Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Even Through the Phone Lines

I love to pray for people.  Watching as they receive a touch from the Lord, or even healing is such an exciting moment. Yet sometimes I struggle with when and where to pray. I've struggled in the past with praying for myself. I didn't feel worthy to talk to God about my own issues, so how could I ask Him to help someone else? But God is so wonderful and merciful! He has been showing me exactly how much He wants me to talk to Him about others and even about myself.

Then I started wondering, could I even pray with people over the phone? Could God hear my prayer for the person on the other end? Would He know who I was talking about? I got a resounding "YES!"

Is there anywhere you can go that God can't go? We like to think we can hide from Him, but truthfully there isn't anywhere we could possibly go that God isn't already there. 

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. ~Psalm 139:7-8, NLT



You can pray anywhere and God will hear you. Of course there are some who believe God won't hear your prayers in certain places, if you're doing certain things, or if you're wearing certain clothing.  The truth is, God hears your prayers before you even utter them. Yet, He wants us to come to Him with everything.  He just waits patiently for us.

Look at Jonah. He was in the belly of a fish for three days. But he prayed to God while inside this fish (I'm still baffled by that one) and God heard him! How many leagues under the sea do you think Jonah was? Inside a fish, under water, deep water, praying... and God heard him. The Disciples just thought to themselves about a matter and Jesus heard them. 

There is nowhere you can go that God won't still hear you. In the middle of rush hour traffic. In a convention center with ten thousand people screaming. In a field on a windy day. On the bank of a river. On the beach at the ocean. At the top of a mountain. In a mountain valley. Under water. Down a coal mine. In a hospital. In a coffee shop. In the grocery store. During a storm. During a sunny day. It doesn't matter where you are, if you but cry out to God, no matter how still and quiet your cry is, He will hear you! Even through the phone lines.

A friend called to ask for a specific prayer. She asked if I would remember to pray, so I just took the time right then to pray for her. God showed up! I knew it because I felt Him. She knew it because she felt Him. 

No matter where you are, when the desire strikes you, pray. God will show up. Even through the phone lines.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

When Love Triumphs

A Book Review

One of my most favorite things to do is support other authors. I also love to read a good, clean, inspiring romance. I recently got to do all of that when I read the most recent novel of one of my new author friends, Dora Hiers. Dora's new book, When Love Triumphs was recently released by subscription only in Pure Amore's Book Club, through the Pelican Book Group.

In this book, police officer Winter Evan made a big mistake four years ago. She convinced herself she would be better off without the best thing that ever happened to her. Tanner Random. She just couldn't take the fact that he was a Navy SEAL and would live his life in and around the very thing that terrified her. Water. But her world and his are about to change drastically. Tanner is back in town and living right next door. Could Winter handle it? Could she avoid the sweetness of Tanner's seven-year-old niece whom he's now legal guardian of? Winter's world is turned upside down.  

Tanner knew it was a mistake to let Winter walk away four years ago. How could he convince her that things have changed? Since leaving the SEAL's to care for his abandoned niece, Tanner is working hard to create a loving, secure family for her, and maybe for himself as well. Will Winter end up being part of that? Will Tanner be able to rise above family history?

When Love Triumphs is a saucy tale of lost loves, broken relationships, and how God can heal the wounds and give double blessings for things broken in the past. It's a tale of healing and overcoming fears that seem greater than ourselves. But mostly, When Love Triumphs shows how  love covers a multitude of sins, including those from years before.

Dora Hiers weaves a beautiful story. Her characters Winter and Tanner come to life in such a way that you feel as if they're part of your family and friends. I love to feel as if I'm looking through the window of the lives of real people and this is exactly what I got while reading this book. 

In When Love Triumphs, you will enjoy every page while you wonder if the love between Winter and Tanner will triumph over the hurts, scars, and deep set fears of the characters. Will Winter be able to loose her grip on her worst fear? Will Tanner follow in the footsteps of family history? Will love actually be enough to triumph over the past? Even then, can God heal their brokenness?

You can check out the Pure Amore`book club subscription at the following link:

 http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=589

You can also follow Dora Hiers at the following links:
Her website: http://dorahiers.com/home.html
Her blog: http://dorahiers.blogspot.com/

Don't miss out on Dora's wonderful books! She's an author worth reading.








Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scripture Memory Journey - Part Two

Here we are again! Time for another round of our Scripture Memory Journey (or SSMT if you're following Beth Moore's). Regardless of whether you follow hers or my take-off of it is no matter. The most important thing is that you're hiding God's Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11)! My verse for today is out of Ephesians 4:1, NLT:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~Ephesians 4:1, NLT

I "just happened" to find this verse while surfing in Pinterest a few days before time to post our verse. I don't believe in coincidence, but I do believe in Divine Intervention or little messages from the Lord. This was one of them.

The Apostle Paul was encouraging those in Ephesus (the Ephesians) to live their life with integrity. A life "worthy" of the call they had. Truthfully, anyone who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior has a calling on their life. Each of our callings are the same, yet different. 

You may be wondering how our callings can be the same and different at the same time. Let me give you an example: I love the Lord, have accepted Him into my life. He called me to tell others about Him. Then He gave me a special gift for doing it; writing and speaking. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. ~Acts 1:8, NLT

We are all called to tell others about Jesus. We are to tell people everywhere. How we do it depends on the gifts we are given to do so. Mine is by writing, sometimes speaking. What is your gift? Maybe it's baking and taking goodies to others. Maybe it's sitting with someone who's sick, or the elderly. Maybe your gift is listening, or encouraging others. Whatever your gift is, that's what you are to use to tell others about Jesus. Trust me, God will open the door for you. All you have to do is walk through it.

Today, as you go about your business, pay attention to the little things. Live your life worthy of your calling. You are called by God, so run in your calling and above all, have fun!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Scripture Memory Journey

 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:12-13, NKJV

A writer friend of mine introduced me to a wonderful challenge for the New Year. Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2015 (SSMT), through Beth Moore's Living Proof Ministries.* The challenge is to learn 24 Scripture verses in 12 months. That's two a month, which is very doable. I even made my own little spiral card notebook for my memory verses.

Me and my Scripture Memory card notebook
It inspired me to share this on my website and offer a similar challenge here. My first verse is at the top of this post. 

When I decided to take this challenge, I wondered which verse I should start with. Before I could pick up my Bible, Jeremiah 29:12-13 popped into my mind. I knew then that it wasn't coincidence. I needed a fresh start and I needed to better my relationship with the Lord.

I love to memorize Scripture, but I had gotten out of the habit. When I found this verse, I realized the Lord has been waiting for me, listening to see if I'm going to search for Him. I realized that if I'm going to be memorizing God's Word, I am going to be searching for Him, seeking Him out, calling out to Him, and praying. Because I'll be doing that, He will be listening to me. He will listen for me. He will hear me and He will answer me. He promised. 

I'm so excited about learning some Scripture in 2015! I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to teach me. It's going to be a great adventure. I would like to invite you to come along, too. Just subscribe with your email in the box located in the right hand column, or you can join the Siesta Scripture Memory Team at the link below. Or do both! You can also comment with your first verse in the comment box below this post. Just like with the SSMT, be sure to list your name, where you're from, then the verse and which translation you used. Here's an example: 

Shelley, West Frankfort, IL, "And you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:12-13, NKJV 

Whatever you decide to do, may you have great blessings in 2015!





*You can find the SSMT instructions and how to join the team by going to the Living Proof Ministries website at this link:
http://blog.lproof.org/2015/01/siesta-scripture-memory-team-2015-verse-1.html/comment-page-299#comment-1162291

Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Book Reviews

Shelley Wilburn
I love reading. A story that can keep my attention, affect my emotions, and make me believe the characters are my friends is a keeper in my book (no pun intended). I also love to be able to write about the books I read. That's why I'm so excited to be writing this today because the books I'm writing about are jam packed with many such stories.

I don't normally write reviews of more than one book at a time. But since we're almost to the end of 2014, I wanted to write a snippet about all of them to get interest flowing. They're all beautifully written books. In addition, nearly all of them are written by many of my writer friends making the stories precious treasures.

Christmas Treasures

One of the books I was so blessed to read is aptly named Christmas Treasures, A Collection of Christmas Short Stories. It is a Christmas anthology of short stories that fourteen different authors contributed their talents to, to come up with a wonderful collection of inspiring holiday stories.

Of course, if you're anything like me Christmas isn't the only time to read Christmas-themed stories. I love reading them all year round. Any time you can read about faith, hope and love, whether old, new, hoped for, fought for, or otherwise is inspiring.

Take for instance, Linda Glaz's story, Part-Time Job. Gwyneth can't bring herself to tell her daughter Isabella that her daddy wouldn't be coming home for Christmas. She couldn't tell her that he had gone missing, taken from the civilian barracks in Afghanistan in the night. Who knows whether he was even still alive?

Brady couldn't bring himself to appear on his own doorstep in his condition. Why would his family only want half a husband, half a daddy back? Now that he limped and only had one arm, after a horrific accident, how could he even be the man they once knew? He decided to get a part-time job away from them, then later on send divorce papers to Gwyneth.

Of course things take a different turn when Brady's part-time Santa job lands him in the department store where his mother-in-law has brought his daughter to see Santa. What will happen if Gwyneth discovers it's really her missing husband underneath that Santa suit? Will she still love him? Will she still accept him? Will Brady be able to be a husband and daddy again?

Stories like this and more are what you will find in Christmas Treasures. You will be kept on your toes, your heart will beat with anticipation, you will wonder whether or not love will win in the end, and quite possibly you'll experience all of the above. Each short story is beautifully written. Some have historical settings while others are set in modern day. Each story is also love and faith inspired. Some are with a twist of humor, all are with a sweet presence of God woven into the lives of the characters.

Find Christmas Treasures at the following link:
http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Treasures-Collection-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00PKLJQ2M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419887365&sr=8-1&keywords=Christmas+Treasures

Christmas Treasures features the talents of Patty Wysong, Joanne Sher, Linda Glaz, Karla Akins, Elaine Stock, Christina Rich, Karen Wingate, Karen Campbell Prough, Donna Hubbard Scofield, Karlene Jacobsen, Kathleen Rouser, April Straugh, Anne Garboczi Evans, and Susan F. Craft. The book is a wonderful collection of stories that anyone will enjoy.



The Festive Bride

The Festive Bride is another wonderful book I had the privilege of reading. Written by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, this lovely book is Book Nine of a series called The 12 Brides of Christmas. Not to worry though, even though this book is ninth in a series, each book is it's own story, written by a different author and can be read individually without the worry of missing out on a story line.

The Festive Bride is set in Southern Illinois in 1886. I loved that since I'm from Southern Illinois and it was fun imagining my area in that era. Of course, watching the lives of Roy Gibbons, his two young daughters, and Alma Pickens unfold was interesting and entertaining. Being that Roy is a widow and Alma has never been married, yet they find themselves attracted to one another, I wondered how these two would find love. Or would they even find it at all?

In the Festive Bride, Alma's father makes a marriage deal with Roy to marry his daughter Alma. Shocked that her father would arrange her own marriage, Alma puts some stipulations on the deal including courtship and a holiday wedding, that Roy must fulfill before the wedding. Will Roy be able to accomplish them before the wedding date? Will Alma learn to love Roy, or better yet, will she be able to love and accept Roy's two very young daughters? Will she be able to be a mother to them? Alma wasn't even sure whether Roy shared her belief in God. Would he be able to measure up?

After some mishaps and misunderstandings, along with a couple of humorous antics, I wondered if Roy would be able to convince Alma that marrying him would benefit them all. But I also wondered whether or not Alma and Roy would be able to fall in love within the short amount of time they were given before their Christmas wedding date.

With the help of two very rambunctious little girls and the magical blessings of Christmas, the Festive Bride is a wonderful Christmas love story of the combining of a family. It's just how God would work a miracle for a lonely widower who is afraid to love again, two little girls who need a mommy, and one spinster who desperately wants to marry and have a family.

Diana did a wonderful job of weaving this story. The Festive Bride is one you'll want in your collection. I truly enjoyed reading it.

You can find it on Amazon at the following link:http://www.amazon.com/Festive-Bride-Brides-Christmas-Book-ebook/dp/B00NVZW7N4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419893254&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Festive+Bride





Raspberry Kisses

Raspberry Kisses by Cecelia Dowdy caught my attention when I read the sample of a chapter on Amazon. I bought the eBook and decided I would give it a try. I'm usually hesitant about reading an author I'm not familiar with. However, I also love to support authors which led me to pick up and read this scrumptious book.

Raspberry Kisses is Book One in The Bakery Romace Series. In this book, Rhea's bakery is failing. Since losing her pastor husband a couple years ago, Rhea opened the bakery to fulfill her dream of owning her own business. Along with sales going downhill, she's also about to lose her apartment because of the misdealings of her sleazy landlord. Trying to figure out what to do, Rhea's overdramatic, unstable, identical twin sister Raven offers to step in and loan her the money to pay her rent and get her out of some debt. Except the loan comes with a stipulation; the only way Rhea will get the loan, she must attend a Christian Single's Retreat to spy on Raven's love interest to find out why the man won't return Raven's calls. Rhea's sister is blackmailing her.

Martin Lane is an associate pastor in his father's church, trying to finish his seminary degree while also leading a ministry of feeding the homeless. He is also seated to take over the senior pastor position when his father retires. However, a very stubborn member of their church has taken it upon herself to ruin Martin before he can even begin. Not only that, but his sister has scheduled him to be one of the speakers at the Christian Single's Retreat.

When Rhea and Martin meet it's attraction from the beginning. Martin at first mistakes Rhea for her twin sister, but is quickly corrected when Rhea explains. Rhea doesn't want another relationship with a pastor after tragically losing her pastor husband. She also doesn't want to hurt her sister. She needs that loan money. Martin has never been interested in Rhea's sister and must tell her. But he also has secrets that not even his own family knows about. Can they both move beyond their issues to find love?

When Martin offers to help Rhea make her bakery a success she's reluctant, but finds Martin's ideas worth listening to. Can she look past him being a pastor? Martin is falling for Rhea, but can he trust her with his deepest secret? Can he get Rhea to fall in love with him. Will he even get the senior pastor position at his father's church? What will happen when Rhea's twin sister finds out they are attracted to each other?

Raspberry Kisses is a very busy love story. With twists and turns on every page, will Martin reveal his secret past? Will Rhea get over her late husband and be able to move on? Will her bakery succeed? Many questions will be answered in this scrumptious story.

Find Raspberry Kisses at the following link:http://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Kisses-Bakery-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B00P7TZM8E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419893346&sr=8-1&keywords=Raspberry+Kisses

Follow the links given in each review for Christmas Treasures, The Festive Bride, and Raspberry Kisses. Trust me when I say that you won't regret reading any of them. They're well written and very affordable. They are a definite must have for your collection.

I'll be reading and writing reviews throughout 2015. Be on the lookout for them and remember, always support an author!








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