Monday, December 30, 2013

ARE YOU READY? by Ava Pennington

Every name God calls Himself and every name His people called Him holds clues to who He is, how He relates to His children, and the promises He has made—and kept.

Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, examines the biblical names of God through 366 daily readings and helps readers discover what those names mean for their own faith. It offers you a wonderful opportunity to spend time each day getting to know God more intimately by exploring 122 of His names and attributes. Using three individual devotions for each name, you will discover something new about who God is, who you are, and how you relate to others.

2014 is about to begin. Will you know God more intimately this time next year?

Excerpt from Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, by Ava Pennington

“Are You Ready?”
Attribute: Glory

Exodus 33:12-23

“Give to the Lord the glory his name deserves” (I Chronicles 16:29 GW).

How intimately do you know God? How intimately do you want to know Him?

Moses knew God in a way few other people knew Him. It’s possible for us to know God in a similar way simply by making the same request Moses did. He asked the Lord, “Let me know Your ways that I may know You” (Exodus 33:13).

After God said He would go with Moses and the people, Moses still was not satisfied. He made a bolder request of the Lord: “Show me Your glory!” (Exodus 33:18). Instead of becoming angry with Moses, God granted his request, causing His glory to pass by him.

What is the glory of the Lord? It is the combination of all His attributes. When He passed Moses in the cleft of the rock, God proclaimed His goodness, graciousness, and compassion. God’s glory is who He is. It is impossible to separate His glory from His character and His ways.

As we read God’s Word and spend time with Him in prayer, He opens our spiritual eyes to see His glory in ways we had not previously recognized. Are you ready to see His glory?

Lord God, I want to know Your ways more intimately than I have,
that I may know You.

Have I become complacent in my relationship with the Lord?
How will I look for Him to show me His ways today?
Daily Reflections on the Names of God is endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries, and is available in both softcover and e-book at:

Connect with Ava Pennington at:   

Monday, December 16, 2013


Recognizing God’s Presence Changes Everything
Or Linda and Her Very Bad Day
Linda Evans Shepherd
Would you feel better about your life if you could find blessings hiding inside your disappointments?
You can!
I had some time to contemplate this truth one Saturday afternoon when I tried to leave a coffee shop. I hopped in my car and placed my automatic shifter into reverse. But when I pulled out of my space and tried to put my car into drive, a sudden pop vibrated through the steering column and I was stuck in park.
No matter what I tried, nothing worked. My car was immovable as it sat blocking the parking lot’s traffic lane.
Rattled and embarrassed by the cars forming a line behind me, I climbed out of my car and waved them around. When the line cleared, I walked over and sat down at one of the iron grill tables outside the coffee shop and called my husband on my cell phone. “I’ll be there in twenty,” he told me.
There I set, staring at my lovely silver car which had so faithfully served me for the last eleven years. In many ways it was like a time capsule filled with memories of driving my kids around. It even had pockets still stuffed with old, abandoned toys that had once belonged to my son, now a college senior. So with a heavy heart, I sat in my chair, an iced mocha in front of me, watching the drivers maneuver around my car.
A feeling of God’s presence settled on me and I suddenly noticed the amazing blue of the August sky and realized that the afternoon breeze felt refreshingly cool. How blessed, I am Lord, to have a breakdown in such a safe place. Thank you, I prayed as I took another sip of my iced mocha and bit into my peanut butter cookie. And look, you even provided refreshments!
Just then, another driver pulled up, a lady in a white suburban. I wasn’t sure she saw that I was waving at her to pull around so I stood up. When I did, she lowered her window and leaned over to inquire, “Is there a dead body inside that car? I’ve been trying to see the driver but I can’t.”
“No,” I called back, smiling. “The only thing that’s dead is the car.”
She drove around and I chuckled, telling the Lord, See Lord, it could have been a lot worse; there are no dead bodies in my car.
Two women walked out of the coffee shop. “Is that your car?” one of the women asked.
“Yes,” I said, “It broke down, my hubby’s on the way.”
The other woman said, “I love your attitude, here you sit with your car broken down, smiling and waving at people, and sipping coffee as if you were a queen entertaining guests.”
“Just counting my blessings,” I said. “Just think, I could have been at the airport on my way to catch a plane, or I could have been in the middle of a busy intersection, but here I am in a safe place enjoying my peanut butter cookie.”
“And who knows,” the first one said, “you might even get a new car out of the deal.”
We all laughed at that idea.
Soon my husband pulled into the parking lot and I got to spend the rest of the afternoon with him on a much needed ‘date.’ Of course the date was spent directing  traffic around my car and securing a tow truck, but even so, we had a lovely time together. And the best news is, though I’m not getting a new car, the repair bill for the broken cable in my steering column was minimal and the cost of the tow was covered under my AAA plan.
How blessed I am!
I told you this story to say that though we can’t control the things that happen to us, we can recognize that God is with us and we can watch for his blessings even in the uninvited happenstances of life.
Perhaps as you read my story about my broken-down car, you thought, “Ha! Linda thinks she’s blessed in her petty little car crisis. She doesn’t know what a real crisis is!”
Yes, I hear the pain out there, but let me tell you how I would have told my car story if I hadn’t realized God’s presence that afternoon.…
Can you believe it? I’d only left my house for a minute because goodness knows my book deadline was breathing down my neck. All I needed was a cup of coffee so I could hurry home and write. And of course, you’d know my car would break down in front of the coffee shop, blocking the traffic in a parking lot. Can you imagine? All I wanted was a tiny little cup of coffee and what I got instead was a big hassle. Not a private hassle, on no, my car had to inconvenience all the other drivers. How embarrassing! Someone even thought there was a dead body in my car. If they had called the cops, I would have been the number one murder suspect for the death of my book deadline.
Anyway, my husband, who also had a busy afternoon planned, had to drop everything and come babysit me while we waited for a tow. By the time the ordeal was over, five hours had passed and I was too tired to write a word. What a wasted day.
Wow, what a negative stream of thoughts, negativity I could have slipped into if I had let a bad attitude shut God out of my experience. And I have to tell you, there are days I might have pushed God out of my uninvited difficulties and chalked the day up as wasted—instead of a day filled with blessings. So, what made the difference for me? My change of heart began the moment I recognized God’s presence. Acknowledging his presence made it easier for me to make a conscious effort to thank him as I counted my blessings.

The above is an excerpt from Linda's wonderful book Experiencing God's Presence

What if every time you had a conversation, your best friend never got a word in edgewise? Your relationship would be less than fulfilling –for both of you! In the same way, a fulfilling prayer life is more than just regularly talking to God. And it’s more than checking items off a prayer list. God loves us so much that he wants us to draw close enough not only to talk but also to listen.

Now, from the award-winning author of When You Don’t Know What to Pray comes a bold and life-transforming book that will help you nurture a vibrant two-way relationship with God. Linda Evans Shepherd shows you how to develop a dialogue with God, continually seeking him and seeing him at work in your life. Steeped in Scripture and filled with personal stories of answered prayer, this book also includes sample prayers and action steps you can put into practice immediately.

About the author:
Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning author, a successful speaker, a radio personality. The president of Right to the Heart Ministries, she is the author of When You Don’t Know What to Pray and When You Need a Miracle and the co-author of the Potluck Club books and the Potluck Catering Club series. She lives with her family in Colorado.


Thursday, December 12, 2013


A conversation about heaven began when Anna, my five-year-old granddaughter, asked me a simple question: “Will you be my grandma for as long as you live?”

“Yes,” I said. “Even when I’m in heaven, I’ll still be your grandma.” I assumed the reassurance of my forever-love would make her happy. I was wrong.

Anna’s eyes filled with tears and her chin quivered. “But I won’t be able to talk with you then,” she said.

Different people. Different perspectives. One sees the cup half full; the other sees the cup half empty. Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

In this case, Anna’s response led to a heartwarming conversation about what heaven might be like. But in some cases, different perspectives can lead to conflict. Each person thinks he’s right. This means, of course, that the other is wrong. Heaven forbid that the “wrong” perspective not recognize its waywardness and repent.

I recall a specific situation within my marriage when my husband and I held different perspectives. In retrospect, it was no big deal, but it didn’t feel like that at the time.

We were packing the car prior to leaving on a family vacation. I suggested one method for loading the luggage, but my husband had his own thoughts about how to get the job done. He respectfully told me that he preferred his methods to mine, and I took offense. Thankfully, he practiced patience with me.

“You think one way, and I think another,” he explained when we talked about the situation later. “We look at the same situation but we don’t see it the same. Neither perspective is wrong. It’s just different.”

That experience taught me a valuable lesson. Different people hold different perspectives for any number of reasons. A negative—or a positive—upbringing impacts the way they view life. So does age, inborn nature, cultural background, whether they slept well the previous night, and whether they’re at peace within themselves and with their Creator.

Any number of variants influence people’s perspectives, but one thing’s for sure—we need to respect others even when they see life through a different lens than ours. Taking offense and allowing conflict to rise will cause hurt and hinder relationships. Listening to them and showing respect, however, will open doors to communication and build relationships.

Different people; different perspectives. Let’s strive to listen and learn from those who hold a view contrary to ours. That may be easier at times than others, but we’ll benefit from making the effort.


Do you desire to draw near to God?

Set the tone for your entire day in just a few moments with the Lord. Morning Moments with God: Devotions for the Busy Woman offers fresh biblical insights and renews your spirit as you journey through more than 150 new devotions by popular author Grace Fox. These brief gems of wisdom focus on God’s faithfulness and reflect on His power, presence, and promises in your life today.

Ideal for women from all walks of life and perfect for gift giving.

Available at bookstores nationwide and online.

ISBN 978-0-7369-5552-2
About Grace Fox

Grace Fox is a sought-after international speaker described as “deep, daring, and devoted.” Her passion is to see her audiences connect the dots between God’s word and real life so they can experience each day as He intends.

She’s written hundreds of articles for magazines including Focus on the Family, Insights Canada, and Power for Living. She’s also authored seven books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation and produced its corresponding DVD-based Bible study in partnership with Stonecroft Ministries. Her other current titles include:

·        10-Minute Time Outs for You and Your Kids

·        10-Minute Time Outs for Moms

·        Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women

·        Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation (DVD and participant’s guide)

Grace’s upcoming books published by Harvest House include:

·        Morning Moments with God: Devotions for the Busy Woman (January 2014)

·        Tuck-Me-In Talks with Your Little Ones: Creating Happy Bedtime Memories (February 2014)

·        One-Minute Romance for Couples (January 2015)

She’s also a contributor to the Guideposts’ devotional books – Mornings with Jesus 2014 and Mornings with Jesus 2015.

Grace and her husband live in British Columbia where they co-direct International Messengers Canada. One of their main roles is to recruit, train, and lead short-term ministry teams to Eastern Europe each summer. They’ve been married for nearly 32 years, have three married children, and five grandkids. In her spare time, Grace enjoys babysitting, boating and motorbiking!

Connect with her via email – or online: