Have you ever felt held down by life or society? Have you felt chained to the way things are? It doesn't have to be that way!
I Can Only Imagine, the popular song by MercyMe is being made into an inpiring movie!
Watch the trailer on Youtube
Lately, I've been struggling with feeling depressed. I'm normally a happy person, so these pervasive feelings of sadness do not feel normal. I was praying about these feelings of depression when the verse Matthew 6:34 came to mind in which Jesus says "Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (KJV)
I've read that verse many times in the past, but today, it just seemed to hold special meaning. I had to step back from my depressed thoughts and take a look at my life. When I did, I realized that, in that exact moment, nothing was really wrong or depressing. All was actually quite good in that moment. It was my thoughts for the future that were causing the black cloud to hang over my day. Thoughts like "things are never going to change" and "it will always be like this" and "I don't know if next month will be better" and "it's only going to get worse from here" were intruding upon my every moment and making me feel a sadness that just did not exist in the moment.
We all know that reading the Bible is important, but few may realize the benefits of daily study done in the morning.
1. GET A FIRM FOUNDATION FOR THE REST OF THE DAY -Studying the Bible first thing in the morning will start your day off on the right footing. By getting His Word into your mind before anything else intrudes, you'll have laid a strong foundation for the rest of your day. "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock; and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock." Luke 6:47-48
I've come to believe that God often works through His people to answer prayer. Though He does still provide miracles, most of His work is done by His people.
Have you ever experienced a moment when you saw someone having a hard time or heard something about a problem another Christian was suffering with and thought "I am just the right person to be able to help them"? Or, conversely, have you ever been in the midst of a problem yourself and, suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, you receive EXACTLY the help that you needed? Or, have you ever just experienced a series of events that seemed to slip into place just when you needed them because other people had started the sequence, seemingly unknowingly, prior to your needs? I know that I have certainly experienced all three of these phenomenons, and in those moments, I can feel God working in my life.
In multiple verses throughout the Bible, Christians are
In recent weeks my sons have spent their evenings watching the NBA Finals, energetically cheering on the San Antonio Spurs. Most game nights, their animated antics interrupted me as I attempted to prepare for the release of my debut novel, Of the Persecuted. But it was difficult to get irritated with my handsome, blond blessings.
This held especially true when they jumped off the couch screaming "Tha-Reee!" every time the San Antonio Spurs hit a long shot. My boys love basketball. They appreciate fundamentals. Dribbling. Pivoting. Passing. Well-executed shots. Not traveling. Not double-dribbling. Not two-handed shots. Not selfish shots.
They admire players who’ve gone down in history as executors of such fundamentals—Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, and my own personal favorite, John Stockton. Their love for basketball, and for three-pointers led me to think about the best "Tha-Reee!" of all time—the Trinity. One God, three distinct persons. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Brady McCaul’s first summer camp experience starts off on a sour note when his mom drops him off and tells him he can’t come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore.
While Brady tries to figure out what he did wrong, he finds loyal friends in his blind but capable cabin mate, Steven, and Steven’s spunky friend, Claire. Together, they team up for plenty of action in ball games, canoe races and sweatshirt relays. But while Brady’s talent on the trumpet earns him a top spot in the camp talent show, it’s not enough to counter the ugly words he hears from the camp bully.
Okay, I admit it, I've been sucked in to the The Safe Lands realm.
After reading the first in the Safe Lands series, Captives, I absolutely had to read the second book in the series, Outcasts. Author Jill Williamson did not disappoint in the second book of the series. It is every bit as exciting and thought-provoking as the first book.
In Outcasts, the group of "outcasts" are all still searching for a way to escape the Safe Lands. Their efforts are thwarted at every avenue by the government and corrupt officials of the Safe Lands. Their children are at risk. Their babies are being stolen. The pressures and addiction-causing environment of the Safe Lands is still slowly battering away at the morals of some of the "outcasts". They are truly desperate to leave.
As a parent and reviewer, I’ve read stacks of fabulous books over the last several years, but there are a few that stick with me, ones I find myself returning to like old friends. Here is a short list of my favorites:
Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl – When she finds herself betrothed to a prince who’s not exactly handsome, Princess Una refuses him, falling instead for the handsome jester. In this series debut, Stengl introduces a fun and often unexpected cast of characters, from the cat who isn’t really a cat to a fierce and dangerous dragon.
The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill – Ellie Sweet is tired of being left out by her friends. Her revenge? She crafts a story in which she is the heroine and the catty ladies-in-waiting get just what they deserve. It’s great, until Ellie’s book is published and her friends discover their roles in the story. Hilarious and heart-wrenching at once.
Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk – After her brother is murdered in a school shooting, Meg and her family move across the country to rural Wyoming. The force of Meg’s grief threatens to shatter her until she meets Henry, a rancher’s son whose gentle affection might be a healing balm to Meg’s soul… if the rumors about his girlfriend turn out to be untrue.
Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen – Fifteen year-old Luca knows one day he will take his father’s place and journey to the depths to barter with the water rats for another year’s supply of water for his people. When the nation’s protectors turn on Luca’s father, he is forced to flee. To survive, he must embrace a faith that doesn’t make sense and step beyond the strict rules and regulations placed on his people by the mysterious Council of Nine. Aquifer is an intense dystopian novel with a hint of romance.
There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones – Eighteen year-old Finley Sinclair follows her brother’s journal entries on a journey through Ireland, looking for the God he so powerfully encountered in the people and places there. What she finds instead is a Hollywood hunk and a grouchy would-be grandmother. Can she protect her heart, finish her music composition and find God in time for her audition at the New York Conservatory? Fans of Nancy Rue and Stephanie Morrill will love the fun and romance of Jones’s latest novel.
Guest Poster Kasey Giard is an aspiring writer and avid blogger at http://thestorysanctuary.com where she reviews young adult and middle grade novels and includes notes on content. She lives in Florida with her family and two very silly cats. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing video games, daydreaming, and going to the movies.