Archive for the ‘devotional’ Category

SERVING #TreasuredBlessings with my #OneWord2017

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

In mid-December, as I was praying about my One Word for 2017, God gave me the word SERVING. I whined. “Really, God? I don’t want that word. This has been an emotionally exhausting year. I need a word that’s easy. Can’t I have RELAX, QUIET, RESTORE, something restful?” Yes, I was reluctant to accept the word God placed on my heart.

2016 was a stressful year…my husband needed to finish and defend a PhD dissertation, I faced contest deadlines for writing a manuscript in four months, and amid winter storms, we were moving from our apartment in Colorado back to our home in New Mexico. Toward the end of the year when we felt all our challenges had been completed, my father suffered a stroke and passed away a week later. I was overwhelmed. But the spiritual theme I’d used in the manuscript I had completed echoed in my mind…

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

Yes, God gave me the strength to accomplish a great deal during the past year. I wrote THE END on a 73,000 word book and received encouraging feedback from a top New York editor. My husband successfully completed his ten-year education project and is now “Doctor Engineer.” Our move was delayed by icy roads, but we arrived safely home. Most importantly, my father, a man of strong faith, lived independently as he wished up until the stroke. As God’s compassionate plan, my dad didn’t suffer long and joined my mother in heaven. During all this, God blessed me with the treasured blessings of strength and comfort, along with the faith and hope of eternal life, provided by our Lord’s grace.

My dad

I’m abundantly blessed with love, faith and forgiveness. Then as I continued to contemplate my One Word, I found myself reflecting on the wise thought in the Bible: of those given much, much is required. God knows me so well….my fears, my weaknesses, my talents. While I was still delaying my One Word declaration for 2017, God placed this Scripture on my heart:

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

So with grateful acknowledgement of all my #TreasuredBlessings, my One Word for 2017 is SERVING. I anticipate with joy what God will do with my servant attitude.

Were you given a #OneWord2017?

May you always walk with God’s treasured blessings!

Sherida

Treasured blessings of a #MerryChristmas!

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

For my husband and me, this year is a different kind of holiday season….some joyful celebrations and some sad goodbyes. As we prepared for the holidays, we heeded the advice to simplify…to focus on the true gift of Christmas.

Our downsized tree is decorated with only a few of our special ornaments.

The mantle is adorned with precious memories…..a few of the many Santas my mother lovingly painted, only one of our nativity collections (this set my father made from repurposed wood), and the clock which was our first Christmas present to each other after our wedding.

At my husband’s suggestion, I even purchased our traditional Jesus’ birthday cake at the bakery. Yes, we did simplify our decorations and traditions this year, as we prepared our hearts to celebrate the ultimate gift from God.

Christmas Day will be quiet, with church and reflecting on the miracle of Christ’s birth and all the blessings received during 2016. All will be calm and bright!

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:10 (KJV)

My prayer for you is that your Christmas be filled with our Lord’s treasured blessings….the LOVE of family and friends, the HOPE of our faith in Christ, and the warmth of PEACE in your heart.

Blessings and merry Christmas,

Sherida

GOD PLANNED ABUNDANT TREASURES FOR YOU!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
TREASURES

TREASURES

“For where your treasure is,

there your heart will be also.”

Luke 12:34 NIV

May your heart be filled with the treasures God planned for you!

#TUESDAYTEA with CROSSROADS author Cathy Bryant–devotional message and giveaway!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

 

Author Cathy Bryant

Author Cathy Bryant

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

1 Peter 3:15 KJV 

I’m delighted to welcome contemporary Christian romance author Cathy Bryant to our tea time today. Cathy has written a devotional message titled “Does God Really Exist?” to help us be ready to share God’s message with unbelievers and answer their hard questions. She also has some details about her newest book, CROSSROADS,  her upcoming Facebook party, and a recipe for crab dip. Please see the link below to RSVP for the Facebook party and join in the fun. Cathy is also offering an ebook copy of CROSSROADS. Please see the Rafflecopter entry form below.

DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE BY CROSSROADS AUTHOR CATHY BRYANT

Does God Really Exist?

Every one of the Miller’s Creek novels (Christian romance and romantic suspense) took root in my head because of a spiritual theme. The latest book CROSSROADS took on even more importance because of its theme of winning back those who have defected from the faith.

We all know someone–maybe a friend, co-worker, or even a family member–who has turned away from the faith in Christ they once professed.

During the course of the story, I tried to examine their objections to the faith as well as the tough questions we’re often asked by unbelievers. This devotional guest post attempts to answer one of the most frequent questions: Does God really exist?

Not at all for the sake of argument, I hope instead that my research on this topic provides each of us with answers we need to “…make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15).

Proof of God – Man’s Innate Moral Code

Within each of us is a universal moral code that exists despite differences in culture, socioeconomic status, and upbringing.

Think about it for a second. Every person, regardless of whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or where or how they grew up, have a sense of right and wrong behavior. Though we don’t always live by this unwritten code of ethics, we can attest to it. We all have a sense of fairness or justice that’s somehow embedded deep within us.

So where does this ethical or moral code come from? Does it originate with man? Hardly.

The very fact that men are incapable of keeping this code proves that it originates outside of us. Therefore it can only be assumed that Someone or Something bigger than us created the code or at least created us with the code buried deep within the fiber of our being.

To me, this is evidence exhibit number one in the case for God’s existence and superiority to mankind.

Proof of God – Creation

Another proof lies in Creation itself. And no surprise, but this very point is illustrated and confirmed in God’s Word.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. -Psalm 19:1-4 (NASB)

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. -Romans 1:20 (NASB)

Notice that the heavens are continuing to express God’s glory and His role as Creator. And across the globe and around the planet, all men have seen it. This leaves us all without excuse.

Proof of God – Arguments and Answers

There will be those who take the position of the big bang theory and evolution as a way of denying God. My answer to either of those theories is that it takes a lot more faith to believe either one than it does to believe in the existence of God. In addition, if they’re right and I’m wrong, then I’m no worse off. However, if I’m right and they’re wrong, for them it means a life of eternal separation from the presence and power of God.

And as stated above, our evidence for God’s existence is two-fold: the moral code within each man and the glory of God’s created universe. May we equip ourselves with this Truth so we might better answer those who have tough questions.

Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your thoughts with us!

 

CROSSROADS by Cathy Bryant

CROSSROADS by Cathy Bryant

 

About the Book

CROSSROADS-a Miller’s Creek novel and Christian contemporary romance

A former soldier battles for the soul of a prodigal…

After a devastating divorce, a bitter single mom and atheist starts her own real estate company in the nostalgic and picturesque town of Miller’s Creek, Texas. Then her young daughter’s disturbing symptoms lead doctors to discover that her leukemia has relapsed. With her new life now turned upside down, Mara Hedwig struggles to keep her business afloat. And her daughter’s worsening condition forces her to rethink her beliefs about Carter Callahan and his God. Will Mara make the return to Christian faith in the face of life’s greatest challenge?

An ex-military operative struggles with the return to civilian life while coping with his rebellious teen-aged daughter. During a house-search, Carter meets Mara, a headstrong Realtor who wants nothing to do with his God. But when Mara’s little girl is diagnosed with leukemia, the clock begins ticking for him to convince Mara to return to a life of faith. Just as he seems to be making headway, circumstances beyond his control throw his efforts into a tailspin. Can Carter learn to rest in the sovereignty of God?

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CROSSROADS Facebook Launch Party & Kindle Fire HD6 Giveaway!

YOU’RE INVITED!

What: CROSSROADS Book Launch Party

Where: Facebook (from the comfort & convenience of your own home)

When: April 30, 2015 ~ 7:00-8:30 p.m. (Central time)

Why: To celebrate the book launch of CROSSROADS (a Miller’s Creek novel and Christian Romance by Cathy Bryant)

LOTS of Fun, Games and Prizes!

Prizes Include: Miller’s Creek pens, tote bags, t-shirts, mugs, digital books, autographed print books, Amazon gift cards, and

an Amazon Kindle Fire HD6!

Click here to RSVP and enter the Kindle Fire drawing.

==========================================================================

About Cathy Bryant

Amazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant writes Christian fiction set in the heart of Texas. Her popular romance and romantic suspense novels take place in the fictional town of Miller’s Creek, where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth’s front porch beckons. All the Miller’s Creek novels have been on the Amazon Best-Seller list and are rated at 4.5 stars or higher on Amazon. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist. Since then five other stand-alone novels have been added to the series, one of which was a reader-nominated 2013 Grace Award nominee (PILGRIMAGE OF PROMISE). Readers have compared her work to that of Karen Kingsbury and Nicholas Sparks.  A native Texan, Cathy currently resides in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico with her minister husband of over thirty years. She’s written devotions for The Upper Room devotional magazine, two devotional books in collaboration with other Christian authors, and for online sites. She also has released a Bible study book, THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS. In addition to her writing, she enjoys thrift store shopping, romping in the great outdoors, and mini-farming. To learn more about Cathy and her books, visit her website at www.CatBryant.com or make contact with her in these places:

|Facebook| Twitter | Pinterest | GoodreadsAmazon | YouTube | Google+|

TEA TREAT RECIPE

For our tea treat, I’m serving a recipe Cathy shares with us…..Carter’s Crab Dip, which was inspired by the brawny soldier-turned-policeman and hero of CROSSROADS. He uncovers the heroine’s penchant for seafood and creates this special seafood dip for a picnic lunch the two share. Please have a cup of lemon tea, which goes wonderfully well with the crab tea sandwiches.

Crab dip served on toast triangles.

Crab dip served on toast triangles.

INGREDIENTS:

1 8-oz. cream cheese and 1 3-oz. cream cheese, softened

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. lemon juice

2 T. mayonnaise

1/2 small finely chopped white onion

1 7-oz. can of crab meat

garlic powder and salt to taste

1/2 bottle of cocktail sauce on top (can substitute Tabasco sauce if you want the heat)

fresh or dried parsley

cocktail crackers

DIRECTIONS:

1. Blend the first seven ingredients together well, and spread on a serving dish.

2. Spread the cocktail sauce on top as a sort of icing.

3. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

4. Chill in the refrigerator, and serve with cocktail crackers.

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I hope you enjoyed #TUESDAYTEA with Cathy Bryant! Please join in the fun of her CROSSROADS Facebook party on April 30.

#TUESDAYTEA…just a sip with LOVINGKINDNESS.

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

This is just a quick post today, since I’m participating in #SPEEDBO, with many of you. For those who don’t know about #Speedbo, this is a writing challenge offered in SEEKERVILLE (www.seekerville.net) where writers are encouraged to set their own writing goals for the month of March. The Seekers offer advice and encouragement to those hoping to sail off Unpublished Island. Great experience!

It is well into the new year, but I wanted to share MY ONE WORD for 2015. At the beginning of the year, Seekerville suggests you choose ONE WORD to be your thought for the year. I’ve done this three years now. Past words for me have been LIGHT and HIKING. For 2015, my word is LOVINGKINDNESS. I want to live with LOVINGKINDNESS in my heart….and yes, it has already been a challenge at times, but thinking of MY word has calmed my reactions to some situations…..so this is a good word for this year.

LOVINGKINDNESS

LOVINGKINDNESS

Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Psalm 107:43 KJV

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Psalm 63:3 KJV

Since I am writing, we’ll just have a quick snack for our tea today……a local group was selling baked goods for a good cause….Pediatric Cancer, so I picked up some perfect scones for us…and double chocolate cookies for hubby. This group of young people shows LOVINGKINDNESS through their good works for others. LOVINGKINDNESS is a treasure in our lives. Please enjoy a blueberry scone with me….and please share your thoughts on LOVINGKINDNESS or your ONE WORD for 2015. Thanks for visiting! Blessings to you!

Blueberry scone+good works=great!

TUESDAY TEA in DISNEYLAND with earthquakes, deadly fumes and a flat tire!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Breakfast with the Disney Princesses!

Breakfast with the Disney Princesses!

 

Praise God for the blessings of precious family!

With an invitation from our son and DIL to visit Disneyland with them to celebrate Granddaughter’s 4th birthday, we excitedly traveled to Anaheim, California. The night before our son’s family was to leave on the trip, our DIL hurried to pack up baby items for one-year-old Grandson and princess dresses for Granddaughter. She noticed an off odor in their house, so as a precaution, she put batteries in their carbon monoxide detector. Awaken by the alarm in the early morning hours, they called the gas company. Her actions saved not only their precious family, but also the unconscious neighbors who had left their car running, filling both townhouses with deadly fumes.

Moving on pure adrenaline, they made their 9:00 am flight,  arriving in Disneyland with Granddaughter and Grandson. Celebrations of being together and having birthday breakfast with the Disney princesses was even more treasured than we had planned. We know how quickly a moment can change lives.

Additionally, there were two earthquakes and many after-shocks while we were there. The first earthquake, a 5.1 magnitude, made our hotel creak and sway and woke Granddaughter who asked why her bed was shaking. Grandson slept through all the action. During that first earthquake, our son and DIL were in Disneyland. All the attractions were closed as a precaution. DIL took the oddly eerie picture shown below (which fits with my blog’s tea theme):

Disneyland teacup ride is empty after the earthquake. Photo courtesy of Kira Brady.

Disneyland teacup ride is empty after the earthquake. Photo courtesy of Kira Brady.

We even added a flat tire to the happenings! But we were so blessed to spend treasured time with our family enjoying the discoveries of Disneyland.

Then on to Las Vegas where we joined our other son and his fiancée while they looked at wedding venues for next year’s marriage. This was a special time with them. I even found two Inspirational Romance books that I hadn’t been able to find at my home stores: The Guardian’s Promise by Christina Rich and The Agent’s Secret Past by Debby Giusti.

Everyone arrived home safely, but I learned to check the carbon monoxide detectors, travel with an emergency kit, and thank God for each precious day spent with our family! Blessings to you! Please give your loved ones an extra hug!

“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

TUESDAY TEA: My One Word for 2014: HIKING

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Please join me today as I’m serving a tea I received as a Christmas present…Coconut Vanilla black tea from Miro Tea in Seattle.  (www.mirotea.com) Also, I’m sharing with you a conversation I had with God about selecting My One Word for 2014.

My One Word for 2014:  HIKING

My One Word for 2014: HIKING

 

On New Year’s Eve, Seekerville  (www.seekerville.net), one of my favorite websites, asks its villagers to select ONE word as a resolution for the year rather than a long list. This comes from an idea expressed in My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. I gave prayerful consideration to “My One Word” for 2014 and discussed my selection with God.

ME:  I think I’ll chose WALK.

GOD:  You need a word with more action.

ME:  Okay, my word will be WALKING.

GOD:  Walking is good, but you need a word with more effort for my plans for you in 2014.

ME:  HIKING?

GOD:  That’s perfect.

ME:  *whining* But I don’t know if I want to work that hard and I’ve been really busy and I’ve been tired lately and I just want to sit around and enjoy life……..Plus there are lots of Bible verses with the word “walking” to use in my devotional writing…….. I don’t think the word “hiking” is even in the Bible!

GOD:  Your word should be HIKING for this year. My plans for you in 2014 require effort and an attitude of selfless service. I’ll be with you along the trail…every step of the way.

ME *thinking of His words written on my heart*:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6  NIV

**************

So HIKING is My One Word for 2014.

I will be HIKING with service in our new church family.

I will be HIKING with dedication on my writing journey.

I will be HIKING with encouragement with my husband.

I will be HIKING with gratefulness for my many blessings.

I will be HIKING with love and praise for our Lord.

 

“Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you.” Deuteronomy 5:33 NIV

What is your “My One Word” for 2014? Thank you for stopping by for tea. I’ll see you on the trail!

 

 

TUESDAY TEA: Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

May your Christmas be filled with the glittering light of faith, hope, love, peace, joy, and grace brought by the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Nativity

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV

TUESDAY TEA: Reflecting on “My One Word” for 2013—LIGHT

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Join us at the Seekerville New Year's Eve party!

Join us at the Seekerville New Year’s Eve party! My critique partner and I will be hosting at 7 pm EST!

I want to give you an early invitation to a New Year’s Eve party….the annual Seekerville ’round the clock New Year’s Eve Party….and a bit of a preview. My critique partner and I will be hosting the 7 pm EST hour of the Seekerville New Year’s Eve party on December 31, 2013. As an early treat, please join me for tea today and try a sample of what we’ll be serving during the party–Fire-Crackers….yummy spiced cheese crackers. My critique partner will be bringing a sweet *chocolate* treat to the party. 🙂

New Year's Eve FIRE-Crackers

New Year’s Eve FIRE-Crackers

Seekerville (www.seekerville.net) is a special community…..a place where a group of Christian authors offer valuable writing advice and encouragement to unpublished writers. Seekerville celebrates the year’s end with a virtual New Year’s Eve party–giveaways, food (with recipes) and a time for fellowship as we each reveal the “My One Word” we have chosen for 2014. During last year’s party, the book My One Word, by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen, was featured as a thought-provoking way to look at resolutions for the next year.  (www.myoneword.com)  The challenge is presented to Christians to “Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year.”

Their message calls to me. Last year, I chose LIGHT as my 2013 word. I decided on this word since I wanted to spread the LIGHT of God’s love to others because He is the LIGHT of the world. I believe God did use me as a vessel for shining the light of His love. I pray I will continue to shine His LIGHT in all I do.

Please join us for the party on December 31, 2013. I hope you’ll choose one word that will shine a LIGHT on what you hope God will do in you during 2014.

May your Christmas be blessed with glittering love as you walk in the LIGHT of our Lord!

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

 

TUESDAY TEA: MY HERO-Celebrating Happily Ever After!

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

This week, my real life hero and I celebrate our forty-two years of Happily Ever After. We’re gathering at the Old West Book Shop today. In my husband’s honor, I’m serving his favorite Arbuckles coffee (strong) and his favorite treat, Oreo cookies. He’ll be reading his treasured Louis L’Amour books while we’re lingering over coffee.

 

We celebrate our forty-two years of happily ever after this week!

We celebrate our forty-two years of happily ever after this week!

 

This is the man who asked me to go to the Junior Prom with him for our first date.

This is the man who still wanted to marry me when I told him I wasn’t able to have children.

This is the man who stood by me as I went through many years of infertility treatments.

This is the man who calmed me as we went through high-risk pregnancies.

This is the man who was by my side both times we brought miracle babies into the world.

This is the man who comforted me when two of our babies went to heaven before being born.

This is the man who is a wonderful father to our two sons, who are amazing men.

This is the man who has always worked hard to provide for his family.

This is the man who delights in being Granddad to the most adorable grandchildren in the world.

This is the man who strives to live a Christian life every day.

This is the man God created to be my best friend, my companion along the trail.

This is the man who is my hero.

This is the man I love.

Blessings to you, DEAR HUSBAND of forty-two years….and forever!