Christmas: It’s All About the Message


Welcome Dear Readers! Today we welcome our Special Guest Blogger Ann Knopp! Welcome, Ann!! Thank you for sharing with us today.

Christmas is all about the Message

All throughout the Bible God spoke and things happened.  He created the world with just His words, and it came into being.  He spoke to Noah and told him to build a gigantic boat in the middle of a desert region, and he did it.  And God was faithful to save.  He told Abraham to go to a land he’d never been.  Abraham went. No questions asked. Just went.  God promised him a future filled with generations of people, and God is continuing to fulfill that promise. Now Moses did do a little complaining, or making excuses, why it was not the best idea for him to lead God’s people out of Egypt, but in the end, he went as well.  

God was faithful to deliver all them (Noah, Abraham, & Moses).  On and on throughout history, God would speak, and God’s people would obey.  They didn’t have the Bible because essentially they were living the Bible one moment at a time so we could have a manual to follow today.
 
Then one day, God did an amazing thing.  He told His Son, Jesus, to go to the world.  He went (knowing what He was going to have to do once He got here).  Jesus was God’s ultimate plan to be the Savior to a dark and dying world.  When Jesus began His ministry, He found 12 men that were going about their daily routine and He said, “Come, follow Me.”  We find him ‘going.’ He went into the world, just like God asked, and so did the disciples. They dropped everything and followed.  
Click to Tweet Quote
Click to Tweet Quote

Then Jesus’ ultimate purpose for coming was revealed.  Jesus was in the garden, and He was praying, and asked God to take the “cup” or burden of death on the cross from Him.  God didn’t, but Jesus went faithfully.  God essentially said “Go,” and Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross for our sins.  Because of Him going, we have a direct path to God, and we can come to Him whenever we want.

God’s faithfulness, and our fully trusting in God, go hand in hand.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”   
He didn’t say, go if you want to, or whenever you’re ready, meander on your way.  He said “Go!”   

We have a purpose.   Our job is to spread the gospel that has faithfully been lived out by men and women throughout the years to everyone we meet.  

Christmas is the best time of year to share this message because Jesus ISthe message of Christmas.  It says so right in the name.  Tell people the true meaning of Christmas, and live out your purpose during this season, and every day of the year.  God will be glorified through you!
About Ann:

My name is Ann Knopp.  I am a pastor’s wife and mother of two teenage boys who love to play basketball and run.  I truly have a desire to minister to women wherever God allows and the places to minister have been increasing over the last year.  God called me to write but not only to write but to share with whoever will listen.  I pray that the devotional that I have written will encourage you to share His message with whoever you meet throughout not only the Christmas season but throughout the year.  God bless!

Connect with Ann:

Email: ukknopp@comcast.net
Facebook: Ann Luck Knopp
 

3 Steps to Finding the Grace to Chase a Dream by Cara Putman

http://www.amazon.com/Stars-Night-Cara-C-Putman-ebook/dp/B00EV56C4S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440123709&sr=8-1&keywords=stars+in+the+nightHello Dear Readers! Today we welcome Award Winning Author Cara Putman! Cara has some great advice to share with us today & will be giving away a copy of her novel, Stars in the Night. Enter to win below!


Without further ado, let’s give Cara a warm welcome!



 

~    ~    ~
ONCE there was a 14-year-old who quickly realized her favorite authors simply could not write books fast enough. Because she was young, she decided she could write books, too. Her mother smiled and allowed her to write as part of her English. Slowly two novels grew on an old computer, paragraph by paragraph, page by page. She loved creating ideas, research, writing. The process delighted her soul, and she wondered if she’d found what she was created to do.
        Then life got busy. College, a career. A husband and a family. Writing was pressed to the perimeter of her life by the busyness of a full life.
                Most days it was enough.
                But some days, the whisper to write became a roaring ache to try. When this occurred, this girl grown into a woman would take the dream to God, hold it in open hands, and ask Him if this was His dream for her. If not, show her so she could kill the dream and focus on His will for her life.
                In due time, He announced it was time to follow her dream. Nine years later she’s awaiting the publication of her 18th and 19th books later this year.
                You may have already guessed: I am that girl. I know what it’s like to have a dream burning inside me and wonder if anything would ever come of it. I want to encourage you. If this is you. If you’re convinced your dreams have disappeared under a pile of laundry, dirty diapers, and grocery lists, that there are ways to live with grace until the appointed time for the dream to burst to life.
                Here’s what I learned on the journey:
1)      Hold the dream loosely. Pry your tight grip from the dream and offer it to God. Ask Him for wisdom to know if this is the time or the dream. Seek Him first. A dream without Him at the center is simply not as fulfilling.
 
2)      Prepare when you can as you can. For me that meant continuing to read voraciously. Through that I had a core understanding of what made a story and characters work. I might not have known all the lingo, but I intuitively gained an education. It also meant I read how-to write novel books. Each time the itch would resurface, you’d find me in the stacks looking for another book, so I could get structural understanding.
3)      Be prepared to run when God gives you the go-ahead. The years since God told me it was time to test the dream have been a whirlwind of work. It has required immense discipline and stick-to-it-iveness. I’ve had to let go of things to make room for the dream. Are you willing to do the same?

Waiting for a dream is hard. But with God’s grace, the waiting can be a time of preparation and drawing closer to Him.

Cara Shares Some of her Faves!

Favorite Dessert:                           Apple pie
Favorite Restaurant:                     Runza   
Favorite Branch of the Military (I won’t judge you if say anything other than Army, lol J): ARMY – My dad flew Heweys in Vietnam and Desert Storm
Favorite Genre of Music:              Praise and worship
Favorite Subject in School:           history


Author Bio:

Cara C. Putman, the award-winning author of 20 books, graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. FIRST for Women magazine called Shadowed by Grace “captivating” and a “novel with ‘the works.’” It received the Christian Retailing BEST award for Historical Fiction and the HOLT Award of Distinction. Cara is active at her church and a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman recently received her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.

Shadowed by Grace:
http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Grace-Story-Monuments-Men/dp/1433681781/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440123649&sr=8-1&keywords=shadowed+by+graceShadowed by Grace is a dramatic story inspired by the Monuments Men of World War II by acclaimed author Cara C. Putman. Desperate to save her dying mother, Rachel accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy to capture images dangerously close to the front lines of WWII. Her real motive – to find the father she never knew — an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive. It’s an unlikely situation for love and faith to flourish, but soon Rachel not only finds herself, but also her long-lost earthly father, and ultimately, the man her Heavenly father created to cherish and provide for her

Connect with Cara:

 

Enter Below to Win a Copy of  Stars in the Night: 

Author Spotlight & Novel Giveaway with Molly Jebber!

Welcome Dear Readers! Today we have Author Molly Jebber with us! She’s giving away a print copy of  her novel, A Change of Heart! Enter to win below! Share with your friends and family for more entry points!

Meet Molly!
Molly Jebber is the author of CHANGE OF HEART, an Amish historical romance. Fascinated by the Amish history, culture, Molly perused her passion to write.  Her love or writing led to a book deal with Kensington Publishing as well as three more titles debuting in 2015/2016. Publisher’s Weekly magazine announced and listed this book number three in their best ten romance review list for 2015. Molly loves God, her family and friends. She likes swimming, reading, golf, and spending time with her husband, Ed, daughter, Misty and friends.


Molly, please tell us about your latest novel, writing project etc and any personal inspiration behind it.
Becca Carrington, my heroine, is thrown into a world unknown to her. She encounters danger and difficult people. I wanted to show how her Amish upbringing and faith in God remain throughout her new life when faced with conflict and drama.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
“Change of Heart” is the first in a three-book keepsake pocket quilt theme series. The second book is finished and will be released in February, 2016. My Christmas story, “An Unexpected Christmas Blessing” is part of an anthology along with Amy Lillard and Kelly Long. The overall title for this book is “The Christmas Sleigh”. Each of us wrote Amish themed stories. This book will be released October 30, 2015. All of these books are available in stores and online wherever books are sold.

For all the folks out there read, could you share with us your favorite scripture and why?
Philippians 4:19 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” KJV – This verse reminds me with God anything is possible, and that He’s always there for me.

Before we give away more info on Change of Heart, is there anything you’d like to say to your readers? I know they’d love a personal note.
Readers, without you, there would be no reason for me to write. The greatest thrill for me is to hear that you are enjoying my stories. That my stories provide a “little getaway” for you and makes you happy.
Thank you for being with us today, Molly, and thank you Dear Readers for stopping by! Remember to enter to win a copy of Change of Heart below.

Change of Heart by Molly Jebber

Ohio, 1899.  Soft-spoken midwife Becca Yost lived by her Amish faith’s strict rules—until her fiancé jilted her before their entire community. She’s never been away from home, but the bustling Englischer town of Massillon, Ohio, is a welcome unexpected refuge. Especially when she goes to work for Dr. Matt Carrington, who shares her passion for healing those in need. His outgoing spirit and gentle strength show Becca a surprising new world of choices—and irresistible love. But there is one formidable obstacle: Matt’s wealthy mother is determined her son will marry a society woman.

 With her newfound resolve challenged, Becca decides that she and Matt must not be destined for each other after all. She accepts that she will have to forge a life alone—until a wrenching crisis and life-changing revelations teach her that true faith lies in all things, especially impossible second chances. . .

Connect with Molly:

Email:     mollyjebber@yahoo.com
Twitter:      @mollymjebber
 

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Supreme Court Ruling: Being a Christian Author in a World With an Opposing Message

Being a Christian Author in a world that no longer wants to know Jesus — in a world that no longer wants to hear His message, but desperately needs it.
I’m still soaking in the Supreme Court ruling that recognizes same-sex marriage in all 50 states. I’m saddened, not shocked. For Christians in America, our faith just became more difficult to live out. The implications of the court’s decision are heavy, and the ripple effects will be seen for generations to come.
To redefine an institution that they did not create — the gall, but then, that’s where we, the church and state, differ. With a slam of a gavel, the distinction between church and state has never been made clearer, and I feel as if I have witnessed our nation turn its back on God. Yes, my heart hurts…
I’m hearing love wins from supporters of same-sex marriage, but love already won when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and that’s what homosexuality is—a sin, just like any other sin. Yes, I love my gay friends, but I in no means support their actions. Whether born gay or not, the act of homosexuality is a sin. If a person is born with an alcohol gene, or a tendency toward alcoholism, does that excuse their behavior as an alcoholic? No.  In the same way, a person born with same sex tendencies can choose whether or not to act out on their desire.
Maybe the definition of sin is the issue here. Perhaps we can’t agree on what sin is and isn’t. I personally don’t like being told if I’m sinning. It’s offensive to hear. No one wants to be corrected, but God corrects us for our own good. He knows what’s good for us, and only wants the best.
God is very clear on what sin is. It’s outlined in His Word – the Bible—the very Word our nation used to construct its Constitution. We cannot pick and choose what the parts of His Word we will follow, and which we will ignore. This isn’t Burger King, we can’t have it our way. This is God’s world. It’s His way.  
And that’s the problem. Our nation doesn’t want it God’s way, but their way, and God, being ever so loving, will never force Himself on anyone, yet He wants desperately for us to choose Him.
For the first time in my life I’m hearing Christians being called ‘haters’ for taking God’s side on this same-sex marriage issue. Haters. Haters because they are taking a stand for what God, The Great I Am, The Creator of the Universe says? The message of Christ is anything but hate. In fact it’s the exact opposite. It’s overflowing with love, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. Perhaps this message is offense because accepting it, means admitting fault.
Following Christ begins with admitting you’re a sinner (we all are), turning away from that sin, believing Christ is the son of God, that He rose again, and confessing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior –meaning the Lord or boss of our life.
Why is it important to invite Jesus to be the boss of our life? Because He says we’re all sinners, born into it actually, and the punishment for sin is death and eternity in hell after we die. We can’t save ourselves, so Jesus came, took our punishment for sin, died, rose again, and anyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Here’s the thing, God is begging us to walk in His way. He says in his Word that there is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death, but Jesus came to give life.
So what am I to do after the Supreme Court’s ruling? How do I live out love? How do I be “in the world, but not of it”? As a Christian Author, what am I to do in a world that rejects Christ with their words and actions while I write books exclaiming His message of love and redemption?
So many questions, but I know The One who has the answers, so that’s a plus. I know my words, actions, and intentions need to be saturated in love no matter who I’m interacting with.  I know love is very much an action—a choice, so I’ll choose to be patient, kind, gentle, selfless, and humble. I will choose not to keep a tally of wrongs. I will always choose to hope, persevere, and rejoices in truth—after all, that’s what Love does.  I know that I will not deny or defy God’s Words, and I’m thankful to be surrounded and supported by followers of Christ who will stand with me. And as a Christian Author, well, I find that one a bit easier to answer…I’m going to do what Jesus did so many times, and tell a story that’s filled with love, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. A story where God is the hero, where truth and love win without ever compromising God’s plan, and His way.

#lovewins #lovealreadywon

Author Spotlight with New York Times Best Selling Author, Tosca Lee: Interview & Giveaway!!

Welcome Dear Readers!! Today we have New York Times Best Selling Author, Tosca Lee, with us! Tosca will be giving away an eBook copy of her novel, Havah: The Story of Eve! Leave a comment below to enter to win!  Read on for another special gift from Tosca to you!!

Meet Tosca:
www.toscalee.com

Tosca Lee is the multi award-winning, New York Times bestselling novelist of Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, Iscariot, The Legend of Sheba, and The Books of Mortals series (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign) with New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker. She is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, lyrical prose and meticulous research.

Thank you for being here today with us, Tosca. I’m a HUGE fan, and I know you have A LOT of readers here today that feel the same. We’ve read all your works, and now we’re curious…do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
I’ve just finished a contemporary thriller. (Yay!) It’s a small break from the biblical historical genre, and I really needed this. It was a super fun ride filled with action and suspense and romance, too. I hope you enjoy it!

I can’t wait to get my hands on it!! And congratulations on finishing this novel. I know how difficult it can be to etch/carve/pray out time to write in order to meet those deadlines.  Is there a favorite time of the day you prefer to write  to get the job done?
You know, I tend to do anything serious in the evening. Usually after 9pm. These days I work until dawn, and now that it’s spring, the birds are out to sing me to sleep (or keep me awake…)

Ha! I have a love-hate relationship with the birds outside my window too! Now, is there a specific place where you like to write? I have to kind of lock myself away.
My office is the place I write—there is only one seat in that space, and it’s behind my claw-foot desk. For some reason, I always seem to work at night.

All writers reading this, take note: a claw-foot desk, and night writing. I’m on it!


Moving on! I’m gonna get a little nosey here.  but I wanna know if there are there things you put off doing because you dread them? (ie I can’t stand to fold socks. Torture!)

I am a master procrastinator. I put off writing until I either can’t stand it any more or I better get a move on if I want to make my deadline. It’s a form of perfectionism that stems from fear. And in the end, the fear never goes away—I just start slogging through to the end.

I appreciate your transparency and your bravery to face fear by “slogging through to the end.” Fear is something that we can all struggle with, and it’s encouraging to know we don’t have to succumb. 

Switching gears  a bit now. I’m a Military wife, and love to have my guests put themselves in the military life roll. Let’s play!
Many Military families move several times over the course of their career relocating to duty stations all over the country and the world. While moving can be difficult, it’s also pretty exciting to meet new people and see new places. Sometimes we’re able to choose our duty station. If you had a choice, where would you like to be stationed and why?
Korea. 🙂 I have a ton of family (half of it) in Seoul. And I need me some good Korean food.

My hubby spent a year in South Korea!! I got to spend close to a month over there and LOVED it! Seoul was amazing! And you’re right, the food is crazy tasty!

I also like to honor the Service men and women in my guest’s family. Do you have family that have or are serving in the Military?
Some of my extended American family have served in the Air Force—uncles, a cousin. All the men on my Korean side of the family have served in the Korean military (it’s compulsory). My uncle is a former Korean Secretary of Defense, but the coolest part of his career, for me, was when he was a two star general because I got to ride around with him in his Jeep. ;D

That is totally awesome! Please thank both sides of your family for their service!

I’m not only a Military wife, but like a large portion of my friends and readers, I’m a stay at home momma.  It gets a bit crazy around my house, especially when I have edits to get to! Could you share some advice for all those parents out there raising their babies juggling insane schedules?

Oh boy. I’m a brand new step-mother to be of four—one young lady (19) and three young men (14 and 11 year old twins). (My fiancé is a single father.) So I’m the one who needs the advice—namely, ways to make vegetables appealing. Right now I’m just trying not to get wiped out by kid germs. (I managed to catch Whooping Cough last January.) One of the most amazing privileges of coming into this role is listening to them talk about the things that are important to them (i.e. football and Minecraft).
First off, Tosca, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Welcome to the wild, wonderful world of parenthood! Readers, let’s shower Tosca with some advice in the comment section! My advice: pray. Pray for your kids to like veggies. Pray you don’t get sick. And pray with them…even about Minecraft, football, or in my case, Elsa, Anna, and Pokémon.
Tosca, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to be our guest today. We’ve had a great time, and have room for one more response.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers? I know they’d love a personal note.
I love you guys. I truly have the most wonderful readers in the world. I think of you as I sit down to work, as I go about the business side of writing, and am grateful every day. One of my greatest joys is when I get to meet readers at signings, talks or events and hug them.

Again, thank you for being here with us today! Tosca has a special gift for everyone here
today! See below for the details! Remember to leave a comment to enter to win Havah: The Story of Eve!


http://www.amazon.com/Ismeni-eShort-Prelude-Legend-Sheba-ebook/dp/B00MS0FZAU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429481376&sr=8-1&keywords=ismeni

Ismeni, the free eBook prequel to The Legend of Sheba is available for free on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and in all eBook formats.

No eReader? Get the FREE app for your computer, phone or tablet: https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page?ie=UTF8&ref_=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd 

http://www.amazon.com/Legend-Sheba-Rise-Queen/dp/1451684045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429481557&sr=8-1&keywords=queen+of+sheba

 
REMEMBER TO COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED TO WIN HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE

Stay Connected With Tosca:

Book Review: A Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall (Book 3 in The Everstone Chronicles)

Author of The Everstone Chronicles, Dawn Crandall, will be joining us next week, but today I have the privilege of reviewing her latest release!

I should be finishing up my next novel. However, I had no other choice but to turn away from my computer screen if I ever wanted to get a restful night’s sleep again, without wondering about the main characters like I knew them! 

I’m not sure if I should thank Dawn for this novel or not… 🙂
Yes, I’ll thank her!
The Captive ImposterDawn’s third book in The Everstone Chronicles DOES NOT DISAPPOINT!
The title of this book itself caused my eyebrow to arch with interest. Her writing continues to grow stronger with each novel…so elegant, and vivid. And then there’s that storyline that just held onto me!
Estella Everstone, born into wealth and privilege, is in danger, and has gone into hiding at one of her father’s hotels in the mountainous region of Maine, assuming the name Elle Stoneburner, and a lowly status as lady’s maid. After a cancelled engagement, and a family tragedy, she struggles to mend and find her life’s direction. Dexter Blakely, an ill-tempered hotel manager with an apparent distaste for those born to wealth and privilege, and a disdain for all things romantic, catches her eye, and confuses her heart.
Neither can deny the pull that exists between them when they are together. However, Dexter doesn’t know Estella’s true identity, and that the woman he’s grown to love is the embodiment of everything he’s vowed to hate. She has to tell Dexter the truth, reveal all, and hold nothing back, but where will that lead, and can she handle the fallout?
Set in the late Nineteenth century, a simpler day for sure, The Captive Imposter drew me, quite willingly, into the past, and dazzled me with an elegant setting, exquisite scenery, and spot-on dialect for the time period. Let’s not forget the mystery, suspense, and hints of a budding romance.
The story sprouts themes of forgiveness, restoration, God’s purpose for our lives, and His ability to use the bad things for His glory—all of which I applaud. The characters…real…sincere…flawed, and forgiven…just like us. I found this novel daring, true-to-life, and lovely! Kuddos to you Dawn Crandall!
No foul language was found, however, there is a brothel mentioned, and a woman held against her will worked there. This was not an issue for me, but because of the nature of this topic, I suggest mothers with daughters younger than thirteen may want to have an open discussion about this before allowing their younger girls to jump into this book. 
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a novel with Christ-focused themes. Fabulous!! If I had three thumbs, I’d give it that!

Follow the fun with Dawn as she promotes her latest release. Prizes and giveaway daily throughout the Blog Tour!

About the Author:

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing her debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Northeast Indiana.

Dawn is a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

Want to read more reviews or interviews?

Check out:
Though My Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof
Catch a Falling Star by Beth Vogt
Where Treasure Hides by Johnnie Alexander

7 Verses That Can Rock Your World: Words to Live By

Today I’m sharing 7 verses that have rocked my world–words to live by.

We all know life gets hard. It gets crazy. Insane. Sad. Stressful. Unpredictable. Non-stop. Even when life is good, great, wonderful, and filled with laughter, we need something steady to keep us grounded, focused. Why can’t we be our own source of strength? Why can’t we choose to do the things we wanna do, and take the path of life we wanna take? Well, we can, free-will, right? BUT, God’s Word tells that there’s a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). Yeah, thanks, but I’ll skip the death road. However, when we choose God’s way, it leads to life. This whole life and death talk can be both literal and figurative. That’s beside the point.

How do we know how we should live? How to act? How to treat each other?

We find those answers in God’s Word.

The verses below grabbed hold of me many years ago and taught me a few lessons. 1)God’s Word is powerful, real and living. 2) He wants me to trust Him with my worries enough to leave them with Him. 3)My thoughts matter. What I think about becomes my actions. 4) If I believe God’s Word is powerful, real, and living, then it will transform every part of my life.

Simple, but profound.

These verses have rocked my world, and I hope they rock yours too!

  • 1 Peter 5: 7: Cast all your burdens on him because he cares for you
  • Romans 8: 28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
  • Romans 12: 2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
  • Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
  • Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  • Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[d] who gives me strength.
  • 1 Corinthians 13: 7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

    5 Ways to be Blessed in the Stress: A Military Wife’s Perspective

    So. Stress. Let’s talk about that.

    www.hannahrconway.com

    We’ve all felt it, right? Life gets real, real fast. Traumatic events. Loss. Broken hearts. Then there are the little stressors that just get under your skin like when a car pulls out in front of you, and then slows down! What’s with that?! Or the person at the drive in in front of you decides to order the entire store when all you want is a black coffee with no creamer or sugar. Geez people!

    If you’ve never felt stress, where have you been? Tell me your secret! Turn on the news and I guarantee you’ll be taking meds for high blood pressure soon. The world is a mess, ick.
    Stress doesn’t just come from things we experience or see. Certain types of food can cause our bodies to be stressed. Too much caffeine (Sigh of sadness). Sugar is the worst…so sad. Sugar is actually an anti-nutrient…it sucks nutrients out of our body and causes us to be sluggish, sick, and tired, but unable to get the kind of good hearty rest our bodies need, and a lack of good rest/sleep causes more stress on our body. A vicious cycle ensues!
    No wonder the world has gone mad. We’re drinking some caffeine-filled beverage in one hand, eating something sugary with the other, couple that with a lack of sleep, our fast paced schedules, life’s issues, and we’re a big ball of stress just spewing all over the place.
    Our environment, toxins in the air, and chemicals in the hygiene products we use every day can cause stress to our body. Nice, right?
    The medical world even knows how serious our stress issue is, admitting that 80% or more of all disease and illness is stress related. How ’bout that? Insane!  

    We can’t live in a bubble, though, nor would I want to. Ok, maybe I would sometimes.

    What does God say about stress?He says in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all your burdens on him because he cares for you. He says to come to him for rest (Matthew 11:28-30). He says not to worry about anything, but pray about everything (Philippians 4:6&7).
    When the American Medial Association says that 80% or more of all disease and illness is stress related, do we have any other choice but to give that junk over to God?
    Being an Army wife, I know stress, and being the wife of a wounded warrior who struggles with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), well…let’s say stress and I are on a first name basis. 
    Yes, life gets crazy, but I can’t seem to find a time, even in the stress, that I haven’t been blessed. I’d imagine if we all took the time to look past our stress we could see how we’re being blessed.

     Having a hard time seeing it? Wanna know how to be blessed in the stress? Here are 5 ways:

    1: Be a blessing and Love others:

    • 1 Corinthians 13: 7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  I’d add, No Matter What to that if I could.
    • In Matthew 14, after finding out his cousin, John the Baptist, had been killed, Jesus withdrew to be alone, but crowds followed Him. He didn’t lash out in his grief, or tell them to go away. He saw their need. He knew a key to being blessed in the stress was to be a blessing to others, and to love those around Him.
    2: Be content:
    A good friend once told me the keys to being content were: Don’t Compete, Don’t Compare, Don’t Complain. That’s a pretty good start, and to keep us from competing, comparing, and complaining, Paul defines contentment best here:

    • Philippians 4: 12-13 “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[d] who gives me strength.

    3: Get in God’s Word

    If we’re believers, we have no excuse but to be students of God’s Word.

      • Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
      • 2 Timothy 3:16:  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

    4: Be intentional with your thoughts & words
    I’m going to park right here for a second. As an author words are a HUGE deal to me. We create with them, and they have purpose and a meaning. Check this out: God created the world with his Words…and we’re made in His image, meaning in part, that our words too, are powerful. He says we can speak life or death with our words (Proverbs 18:21), build up or destroy (Proverbs 12:6), and we’re accountable for the words we speak (Matthew 12:36-37). Thoughts turn into words, so both are a  big deal. Our mind/thoughts/words need to be transformed and focused.

      • Romans 12: 2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
      • Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

    5: Forgive:

    • Matt 6: 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins
    I don’t claim to understand all the ins and outs of this verse, but I will say, when we are able to kick our pride to the curb and forgive, there is some serious healing and stress relief that takes place. Sometimes we need to forgive, sometimes we need to ask for forgiveness, and often it’s a combination of the two.


    Here’s the bottom line:

    We can CHOOSE to be blessed in the stress. We choose love others, be content, get into God’s Word, be intentional with our words & thoughts, and forgive.

    I’m thankful for that choice, aren’t you?


     

    Wounded Warriors: The Movie Breaking the Silence on the Struggle with PTSD

     
     
    I’m excited to introduce you to this movie, Wounded Warriors.  Silver Dove Films will be producing this film. Silver Dove says they “believe that now is the time for a film to show the personal stories of the sacrifices our Veterans and their families make for our freedom.” And I have to agree.
    
    PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, effects almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, as many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, and 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Millions suffer from it with at least 22 Veterans a day taking their own lives; one every 65 minutes.
     
    My first novel, The Wounded Warrior’s Wife, was birthed from walking with my husband as he struggled with PTSD. I can’t think back on those days without reliving the emotion, the panic, stress, fear, and uncertainty. It’s still very real to me…to both he and I. Healing is a journey, and I’m not sure if it’s one we’ll get to this side of heaven, but I’m grateful for those who came along side us to pray, share their stories, offer encouragement, and for a Command that ensured my husband got the help he needed and deserved. We’ve been on this healing from PTSD journey for a decade now. We’re closer together as a couple than we were at the start, and that’s beautiful, but our life could’ve looked a lot different. For many of our friends battling PTSD, the outcome…well, it was destructive on many levels.
     
     
    I’d say the most difficult step of our journey with PTSD was the very first one: admitting there’s a problem. PTSD can be a silent war, with silent sufferers, when there is no need to do so. Speaking out helps, and that’s why I am thrilled to help producer Michael Grier spread the word about Wounded Warriors, the movie.
     

    The film is inspired by true stories and focuses on the reconciliation between two veterans, a father and a son. The son battles with PTSD, which actually began in childhood when his Vietnam War-traumatized father failed to deal with his own demons. The emotional abuse the boy suffers is intensified by later experiences in Afghanistan, and he turns to alcohol to deal with it. The film not only highlights the effects of PTSD on a young Veteran’s family, but also the courage it takes the entire family to overcome his difficult battles.

    This film will also be financed by individual and corporate donations with 50% of the films net profits donated to non-profit organizations that benefit Veterans.  This will be a quality film with a powerful message that honors our Veterans and Silver Dove Films appreciates your help by taking the time to Donate.
     
    Let’s help get this movie made! You can help! Check out all the ways you can help Wounded Warriors come to fruition. Who can you share this article with? Local organizations, Veteran groups, Church programs, Family Readiness Groups?

    Click Here to Download the Film Prospectus.