Wednesday, February 24

More Than Conquerors

Financial disasters. Extra-marital affairs. Loss of jobs. Wayward children. Heartaches and griefs. Child abuse and addictions. So many things that happen in our lives and to those around us.

Do we let these things defeat us? What does Paul say?

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37 NIV)

How are we made conquerors? The one that leaned on Jesus’ breast tells us, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5 NKJV)

Here are three other versions of verse 4, “The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith” (Msg). “This is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith” (Amp). “In fact, this faith of ours is the only way in which the world can be conquered” (Phillips).

I like that last one. Faith is the only way to conquer the trials and afflictions that attack our lives. Faith is wholly trusting in the characteristics of God’s nature. He is the object of our faith, “so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:5 NIV)

Our faith is our spiritual umbilical cord, which connects us to the Creator of Life and nourishes us with knowledge of Himself through the personal presence of His Holy Spirit.

We trust and have confidence in Him, leaning the whole weight of our lives upon what His Word says, knowing He is faithful to carry it out.

“How we thank God for all of this! It is He who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (1 Cor. 15:57 TLB) Amen!


Tuesday, February 23

Faithbook of Jesus blog tour

I am so pleased to be a part of the blog tour for Faithbook of Jesus: Connecting with Jesus Daily, written by Renee Johnson.

I interviewed Renee and here's what she had to say...

How did the concept for this book begin?

This book began 14 years ago when my love for the Word began. However, seven years ago I began praying and working towards publishing this book! I also began blogging devotionals in 2004 and years later was discovered on Twitter by my agent and publisher (NavPress) and made my publishing dreams come true!

Did writing this book stretch you spiritually?

The hard part for me during the process of writing this book was losing my health and suffering through working a full time sales job, which I loved. I’ve never cried so much and journaled like I did when I was going through the issues that led me to writing the book in the first place. It’s amazing how God brought me back to that place of humility and writing out of that to encourage others.

Who was your target for writing the book?

My target for writing this book are 20-somethings and young adults, but really anyone can read it and be encouraged to connect with Jesus daily.

How much was prayer a part of writing the book?

More than you’ll ever know! You were actually part of my prayer team and, because of people like you, I was able to complete it and now it will soon be on the shelf! Thank you for your prayers.

What is your heart’s desire that the Lord will do in others’ lives as they read your

My number one passion is to get people into the Word daily. You have NO idea what God will do when you fully surrender your life to Him on a daily basis. Keeping thoughts captive. Short accounts (per my favorite devotional Streams in the Desert).

Any last words?

Pick up a copy on Amazon today!!!

Blessings in Christ, Renee Johnson, Devotional Diva™


Friday, February 19

In My Darkness, You Are My Light

When the clouds of disappointment, heartache, and circumstances roll in to darken our day, what do we do? Whine and complain? Doubt and worry? Question God?

But what does scripture tell us? “Blessed is the people knowing the joyful sound; O Jehovah, they shall walk in the light of Your face.” (Ps. 89:15 Masoretic Text) The ‘joyful sound’ in Hebrew means an acclamation of joy or a battle-cry, especially clangor of trumpets, as an alarm, joy, jubile, loud noise, rejoicing, shout, (high, joyful) sound.

So, what can we conclude? Praise keeps us in the Light!

Therefore, would the opposite be true? Does our lack of praise cause darkness to linger? Or do we still raise our hands in praise and worship when in painful despair? Do we still fall on our knees in the presence of the Lord when in a heart-wrenching trial?

What do you do? When the stream of joy dries up and disappears, do you follow Paul’s words, “Again I say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4b NKJV) The one rejoicing unlocks the dam built by negative thoughts, words, and circumstances. S/he waters that dry, rock-bed and joy flows once again, for s/he “will have rivers of living water flowing from his inmost heart.” (John 7:38b Phillips)

Sing any tune, make up any words, but praise your Beloved. Praise the One Who is the Light of the world.

In your darkness, He is your light! Raise your hands in praise and keep the Light on!


Tuesday, February 16

Something to Ponder

Today, I have no words to offer of comfort or encouragement. This photo has wrapped its tender tentacles around my heart and mind, evoking deep emotions and rendering me wordless.

What does it say to you?


Friday, February 12

Love...Where Are You?

What is love? Is it definable?

Is it a feeling? A passion? Something romantic?

The dictionary defines love as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection for a parent, child, or friend, sexual desire, affectionate concern for the well-being of others, the benevolent affection of God for His creatures or the reverent affection due from them to God.

Passions and feelings can be fickle; they can change. So, where do you look for an unfickle love…

* in a bar
* in a friend
* in a marriage
* in a father or mother
* in a boyfriend or girlfriend?

Is it found…

* in status
* in things
* in money
* in a career
* in notoriety
* in possessions
* in power or position?

If you’re looking for love in the people or things in the above lists, you’re looking in all the wrong places. You must first look inward. If you have no love within you, you will not be able to give love to another.

Let’s see if we can answer…

* Do you look for that perfect someone to love?
* Do you yearn for that special love, the kind of love that believes in you, nurtures you, encourages you, supports you, comforts you, is always there for you?
* Does this elusive, unchanging, lasting, forever-kind-of-love exist?

The answers are the same. So, where is the best place to find the answer? In the Bible! This love comes in the person of Jesus Christ.

You love yourself and others, you find that perfect love, when you give your heart to Jesus. He loves you. Have you loved Him back? The disciple John wrote in one of his letters, “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NKJV)

You have been loved with an everlasting, all-sacrificing, all-forgiving, unconditional, perfect love. You are beloved. Cherished. To die for. Jesus says to you, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16a NKJV)

You are the one He loves; He gave His life for you. “This is My body which is given for you.” (Luke 22:19 NKJV)

The apostle Paul wrote, “Long before [God] laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love,” (Eph. 1:4a Msg) and “[In His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ.” (Eph. 1:4a Amp)

When you know this kind of precious love, you will begin to truly love yourself and others. Your love life will be in order.

So, what or whom do you love? If I asked you to answer, without thinking, what you love the most, what would be your immediate response? Your boyfriend or girlfriend, your spouse, your children, your car, your bank account, your physical appearance, your iPod, your cell phone?

Jesus asks you, “Do you love Me more than these others?” (John 21:15 TLB)

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.” (1 John 4:16-17a NLT)

May you know the perfect, Valentine Love!


Thursday, February 11

Thin blog tour

Today, I am honored to be a part of the book blog tour for Mary DeMuth’s Thin Places. I’ll be giving away the book, so if you would like to be in the drawing for it, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

Tell me a little bit about your background and your family.

You can read my testimony on my website ( I came from a difficult upbringing, but Jesus saw fit to find me at fifteen. He has utterly changed my life.

I’ve been married 18 years to my husband Patrick (who’s been told he looks like George Clooney on more than one occasion). Interesting side note: I’ve been told I look like Laura Dern, and we share the EXACT same birthday. Twins separated at birth? Possibly. If you’re reading this and you’re chums with Laura, could you probe a bit?

George (er, Patrick) and I have three kids: Sophie, Aidan and Julia. Sophie’s learning to drive—and what’s interesting is that I’m not worried about it. She’s a careful driver. My son Aidan is thirteen. He’s passionate about finding water for a small village in Ghana. We got to go on the trip of a lifetime to meet the village of Sankpem last summer. Our daughter Julia is ten and is deeply kindhearted, beautiful inside and out. We also have an overly needy (farting) dog and a fat and fuzzy (sometimes cranky) cat.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

This may sound strange, but I wanted to be a doctor. But even then, the writer in me came out because I liked the cadence of my maiden name with the title doctor. Mary Walker, Medical Doctor.

What trials did you face as a child?

Childhood sexual abuse at five
Parents with addictions
Feelings of being unwanted
An unsafe home
Death of a parent
Suicidal thoughts
Three divorces

It’s hard to write all that out and not feel bad for little me. But even in the recounting, I’ve been able to see the thin places in my life, those snatches of moments where God came near. That’s the message and hope of Thin Places, being able to see the nearness of God amidst heartache.

What compelled you to write Thin Places?

I felt sufficiently healed from my past, which had been a long, long journey. And in that healing, I knew I had the perspective I needed to be able to communicate my story with hope. In the past, I’d vomit my story of sexual abuse and neglect on any poor soul who’d listen, not with the intention to help her grow through her story, but to gain empathy.

But now I marvel at the path God’s brought me on, how gently He’s led me to this place of wholeness. From that abundance, I share my story. Why? Because I believe sharing the truth about our stories helps others see their own stories.

While I recorded the audio book for Thin Places, the producer asked me why I’d splay my life out this way.

“Because I don’t want folks to feel alone,” I told him.

“You’ve given a gift,” he said.

I sure hope so.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your memoir?

I hope they see hope.
I hope they realize how profound and surprising and radical God’s redemption is.
I hope they’ll see the irresistibility of Jesus.

Thin Places may be purchased from Amazon for $14.99.

Mary's sites...

Personal blog: Relevantblog
Writing sites:
The Writing Spa

So You Wanna Be Published

Recipe blog: A Daily Recipe
My Family Secrets


Sunday, February 7

Forked Choices

Robert Frost wrote...

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Which path have you taken? Have you followed the beaten path, puppy-dogging behind everyone else? Or have you taken the way less traveled, pursuing the footsteps of the Lord? What choices do you make each day that keep you on that chosen path? Which choices prove to be wrong? Which ones do you regret making?

We all face numerous fork-decisions every day. Some are insignificant choices like what to wear or what to have for dinner. Insignificant as in the eternal scheme of things. But other choices have a big impact on our lives and others, such as deciding…

* to lie or not
* to cheat or not
* our life’s work
* to drink and drive
* the type of friends
* to look at porn or not
* whom to marry or to marry or not
* whether or not to have an extramarital affair
* to abuse our bodies with known substances that are addictive

So many choices can make or break our lives. The proper decisions, made according to God’s Word, will keep us on the right path.

Even when we pursue the Lord’s path, tempters will woo us from the sidelines. The enemy loves to beckon us that we might stumble in our pursuit of God’s way. Solomon warns, “Watch your step. Stick to the path and be safe. Don’t sidetrack; pull back your foot from danger.” (Prov. 4:26-27 TLB)

Sometimes, that trail may grow dark, but God’s Word lights the way for us as the psalmist said, “Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.” (Ps. 119:105 TLB)

Paul exhorts us, “Be decent and true in everything you do so that all can approve your behavior. Don’t spend your time in wild parties and getting drunk or in adultery and lust or fighting or jealousy. But ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help you live as you should, and don’t make plans to enjoy evil.” (Rom. 13:13-14 TLB)

If we make God-pleasing decisions, we will never regret the way we’ve chosen. In making the right choices, we will have God’s peace, righteousness, forgiveness, grace, mercy, comfort, and all the rest He has to offer.

David said to God, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps. 16:11 NKJV)

I pray that, at the end of our days, we all will be able to say…

“I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”


Tuesday, February 2

Scars of Service

“What nobler decoration of honor can any godly man seek after than his scars of service, his losses for the crown, his reproaches for Christ’s sake, his being worn out in his Master’s service!” Unknown

All soldiers compare their wounds and battle stories, especially when in their sunset days. They are proud to share them as badges of honor, as victory scars of service for their homeland, proving they made it through the campaigns, the conflicts.

How many saints in heaven will not have battle scars, their scars of service, endured for the sake of their heavenly homeland? Not a single one! Male or female, all will be a part of that brotherhood of soldiers, who have fought the good fight and won.

As Paul approached the end of his life, he gave his valedictory speech in his second letter to Timothy, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:6-7 NKJV)

How many victory scars of service did Paul have? More than most of us. Some may have even more than Paul. But he fought the good fight. He endured the scars. He received his crown.

Charles Spurgeon (a British preacher in the 1800s) said, “We will be content to share the battle, for we shall soon wear the crown and wave the palm.”

We all suffer struggles of one sort or another and one day they will cease. When we come to the end of our earthly conflicts, we will all gather on those heavenly shores and exchange the sagas of our days on the battlefield.

How many different service scars will we find? What stories of conflict will we hear? Voices will ring out…

*See, here, that’s my scar of divorce.
*This one is the scar of prison.
*This one is the scar of severe sickness.
*This one is the scar of being abused as a child.
*This one is the heartache of my spouse’s infidelity.

*Mine is the scar of rape.
*This is the scar of poverty.
*This is the scar of great heartache.
*This is the scar of children who went the way of the world.
*This is the scar of agony of torture for my stance in the Lord.

Throughout all our battles, God says to us, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” (Is. 41:10 NLT)

God is our help and our shield (Ps. 33:20). We have His full armor to protect us (Eph. 6:11). He never leaves us on the battlefield alone. He is Immanuel…God with us, always (Matt. 1:23).

What battles do you fight? Are you victorious? What scars of service do you proudly share with others, telling them you made it through the conflicts?

When our days of battle on earth end, I will meet you on those heavenly shores. We will wear our crowns of perseverance and wave our palms of victory. I look forward to sharing with you the scars of service we have each endured.

To God be the glory!