May We Stay Lit for Jesus, Our First Love

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by Heather Bock

When I returned from LIT, a one-day conference for women in their 20s and 30s passionate about communicating Christ, put on by Living Proof Ministries, my husband was wary. He knew I was excited, and he was happy for me, but he was concerned. Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Church on Social Media

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by Heather Bock

In the last couple of weeks, although I have witnessed the Church on social media demonstrating love, I have seen others abandoning love towards other members of the Church. I have seen the Church publicly disrespect and attack each other over disagreements on topics not essential to the faith. The lack of love is deeply disturbing to me. Continue reading

Where Do You Dwell Guest Post by Lucinda Secrest McDowell and Drawing for a Free Copy of Dwelling Places

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I met Lucinda Secrest McDowell at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May when I sat at her table (to which she had been assigned as faculty) for lunch. I asked her some questions about how to become a speaker, as I had heard she was already an accomplished one, and she proceeded to give me some excellent advice. She went on to give great words of wisdom to the other women at our table, and her sweet and wise spirit endeared her to all of us.

I posted a guest post by Lucinda Secrest McDowell a month ago, but she sent me such good content (excerpts from her book Dwelling Places), I asked if I could post two so I could share it with all of you. I needed these words about making God our dwelling place. I can so easily rush from one task to another that I neglect the most important: to rest with my God, who will fill me to do all the tasks I need to complete in the first place.When I don’t dwell with God, I run dry. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did. By the way, if you like her post, be sure to read to the end, where you’ll find instructions for how to enter in a drawing for her book!

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Where Do You Dwell?
Lucinda Secrest McDowell

One word.

In the days preceding the New Year, one word kept clamoring for my attention from surprising places – dwell.

I read it in my psalm for the day “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91.1) I noticed “DWELL” on the masthead of a glossy magazine all about clean living spaces. I uttered it as an admonition to someone – “Don’t dwell on your past mistakes.”

Hard not to notice it, so I became curious. And finally turned to God in prayer and whispered, “Okay. Dwell. Please reveal what You want me to learn from this word.”

So as my word-for-the-year marinated in heart and mind, I embraced both meanings of dwell: 1. to live and 2. to focus. It soon became obvious that all too often I live amidst hurry and obligation, dwelling in anxiety and surrounded by noise. And where was my default focus — circumstances, lists, self-preservation, tasks, things?

No more.

Throughout the Bible God calls His people to dwell with Him constantly. He offers us a refuge and shelter and He fills it with a beauty and peace that is restorative. And, best of all, He sends Jesus Christ to dwell in our hearts and make His home with us forever!

Would you like some of that in your life?

First we must acknowledge that God is the only One who can provide such a life for us. Moses, that great wanderer, knew this. God had long ago promised to be with him wherever he journeyed. So even though he was often a stranger in a strange land, Moses was confident in his true dwelling: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations… from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90.1-2)

And this same God invites us to dwell with Him!

In the original language of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for dwell is yashab which is translated “to dwell, to sit down, to remain.” How can we possibly do this? Sitting down is considered unproductive – we are a culture on the move! Believe me, friend, I know the challenges of making time for close communion with God in prayer and study – that’s why I try to focus on one word a day from God’s Word.

We can do that!

After all, we have certainly dwelt everywhere else — we give our time and resources to other places, people and projects without a second thought. And all along, God is there with us, offering us His continual presence no matter where our journey might lead. Do you have a difficult appointment today? He’ll go with you. Do you cry yourself to sleep at night? He’s beside you, holding you close. His constant presence is the greatest gift of all.

©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Excerpted from “Dwelling Places” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Abingdon Press)

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Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. Whether co-directing the “New England Christian Writers Retreat,” mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net

Drawing for Book Giveaways

The NIV LIFHACKS Bible Drawing Winner from last Wednesday is… Ashleigh Allman! Congratulations, Ashleigh! I will be in touch with you for your address so I can send you your Bible. Thanks to everyone else who participated! If you really wanted that Bible, stay tuned. I will have one more to give away in the future.

In addition, Lucinda McDowell was gracious enough to offer to give one of her books, Dwelling Places, to one of my readers. Here’s how you can enter to win: If you haven’t yet subscribed to my blog by email, you can win one entry by clicking the button “follow” in the above right corner and typing in your email address. If you’ve already subscribed, or if you just want more entries, you can earn entries by sharing this post via social media. Remember, though, you have to be subscribed for your shares to count as entries. Each share to a different social media venue earns you one entry (up to three). I will announce the winner next Saturday when I do my next book review, so look for it! Thank you!