Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Encouragement for Your Heart

By June Foster

Sometimes my life seems filled with chaos and confusion. Doubts gnaw at me telling me I'm spinning my wheels. But then I come across a scripture like Isaiah 26:3 and realize my Source of Truth lies in the Word and not my fleshly, worldly mind.

"You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you." Really? Do I always trust in God? Ultimately, yes. The part of my mind that says "things aren't going well today. This day will end in disaster" wants to blare and bully its way, demanding I listen. But I don't have to. I only need to "listen" to what God says and that is I have access to perfect peace.

Then I went on to read verse 7. "You clear a straight path for the righteous."
Whoa. Sometimes it doesn't seem straight, but Whom shall I believe? The God who created the universe!

I can't help but think of the time our two granddaughters came for a visit from Texas, and we went hiking at Hurricane Park in Cullman county. It's a park that encompasses a canyon about ten miles north of where we live. At the bottom is a stream that runs part of the year. We hiked down and back up again. Though the hike down is only about two hundred yards, it took what seemed like forever to make it. The trail is steep, rocky, and plagued with shifting soil, exposed roots, and sharp rocks.

Sometime life seems like I'm going up and down that trail, but it doesn't have to. God says my mind is filled with perfect peace because I trust in Him, and I believe it.

After the death of her husband, Nadia Maguire never expects to meet handsome Jared Abrams in the cemetery where she visits her dead spouse's grave. Though she falls for the handsome bank president, his daughter hurls a wedge between them. Will her life be a harvest of blessings or a season of drought?

When bank president Jared Abrams falls in love with one of his tellers, Jared's daughter does everything in her power to keep them apart. Will he reap a harvest of blessings or a season of drought? 


June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her contemporary romances. June's characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. Find June at

Friday, September 14, 2018


How Writing from the Trenches was Born

By MaryLu Tyndall

Who in their right mind would attempt to create a writing instruction book with nine other authors? It’s hard enough to co-write anything with two different personalities. But nine? Especially because most authors—well, how do I put this gently?—we are an eccentric bunch. It goes with the creative territory, I suppose. We all tend to hear voices in our heads, and most of the time we aren’t even present in this world, but drifting in another time and place, constantly creating worlds and characters in our minds. Try to corral ten people like that and get them to focus on a single task!  Honestly, I don’t know what came over me.

The truth is, I’ve read many writing instruction books over the years from many different authors, and I’ve learned a great deal. But I noticed that everyone’s advice, style, and instruction was different. Sometimes they even contradicted each other. So, I thought, why not get a bunch of fabulous authors together to give their own advice on a variety of writing topics and put it in one book? A one-stop shop for the best advice out there on writing! 

Hence, Writing From the Trenches was born. Then, to gather the authors, which ended up being much like gathering and leading cats, I might add. I wanted to get a variety of authors—some successfully published in the traditional market, some who’d made a success as Independent authors, some who did both, some with name-recognition, some without a whole lot, but ALL great writers who had won awards or been on best-selling lists. Those were my criteria, so I went about sending out recruitment emails!  Surprisingly nearly everyone I contacted was excited to be a part of this book.

Working with nine other people is never easy, but I was fairly surprised at how great this group got along, how quickly we came up with the topics we wanted to cover and who wanted to write which ones. We divided up the tasks we needed to accomplish—writing, editing, formatting, printing, cover design, marketing, etc—and then set a timeline. I have to say, everyone has been wonderful to work with, everyone got their chapters done on time, and everyone is contributing to the final product. Truly a miracle has occurred!

Since I was the one pulling all the chapters together and creating the book, I had the privilege of seeing how it was all coming together through the entire process, and the more I saw, the more excited I became. This book is like no other writing book out there. Nowhere can you get ten different authors’ advice on how to write a best-selling novel. No other book provides you with ten different perspectives on the best way to plot or what marketing techniques work the best. We start the book with plotting your novel and end up with marketing, including a section on whether to traditionally publish or go Indie. Each chapter is written by an author who is an expert in that particular area. This is a rare jewel in the writing instruction treasure chest, and not one to be missed by any writer serious about taking their writing to the next level!


TEN-HUT! Gear up for your writing with tried-and-true tips from the trenches. Ten award-winning authors share invaluable tips and secrets they’ve gleaned the hard way, offering a broad range of insights and opinions on the best way to tackle subjects such as the following:

Plotting Techniques
Villains We Love to Hate
Dynamic Dialogue
Sigh-Worthy Heroes
The Right Heroine for the Job
Hooking Your Reader in the First Chapter
Scene Endings to Lead Your Readers On
Creating a Movie Set
Making your Readers Cry
Deep POV
Copyediting your Manuscript
Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing
Marketing for Those Who Hate Marketing

At last … a writer’s tool that provides the experience and expertise of ten authors who’ve been on the front lines of publishing and lived to teach about it: Connie Almony, Lynnette Bonner, Hallee Bridgeman, Louise Gouge, Michelle Griep, Julie Lessman, Elizabeth Ludwig, Ane Mulligan, MaryLu Tyndall, and Erica Vetsch.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Instruments to Praise God -- Corrected format


By Ada Nicholson Brownell

“’Four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments I made,’ said David, ‘to praise, therewith’” (1 Chronicles 23:5 KJ).

I had no idea how one would go about making a musical instrument until my brother, Dr. Joe Nicholson, who headed the Evangel University music department for many years, showed me and a crowd.

He demonstrated how to make a trumpet. He took 4 ½ feet of tubing, actually garden hose, and a funnel for one end and put a brass mouthpiece in the other. Then he blew. It sounded almost exactly as the brass instrument as he played a short tune. Then he used 9 feet of hose for a trombone or baritone. The sound deepened. For a tuba it took 18 feet and the notes he played were way down there.

People have been known to make music with reeds picked along a river. The ancients made sounds with leaves and blew on ram’s horns. Rhythm instruments can be made of most anything, including gourds to shake and jugs to blow. Kids often play tunes on a comb and paper.

David’s instruments probably were more sophisticated. He could engage metalsmiths to make brass instruments, and use various talented folks to create stringed instruments out of wood or other materials.

But musical instruments go back as far as Genesis and Adam and Eve. Where the couple’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are listed we’re told, “And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ” (Genesis 4:21).

I wonder if the word “Jubilant” was penned after him. Jubilant means “showing great joy, satisfaction, or triumph; rejoicing; exultant.”

The next verse names Zillah, one of Adam and Eve’s great-granddaughters. She bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he made trumpets as well as tools.

Quite a lot of difference between what the Bible says and what the textbook claimed about the beginning of music when I was in college. “A monkey came down out of tree and made an instrument,” the book said and I laughed.

Music is used in worship to the only true God who created the heavens and the earth in the beginning.

When David was chosen to take his rightful place as God’s anointed king, David not only went after the ark but worked diligently to re-establish the form of worship among the people that David knew was true worship. That included joyful music and singing.

 But before they could properly play, sing, and combine their voices they needed to be organized. The Levites needed to dust off their talents and divided into groups according to their ministries because during Saul’s reign they had brought in idols and neglected worshiping God as they should.

David wrote, “Praise him with the sound of the trumpet; praise him with the psaltery and harp, praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:3-6).

So they praised the Lord all the way as they carried the Ark home.

PRAYER: Lord, I praise you for breath, for music, and for who you are, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, my Savior, and my soon Coming King. 

Monday, September 3, 2018


Viewing Ourselves Through the Lens of the Creator By Tessa Emily Hall

When you look in the mirror, do you see a perfect reflection? You might not believe so. After all, our society has brainwashed us into believing that the definition of perfect is equivalent to having white teeth, a dark tan, and an unblemished face. Because of this, we may always find something “wrong” with us. Something we need to fix.

God’s definition of perfect, however, is different than that of the world’s. All of creation reflects His beauty, perfection, and order. Scripture says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (see Psalm 139:14). But as long as we’re viewing our reflection through the lens of the world, we’re never going to feel “fearfully and wonderfully made”. And as long as we attempt to jump through the hoops that the world has given us, we’re always going to fall short. It’s an impossible standard and a never-ending, exhausting cycle.

This yearn for approval can only be fulfilled when we receive God's love. Our desire for human acceptance will diminish as we see ourselves through the eyes of Christ. When we recognize that our every trait was designed by the Master Artist with a purpose. Rather than highlighting our flaws and convincing us we need to be "fixed", He sees them and still says we were perfectly created. And guess what?

It’s this love--the perfect love of Christ--that gives us the power to love ourselves as well.

So the next time you’re tempted to point out your flaws, ask yourself, “Am I viewing myself through the lens of the world or the lens of the Word?” Here’s how you can tell the difference: When you view yourself through the lens of the world, the result will be a distorted, imperfect reflection.

Yet when you view yourself through the lens of the Word? That’s when you’ll see the same result your Father sees when He looks at you: A beautiful creation of the Creator. A reflection of His image. A piece of artwork that He’s proud to claim as His own.

These are the only lens that can be trusted to produce the perfect reflection that we long for.

Back Cover Copy

There's something special about spending time at a coffee shop with a friend--engaging in a meaningful conversation, then leaving refueled and ready to tackle the rest of the day. What if your quiet times with God energized you the same way?

Coffee Shop Devos offers a warm atmosphere that will inspire you to discover your God-given purpose and live to your greatest potential. Choose your devo flavor in the Menu of Contents based on your current need. Then lean into deeper intimacy with Christ through reflection and prayer. Along the way, you'll pick up tips and recipes for making your own coffee-shop beverage--regular or decaf--to enjoy while you read. And don't forget to share your journey with your friends! #CoffeeShopDevos

Each of the 180 challenging and motivational devotions will leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated--almost as though you've shared a steaming pot of brew at a coffee shop with your Creator.


·       Pre-order Coffee Shop Devos on Amazon

·       Mark “to read” on Goodreads

·       Author website

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·       Facebook

Author Bio:

Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic books to show teens they’re not alone. Her first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House September 2018. Tessa's passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent for Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PURSUE Magazine. She's guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: