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.

Pursuing Gold by Cynthia L. Simmons

Cynthia 3Today I’d like to introduce my friend, author and speaker, Cynthia L. Simmons. She and I first met at the Atlanta Christian Writers Conference.  Her latest book is out and I’ve asked her a few questions…

Hi, Cynthia! How long have you been writing?

Cynthia:  I started writing for publication in 2004. During a difficult time homeschooling my disabled son, I came across stories from history that encouraged me to keep going. In 2 Corinthians 1, the Apostle Paul said God gives us encouragement so we can give it to others so I felt a strong obligation to share what I learned. Within a few months, I found a local writing group and worked on perfecting the art of writing.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Cynthia:  Jesus gave us an example of teaching through stories when he told parables. Plus, the material I uncovered fit well into the historical fiction genre. I’d already found ways to include scripture in my Bible studies, so I did the same with my novel. Several secondary characters actually lived, and I researched enough to show their personalities and their love for God.

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Cynthia:  I spent a lot of time researching. First, I went to libraries where I live and in Chattanooga (my hometown). I also visited museums that cover the era. My highest priority was finding and studying letters and diaries. I also used the internet to find books and archival materials.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Cynthia: The research was terribly fun. I particularly enjoyed learning the medical care of the day as well as herbal medicines since my background is nursing.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Cynthia:  I have a sequel and a prequel planned. Right now I’m working on biographical fiction of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of C. H. Spurgeon.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit, Cynthia!


Cynthia 3Cynthia L Simmons has a heart for encouraging women in today’s crazy, upside-down world. Cynthia taught for over thirty years as both a home school mother and Bible teacher. She peppers her speaking with fascinating historical vignettes while delivering a riveting exposition of God’s word. Her presentations leave her audience uplifted and empowered. For women who want to grow deeper in their faith, she hosts Heart of the Matter Radio for women seeking the elegance of God’s wisdom. To learn more, visit her website. www.clsimmons.com.

Twitter – @CynthiaLSimmons

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cynthia.l.simmons.7

Heart of the Matter Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HrtMtr

Website: www.clsimmons.com

Homeschool Answers: http://homeschoolanswers.clsimmons.com

Google Plus: google.com/+CynthiaLSimmons

https://www.pinterest.com/cltsimmons/


Pursuing Gold

pursuing-goldWith his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis. With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.

3 Questions Wednesday with Lisa Worthey Smith

headshot3 Questions Wednesday welcomes  Alabama author, Lisa Worthey Smith. Don’t miss the opportunity to win a print copy of her book, Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird: And Other Tales From Life In My Fathers World . You’ll find the details below. But first, find out her answers to our 3 questions…

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Lisa: Certain authors-rather than particular books–who have influenced my writing include Joel Rosenberg and Oliver North for weaving prophecy into plausible contemporary scenarios to help people see how it could take place in our time. Kay Arthur for helping me learn how to study Scripture for myself. Each of these people effectively point others to know God personally and that is my goal as well.

That’s a great goal to have. 🙂 Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Lisa: For several years, I made stained glass windows, panels, and a couple of lamps. It was great fun and highly addictive!

I love stained glass windows! Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Lisa: If I know you are coming, I will dig out the fine china, silverware and cloth napkins. We will feast on slow-cooked chuck roast, with roasted potatoes, asparagus, carrots and onions. I will have homemade yeast rolls hot out of the oven, slathered with butter. Served with sweet tea, of course! Dessert will be a three layer chocolate cake with peanut butter fudge frosting.

If you show up unexpectedly, scrambled eggs and grits on paper plates and I’ll toss you a peppermint after we eat!

😉 I’ll make sure to give you a call before I come over. Thanks, Lisa, for stopping in!

Lisa is offering a print copy of her book, Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird. Please leave a comment to be entered to win…


9781490882178_COVER.inddOscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird: And Other Tales From Life In My Fathers World

Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird is an inspirational nonfiction about a severely injured hummingbird and an unlikely friendship with his new best friend. Their adventures and the author’s own health issues speak to a loving God and His provision. Oscar was recently named in the top 100 indie books to read for 2016! 

You can read the first chapter at http://lifeinmyfathersworld.blogspot.com/2015/06/introducing-oscar-extraordinary.html

Oscar is available at

Amazon

Barnes and Noble  


headshotLong-time Bible student, Lisa Worthey Smith has been called the parable teacher. Finding truths in everyday events and nature itself, she uses those truths to point to the hand of God all around us. She, her husband, and their 21 pound of cuteness wrapped in a Schnauzer suit, live in north Alabama where she teaches an in-depth Bible study class and spends time in her garden.

Connect on Facebook     

Life in my Fathers World

Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird book

Lisa Worthey Smith

Twitter                        @LisaWSmith57

Blog                 LifeinmyFathersWorld.blogspot.com

More links:  https://about.me/lisawsmith57 (Pinterest, Google+…)

Exercise? Christian Yoga – An Oxymoron?

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By Betty Thomason Owens

After a car accident several years ago, I had difficulty regaining my equilibrium and range of motion. Months passed and I wondered if I would ever recover. A chiropractor finally gave me a sheet of stretches and exercises and I began to follow his suggestions. The stretch and work out moves looked familiar. They were yoga routines.

I looked over the materials and found no reference to yoga or Eastern religious practices, so I felt safe doing them. I’d often find a scripture for the day and memorize it while I worked out. Sometimes, I even listened to praise music to help keep my mind properly focused.

Why was I concerned? Because of the history of yoga. If you’ve ever studied yoga and yoga practices, you know the danger. Knowledge sometimes tosses stumbling blocks not only in our way, but in the path of younger Christians as well. I don’t ever want to do anything to hurt someone coming after me.

royalty-free yogastretchBut the truth is, these exercises helped me find my way back from the injuries. Since then, I’ve used them on and off to recover from back sprains and other back injuries. What they do is: relax, stretch, and strengthen muscles, and also improve balance. In the last year or so, I’ve been able to restart my daily walking, because of stretching exercises. In good weather, I walk 4 – 5 miles a day. I couldn’t do that before without suffering intense pain during and after the walk. This results in a low-impact but comprehensive exercise program. Couple this with proper water intake and healthy eating and you have the perfect lifestyle change.

Specific exercises for my injury included:

  • shoulder roll
  • cat stretches
  • side reaches
  • full bends
  • the plank (I added this one)

These names are specific to exercises I was given, staying away from yoga terminology and copyrighted routines. Look for classes at area churches. If you prefer to workout at home, you can purchase DVDs or sign up online. You may also find them on your cable networks. Just do your research and start slowly. Please don’t hurt yourself!

For more information about yoga, Mike Shreve has written an excellent article at Charisma Health. He provides links to two excellent sites where you can read more about Christian stretch routines that include praise and worship.

Of course, as always, the choice is yours to make. As stated above, my research led me to question whether I, as a Christian believer should be involved in something that is rooted in Eastern religion. I made the decision to stay away from anything that could look questionable to younger believers, because that’s where I am. If you are a mom or a grandmother and have children who are watching you, your decisions should be based on scripture and your personal beliefs. (I Corinthians 3:9-13 for further study).

James 4:17, TMV: In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.

Whatever you decide to do, do it and don’t quit. If you do nothing, there will never be change in your life. If you do something, changes will come. Whenever I forget to do these exercise for a while, I almost always pay the price with an injury. The key is: Don’t give up, and don’t let your old sedentary habits sneak back in.

What can you do today to get back on track?

Don’t forget, your comments on our regular posts (Monday and Friday) can win you $$! Every other month, we give away a $25 gift certificate to one of you.

photo credit: stephcarter via photopin cc

Modern Day Heroes

McDonald-Bernheim2

By Betty Thomason Owens

I was a teen in the early seventies and part of a vibrant youth group at a local church. We were out to change the world. I remember the night Billy, along with his girlfriend Connie, became a part of our group. There was something special about them from the first. God’s hand was on them. I left when my dad was transferred to another city, but I kept up with the youth group through some of my close friends. After I returned to Louisville, I married and attended another church. I ran into Bill and Connie several times over the years. He went to college, they married and had a daughter. They pastored a church nearby.

What impressed me most about them, was their dedication. They suffered losses. Connie had a terrible accident, they lost two children due to a genetic disorder. Life wasn’t easy for them. Then I got a letter from Bill. They had accepted God’s call to missions. Their heart was set on Ecuador. They were leaving for missions school in Costa Rica, where they’d be immersed in the language. Would I be interested in supporting their ministry? Absolutely.

I started small, since I was a stay-at-home-mom at the time. But every month, I sent in my donation. They graduated from missions school and I received another letter. Cuenca, Ecuador, in the Andes Mountains. Wow. I was so proud of them, but I could not imagine moving to a foreign country with my little guys, leaving all my family and friends behind. They were very brave, and I was in awe of them.

Later, I spoke with Connie about what it was like to leave all she knew behind. She told me about that first day, after their arrival. She faced fear, but they were together, and not only that, God was with them. She had to trust Him for everything. The worst time came at Christmas, far from home and family. I could only imagine. I had a difficult time with the holiday when my parents moved three hundred miles away.

Their first order of duty in Cuenca was to establish a church. Centro Cristiano started small, but in a very short time, the church had grown and they needed a new building. As their ministry expanded, they developed and led a childcare program under the Assemblies of God, to plant schools with a Christ centered curriculum.

Years passed and Bill and Connie welcomed another child, Seth. I loved watching their children grow up through photographs received in their updates (no Facebook back then, just snail mail). The church in Cuenca continued to grow as well. Bill made trips into the Amazon regions, into places only accessed by canoe and on foot. Scary. I received pictures of their excursions into the Andes on foot and on horseback. He led missions teams into some of these places as well as to the Galapagos Islands. I longed to go on one of these. But the opportunity never came.

After their daughter Leah married, she and her husband also became missionaries (Jungle Missions), traveling into the Amazon regions teaching and preaching the gospel.

In 2002, I got a letter from Bill and Connie. They were turning over leadership of Centro Cristiano to Ecuadorian nationals in order to pursue other forms of ministry. Then he wrote about a new opportunity. A television station called Unsion. I had no idea what a bright star had just dawned on the world and through Bill and Connie’s ministry, I was part of it. Exciting stuff!

Bill and Connie’s son Seth is now grown, also working in missions. Their daughter Leah and her husband Joil Marbut have four children; Bill and Connie’s grandchildren, growing up on the mission field.

When Bill speaks, God speaks through him, using his natural abilities, the perfect mix of wide-eyed-wonder, humility, and humor. He’s never lost his awe of God and seems amazed of God’s goodness. He’s dedicated to Jesus, Connie, his children and grandchildren. Connie is one of the most humble women I know, yet beautiful, accomplished, and strong. She’s endured many hardships, but is always found serving God, her husband, children, and grandchildren with a graceful smile.

There’s a song we sang back in the early days, when Bill and Connie first got involved in the youth group. A line from that song says, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, but soon all those around can warm up in it glowing.” Bill was the spark God used to ignite a mighty, glowing flame that continues to spread across the world, carrying the greatest message of all. The gospel of Jesus Christ.

1048906_10200466198676034_645386335_oFor this reason, Bill and Connie McDonald are my heroes. Modern-day heroes of the faith. They would not wish to be exalted. They would give all glory to God, which is exactly where it belongs. He who has called them has given them the grace to perform His calling. (But they’re still my heroes!)

For more information on Bill and Connie McDonald’s ministry:

http://worldmissions.ag.org/search.cfm?Display=Yes&churchdetail=AGFM02F5

http://www.unsion.org/page17/page17.html

Joil and Leah Marbut: http://junglemissionary.com/

Today’s Prompt: Darcy had often dreamed of serving God in a remote region, but she’d never planned on the degree of hardship she’d endured. And she wasn’t even there yet. After twenty-four hours en route, eighteen of them spent in the Bangladesh airport, what she longed for most was…