Friday, July 28, 2017

Resting in the Good of the Now with Guest Jennifer Slattery

I hadn't planned it this way, but God knew. Then again, doesn't He always?

My mentor, a sweet woman from my old church in Kansas City, and I had planned our phone conversation nearly a month prior. Three weeks before my startling, confusing, and flat out discouraging hiccup had hit. My inclination was to mope, to retreat, a default tendency God is working out of me.

But then, in our conversation I learned my precious friend was dealing with much more than a hiccup. She was, in fact, awaiting news that had the capacity to level her family. Knowing this, her words to me held such power and challenge.

She said, "Recognize this moment, where you're at, is good."

Chew on that. Chew on it in light of whatever you are or might soon be facing, and chew on it in light of God's character.

If you’re honestly trying to follow and honor God, where you're at, wherever God has you in this moment, is good.

You did nothing wrong. You're not being punished. God's not done with you, or displeased with you. To the contrary, He's passionately in love with you and only has your absolute best in mind. Even in the hard, disappointing, or painful.* 

So I say to you, live in the good of now. Soak up every blessing that comes your way. Don't let the hard or disappointing keep you from the beautiful. And use every moment, every event, as an opportunity to lean harder on Christ as you recognize your utter dependence on Him.

Meditate on this promise, spoken by God Himself:
"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you: He will neither fail you nor abandon you" (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT).
At this moment, regardless of where you are or are not, God is going before you, working everything out for your good and according to His perfect plan. So relax, trust, and keep moving forward, remaining fully present in the present. 

If you're in a time of waiting, rest. Relax. Enjoy each moment, knowing God will reveal your next step, in His perfect timing.

If you're trudging through the mundane, rest. Relax. Ask God to open your eyes to the hidden blessings He provides each day.

If you're in the hard, rest. Draw near, and let this time, as painful as it is, be a sweet, intimate moment between you and your Savior, a chance to come to know Him on a deeper level. 

If you're standing at the top of a mountain peak after a long treacherous climb, pause, rest, and rejoice in the God who brought you through. 

When you read God's promise in Deuteronomy 31:8, what thoughts came to mind? How does it feel knowing, at this moment, God is going before you, leveling mountains, breaking down gates of iron and cutting through bars of iron. (Isaiah 45:2) Share your thoughts or insights with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another. 

*Please note, this post does not apply to those living in sin or dealing with the consequences of sin. This is for those who, as they’re walking with God, have experienced a setback, disappointment, or difficult time.


Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com, is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, a ministry that exists to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. She and her team travel to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com

Healing Love

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Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread
Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn't on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of "missional tourists" full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

I've been immersed with the edits for two projects that are due to the publisher/editor in the next couple weeks. One of the things that has kept my sanity during this time is reading Karen Witemeyer's new book, Heart on the Line. In my opinion, it's her best one ever. I love the humor that Karen pulls into each of her stories as well as the depth of thought she allows the reader to 'overhear' from each of her characters. She has a knack for pulling the reader in and not letting go until the end of the book.

Here's an overview of the story:

Grace Mallory has been on the run and been in hiding for quite a while. It's time to confront her enemy and get down to the truth her father so desperately sought after. Her friends in Harper's Station are sure to rally around her.

Amos Bledsoe is a fellow telegraph operator that Grace has come to know, only over the wire. When Amos learns that Grace's life is threatened, he comes to her defense. Can she trust him? What plans does he intend?

Heart on the Line takes you on a delightful tale where the hero isn't always tall, dark and handsome. Sometimes a hero swoops in on a bicycle instead of a horse.

- This book was provided for free by the author and publisher. A favorable review was not required.

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA) and has been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Live the Adventure Letter. She's a contributor for Putting on the New and Stitches Thru Time blogs. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.
 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

No-Bake Strawberry Pie By Shirley Raye Redmond

One of my favorite summertime desserts is No-Bake Strawberry Pie. My friend Patsy shared the recipe with me more than 30 years ago. She has since gone on to be with the Lord, but I think of her every time I make this simple, but tasty dessert. I hope you will enjoy it too.


Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. of cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup water

Cook these four ingredients in a small pan until thickened. Then add 2 Tbsp of strawberry Jell-o. Cool.

Put two cups of cut up strawberries (fresh, not frozen) into a graham cracker crust. Pour the cooked mixture over the berries. Cool in refrigerator. Before serving, top with whipped cream.

Now, if you prefer, you can bake your own favorite piecrust and let it cool before you follow the recipe. Or you can get creative with ready-made crusts. I’ve used both the Keebler sugar cookie crust and the chocolate Oreo crust. The vanilla wafer crust is okay too.


An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker, Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of three inspirational novels, PRUDENCE PURSUED, VIPER’S NEST, and AMANDA’S BEAU, as well as two dozen children’s books, including LEWIS & CLARK: A PRAIRIE DOG FOR THE PRESIDENT (Random House), which was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. Shirley Raye holds an M.A. in literature and teaches through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She has been married to her husband Bill for over forty years. They live in New Mexico and are blessed with two grown children and three adorable grandchildren. Touch bases at shirleyrayeredmond.com or Facebook.