was the winner of the
The Winner of The Sounds of Night Grand Prize Giveaway is Doreen
who left a comment at joyeverafter.blogspot.com
who left a comment at joyeverafter.blogspot.com
Close Encounters of the Moose Kind
By Linda Rondeau
I gasped as the gigantic mound stepped from the woods into our path, heads taller than our compact car. My husband swerved and we missed the animal by inches. “Was that a moose?” my husband asked.
“What’s so funny?”
“My heroine’s life is changed when she runs into a moose.”
We both giggled over God’s sense of humor.
That we found ourselves on the back roads of Franklin County at four in the morning was in and of itself God’s doing. I hadn’t planned on attending the ACFW Writers Conference in Minneapolis. “If I final in the contest then I’ll go,” I told my husband.
I did final, and my words haunted me. And so once again God changed my plans to fit into His. In rural upstate New York, flight connections often require a pre-dawn departure, and we had taken the country road to save time.
I shared my moose tale with a writer friend who laughed her prophecy. “That moose was a smile from God. He has plans for this manuscript.”
As time went on, God continued to smile affirmation after affirmation even through a dramatic relocation to Florida. Then, eleven years from the day that I felt God’s call to write professionally, my agent called with the news—a publisher had offered a contract. “It’s for Dawn’s Hope, but the editor wants to change the title to The Other Side of Darkness,” she said.
I did agree the alternate title sounded better and trusted the editor’s choice.
Yet, it wasn’t until later that God revealed His hand had been in the making of the book long before the first words were typed, long before I imagined my character’s accident, long before He sent a moose to confirm He would soon fulfill a promise made to me over a decade ago.
During a speaking engagement at a local women’s meeting, I shared my journey from call to call, reading a poem I wrote that very day God pulled me from one life to set me on another, one undefined and uncertain. I had obeyed His leading and He immediately gave me a poem, “The Song of Peace.” As I shared the poem with the women’s group, my eyes misted when I read the line, “Praise the Lord when Hope seems foolish…There is light on the other side of darkness.”
Could it be that even then, God was smiling on a book not yet imagined? I believe He did.
Award-winning author, LINDA RONDEAU, writes for the reader who enjoys a little bit of everything. Her stories of redemption and God’s mercies include romance, suspense, the ethereal, and a little bit of history into the mix, always served with a slice of humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com.
He Sees You When You’re Sleepin’...
By Dr. Charles W. Page
Do you recall trying to sleep on Christmas Eve while waiting for Santa to come to town? The anticipation of Saint Nicolas and all his goodies was just too much—who could sleep? The lyrics of Santa Claus is Coming to Town taunted me. “He sees you when you’re sleeping—he knows when you’re awake…” I tossed and turned trying to fall asleep, fearful I’d miss out on Santa’s visit if he caught me awake. I never doubted Santa’s ability to be aware of my wakefulness.
Unfortunately, as adults, the issues that keep us awake during the Christmas season are more complicated than those we experienced as kids. Financial burdens, strained relationships, difficult decisions, brooding regrets and fretful thoughts race through our minds and hinder our rest.
There is someone who “sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake.” It’s not Santa Claus. The Bible reminds us, God’s eyes never close. Perhaps this truth can tuck us in for the night.
“He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)
We erroneously think that as we “turn in” that God somehow “turns off” or moves on to do more important things. But God doesn’t wait for us to wake up before He returns to work. God is just as active during our sleep—or sleeplessness. Believers can rest assured knowing God is awake guarding our lives.
What does God do as we slumber? Psalm 127:1-2 reminds us that God gives to those that He loves as they sleep. What does God give? Understanding God’s generous nature, one rendering would be that God gives to the believer whatever is needed at the time. God can give you wisdom and direction with decisions as you “sleep on it” overnight (Psalm 16:7, James 1:5). Maybe there is a financial need. The scriptures are filled with examples of how God provided for the physical needs of those He loved as they rested (I Kings 19:1-8; Exodus 16:1-8).
God’s gifts are good, perfect (James 1:17), eternal (Ephesians 1:3) and purposeful (Galatians 5:22-25). They do not require batteries, warranties and cannot be purchased in stores. But they are available 24/7/365—not limited to one night each year. God’s greatest gift did not arrive under a tree but on a tree (John 3:16). “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
It’s plain to see, God has our back as we sleep. Try this Christmas recipe for rest.
An English proverb reminds us, “As you make your bed so you must lie in it.” The truth of God’s Word helps us face our situations. Although we cannot change the failures of our past, we can rest with a clean conscience based on God’s gift of forgiveness. Our current circumstances may appear overwhelming, but God gives His presence and His guidance in our hour of need. Our future is secure and hopeful when God’s greatest gift—His Son—is kept in view. A life supported by a vibrant, healthy relationship with the Shepherd of Sleep makes the most comfortable mattress. In childlike faith learn to trust Him as you lie down to sleep and remember: “He sees you when you’re sleeping.”
Dr. Charles W. Page is a sleep-deprived surgeon who completed medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Page is currently a rural surgeon and has taken numerous medical mission trips to South America and the Middle East. He and his wife Joanna live in Texas with their five children. He is the author of Surrendered Sleep: A Biblical Perspective. You can find more information at surrenderedsleep.com.
Eight Ways to Beat the Blues at Christmas
By Poppy Smith
Instead of a houseful of kids and their little ones running around laughing, crying, playing with toys and sneaking treats, this year my husband, Jim, and I will be home alone for Christmas. My automatic reaction is to feel sad—but I am glad that all of them will be celebrating the coming of Jesus with their in-laws. After all, we are usually the ones who get that privilege!
But—it’s easy to be sucked down into a “poor me” mindset and play the blues, unless we decide to change our perspective. So here are eight simple ways to help you enjoy the holidays whether you’re physically or emotionally alone. Why not join me and let’s beat those blues which aren’t where God wants us at this special time of the year—or at any time!
May your “Home Alone” Christmas fill you with joy and a fresh awareness that Christ is with you, whether you’re surrounded by people or peacefully alone.
With her fun personality and passion for communicating life-changing truths, Poppy Smith inspires believers to thrive spiritually and personally. Poppy’s practical how-to messages (in print or in person) uses colorful examples from her own struggles to be more like Jesus. She encourages women (and men, at times) to grow in every kind of situation—whether joyful or painful! Poppy is British, married to an American, and has lived in many countries. She brings an international flair seasoned with humorous honesty as she illustrates Bible truths. A former Bible Study Fellowship Lecturer, Poppy’s teaching challenges women to look at their choices, attitudes and self-talk. As a result, God’s speaks, changing hearts, changing minds, and changing lives.
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The work he and the others had found was backbreaking at times and had few comforts or perks, but he was grateful for any labor that would pay him and enable him to provide for his family.
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