Thursday, June 23, 2016

Author News and Notes: Street Team Invitation

I am excited! Only 13 weeks until the release of 
Where Healing Starts!

I am looking for 25 people to be on my team
to get the word out about my upcoming release. 
Those on my team will:
Read my book before anyone else!
Share about it with your friends 
(I'll give you plenty of things to share).

There will be special gifts and prizes for my team members. If you are interested, please click on this link and fill in this (very) short form. I will send you information and a link to our own private Facebook group.  

See you there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Women in the Trenches: Keep Communication Open With God

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

When we’re in the trenches fighting FOR our marriage it is important not only to put on the armor of God each day, but to keep communication channels open with God.

When going into battle, military must be in communication with their command. Situations change. Command has access to satellite to be able to know what is going on ahead of the troops going into an area. If the troops need backup, the channels better be open to tell command what is going on.

Prayer is our “channel” to talk to God, our command central. He has information to give us in order to fight an effective spiritual battle. And He wants to hear from us when we are in need so He can meet that need. Granted, He doesn’t always answer the way we envision, but it’s always for His glory and our good.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.  1 John 21- 3:22

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  1 John 5:14

However, the word of God tells us that there are things which will hinder our prayers. Here are 3 areas to keep clear to prevent hindered prayers.

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If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. Proverbs 28:9

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…  Psalm 66:18

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

Wrong motives/selfishness:
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3

When we keep our hearts clear before God, we can be assured our prayers will be answered.

Have you ever experienced clearing up one of these areas in your life then hearing God more clearly?   

Verse: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Phil. 4:6-9

Personalize for prayer:
Lord, I will rejoice in you always, no matter what. Be near to me, Lord.  I choose to not be anxious about anything, but to trust You. In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I will present my requests to you, God. And your peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Help me to think only on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable—anything excellent or praiseworthy. Fill me with Your peace!

1- Memorize verse, pray verse daily.
2- Ask God if anything is hindering your prayers…repent if there is.
3- Journal about your journey. Record how God has answered your prayers or voice your longing for answers you are still waiting on.

Please let me know how I can pray for you and your marriage this week. Simply comment “pray” and I will lift you up knowing the Lord knows what you need. If you would like specific prayer use the comment form on the contact page listed in the menu bar above. 

All scripture in this post is from the NIV.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Women in the Trenches: The Armor of God for Marriages

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your 
stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11

A couple weeks ago in a post I mentioned wearing the proper gear when battling FOR our marriage. That gear is talked about in Ephesians 6:10-18; the armor of God. The following is certainly not an exhaustive list of how you might apply the armor of God to your marriage. Let it stir your thoughts on how you can take action in the Spirit to stand strong and allow God to fight for you!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (vs. 12)  

PERSPECTIVE: The enemy is out to destroy marriages. When we fight IN our marriage, we do the enemy’s work for him and our marriages are more likely to die from friendly fire! Acknowledging this is the first step to fighting the battle the right way. It helps us train our eyes on the one who can win against the enemy. Our ever faithful heavenly Father.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…(vs.14a)

REALITY CHECK: Don’t believe what the enemy says about the situation in your marriage, your husband or you. If you believe the lies, you will behave as if those lies are truth. One common lie is that “our spouse can never change.” If we live by that, we easily give up or live in a marriage filled with resentment, power struggles, distrust.

Check everything you are living by with scripture. John 8:32 says, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”.” Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He is truth. Know Him. Know His word. Feed our hearts and minds with HIS words more than we do with the world's words (places to start being careful: entertainment, friends, aquaintances, etc).

…with the breastplate of righteousness in place…(vs.14b)

GUARD YOUR OWN ACTIONS: On our own we are not righteous. It is God’s righteousness in us. “…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Phil. 3:9) But, by the choices we make, we can block HIS righteousness being evident in our life. That is like inviting our enemy in to have dinner with us, only to have him start WWIII. Our spouse may have made many wrong choices and each one is his and his alone, but usually we have our own messes that need to be brought to God. When we do, that allows Him to heal our hearts and we are in a better position to usher God’s presence into our marriage, so He can restore it.

…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace(vs.15)

LAY DOWN YOUR SWORD OF THE FLESH: When we war in the flesh it brings discord and more injury, when we war in the spirit, we put our trust in God to win the battle and can walk in greater humility and compassion. This brings the peace of God into the situation and greater opportunity to work together toward a healthier marriage.

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:14-18

…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one...(vs.16)

BELIEVE/TRUST GOD: In the middle of a broken marriage, it can be difficult to trust your spouse. Believe me, the enemy will throw plenty of flaming arrows our way in the form of lies. Anything to stir up strife between spouses and prevent healing. This is the time to trust GOD who is always faithful. No matter the outcome, when we trust HIM we will be victorious in our walk. Someone has to lay down their sword first and believing God will help us be able to do this.

…take the helmet of salvation…(vs.17a)

PROTECT YOUR MIND: The enemy is after the way you think about and the choices you make in your marriage. If he can influence that, he can discourage you, keep you from the truth and from believing in God and his ability to bring about healing and change. Your mind determines how you will choose to fight in every arena of this spiritual battle.

…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God(vs. 17b)

BE IN THE WORD: This is where we find truth for any situation. This is where we find God’s opinion on and approach to any matter. When His words fill our hearts, it is easier to detect the lies of the enemy that would wreak havoc in our marriage.
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…And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests… (vs. 18a)

CONNECT WITH THE POWER SOURCE: If we attempt to walk out a healthy marriage on our own power, we will quickly wear down. Only by HIS Spirit can we walk it out for the long haul.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16-17

Which part of the armor do you find the most challenging to take up during difficult moments/days in your marriage? Do you have an illustration for putting the armor of God that is different than what I shared?  

Please let me know how I can pray for you and your marriage this week. Simply comment “pray” and I will lift you up knowing the Lord knows what you need. Or use the comment form in the sidebar if you would like specific prayer. 

Verse: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12  

Personalize for Prayer:
Lord, help me to remember that my husband is not the enemy, but Satan is and he is out to destroy our marriage. Help me to keep my eyes on YOU and fight in the spirit. 

1- Read and pray this verse every day for a week. (Do your best to memorize it.)
2- Mentally "put on the armor" every morning. Train yourself to think in terms of a spiritual battle.
3- Journal about your journey to fight for your marriage. Focus on identifying places where you see the enemy's handiwork and noting what God's truth say about it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Part of God's Mosaic

Today, author Jane M. Tucker joins us with some
 thoughts about being a part of God's mosiac!

My first novel is coming out this week. It’s getting good reviews, and I’m really proud of it, and that’s a problem. I’m proud.

Pride. The sin that begins so attractively, and ends in a pit of despair.

Hebrews chapter eleven describes many people who accomplished great things by faith in God. I have sometimes heard this chapter called the “Hall of Heroes,” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” These titles conjure images of a museum where the portraits of Bible heroes like Abraham, Moses and Rahab hang on the walls. Gold name plates nailed to the picture frames tell who they were, and what they did.

The idea feeds my pride. Someday, I’ll be as great as they were. Someday, I’ll deserve to hang in that hall, too. It isn’t a healthy way to approach my faith walk.

Because the “Hall of Fame” idea is a trap for me, long ago God gave me a different visual: A mosaic, made of millions of different stones, each one reflecting His light with infinite beauty. In the Master’s hands I am a stone, tumbled to a high polish by time and trial, until I am fit to take my place among all the other precious and unique stones in His timeless design.
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The idea of a mosaic is reflected in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (emphasis mine).

The mosaic image holds three advantages for me:

I measure myself rightly. I’m not so much a portrait, grandly set apart in a gallery for all to see. I’m a stone, precious to my maker, but not more so than His other precious stones.

I see myself in relationship with other believers. Our triune God is all about relationship. One lovely stone is admirable, but it gains even more beauty when placed with all the others to form a greater whole.

I remember that God wants everyone to join his family. A missing mosaic tile is instantly noticeable. God needs all his precious stones if his artwork is to be complete.

Now, let me be clear: The portrait painter and the mosaic artist are only metaphors for a God we cannot fully describe. Metaphors clothe the intangible with concrete images, but they are limited. Martin Luther called God a mighty fortress, and David called Him a rock, and those metaphors also have their limitations.

What metaphor for God speaks to you today?

When she’s not gallivanting around New York, Jane M. Tucker works and plays in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband and three nearly grown kids. She writes about the people and places of the Midwest on her blog, Postcards from the Heartland .

Connect with Jane
Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   Sign up for her Newsletter 

About  Lottie’s Gift

She’s a little girl with a big gift.

Lottie Braun has enjoyed a happy childhood in rural Iowa. Her mother was gone, but she knew her father and older sister loved her and her aunts, uncles and cousins surrounded her. But the quiet, idyllic life she enjoyed as a child ended with tragedy and a secret that tore the two sisters apart.

Forty years later, Lottie is a world-class pianist with a celebrated career and an empty personal life. She moves from city to city, guarding her privacy with fierce vigilance, all to protect herself from the past. But one sleepless night, she allows herself to remember and she discovers that memories, once allowed, are difficult to suppress. Can she make peace with the past? Will she ever find her way home?

Get your copy:   Amazon     CrossRiverMedia

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Women in the Trenches: Fighting for our Marriage

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Almost 4 years past discovering the betrayal in my marriage, I can testify that God has restored us and healed our hearts. Not that we have arrived at some marriage utopia, there is still a battle to be fought. There always will be in this life. 

But the battle is not of this realm. Our spouse is not the enemy. When our marriage is in trouble, we can cower in defeat or get out on the front line of this battle. Not fighting IN our marriage, but FOR our marriage. And regardless of whether this is a long drawn out or shorter campaign, here are 4 action steps to take to keep you on the right side of the battle lines.     

Make sure communication channels are open to command center. Keep communication with God unhindered. Keep our own life free of sin. Don’t give the devil an opportunity. Stay in the Word and on our knees.

Wear your gear. Do NOT attempt to go in unprotected. Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us all about the armor we should wear.

Gather reconnaissance. Know who the enemy is and what his tactics are. Know the best way to fight the battle. The most reliable source for this is the word of God. The enemy’s approaches haven’t changed over the years and the word of God is full of tactics to use against him.

Bring back up. This is not a solo mission. God sent His Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct us. He gave us the church to fight back to back and arm in arm. It’s important to get a Holy Spirit led prayer/support group to hold our arms up in the fight. Just like Ben and Hur did for Moses.

Go out in full array, dressed in the armor of God, praise Him before, during and after battle, and stand firm in the authority God has given you to fight!

Are you in the middle of a fight for your marriage? Without adding details, comment “yes” and I will pray for you this week. The Lord bless you and bring His peace and victory to your home and heart.

If your marriage is strong, can you share one or two things that has helped you become/stay strong?

Action Steps:

Verse: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10

Personalize it for a prayer: Lord, I submit to You and resist the hand of the enemy. Send Him far from my heart, my home and my marriage. I come near to You and repent. Make my heart pure, my mind steadfast. I grieve over the state of my marriage. I surrender my heart and marriage to You. Lift me up above the fray. Lead me in your way.

1- Read and pray this verse every day for a week. (Do your best to memorize it.)
2- Ask God to show you if there is anything you need to repent of. Do so to make sure communication lines are unhindered between you and God.
3- Journal about your journey to fight for your marriage. Allow yourself to grieve about what this battle has cost you. Allow the Holy Spirit – our comforter – to give you comfort.

In gathering reconnaissance, it can be helpful (in addition to, not in place of going to the Word) to search out resources to help us get a handle on understanding the particular issue plaguing our marriage. Or in dealing with our own heart issues. This may be a counselor, a mentor who has walked this road before you or a (biblically based) book. Click here for a list of books I recommend as valuable resources long the way.

If your marriage is strong, praise the Lord. These same tactics that are useful in the middle of battle, will be trustworthy in helping to prevent this war visiting your home.

If you are in an abusive marriage, be sure you (and kids if you have them) are safe.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Author News and Notes

The countdown continues...

Its hard to believe Where Healing Starts will release in only 19 weeks! Time certainly does fly.

Where Healing Starts is in the queue to be readied for publication.  Book cover reveal coming up before you know it, lots of fun planned for my blog tour, and great specials if you buy early.

My indie project is coming along nicely. Expect an announcement about that coming up next month!

The Growing Faith Facebook book club will be starting a new book soon. I'll announce which book in my May newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here so you don't miss out. 

That about wraps up my news and notes. Have a beautiful day!

Give a shout out for something you are thankful for!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Pressing Forward

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

In my first post of 2016, I wrote about my desire to focus on less in my life in order to make much of Jesus. I thought it was time to check in. The things I intended to blog about included: self, stuff, time wasters, money, food, entertainment, social media/marketing, attitude, my “rights”, distractions, religious activity, busyness, and work. 

Here’s the roll call as it stands:

Less social media? I’ve been blogging less because of…let’s just say life sidetracks me easily. And I’ve been on social media less…because I’m just plain tired of it. But I am going to have to pick up on this at least for a while since my book is releasing soon!

Less clutter? I started an online book club and invited folks over to discuss a book called “Clutter Free” in hopes to help me clear my house of stuff. I haven’t kept up with the book club, but I have a load in my car waiting to go to the thrift store.

Less busyness? I still struggle to not overload my calendar. At least I’m thinking about it and not just filling it up by default. I suppose that is a step in the right direction.

Less food? I am changing my eating habits. Mostly to deal with my brain fog. Not sure I’m eating less, but I am eating better.

Less entertainment? I’ve challenged my family to not rent any movies this year. So far we haven’t. And we cancelled the DVD portion of our Netflix plan (we still get streaming). And we still don’t have cable. We watch what we want via the internet.

 Less work? I am attempting to coral my work time like I would if I were going into the office. Success on that is hit or miss.

Less money? That is a tough one. I still can’t seem to come to the end of the month with money left in the envelope.

The rest? Still working on it!

I was feeling a bit discouraged that I haven’t followed through on my plans, but I suppose I have made a few changes. Not as many as I would have liked. And though I haven’t been keeping up with blogging about it, I guess that is a success of less work and social media. So onward I press. To become less, so Christ can become more in my life.

How are you doing with your one word focus or 
changes you hoped to make in the new year?