Reap What?

by Lane Jordan

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7 NIV

I have heard this verse all my life. I thought I understood it until I saw, with fresh eyes, the story of Jacob and his family, beginning in the 27th chapter of Genesis.

Isaac and his wife Rebekah each had a favorite of their twin boys. (Anytime this happens in a family, there will always be trouble.) Rebekah loved Jacob, and Isaac loved Esau. God had promised that Jacob, the younger son, would rule over the firstborn son, Esau, but Rebekah and Jacob found ways to accomplish this on their own by deceiving Isaac and Esau. Jacob tempted Esau to trade his birthright for a bowl of stew. Later, Jacob deceived his father Isaac by covering himself in goat skins (Esau was very hairy) and then lied in order to receive the blessing.

And we think we have dysfunctional families today!

Esau threatened to kill his brother after finding out he had lost his father’s blessing, so Jacob fled to his mother’s family far away. Then Jacob experienced his uncle’s deception! (We do reap what we sow.) Jacob worked for his uncle, Laban, for seven years to marry Laban’s daughter, Rachel. But Laban gave him the wrong wife, Rachel’s sister, Leah. Years later, Laban tried to deceive him again regarding the flocks Jacob tended.

Eventually, Jacob had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel. His son Joseph became his favorite because Joseph was born to Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. Jacob had a coat of many colors made just for Joseph. As in Isaac and Rebekah’ favoritism, problems resulted. In this case, Joseph’s brothers ganged up against him, considered killing him, then sold him as a slave.

They covered up their evil actions with deceit. They took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the robe in its blood. Then they presented the robe to their father to show that an animal must have killed Joseph.

There is irony here since Jacob had used goat skins to deceive his brother and father years before; now Jacob is deceived by animal evidence. Jacob’s deceptive character had been transferred to his sons.

But this story leads to the blessing we can experience when we have been caught in a cycle of deceit.

Eventually, Joseph rose above slavery to become second in command over all of Egypt. He formed a plan to save millions from a famine. Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt for food and had to meet with him, but since he appeared to be Egyptian, they did not recognize him. When Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, they saw him overcome with forgiveness for them and filled with joy over their reunion. And yet, when their father Jacob died, they feared what Joseph might do to them and decided to lie. They sent a message to Joseph, claiming their father had said, “Please forgive your brothers’ transgression and their sin” (Genesis 50:17 Holman CSB). And they bowed down to Joseph and said they were his slaves.

Joseph could have had them killed, yet he responded with one of the most profound statements of faith in the entire Bible:

Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you your children. Genesis 50:19-21 NIV

Yes, we reap what we sow. But God in His ultimate grace and mercy can stop the cycle of sin when we come to Him in humility and forgiveness.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Lane P. Jordan is a best-selling author, national speaker, Life Coach, Bible teacher, and artist. She publishes both fiction and nonfiction, and her writing can be found in magazines and her blog. She is the author of the 12 Steps Organizing books, and her first novel, Evangeline, was released in 2021 as well as her newest children’s books. You can find Lane at: and her blog at:

Join the conversation: Have you personally seen a sin cycle broken? Please share.


I Lied in Third Grade

by Kathy Collard Miller

I was the teacher’s pet in my third-grade class.

Everyone knew, especially my fellow students, that Mrs. Leighton favored me. As a child, having the feeling of her favor was like water for my thirsty soul.

For some reason, that teacher had chosen me as important and worthy of her special approval. Back then, I assumed she favored me because I was a smart, obedient student. In fact, for every report card in all my elementary years, each teacher wrote, “Kathy is a very dependable and conscientious student.” I loved that affirmation.

On one particular day, I said something hurtful to someone in class (I don’t remember what), and several students heard me. One student called Mrs. Leighton over and told her what I’d said. The teacher looked at me with concern and shock and asked, “Kathy, did you say that?”

All eyes were on me. The students know the truth. I know the truth. The possibility of destroying what I thrived on—my teacher’s approval—made me feel like I was in a vise. 

I chose to protect my needy soul. I lied. “No, Mrs. Leighton, I didn’t say that.” The teacher smiled her approval—she even looked triumphant—and turned away. And, in that moment, I knew I was a liar, and I felt ashamed.

As a third-grader, I didn’t understand grace. I believed my good performance earned that teacher’s pet status, therefore it was too risky to admit my wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. Looking back now, I believe Mrs. Leighton would have responded, “Kathy, thank you for being honest. Please ask your friend for forgiveness, and all will be forgiven and forgotten.” But because I thought that my being a good student was the only reason Mrs. Leighton cared about me, I believed I was unable to be forgiven.

What a burden. What a cross to carry. And yet Jesus had already carried the cross and died on it for me. I learned this truth at age eighteen when I heard the Gospel clearly for the first time and did what I should have done in third grade. I confessed, “I’ve sinned, will you forgive me?”

I can’t know for sure what Mrs. Leighton would have said that day in the classroom. But I know for sure what Jesus said when I first asked him for salvation years ago and each time I confess a sin. He reminds me of the truth of Romans 5:7–9:

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (ESV)

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: In third grade, Kathy Collard Miller never could have comprehended the incredible journey of becoming a Christian and then serving God. As the award-winning and best-selling author of over 60 books, an international speaker, and as a lay counselor, Kathy has seen God’s grace in amazing ways. Her most recent book is Heart of Courage: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, which is a women’s Bible study with ten lessons on different aspects of having God’s courage. Connect with Kathy at and her Amazon author page.

Join the conversation: What gives you confidence in God’s unconditional love?

Heart of the Matter

by Dana Peters-Colley

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8 NKJV

It’s that month. Pink and red popping out at every corner. Heart-shaped candy and suckers and those boxes of chocolates fill store shelves.

Yet, let’s get to the heart of why we celebrate love this month. What is true love?

It seems there are many legends that lead to our observance of Valentine’s Day. One saint married lovers secretly to prevent the husbands from going to war. Another saint was martyred but signed a letter with the words “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter who had been healed from her blindness. In the 1500s, love messages were sent, and, by the 1700s, it was common to send Valentine’s cards. Thus began the tradition.

When I was growing up, kids bought a box of about thirty cards to give out in class, and we created Valentine’s boxes to hold what would be given to us. We improved our penmanship by signing our name to so many cards, and we made selections from the list our teacher printed out. It was a fun day and always dripped candy to sweeten our idea of love.

Yet, what is true love? What does God show us about it?

It’s wrapped with a bow on the Scripture we all know, John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (NKJV).

Let’s center on those first words: For God so loved. This gives us our anchor. God loves us. He wants us, His Creation, to know Him. He wants to love us as no other can—in the deepest and most vulnerable places we have. God so loved.

Then, these words are followed by His action. Love doesn’t just sit still. It moves forward. It steps out and does something. God gave. He brought something to us. He changed everything before it was ever needed to give what He valued most, love.

When we give gifts—the roses, the candy, the notes of how we care—these things are our way of sharing love – giving love – to those we care about. We can give a word of encouragement. We can make a call or text someone to let them know we think about them.

Whatever it is, even if the holiday has passed, we can reach out and bring our heart to share with others. It’s the reason for the season, and it’s wrapped with the sweetness of the heart.

Then, there is a gift we can bring that is important to God and a blessing for us. When we pull ourselves away from other things to instead spend time with the Lord as our lover—in prayer and resting in His presence, we have His joy poured over us. We can spend more time tasting God’s word and savoring what He reveals to us—better than chocolate and richer than any sweet treat. We glow in satisfaction with His goodness.

It is always the season to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” This is a year-round treat that couldn’t be any sweeter.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

About the author: Dana Peters-Colley is a creative who loves Jesus. She has been tucked away developing a brand of Christian parable books, faith-based fiction, and inspirational books as well as screenplays. Dana holds a B.A. in journalism, studied screenwriting at U.C.L.A., and is a former long-time Disney creative leader and producer. When the Lord got ahold of Dana everything marvelously changed. She is developing a heavenly-inspired brand line that brings stories to build family, inspire discovery, and teach kingdom ways. See to connect to her spiritual blog and gaze at her adventures.

Do you have a friend you want to receive Jesus into their lives? Do you want to receive how much God loves and values you? Do you want to be empowered to do the impossible? Then, you have to know who you are! Treasure will take you into the realization of God’s love for you as you discover you are His treasure.

Join the conversation: What are the two things you enjoy the most?

Winter In America

by Sheri Schofield

Wind, snow, and sub-zero temperatures have brought harsh conditions to much of our country. Homeless people line the streets in many cities, unable to find adequate shelter.  Churches along our southern border are crowded with people fleeing from poverty or abuse in other countries. The airport in El Paso has opened its doors to people with no other place to sleep. Those who have friends or relatives are couch surfing to find shelter.

It is winter in America in more ways than one. Young adults are leaving Christianity in record numbers. Many people across this land do not even know who Jesus is. Christians are being scorned and persecution is starting to seriously affect those who serve Christ in this land. My heart cries out to God to save us from America’s spiritual winter.

The words of Jesus about our times mention this. He told a story of a widow who kept seeking justice, day after day, until a corrupt judge got tired of her persistent requests and gave her justice so she wouldn’t bother him anymore.

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:6-8, NIV)

In the face of this spiritual winter, Jesus calls us to keep the faith. Faith is our snow shovel against ungodliness and unbelief that blows across this land. We cannot sit in our homes and let the drifts of unbelief pile up! We must get out in the cold, shovel the drifts from our homes, and then do what we can to shovel the drifts of unbelief away from our neighbors’ homes.

If ever there was a time when Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as we love ourselves was needed, this is it. We are living in times where sin abounds and love has grown cold—like in the days of Noah. The only solution is to warm up the cold hearts around us with Jesus’ love. What we do may be as simple as asking a neighbor over for tea, listening to them, and sharing our testimony of how our Lord has helped us. Since he helped us, he can help them, too … if they will trust him.

Maybe loving our neighbor as we love ourselves means taking in a homeless person or family to protect them from this deadly cold, then helping them find a place of their own. Maybe loving our neighbor means providing food to those around us who are in need, or serving in a soup kitchen. Look around. There are many ways to show Jesus’ love to others then tell them about salvation in Christ.

As the cold of winter continues on, keep the warm fires of faith burning where we live, where we travel, where we shop. Get to know the beggars on the street corners. Do you know their names and circumstances? Find ways to show them the love of Christ.

When Jesus returns, let him find faith on earth. Faith that lives and prospers in our hearts. Faith that reaches out with warmth to those who are physically and spiritually frozen. Faith that announces springtime through Jesus’ love.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1 (NIV).

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Sheri Schofield, award-winning author and Bible teacher, has added a new way to share faith in Jesus: Her latest book, Before You Find Me, is a contemporary romantic suspense featuring a strong Christian who faces a crisis that tests her courage. Tara, a freshman at West Texas A&M whose parents are dead, learns that her younger sister witnessed a murder. To protect her siblings, she must spirit them out of Texas before the murderer learns there was a witness to his act. Tara has one day in which to act. Can she do it? She remembers a family ranch in Montana…and Ben, the boy next-door, who captured her heart once. Will he still be there? Will he help her protect her family now? This book entertains while it presents godly responses to danger and struggles. Sometimes fiction can draw people closer to God when they will not be drawn by nonfiction. Before You Find Me is available at

Join the conversation: How do you show love to those around you?

A Diagnostic for the Heart  

by Patti Richter

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7 ESV

Valentine’s Day offers a mid-winter respite with its images of hearts and flowers. But the very day that suggests love and romance often fails to deliver the happiness we might expect.

For me, the day recalls a first-ever argument with my then husband-to-be, several months before we became engaged. Jim and I both fell short of loving one another on our first Valentine’s Day as a couple. I was rude to him; he responded with anger.

Whether it’s a holiday, a birthday, or a special date on the calendar, we may have unreasonable expectations of picture-perfect gatherings. We can easily set ourselves up for disappointment. But such times can also reveal our heart’s deficiencies.

When I have physical signs of sickness, I go to a reliable medical website, which offers a possible diagnosis based on a list of symptoms. Based on that list, the health issue I suspected often turns out to be something else. When it’s our relationships that are pale or feverish, we should look to God’s Word for a remedy. The Apostle Paul’s passage concerning love in 1 Corinthians 13 provides us with a diagnostic for the heart.

Paul begins with a warning that our gifts of the Spirit and great faith add up to nothing if we do not have love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). The next verses, 4-7, are more poetic; we often hear them recited at weddings. Knowing that a bride and groom selected that passage assures us they’re off to a good start. But those love lines serve as a reminder for any of us whose relationships are off-kilter. Reading the verses for self-application can be like taking liquid medicine or rubbing ointment on a wound. Paul’s words may be hard to swallow, or smart for a while, but healing will come.

Love is patient and kind. Paul packed a double punch here. These virtues are related; if we don’t have one, we likely don’t have much of the other.

Love does not envy or boast. Pairing vices this time, Paul highlights these tacky responses that negatively affect the quality of a relationship.

Love is not arrogant or rude. These bad qualities have a clear connection. We should consider their antonyms as a cure: humble and considerate.

Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Paul continues to bust our bubbles of bad behavior in order to save our relationships—if we will only heed his words.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This admonishes us not to give up on a spouse or loved one.

We may wonder where Paul gained such wisdom regarding love until we remember how personally he knew the Lord. He viewed Christ as our perfect example of the loving qualities we see in those verses. Our Savior, so patient and merciful, will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). To follow in his footsteps is to live a life characterized by love.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at with more than four hundred published articles.

Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: Can you think of an instance when you were shown that kind of love? Please share!

Loveable? Me?

by Jessica Van Roekel

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3 ESV

Have you ever felt like the unchosen? Maybe you were the one who wasn’t invited to a girl’s night out. The next morning, you open your social media apps and discover that your friends got together, and you weren’t invited. What goes through your mind?

My response flip flops between grace and a sassy, “Excuse me?” On one hand, I give my friends the benefit of the doubt and consider it an oversight. I think, “They just forgot me.” But that makes me feel terrible. Who wants to be forgotten? Then, I think they left me out on purpose and my heart quakes at seeing them again. I wonder if they merely tolerate my presence or if they enjoy my company. After all, they went out and didn’t invite me. I definitely feel less than loved. In fact, I feel a little rejected.

It’s this kind of experience with other people that make the idea of everlasting love and faithfulness hard to believe. How am I supposed to believe that I’m loved if the people I do life with don’t choose me? And herein lies the challenge before us. Will we let our feelings of rejection by our Christian friends stand in the way of receiving the truth found in God’s Word?

In the above passage from Jeremiah, God reminds the Israelites of what he did for their ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt. All seemed lost. They were friendless, despised by the Egyptians, enslaved to work before God redeemed them and brought them to freedom by way of the desert and the sea.

God parted the sea and took them to the edge of the Promised land where they allowed their fear to say no to God’s open door. As a result, they wandered in the wilderness for forty long years, unlearning their slave identity and their tendency to idolatry. He remained faithful to His people in Jeremiah’s day, even when they had turned their backs on Him.

When we feel dismissed and disregarded by other members in our church family, it can lead us into a wilderness of pain and confusion. We can feel deserted, friendless, and rejected. But by remembering what God has already done for us, bringing us through every devastating circumstance, remembering who he is and who we are to him, we can perceive the wilderness as a special place of God’s grace and mercy.

His presence is with us in every moment, and he uses the hard places in our lives to whisper his love to us. It’s these difficult times that allow us to tighten the tuning of our heart to his heart. Feeling unwanted by the people in our lives gives us an opportunity to lean into God’s everlasting love for us. His love for us is not contingent on whether we feel loved by the people in our lives. Experiences of feeling rejected give us an opportunity to shift our focus from other people proving a loving God exists to believing by faith that God is loving.

Will you reach for God’s love the next time you feel less than loveable? He is faithful in his love for you.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more

Join the conversation: Has rejection ever tempted you to feel unloved?

Why Am I So Lonely?

by Laura Petherbridge

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Psalm 25:16 NIV

“Laura, I don’t understand why I feel so lonely,” the pretty woman shared with me. “There isn’t anything catastrophic going on,” she continued. “Yet I feel a gloomy emptiness, almost as if I’m mourning. Friends tell me I shouldn’t feel this way because my life is good. However, I can’t seem to overcome it. What’s wrong with me?”

Nothing. Nothing is wrong with you if this only lasts for a short time. We all go through seasons where we just feel lonely. And we don’t know why.

However, if it’s a lingering problem, it’s very wise to dig deeper.

Are you depressed? Here are a few questions to ask yourself that might help:

  • Do you feel hopeless?
  • Do you struggle to find pleasure in everyday things?
  • Has your appetite changed?
  • Has your energy level or motivation changed?
  • Do you feel heaviness of guilt or shame?
  • Do you think about harming yourself or others?

Although this is not an exhaustive list, if you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s worth visiting your doctor for an evaluation.

Prolonged seclusion (like in the recent pandemic) breeds desolation and despondency. “We feel hungry when we’re deprived of food, and thirsty when we’re deprived of liquids. The feeling of loneliness is akin to the body telling us we’re deprived of social connection. It’s bad for us. Similar to food and water, when these signals go unheeded, there can be deleterious health effects.”[1]

Even the most spiritual people in the Bible struggled with depression. Take, for example, Elijah (1 Kings 19). He lived during a very dark time in Israel’s history. He faithfully (at risk of his life) brought God’s message to the Northern Kingdom: they needed to turn away from worshiping idols and return back to Him. After a dramatic, successful showdown with the pagan priests, where God rained down fire from heaven (1 Kings 18), Elijah returned to isolation and collapsed in despair. God came to him to give him a larger perspective: He was not yet done with His people. Elijah was not alone; there were 7,000 who remained faithful to Him. Then he provided a companion for Elijah as he continued to prophesy.

Even when we can’t feel Him, God is at work always, fulfilling His purposes.

Other things that can trigger depression:

  • Life Changes. Moving, job change, death, loss of relationships, are just a few of the things that cause stress and potential loneliness. Even if the change was a good thing.
  • Past pain. When I begin to feel lonely, I need to check my childhood triggers. I was depressed, distressed, and filled with heartache and shame as a child. That didn’t magically disappear when I became an adult or a Christian. 
  • Sometimes the root reason isn’t obvious. I often need to get very quiet with Jesus and ask Him, “Lord, why am I lonely? What’s wrong? What’s broken?”

Some Christians, while well-intentioned, give advice that is not helpful. Pat answers will not help anyone. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people, especially Christians, to diminish the pain of others if it’s not cancer or the death of a spouse.  The “just pray and get over it” mentality can hurt more than the situation itself.

God sees you and knows exactly how you feel. He has not abandoned you. If you continue to struggle, please know there is no shame for any of us in reaching out for professional help. He often works through medical professionals to bring restoration to the hopeless.


This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Laura Petherbridge is an international speaker and author of, When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’The Smart Stepmom,  101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom, and Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul.  She has appeared at/on the Billy Graham Center, Family Talk (Dobson), Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, FamilyLife, Lifeway and Moody Broadcasting. She has been a featured expert on the DivorceCare DVD series implemented in over 60,000 churches worldwide. In addition to the USA, she has spoken in South Africa, Australia, and Canada. Laura and Steve live in Atlanta, Ga and have been married for 35 years. She has two stepsons, daughters in law, and grandkids. She may be reached at

Laura’s resource When I Do Becomes I Don’t-Practical Steps for Healing During Separation and Divorce is answers to her most FAQ after 30 years in divorce recovery and stepfamily ministry. It includes chapters for friends and family, and a section for church leadership. 

Join the conversation: Are you struggling with depression right now?

You Can Have the Best

by Shirley Mozena

I was alone. Eleven days earlier, my husband of forty years had died after a six-month battle with a terrible virus. My generous sister knew it would be difficult for me that first Valentine’s Day, so she drove two hundred miles that day to be with me. We enjoyed a quiet meal in a small restaurant that evening, enjoying our companionship and gourmet meal. She’d made sure I wasn’t alone.

Ironically, there were times in our early years together when I felt more alone than when my husband died. At that time, I wondered if our marriage would last. I felt like I didn’t even have a husband, though I was married.

I can tell you finally, after twenty years, we found a solution to our troubles through a communication class. It sounds so simple and yet, that was what was making our relationship such a trial. We learned to repeat back what the other said when we disagreed on some point. Listening. Repeating. Agreeing on what was said made all the difference. But it took years for the stubbornness in both of us to find this solution.

In those troubled years, I took hope in the words from the prophet Isaiah: “ For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God (Isaiah 54:5-6 NIV).

There were multiple times when I remembered those words of promise.

Now here I was in a different situation. My husband was now physically gone. Once again, I was reminded that I still had a husband. That husband was my Maker. Did I feel alone? Yes, I did. But the God of all the earth promised to be my husband.

Perhaps you find yourself widowed or divorced. Or, like me for many years, in a difficult marriage. You’d like to be married or with someone who loves you like no other. I can’t promise you that God will bring that perfect man into your life, but instead, He gives Himself! The Holy One who redeemed you.

Lean on that this Valentine’s Day. May you sense the “God of all the earth” as you celebrate this day of love. With someone. Or with Someone. Either way, you can have the best!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Shirley Quiring Mozena is a retreat speaker and national speaker for Stonecroft Ministries. She has a presence on FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Her website includes her blogs, and speaking schedule. Shirley has authored three books: Second Chances At Life and Love, With Hope, Beyond Second Chances: Heartbreak to Joy (finalist in the OCW Cascade Awards).  She and her husband Jim co-authored Second Chance at Love: Navigating the Path to Remarriage (a finalist in the 2021 Selah Awards). They facilitate GriefShare, a program for those grieving the loss of a loved one in death.

Join the conversation: How are you going to celebrate Valentines Day?

A Few Reasons to Love New Beginnings

by Patricia Durgin

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 NKJV

I love new beginnings! They’ve been my way of life since birth.

After my dad’s Air Force years ended, he became a regional trouble-shooter in the southeastern United States, including our home state of Georgia. After I married, my husband accepted a similar responsibility with a different company. Whether with my first family or later with my husband, each new assignment required a move to a new city, and sometimes to a new state.

By the spring of 2021, I’d lived in over 40 homes in six states. In the last 16 months, we moved to three homes in two states—we’re now in Virginia. So, I’m very familiar with being “the new kid on the block.”

It’s challenging to move to a new home, job, church, state, or country, isn’t it? We have to build a new life. Again. And, sometimes, yet again.

One reason to love new beginnings is because Jesus does. He specializes in them! Every January, without fail, He offers each of us a fresh start, no matter how many we’ve already used up.

A second reason: Upon our salvation, He gives us the most important new beginning we’ll ever experience upon earth—a clean heart full of gratitude and love for Him, with all our sins removed because of His sacrifice for us. Praise His Name!

In time, we sin again. He offers us forgiveness, a type of do-over. But as we mature in Him, the constant sin/forgiveness cycle with the same issue ends. No longer mad at Him or afraid of Him, we learn the joys of snuggling in His lap while He loves on us. Strengthened in heart, mind, and soul, we share His love with others, guiding them to their new beginning with Him. Glory!

A bonus reason to love new beginnings: We don’t have to go through a move or wait for a new year to experience them. We can leave unhealthy habits and relationships behind at any time.

The triune God of the Holy Bible offers us new chances to change who we are, what we believe, or how we live. Only He can forgive our poor choices and help us to make better ones. This is Good News!

Making a personal or professional change seems to facilitate a new beginning since those we meet did not know us with our former unhealthy habits. They see us with our improved choices of words, behavior, and relationships. But whether we move into new circumstances or not, as we step into all God has for us, we do not need to drag any old baggage behind us.

Are you hungry for a new beginning? A fresh start? Jesus offers you one right now!

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9 – 13 NKJV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: A respected Bible teacher and professional trainer, Patricia served Christ in leadership roles at work, church, and in her Chattanooga community before she and her husband accepted God’s call to become “nomads for Jesus.” Since 1999, she has served Christian writers and speakers as a marketing coach/trainer, showing them how to build/rebuild their platform to fit their message’s future needs, not simply this year’s pressing project.

Married to her high school sweetheart since 1976, they’re blessed with two daughters and two sons-in-law, all in full-time ministry, plus four delightful grandchildren. Patricia also writes monthly for Almost An Author, Write Life Workshops, and The Write Conversation, and serves at Christian conferences and retreats across the country. Learn more at:

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Hiding Places

by Nan Corbitt Allen

You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight…I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there too—your reassuring presence, coming and going. Psalm 139:2, 5 MSG

Our oldest son was born checking out the world. Not crying much at all, but looking around at the newness of the delivery room.

His inquisitive spirit was never dampened either. From the time he was mobile, he was intent on exploring his world. He’d crawl, he’d climb, he’d run…in fact, often disappearing into thin air at the blink of an eye. I can’t tell you how many times he would somehow wiggle away from us and take off on his own. It was frightening…always.

One afternoon, when our son was about three, he did his disappearing act again. We were at home…had just finished lunch…and probably I had implied that it was naptime. No sooner had I looked away than he vanished, nowhere to be found. I searched the house, the yard, the neighborhood. Then I called the neighbors within a half-mile radius. No one had seen him.

My husband was still at home for lunch, and was panicked as I was. Together we searched every place again. Nothing.

Finally, at the point of calling the police, I looked outside where the garbage cans sat. Behind the cans was a large box, an empty one, that we had left out for the trash man to pick up the next day. I wondered…then I opened it only to find my sleeping child crouched down inside it. He had wanted to play a joke on us, but the box was so wonderfully warm that he settled in for a nap.

Just like our little boy, exploring outside the boundaries of what God says is safe can lead us into some dangerous places indeed. And when we’re in those places, we can have a false sense of security.

The Psalmist is aware that we can’t truly hide anyway. Psalm 139:7-12 MSG paraphrases that famous Scripture: “Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit— to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—You’re already there waiting!”

Unlike these limited parents, our Heavenly Father will never lose us. He always knows exactly where we are and where we will be after that. There is no place we can go where He is not present. Jesus said that not even a sparrow falls without God knowing. In Psalm 17:8 we read the Psalmist’s plea, “Keep your eye on me [God]; hide me under your cool wing feathers” (MSG). His presence and protection are with us always. No matter where else we try to hide.

This article brought to you by the Advance Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 45+ years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books. Nan and Dennis retired in 2020 from full time teaching at Truett McConnell University. They now live south of Nashville. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

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Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: How is God’s constant presence a comfort to you?