Monday, March 28, 2016

A Picture of Peace by Guest Author Dianne Neal Matthews

Today's guest is doing a Giveaway to one winner this week. Leave a blog comment to enter your name to possibly win A copy of The One Year Women of the Bible.

One spring afternoon I rushed around like a mad woman, trying to fit in all the errands and grocery shopping before time for the kids to get home from school. My tight grip on the steering wheel and my tensed shoulders revealed the turmoil inside my mind.

I thought about all the problems I was facing: financial troubles, relationship difficulties, physical issues… Sure, life on this earth can be hard, but all these trials at the same time? It felt like my life had spiraled out of control. TWEET THIS

Suddenly I had the urge to bear down on the horn. The green light at the intersection ahead was plain as day, so why were we creeping along at a snail’s pace? As I got closer to the intersecting street, I saw the reason for the stop-and-go traffic.

A mother duck held her head high as she marched across five lanes of traffic, with four baby ducks in tow. The fuzzy ducklings waddled behind her with a steady rhythm in front of the stopped cars. Mesmerized, I stared at the procession and wondered, “How can they not be frightened when they’re surrounded on all sides by cars and city noise?”

That’s when I noticed how intently the mother duck stared at her destination—the other side of the street. Her ducklings kept in single file with their heads held high and eyes also fixed straight ahead. Suddenly I understood.

The secret to peace is to not look at my surroundings, but to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, “the author and perfecter” of my faith (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). The only way I can stay tranquil in the midst of turmoil is to concentrate on my Guide, the One who has promised to get me safely to my destination. TWEET THIS

Sometimes our life journey takes us to a place where we feel as though we’re trapped in the middle of a traffic jam, honking cars on every side. If we ask for God’s help, He will fill us with His peace that transcends our circumstances. Then we can hold our head high, fix our eyes on Jesus, and navigate our way to the peace and safety of His will. TWEET THIS

Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books, including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation. She and her husband have three children and three adorable grandchildren. To learn more, please visit

Connect with Dianne through Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Monday, March 21, 2016


My guest today is Ellie Gustafson, Ellie is doing a giveaway of her novel The Stones. Leave a comment below, share this blog post on social media somewhere, and spell out your email address in the comment. Then your name will be entered in the hat. I'll draw the name on the Sunday following this post date. 

And now my guest....Eleanor Gustafson

The birth of my first child was a God moment in many ways.

With my husband not yet out of Wheaton College, we weren’t planning to start our family until his last year of seminary. Roughly two months after our wedding, however, I was pregnant. What does that say about our family-planning skills?

I remember sitting on our bed, facing reality: you’re pregnant; now you have to have that baby—no way out.

I was due April 28; didn’t deliver until May 12—a Saturday and 15 days late.

Labor started Monday night. Called the doctor next morning. He said if I wasn’t hanging onto the doorposts, nothing was really happening. Saw him a couple of times during the week, and he was right.

Thursday night I sought diversion in a speech recital at the college—a Joan of Arc monologue. My thighs burned right along with Joan’s.

On Friday, a friend picked me up just to drive around. I’ve never forgotten her kindness.

Saturday morning, tiring of doorpost hanging, I went to see if the doctor could give me any hope of having that baby before the end of the century. He checked me out, then leaned over and kissed me on the mouth. “You’re going to have a baby!” I blessed him and trucked off to the hospital.

Still a lot of labor before Eric Jon was born at 6:30 PM, but I won’t go into those details. Suffice it to say that our eldest child has been worth every bit of that long, hard week. He, too, went to Wheaton, then on to a Masters and PhD and is now at the top of his field in research biology, giving seminars around the world. More importantly, he is a good husband and the father of our granddaughter, who currently teaches school and lives with us. 

Most important, though, he is a man of God, a worship leader in his
church, and a model of the goodness and grace of God. We aredeeply grateful for God’s creative introduction to parenthood.

This memory set off a connection in my mind between the birth of a child and the birth of a book. My novel, The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David, was 15 or more years in gestation. 

Tried and tried but couldn’t find a publisher. 

Then one Sunday, Tim Tennent—a former interim at our church and now president of Asbury Theological Seminary—came as our guest speaker. He knew about my efforts and had even written an endorsement. When he learned I had not yet found a publisher, he whipped out a business card. His son had just taken a position at Whitaker House, and maybe if I contacted him… 

YES! Delivery was at hand, and at that moment, God leaned down and kissed me on the mouth. 

“You’re going to have a book!”

Another of Eleanor Gustason's books
ABOUT ELEANOR GUSTAFSON: A graduate of Wheaton College, IL, I have been involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. Additional experiences include gardening, house construction, and tree farming. A major writing goal is making scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the power of story.


Monday, March 14, 2016

When You Have No Money Coming In -- by Guest Blogger Doreen Hanna

My blog guest today, Doreen Hanna, is doing a giveaway of her book Raising a Modern Day Princess to the winner of the draw below. Leave a comment at the end of this post to enter your name in the draw. Share this post on social media and I'll enter your name in the draw again. Winner's name will be drawn the Sunday after this post.

In our early years of marriage a crisis in my husband’s business led us down a path we never thought we’d walk.  After no income for almost three months and our savings depleted we were $1,998 in debt.  I was just beginning to learn that God answered prayers. Therefore, I thought this was a good time to ask Him for help.  

My prayer went like this: “Lord, you know this the total amount that will be due by the end of this month.   I am not going to ask anyone for help.  This is between you and me.  To show you I’m going to trust you for this, I’m going to call each creditor and tell them that, the Lord,  is going to help me pay them full by the end of the month.”  And, I did.   

Those calls were made on October 2nd.   I fasted the first week – no money.  The second week  – no money, but the water didn’t get turned off because we had a child under the age of 2.  The third week past – no money and the phone was turned off.  

The fourth week , on Thursday, October 29th my friend, Emilie, came by my house to tell me she was taking me to her house so I could call my mother. She knew Mom would be worried.  Therefore, I did.  

After getting off the phone I turned to find Emilie and her husband Bill standing in the middle of the family room.  Bill spoke up, “Doreen, Emilie and I believe we are to give this to you and Chad (handing me an envelope).  It is a gift and you do not have to repay it.”  

I accepted the envelope and Emilie took me home. When I stepped inside the house I tore open the envelope and it was for $200. I was so disappointed I stomped down the hall to our bedroom.  Chad was startled by my behavior and asked what was wrong.  

I replied, “Bill and Emilie gave us a gift tonight,”( as I tossed the envelope towards him),   but it isn’t enough to meet our needs that are due by tomorrow!”  

Chad looked and then exclaimed, “Honey this check is for $2,000!”  I looked again and sure enough, it was!  I immediately ran to place I had asked the Lord 28 days earlier and I wept first with shame for my initial ungrateful attitude, then with the deepest of gratitude said, I will do my best to live for you the rest of my life.” God must have smiled that October 2nd whispering to himself, “I know the plans I have for you…Jer. 29:11! 

The Book Doreen Hanna is giving away to the
Winner of the Comment Draw
FB – Modern Day Princess Headquarters, Twitter - @doreenhanna, Instagram – Doreen Hanna
Author Doreen Hanna

Monday, March 07, 2016

A SMUDGE OF BITTERNESS---by Guest Dianne Barker

Guest Dianne Barker is giving away a copy of her book. Leave comment below to enter your name in the draw. Please spell out your email address in that comment. Winner will be drawn Sunday. 

Is That a Smudge of Bitterness?
By Dianne Barker

I lost patience with my husband and spoke sharply. Now there’s an awful thing between us—bitterness. It’s like a smudge on one of us. The smudge creates a barrier. We don’t touch…speak…make eye contact. Both of us are hurting. I think I’m right. He thinks he is. I won’t apologize. Neither will he. What a mess!

In the middle of such a mess, God taught me a huge truth about the barrier between us. There is a smudge on one of us. The smudge is on me.

The cleanser is forgiveness.

The dictionary defines forgive “cease to feel resentment.” It doesn’t explain how.

I thought I did the forgiveness-thing as well as anyone—until I remembered the conversation between Peter and the Lord. The disciple asked how often he should forgive someone who offended him. Seven times seemed reasonable. Jesus said till seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22 KJV). Some translations say seventy-seven times.

Christ expects his followers to extend unlimited forgiveness…to live in a state of continual forgiveness.

One midnight after my family had gone to bed, I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes and nursing a wounded spirit.

Earlier I’d proposed an idea to my husband—that the children and I accompany him on a trip to the Hershey, Pennsylvania, antique car show and flea market. He and three buddies had made a reservation a year ago.

A few wives in our Model A club traveled with their husbands and described the fun browsing shopping malls while the men trudged around the flea market—usually in a drizzle—sifting through rusty car parts. I told James we were going with him. He said “no.”

I didn’t try to understand his reasoning, and he didn’t explain, probably because of my defiant tone. Later I remembered there are no motel vacancies during car-show week. He couldn’t change plans.

I scrubbed dishes angrily, indulging in ugly thoughts about my insensitive husband and dredging up a few old hurts as evidence of his cruelty.

Suddenly a quiet voice spoke in my heart: you’re full of bitterness.

I didn’t know that word well, but I knew its cousins. Resentment. Anger. Hostility.

The Lord exposed the awful condition of my heart—black as the midnight sky—and shocking truth: the bitterness barrier is my issue…the smudge is on me.

Ephesians 4:31-32 instructs, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Harboring bitterness is disobedience. With tears I confessed my sin to the Lord and extended forgiveness to my husband (my feelings were hurt). The smudge was gone.

A few days later I happily sent him off to Hershey. Before returning home he made a family reservation for next year.

Forgive before bitterness leaves a smudge. How? By decision. How many times? Until you lose count then keep on!

Dianne Barker is a conference speaker, freelance journalist, radio host, and author of eleven books, including the 1986 best-seller Twice Pardoned. Her 2014 book, I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life, won the Christian Authors Network Golden Scrolls third-place award for non-fiction book of the year. She is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, and Christian Women in Media. This post is adapted from her forthcoming book, Help! I’m Stuck and I Can’t Get Out! The Maximum Marriage Maintenance and Repair Kit available soon at