It was one of those God taps that I wanted to ignore. Late last year I felt I was supposed to write a devotional using the surrender themes explored in my contemporary romance series, Surrendering Time. Not only that, but write it from the characters point of view. I’d never heard of such a thing, and by obeying, I knew I was delaying book 3, ENGAGED, even more.
But obey I did. It took longer than I thought with unexpected travel and child sickness, but it’s done.
FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER-A 30 Day Devotional, features short readings on surrendering fear, loss, change, regret, and the future. If you’ve read ENTRUSTED or ENTANGLED, you will visit with beloved characters like Ben, Jenna, Carla, Will, Sara, and more. If the series is new to you, no worries. The devotional will introduce you to the characters without spoilers. Then, once ENGAGED is released this spring, you will be ready to jump in.
It’s in eBook format, so download the free Kindle app and you can read on your phone, tablet, desktop, laptop, and of course, Kindle. It’s only available on Amazon.
I’d love for you to spread the word. Early feedback showed that many of the readings were exactly what readers were struggling with at that time. That’s God, and I’m grateful He allows me to write for Him.
Take a look!
PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE
I would have hated to be the apostle Paul’s parents while he was growing up. I can imagine them telling him not to do something, but he wouldn’t stop. So, they would punish him. Then he’d turn right around and do it again. What a stubborn child he would have been and stubborn man he grew up to be.
Don’t be shocked, but I made Paul (called Shaul by Hebrews) a boxer and runner in the book, at least in his youth. He had to have been a strong man to have survived treading water “in the deep a day and a night”. Plus he wrote of winning the fight and boxing and running the race several times.
Paul, the unstoppable, spends his life making up for torturing and killing Christians in his youth. He is driven. To Paul, it is never enough. Gradually, he loses the strength of his youth.
Warning: My book is graphic. Over and over he was beaten with rods and whip lashed and even stoned. I go into slow motion to describe what is happening to him at such times. I, personally, am scared to death to watch horror movies. But I had to include the violence he endured because that was Paul’s reality. Gritting his teeth, he must have strained his neck muscles and called out “Jesus, this is for you!” Can’t you hear him?
What can I say about such a man? I wrote 550 pages walking with him and all he must have gone through for thirty-five years until his death. The scar tissue on his back must have built up on top of older ones until his back was in constant pain just from the scar tissue. Medical science says scar tissue is twenty times more sensitive to touch than normal skin. But he kept going. City after city. Facing floods, snow, robbers, hunger, ship wrecks, imprisonments, humiliations. But he couldn’t stop.
Why? Love. He loved people so much, he was willing to endure their hatred in order to snatch them away from the gates of hell. Can we do that? Dare we do that? Go through all that Paul did? Or perhaps a fraction of it? To Paul, even in the dank, urine smelling, mold growing, rat infested cell where he sat on the slippery cold stone floor in chains the last few days of his life, he had never done enough.
Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.
Purchase PAUL: The Unstoppable HERE
I’ve been working on a side project to help readers with the wait for ENGAGED and try something unique. I created a devotional, a set of readings meant to encourage readers as they surrender the very areas I write about in my Surrendering Time series.
Finding Freedom Through Surrender is a journey through surrendering fear, loss, change, regret, and the future. What I love is they are written through the point of view of ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED characters. For readers familiar with the stories, the devotionals will be a fun look at their experiences and how you can find freedom for yourself. If you are new to the series, the characters give a little information to help you know them without giving away story spoilers.
I plan to have this available on Amazon, but I want YOU to have a sneak peek. Click the link below to receive a 14 day look.
CLICK HERE FOR YOUR COPY of 14 Day Devotional: Finding Freedom Through Surrender.
This will take you to my site, where you will then click on the right sidebar widget that offers the 14 Day Devotional. If you have trouble, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on social media @JulieArduini.
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Thank you for being a faithful reader!
Losing More Than the Weight with God’s Plan
By Sue A. Fairchild
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV)
I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s been a plague on my life since I can remember. I was always “huskier” than other kids and often felt the sting of my peers’ disapproval in the process. Once, in high school, I was asked when my baby was due. I wasn’t pregnant.
One prior boyfriend loved to work out and encouraged me to do so with him, so I did. He pushed me daily, taking inventory of what I’d eaten and condemning me if I hadn’t attended the gym that day. He convinced me it was because he was concerned for my health, but eventually he ended our relationship because I wasn’t thin enough for him.
These things, along with others, caused me to spurn working out. Going to a gym sparked anxiety in my soul and reminded me of my boyfriend’s harsh words that I wasn’t trying hard enough or eating healthy enough.
When I met my husband, neither of us loved working out, but we both needed it. We were unhealthy, overweight and I was often sick. I longed to be thin, but, more so, I longed to have the stamina and strength to simply do. I knew God had placed it in my heart to work with Christian authors, to write His words for others to read and to be His light in the world. But it’s hard to be that light when you’re exhausted, sick or don’t have the strength to do so.
I’d tried various exercise programs and even tried to do exercise by myself, but it never stuck. The old fears and the old doubts always came rushing back in and I’d quit before I’d begun.
So, in April of last year, I chose to step out of my comfort zone and started working out with a personal trainer. Yes, I wanted to be thinner. I wanted to fit into smaller jeans and to look good in all my clothes, but I also simply wanted to be stronger so I could do God’s work in my life. I didn’t want to fail myself, or Him, any longer.
The trainer I chose was a Christian and, within one of our first sessions, she expressed to me how important it was to her to show others how they could take care of the temple God had given them. Her personal training work was more than helping people be thin—she wanted people to wisely manage what God had given them.
I’d never considered this thought before. My body is God’s—not mine. By overeating and not exercising, I had been, essentially, destroying His temple. Plus, I’d let others, not God, determine my journey. I was weak and sick from within because I hadn’t been managing what He’d given me.
The truth was a harsh blow. I have been working hard the last few years to follow God’s purpose for my life, but the entire time I’d been neglecting the vessel He’d given me to do it!
I’m convinced He brought my personal trainer, my new friend, into my life because no other gym, no other trainer, and no other exercise program would have expressed His word for me. The only way for me to accomplish God’s plans were to take care of me, my health, wellness and body, first.
Now, I’ve started classes that my trainer conducts and have met new friends with similar stories. My trainer pushes me in more ways than with my body. She pushes my mind and my walk for God. Even when I don’t want to go exercise, I do. And I’ve been blessed every single time. My body is stronger, but, more importantly, my faith is stronger, too. I’ll never turn back now. My plan was to lose weight, but God’s plan—His plan to bring me closer, expand my mind and my strength—is what I’ve achieved.
Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.
What You Think You Know
Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?
Purchase What You Think You KNow HERE