Be THAT friend… by Sherry Chamblee

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Anyone can become discouraged.

Faithful men and women of God. Children. Housewives. Husbands. Pastors, fathers, brothers, sisters. Sunday school teachers, farmers, bankers, lawyers, nurses….on and on. Everyone and anyone can and will become discouraged in life.

So often when we think of discouragement, we think of it in regards to how to deal with it in our own hearts – and that’s important, I know. But just for a minute I’d like to think about how we deal with the discouragement (even depression) of those around us. How do we respond when it’s obvious someone in our life is struggling with this? Can we even recognize it in them? Do we secretly condemn them? Do we sort of scoot away from them, as if it’s contagious and we have to wait it out in a corner until they ‘get over it’? Do we hem and haw because we don’t know how to deal with it?

These two verses immediately came to my mind when I began thinking of this:

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

“A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

First, we know the merry heart does us good, but have we ever thought of trying to create a merry heart in someone else? I’m not saying make light of their depression. Sometimes someone joking around and acting silly in an attempt to lighten another’s mood can make it worse. There are other ways to create a merry heart in someone though. You can lighten someone’s burden, and help them in this area.

And the second verse, well I know it refers ultimately to Jesus Christ being our friend that sticks closer to us than even a brother. However, aren’t we called ‘Christians’? Doesn’t that mean ‘little christs’? So aren’t WE supposed to try to be that friend for others too? We can’t be exactly like Jesus of course…but aren’t we striving to reflect Him in our lives? That would include being a Christ-like friend to others, wouldn’t it.

So here’s a few thoughts I had about dealing with someone who is discouraged:

  1. Don’t withdraw. Like I said earlier, be that friend that sticks close. Don’t always require your friends to entertain you. There are times when you need to bring someone up in their spirits, you need to be the friend they need to have, sometimes.
  2. Praise them in truth – don’t use empty words. What I mean is, find something you can say about them, and to them, that’s positive. Don’t make it obvious, don’t make it false praise, don’t overdo it either. Just honest, sincere words of praising something that you’ve seen them do – some way they’ve been a blessing to you.
  3. Don’t give up on them. Give them some way to reach out to their fellow man. Give them a project, sort of. Take them out and DO something for someone else…but do it together. We tell discouraged people to do this all the time – focus on someone else for awhile. Well, sometimes they need a little help from a friend.
  4. In short, BE a friend.

Sherry Chamblee

More from Sherry Chamblee can be found at http://www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com or connect on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/authorsherrychamblee

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 25:4-5 Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD, point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

This is a prayer that the Lord will answer every time. The Lord wants us to know the way to Him. He wants us to stay on the path to Him. He wants what is best for us and for us to be on the path that gets us there. He wants us to clearly know the truth. He wants us to learn the things we need to know in order to live holy lives.

The path that leads to the Lord is a rugged path because it is not worn down by many travelers. It is rugged because we are constantly battling Satan along the way to stay on it. It is rugged because it requires much determination, commitment, and work on our part. It is rugged because it’s the only way we will ever develop our spiritual muscles to sustain us in life. It is rugged because sometimes it’s a very lonely road since most do not travel on it.

We must be careful that we don’t get on the wrong road. Only one road leads us to Christ and it is the road of Mount Calvary. We have to ask the Lord to help us because it’s so easy to get off track and start traveling on the wrong path. One thing to look out for is if everything is easy with no struggles along the way, you are traveling on the wrong road. On Calvary’s road, we must pick up our cross and carry it along with us daily.

As we travel this journey of life we must always be led by God’s Word if we want to see Jesus. We must make it a priority in our lives to learn God’s truth and live it. We must never be satisfied with what we know, or think we know. We must always remain teachable. We must never get out from underneath its teachings.

Only the Lord our God can save us. He alone is the only hope we have for making it to heaven. Let us stay the course and always follow in the footprints of Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation.
C Through Marriage
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Book Two: A not so imaginary conversation by Parker J. Cole

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Parker J. Cole

Fan: “Parker I just loved your book, Many Strange Women.”

Parker: “Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for telling me! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.”

Fan: “Solomon and Celeste were meant to be together. You did such a wonderful job developing those characters.”

Parker: (blushes) “Aww shucks, thanks again. Now I need a pin for my head.”

Fan: “When’s book two coming out?”

Parker: “Uh, it’s coming out December 16th .”

Fan: (jumping for joy) “Are you serious? I can get it for Christmas.”

Parker: “Sure can.”

Fan: (leans forward, eyes probing into Parker’s) “So what’s it going to be about?”

Parker: (clearing throat) “Well, it’s about Celeste’s sister, Leah.”

Fan: (grabs Parker’s hand, squeezing all feeling out of it) “Not that crazy sister I wanted to lock up in the Bell Tower and throw away the key?”

Parker: (slowly pulls hand away) “Yep, that’s the one.”

Fan: “What about her?”

Parker: (reaching for ice pack) “Well, she loves her husband, Jacob Westwood, but there’s this other guy she can’t get out her head.”

Fan: “What’s his name?”

Parker: (sighing in relief) “His name’s Vincent Miller.”

Fan: “What’s the skinny on him?”

Parker: “He’s Leah’s ex-flame.”

Fan: (gripping Parker’s hand again, squeezing harder this time) “Are you kidding me? You never said anything about Leah having an ex-flame! Why’s your hand cold?”

Parker: (wincing) “Oh…well Leah’s kinda having trouble making the right decision between her husband and ex-flame. I promise, I’ll give you an autographed copy of The Other Man, Book Two of the Sins of the Flesh series if you let go of my hand.”

Here’s a sneak preview of my new book The Other Man, coming December 16, 2014.

The Other Man

Leah Westwood loved her husband Jacob with all her heart, even as the smoldering glances of her ex-flame Vincent Miller continued to affect her. What they used to share threatened to rip apart the bonds she tried to build with her husband.

Jacob’s heart belonged to Leah but his body refused to accept that. Rachel was the one who had been his mainstay at the most difficult times in his life. How could he leave her alone?

Vincent wanted Leah back and all he had to do, as he watched their relationship unravel…was wait.

Leah had to make a choice…between fidelity or fantasy.

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The Story by Suzanne D. Williams

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Stories are like artwork. As an artist dips his brush, mixing blue with gold, red with green, creating innumerable hues on the canvas, an author paints with words. Each, on its own, only a portion of what it could be, but when blended together in the perfect array, creating a magnificent display of knowledge and imagination.

Stories are like flowers. They unfold one petal at a time, revealing a hint of what’s to come at the center. Of pistils and stamens, glowing in full sun, the culmination of wind and rain, spring or summer. Of time. They are the finished garden, buzzing with insects, bent on pollination. One seeds another and another and another.

And, again, stories are like pot roast. They’re better when left to stew, for then the juices meld together with spice and seasoning to create the perfect bite, one savory and satisfying, which you hold in your mouth and wish for again when its gone. They are the perfect dessert at the end of the day. Rested, relaxed, your feet up, you dive into their sugary sweetness, your thoughts on nothing but cleaning your plate. Satiated. Appeased.

They are windows to another age, lives you haven’t lived, places you haven’t gone, people you will never meet. And yet you have. You’re the girl in her best dress, cheeks warm, eyes wide, chin suspended in the palm of the man in the black frock coat. He brushes his lips with yours and you sigh, your heart lovesick at the sight of him.

You’re the sheriff on horseback, a day’s ride from the next town. The wind blows strong in your face, swirling dust in your eyes. Your saddle creaks, leather rubbing on leather in the ever-present heat.

You’re a soldier, your gaze searching the early morning fog for the end of a barrel aimed at your chest. Your life flashes before you, pictures of family you wish to see again. Children, their arms about your neck, sweet kisses on your cheeks. You desire to live, but must face death to do so.

In reality, the clock ticks, the air-conditioning hums, or, perhaps, a fire crackles in the grate. Your dog rises from his bed to scratch, a foot to his ear, toenails thumping on the floor. Yet your vision focuses on cobbled streets, wet from a sudden rain or flower-strewn hillsides rushing past the window of a train or the blackness of midnight, gravestones glimmering silver in the moonlight.

You travel these places on a sea of words in a ship made of paper or plastic or glass, floating along on the wind of the author’s fantasy, on his or her ability to cut fantastic shapes from plain cloth and stitch them together to become a wedding gown, a little black dress, blue jeans hugging voluptuous curves. A man with a knife, wearing a hood; another in a suit, flowers in his hand.

The story snares you, and it feeds you. It carries you skyward without you ever having to go anywhere at all, and at the end, you are better for it. You are smarter, taller, and more self-assured. You’ve become the story, and the story has become part of you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne D. Williams

Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalogue of stories, visit  Suzanne’s extensive catalogue of stories or link with her on Facebook at on her Facebook Page

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Merry Christmas from Florida

She took his hand and pressed it over her heart. “I won’t say it,” she said, “but you feel that beating? That’s your name written on my heart.”

—–

Fashion model, Whitney Hobart snuck off to Florida to solve her Christmas blues. A bad, extremely public breakup combined with endless rounds of holiday cheer seems like simply too much to endure. She’ll hide out at a small hotel on the coast, soak in the winter sunshine, and no one will be the wiser.

But when her secret gets out, the problems she’s tried to escape, multiply, and what’s supposed to be relaxing isn’t anymore. The only good thing remaining is hotel manager, Fletcher Collins.

She finds in him a listening ear, a gentle hand, and maybe, just maybe, the greatest gift of all – love.

A sweet Christmas story of two souls finding hope again by best-selling author, SUZANNE D. WILLIAMS.

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Finding Rest by Naty Matos

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I’m sure we’ve all been there. There are days when you fight life and all the unpredictable things that it brings. You hit a bump. You dust yourself, clean your wounds and get up the next day ready to fight again. But sometimes there are seasons were every day is a battle, when there are too many wounds and you wake up thinking of giving up. You feel like you don’t have any more strength. Your mind and body tell you, is it worth fighting one more time. You think, maybe if I go with the flow and just allow things to just happen I’ll feel better.

I’ve been there more times than I can count.

In those moments there are a few things that I’ve found to be true and have never failed.

The first and most noticeable is that I need rest. Sometimes taking time away is sufficient, but when you are to this point of emotional and spiritual exhaustion a few snoozes are not going to do it. Your rest needs to come from the Lord. He promises in his Word that he will give us rest in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He also warns us that in those times of trouble we need a peace different that the one the world can give.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Talking about resting in the Lord, the other thing that I notice in my moments of exhaustion is that I have allow myself to take control of my life instead of surrendering that control to the Lord. Matthew 11:30 says, “ My yoke is easy and my burden is light” If I’m exhausted and constantly troubled it means that the yoke I’m trying to pull or push is far from easy and light. The things that I’m trying to do are so many and so hard. Once I give up, but not on my life or my purpose, but in trying to control my life, not only everything seems to get solved, but then I discover that His Grace energizes me to do more than I could have even fathom to do on my own.

The last thing I’ve noticed in those troubled times is that because I feel so drained I have the tendency to isolate myself from others. I do that mainly because I don’t feel the emotional energy to interact with others. However we were not called to be an island. Is in these moments when you need your spiritual support the most. These are the solid people in your life that will pray for you, encourage you and simply see you through the darkest night.  Remember the words in Ecclesiastes 4:12 “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

So today I invite you to find yourself some rest.

The Rising Muse 2013

About Naty Matos
Naty Matos
Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at www.therisingmuse.com
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CrossReads Book Blast for Michelle Word Hollis

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It’s in the House: Lessons from a Widow Woman – Getting What You Need & More!

By Michelle Word Hollis

About the Book:

In this book you will discover the powerful lessons, from the Biblical story of the Widow’s Oil, that will help you overcome any difficulty you are currently facing. You will learn easy to implement strategies that will cause positive transformation in your thoughts and actions.

The lessons are based upon Biblical principles that you can use daily for successful living. God has given us a blueprint in His Word that will help us build a grand life no matter where we are currently in life.

The principles contained in these pages have withstood the test of time; they are universal truths! The lessons and principles are simple to understand, as well as, implement for those who would dare try and keep trying. Making a lasting permanent change does take time, practice, and patience, but you can do it!

LINK to KINDLE

image1Michelle Word Hollis is a native of St. Louis, Mo. She is a wife and a mother. She received her undergraduate degree from SIUE and her MBA from UOP. Michelle is a life long learner and enjoys many other personal pursuits.

Michelle is a new author, but she has been writing privately for many years. Michelle’s Pearlable Woman book series will explore spirituality, family, life, and love. In the series, she will share lessons that have stood the test of time. These lessons are pearls of wisdom from the lives of Biblical women that can be applied to our contemporary lives.

Follow Michelle Word Hollis
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This book blast is hosted by Crossreads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

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What’s On My Heart by Heather Bixler

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Heather Bixler

Lately my heart has been burdened by the non essentials of life. Or even all the things I feel I have wasted my time on in life, worrying about, fighting about, or even crying about. Often we think that if certain things change then life would get better and things easier, THEN we will be able to enjoy what is ahead.

We lack faith because life is just not going our way and we have yet to see the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our life. We often feel like the life we lead is boring and minimal at best. So often we look to what is higher and greater and yet we forget to look to what could truly be guiding our heart, we miss that whole purpose of this life so fragile.

We do our best to value all that we have and yet we feel empty when the day ends. When we put our head on the pillow at night, or even when we are faced with grief and death, we find ourselves wondering what is this all for? Is life truly precious? Is there any meaning to all of this?

I would like to say YES there is meaning to all of this and your life DOES matter. I think our problem today is we look at the big picture without fully embracing the next practical steps of faith that we need to take on a regular basis.

My heart is burdened for us to get to that place of living a meaningful life. One where we see God’s divine hand in our next steps and in our daily routines.

I hope and pray we can get to that place that matters, where we find connections with people, and compassion for the things that break God’s heart.

In this life it’s hard not to focus on our own needs and to curl up in a ball whenever life gets hard. But when we find our purpose and focus our eyes on the people that Christ died for then we will find grace in every other area of our life.

Our focus isn’t about the size of our sphere of influence or the size of our bank account, or even the lack of one, but instead it is about the size of our heart towards what matters to God.

What’s on my heart today – it’s this – that we will finally have the vision that God has, and a life to match that vision.

My prayer for you today is this:

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for another day, another moment, week, hour, month, year. What a blessing life is. God I pray that we will cherish every moment, and we will wait patiently for your call on our life. Lord you never rushed to give us a savior, you waited for that perfect moment in time to show the world that You are I AM. Lord let our lives be a reflection of your glory, may everything happen in your perfect timing. God we repent of our impatience and our desire to make things happen on our own. Lord we repent of our selfish ambitions and our desire to accomplish what we feel will make us happy. Lord help us to not rush through life looking for the next big thing or the next position of power. May our hearts be humbled before you in every way. Thank you Jesus, Amen!

 

author bio: 1901335_10152346685961477_1019629435_nHello, My name is Heather! I am a mom of three, married to a firefighter, and I am a writer. In 2005 I ventured into the online world to simply start an online community for moms. Little did I know the adventure God had in store for me. It has been a roller coaster with many ups and downs, but each step has led me to where I am today. I pray this is a place where you will find encouragement and maybe even a laugh or two. My heart is to share God’s word with you in a loving and practical way. If you are looking to find a way to connect then please check out my upcoming online Bible Studies. I hope to “see” you there: Online Bible Study with Heather Bixler

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My Scar! My Testimony! By Lorieen D. Henry

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Lorieen Henry

I’m in the hospital recovering from hernia surgery and many thoughts run through my head. My number one concern this morning was how will my scar look after this wound heals. I told the nurse, “I’m shooting for a sexy scar.” The nurse said, “you will have the whole winter so it will be sexy by summer.” After she said that, I thought, “who cares? I am focused on the wrong thing.”

As I was pondering on what to share, it hit me, “For every scar I have, there is a testimony attached.” When scars are embraced, they are beautiful. The positive can be extracted from what may have been an uncomfortable situation.

Sure, I will have a scar on my stomach, but my testimony outshines the scar. I can testify of how God spared my life yet again. Anytime the doctors open you up or give you anesthesia, there are many risks involved. However, God covered me through dangers seen and unseen. Yes, I will have a scar, but in comparison to what could have happened…Praise God for just a scar.

Let me encourage you: Your scar may be physical or it may be emotional, but it signifies you overcame something. The good news is that you made it through. It could have been fatal, but you were given more time to glorify God through what He created you to do.

Through this ordeal, I was guided to Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

For as long as I stand on God’s word and allow it to light my path, my scar will serve as my testimony and I can embrace it as a beautiful part of me.

It is my prayer that you never look at your scars the same. May you view them as an opportunity to glorify God.

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The Congregation of the Beloved To One Another Part One by Allison

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Allison Kohn
We, the Church of the living God – the congregation of the Beloved, are built on the Rock of our Salvation, Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha Mashiach). He, the chief cornerstone, is a sure foundation for us to build our lives on. We are living stones in the Temple of our God, Yahweh.

We, the people our God has set apart to offer spiritual sacrifices – not an unreasonable expectation – are rooted and grounded in Christ and established in the faith. This means, no matter how young in the faith, how weak in the flesh we are, our foundation is strong and our root goes deep.

We are not simply part of a fraternity, we are necessary and intricut entities in the Body of Christ. That is a metaphor, as is stones in the building where Christ is the cornerstone, but it is a good one, Consider for a moment the body without the toes on one foot. I have two or three old brakes in the toes on my right foot. When the joints in the toes turn back on one of my bad days, I stumble and fall. My whole body needs those toes for the rest of it to function properly. My right foot toes aren’t pretty. They have calcium growths on the joints that make them deformed, but I need them to balance me.

The Body of Christ has deformed toes too, but the attractive members of the body need the toes to balance them. Sometimes we look at a member of the Body and see beauty and we are so glad that person is a part of our group; and sometimes we see only the deformities in another member and avoid them as much as possible; but God sees in the heart of both through the blood of his Son. The one another verses in the Bible tell us we can and should see each other through the eyes of our Savior and God.

Because we are stones in the Temple of our God – molecules in the Body of Christ – or atoms in the branches of the Grape vine, we are equipped to let the one another verses in the Bible guide us to care for our members – each other – as we care for our own physical bodies.

We can, as Philippians 2:2-4 says, be dead to ourselves and alive to the needs of others; as Romans 15:5 says, we can think with the mind of Christ – be like minded; and as Ephesians 5:21 tells us, we can constantly and earnestly urge each other to do the things that will result in a good healthy spiritual body.

We are equipped to be attentive to our brothers and sister’s spiritual dispositions so we can know how to move them to love and good works as the writer told the Hebrews in chapter 10. We need constant encouraging fellowship with each other more today than ever before. James 5:16 tells us we are obliged to confide in each other and should be able to expect godly counsel and prayer from our brothers and sisters.

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes for 9/16/2014

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.

Lest we forget, the earth is the Lord’s. We do not own anything, we are but stewards of what God has loaned to us. God has entrusted us with that which He has loaned to use. We need to be careful how we treat God’s earth. When we squander and waste earth’s resources we are being disrespectful to God.

Not only is the earth the Lord’s, the people in it are His as well. Wait a minute; let us think about this for a minute. The Lord declares ownership of the people in the world. Therefore, we should take seriously how we treat people. God cares about all people, whether they care for Him or not. We need to consider how we treat people.

We usually have no problem treating well the people we like, but what about the people we don’t like or are having problems with? Do we avoid certain people? Do we look down on some people simply because they don’t fit into our comfort zone? Do we treat some people worse than we do others? Do we talk down on some people? Do we harbor bad feelings toward others instead of loving them? Do we use others for our advantage? Do we disrespect people by the way we treat them?

It seems to me that since God declares ownership of the earth and all its people that we ought to take seriously our responsibility as stewards of them. Let us see things as God sees them. Let us show our love for God by the way we conduct ourselves in the world. Let us be treat others with honor and respect as much as possible and be as good stewards as possible of the earth and her resources. We show our respect for God in the ways that we live.
C Through Marriage
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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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