Ease on Down the Romans Road

By Carlton Hughes

On a warm Sunday morning nineteen years ago, I knelt to pray to receive Christ as my Savior. When the service ended I left the church as if floating on a cloud. What a feeling! I knew my life was changed forever, and I figured the rest of that life would be filled with sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.

Boy, was I wrong.

Mind you, choosing to serve Christ was the best decision I have ever made and is the only way to live, but even Jesus said we would have trouble in this world. My transition into the Christian life was not easy—it took a while for me to figure it out. I’m actually still figuring it out, and one thing that has helped me is reading the book of Romans.
As I stumbled through those first few months of my new life, I didn’t know where to begin in reading the Bible. Someone suggested I read Romans, and I dug in. I found it’s a powerful book on how to live the Christian life.

The richest chapter that I latched onto was Romans 8. The first verse I ever memorized was verse 2—For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from sin and death—but there are so many more that provide insight and direction.

Further in Romans 8, I found that the sufferings of our present life cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us (verse 18). Just think, our current troubles will pale in comparison to what lies ahead. What a promise! On and on there are rich nuggets of wisdom, reminding me God is for me and not against me and nothing can separate me from His love.

I could go on and on, and I toyed with the idea of copying and pasting the whole book into this blog post. But then the administrators would complain the post was too long and not tweetable. Suffice to say, if you need some encouragement and direction, get yourself over to Romans.

Click to tweet: Salvation on the Romans road. #faith #Bible

WRITING PROMPT: Think back to your salvation experience. What struggles did you have? Find a verse in the book of Romans and relate it to your life.

My Favorite Book of Bible Is…

The Holy Bible is made up of sixty-six books, including history, poetry, prophecy, the gospels, and letters…in three languages, written by numerous authors, inspired by God.

It’s called the Word of God. No other book has lasted as long, or sold as well. During the month of August, the Writing Prompts Crew will discuss their favorite books of the Bible. We hope you’ll join the conversation. Comment and ask questions. Tell us your favorite(s) – quote a beloved scripture – let us know why you love the passage.

My favorite book will come as no surprise to those who know me. Ruth is situated between Judges and 1 Samuel. The lead character is not Hebrew, she’s a convert to Judaism. She loves her mother-in-law, Naomi, like a mother–well enough that she takes Naomi’s faith and promises to stay beside her in one of the most quoted passages of the Bible.

But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us! Ruth 1:16-17 The Message Bible

The calling of God was so strong in Ruth’s heart, she felt compelled to go.

Click to Tweet: She gave up everything to follow, but look what she gained in return. #BookofRuth #BibleStudy

Ruth’s story may seem like a romantic tale, but it’s so much more. It’s a foreshadowing, a type, both symbolic and prophetic. In Ruth, we see the story of God’s grace and redemption. When she found her way to the fields owned by Boaz (a type of Christ), the kinsman redeemer, he offered his protection. He invited her to drink of his servants’ water, and dine at their table.

Sound familiar? I’m reminded of the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus offered her living water. I’m reminded of the marriage supper of the Lamb. I’m reminded that you can’t always see what lies ahead. You can’t know that what you’re leaving behind is nothing compared to what God has in mind for your future. If you will trust Him, He will lead you to it.

This is the message of the book of Ruth. It’s a foreshadowing of the walk of faith–giving up our old lives for what God has planned.

I did a two-part study of the book of Ruth on my personal blog, if you’re interested: Beyond the Book of Ruth and Ruth’s Legacy.

Kinsman Redeemer The book of Ruth is the inspiration for my Kinsman Redeemer series, which includes Annabelle’s Ruth and Sutter’s Landing, and will continue in a third installment. Annabelle is the Naomi character in the story. Her daughter-in-law, Connie, is Annabelle’s Ruth. Because of my love for the story of Ruth, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story.

I’ve continued to study the book of Ruth, and I’m amazed that with each new read, I learn something more. But that’s kind of standard with the Holy Bible, isn’t it?


Instead of a writing prompt, do you have a question about the book of Ruth? Have you read something in the book that inspired you? Who is your favorite character in the book?

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WORLD DIABETES DAY

Today is World Diabetes Day. To educate a little about diabetes and football, I’m sharing a post from my son’s devotional book – First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up published by Harvest House Publishers.

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photo by Sean O’Toole

Jake is a type 1 diabetic who pushed hard, fighting against diabetes highs and lows to climb to the pinnacle of football success and play in the NFL.

This month, National Diabetes Awareness Month, Jake is giving $1 from each AUTOGRAPHED copy of his book sold to the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.) 

First and Goal is filled with short anecdotes and stories about overcoming and faith. Below is a devotional story, the first one in Jake’s book where he shares his diagnosis story. This A-Z football devotional is filled with short inspirational clips of his life, faith walk, and journey into the NFL.

Audible  – When the quarterback changes the play at the line of scrimmage, based on the defensive formation, he calls an audible, which is a better-suited play.

01f5b5aca74f53007313ae467f0f98784ea4d3f3edBeginning my freshman year in high school, through hard work, dedication, and by the grace of God I’d earned a starting spot as an offensive tackle on our football team. Standing at 6 feet 5 and weighing in as a 240-pound 14-year-old, I was one of the team’s biggest players. With early interest from college scouts, I ran full steam ahead, thinking I had life all figured out.

By the time the season had ended, I’d dropped 40 pounds and suffered from constant fatigue. The drastic weight loss confused me, my parents, and the coaches. I ate like a ravenous wolf and worked out constantly, hoping to gain weight. Instead, I shed pounds like a German shepherd sheds fur.

An unseen offense had launched a full-scale attack against my body. First, relentless hunger and weight loss. Then, the thirst. I guzzled gallons of Gatorade and water. My constant bathroom breaks annoyed my teachers and had me worried.

At the doctor’s office I expected a prescription for a bladder infection. Instead, I got rocked by the hardest hit I’d ever taken: a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 ).

Diabetes meant a major lifestyle change. My endocrinologist assured me I could still play football—but only if I did everything by the book. I had to call my own audible. This disease forced me onto my own personal line of scrimmage, where I had to come up with a new game plan and change my mind-set. Controlling my blood sugar meant huge dietary adjustments. I had to act as my own pancreas, injecting proper amounts of insulin each time I consumed carbs in order to maintain healthy sugar levels.

Support from family, friends, and coaches carried me through difficult moments, along with a peaceful reassurance that God cared about my plans, hopes, and dreams. Have you been there? Believed you had your game plan all figured out, only to take a hit from an unexpected challenge? Have faith and listen to the audible God is calling. Trust that He has plans for you—good plans for a future and greater plans than you can ever imagine.

Houston JDRF Ad 3Want a copy of First and Goal autographed to you or a special someone? $1 from the sale goes to support the JDRF. Click here Great motivational devotional for anyone. 

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12016186_10156044039905635_176705038_oWRITING PROMPT: Know a diabetic? Type 1 or Type 2? Think of a character with high goals and dreams. Bam! They get hit with a diabetes diagnosis. How do they react. Also, if you use a diabetic character in your writing make sure you do some research into the differences between type one and type two. Type 1 diabetes has no cure. It’s an autoimmune disease. It means you are completely insulin dependent. Type 2 is curable.

Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. Jake lives in Dallas with his wife, Emma, and two four-legged kids: Duke the Dogo Argentino and Yeti the Great Dane.

Jake blogs at www.typewon.net. He can be reached through the following social media:

Facebook Page (Type Won): www.facebook.com/typewon1

Twitter: @sugarfreejb82

Instagram: Jakebyrne81

Email: typewonquestions@gmail.com

A Long Time Ago in a Faraway Place…

by Betty Thomason Owens

A long time ago in a faraway place…

Sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale, doesn’t it? I can imagine scrunching down in my bed, getting ready to hear a wonderful story that helps me drift off to sleep. A story filled with marvelous things, like fairies…and princesses and kings.

What story do you read or tell on Christmas Eve? What story beckons to your imagination? “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Many of us know that one by heart.

Then there’s the story of the animals that spoke at midnight on Christmas Eve. And the true story of the Christ child, born to Mary in Bethlehem, a long time ago…a faraway place. Shepherds came in from the fields, sent by an angelic host. The three wise men arrived, bearing strange gifts. The Christ child cooed in his makeshift cradle—a manger—a humble beginning for a king.

Leonardo DaVinci

Leonardo Da Vinci

The magic of Christmas glows in our hearts. The traditional telling, whether we read it or say it from memory, passes on the tradition of belief. And belief lends strength to the hearer. How will they hear unless someone speaks the message? How will they believe if no one teaches?

It may have all the earmarks of a fairy tale, but it’s grounded in truth. We’ve fictionalized it over the years, but the facts remain. If you open the Bible and read it directly from the Word of God, you find truth that touches hearts and ignites a fire within.

So plant the seeds of faith in your children and grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends. Tell the story, or read it aloud to them. Share the faith that burns in your heart because someone shared it with you. And never forget the Christ child born in a manger, who grew up to change the world.

May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and holiday celebration. Peace on earth, good-will to men!

Betty Thomason Owens

Mythology & Folklore: Giants on the Earth

Osmar_Schindler_David_und_GoliathAs a young reader, I loved mythology. I became interested in the myths in school when we had to read them, but continued on my own. So imagine my surprise when I found the following Bible verse:

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.–Genesis 6:4 NKJV

Could it be true? Had there really been giants on earth? Pre-flood, pre-Noah? The answer is yes. And they were men of renown. Well-known. Talked about. And why not? These were called the Nephilim, descended of angels. Later, after the flood, giants still existed in the form of the Anakim, the children of Anak, and also the Emim (Deuteronomy 2:11, 9:2 & Numbers 13:33).

Remember Goliath? He was nine feet tall. Nine. So it’s not a stretch of the imagination to believe the myths may have been based in reality. And of course, as people do, they told tales about them. Fish stories. With each telling, they became bigger, taller, stronger, more powerful. Israel’s spies in Numbers 13 were shaking in their boots. No way were they going back there. Giants lived in the land.

2013-08-25 03.55.16Folklore is the passing down of stories, myths, sung or recanted. Loveable stories like Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan. Fun to read, fun to listen to around campfires. But fiction, all the same. Blown out of proportion by the tellers, but good clean fun, most of the time.

So could these stories also be based in truth?

They never seem to lose their fascination. Moviegoers flock to the hero sagas. Thor. Hercules. Can anyone play Zeus better than Liam Neeson?

As a young reader, finding that verse in the Bible (whose words are truth) was like a door opening on a whole new existence. My imagination shifted into overdrive.  I could see how people would think those men were gods. They towered over everyone else.

I hope my ideas have inspired you to look further into the history of mankind. Search the scriptures on your own and see what you think. Are the myths based in reality?

Writing Prompt: As writers, we have a wealth of ideas thrown at us in the stories of old. What can we do with them? Pull one of them out and give it a current setting. Mix in a little romance, if you will, or a good dose of humor. Make it real. Make it your own. Be creative! Leave us a short sample in the comment section.

“Osmar Schindler David und Goliath”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Osmar_Schindler_David_und_Goliath.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Osmar_Schindler_David_und_Goliath.jpg

Betty Thomason Owens