother, my kids and I had a really bad day. I was unkind. Mean even. And then I felt awful! Shocked by the pain in their precious eyes, I gave myself a timeout—only it wasn’t a healthy one.

Instead of confessing to the Lord my shortcomings and accepting His forgiveness, I wallowed in self-loathing. I hated the way I acted and felt I didn’t deserve His grace. I couldn’t forgive myself. In the more distant past, I would have wallowed in guilt for days. But praise be to God for His marvelous grace, He’d begun breaking that cycle within me. I was growing in my ability to understand that since Christ took my sins upon Himself, and I was covered by His righteousness, I could live a life without condemnation, even during my failings (Romans 8:1).

The happy ending of that hard day is that I cried out to the Lord to help me, and He did. My emotions calmed. I went to my children and asked their forgiveness. Then an amazing thing happened. My oldest son, then about ten-years-old, ministered to me. I don’t remember what scriptures he spoke that day, I only know they were led by the Holy Spirit, and they offered God’s heart of forgiveness.

Soon all four children and I piled up together. We forgave each other, ordered a pizza, and watched a movie.

It was over. Just like that.

And that is freedom.

Relationship. Forgiveness. Moving on.

If you ever are tempted to punish yourself when you blow it, please consider this: Christ died so we could have forgiveness. He took our punishment upon Himself. He doesn’t want us to penalize ourselves. Scripture says He didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). He took our life of failings upon the cross and replaced it with the perfect and complete freedom to enjoy His grace.

As I’m learning to rest in the grace of Jesus, there’s a beautiful side effect. God is changing me into His image. I’m still not perfect, of course, but as I accept the gift of the cross—freedom from the judgment and punishment of my misdeeds—some of the old junk I struggled with is simply dropping away.

Won’t you join me, my precious friend in Christ, in accepting the abundant freedom of His grace?

My Prayer: Jesus, thank You for the deliverance and salvation that comes through Your blood. Your gift of forgiveness, the remission of our shortcomings and trespasses, is an example of the generosity of Your gracious favor. Empower us to walk in the freedom of Your grace. 


*Note: My prayer is a paraphrase of Ephesians 1:7 in the Amplified Version.
~*~
Author Bio:

Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. 

Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents. Her first published novella, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction. Her most recent release is included in A Bouquet of Brides

Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. Today’s devotion was adapted from her devotional book, Soul Scents: Bloom.

Watch your calendar because you can download Soul Scents: Bloom for free to your Kindle on July 24 and 25! Or sign up for Paula’s newsletter at www.paulamoldenhauer.com for updates on these free days and to get a weekly Flourishing Moments devotional.

For daily Flourishing Moments "Like" Paula’s author/speaker page on Facebook. Here's the link, 
https://www.facebook.com/PaulaMoldenhauerAuthor/.
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Let It Go


Don’t Nurse It. Don’t Rehearse it. Let it go.
A devotional written by Nanci Rubin

"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men." ~Acts 24:16 (KJV)

I cannot tell you how much time I’ve spent looking in the rearview mirror of my life and questioning why God didn’t answer my prayers. I have been so myopic over the hairline fractures in my life that I was blinded to what God had for me. There was a season where it seemed every sermon I heard dealt with past offenses and forgiveness. It took me over a year before I got it! You cannot see where God is leading when you’re looking backward. I can see now how God had things He wanted to get to me, but I was too dumb to receive them and beyond stubborn to forgive, which would have enabled me so I could.

When one is betrayed it opens one up for a tremendous propensity to not forgive and to become a martyr. I kept the pain of my betrayal hidden, or so I thought. I absolutely refused to give it up. It was my pain and I reveled in it. In the midnight hour I would rehearse the pain over and over, sometimes I mentally plotted revenge. I had imaginary conversations with my betrayer that I could never have had in reality. Somehow these nighttime scrimmages lent a measure of relief from the continuous pain I lived with. Make no mistake, betrayal is toxic. Unforgiveness is unhealthy and it kept me tied to the one I had been hurt by. Until I was willing to confess my unforgiveness and pray a blessing over those who had hurt me did I finally have peace over the pain of betrayal. I was stuck in my own misery.

We have to be mindful of the necessity of forgiveness. In Matthew 6:15 (KJV) Jesus said, “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” He couldn’t have said it any simpler, we are compelled to forgive. It’s not an option, we need to do it.

We must be careful not to say we won’t forgive someone. I had a pastor many years ago, a wonderful man of God, married to an anointed woman gifted with a music ministry. The church prospered under their leadership and God was blessing it then overnight, it all fell apart.

The pastor’s wife had an affair with one of the deacons, but to add insult to injury, it was the pastor’s best friend. He could have chosen NOT to forgive, but he didn’t. He did not become embittered. Everyone in the church was in total awe of his ability to forgive.

Revenge not only lowers you to your betrayer’s lowest level, what’s worse, it boomerangs. One who seeks revenge is like a fool who shoots himself in order to hit his enemy with the kick of the gun’s recoil.

Revenge is the most worthless weapon in the world. It ruins the avenger, all the while confirming the enemy in the wrongdoing. All of this is the beginning of a root of bitterness. And what strange things bitterness can do to us. It slowly sets, like a permanent plaster cast, perhaps protecting the wearer from further pain but ultimately holding the sufferer rigid in frozen animation. Feelings and responses have turned to concrete. Bitterness is paralysis.

Bitterness is a cyclical, repetitive, tightly closed circle of self-centered pain. It carries us around and around the same senseless arc, around and around ourselves. Like a child learning to ride a bicycle, knowing how to ride but not how to stop, we pedal on and on, afraid to quit, yet wishing desperately for someone to come and take the handlebars, break our circling, and let us off. Bitterness is useless. Repayment is impossible. Revenge is impotent. Resentment is impractical.

Only forgiveness can reconcile the differences and restore healing to a relationship. God knew that we could not hold to offenses because offenses will eventually take hold of us. I am proud to report that my Pastor NEVER carried unforgiveness or bitterness. He befriended and continued to pastor the man he trusted most and who’d hurt him most. Although his marriage failed God blessed him years later with a wonderful woman of God who stands with him in their ministry. He has been blessed beyond measure. But would this have been his outcome if he’d held to unforgiveness? If he’d nursed his pain? Rehearsed his revenge?

No, God said we must forgive, and in doing so we can receive healing. Let’s not hold offenses and be locked to the past. Let go and allow God to intervene.

~*~
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.
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Summer Stories: Carolina Mercy


Interview with Tom Livingston, character in Carolina Mercy:

Alexis: Lucy’s grandmother described you as a “tall drink of water.” How do you feel about that description?

Tom: Well, I’ve been called worse. (chuckle) In the South, we have lots of descriptions for different kinds of people. At 6’2”, I do tend to tower above most people, especially Lucy. She’s a tiny thing.


Alexis: Describe your relationship with Lucy. How did you meet? Why did you become friends? Did you ever want to become more than friends?

Tom: I figured you’d get around to Lucy. I met Lucy the same summer my best bud, Jared, met his fiancĂ©e, Sarah. Apparently, they decided that since we were constantly trying to fix them up with other people, it was their turn. We hit it off instantly. Our first outing, with Sarah and Jared, was to look for furniture for Sarah’s beach house. When we both gravitated toward the massage chairs, I knew she was pretty special. We went out another time, just the two of us, and I just had to kiss her. Yeah, I’d say I wanted to be more than friends. 


Alexis: Why did you and Lucy go eight months without speaking to each other?

Tom: That was a rough time. When Lucy left, I fully intended to keep in touch, especially since her best friend was going to be living here. I started making all kinds of plans. My dad had passed the year before, suddenly, and my mom, Charly, my kid sister, and I were slowly getting back to normal. We went on vacation together, and during that vacation, Mom started having headaches. When we got home and she was diagnosed with a disease that would eventually blind her. I felt like I had to put all my attention on taking care of them, along with my job. How could I ask Lucy to take on not only me, but my family? We’re not well-off, and I guess my pride wouldn’t let me pursue her.


Alexis: Your Mom said that Lucy makes you “stammer like a school boy”. Has your Mom always been so insightful? Clearly, she knows that you like Lucy.

Tom: Oh, Mama doesn’t need sight to know what’s going on. And yes, she’s always been that way. I remember when I met Jared, in high school, at football practice. I came home mad as a stuck pig because this scrawny kid had taken me out in a tackle practice. I told her all about it. She didn’t say much, but she patched me up, fixed me some sweet tea, then told me that I might have just met a friend for life. (chuckle) Turns out, she was right. She usually is. She knew about Lucy long before she met her, and I think she had a feeling she might just be “the one.”

Alexis: Were you nervous about Lucy meeting your Mom? How did that go?

Tom: Since I know my mom, I don’t think I was as nervous as Lucy was. As soon as they met, my mom hugged her and we all laughed when she said, “You’re a little woman, like me.” They’re two peas in a pod, now. Mom, Charly, and Lucy like to gang up on me every chance they get. I fuss, but they see right through me.


Alexis: Why does Lucy “amaze” you? Describe her best qualities.

Tom: How do you describe someone who shows up to work on a roof in a pink toolbelt? She makes me laugh, keeps me grounded, and pulls me out of the muck of overwhelming responsibility, making me trust God more than myself. 


Alexis: What is it about Lucy that makes you want to date and maybe even marry her?

Tom: She pulls me out of myself, if that makes sense, and makes me think I can accomplish anything. 


Alexis: You’ve said that Lucy was “everything” to you but she could never know it. Why not?

Tom: When I met Lucy, I wasn’t thinking about the future, or about our different backgrounds. I just knew she was Sarah’s friend, and a lot of fun. When she left I learned more about her from Sarah, I realized that she was far above me, socio-economically. I couldn’t ask her to take on a small-town detective with a blind mother and a teenage sister. I didn’t want her, or anyone else, to think I needed help. 


Alexis: When your mother was diagnosed with an untreatable illness, you pushed your career dreams aside. What did you want to do for a living before your mother’s illness and what do you want to do now? Explain.

Tom: I guess my career path really changed earlier than Mama’s illness. I graduated from Clemson University and planned to go into the Air Force, then segue into working for the FBI. That was the dream. When it came time to get out of school, money was tight, and I put off entering the Air Force and started working with Jared on flipping houses. I got on with the local sheriff’s department, thinking I could still train for the FBI. When Dad died, I knew I needed to stay closer to home. Then Mom took sick, and I put it behind me. The FBI, or even the South Carolina Bureau, would have me living away from here, and Mom and Charly need me. So, I’m happy to be where I am. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be sheriff someday.


Alexis: Why did you feel that God’s mercy is for everyone except you?

Tom: This is part of my selfish desire to be in control. I was bitter about lots of things. I’ve seen God work in other people’s lives, and I really think I tried to turn off that part of me that would listen to God’s “still, small voice.” I have to say, God’s shown me, through my friend Jared, that sometimes when it seems like God’s not paying attention, he definitely is in control, showing mercy all around you whether you’re paying attention or not.


Alexis: How have your own issues affected your outlook on life?

Tom: Definitely. I was always pretty serious, but able to see the bright side, until Mom’s illness. I got angry. It’s funny how trauma can turn the tables. When I saw Lucy’s grief, and Jared’s traumatic events, I had to be positive, for them. I had to be supportive. Those things have made me a better person.


Alexis: How did Sarah’s wedding—and a hurricane—bring you and Lucy together?

Tom: See this smile on my face? Yeah. The wedding that almost wasn’t, and the hurricane that threw us all for a loop? Those are events that I’ll always hold close. They were terrible, but as with most tragedy, God used them for good. All these events forced Lucy and me to spend more time together, and it made me stop and listen to God. You can’t have a better outcome than that.


Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about your story?

Tom: God is love. God is mercy. God doesn’t punish us, He leads us. And on another level, God gives us the people around us to draw us to Him. We just have to be willing to listen.


Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Tom! Do you have closing comments?

Tom: Just this – Hold your friends close, and when you find that special person that God has for you, pay attention. My mother would add, “And listen to your mama.”

~*~
Author Bio:

Regina Rudd Merrick began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a librarian, and finally to writing full-time. 

She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after. 

Married for 30+ years and active in their church in Marion, KY, Regina and her husband have two grown daughters who share her love of music, writing, and the arts.

~*~
Book Blurb for Carolina Mercy:

She’s always gotten everything she’s wanted. He thinks he has to give up everything. 


Her best friend’s wedding is foremost on Lucy Dixon’s radar. Her biggest concern is once again meeting Tom Livingston, who has ignored her since an idyllic date on the boardwalk of Myrtle Beach the previous summer.

At least, it is her biggest concern until tragedy strikes. Where is her loving, merciful God, now?

When Tom Livingston meets Lucy, the attraction is instant. Soon after, his mother is diagnosed with an untreatable illness and his personal life is pushed aside. His work with the sheriff’s department, his family – they are more important. He knows about the love of God, but circumstances make him feel as if God’s mercy is for everyone else, not him.

Can a wedding and a hurricane – blessing and tragedy – bring them together?

~*~
Buy Carolina Mercy on Amazon

~*~
Connect with Regina:
Facebook: https://bit.ly/2u4OHM1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/trmerrick64
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reginamerrick/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rmerrick/
Website: https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com
Publisher Website: https://mantlerockpublishing.com/

~*~
Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 
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Friday, July 13, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Sacrifices


Sacrifices
A devotional by Sara L. Foust

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." 
—John 15:13 (KJV)

I would never, ever, in a million years feel comfortable comparing a person to Jesus and to the penultimate sacrifice He made for each of us. What He did cannot even be measured in comparison to anything a mortal, “normal” human being has done or will do.

We just celebrated the 4th of July, one of my favorite holidays. As a kid growing up in East Tennessee, our Fourth consisted of going to Norris for their annual celebration, including carnival style games and a dunking booth, bake sales, a blinged-out bicycle parade, and just-after-sunset fireworks. As dusk settled down, us kids would circle up with a soft disc and play killer Frisbee (it sounds worse than it is, if you’ve never heard of it before). Then we’d run back to our blanket, stretch out, and wait for the magic. To this day, fireworks are one of my favorite things. Of course, I now have two little ones who are petrified by both the sound and the sight of them and that hinders my ability to enjoy them a bit (okay, a lot). But someday they will grow up and things will gravitate into more of the wonder than the fear.

I am a Southern, All-American girl. My daddy served in the Army in the Vietnam War. Growing up, I was reminded of his sacrifice often. Not by him. No. He was too humble to accept any kind of gratitude or attention. But it was an important part of him and something I felt proud of. There were so many men, men he knew well, who didn’t make it home to their families. I sometimes marveled at the fact that if he’d died in that war, I wouldn’t have a mind to be able to wonder at it, or at anything at all. And thanked God that He saw fit to bring my daddy home.

There are still men and women who bravely step into military positions, volunteering not only their times but their lives themselves. Men and women who don’t make it home. And those who do. None of them walk away the same, unchanged, unaltered. God made some of us extra-special, with the heart to serve our country and put their lives on the line every day. I think He gave them a little something different than us laypeople. And I’m thankful that they love me enough to protect my country, even though they do not know me.

While I know most of them are too humble to accept praise, it is important that you and I never fail to recognize their sacrifices. Not just a couple times a year when a holiday reminds us to do so, but every single day. We can do this by remembering them in our prayers, supporting charities that support them, and smiling their direction and saying thank you when we have the privilege of meeting a veteran or active-duty service-person. And as we perform this simple act, let’s make sure we turn our eyes heavenward and thank the ultimate giver for his sacrifice too. Every day. Every hour. Every prayer.

~*~
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.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: "What If?"


Removing the “What If?”
A devotional by Melissa Henderson

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”~ Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

By the time this blog is posted, I will have faced a yearly fear and the outcome will be known.

Each year, at the scheduled time for my mammogram, I become nervous. The reason for my nervousness and fear is because 13 years ago, I went to the doctor for a routine mammogram and the diagnosis was not what I expected. I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I am very good about getting my regular checkups and mammograms. No changes had been noticed in my body and I was sure the same report would be given that year. All would be fine and an appointment for the next year would be scheduled. No problem.

Yet, that particular visit was followed by a “call back”. The nurse on the phone told me there might be something wrong with the film so I needed to have pictures taken again. No problem.

My husband drove me to the place to have the additional pictures done. We were so confident all was well and he even sat in the car in the parking lot and waited for me.

After the second set of pictures were taken, I was asked to sit in a room and wait for the doctor. Another technician came in the room and told me she would view the results right there while I waited. We chatted and all was well until her voice quieted and she said, “Mrs. Henderson, I will be right back. I need to get the doctor.” No problem, or so I thought.

As the doctor entered the room, the atmosphere changed instantly. Fears of “What if?” ran through my mind. “What if there is a problem? What if I have cancer? What if I need surgery? Should someone go get my husband? My Mother had breast cancer.” These questions and more had my heart racing.

My first instinct was fear when my first action should have been prayer. Yes, prayer came but only after fear appeared first. Why didn’t I remember to pray first? Praying always gives me comfort and peace. Yet, that time, the “What if’s?” got to me first.

The diagnosis of breast cancer, the surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and medications I still have to take provided many lessons over these past 13 years. First, remember to pray. Read God’s Word and soak in His message. Isaiah 41:10 tells us to not fear because He is our God. He will strengthen us and help us.

Yes, God strengthened me and my family. God helped us. God reminded us time and time again that He is always with us. We are blessed by His love.

I am praying this yearly mammogram will have a good report. No matter the outcome, I will lean on Him and know He is with me always.

Blessings,

Melissa Henderson

~*~
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, July 9, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Rest


Rest in God

A devotional by Tammy Karasek

I wish I could say my soul is perfectly content—that I have the kind of soul-rest that comes from God. But I’m a stubborn only child and often behave like a toddler ready to strike into a full-blown tantrum. I like to do things “by myself.” What the toddler is usually trying to say is, I don’t need you. I can handle this on my own. Have you ever felt this way?

We are told to take time to rest. Articles from women’s magazines to medical journals shout from the rooftops the benefits of rest. While I will not argue the importance of resting as in sitting down for a period of solitude or even sleep, the rest I’m talking about is a rest that comes from God. “My soul finds rest in God alone” (Psalm 62:1, NIV).


The kind of rest written in the above scripture is what I seek. What about you?

As I have grown older and wiser, I have learned true rest in my soul can’t be obtained by anyone or anything other than God. No amount of sitting and relaxing in the sand by the ocean or in a rocking chair at a mountain cabin can give me that kind of soulful peace. Oh, most definitely it can slow us down and give us the opportunity to calm down or de-stress, but it cannot give us the kind of rest deep within us. We can get in the way of that.

When we read through Scripture and are quiet with God—it’s there in that time and space where we find that rest. Where we close out the world. Where we turn off the noise. There is where we find sweet rest, deep down in our innermost being.

With this knowledge, one would think we’d take the opportunity every chance we could get. But nope, we try other things to calm us down. We read a magazine, a new book, go shopping or maybe dine with a friend. Yet, more times than not, we end up in a worse mess than we started. We are left stressed, frustrated and wondering why God won’t fix it.

When in this spot myself, I realized I haven’t asked for the calm, let alone the rest. I’ve ignored my time to sit with God and process the issues at hand. I’ve not read my Bible to meet God in that quiet space to allow him to pour into me that soulful rest I’m longing for.

It’s me getting in the way. Not God ignoring me.

My prayer for you today is that you make it a priority to find time to sit with the Lord and seek that rest, deep in your soul, that only He can give you. Will you be so kind to do that for me as well?

~*~
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.
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Connect with Tammy:
Blog - http://www.tammykarasek.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/tickledpinktam
Email - tickledpinktammy@gmail.com
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