Guest Blogger Jane M. Tucker: Better Days to Come

I went to bed feeling fine and woke up with a pain in my leg so acute I could barely walk. How did I injure myself while sleeping?

“It’s probably bursitis,” my doctor said.

Bursitis? Isn’t that an old people’s word?

On days like this, when my body lets me down, my thoughts sometimes turn gloomy. Will this pain last forever? I wonder. Is it a foretaste of misery to come? Getting old is not for the weak!

My earthly body is my home in this world. It’s the means by which I process all my experiences. Without it I would not be human, and if I weren’t human I would not know the Lord Jesus. I’m grateful for my body, but I know it’s not going to last forever.

In First Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul addresses the Corinthians’ doubts about the resurrection. It’s true, he tells them. Jesus’ body was resurrected, and ours will be too. Our resurrected bodies will be different from our natural ones, just as a seed planted in the ground is different from a stalk of wheat. “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (I Cor 15:42-44 NIV)

The promise of an imperishable body makes my current imperfect one bearable. Someday eyeglasses and allergies and random bouts of pain will end for me. Maintaining my health becomes a means to serve the Lord, not the focus of my life.

The promise of a body raised in glory and power makes me look differently at my appearance. I do what I can to be neat and attractive. But I don’t see any reason to put time and money into looking younger than I am. Someday I’ll look much better than I do right now. I can wait for that.

The promise of my natural body being raised a spiritual body reminds me of my purpose on earth. I’m not here to glorify self, but to work hard for the glory of the Lord.

Friend, are you struggling with the aches and pains of growing old? If you know the Lord Jesus, you have every reason to hope for better days to come.

“We . . . would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV

Jane M. Tucker is a lifelong writer and reader with a deep love for the art of storytelling. Her Midwestern roots inspire the stories she tells, both in her books and on her blog, Postcards from the Heartland. Jane is the author of the Lottie Braun series, about an Iowa girl with a big gift for music, and the family she loves with all her heart. Lottie’s Gift, Lottie’s Hope, and Lottie’s Freedom are available at Amazon.com and Crossrivermedia.com.

Follow Jane on Social Media:

Website: JaneMTucker.com

Facebook: Jane M. Tucker Author

Twitter: @JaneMTuckerAuth

Instagram: JaneMTucker

Thank you, Jane, for sharing your encouraging thoughts with us this week!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. 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.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

Photo used with permission from Picmonkey.com Stock Photos

Book for the Engaged Couple: From Me to We

Hope you enjoy today’s guest post by Lucille Williams, author of From Me to We.

Mother of the Bride, have your daughter and future son-in-law gotten premarital guidance? This very delicate time of excitement and anticipation is the perfect time for the future bride and groom to obtain the necessary tools for their happily-ever-after. You, as the mother of the bride, no doubt would love nothing less than to see your daughter in a happy and thriving marriage.

We all know marriage can be challenging at times and preparation is key to a marriage full of passion, fulfillment, and joy. We all take that stroll down the aisle with many hopes and big dreams, but how do we make those dreams a reality?

The book From Me to We is exactly that resource tool tackling necessary topics like communication, finances, conflict resolution, and keeping a good relationship with in-laws. Each chapter closes with critical discussion questions for the couple to review and talk about together as they begin their forever marriage love story.

Here’s what others are saying about From Me to We:

“Are you approaching the altar? If you’re an engaged couple looking for a how-to guide that is both very helpful and very funny, this is the book for you! Although Lu doesn’t shy away from the tough conversations, she handles them in a way that is engaging and personal – and wise. This is a great read for a great start to a great marriage.”

-Shaunti Feldhahn, best-selling author of For Women Only and For Men Only

“This book will unpack the nuts and bolts of matrimony and give you tools to last the life of your marriage.”

-Dr. Kevin Leman, New York Times Bestselling author of Sheet Music and Have a New Husband by Friday

“Lucille Williams writes about marriage with refreshing honesty and candor. You will find her direct approach in addressing the difficulties of marriage to be challenging, and you will find her positive tone to be encouraging. I may have a shelf full of marriage books, but Lucille’s vulnerable transparency, biblical clarity, and practical counsel makes “From Me to We” a book I will recommend not only to engaged couples but to couples who have been married for years.”

-Kyle Idleman, Senior Pastor at Southeast Christian Church, and bestselling author of Not a Fan and The End of Me

Mother of the Bride, give your daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law the gift of preparation as they go from “me” to “we” and  help safeguard their forever love.

Lucille Williams is the author of From Me to We: A Premarital Guide for the Bride- and Groom-to-Be and The Intimacy You Crave: Straight Talk about Sex and Pancakes.  As a speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and grandma with over 25 years of ministry experience, she has dedicated her life to helping couples thrive in their marriages. Lucille has been featured on Focus on the Family, and speaks at conferences and women’s events, helping to empower women to soar. You can visit her blog at LuSays.com.

*You might also like to read A Prayer for the Newlyweds.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out today. It’s not too late to receive it. 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.)

Guest Post by James Watkins: Why? Why? Why?

A three-year-old’s favorite word is why.

“Johnny, hold my hand while we cross the street.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want you to run out in front of a car.”

“Why?”

“Because if a car hits you, you’ll be hurt or killed.”

“Why?”

“Because if it’s a contest between a thirty-five-pound boy and an SUV, the three-ton vehicle is going to win every time.”

“Why?”

“Because the laws of physics state that mass plus momentum equals—Just take my hand, Johnnie!”

And on it goes—right into adulthood!

Why didn’t God heal my friend?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do I still have acne at 60?

But like the popular game show, Jeopardy, the answers are often in the form of a question.

 

What can I know?

I can know the truth of Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV).

For instance, our group health insurance had very few maternity benefits, but had great “major medical” coverage. At the birth of our first child, my wife had complications and spent five days in Intensive Care. But, because the birth was now “major medical,” every penny of our daughter’s birth was covered. Sitting in ICU for five days waiting to know if my wife was going live or die was not good, but it did work for good.

However, it took me nearly thirty years to realize that Romans 8:28’s “purpose” is revealed in the following—and usually ignored—verse:

. . . to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. . . .

I may never know the answer to why, but I can know what is the purpose to which God is working all for our good. To be like Jesus! If you look for it, you’ll find throughout the New Testament. For instance:

 

And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18b, author’s emphasis).

 

How can I grow?

Jesus promises . . .

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:1, 4-5 NLT).

Our spiritual lives depend on this intimate connection with Christ. His life flows into and through us causing us to become organically one with his character. That connection is strengthened through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other believers. And suffering!

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NLT, author’s emphasis).

When I think back to my “successful” years—award-winning author and editor, world-traveling conference speaker, denominational executive, and co-pastor of a growing church—I certainly didn’t resemble the Christ I was trying to follow. It has only been during my “failure” years—years between book contracts, estranged relationships, being voted out of a church, and having to borrow money to make a living writing and speaking—that I have come to derive my self-identity and self-worth from simply being a loved child of God.

Who can I show?

Finally, 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 has become one of my favorite passages in encouraging me while I’m going through terrible times:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer (NLT).

I now believe that God is more than willing to answer those questions and how they relate to living a life conformed to the image of His Son. Even why I still suffer from acne!

From God, I Don’t Understand, Copyright 2017, 2019 James N. Watkins. Available at Amazon.

Jim is an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles, who has spoken across the United States and overseas. He has served as an editor and editorial director at Wesleyan Publishing House, an editor with the American Bible Society, taught writing at Taylor University for 15 years, and has guest-lectured at Liberty, Regent and other universities. He is currently writing and speaking full-time as well as consulting in book development. His most important roles, however, are being a child of God, husband, dad and “papaw.”

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. 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.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

Guest Blogger Debra Butterfield: Are You Fully Convinced?

What does it mean to be fully convinced—of anything?

It means to be absolutely certain, have no doubts, that something will be accomplished.

Are you fully convinced the sun will set tonight? I’d say so. You probably didn’t even give it a thought, otherwise, you’d be in a panic.

Stop and think about what being certain of something does for you.

You have no doubts. You have confidence in its occurrence. You have peace.

Are you fully convinced you’ll overcome any tough situation that might come your way?

Your certainty may have vanished before you finished reading that sentence.

When I landed in a hospital bed for six days back in December 2017, I came face to face with my anemic faith in God. I lacked any kind of certainty—beyond my salvation—in God’s Word. It was time for that to end!

I am a soldier. I had a soldier mindset before I joined the Marine Corps, and my time in the service fine-tuned that mindset. Now I am a soldier in the Lord’s army. Often when God teaches me something new, He does it through military analogies.

When Marines go into battle, they know they are not fighting alone. Every Marine in their unit is fighting alongside them. Additionally, they know they have the fire power of US tanks, warships, missiles, fighter jets, and bombers to back them up.

And when they fight, they fight intent on winning.

In Jesus’ day, Roman soldiers were told to come home a winner or don’t come home at all! They went into battle determined and convinced they would win.

We can enter any situation being fully convinced we’ll win!

“How?” you ask.

By knowing what the Bible has to say. But we can’t read a Scripture just once and be fully convinced. We must know that we know that we know. That’s what being convinced is.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV, emphasis added)

To be fully convinced we must know what God’s Word says and spend time renewing our mind in that truth.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 NKJV). The New Living Translation puts it this way, “but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

We are the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:27)

God’s power dwells in us. (Eph. 3:19-20)

Is there any power greater than God?

No!

Can God lie?

No!

Has He made promises?

Yes! And in Him all His promises are yes and amen (1 Cor. 1:20). If He failed to keep His promises, He would be a liar and would be breaking His covenant with Jesus.

We are not alone in our battles. God is always with us. And we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).

Meditate on God’s Word so you can become fully convinced.

“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me” (Psalm 16:8 NLT).

*What do you need to be fully convinced of today?

Debra Butterfield’s newest book is Unshakable Faith: Living Strong in the Kingdom of God, a Bible study designed to help readers leave their doubts behind and live a bold, confident life for God. She writes a blog for writers at DebraLButterfield.com, and is the editorial director of CrossRiver Media Group, LLC, a publishing house. You may also find Debra on Facebook and Twitter.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. 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.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

Guest Blogger Jane M. Tucker: Praise Ye the Lord! In Celebration of Hymns

When I spend my daily time with the Lord, I like to incorporate sacred music in my worship. Sometimes I look up a current-day worship song on YouTube, but I find the very act of picking up my phone distracts me from my purpose. More often, I turn to an old hymnal for inspiration.

Many hymns, such as “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “Be Thou My Vision”, anchor my faith in its deep childhood roots. I sing these hymns, and I’m once again standing with the congregation while organ music swells around us, repeating the same words our ancestors once sang. I sing those beloved old tunes boldly to the Lord, my unremarkable voice reverberating in my empty living room.

I don’t always sing from my hymnal. Sometimes I run across an unfamiliar hymn, whose tune I can’t decipher without help. On those days I content myself with reading the verses aloud. Many a hymn started life as a heart-stirring poem before it was ever set to music. Consider the fourth verse of “O Worship the King”:

“Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender! How firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.”

Are you looking for inspiration for your personal worship times? Consider dusting off your old hymnal (or buying one second-hand—they’re cheap these days). Hymns are a treasure trove of faith-filled thoughts.

May the hymns of the past bless your worship time today!

“O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.”
Psalm 95:1 NASB

*Do you have a favorite hymn or worship song? Won’t you share it with me in the comments?

Here are a few hymn titles to start with:

“Come Thou Almighty King”
“Crown Him with Many Crowns”
“When Morning Gilds the Skies”
“Holy, Holy, Holy”
“Amazing Love”
“Christ the Solid Rock”
“Praise Ye the Lord, The Almighty”

*Photo by Michael Maasen on Unsplash

Jane M. Tucker is a lifelong writer and reader with a deep love for the art of storytelling. Her Midwestern roots inspire the stories she tells, both in her books and on two blogs: Postcards from the Heartland, and Midwest Almanac. Jane is the author of the Lottie Braun series, about an Iowa girl with a big gift for music, and the sister she loves with all her heart. Lottie’s Gift and Lottie’s Hope are available at Amazon.com and Crossrivermedia.com.


Follow Jane on social media:

Website: JaneMTucker.com
Facebook: Jane M. Tucker Author
Twitter: @JaneMTuckerAuth
Instagram: JaneMTucker

From Cheryl:

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber will receive a $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.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and my Wedding Inspiration cards check out my Books/My Work page.