Friday, January 23, 2015

Grace, Hope and New Beginnings

Occasionally I will be sharing a more devotional type post with you. One of my favorites from the blog I contribute to on a weekly basis, Wonderfully Woven. If you are looking for encouragement, an opportunity to be uplifted and friends to come alongside you on your journey through life with Christ, be sure and visit. We have much to offer. But enough with the shameless promotion. :-) Instead, I'll just share my post and hope it encourages you!


It’s the fresh blanket of snow on the ground. It’s the green grass that grows in the spring. The flowers that dare to peek their colorful bulbs out of the earth and subject themselves to the threat of frost.

It’s the promise of the empty tomb. The white bride on her wedding day. The gift of forgiveness and the warmth of a hug.

It’s a new beginning. The opening of a flower, the fresh star of a new season.

God’s grace is that. A new beginning. A new promise. The chance to start over and have everything wrong we’ve ever done cast as far as the east is from the west.

Grace is one of my favorite words. Another is hope. The two truly go hand in hand. We hope for the new beginning Jesus promises to us. And grace extends a hand to our hope, wraps its warm fingers around ours and pulls us close, whispering promises of every new chance. Every new hope.

We have hope in Jesus coming back and taking us as His bride to Heaven on the Day of Judgment. We have grace knowing we are forgiven and loved by a Savior that gave His all for our salvation.

May is one of my favorite months out of the year. It springs forth new life and promises the rebirth of all that was old and dead and dormant during the long, cold winter. When we breathe in the hope and promise of a new beginning it almost seems as though nothing can daunt us. The world is in the palm of our hand and we can take on anything with just a pair of flip flops and a hat to keep the sun from burning our cheeks.

When we strip away all our insecurities, throw away the fears and wrap ourselves in the warmth of the Son’s love there is nothing that can defeat us.

For if God is for us, then who can stand against us? Who? Nothing can stand against us. Nothing can stand between us and the new beginning that God gives us through the death and resurrection of His Son.

When I think of what Jesus has done to give me a new beginning, my heart swells with a deep-seated love and longing for this Man that came to earth for me…for you.

He gave us a new beginning in our relationships. In our marriage. In our friendships. In our jobs. In our lives. It doesn’t matter what the past says about you; that’s not what God says about you. It doesn’t matter where you’ve gone and what you’ve done. God has forgiven that and given you a new beginning in Him.

His grace gives us hope that there is more to this life then just muddling through. Then just making a mistake. Then feeling like a failure. Then wondering if you will ever “arrive” or “make it”.

You might have sensed a theme throughout this post. I hope so. Because I want you to know that your new beginning doesn’t have an expiration date. It doesn’t disappear if you don’t take advantage of it soon enough or lose it because you’ve made too many mistakes.


Don’t doubt the power of God’s love. His new beginning is your grace. Your salvation. Your hope. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Giveaway! Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Lisa Harris, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

Thank you so much for having me!! For years I honestly thought that everyone had characters running around in their heads, and I was simply someone who decided to write them down. My mother-in-law assured me one day that wasn’t true. I now look at it as a gift that I want to use for God. That’s partly what got me started and definitely what keeps me writing.

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

I would have to say the very first book I wrote. I can’t even remember the title, but it was about a couple’s journey through infertility, something I was going through myself. It was never published, but it taught me so much about life, and loss, and God, and was instrumental in my own healing.

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?


The whole process has been a journey of learning for me, and I’m not sure I’d changed anything to be honest. There have been tons of lows—wondering why I was doing this, thinking it’s too hard, convinced no one would read my books—along with a few highs. I’ve learned that awards might be given one day, but someone else gets them the next, so you can’t relay on the ups to keep you going, nor can you rely on the lows—often lies and discouragements about who you are—to stop you. I’ve tried to enjoy the journey and learning process, but probably would simply tell myself to work hard and enjoy the ride!

5 preference questions:

Homemade or take-out? Homemade—which is good because where we live we made everything from scratch!
Email or snailmail? Email—living overseas it’s such a blessing!
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? And I’ve also come to love online shopping since we have no malls where we are.
Books or movies? Books, of course!
Note-taker or memorization? Note-taker—I have to write everything down.
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

That is so hard! I’m going to say, Blood Ransom, because it was the first time I was able to write the book I wanted to write. You know, that book from the heart. It was a romantic suspense, set in Africa. . .I loved writing that book!

Places for readers to learn more about you?

Would love to hear from you! I have a website at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

Thank you for being with us today!


Thank you so much for having me!

Readers, enter to win Lisa's book here! 

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on January 30th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Stop Putting God in a Box OR My Final DREAM Post for 2014

It’s been a year of living with a word that has changed my life.

Dream.

God whispered the word over my heart in October 2013, nudging me towards truly dreaming towards the goals and desires laid deep in my heart.

They were scary dreams. Dreams that I could easily push aside, because no matter how much I might want them, they would require me to stretch out of my comfort zone. Go beyond what was comfortable for me.

I don’t like going beyond what is comfortable and familiar to me. I like the here and now. The safe and secure. But safe and secure doesn’t challenge you. At least it doesn’t challenge me. And God was asking me to dream.

How often do you put God in a box? How often do you say: “this is what I believe you can do and we’re not going over this X limit, God. So, thanks.”

The only person those kind of prayers does a disservice to is you. And the reason we do it? We’re coming back to fear again. How often do we dare to pray for something that seems so far beyond all comprehension and belief that it seems almost impossible for us to achieve? Something that might as well just be scoffed at, because the possibility of that happening to us is, well, impossible.

We don’t pray those kind of prayers often. And I dare to say, that even when I toe into the waters of deeper dreaming, I’m still cringing at the chilliness of the stream.

God’s dreams for us aren’t babbling brooks in the corner of a peaceful meadow. God’s dreams for us are rushing rivers, pulsing towards the very best interest He has at heart. Scripture promises this. And yet so often we refuse to surrender fully and let the rush of those waters carry us along.

God told me to dream in 2014. To not put Him in a box and see what He would do. To move forward with a passion for life and a constant expectation that He was about to do something awesome.

And He did.

As I look back on 2014, I’m awed. I’m humbled. I’m grateful. But I’m not done dreaming. In fact, a couple months ago, God laid another dream on my heart. A dream that when it thumped me between the eyes, I literally went: “You’ve got to be kidding, God. Something like that will never happen for me.”

Did I really just back talk to God? Oh yes, I did.

God’s plans on our lives aren’t held to the ground by human’s finite abilities, expectations, social status or fear. This is God we’re talking about and to. The Creator of the universe. His passion for us is unending. His plans for our lives whispered in our hearts and ears as dreams that push us forward.

If we let Him.

God told me to dream. I dreamed.

And I’m not stopping yet. My life isn’t over. And neither are the dreams.


Are you dreaming crazy dreams with God?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Giveaway! Rodeo Family by Shannon Taylor Vannatter!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Shannon Vannatter, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

I had a creative writing class in the 3rd grade and loved it. My teacher was very complimentary and encouraging about a few short stories I wrote. But I never had any other classes like that. As a preteen, we moved away from all my friends and it took me a while to acclimate. With lots of alone time, I created a story in my head. Sometimes, I’d act it out in my locked bedroom with lots of drama.

Since I watched a lot of hunky detective shows, my story was a damsel in distress and cute detective to the rescue. I’d add scenes, more drama, and change the end. I thought it was a movie, but I didn’t want to go to Hollywood, so I didn’t know what to do with it.

When I was fifteen, I met my future husband and started living my own romance. I forgot about
the story. Until fifteen years later when my husband started working evenings. We didn’t have our son yet and I needed something to occupy my evenings. I went to the library to find clean romance books like I’d read as a teen, but I couldn’t find any.

That’s when I remembered my long ago story and thought—Hey, that could be a book. Once I started writing it, my characters kept talking to God. Even though I was unaware of the Christian fiction market, I let them. I didn’t know about Christian books because the library didn’t really carry them back then. Fourteen years later, that story became my 8th published title, Rodeo Queen. I had to go back and completely rewrite it because when I originally wrote it, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

The standard response for a Christian is the Bible, I’m sure. It’s truly a life changing book. Other than that, I can’t remember the story, title, or author, but it was a Heartsong Presents book. It was the first inspirational romance I’d ever read. I’d completed my book, learned there was a Christian market and a writing friend loaned me a Heartsong. It was an awesome experience to read a clean romance with a gospel message like I’d written and know it had gotten published. I had a lot to learn though. I stopped counting rejections at 200 and spent the next 9 1/2 years attending conferences and workshops before I finally got published.

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?

This is a book, you dork. If I’d realized that story in my head was a book, I’d have started writing sooner.

5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out? Homemade, if I don’t have to make it. I sincerely hate cooking. I do it anyway, but it frustrates the life out of me.
Email or snailmail? Email. I never was much of a letter writer even before email.
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? Online. I hide under the covers on Black Friday. Besides I’m not a morning person. Even though I’m an avid bargain shopper, no bargain is worth that.
Books or movies? Books definitely. And I like paper. I only read digital if it’s a title by one of my favorite authors and it doesn’t come in paper. I like seeing my books lined up on the shelf. When they’re in my tablet, I don’t feel like I really own the book.
Note-taker or memorization? Note-taker definitely. Ever since my son was born, my memory is gone.         

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

Rodeo Queen will probably always be my favorite since it lived in my head for so long. But I love all of them and I miss the characters after I complete their books. Especially when I end a series. Maybe that’s why my rodeo series has gone on for so long—I’m attached to the characters.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/. Connect with her on Facebook: http://facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter, Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/29672798-shannon-vannatter, Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stvannatter/, and Twitter: @stvauthor.

Thank you for being with us today!

Thanks Casey :)

Readers, enter to win Shannon's book here! 

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on January 23rd
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Giveaway! Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Lynne Gentry, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

I grew up on a Kansas dairy farm. Our cows didn’t travel. So neither did my family. I longed for adventure. I wanted to visit exotic places and meet famous people. Imaginary trips became my escape from rural isolation. In an instant, my mind could magically transform a tree house into a medieval castle, hay bales into a pioneer fort, or a dank root cellar into a time portal that could transport me into the ancient civilizations of the Bible. In my make-believe world, I was bold, brave, and beautiful. The heroes were handsome and romantic. Humanity’s fate hung in the balance. Good always triumphed over evil. And in the end, I left the past in far better shape than I found it. Outlandish journeys still feed my creative soul. I love to explore Roman baths or traipse through old English castles. My mind goes crazy imagining myself living in those times.


What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

I loved Anne of Green Gables. She is a spunky example of God’s ability to redeem every life.

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?


My husband says if it weren’t for guilt trips I wouldn’t go anywhere. What mother doesn’t regret something in the past? I would tell myself that everything and everyone does not have to be perfect … including me.


5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out? Love homemade, but live on take-out.

Email or snailmail? Finding a handwritten letter in my mailbox thrills me. I still love to send handwritten notes.

Online shopping or Black Friday deals? There’s nothing in the stores worth fighting my way through Black Friday crowds.

Books or movies? Both.

Note-taker or memorization? Oh, that my memory was what it used to be. So many facts were required to write this series that I had to become a very organized note-taker.
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

Well, when I finished the first book in the series, HEALER OF CARTHAGE, it was my favorite. Now that book #2 is coming out, RETURN TO EXILE, it is my favorite.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

I love connecting with readers. They can find me on:
Twitter: @Lynne_Gentry  https://twitter.com/Lynne_Gentry
and my website: www.lynnegentry.com

Thank you for being with us today!


Thanks for having me, Casey. Always enjoy chatting with you and your readers.

Readers, enter to win Lynne's book here! 

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on January 16th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Farewell 2014...

Wow, hello 2015, right around the corner--nine short days away. 

Those who said time flies the older you get weren't joking. 

Much has happened. 

Much has changed. 

However, this blog has and continues to be, one of my constants. You, dear reader, are valued and treasured in my life. 

In an effort to spend more time with my family and friends, I am taking a blogging break until after the first of the new year. 

I'll bring 2015 in with new giveaways from our beloved authors, my standard devotional posts that always promise to include a bit of what God is teaching and growing in me. 

And I'll also have my best book list of 2014 with fabulous book recommendations you are going to want to add to your wist list in 2015. 

Until then, dear reader, I wish you wonderful Christmas and New Year celebrations, with all those you love around you. 

See you next year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Lester Did it Right (It Matters How You Live Part 2)

Our actions directly affect lives around us. What you choose to do. What you choose to say. How you choose to live your life, it makes a difference—more than you think.

Last week I talked about my great-grandfather. A man who only saw the church and the people in it as white-washed tombs, people who seemed pretty on the outside, but dig deep enough and his life was cleaner than theirs. Why should he make a point to change the way he lived when they weren’t?

Those people might not have realized it, but their actions were directly affecting my grandfather’s lack of a walk with God.

Except for Lester.

My great-grandfather was a farmer, a mountain of a man, who spent the last few years of his life confined to a nursing home, separated from my grandmother because it wasn’t a facility that accommodated them living together.

Cousin Lester visited every week. Pushing my grandfather throughout the grounds of the facility, in and out amongst all the flowers and plants my farming grandfather would have loved. Lester didn’t just come because he wanted to connect and spend time with his family, Lester came because of an aching desire to make sure Grandpa didn’t die lost.

It wasn’t through words that Lester showed Grandpa his need for salvation. It was through actions. It wasn’t through preachy sermons and demands that Grandpa “change his ways”. He already thought he was righteous. It was through the simple fact that Lester lived his life with a passion for Christ.

Your life is a mirror.

You either reflect Christ.

Or you reflect the world.

It’s not a complicated choice and it does have eternal effects. You touch lives everywhere you go. 
You can’t walk through this life without leaving some kind of fingerprint on another person’s life. My question for you is: are you walking with Christ in such a way that people see you as different? If you aren’t seen as having something different, all witness is lost.

Grandpa saw something different in Lester. Someone genuine, something he didn’t have.

My dad used to tell me, “if you can spot them (those being in the world and lost), they can spot you.” To be honest, I struggled with believing this. How could my life, lived in such a way that didn’t have me preaching on a street corner, point people to Christ?

But it does. And I saw it over and over when I worked at the medical office. Patients stopped me in the halls, spoke to me at the counter or made comments just in general passing—that I was different.

You’re either ridiculed for following Jesus or you’re praised for it. Either way, people can’t get away from the love that I have for my Savior.

And Lester? He didn’t give up. He kept chasing God in front of Grandpa up until the very end. It wasn’t a sprint to make an impression on an old man, it was a marathon he was running for life. And 
Grandpa’s wasn’t the only life changed. I guarantee it.


You don’t know what seeds someone else has planted that you’re watering, weeding, harvesting. I just know a man that didn’t need to preach to spread the gospel, ended up bringing a hard-core, crusty farmer to know the Lord. 

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

 
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