Professional Mourner or Professional Joy Generator?

By Mary Anne Benedetto

I recently learned that in some ancient cultures, it was common to hire professional mourners to wail at funerals. Also known as Feb 2013 Albany guy dinnermoirologists, their duties could possibly include delivering a eulogy or simply weeping, moaning and crying loudly.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that even in current times, there are Mediterranean, Near Eastern and other cultures who still participate in this practice.  In the U.K. someone established a business called Rent a Mourner!

Imagine crying and wailing and actually getting paid for your emotional outbursts of sorrow? I know some chronic complainers who would probably excel at and love that job.

As caring siblings, children, parents and grandparents, don’t we sometimes want to mourn the poor choices and resulting situations of loved ones? One lesson that God has recently been teaching me is that I simply can’t control what other people choose to do, although I’d like to. I so wish that I could pave the way for my loved ones to walk in the lighted pathway the Lord has planned for them and never detour, but I can’t accomplish that any more than my own parents could spare me from making less than stellar decisions during my teenage and young adult years.

So what can I do? I can be vigilant as their prayer warrior. I can literally get on my knees and pray that they won’t stray too far away and that their early upbringing will always bring them back into the loving arms of Christ. They were already forgiven at the cross.

Since prayer is really the only way I can help besides showing them tons of love and making sure they know they are in my daily prayers, I choose joy. I choose not letting the decisions and acts of others steal my joy. I choose remembering that I can’t dictate their actions, and so I will be a professional joy generator.

Nehemiah 8:10…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (NIV)

Philippians 1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Never Say Perfect Book CoverMary Anne Benedetto is a Certified Lifewriting Instructor and the author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Eyelash and Never Say Perfect. Please visit her at www.awriterspresence.com and www.maryannebenedetto.blogspot.com.

The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving

The Treasure Seeker CoverLargeThe Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father was written to encourage and equip women who are either seeking God or who want to grow closer to God & Christ. At the heart of the book is the concept that we are a valuable treasure and when we finally connect with God and allow him to “find” us, we’ll enter an amazing rich relationship we never knew existed. Once we enter that relationship, God goes from the role of Treasure Seeker to that of Master Jeweler who will refine and make us into the gemstones we were meant to be. It’s about becoming a woman of excellence without all the pressure to be perfect.

Unique accompaniments:

  • Intriguing treasure stories
  • A study of the “Lost” parables including the lost coin, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the treasure hidden in a field, and the pearl of great price
  • Points to ponder at the end of each chapter for reflection and discussion
  • A chapter highlighting gemstone attributes allowing readers to determine which gemstone they are most like
  • A Treasure Seeker Jewelry line created by author/artist Teena Stewart available at a discount when you purchase the book.Receive 10% off when you purchase the book and show proof of purchase. Here’s the link to the jewelry line.  http://www.serendipitni.com.

Women can use it for personal study or for group study. It’s a great resource to  share with someone you may want to understand the gospel in a very simple and non-pressing way.

Teena Stewart is an author and artist whose work reflects the spiritual message of being broken and yet valuable in God’s eyes—a Teena COmessage incorporated in her book  The Treasure Seeker: Finding Value and Love in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father (Wine Press). When she isn’t creating up-cycled treasure (artwork and jewelry) from discarded and found objects, she is writing articles and books or leading ministry for Java Journey, an innovative coffee shop ministry in Hickory, NC.

Teena understands firsthand what it means to go from something of seemingly little value to a beautiful and valuable treasure in God’s eyes.

The Treasure Seeker is available in paperback and ebook from and can be purchased at the following locations Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/anf7wza), Teena’s Website (http://teenastewart.com/) and Wine Press Books (http://tinyurl.com/a3v7byk) and most other book stores.The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com

The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com

How to Connect with  Teena

Her website  www.teenastewart.com

Her blog  http://nearly-brilliant.blogspot.com/

Personal Facebook http://www.facebook.com/teena.stewart

Facebook Author Pages http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Teena-M-Stewart/216334111720519

Twitter  @TeenaStewart1

Chains that don’t chafe…

by Carol G. Stratton          

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

 

Philippians 1:12-14 NIV

 

Chains are chains for one reason—they keep one object tied to another. We understand their usefulness with inanimate objects whether it means securing bicycles to a hitching post or keeping a gate locked at night. But when we feel bound to our circumstances, imaginary chains become a point of frustration. Perhaps one spouse is tied to selling a house while the other has to move ahead to start a new job or a married couple has been called to the mission field and they need to sell their house to help fund their ministry. Maybe we feel imprisoned in an area we don’t like but because of situations with family and jobs, we are not free to leave.

 

When writing how his imprisonment had given him opportunities to share his faith, the Apostle Paul refused to fight his chains. History tells us that every four hours Paul was chained to a new prison guard and many became believers. The Bible tells us that as a result of what happened to Paul, the gospel was advanced.

 

Seeing our life chains as a way to anchor us to God, helps us stop chaffing against them. Those miserable, weighty iron links that seem to hold us down might be necessary to make us stop and do something we might not have done otherwise. When we are stuck in one place with few options, God often does his finest work. Being pinned to one place gives us time to think about our lives, to pray more, to communicate with others in our current community, and spend quality time worshiping our Lord.

 

God might even have a special project for us that we wouldn’t have seen while flitting around in our previous life. A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves unemployed while trying to sell our house. Fourteen months of showing a house in a down market seemed like an eternity when we wanted to move on, but I have a 70,000 word novel to show for my time of house arrest.

 

Are you bound to your present circumstances? God may have you anchored for a reason. Look around you. Is there someone God wants you to befriend in order to share the good news? Release from anxiety often comes when we respond to our current situation while looking for opportunities to make good out of it.

 

When we quit fighting our chains, we may find a greater purpose in wearing them.

 

CarolStrattonSMTaken from the book Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted to be available from Amazon.com  http://tinyurl.com/a3g5cdg  or Christian book stores,

 

Carol is available to talk to women’s groups and writing groups. You may contact her at carolgstratton@gmail.com or through her website: www.ChangingZipCodes.com  .

“Carol Stratton has chosen to write to a topic that is addressed in few other

places: clinging to faith during times of change. The fresh daily format and

encouraging, biblical insights will encourage anyone who is struggling

through the idea of moving to a new location, as well as uplifting those who

are joyfully anticipating a move.”— Darla Knoth, Leadership Development/

Content Coordinator, National Women’s Department, Assemblies of God.

“After twenty-two moves, Carol Stratton is a relocation expert with a heart for

the newcomer. Carol’s warm and witty stories, based on personal experiences,

offer hope and encouragement to anyone faced with a move.” — Florence

Littauer, International Author and Speaker, Founder of CLASSeminar

ministry.

“Having moved fourteen times, I find Carol’s devotional book both encouragingChanging Zip Codes-v2 (1)

and inspiring for anyone relocating. Filled with biblical principles, it keeps

the reader focused on Christ during the upheaval of change that comes with

moving. Her hands-on experience with relocating adds humor and warmth

that will capture the heart of anyone who goes through the transition and

adjustment of a move.” — Susan Miller, Founder and President of Just

Moved Ministry and author of After the Boxes are Unpacked

“Using wit, humor, and entertaining facts (even about Zip Codes), Carol

Stratton provides helpful tips, insight, and cheerleading for those who are

facing the “big move.” She proves that God is everywhere, even among

new neighbors, new coworkers, and new church members. Let her words

encourage you.”— Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, author The Power of Positive

Productivity

“Knowing Carol, I realize her faith in God helped her trust me to help with

their move. Carol has experienced many moves and knows the ins and outs.

Enjoy her tips, words, and insights.” — Mary Jane O’Brien, Top Realtor for

F.C. Tucker Company, Inc.

8 Carol G. Stratton

“Carol Stratton lives what she teaches us in Changing Zip Codes. I have

watched her life with admiration for many years. Her devotional is helpful

for anyone in any situation any day of the week. I look forward to each page

as Carol makes moving almost fun. She challenges us in so many practical

ways and shows us how to serve God and find community where we’re

transplanted.” — Muriel Cook, retired missionary, international speaker,

counselor and author of Kitchen Table Counseling

Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted

is for movers or anyone struggling with major life transitions. While using

scripture and real stories from her twenty-two moves, Author Carol Stratton

motivates readers with encouragement, humor, and practical wisdom,

reminding them that God is always at the other end of the moving van’s

trip. This upbeat 40-day devotional would make an excellent gift for anyone

relocating.” — Michelle Medlock Adams, award-winning author of more

than 50 books and inspirational speaker (www.michellemedlockadams.com)

“Carol Stratton has written not only a meaningful and valuable devotional

for those who are moving to a new location, but I see it also being very

valuable for those moving into new life stages such as: the youngest child

going off to school, empty nest, divorce, retirement, etc. Changing Zip Codes

will be the perfect gift to bless many women, from the young to the young at

heart, at any age in any stage of life.” — Mitzi Beach ASID CAPS, www.

LifesizingLady.com, “Designing life for the second half

 


Have you ever felt God calling you to do the impossible?

by Heather Hart

I had that happen recently. God is constantly bringing me writing opportunities, some, He tells me about just to have me turn down – He has to teach me how to say no. Others, He brings me seem impossible, but He calls me to trust. The latest assignment He gave me was like that, and it hasn’t been easy. Early on in 2012, I set the goal of finishing an entire book – on my own – before the end of the year. I have started dozens of books in that time, and finished a few joint projects, but all the ones that were mine, God kept telling me, “not yet.”

marketing bookFinally, I felt God give me the go ahead on my book for 2012. It was to be called, “A Year of Book Marketing,” and would be released January 1st 2013. The problem – God didn’t give me the idea for the book until November. I kept telling Him that it was impossible to finish the book by that date, but He kept telling me to try. Simply try, and trust Him. So I did.

I won’t tell you that I had perfect faith. I stressed over this decision a lot, and went back and forth about how smart it was to write and publish a book that fast, but God kept telling me to obey.

Before the book was even completed, God prompted me to start marketing it. I argued with this as well. I said, “God, it’s not even done yet! What if I don’t make my deadline?!” And His response? “It’s not your deadline, but mine. And I will meet it, so you don’t have to worry about it.”

So I obeyed. The project continues to grow, and God finally calmed my fears by allowing me to publish the Kindle edition of the book in two parts. Part one was released earlier this week, although I’m still not sure if God called me to write it for a specific author who needed it, or even just to teach me a lesson about trust, but I’m happy to announce that it is finished. Part two will be released in May of this year.

If you’d like to learn more about “A Year of Book Marketing,” you can find the information about it on my website at: http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/p/book-marketing.html or it is also available on Amazon.com

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Helping other authors since 2009, Heather Hart lives in Texas with her husband, Paul, where she fills her days caring for their four heatheryoung children, writing for Christ, and studying God’s Word. Heather works as a self-publishing-coach.com liaison, author, and authors assistant whose desire is to glorify Christ through her work and to help other authors do the same. You can learn more about Heather by visiting her website: http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/

Or, by connecting with her in the following places:

Twitter: @_HeatherHart

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherhartauthoreditor

Praying for Salvation

by June Foster

Is there anyone in your life – friend or family – that you’d love to see come to salvation? Have you been praying for this person for what seems like forever, and sometimes you ask God if He really hears your prayers? I have. And I’d like to encourage you. Don’t give up.

Let’s see what God’s word says. First of all, He wants everyone and that means the person you’re praying for, to come to Christ. 11Peter3:9 says “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Just as He waited until you were ready to receive Him, He’s waiting to save your friend or loved one when they are, and He absolutely wants them to enter into His Kingdom.

Have you been praying with someone else for that person’s salvation? Matthew 18:19 says “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” I know – God doesn’t violate a person’s free will and force them to receive salvation, but I’d say that agreement in prayer sounds like a powerful tool in seeking God.

Now Acts 16:31 says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Again, that’s no guarantee that another will be saved. But still, this statement is in the Bible and worth considering. If that person you’re praying for is a member of your family, I’d take this verse to heart. To me it indicates that there is a good possibility other people in your family will be saved when or after you do.

11Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is God-breathed.” This means it comes from God’s own mouth. So if God says something in the Word, we can trust it as truth. Pray for the person who’s on your heart and remind God what He says in His word. I believe when you storm Heaven in this way, your loved one doesn’t stand a chance to hide from God for long. I’ve seen it more than once in my own life.

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012.  June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

A Pastor’s Confession

by David Megill

I have a confession.
I love Christmas.
Of course, being a Christian I do love most of all what it means in that context.  I love a rousing Merry Christmas and all it entails more than a generic Happy Holidays.  The coming of Christ is truly the most startling and amazing thing in all of human history.  As a demonstration of a loving God, there is no parallel; as a demonstration of an almighty God, it shows an astounding power for a transcendent God, a God beyond time and space,  to be able to drop into humanity at a chosen time and place.
There’s no doubt that all I love about Christmas comes from this connection of course.  There would be no Christmas without Christ and no reason to celebrate anything let alone this time of year, without His salvation.
But as a pastor, I have a confession.
I love Rudolph.
And Santa, and the Grinch, or at least his little puppy.
And litlle Cindy Lou Hoo, too.
Every year I think Linus’s exposition on Christmas is one of the best sermons I hear all Christmas Season.
 I love the way other people love Christmas. I know it’s shallow and without substance for some, but not for all and  even so,  I love the totally irrational, depthless way people decide to be nice to each other on Christmas.  Sure I wish that we’d be nice to each other all year for the sake of Christ, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the one time a year certain normally nasty people become nicer.
I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come around—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving charitable pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.–Scrooge’s Nephew, Fred
I love Christmas Carol.
I love Christmas Carols too.  I love the way people are singing praises to our Lord without even knowing it: grocery stores, on the radio.  Big name stars singing worship music because it’s Christmas.  Granted sometimes it’s surreal or even a little uncomfortable, like when you watch Britney Spears sing silent night, but I can’t help but cheer at the way God glorifies Himself even among those who are hostile.
I love Christmas movies, and Christmas cookies.  I love the way Starbucks will sell you the same cookie they had a week ago, but now it looks like a polar bear.
I love those polar bears we see on the coke commercials this time of year too.  I love the way coke tries to corner the market on peace and harmony every year at this time too.
Such desperate attempts to find replacement reasons for the season are undoubtedly shallow and a little sad, but I love it.
I love it all because while Evangelicals worry that Christmas is losing it’s meaning, the average American is desperately trying to remember what the meaning was.  They look for it in family, and music, and gifts, and special shows, special music, specialness.  They look for it not because they are shallow but because they are not.  They look in shallow places only because they don’t know where else to look.
The rest of the year we have to remind them.  We have to convince them that things which are not empirical and material may still be of value.  Things like love, and good will, and faith, and hope.
I love it because all the seeming distractions actually are nothing of the sort.  For this once a year, people are free to remember that some things go beyond scientific proof: Santa Claus or Rudolph, an irrational desire to be good or nice, the pretense that food is without calories for one month of the year.  All this really reminds those of us who know the truth that what we know is good.  We remember again that the one we know is good.  We remember again that what they want we have, and what they seek we can freely reveal.  We remember that we are not mean or arrogant or controlling to want to teach them the truth of the Gospel.  And for a brief window, we may find them actually willing to  think about God as a baby in a manger.
I love Christmas because hiding behind every shallow attempt at Merry is one who was born of Mary.
About David

davidI’ve been a pastor for 20 years, and been privileged to meet many Godly, faithful people, earnest for God, diligently seeking truth, faith and love.  I’ve also witnessed self-righteousness (in myself and others), confusion, despair and the damage these things can do to God’s people both in and out of the church. Interestingly I believe both these people are looking for the same things.  The true story of the universe, and their place in it.  The value of story has been a constant them through my life.   We come to God through a story of good news, we understand Him through the story of the Bible and we look forward to the story of eternity.  Our lives are full of stories, and in this later phase of my life, I hope to help people move from confusion, despair and damage to hope, faith and life through the power of the story of the universe, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   Sometimes this story is best told in plain english, and sometimes through the infinite variety of shadows we call fiction.  So the stories I used to tell as a pastor in the pulpit I now write in hopes of reaching more people with joy, hope, faith and story.

Motivation That Works

By David Megill

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)

This is an amazing verse.  it’s so amazing that many of us not only don’t quite believe it, but we are afraid to even contemplate believing it.  John actually encourages here a very audacious kind of expectation and presumption.  It may seem at first both dangerous and un-motivating, but for some reason John doesn’t think it’s easier.
Walk it through:  He begins by reveling in the truth that God calls us children of God.  This is awesome and yet seems fairly straightforward.  Our salvation has earned us the title “child of God.” While not too many people argue with this, I hear people mitigate it all the time.  We talk about being righteous, “in God’s eyes.”  and being “reckoned” a child of God.  We say these things as if they explain how such an obviously untrue thing can be said to be true.  We say them as if we know better.
God says I’m righteous, but I know myself and I’m not really.
John is prepared exactly for the way his readers will distance themselves from this truth and follows up this amazing statement with the clear declarative, “And that is what we are!”  Who sees reality more clearly, God or us? If God calls us Children of God, says John then such we are.
He then goes on to explain that even we are not clear on what we are.  Our true righteousness and inheritance has not yet been clearly revealed.  But, and this is the really amazing part, He says that when we see Christ we shall see that we are like Him.  The family resemblance will be clear and obvious.  He further stresses that this awareness will be based upon reality (“we shall see him as he is”) and not upon any kind of illusion or wishful thinking.
Imagine, the big surprise when you get to Heaven is not how far from Christ you will be, not how ashamed all your hidden sins revealed will make you, but that as you see clearly for the first time you will find that you are like Him!   This is the power of the Gospel, not only that Christ forgave us but is committed to remaking us, until we will be like Him.
But John doesn’t stop there.  Here’s the mind-blowing part.  All who have this hope in him purify themselves just as he is pure.  In other words, John is encouraging every believer to have a firm confidence in this future (hope in scripture is certain, not wishful.).  The more you believe in this truth, that your righteousness is a guarantee, that your Christlikeness is a settled issue, the more you will purify yourself.  A confident, firm hope in God’s ability to complete the work begun does not make you lazy, licentious, or worldly.  On the contrary it purifies you now.
Unfortunately as pastor, what I find is that people are afraid to believe this.  They fear that too much confidence will lead them to sin more.  They do not trust themselves, and worse they do not Trust Christ in them.
In a well intentioned, but extremely wrong headed attempt to motivate good behavior, pastors too often encourage us to be afraid, wary, expecting shame, at this glorious meeting with Christ in Heaven.
Guilt is an easy tool for a pastor, politician or parent who wants to motivate.  We’re already primed for it with skewed world views, the enemy offers no resistance to it and we’ve all learned to count on it to save us from our own frailty.   This is unfortunate, for guilt does not save us, Christ does.  John says the more we believe in our guiltlessness, the more Godly our life will be.
Holy ones, (for that is what the epistle writers constantly call us) dare to believe that when you see Christ you will see Him just as He is and you will not be ashamed for you will see that you are like Him!  Dare to believe in the Righteousness of Christ bought at the cross!  The Freedom you’ll find will be freedom to live as you’ve been created to, with dignity, righteousness, and impact!

 

David Megill was born in a little village called Rotifunk. This little village happened to be located on another continent (Africa) from the one in which he currently resides (North America). No credit should be awarded to him for this bold move, but rather to his parents who happened to be there when it happened. David was born the baby of the family, for which he should also not receive credit for all people are born babies. David did not know this when he was born but has since learned this after the birth of his own seven kids for which he should receive only partial credit, barely any really, but it is still true that all of them were born babies. This is a fact which David’s wife Ann finds rather convenient.

Through the next four decades David dabbled as a juggler, a magician, a musician, a locksmith, Danny Kaye/Dick Van Dyke wannabe, pizza maker, pizza eater, horse track gate opener (is there a name for that?), thermo-vaccum former operator, dragon tamer (with the business card to prove it!), and various less notable jobs before settling in mostly as a pastor, conference speaker and writer.

David hopes his books, in which he rarely speaks in third person will bring you encouragement, hope, laughter, joy and an understanding that you matter to God.

 ~~~

Sometimes it’s as if the life we’ve been seeking has managed to elude us. We wake up and ask ourselves, “Is this what life is all about?” Life has not turned out exactly the way we expected or hoped. We were promised certain things, by parents, culture, by church, and, as Christians believe, by Christ Himself. Were we lied to? Did we misunderstand the promises? Scripture actually tells us the truth: that life is hidden, not always obvious. This book shares one pastor’s story of walking through such disappointment and the principles of hope he learned. Along the way, we explore the nature of the Hidden life and where to find it, and embracing the Incredible GIFT of God. (Grace, Identity, Faith and Training) At least once in their life everyone thinks they are a failure. Through the counseling and conferences of the last 20 years, I have been able to see people who were stuck in their past, mired in their failures, or simply run out of steam, catch a fresh take on life and find confidence of the God they’d always been hoping existed; a God who truly loves them and needs no cajoling to bless. No one’s life will be “fixed” by reading this book, but this book will give people hope. Hope can transform burden to freedom, despair to faith. Such faith and hope can turn ones eyes back to a God who does save and redeem and to the revelation of the hidden life.

21 Ways to Celebrate Gratitude During Thanksgiving This Holiday Season

Guest post by Shelley Hitz

 Thanksgiving season is soon approaching and this year, I encourage you to take the opportunity to celebrate gratitude.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, take a moment (or two) to celebrate gratitude.

Here is a list of the 21 Ways.  Read about all 21 ways at Shelley’s website: http://www.bodyandsoulpublishing.com/21-ways-to-celebrate-gratitude-during-thanksgiving-this-holiday-season/

 

  1. Create a “Blessing Basket”
  2. Send a holiday care package to a soldier.
  3. Create Thanksgiving placemats
  4. Deliver a Thanksgiving meal to a neighbor that is house bound.
  5. Feed families by donating money to your local mission, homeless shelter or city mission.
  6. Create a Thanksgiving paper chain.
  7. Run a turkey trot (or walk).
  8. Create a journal of thanks.
  9. Mail a hand-written thank you note to someone that you appreciate
  10. Do a chore, provide a service or run an errand for a neighbor.
  11. Say your ABC’s this year …the ABC’s of Thanksgiving, that is.
  12. Send a letter of appreciation to an author that has impacted you through their books.
  13. Decorate your table with thanks.
  14. Create Thanksgiving place cards.
  15. Thank someone at work for doing their job well.
  16. Sing a song of thanks together.
  17. Be tree-mendously thankful this holiday season.
  18. Organize a scripture round robin.
  19. Visit a children’s hospital.
  20. Donate items to charity.
  21. Celebrate gratitude during your Thanksgiving dinner.

Gratitude Resource:

 

21 Stories of Gratitude:  The Power of Living Life With a Grateful Heart.”   Get your copy here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009YWM3WI

Are you living life to the fullest? Or are you merely surviving from day to day?

One way to live life to the fullest is to live each day with a grateful heart. In this book, we share 21 stories of gratitude to give you encouragement and hope in your own journey. Gratitude is possible! Even though many times we cannot change our circumstances, we can change the way we see them. We can ask God to empower us to change our thoughts.

 

Our prayer for you is that you find encouragement within these pages. And we pray that you will ask God for His strength to renew your mind with His truth and the hope He offers each one of us every day. It is only through Christ renewing our minds that we can truly live each day with a grateful heart.

 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

 

Other Gratitude Resources:

 

  • 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge:   Take the 21 days of gratitude challenge to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.  You can do this by yourself or as a family.

 

  • 21 Prayers of Gratitude:  Read a prayer of gratitude for 21 days to focus your heart on God and all He has given us.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Shelley Hitz

Shelley Hitz has been writing and publishing books since 2008. She is also the author of the website, FindYourTrueBeauty.com, that reaches thousands of girls each month around the world. Her openness and vulnerability as she shares her own story of hope and healing will inspire and encourage you.

 

Shelley has been ministering to teens since 1998 alongside her husband, CJ. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements.

 

You can find more about Shelley at www.ShelleyHitz.com or invite her to speak at your event here: www.ChristianSpeakers.tv

 

 

Praying For Salvation

By June Foster

 

Is there anyone in your life – friend or family – that you’d love to see come to salvation? Have you been praying for this person for what seems like forever, and sometimes you ask God if He really hears your prayers? I have. And I’d like to encourage you. Don’t give up.

 

Let’s see what God’s word says. First of all, He wants everyone and that means the person you’re praying for, to come to Christ. 11Peter3:9 says “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Just as He waited until you were ready to receive Him, He’s waiting to save your friend or loved one when they are, and He absolutely wants them to enter into His Kingdom.

 

Have you been praying with someone else for that person’s salvation? Matthew 18:19 says “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” I know – God doesn’t violate a person’s free will and force them to receive salvation, but I’d say that agreement in prayer sounds like a powerful tool in seeking God.

 

Now Acts 16:31 says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Again, that’s no guarantee that another will be saved. But still, this statement is in the Bible and worth considering. If that person you’re praying for is a member of your family, I’d take this verse to heart. To me it indicates that there is a good possibility other people in your family will be saved when or after you do.

 

11Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is God-breathed.” This means it comes from God’s own mouth. So if God says something in the Word, we can trust it as truth. Pray for the person who’s on your heart and remind God what He says in His word. I believe when you storm Heaven in this way, your loved one doesn’t stand a chance to hide from God for long. I’ve seen it more than once in my own life.

Interview with Vicki Tiede

Today we welcome author Vicki Tiede to discuss her latest book When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart.

Welcome, Vicki. They say, “write what you know.” How did this book come about for you?

This is my story. In my first marriage, my husband regularly engaged with pornography. I often say, “the good guys struggle with this addiction, and the rest just do it.” Unfortunately, my husband was in the second category. He never took responsibility for his actions , nor did he repent of his behavior. As a result, it spiraled out of control. When my emotional, physical, and spiritual health was at risk, I ended the marriage.

If I was going to write a book based on Truth, then I had to begin by being truthful. My first marriage did not survive pornography. Some issues may make a marriage irreconcilable. A recent study indicated that 56% of divorces today involve at least one of the people having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.” That’s the unfortunate reality about the state of our world right now. Obviously, for many people divorce, not restoration, is the outcome. But the truth of the matter is God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16 NIV) and He is all about restoring hearts and marriages (Job 22:23). Because I’ve been in the shoes of the heartbroken woman, I know that more than anything she longs for hope. I want my reader to know that there is another answer besides divorce, and that regardless of how deep her pit of despair feels, God’s hand can reach her.

How long did it take from the initial revelation of your husband’s addiction to a healing within your heart?

That’s a tough question. From the initial revelation until my divorce was 3 years. That was 16 years ago. While I leaned into Christ during those 3 years, I didn’t have a resource like my book to walk me through the process, so I fumbled around in the dark for a while. I’m not sure you ever get to brush your hands together and declare, “There! All better!” Even the writing of this book brought a new level of healing to my heart that I didn’t even know was needed.

Can that be a paradigm for other women?

There’s no magic timetable. Each of us have to wait on God’s timing. He will wait as long as it takes for us to exhaust our human efforts, put total trust in him, surrender our will, and expect the impossible from the Creator of possibilities.

You wait until later in your book to deal with one’s identity in Christ; yet you make it seem like one of the most important aspects for a woman’s healing in these circumstances. Could it have come earlier with all others building upon it?

The simple answer is, yes, it probably could have. However, I was drawing from my own experience and confirmed with my focus group that when my husband’s addiction was unveiled, I wasn’t in a position to hear, let alone believe, anything I was told or already knew about my identity in Christ.

If my plane crashes in the middle of the ocean and I survive, I don’t want to hear about forgiveness or that I’m a child of God. No. I want to know that there is hope that God can and will rescue me from this situation. I need to know that He sees, and hears, and cares, and that He won’t leave me in this place of pain. That’s why I start the book out with hope. My reader will name her losses and address and eventually surrender unproductive feelings, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs, including ownership of her husband’s daily choice about whether or not to fight this addiction. She’ll also spend a week processing through trust, which is one of the single greatest losses for the wife of a pornography addict. Then we get to identity.

I do think identity is a particular point of difficulty. Speaking from personal experience, when we were at the pinnacle of our crisis, I was a shell of my former self. I didn’t know what I believed about God, my husband, or myself anymore. I allowed my identity to be defined by my relationship with my husband rather than by who God says I am. It is vital that every daughter of the Lord know that He (God) deems her irreplaceable and that she learn to only let His opinion shape her identity.

Thanks so much for joining us. Readers, do you have any questions for Vicki?

More about Vicki: I am an author and speaker who has a passion for opening the Scriptures and pointing women to their true source of grace and faithfulness. For the past ten years, I have been honored to speak for numerous women at conferences, retreats, and women’s events. I am the author of three books including When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography (2012), Plug Me In and Let Me Charge Overnight (2009), and Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years (coming January 2013). I live in Rochester, Minnesota, with my husband Mike, daughter, and two sons. Visit her on the web.

For Your Readers: Sample Chapters from When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart

Links to buy the book:
Vicki Tiede
 

NGP 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble (BN’s processing times are lagging, but it will eventually be available here too)

Nook

CBD  

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