Standing is Victory

As believers in Christ, we face spiritual battles daily—attacks from the same enemy who enticed and deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Some refer to him as the devil, others call him by name—Satan.

Satan is a formidable enemy and comes at us in a multitude of ways, sometimes as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) and other times masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). And he is not alone. He leads an army of evil forces (Ephesians 6:12).

Scripture tells us we need to put on the full armor of God to do battle against this enemy of our souls (Ephesians 6:11, 13). With the armor of God firmly in place and with God’s help, we can withstand Satan’s onslaught and gain victory over him and his spiritual forces of evil.

Sometimes we may not feel like we’re gaining victory, but I love what author Sarah Young has to say in her devotional Jesus Always:

“When you’re in the thick of [spiritual] battle, declare your trust in Me—your confidence that I am with you, helping you. You may feel as if you’re losing the battle, but don’t give up! Hold tightly to my hand, and just keep standing. This is victory.”

Sometimes victory is simply standing. As weak as we may feel when we pull ourselves to our feet one more time, we are indeed victorious as we stand and refuse to let Satan keep us down.

Are you struggling to get to your feet spiritually today? Take hold of God’s hand. He will help you stand.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. . . put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10, 13 NIV

*What have you found helps you the most when you’re in the midst of a spiritual battle?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by pic fix, Creative Commons License

Wedding Resource: Prayers for the Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride, if you are a Christian mom who would like to prayerfully prepare for your daughter’s wedding and her new status as a married woman, be sure to read author Traci Matt’s new book Prayers for the Mother of the Bride.

You may remember hearing about Traci Matt here on my blog once before. Earlier this year I reviewed her book Prayers for the Mother of the Groom. Isn’t it wonderful that mothers of the bride can now be blessed by a similar prayer resource!

Prayers for the Mother of the Bride is a wonderfully thorough and insightful prayer handbook for Christian moms who want to cover their daughters, themselves, their families, and the entire bridal party in prayer as they all go through the life-changing event of a wedding.

Like Matt’s book for mothers of the groom, this book is designed in a two-month countdown fashion. She points out in the introduction that readers can start using it at any time during the engagement and possibly go through it more than once. Mother of the Bride, I would definitely advise you to begin using it much earlier than the two-month mark. Many of the topics covered are applicable in the early stages of wedding planning so you don’t want to miss the blessing of considering those topics and praying about them at the appropriate time.

Also as in Matt’s earlier book, each of the sixty selections feature an introductory paragraph or two about some aspect of the wedding or the changing family dynamic and then includes an in-depth prayer addressing the topic of the day. Matt’s prayers spring from the truths and insights she’s gleaned from the Word of God and from her own personal experience as both a mother of the bride and a mother of the groom. After each selection she adds “Something Borrowed”—a quote applicable to that day’s topic.

In this nicely done self-published paperback book, you will discover a biblically based, heartfelt guide for you own prayers, MOB. As a writer, I might have done a few things differently where organization and approach are concerned, but Matt is a skillful writer with godly insight and an easy-to-read writing style. I’m sure you will enjoy using this resource and be blessed immensely by it.

So MOB, if Prayers for the Mother of the Bride sounds like something you would be interested in, I encourage you to treat yourself to a copy of it today. It will be well worth the investment!

*You might also like to read Gift Idea: Prayers for the Mother of the Groom and A Prayer for the Newlyweds.

*Thanks to the author for providing me with the book and photo. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

Guest Blogger Julie Gillies: Let’s Choose Brave


I’d like to welcome writer friend and author Julie Gillies to my blog today as she shares an excerpt adapted from her recently released book From Hot Mess to Blessed. I’ve already read the book and it’s filled with biblical wisdom, encouragement, and hope. I pray Julie’s words bless you today!

Let’s Choose Brave

Bravery has ripple effects. We rarely consider this (at least I don’t) because we’re so caught up in the everyday and the here and now. Life’s daily battles are intense, and sometimes it’s all we can do to remain focused and keep plowing forward. Yet our courageous choices act as a gleaming machete, slicing a path through the thick jungle of fear that entangles and trips.

Choosing brave helps us fully believe and embrace and pursue God’s promises while inspiring those around us and making a way for those behind us.

A key component in learning to embrace bravery is praying brave prayers—prayers that focus less on avoiding fear or keeping fear away from us and more on courage and confidence and holy mettle. Though we might not always feel fearless, by praying for specific qualities from Scripture, we can fear less.

– Instead of praying that fear will be far from us, we can pray for strong, bold, and very courageous hearts (see Joshua 1:9) when fear comes near.

– Instead of asking God to remove all the sources of fear in our lives, we can pray for His grace to run toward the big, scary things with great courage (see 1 Samuel 17:48).

– Instead of praying that fear will leave us alone, we can pray that when we are afraid, we will have confidence and put our reliance on God (see Psalm 56:3).

– Instead of asking God for all fear in our lives to vanish, we can pray that His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus—and supersede all fear (see Philippians 4:6-7).

– Instead of feeling alone and fearful, we can pray to consistently remember God is with us, and we don’t have to fear. King David declared, “The Lᴏʀᴅ is for me, so I will have no fear” (Psalm 118:6 ɴʟᴛ).

I think I need to write the above verse on a Sticky Note and attach it to my forehead. If I had it my way, I’d never wrestle with fear again. It would be completely and permanently eradicated from my life (Can I get an amen?). But this side of eternity, I don’t know how realistic that goal is. I think we will all have times when we must battle fear, but it is always for a purpose.

Facing down fear teaches us how to engage the enemy, to fight, to stand, and to prevail. So be beautifully clothed in His mighty strength and the holy dignity He lavishly provides. Laugh without a care, free from fear’s taunts and digs. I see us—hot messes though we may yet be—laughing beautiful, musical laughs, heads tossed back, and hearts lifted toward heaven because we have nothing to fear.

This is an adapted excerpt from the book, “From Hot Mess to Blessed: Hope to Propel Your Soul and the Promises that Change Everything”, Harvest House Publishers 2017. Used with permission.

*Question from Cheryl: What situation in your life is God calling you to choose brave for today?

Julie K. Gillies is the author of From Hot Mess to Blessed: Hope to Propel Your Soul and the Promises that Change Everything and the devotional, Prayers for a Woman’s Soul. Healed from a traumatic childhood, Julie’s message helps women pray, know, and believe God’s Word. Julie is the joyful wife of Keith, mom of two soldiers and one civilian, and Grammy of four. She loves bicycling , any day without humidity, and hanging out with the entire family at home, especially on days when her house is clean. Find FREE resources and connect with Julie at www.JulieGillies.com .

*Photos courtesy of author.

Mother of the Bride Book’s Birthday Giveaway and a Blogging Break

*7-24-17 – Winner is Laura! Congrats, Laura! I’ll get your winnings to you soon!

Last year at this time I was in the midst of celebrating the launch of my book Mother of the Bride. Since July 1st was the official launch date, I consider that the book’s official “birthday” too. So now my book baby is one year old!

If you weren’t a mother of the bride last July, you probably missed all the hoopla. I hosted a big giveaway here on my website, my family sent me flowers, and friends and fellow writers wished me well and shared the book via social media. Later in the month, I had a launch party at our local library. After all, the birth of a book calls for lots of celebration!

I think a first birthday calls for some celebration too so how about another giveaway? One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of my book along with a set of the Wedding Inspiration cards I developed a few months ago (see below.) For those who are reading this but are not mothers of the bride, you don’t have to be a mother of the bride to enter. The book and cards also make perfect gifts, and I love to see the book donated to church and public libraries as well. For a description of the book along with endorsements, I’ll link you to the Books section of my website.

Now for the giveaway. Here’s how it will work—and you must follow the instructions to qualify for the entries. You may list all of your entries (as outlined below) in one comment:

*1 entry for leaving a comment on this post here on my website. The comments on Facebook are greatly appreciated, but to be entered in the giveaway, you must leave a comment here.

*2 entries for Liking my Cheryl Barker, Writer Facebook page (tell me in the comments.) If you’ve already Liked the page, just say so. That definitely counts!

*3 entries for sharing the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter (tell me in the comments.)

*4 entries for subscribing to Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter (tell me in the comments but be sure to confirm your subscription when you get a confirmation email.) Sign-up is to the right under “Free For You”. (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) If you’re already a Life Notes subscriber, you bet that counts. Just mention it in your comment.

*Giveaway is open to US residents only due to customs and mailing costs.

*Drawing will be done by Random.Org.

Enter by noon CST July 22nd, and I will update this post with the winner announcement as soon as I’m able, depending on travels, etc.

I won’t be posting here again until August 1st. Yes, that’s a long blogging break, but July is going to be a super busy month for me so I’m being kind to myself and taking a break. I’ve learned it’s okay to do that!

For “mother of the bride” help in the meantime, check out my list of Favorite Posts and also the drop down menu in the Archives. You’ll find both of these on the sidebar. (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find them.) I encourage you to check out my Pinterest boards for some great ideas as well. Have fun with all of that, MOB, and I’ll see back here on August 1st!

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early August. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 cash (summer mad money!) and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

Left to right: Life Lessons from the Mother of the Bride, A Mother of the Bride’s Prayer, A Bride’s Wedding Day Prayer, Praying for Newlyweds, and For the Newlyweds.

When Interruptions Derail Your Day

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I admit it—I don’t deal real well with interruptions to my plans. It tends to drive me crazy when I’m not accomplishing the things I wanted to. Anyone else identify?

I do try to battle my poor reaction to interruptions, though. I start my day by saying, “Lord, this day is yours and so am I. My times are in your hands.” But somewhere along the way, I find myself grabbing that time back. I hate it when I do that. I say one thing and do another.

Recently I read an entry in Sarah Young’s newest devotional book Jesus Always, and it gave me great—albeit convicting—insight into my struggle with interruptions. It also pointed out a better approach to dealing with them. And I found it very interesting that this approach emphasizes trust—the very word I chose as my theme word for 2017.

I’d like to share portions of that entry here today in case any of you fight a similar battle with yourself. I pray it blesses and helps you—and I pray I’ll remember to apply it to my life. Here it is:

“When things are not going your way, refuse to get flustered . . . Your desire to feel in control is often the culprit behind your frustration. You plan your day and expect others to behave in ways that expedite your plans. When that doesn’t happen, you face a choice: to resent the situation or to trust in Me. Remember that I am in control and My ways are higher than yours . . . Instead of getting agitated about setbacks to your schedule, use them as reminders: I am your Savior-God, and you are My beloved follower. Relax in My sovereign control, trusting in My unfailing Love.” Sarah Young, January 16 entry in Jesus Always (italics are phrases from scripture, Isaiah 55:9 and Psalm 13:5)

“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands;” Psalm 31:14-15a

*Do you struggle with dealing with life’s interruptions too?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is free and to the right. Your name won’t be included in the giveaway draw until the next issue comes out, but it’s not too late to receive this issue. Sign up today!

*Flickr photo by MOEVIEW is Aaron Molina, Creative Commons License