Category Archives: prayer
We’ve all been there. He doesn’t understand what she’s really upset about. He thinks she blows things out of proportion. Neither of you can agree on the right course of action. In every marriage, there is conflict. And with every conflict, there is a choice for resolution. Will you ignore the issue until it seemingly goes away? Or will you work together to find peace?
In Don’t Go to Bed Angry, Deb and Ron DeArmond give you permission to fight. Marriage is worth fighting for. Conflict isn’t the problem, after all; the real issue is how we deal with the conflict. Combining a healthy dose of personal experience with relationship-affirming biblical wisdom, Deb and Ron demonstrate how communication through conflict can lead to greater insight and understanding of thoughts, feelings, and perspectives that can safeguard–and even strengthen–your relationship. Immensely practical features including worksheets, discussion questions, callouts, and prayers make this a definitive go-to resource to help you start fighting–together–for your marriage.
Wow! I have read books on marriage, and I have to say, this book takes the cake. There is so much to like about it. Seriously. You would think for a short book, it wouldn’t contain so much relevant information, but it does and then some.
The main premise of this book is how to communicate in a marriage and tools on how to resolve conflict effectively. I honestly wish this book existed before I married my husband thirteen years ago. I pretty much did everything this book advises against.
I have gotten into conversations with friends about how there isn’t a guidebook on what to do when you get married. Here you have two people coming together, from different worlds, upbringings, and communication styles. You know the saying, the “honeymoon is over?” Well, when you start living with your spouse, stuff starts coming up and if you don’t know how to fight fairly, or resolve conflict, you are going to find yourself in a very precarious situation. Don’t God To Bed Angry can help as it is a guidebook on how to do marriage successfully.
So, for any of you who are thinking of getting married or are married, I highly, and I mean HIGHLY, recommend this book. It doesn’t matter how many years you have been married, or how many problems you have had, or even if you are at the brink of divorce, you need to get this book. The information contained in this book alone, if practiced and applied, can revolutionize and save your marriage. Guaranteed.
This is by far one of the best marriage books I have read in years. I give five stars, but if I could give it more, I would. I will be referring to this book and recommending it to everyone.
In conclusion, I want to thank authors, Deb and Ron DeArmond for sharing their lives by helping me and other married couples. I also want to thank Abingdon Press for publishing this gem of a book, and last but not least, my Litfuse Publicity Group family for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review. Thank you, it truly blessed my life.
Deb DeArmond is an author, speaker, and coach with a focus on communication, relationships, and conflict resolution. Her writing explores marriage, parenting, in-law and extended family relationships. She is the author of “Related By Chance, Family By Choice” and “I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last.” Deb is the founder of Living-Write, where she coaches aspiring authors. She’s monthly columnist and feature writer for Lifeway’s “Mature Living” Magazine, and has published more than 120 articles online and in print publications. Ron DeArmond has a hungry heart for the Word, and has studied the Bible for 45+ years. Ron’s call to serve men is evident in his previous ministry positions with Christian Men’s Network under Dr. Edwin Lewis Cole and Faithful Men Ministry. Ron is currently the Associate Pastor of men’s ministry at Catch the Fire/ DFW and has ministered around the world. The DeArmonds live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
“Feathers—no matter what size or shape or color—are all the same, if you think about them. They’re soft. Delicate. But the secret thing about feathers is . . . they are very strong.”
In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughter’s sixth-grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughter’s best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelry—gone, without a trace.
Unable to cope with her guilt, Amanda’s daughter sinks into depression. And Amanda’s husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief. Before long, Amanda’s whole world has collapsed.
Amanda knows she has to save herself before it’s too late. As she continues to search for Sarah, she embarks on a personal journey, seeking hope and purpose in the wake of so much tragedy and loss.
Set amidst the murky parishes of rural Louisiana and told through the eyes of two women who confront the darkest corners of humanity with quiet and unbreakable faith, The Feathered Bone is Julie Cantrell’s master portrait of love in a fallen world.
The Feathered Bone is a fictional account on human trafficking and its aftermath. The story centers around Sarah, who was abducted on a school field trip in New Orleans on Amanda’s watch. The premise of the book surrounds Sarah’s sudden disappearance and its effect on everyone, predominantly Amanda and Ellie, who was Sarah’s best friend.
Instead of Amanda getting the help and support of her husband Carl, she received the complete opposite. The irony is Amanda was a counselor for victims of domestic violence, yet she herself was one. Carl was unable to see beyond himself and placed the blame on Amanda for anything and everything. He was abusive, and eventually left her for a younger woman, when she and their daughter Ellie needed him the most. This pushed Ellie’s depression further, until yet another tragedy ensued, leaving Amanda shattered and hopeless.
The Feathered Bone is a sad, but redemptive story about faith, hope, love and forgiveness.
Personally, I had a difficult time reading this book. One, because it was depressing and two, certain parts of it dragged for me. However, I still rated it five stars based on its original content and writing.
Julie Cantrell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, the 2013 Christy Award winning Book of the Year and recipient of the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. Her second novel, When Mountains Move, won the 2014 Carol Award for Historical Fiction and, like her debut, was selected for several Top Reads lists. Visit her online at juliecantrell.wordpress.com, Facebook: juliecantrellauthor, and Twitter: JulieCantrell.
Bishop James Samuel Jr. lives the typical, flashy lifestyle of a successful Los Angeles, California bishop. He drives luxury cars, has two thriving churches, and has the reputation every minister wished to possess. The Bishop’s life appears to be scandal free. However, will his highly visible and anointed lifestyle remain intact after Patrick? Patrick is a member of the Bishop’s church, a former drug lord whose Christian virtues are tested when he discovers his wife, Kerrah, is his Bishop’s mistress. Will the Bishop and his blessed life survive the wrath of a scorned husband who is still learning to forgive?
This is my first introduction to CJ Miller’s work, and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. As I mentioned on my video review, The Bishop’s Mistress is a Christian urban book. However, it’s not your atypical Christian novel. It’s different than most Christian books I’ve read and reviewed, as it’s real, gritty and relatable.
The Bishop’s Mistress is about a good looking, prominent and anointed Bishop James, who is married to a wealthy white woman by the name of Janice. He loves Janice, but falls from grace by having a steamy, and passionate affair with one of his church members; a sexy, attractive black woman by the name of Kerrah. Kerrah happens to be married to Patrick, who is a dangerous drug dealer.
Patrick finds out that Kerrah is cheating on him with the Bishop and the consequences that spiral out of his discovery will leave you in suspense.
Perhaps there are those who would not agree that someone would go to the extent as Patrick did to avenge his betrayal. However, I believe the circumstances to be realistic, if someone is angry and ruthless enough. Anything is possible and can happen when you take a chance and cheat. It’s like playing Russian Roulette with your life and soul.
I really enjoyed this book, it draws you in from the very start and continues throughout the entire book. There is a moral and message to this story, without feeling like you’re being preached at. I highly recommend it and look forward to reading more by CJ Miller.
CJ Miller was raised in Southern California and started writing at the age of ten. After graduating from Wilberforce University in 2004, he fell in love with the writing process. Miller believes writing is CPR for the soul. He is the author of the book Grind How To Turn Your Coffee Break Into Your Big Break, a book dedicated to showing readers how to strategically utilize coffee shops and effective network to turn their dreams into reality and the novel, The Bishop’s Mistress.
CJ Miller is nationally and internationally recognized for his roles on reality television shows such as Season 1 of the ABC Networks and Tyra Banks “True Beauty”, TV Ones Donald J. Trump Presents The Ultimate Merger, and as a reoccurring personality on the Tyra Banks daytime talk show. CJ is a sought after consultant for creative ideas in the entertainment industry and book projects.
CJ is also the founder of H-Eleven 1 Innovation, a nonprofit organization which creates community enrichment programs geared towards youth. The nonprofit’s most successful program is the Phabb5 After School Book Publishing program; a turn-key book publishing program that teaches students in underserved communities to write, publish, and brand their own books. The goal of the program is to increase matriculation and reverse the trend of illiteracy in underserved communities while bridging the gap between classroom, corporations, and community.
These days you can find CJ encouraging students at Locke high school to write their stories and graduate from school. He is also the author of the new released novel, Dirty Dolls.
It was about three years ago when I attended a Christian Writer’s Conference. I took a class taught by Cindy Sproles about how to write devotionals. I took many classes, but this particular class stood out for me the most. I guess it’s because Cindy is an amazing woman of God, and she taught with such love. She was also the one who introduced me to the concept of writing devotions using God’s promises.
She told us to get “Our Daily Bread Promise Box“, which contains 240 promises from the Word of God. Cindy said for us to use this as an exercise and practice writing devotions.
I admit, I haven’t done this for a while, but this morning something tugged at me to go look in the box. I nearly cried because it read, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:22.
This Scripture is particular encouraging to me right now because this year has been challenging for me. With all the struggles I’ve been faced with, I kind of lost my way for a bit. But in the past couple of months, the Lord has wooed me back. I also have some amazing Godly friends who earnestly pray for me (you know who you are, thank you).
Last Friday, I had a spiritual breakthrough. I began the day with a meaningful telephone conversation with a friend of mine. It was deep and fruitful. We talked about the power of prayer. I don’t know why, but that conversation sparked something in me.
Then in the evening, I met up with a sister in Christ for dinner. She’s known me for years and has witnessed many chapters in my life. We hadn’t seen each other in over 2 years. But we always manage to pick up where we left off as if no time passed. God used her to remind me of who I am in Christ and all of His promises upon my life.
It was as if I had amnesia and forgot… but as she spoke, memories flooded back, reminding me of everything God has done throughout my life. Miracle upon miracle. I felt something break, and a peace come over me. A peace and assurance that I haven’t felt in quite some time.
I say all this to say, that no matter what you are facing or going through right now, no matter how deep the pain, no matter how lost you feel. God is with you, He is by your side, and He promises to never leave you or forsake you. I am a witness. So be encouraged today.
Please let me know how I can pray for you today. Leave your prayer requests in the comment section below.
I have been doing a study on shame. It’s been something I have been avoiding to delve into for quite some time. Why? Well, who really wants to start digging up old doo-doo.
Shame is one of those things you would rather just hide, ignore or bury, than have to face or look at. Shame is much more pervasive than guilt.
The stigma of shame is something humanity struggles with, if some realize it or not. We all mask it differently. God forbid we feel naked or exposed… that will only bring about more feelings of shame.
Some people think it is guilt they are feeling or struggling with, when in actuality it is shame. Shame is deeper and stems from messages you were told as a child. Shame is connected with self loathing and disgust of one self.
Those who have suffered from sexual abuse, carry the stigma of shame in its most palatable form.
So what do we do once we know that shame is pretty much controlling and navigating our existence? Well, we delve right into the abyss and unravel its mysteries.
There is a passage of Scripture that I always identified with, the story of the man with a withered hand. (Mark 3:3) This man walked around hiding his hand, until Jesus who had compassion, healed him on the Sabbath. He told him to stretch forth his hand and he was instantly healed.
Sometimes we have to risk exposure in order to heal. Yes, it is humiliating at first, just as it was for the man with the shriveled hand. He had to expose it in front of everyone in the Synagogue. He had to demonstrate courage to overcome his shame and allow Jesus to heal him.
It’s sort of like the pus of an infection, if you keep covering it, it will only get worse. You have to expose and clean it, in order for it to heal. Same applies to the inner infection of shame.
If you struggle with shame, know that you aren’t alone. If you desire to heal, then you must be willing to risk and face the Goliath in your life. Once you do, you will experience freedom. This is something I’m striving for and want in my life.
Do you struggle from shame? When was your earliest recollection?
Are you thirsting for something more? Is there an ache in your soul? A restlessness? A sense of something missing?
Like the Samaritan woman at the well, for instance. Jesus asked her for a drink of water. She responded “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus didn’t allow social customs or barriers to stop him.
What comes after astounds me. Please read it for yourself:
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4)
Jesus did not judge her. He did not criticize her. He did not throw anything in her face or use what He knew against her.
Here is another example, the woman caught in adultery.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8)
Again, Jesus did not judge or condemn her. Time and time again, I see Jesus’ unfathomable love and compassion poured out to women.
It comforts me to know, that no matter how sinful, dirty, broken and bruised we are… we can always come to Him and He won’t reject us.
If we lived in this world long enough, we are broken in some way. We have a void. We are all chasing after something, thinking that it will somehow satisfy us or fill the emptiness in our hearts. But, it never does.
I’m not religious. I believe in Jesus. I believe He died for sinful me. I believe He loves me when I don’t even know how to love myself. My faith in Him is what has gotten me through every crazy storm in my life. If it wasn’t for His grace and unconditional love, I don’t know where I would be today.
I don’t have the answers, but this I know… nothing and no one in this life will satisfy your inner longings. You can chase for an entire lifetime, thinking success, money, fame, etc… will fill the emptiness. But only God has the ability to do that.
Do you feel like you have been chasing after things because you feel like something is missing in your life?
This morning I had a dream. I was in that in between state, when I heard these words, “You are God’s pen.”
You would think that at 47, I would have figured out my calling or purpose in life.
Here I am 25 years later attending college at night to pursue my undergraduate degree. I’m working long hours, and writing a novel too. I’m enduring the torturous process of taking remedial math, algebra classes and writing fiction. Yet, when it comes to knowing my major or calling is, I haven’t a clue.
This week I was brainstorming with some colleagues, and one said I should continue writing. The other said perhaps I can study forensic psychology or become a detective. She mentioned I like to research, which is true. I can spend hours researching topics of interest.
I was also thinking about becoming a lawyer, so I could help those who are facing injustice. But at the rate I’m going, I would be over 60 by the time I finish.
This morning I heard, “You are God’s pen.” I have been praying and asking God for guidance and direction. Maybe this is His answer.
But how could I possibly help people by writing and not “doing” something to make a difference?
I love to see God move in people’s lives. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to co-labor with God and see justice prevail. My passion is communicating, bringing awareness and advocating change for those facing injustice.
You see friends, I’m not into doing anything if there isn’t a higher purpose for someone to benefit from. Most writers write because they are satisfied with just writing as an art form. Don’t get me wrong, I love art. But, there is something deeper that’s propelling me. The purpose of writing for me has to be more than just making art, or for entertainment.
I am half way through my life. I don’t feel like I have much time left to be putzing around. I pray God makes it clear as to what He wants me to do and shows me the way.
Do you think writing can make a difference and change things? In what ways? Please explain in the comment section below.
In this book, leading prophetic voice Jennifer LeClaire guides readers along the journey of a prophet– from the initial call all the way through to maturity.
This process is anything but easy. But LeClaire offers honest, accessible counsel to help you move into your prophetic call. Her spiritual insights will help you overcome the fear of man, identify and eliminate wrong motives and, above all, pursue intimacy with God.
Many prophets are called . . . but not everyone endures the making process; to his or her prophetic destiny.
God is looking for people to entrust with the secrets of His heart.
Embrace the journey toward your call with this comprehensive, practical guide, and experience the awesome process of being formed into a mouthpiece for the God of the universe.
I have read many books on this topic and The Making of a Prophet was the best I’ve read thus far.
When I first selected this book to review, I was on the fence about it. Since the other books I read were a disappointment. This book was different than all the other books I’ve read on this subject.
The Making of a Prophet is a practical and biblical guide to what it truly is to be used of God as a prophet and also, the great responsibility and cost that is associated with this office.
LeClaire does not sugar coat anything. She tells it like it is. She derives and shares from her own personal experiences; the mistakes as well as the victories.
Her writing style is honest, down to earth and real which I find refreshing in this day and age.
Especially with so many today in the prophetic ministry, who call themselves “prophets” and go around using, abusing and exploiting their so-called gift for their own personal gain, status or recognition.
If you want to read a sound and no nonsense book on this subject, I highly recommend you read, The Making of a Prophet.*
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Jennifer LeClaire is a prophetic voice and teacher with a growing media ministry. She directs IHOP-Fort Lauderdale and serves as news editor of Charisma magazine. In addition, she writes one of Charisma‘s most popular prophetic columns, “The Plumb Line,” and frequently contributes to Charisma‘s Prophetic Insight newsletter. Her media ministry includes her website, 40,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a growing newsletter list. She lives in south Florida. Learn more at www.jenniferleclaire.org.
A few weeks ago, I read this letter by Ray Jasper who was executed last Wednesday night in Texas.
Ray Jasper was 18 years old when he murdered David Alejandro.
At the age of 33, David Alejandro was a lead singer of a Christian band besides running his own recording studio. Before Ray Jasper, an aspiring rapper, killed him.
Jasper had previous sessions in Alejandro’s recording studio prior to the attack. He devised a plan with two others to steal Alejandro’s studio equipment.
I’m not sure what possessed Jasper to make a tragic mistake in taking the life of someone he considered one of the nicest people he ever met.
But what I do know is that his final letter evidenced a changed man prior to his execution last Wednesday night.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, which is why I consider the death penalty unethical. I know there are Christians who don’t agree with me.
They quote bible verses in the Old Testament as their justification and reason for why they believe capital punishment is allowed by God. However, when I look at the New Testament, the new covenant, Jesus didn’t go around killing anyone.
Saul (before his name was changed to Paul) persecuted and killed Christians. If Jesus was in favor of the death penalty, he would have killed Paul on the road to Damascus. Yet, Jesus didn’t kill him, He showed him mercy, grace, love and forgiveness.
There are thirty-two states in the USA supporting the death penalty. Meanwhile, there are many on death row (or serving life sentences in solitary confinement) who are innocent.
Currently, there is a series on CNN called Death Row Stories, which is revealing a few of the many cases of those who were on death row and are now exonerated.
I’ll tell you this, I wouldn’t want to be those who are killing people by lethal injection, and have innocent blood on my hands the day I see Jesus.
In my humble opinion, the prison system is modern day slavery and the death penalty is a modern day genocide, where whites still lynch blacks by lethal injection.
Yes, I’m white and writing this. I refuse to pretend or turn a blind eye on the reality of racism in this country.
Jesus isn’t a racist, so therefore, neither am I.
As Christians, I believe we shouldn’t be in agreement or in favor of the death penalty. My heart grieves for all those who are innocent and sitting on death row or serving life sentences in solitary confinement.
Christians need to take a stand for change and be a voice for the voiceless. The death penalty is antiquated, inhumane, unethical, barbaric, and needs to be abolished.
Human beings do not have a right to dictate who lives and who dies; only God reserves that right.
What are some of the ways which we can advocate to abolish the death penalty?
Life is busy. We are constantly running and trying keep up with the clock.
At end of the day, we are exhausted. We head to sleep, only to wake up and do it all over again the next day.
When do we stop and spend time with God?
The other day I was speaking to a close friend of mine. I asked her this question, “How do we develop intimacy with God?”
My friend is in full time ministry and has been following the Lord consistently for many years.
She responded, “By spending time with Him. It’s in having a relationship with Him, that intimacy grows.”
It’s the same as any earthly relationship. If we don’t spend time with a friend or spouse, we won’t get to know them.
The same applies to our Heavenly Father. If we don’t stop and spend time with Him, we won’t get to know Him.
There was a time I tried to build my faith by reading books, attending every church service, going to conferences and serving in ministry.
I thought by “doing” all these things, my faith and intimacy would somehow grow.
I was wrong.
It is not by our might or power, it is by His Spirit. It is God who changes us from the inside out by spending time and getting to know Him.
It’s by setting aside time every day to read His Word, pray and wait on Him.
When we develop this discipline, we begin to grow in intimacy with Him.
It isn’t by our doing, works or ministry that changes us or develops our faith. It is God who does the work in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
He doesn’t want us doing anything for Him, He wants us and our time.
He loves to hear our hearts.
Has He been hearing from yours lately?
You’re probably wondering why am I using the word “mad” in connection to “faith”.
The word “mad” is commonly used in New York City. The urban dictionary defines “mad” as “extreme” or “a lot”.
I decided to connect the two; mad faith.
I’ve been thinking madly about faith. What makes one have more faith than another, and that sort of thing.
It’s a mystery.
My desire has been ever increasing for my faith to be authentic.
In Christendom, I see many chasing after signs, wonders, miracles and manifestations, to the point of idolatry.
I’m not judging, but merely making an observation.
Truthfully, I used to be one of those people. I would chase after God here, there and everywhere.
I was seeking some kind of sign or experience and chasing after Him as if He couldn’t be found.
Frankly, I had it all wrong.
It sort of reminds me of Moses, when He went up to the mountain to get the Ten Commandments and left the people behind. In time, they all started making physical idols to worship instead of worshipping the God who miraculously parted the Red Sea and delivered them from the Egyptians.
What is it in us that inclines us to chase after other gods, instead of Him? Why are we restless and unsettled in our faith? Why must we chase after experiences? Why isn’t Jesus enough?
These are the questions which gnaw at me daily. I don’t have the answers. All I know is that I’ve already tried it all. I’ve traveled around the world in search of Him.
I am certain of this, it is not by signs and wonders that our faith increases, not in the least. I tell you this from personal experience. This doesn’t deepen our faith.
One thing that does though, is adversity.
My faith was strengthened, when I shook with fear, felt hopeless, thinking God wasn’t going to deliver me out of something, and He did.
To me, that’s miraculous. Not manifestations of angel feathers, gems or gold dust appearing at some gathering, where the attention turns to man and not God.
This is where the confusion begins. Everyone starts worshiping and idolizing the creation instead of the Creator. The credit for these so-called manifestations becomes attributed to man, instead of God. If something is going to take the focus or pull you away from God, you should run the other direction and don’t look back.
I’m sharing what I’ve gleaned from all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.
I’m not claiming to be an expert or have it right. I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t have all the answers. All I know is my heart longs for the authentic. For the living God of this universe to be real and present in my life.
I don’t want my desire for signs, wonders, miracles and manifestations to take precedence over Him. He already gave and did it all by dying on the Cross for me, what more do I want?
I want to have mad faith which is undeniable and unshakeable. I want to experience more of His love and presence in my life. Not experiences, sensations, imitations or cheap substitutes. The real deal.
What about you?