Grow Up

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall”   (Malachi 4:2).

Yes, when the sun shines, the sick quit their chambers and walk abroad to breathe the fresh air. When the sun brings spring and summer, the cattle quit their stalls and seek pasture on the higher Alps. Even thus, when we have conscious fellowship with our LORD, we leave the stall of despondency and walk abroad in the fields of holy confidence. We ascend to the mountains of joy and feed on sweet pasturage which grows nearer heaven than the provender of carnal men.

To “go forth” and to “grow up” is a double promise. O my soul, be thou eager to enjoy both blessings! Why shouldst thou be a prisoner? Arise, and walk at liberty. Jesus saith that His sheep shall go in and out and find pasture; go forth, then, and feed in the rich meadows of boundless love.

Why remain a babe in grace? Grow up. Young calves grow fast, especially if they are stall fed; and thou hast the choice care of thy Redeemer. Grow, then, in grace and in knowledge of thy LORD and Savior, Be neither straitened nor stunted. The Sun of Righteousness has risen upon thee Answer to His beams as the buds to the natural sun. Open thine heart; expand and grow up into Him in all things.

If you would like your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals by Charles Haddon Spurgeon click the image below.

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

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A Public Confession

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by Suzanne D. Williams

I just want to read a book. Reading makes better writers, they say. But writing has made me a horrible reader.

I remember reading for the fun of it, losing my day amidst the pages of some novel . . . 200,000 words or more. Now, I can’t manage 1,000 without dissecting every sentence. I’m bothered by grammar and structure, by character names and plot lines. I’m changing the story to fit what I think is best. 

 I just want to read a book. Not edit it. I don’t mind editing for my friends when I can find the time. But when I’m reading something by someone I don’t know, I’m still editing. They missed a comma, misspelled a word. Their pronouns, apostrophes . . . something is off. I might get a laugh here and there, amused by the author’s cleverness, but then it happens again. I must correct the story.

I’d be so great to read a book . . . that I didn’t write. Don’t get me wrong. I love my stories. I love my characters. I’ve lived their lives vicariously in my head over and over. But sometimes I want to enjoy finding out what will happen without the stress of the ending coming from me. I don’t want to make choices or decisions about who will get with who, if she misunderstands him and walks away or not. I want someone else to do it . . . some other author to get the headache, to stay up late or get up early, to write in their car, on the bed stand. Wherever.

If only I could read a book . . . and not be involved in its creation. Not the formatting, the book cover, the marketing end. I don’t want to tweet or post on Facebook or Instagram. If only, I could go back in time and just READ. Back to the girl I was at age 16, curled up on my bed, lost in a war that happened hundreds of years ago. I want to learn from the story and come away wondering what it was like. Not be who I am now trying to decide if the author got the facts wrong or not. Was that object invented then? Is the female character dressed incorrectly? Would she really say that, or did Shakespeare invent the phrase?

Reading is my career, and as such, it has changed how I write. Writing is my profession, and it has changed how I read. The fact is I can’t ever go back. I can’t unbake the cake, unscramble the egg, etcetera. I can’t unwrite my stories and take away my ambition. I can’t be carefree and innocent within a book’s pages again. Those are facts.

Reading would make me a better writer, but writing stops me from opening books.

Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do, and really, at the heart of it, I don’t want to change anything. Except when it comes to reading. Because knowing how my head works keeps me from reading at all. I’m more apt to watch television. It’s far more mindless, especially since I’ve seen this episode three times already.

Didn’t the man’s wife burn the house down for the insurance money? Hit pause, for a moment, and let me turn my computer off . . . We’ll watch it together.

3 Clean Scifi Stories for only 99 cents! 

http://amzn.to/2m5FVZt  

Love Across Time 

FOR ETERNITY 

Sometimes true love comes from another time.

653:  RISE OF THE MACHINES 

She raised her head again, and their eyes met. “Become human for me.”

THE UNDERGROUND (SUPERHUMAN) 

Who was this boy that could stop a bullet with the palm of his hand? And why had someone wanted to kill him?

About The Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-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 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 catalog of stories, visit www.feelgoodromance.com or link with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at twitter.com/SDWAuthor.

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Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 17:27 A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.

It’s hard to be wise isn’t it? We like to express our opinions. In a time in which self is promoted so heavily by the world, everyone wants to be heard. We want to know that what we know matters. We believe we have THE answer to whatever is the hot topic of a conversation. We are quick to speak and slow to think about what we say before we say it.

The problem is, we are often proven to be wrong in what we say. Without careful thought we often speak without being properly informed. We are not as smart as we think we are and often put ourselves in awkward situations. When we talk too much we become exposed. Our lack of knowledge and understanding becomes evident and others soon tune us out. Very few people like to be around people who think they know it all.

A wise person doesn’t have to talk all the time. He is patient and speaks what is truth rather than what he thinks. He knows the value of keeping quiet on topics he is not knowledgeable enough to speak on. A wise person listens to what others say so he can learn from them.

A wise person is even-tempered because he doesn’t need to always prove himself to others. He understands what he knows. He understands his limitations and is comfortable with them. He understands that he doesn’t have to be heard all the time. He is not hung up on himself and does not have to be in control.

If you find yourself needing to dominate, take it to the Lord. You need understanding on why it is important to control your tongue and keep your opinions to yourself. You need to learn the value of self-control. Wise are those who don’t open their mouths and make fools of themselves.

Before and After the Honeymoon

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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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A Glimpse of Heaven

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by Parker J. Cole

There was a YouTube video going around about a year or so ago. It showed an all Korean choir singing Richard Smallwood’s classic song, “Total Praise.” Largely attributed as part of the black gospel choir circuit, the buzz about how well this all Korean choir sounded had everyone viewing the video. 

As I watched the video, I had a thought or an image in my head: heaven’s gonna look a lot different than we thought. That choir’s gonna have a ton of ethnic groups singing ‘Total Praise’ to the Almighty God who painted us all different colors. 

It was then I saw a glimpse of heaven. 

Since the release of my book, Time to Say Goodbye, I’ve been fortunate to get a few reviews for it. Like any author, waiting for reviews can be something of a headache, especially when you have to wait to get feedback. It took a while but the reviews began coming in. Of the reviews, I’ve so far come against a few of them that mention how the book introduced them to Indian culture. In the beginning of the book, I make sure to give homage to all my Indian friends who helped me with the book, whether through sharing their advice or experiences or by other means.  

In my current work in process, called The Element of Yu, I am writing from the viewpoint of an Asian woman who is half Chinese and half Korean in love with a charismatic Japanese man. My love for K-dramas, kung fu movies, and anime collide I guess. This is not saying this is how each ethnic group should be perceived based solely on the entertainment. It’s just that these media introduced me to the cultures in different ways. Thankfully, I have friends I can reach out to for help to make sure I get it right.  

When I first started the Michigan Sweet series, I just wanted to highlight my state. There’s interesting history here and hidden gems, especially when you get to the Upper Peninsula, called by we Michiganders, “The UP”, “Up North”, and “The North”. Yet, as the series has grown, I realized I wanted to highlight multicultural characters who live in Michigan and experience these rare spots while overcoming various challenges and adversities.   

Further some of these characters would be Christians and would view their faith within their cultural context. At the end of the day, Jesus Christ truly brings down the barriers between us all. No matter what ethnic group, financial status, family background, or anything else, at the end of the day, despite popular rhetoric, Christ brings us all together in a way cute platitudes, cliché, and moral relativity will never do.  

In a time when social tensions, among other things, are at a high, it makes me smile to think one day, “every knee shall bow” from all over the planet, to the Almighty God who will simply call us by our relationship to Him: sons and daughters while we continue to call each other brother and sister. 

Galatians 3: 27-29: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

About the Author:

Parker J. ColeParker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.

Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com

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Wisdom

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by Ruth O’Neil

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5 ESV). 

Years ago I prayed for wisdom about a certain situation. Now, praying for wisdom doesn’t have quite the same results as those who pray for faith or patience (which we should all do from time to time), but it definitely opened my eyes to see surprising things. Praying for wisdom has become almost a constant prayer as I have raised my children and have made daily decisions. If you make praying for wisdom a habit God will answer in ways you never expected.

One week, probably a year ago or more, the same book was mentioned (raved about) to me three times in one week. I figured this was a good book to add to my TBR pile. Finally I was able to pick up and read it, or at least start reading. With every page I turned a new question popped into my head.

“Will this book get any better?”

“Who thought this was a good book?”

“Who told this author he/she could write?”

Then there was the last question that popped into my head, “Wait, is that what the Bible really says?”

That was when I began to do a little research. I looked up the reviews on Amazon, and there were a lot of them. There were plenty of four and five star reviews, but I skipped over them and went right to the one star reviews. It was then I received confirmation of my thoughts while reading. I wasn’t alone in my beliefs. Some nice people had even taken the time to look up Scripture passages against what the author said.

Then, God gave me peace. I had my convictions and I stood by them.

You may have had similar circumstances. Sometimes standing on your convictions can put you in a very small minority; but we have to have faith that God has spoken to our hearts. Sometimes people get so caught up in the feel-good aspects of life that they don’t look any deeper or seek out God’s wisdom. They take everything at face value and don’t ever realize the repercussions could be damaging.

The great King Solomon is known for having prayed for wisdom. He wrote much about it throughout Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. If he made an effort to pray for it, why shouldn’t we?  

So, make it a point today to ask for wisdom in everything you do. Even the smallest of choices can have the biggest consequences. 

About the Author:

Ruth OneilRuth O’Neil has been writing for over 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles in numerous publications. She loves to touch the emotions when she writes. “If I can make one person laugh or cry, I’ll consider myself successful.” Her first novel “Come Eat at My Table” has just come out in ebook form and can be purchased on her website. She homeschools her three children (well, one now, as two have graduated). She and her husband have been married for 20-plus years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting, crafting, and reading. You can visit her on her blog at ruths-real-life (dot)blogspot.com or her website at ruthoneil (dot)weebly.com

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Attributes of Our Heavenly Father

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by Lisa M. Prysock

Sometimes the storms of life can distort our view of our Heavenly Father.  We can easily forget who God really is when we go through times of suffering.  I can remember a time not so long ago in my own life when I had a distorted perception of the Father.  I’m so glad Jesus drew me into the Word so I could re-discover the attributes of God and my mind could be renewed. 

For one, the Word tells us He is like a Father and has compassion for us.   

Psalm 103: 13, the English Standard Version says this:  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

Secondly, He is merciful toward us and full of grace. 

Psalm 116:5, the King James Version says this:  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. 

Thirdly, He is faithful.  We can depend upon Him, even though sometimes we are not very faithful. 

I Corinthians 1:9 of the New Living Translation says this:  God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Fourthly, God is a righteous judge.   

Psalm 119:137 says this:  Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments. 

He sees everything that affects us and knows all things.  He is omnipotent. 

Revelation 19:6 of the King James Version says this:  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 

God is good. 

Psalm 73:1 of the King James Version says this:  Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 

God is loving and kind. 

Psalm 86:5 of the New American Standard Version says this:  For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You. 

I could go on and on with more of the attributes of our Father.  He is giving, considerate, creative, full of joy, thoughtful and mindful toward us, all powerful, deserving of our worship, and mighty…  Time and time again in my life He has proven His faithfulness, kindness, compassion, power, and mercy toward me.  Friends, be blessed with these reminders of who our Father is and how wonderful He is toward us.  Though we do not always understand why some painful or sorrowful things happen, we can trust Him.

Author Biography

Lisa M. PrysockLisa M. Prysock lives in the countryside of beautiful, rolling Kentucky just outside of the greater Louisville area near horse farms and four board fences with her husband of 19 years.  She homeschooled the two youngest of their five children and is excited about her youngest entering the journey of college life.   

She and her husband live in an average Colonial style home they are continually updating– with a funny looking Heinz 57 dog; an adorably dainty lady cat; two teenagers; a vegetable garden; numerous flower beds; and a tree house undergoing a remodel.  When not in teaching or writing mode, she is teaching herself to play the piano and violin.  Regarding this she laughs:  “It’s a pretty painful process, but I’m truly enjoying it!”   

Lisa loves all things old-fashioned and has adopted a slogan of “The Old-Fashioned Everything Girl.”  A few of her interests and passions include doll houses, long dresses and hats, gardening, reading the Classics, butterflies, swimming, walking, working out, cooking, sewing, crochet, cross stitching, arts and crafts, scrapbooking, decorating, and drawing.  She remembers writing her first book in kindergarten with help from the teacher and a stapler to hold the pages together.  She won a literary award for a short story in eighth grade and has been writing ever since.   Some of her favorite authors include Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Lucy Maude Montgomery. 

Recently, her husband remodeled a room in their home with a picture window overlooking a valley containing a creek and wooded area, transforming the space into a serene writing office/sewing room.  “It’s a great source of peace and inspiration for me… and pure joy not to be writing from the busy kitchen amidst the household chaos on a laptop.  Growing teenagers eating every five minutes makes for a constant stream of happenings!”   

Be sure to check out her new release Geneva, a fiction Christian Historical Romance series with a theme on the fruits of the Spirit!  These days, Lisa is also writing her first Contemporary Western Christian Romance novels as a contributing author to the ‘Whispers in Wyoming’ series with Danni Roan, Kari Trumbo, Lynn Winchester, and Rachel Skatvold. She recently released Book 3 in the series, Dreams of Sweetwater River. 

Lisa is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of To Find a Duchess, an Inspirational Regency Romance; ‘The Victorian Christian Heritage Series’ which includes Hannah’s Garden:  a Turn of the Century Love Story and Abigail’s Melody; and ‘The Lydia Collection,’ which includes The Redemption of Lady Georgiana (a Ruth love story of modern day Regency proportions), Protecting Miss Jenna (an Antebellum Era Christian Romance Adventure), and Persecution & Providence (a ‘Jane Austen-ish’ mail order bride story from the Pioneer Era).  She is also the author of a devotional/Bible Study, Arise Princess Warrior and recently released The Shoemakeran Old-Fashioned Regency Christmas Romance.  Lisa writes clean and wholesome literature while sharing her faith in Jesus Christ in a creative way.  She is a member of ACFW and Louisville Christian Writers.  You can find out more about Lisa at:   www.LisaPrysock.com 

A portion of the proceeds of her books goes to support missionaries.  You can find out more about Lisa at her author website and sign up to enjoy a free newsletter; find out when her next book is coming out and where to enter book giveaways; find out about author events; receive coupons for totally free and discounted books; and enjoy more reader resources at www.LisaPrysock.com (including free vintage recipes, inspirational blog entries, and writing resources).  She really enjoys hearing from readers and loves to read their reviews at sites where her books are available for purchase such as Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Smashwords, Kobo.com, Apple iBooks, Walmart.com, or your favorite retailer where you purchased this book.

Links: 

https://www.facebook.com/LisaMPrysock 

https://twitter.com/LPrysock  

www.LisaPrysock.com    

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00J6MBC64  

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisa-m-prysock 

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Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 17:9 Disregarding another person’s faults preserves love; telling about them separates close friends.

We have a problem that doesn’t go away. We are prone to see the faults in people more than we do their good qualities. We magnify flaws more than we should. It is easy to see what’s wrong with others and overlook what is right with them. We do it for a variety of reasons. Probably the greatest reason is that when we do it, we forget about ourselves and our flaws. As long as we can point fingers at others, we can forget how needy we are to change. We live in denial. We think we are better off than we really are. We think we are justified in comparing others to ourselves and calling them up short.

First of all, we need to see ourselves for who we really are before God and not man. How we stack up to others is not even in the formula. All that matters is how God sees us. He sees our heart and knows our thoughts. He is never fooled by the way we portray ourselves. The sooner we accept this truth, the better we are.

We must then confess to the Lord what he reveals to us. We must not excuse ourselves or let it slide. We have need of confession for our sins. We have no business looking down on others because they are sinners when we ourselves are guilty of sin. We must take the log out of our own eyes before we take upon ourselves the duty of trying to take the splinter out of someone else’s eyes.

Love dictates that we mind our own business when it comes to the faults of others. We need to embrace others in love. We need to focus on the good in them and let the Lord take care of the rest. If there is something that should be pointed out for someone’s good because it is the loving thing to do, we should do it prayerfully and carefully. We should always do it out of love and never with a condescending or judgmental spirit.

Criticizing others drives them away from us. No one wants to be around someone who is always finding fault. The best way to be friendless is to have a critical and judgmental spirit. If you find yourself with very few friends, perhaps you need to look in the mirror and take an honest look at yourself as you stand before God.

Before and After the Honeymoon

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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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Counted Worthy of Suffering

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by Mary Hamilton

The apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Acts 5:41 (NIV)

Sounds like a good time, doesn’t it? The apostles walked out of the meeting place where the Sanhedrin sat in judgment and they were rejoicing. I imagine a lot of back-slapping, high-fiving and laughing. They’d been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for Jesus’ sake. Way to go, guys!

Actually, I doubt that’s how it went. If we look back to verse 40, we see the Sanhedrin ordered them flogged. Like Jesus was flogged. Thirty-nine lashes with a bone and metal-tipped whip intended to shred the skin on the victim’s back. Thirty-nine—because few survived that fortieth lash.

When the apostles may have left the Sanhedrin, could they have left under their own power? Who could walk after receiving 39 lashes? Maybe friends and followers carried them home. I doubt there were any high-fives, and I’m certain there was no backslapping or laughter.

Yet, there was rejoicing. They were glad they’d been counted worthy to suffer for the Name of Jesus. To them, persecution wasn’t some sort of punishment or a trampling of their rights. It was an honor, something to be found worthy of. Why? Maybe because they’d seen their Lord suffer torture and death for them, and if they wanted to be like Him—to identify with Him—they had to be willing to do what He did.

I admit I have a hard time understanding this. As a citizen of a free country, I don’t consider suffering something to be worthy of, but rather something to be avoided. I back down at the slightest rebuke for my faith, unwilling to step on toes or offend anyone. But sometimes, God calls us to suffer verbal attacks, rejection, even physical harm as a result of our faith. Like the martyrs of old and of recent times in other lands, may the Holy Spirit grant us the attitude of rejoicing that we are counted worthy to suffer for the Name. And may His kingdom increase because of such a witness.

Author Bio: 

Mary HamiltonMary L. Hamilton grew up at a camp much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Collection, giving her books a strong sense of authenticity. She has also published Pendant, a Christian cozy mystery. Besides writing, Mary also enjoys knitting, photography, spending time with her grown children and watching sunsets with her husband of 35+ years. They make their home in central Texas. Learn more at www.maryhamiltonbooks.com 

 

Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Collection

Hear No Evil Box set

Book link: amzn.com/B0768771XY 

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Mouth Confession; Heart Belief

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”   (Romans 10:9).

There must be confession with the mouth. Have I made it? Have I openly avowed my faith in Jesus as the Savior whom God has raised from the dead, and have I done it in God’s way! Let me honestly answer this question.

There must also be belief with the heart. Do I sincerely believe in the risen LORD Jesus? Do I trust in Him as my sole hope of salvation? Is this trust from my heart? Let me answer as before God.

If I can truly claim that I have both confessed Christ and believed in Him, then I am saved. The text does not say it may be so, but it is plain as a pikestaff and clear as the sun in the heavens: “Thou shalt be saved.” As a believer and a confessor, I may lay my hand on this promise and plead it before the LORD God at this moment, and throughout life, and in the hour of death, and at the Day of Judgment.

I must be saved from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, the punishment of sin, and ultimately from the very being of sin. God hath said it — “Thou shalt be saved.” I believe it. I shall be saved. I am saved. Glory be to God forever and ever!

If you would like your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals by Charles Haddon Spurgeon click the image below.

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

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Storms of Life

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by CJ Peterson

When the storms of life hit, are you ready? These will undoubtedly hit, but are you prepared? Who is your Captain? Is He experienced? How much experience does your crew have? How many newbie sailors are on board with you (or is it you)? When you are sailing, there is a pre-sail checklist to do, which will also include knowing where all your safety equipment is on board the ship.

So, in your mind, allow us to take a trip…

It’s a beautiful, sunny day for your first trip out. Your Captain is a strong sailor, who has sailed these seven seas all His life. He designed and built this ship, so He’s aware of every nook and cranny, and has hand-picked His crew, knowing their strengths and weaknesses. He pairs you with a weathered sailor for your rookie trip out. This is a person with whom you connect immediately. You both have similar stories in your background, but he has the sailing experience you don’t. As a matter of fact, he’s the one who introduced you to the Captain, knowing the Captain would be good for you and would take care of you. You see, you’ve had a rough background, and you couldn’t give a fleeting thought about anyone else in the world. Trust was a luxury you couldn’t afford, but you have to eat, so you allow yourself to have maybe a ‘mustard seed’ size of trust in this Captain. At the very least, you can have food in your belly each day.

As the boat is cast off, there is a slight breeze, allowing the boat to sail calmly out into the ocean. The first few days are smooth, which allow your trainer to show you many different aspects of the boat, as well as the ‘what to do when…’ list.

On day four, the Captain calls you to Him. The way He maneuvers the boat, allows Him to also speak with you and get to know you. The Captain has a lot of insight in the world, how it works, and He shares many stories from the past in His sailing around the world. You drink up His words and enjoy your time with Him. He allows you to soak in His stories and experiences for several days before it happens.

You are woken up early in the morning by your trainer. There is a storm on the horizon, and the crew has to get ready and brace for it. With your heart racing, you run up on deck with the rest of the crew. You listen carefully to your trainer as he shows you how to use the radio, how to put on your lifejacket, and how to use the windward jackline. Afterward, you work with the crew to clear the deck and secure everything that could potentially move.

As you work, you suddenly realize just how dark it is around you. Even though it is only two in the afternoon, it looks as if it is ten o’clock at night. The clouds churn above you, threatening to open up any minute. You work as fast as you can as your heart races out of control. The pounding of your heartbeat almost deafens you, while many dangerous and deadly scenarios play out in your mind.

Feeling the Captain’s rough and weathered hand thump on your shoulder, you turn to look into His eyes. They are tender and calm as He gently asks, “Do you you not remember all those stories I shared with you? Do you not know Who created this vessel and Who its Captain is?”

“Yes-yes, sir,” you stammer.

“Then know that I will not let anyone out of My sight until we are clear of this storm. Things will happen that will terrify you. You will see things that will freeze you in its wake. When you get scared, I only ask you to do one thing.”

Remembering the stories He shared, you stand confidently, and say, “Anything You ask, sir.”

He crouches down, eye level with you. “When you feel like you can’t go on, when you lose sight of the security beneath you, when the storm rages so badly that you can’t even see your crew mates, I ask only for you to look to Me. I will take care of you. I need you to trust in Me that I will get us through this. Without the trust of the crew for the Captain, the boat will sink. If you have to come all the way up to Me, and sit with Me at the helm, then so be it. This is your first storm. After this, your trust will multiply with each storm you go through. You will become more confident in Me as we go through each one. I have hand picked this crew, knowing their strengths and weaknesses. They will help you in areas where you are weak, and you will help them in the areas where you are strong. That’s how it works. Trust them. Trust Me.”

With renewed vigor, you salute Him, and say with more boldness, “I do trust you, Sir. I trust the crew you have given me as well.”

Resting both His hands on your shoulders, He reminds you, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you. You are one of Mine now. You are part of My family. Trust Me.”

“I will, sir, but I may make mistakes.”

“You may, but  that’s life and you will survive. Keep in mind that at the end of this storm, you will live again.”

With that, He leaves for the helm to continue preparations. As soon as the Captain disappears, your trainer is instantly at your side, guiding and directing your steps, reminding you of what to do when situations happen, when suddenly the clouds break open.

Tossing the ship to and fro, you hold on for dear life! As the waves drop the ship below, into their cavernous depths, and propel the ship toward its peaks at mind-boggling rates of speed, terrifying would have been a calm word! It was during one of those plummets into the depths that you feel the boat tilt to the side where you are secured. With the water inches from your face, you look toward the helm and see the Captain through the window. Tears fill your eyes as you see the room glow. Pulling and tugging your way, you slip several times before you reach the helm.

Your lifeline snaps just as a hand appears before you, reaching down toward you. Before you fall into the churning seas below, you grasp His hand, holding on for dear life.

Dangling in the air, the only thing holding you onto the ship was the hand of the Captain. “I’ve got you! I will never let you go!” He shouts, and pulls you to the helm with Him. “Hold onto something! We’re almost through!”

You look around, panic-stricken. “How can you tell?”

With a look of peace, He gently explains, “I’ve been through many a storm. I have guided many through safely, and I will not give up until we are through this. I am your Captain. Trust Me.”

About the Author:

C. J. PetersonI was raised in a Christian military home, but it was far from tranquil. Like many young people, I left home as soon as possible, and went my own way, thinking I knew better. To me anything was better than where I was. Unfortunately, some of the choices I made led me away from the Lord, and sometimes that path was a dangerous one.
God is faithful, even when His children are lost and wandering. When I needed Him most, the Lord was there for me. He led me out of that danger and into a new life…a life where I am loved and appreciated. He taught me what ‘real love’ is, and what it’s supposed to look like through my family and wonderful husband.
Who knew that “Prince Charming” actually existed? I hoped and prayed he was out there, and I found him! He is a 24 year Navy veteran and the love of my life! With his encouragement, I rediscovered the creativity I thought I had lost a long time ago, and have begun to publish the books I have written through the years. The words in these books helped me through my struggles, and my prayer is they will help others.
The way in which I write my Christian Books, is unique to say the least. I am a realistic Christian. People are people, they stumble, they fall, they trip, but God continues to dust us off, and set us back on the path again, if we just learn to trust in Him.
The challenges faced in my past give me a perspective on the realities of living the Christian life that some people may never see. There are times we wander away from God…there are times when we draw closer to Him. In our arrogance we think we can make it on our own. However, the One who made this world, and who made you, has the answers, and thankfully, He forgives our impudence and petulance and loves us through it all. God is a God of love, mercy, grace, and guidance. He loves us and only wants the best for us.
Those who have read my books, describe them as encouraging, frustrating, and a wonderful read all at the same time. The same character that could have you crying one minute, will have you cheering the next! One of my editors, stated that ‘she was so into the story, that she forgot to edit, and had to go back to do the editing’.
I pray you will enjoy my books as well!

While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.

Visit CJ’s websitehttp://cjpetersonwrites.com/

Follow her on FB http://www.facebook.com/writingbycjpeterson

Follow her on Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/authoress_cj

Follow her on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/authoresscj/

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