Faith, hope, & heartwarming

Living, loving, learning to trust God- and writing about it!


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Discerning dreams

I read a wonderful blog post by Miriam Rockness today that spoke so strongly to issues I’ve struggled with this week.

She quotes from the book, Adventures in Prayer by Catherine Marshall. I’m posting the questions here in the hope they might help someone else discern if something they long for is truly God’s will for them.

Questions to help one determine if one’s “dream” springs from selfish human will or the will of God:

1. Will my dream fulfill the talents, the temperament, and emotional needs which God has planted in my being?

2. Does my dream involve taking anything or any person belonging to someone else?

3. Am I willing to make all my relationships with other people right?

4. Do I want this dream with my whole heart?

5. Am I willing to wait patiently for God’s timing?

6. Am I dreaming big?

I’m pretty sure reading that, where I’ve been coming unstuck is #5!

Image of road through forest, Bible verse Matthew 19:26, With God all things are possible

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To Be Read

Autumn Macarthur:

Very pleased to be on Nicki Edward’s list here!
Of course her book Intensive Care is also on my list- http://www.amazon.com/Intensive-Care-Nicki-Edwards-ebook/dp/B00OYPTCSS/

Originally posted on Nicki Edwards:

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Hi everyone, I need your help!

I have a massive “to be read” pile of books on my Kindle. Unfortunately, I’m a bit like a magpie and when I see something shiny and new, I pick it up and then forget about all the other shiny things still in my nest!

Can you help me put my “To Be Read” pile into some sort of order? Leave me a comment and let me know if you’re read any of these books and tell me which ones need to make it to the top of my reading list!

Here’s the shiny books currently un-read on my Kindle (in no particular order).

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A difficult decision

After a lot of prayer I’ve come to a difficult decision to pull the preorder for my next book, Forget Paris and delay publication.

Though when I set a preorder date, the book is well underway, unfortunately it’s been a challenging six weeks, with illness in the family, death of a beloved pet, and other issues that have delayed me completing all the edits I feel are needed to do the story justice. I value my readers and want to make sure the version I publish is the best I can produce.

The book will now be released by February 12th.

If you placed a preorder for the book on Amazon, I sincerely apologise for the cancellation, and want to repay your support. Anyone who had a preorder and emails or messages me by Monday 26th January will be sent a free copy of the book as soon as it’s ready to publish.

Thank you so much for your understanding!

Image of eagle flying over snowy mountain, Bible verse Isaiah 30:41


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A personal prayer

Yesterday, I found that wonderful prayer by Allen Arnold for surrendering our creativity to God.

I’ve had a difficult week, lots of personal challenges, a small household tragedy, feeling overloaded, struggling to write. Struggling, because I’ve closed my heart to God, in my anger and grief, instead of surrendering even deeper to Him. Today, in my quiet time, I filled the page with a prayer of my own. It’s raw. It lacks the lyrical beauty of Allen’s prayer. But I’m posting it here just in case it touches someone’s heart the way it’s touched mine.

Please help me to write for You Lord. Help me to focus on You, to open myself to You, and just let the words come without criticizing or judging. I know I haven’t found the core of this story yet and I need to be okay with that and write regardless. The only way out is through. I need to dive into the story recklessly, with abandon, trusting in You. I love that feeling. Thank You Lord!

Please, help me to do that. Help me to forget all else but You and the story and write free and wild and joyfully and thankfully. Help me to write with trust and faith and freedom, knowing that You write the story, not me. I doubt myself, yes, but I have no need to doubt when it’s You doing the work. Thank You for that. Thank You that I can trust and rely on You. Thank You that Your burden is easy and light.

Help me to surrender all the burdens I’m carrying Lord, that make life feel so heavy and hard. Help me to hand them all over to you, let them go, let them slip from my shoulders with a relieved sigh, as You place your soft gentle light yoke on my shoulders instead. Help me to seek to serve You, not myself. Help me to measure my success in how much I am serving You, not in worldly goals like book sales or making money. Help me to make it more about You and less about me.

More of You, less of me. That’s what I need, dear Lord. That’s what I need. I love You. I want to live for You. That way is peace and joy and love and an overflowing heart. Struggling on my own is no fun. It hurts. It closes my heart to love. Help me to open to You. Help me to trust in You. Help me to abandon myself to You. You are my light and my life. You can fill me with rivers of love, overflowing, blessing all around me.

You can do all things, and in You, I can too. But without You, I am nothing. I am lost. I am loveless. Help me to always choose You Lord, to choose love, to choose life. You are the way, the truth, and the light, and in You, all things become new.

Including me.


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A prayer to consecrate our creativity

A wonderful and much needed prayer by Allen Arnold to help us to offer ourselves and our work to God, no matter what our creative calling is. There’s an entire blog post that goes with this, and it’s heart-and-soul-touching, uplifting, God-centred reading.

I love the sense of joy and play and co-creation in this! And I know the dryness and aridity of trying to create without God. I’ve lost myself in that desert more than once! When we are with God, all things are possible.

Creator God

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

You created me with this unique passion to create.

You invited me into this calling.

Breathe into me.

Your presence here.

You have broken my chains.
Rescued me from the desert.

This is not about me.

This is not up to me.

Slay my striving.

Replace my productivity
with your presence.

Help me not look to the world for inspiration –
but to your boundless imagination filled with
truth, goodness, nobility, grace, love.

Help me not look to the world for validation –
for you have given me this calling.
Even deeper, you’ve given me my identity.
I am first your son (or daughter).

So I consecrate my identity to you.
My creativity to you.
My heart to you.
My life to you.

Reign over it all.

I hunger for you God.
Your mystery. Your wildness. Your holiness.

We get to do this together.
To create with words, songs, art.
Images and stories of freedom.
Of healing. Of hope.

I want to run with you. Ride with you.
Write with you. Sing with you.
Create with you.

May our time be blazing with life and light.

I cast out the enemy and any spirits of
distraction, despair or disheartenment.
The enemy has no place in the life-giving
process of creation.
He is the author of lies.
You are the Author of life.

Grant me your peace.
It casts out all fear.

Grant me your presence.
I am never alone.

If you’re not here, I call the whole process off.
I can’t do it without you.
I don’t want to do it without you.
May my face glow from your presence.

Let me taste your goodness.
Give me a glimpse of the eternal songs, stories
and images only seen by those
in the kingdom of heaven.

May my creation reflect you as Creator.

May my calling reflect you as the Caller.

May the work of my hands make you smile.

May we do this together, Father.

In the name of Jesus,

I give you…me.

Thank you Allen for the blessing of this prayer!

And thank You Lord that You call us all to be co-creators with You in this world, whether through creative work like writing and painting, or through parenting, or through baking love into our cupcakes, or tending our gardens, or doing whatever work You’ve called us to with a full heart and a willingness to serve. You are the reason for it all.

Image of woods, with Bible verse "Commit your way to the LORD, trust in Him, and He will act" Psalm 37:5, by Christian romance author Autumn Macarthur


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God’s grace is enough!

Last year, my husband surprised me by challenging me to choose one word to set my intention for the year.

Neither of us can remember the word he chose, but I blogged mine so I have a reminder!

I prayed, and chose “renewal”.

Here’s what I wrote-

It’s the perfect word for me to set as my hope and intention for the coming year. I’ll joyfully embrace that as my theme.

Renewal spiritually, strengthening my relationship with God and allowing Him to make me new, cleanse me of all that separates me from Him and from truly loving others.

Renewal emotionally, as I move away from resentment and self-criticism into love and acceptance.

Renewal physically, as I find His plan for my health through right diet and exercise.

Renewal professionally, as He helps me build my new career of writing to inspire and bring joy to readers.

Renewal in relationships, especially my marriage, as He helps me to come from love and acceptance not criticism and blame.

Probably far more renewals that I don’t even suspect yet.

I feel so blessed by that one simple word.

So, it was the perfect word. God worked powerfully in my life, as I went deeper on this journey of surrender to Christ, handing Him Lordship of all of my life. I’m still such a long way off being perfected! My walk with Him feels like it will always be two steps forward, one step back, thanks to my stubborn self-will. But I can feel how far I’ve allowed Him to bring me in the journey, too.

So, yesterday a friend and I were discussing this year’s word. I asked God, and the word “enough” came to me.

Since then, I’ve prayed over it.

Asked God to help me to seek His will and to serve Him. To show me what He want me to be doing. To help me to feel the word He gave me for the year.

Enough.

Both enough as in I have enough in material terms, not to look at my book sales and feel disappointed, wanting more instead of trusting that He will provide enough for me.

Also, enough as in trusting that His Grace is sufficient.

But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” I Cor 12: 9 ERV

I’ve sought to build up my own strength, using my own power, but that’s not how it works.

His grace is sufficient.

I don’t need to work harder or do more or be more. I can step off the treadmill. All I need to do is to rest in Him and trust in Him. That is enough.

Knowing that is a wonderful blessing.

Enough.

Image of still lake at sunset, with Bible verse My Grace is sufficient for you from Christian romance author Autumn Macarthur

BTW, my husband’s word for the year is “hope”. 2014 was difficult for him, full of challenges, so I pray he does feel hope, and God’s loving hand in his life.

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Struggle Alone Or Surrender To God?

Autumn Macarthur:

I’m feeling so blessed today! This review for my latest release made me all teary-eyed, in a good way :)

Originally posted on Avid Reader Reviews:

I was so blessed to receive a copy of A Model Bride by Autumn Macarthur, book number three of the Love In Store series. Once again Autumn Macarthur has presented a totally charming contemporary Christian romance set in both London and Scotland. But her books are so much more – always containing a deep message that will have the reader questioning the depth of their own walk with God.

Tiffany is an American pastor’s daughter who finds herself as a volunteer, along with the rest of her family, at a London shelter for the homeless on Christmas Day. Tiffany is disappointed, her only Christmas in London was not meant to be like that. She reluctantly goes to the shelter, and meets photographer Mac, a friend of her brother Nick, and also the son of a Scottish pastor.

Both Tiffany and Mac are both struggling in life to prove something to…

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CASSIE BEAUMONT ~ HER TYCOON HERO’s Recovered and Restored Heroine

Originally posted on Foreign Affaire:

Her Tycoon Hero coverCassie Beaumont Believes in Second Chances 

Set on proving to everyone that she’s no longer a party girl, Cassie is focused on her career as an event planner. But her dad’s top executive, Ryan Mitchell, proves to be a handsome distraction. Especially when someone from Cassie’s wild past tries to get her tangled in the life she’s worked hard to escape.

Ryan is taken with his boss’s beautiful daughter. But having been fooled by a brother who ran in her same circles, he is slow to trust. When Cassie’s newfound faith works its way into his heart, Ryan soon finds he wants to claim both her faith and Cassie as his own.

Welcome Cassie. Ryan has told us a lot of good things about you. Naturally, we’ve been looking forward to having you visit here at Foreign Affaire.

Thank you for hosting me.

Please tell us your full name and…

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