Friday, December 30, 2016

Do Great Things in 2017

By Ada Brownell

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Recently in our Sunday school class, a missionary told how he grew up in a dysfunctional family three doors away from a church. His alcoholic father found another woman and left his family. His mom and his stepfather didn’t live righteous lives, either, but one day his mother visited the church and took her children. She accepted Jesus as Savior and the young lad did, too.

They were empty-pockets poor. The boy didn’t receive great grades in school, but suddenly he had a desire to study. He decided to go to Bible college, and there God called him to be a missionary, and he obeyed. Eventually, Jerry was able to take the Gospel to a village where the people had never heard the story of Jesus. There now are more than a hundred churches there.

Martin Luther brought the world back to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus when he began to preach salvation is by faith instead of works. Evangelists such as Charles Finney, John Wesley, Dwight L. Moody, and William Booth won thousands of people to Christ. Turning from sin changed nations for the better.

Women have even been used mightily by God. William Booth’s wife, Catherine, used to gather women, and they would go down the streets of London and other European cities with a band and bass drum, calling people to Jesus Christ. Catherine would climb on a soapbox and preach. Soon men joined them, and they literally became an “army” drawing people from prostitution, crime, drunkenness, and other sin. Catherine pointed them to the Savior, Jesus Christ, who gives deliverance, joy, and peace.

In one small town a man told another that if the women went on much longer all the publics (saloons) would have to close.  “I went to almost every bar in town the other night and found only four men in them all,” he said.[1]

The Booths and their Salvation Army continued preaching and helping the poor. The Salvation Army still reaches out to the spiritually and physically needy more than a century after the Booths’ deaths. Catherine Booth’s life touched so many, an estimated fifty thousand people attended her funeral![2]

David stood up to negative peer pressure when he fought Goliath, who kept threatening the Israelites and gloating over their cowardice. Daniel stood up in faith when he was ordered not to pray, but kept praying. The lions he had to sleep with didn’t even show their teeth. Three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were the only ones who would not bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. They were thrown into a fiery furnace, but God delivered them without even the smell of smoke on their clothes. Their act of boldness brought recognition of the one true God to Babylon, which was about fifty-five miles from where modern Baghdad is today.

If we call upon the Lord in faith and correct motives, God will still do mighty things today.

PRAYER: Lord, increase my faith so that I can reach at least one person with the gospel so he will have your gift of eternal life.

[1] Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 191.
[2] Ibid. 291.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Imagine a Unique You in 2017

By Ada Brownell

“You must be born again” ( John 3:7).

Some people don’t seem comfortable with their own identity. A feature in the July 2010 417 Magazine highlighted people who “starred” in Branson, Missouri, shows—but took the role of another person. Tony Roi was Elvis. Dave Ehlert played Mark Twain. Actors and singers assumed the roles of the Beatles, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and other stars. They are greatly talented, but they didn’t become famous for who they are but for being able to impersonate someone else—often a dead person.
All of us, however, copy other people looks, actions, beliefs, habits, and that affects who we are and who we become, making us like impersonators.

But the real YOU shows up sometime. What will you think when you get a good look at who you are?
Like the old man who said, “I wish I could live my life over—as someone else,” you might not like your looks, character, and meaningless accomplishments.

Looks shouldn’t be the top of the list. Beauty comes in all sort of sizes and designs. Every person is uniquely attractive because we all are made in the image of God. Humankind finally figured out it’s not the color of our skin that matters, but we still don’t seem to know it’s what’s under our skin that counts.
Is love there? Compassion? Joy? Peace? Patience? Gentleness? Goodness, like good money that’s not counterfeit? Meekness? Faithfulness? Self-control? Faith? Wisdom?

Truth is, none of us are perfect but we can be “born again!”  Jesus told Nicodemus, “I say unto you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus explained that we need to be born of the flesh and of the Spirit, and explained the miraculous occurrence in John 3:1-21.

The Bible teaches about what happens when we’re born again Ezekiel prophesied that when the Messiah came (Jesus) those who accepted Him as Savior would be changed. God told Ezekiel, “I then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my judgments and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:18-20).
The Apostle Paul explained it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Have you been born again?

All you need to do is believe in Jesus, confess your sins to God just as you’d tell a friend, ask for forgiveness, and decide to follow Jesus and His Word. His power will change you.

PRAYER:  Lord, I need to be born again. Make me a new creature by your Spirit. Thank you for shedding your blood on the cross to wash away my sins and for your promises of new life here and for eternity. 

 Copyright 2016
-- Adapted from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Embrace opportunity in 2017

By Ada Brownell

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Sixteen-year-old Jim White rode his horse through New Mexico’s prairie in 1898, looking for cattle, when he noticed a plume of bats rise into the sky. He investigated where they came from and discovered Carlsbad Caverns.

The huge hole in the rocky hill from which the bats boiled drew Jim back a few days later. He brought a rope and tools he needed. He made a crude ladder, took his kerosene lantern, and carefully descended into the cave. The next day he returned to the caverns with a fifteen-year-old friend.
Extensive explorations began in 1901, and Jim White was there. He helped construct the first trails, stairs, and lights.

Jim had no idea that day when he mounted his horse he would discover one of the largest and most specular caverns in the world. Like Jim, we never know what opportunities will come, but often they do appear because we’re looking for them or expecting God to lead us to them. But frequently that takes time.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”[1]

Behind every apple you eat is someone who looked into the future with hope and imagination because an apple seed takes more than ten years to produce fruit.
Today is the time to work on our tomorrows.
You don’t need a fortune teller to reveal your future. The truth is, you are the person who determines who you will be, what your life will be like, and how your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. Today is the time to seek the Lord, grow your talents, look for opportunities, and create an action plan for your future.

Do you know what should be included in your action plan? Here are some things to think about:

1.      Harness your will and seek God’s will.  Daily spend time with God and His Word.

2.      Make valuable deposits into your mind and detoxify harmful things you’ve been taught or experienced by using scriptures that apply, and believe them.

3.      Capitalize on your talents and what you already know.

4.      Connect with someone who can help, such as someone who has succeeded in what you’d like to do.

5.      Avoid traps that can jeopardize your future.

6.      Keep track of the things you’ve learned and what you want to learn.

7.      Live one day at a time in faith, believing God is working things out for your good. Believe in yourself and things greater than yourself, and don’t get weary with the journey.

PRAYER: The Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Help me to believe I can fulfill great things with your help and strength.

[1] Frank Lutz, Words That Work (New York: Hyperion, 2007).

Note: The above is an abridged version of a chapter from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You
Copyright Ada Brownell 2013.


A motivational Bible study by Ada Brownell

Ready or not, you’re going into your future.

If you continue to do what you do now, what kind of future will you have? This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.
Review:  How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell's knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, Godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion.

            Also available in Audio. Read or listen to first chapter free! #Teens #Family #Devotions

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

God’s Mercies after Suicide

Jean's son, Josh.  

By Jean Ann Williams

Blurb: What if your child shot himself while you were in the next room? What if you held him as his heart beat for the last time? What if Satan whispered in your ear, “Now where is your God?” Find out how Jean Ann Williams reached out with her spirit and mind to the one true Father. Discover how the Lord God answered her, and walked alongside her in the most difficult grieving journey of her life.

God's Mercies After Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart
Devotional E-BOOK FREE WEDNESDAY 12/14 Available at:

Monday, December 5, 2016


By Ada Brownell

Sometimes a person uses his debit card, or writes a check, and discovers there is no money in his account.

In the same way, when people need to know how to do things of importance or how to find the answers to spiritual and even life’s problems, if they haven’t deposited knowledge, there is little in him or her to draw from.

Things of value must be deposited into the spirit and brain like money in the bank. Worthless deposits produce people who, although they are still priceless to God, aren’t worth much to the world. Everything we learn becomes part of who we are. We need to resist that which is harmful, and choose knowledge we can use for good now and that will take us to heaven for eternity.

Jesus wants us to have an abundant life with many blessings—not only for eternity, but here. He expects us to do something with the many talents He’s given us, just like the old-time preacher who, during the Great Depression, prayed for food and found a squawking rooster and a sack of potatoes on his front porch. He didn’t have dinner until he took the chicken, chopped off the head, plucked the feathers, cut the bird into pieces, and put it in a skillet. He then had to peel and cook the potatoes, mash them, and make gravy.

Unless you do something with your talents and the things of God, you may go into eternity without doing anything of significance.

We have to study, practice, and then go out and do what we have learned. Everything we learn is a deposit for the future, whether for good or evil. What you put into your head determines what type of person you will be tomorrow.

Peter wrote, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us and given us precious promises that we could have God’s nature in us, and escape the world’s corruption brought through lust” (2 Peter 1:3).

Then Peter goes on to say, “For this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love.”

Ready or not, you’re going into your future. If you continue to do what you do now, what kind of future will you have? Will you be the person you dream of being—or someone from your nightmares?

Invest in yourself! The secret to abundant life is to latch on to the supernatural dynamite power available from God, and let Him go with us on this trek.

“Study to shew yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

©Copyright Ada Brownell 2016

Adapted from Ada Brownell’s book, Imagine the Future You

 Read or listen to first chapter free!     

Friday, December 2, 2016


By Ada Brownell

Do you not realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? (Romans 6:16 NLT).

Habits are like the tree in Vashon Island, Washington, that grew around a bicycle until the bike became part of the tree. Somebody leaned the bike against the tree when it was a small sapling. Now the bicycle is lodged into a large tree trunk five or six feet off the ground. It is impossible to remove the bike without destroying the tree.

Dr. Alan Friedman, a botanist at Marquette University in Milwaukee, says if an immovable object comes in contact with a growing tree, the growth that creates wood and bark will eventually cover the object. The only exception is a wire or rope put entirely around a tree, which will kill it.[1]


Habits entwine themselves into us in a similar way and become part of who we are. Some habits make us better people because they cause us to do good things. Bad habits wrapped into our character jeopardize our future.

Habits are one part of our lives we control.

True genetics, culture, temperament, talents, education, beliefs, quirks, and hang-ups of our parents affect us, but we can’t blame them if we end up a drunkard, too lazy to support ourselves, or in prison. No matter who we are, our background, what internal and external obstacles we face, we can scramble over everything in our way and reach a life of joy and fulfillment.
Saul of Tarsus, a strict Pharisee, a Jew and Roman citizen educated under the great Rabbi Gamaliel, developed a habit of hating those who followed Christ. He made a religion –and habit--out of keeping the law and persecuting the church. He’d forgotten God promised a Messiah. Paul forgot about sin, and the need for blood to cleanse from sin.
Saul approved of the stoning of Stephen, the evangelist, and later admitted he held the coats of those who killed him.
Paul continued to threaten followers of Christ. Then the risen Lord came in a great light and apparently struck Saul upside the head. Saul fell off his horse.
 “Saul, Why are you persecuting me?” Jesus said.
Jesus had been crucified. Saul knew the disciples were preaching Jesus risen from the dead. Until then, he didn’t believe it.
Trembling, Saul asked, “Lord, what would you have me to do?”
Jesus said, “Arise go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
Saul’s friends heard the voice but saw no one, except Saul who was stricken with blindness. They followed the Lord’s commands, found Ananias, who prayed with Saul and his sight returned. Saul accepted Jesus as Lord, was baptized and called to preach to the Gentiles.
Saul’s name was changed to Paul, and Paul became one of the greatest Christians to preach and teach. All his life he regretted persecuting the church. But his sinful habits were broken and his sin forgiven.
“The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9).
God is in the deliverance business. Yet, we must hear his voice and act in obedience as Paul did.
©Copyright Ada Brownell 2016

Note: This post is adapted from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You. If you'd like to read the first chapter, listen to it on, or purchase the book you can do so at