Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Finding Joy Despite Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
James 1:2–3

Life can be hard sometimes. Whatever you are going through, God knows. He sees. He cares. And He is more than willing and able to help you through!
With God, we are overcomers! Here's a short prayer for today:
"Lord, it’s hard for me to think that something good can come from these challenges. Yet, despite my circumstances, you lift me up to a place of joy! Joy in my trials? Only you can make it happen. You, who shines your love like light into my gray, cloudy heart. Thank you. In times of testing, temptation or total disarray, I need your persevering power. I believe that together we will make it through. In Jesus’s name. Amen."
May today be the day of your breakthrough! Keep on believing. Your day will come.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Lesson from Mountain Climbing

A mountain is climbed one step at a time. You begin by putting one foot in front of another, and another, until you reach the summit.
Of course, climbers know the importance of staying hydrated and never climbing alone. As believers walking this rocky road of life, we can stay hydrated with refreshment from God’s Word, which is as essential to life as water.  

We can build a team around us for support and encouragement, building community and strong relationships with friends, family, church members, those with whom we play sports or do hobbies and others. And, don't forget the importance of welcoming newcomers, too. Everyone needs a place to belong.

And we can learn to trust our guide, Jesus Christ. He knows the way when we do not. He provides, He protects, He heals and comforts. He goes before us and with us.  

He is with us—always.  

As we press on, in mountain climbing and in life, the power of prayer helps us to persevere and find joy. So even when you feel like giving up, believe that the ascent is worth the climb, for once you reach the peak the view is exhilarating.

“You need to persevere so that
when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.”
(Hebrews 10:36)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Standing Strong in Tough Times

Life can be hard at times. Maybe your kids are screaming, and they just won't seem to settle down. Or, you can’t find a job—and you’ve been out of work for months. Could it be that someone you love just left you and you're brokenhearted? Do you have an illness or injury? Or, an ache in your heart wondering if you are dating or just friends with someone you care about?
Whatever the situation, you can find HOPE despite your circumstances.
To stand strong in challenging times, we need a solid foundation. When we ask, God will build support into our lives so that when the winds of change and challenge blow we won’t topple like the fragile houses of the three little pigs.
We will stand strong.
Consider what happens when builders construct a skyscraper. In order for the building to be tall and not tumble, the workers first dig a foundation and then pound steel reinforcing rods called pylons deep into the earth. Concrete is then poured into the shaft with the pylons for a super-strong hold.

The same can be true in your life.

As you grow deeper, you grow stronger in your faith. As you immerse yourself in the ways and wisdom of God, the truth (like pylons of hope, trust, courage, and faith), helps you become stronger.

So when your life is spiraling downward or you’re overcome with loneliness, you will be able to withstand more readily the gale-force winds of hard times and pain.

Steel upon steel, story upon story, a structure is built. Likewise, God’s Word tells us that hope comes step by step as “…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Rom. 5:34).

Press in to God’s strength and He will help you do what you cannot do on your own. There is hope ahead. And we’re on the way to finding it.

For more about finding hope in hard times,
see Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times (Revell/Baker Publishing Group) by Jackie M. Johnson

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Live a Life of Love

LOVE. It's one of those words... We're supposed to know what it means. I mean, mostly we do. But often our definition is lacking or skewed.

For instance, romantic love is more than holding hands or kissing, although that is nice. It's also about kindness, caring and seeking the best in the other person. It's about putting others' needs before yours. It's sacrificial for the good of the other person and the sake of the relationship.

Bottom line: If you are meeting his needs and he is meeting yours, then everyone gets their needs met!

Of course there are other kinds of love. God loves you--the best love there is! And there is the love of family, friends, people whom you serve and more.

I love The Message Bible because the wording is so down-to-earth. Here's one passage about LOVE from Ephesians 5:

"Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant...Love like that."

Extravagant love.

When we spend time with the One who loves us most, we learn to love like that.

I'm in! How about you?

Monday, July 1, 2013

ICRS 2013 a Success!

The International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) is the largest gathering in the nation of Christian authors, editors, publishers, agents, music and film industry and retail gift sellers.

This year, under the St. Louis Arch, amazing things happened. Steve Laube, literary agent at The Steve Laube Agency, wrote a comprehensive blog post about his observations of the 2013 event. Here are some of the highlights (click here for the entire post):  

Golden Scroll Awards banquet winners (at AWSA)

  • Editor of the Year went to Sandra VanderZicht of Zondervan
  • Fiction Editor of the Year went to Vicki Crumpton of Baker Publishing Group
  • Nonfiction Book of the Year went Karen Whiting and Jocelyn Green for Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (God & Country Press of AMG Publishers.) 
  • Novel of the Year went to Jeanette Windle for Congo Dawn (Tyndale)
  • AWSA of the Year was Carol Kent
  • The Beyond Me Award, presented by Kathi Macias, went to Sue Badeau
  • The prestigious 2013 Golden Scroll Lifetime Achievement Award went to Carole Lewis, the bestselling author and national director of First Place 4 Health,
Christy Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award to agent, Lee Hough at Alive Communications. This stellar man—who has not only contributed significantly to the Christian publishing industry, but is also a superb example of how to love your wife, family and others—has two months to live due to terminal brain cancer. Well deserved, Lee Hough. Well deserved.

Exhibits galore with the latest in books, music gifts and more.

Next year’s ICRS will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from June 22-25, 2014
See you there!