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Hope for the Overwhelmed Erwin Lutzer

That which is beyond our control is tightly in His grasp.
~Erwin Lutzer, Senior Pastor Moody Church~

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Are you feeling overburdened with the cares of daily life? Perhaps something completely unexpected has thrown you for a loop or you’ve been uprooted and tempest-tossed.

Is your aching heart making it difficult for you to function day to day? Or has the beginning of a new school year found you spinning your wheels and struggling to organize your kids or your home or your life?

Do any of these synonyms for the word OVERWHELMED describe you?
SWAMPED SUBMERGED ENGULFED BURIED FLOODED
INUNDATED VANQUISHED
CONQUERED

Here are 5 Bible Verses for When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed to guide your thoughts and calm your heart!

Please pass them on to someone who needs a little strengthening today.

5 Bible Verses for the Overwhelmed

5 Bible Verses for When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed (Click to Tweet)

5 Bible Verses for the Overwhelmed: “When you’re between a rock & a hard place, it won’t be a dead end!” (Click to Tweet)

“Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders & He’ll carry your load!” Bible Verses for the Overwhelmed  (Click to Tweet)

“Put God in charge of your work & what you’ve planned will take place.” Bible Verses for the Overwhelmed (Click to Tweet)

Thanks for encouraging me with a visit! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made these graphics with photos from my account at RGB Stock Photos. Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking the pic & adding the quote!

Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

In Perfect Time

Renee Ann Smith —  August 19, 2014 — 2 Comments

Sarah Sundin’s novels always remind me why we call the men & women of World War II,
“The Greatest Generation.”

Her most recent book, In Perfect Time, tells the story of flight nurse Kay Jobson and C-47 pilot Roger Cooper, who work together in Italy and southern France to evacuate the wounded and deliver paratroopers and supplies. They are hard-working, courageous, and quick-thinking. In their down-time, Roger entertains the local kids by playing the drums on any available surface, dreams of auditioning for a Glen Miller type big band, and stays far away from girls. And beautiful, high-spirited Kay, who can’t seem to break through Roger’s quiet reserve, appreciates him from afar.

Of course, we readers can see that Roger and Kay would be perfect for each other, but these characters have personal issues to work through before they can become a real team. Both Kay and Roger are damaged by families who did not cherish them—and even deemed them worthless. After years of being told they would never measure up, they are haunted by their parents’ hateful words.

Kay and Roger help each other wage powerful inner battles to overcome the negative messages of their youth and see themselves as God sees them. Their personal struggles and growth—set against the backdrop of the fierce fighting around them—make this a riveting, romantic story.

What I liked best . . .

  • How Sarah brings the World War II settings to life
  • The great dynamic between Roger & Kay
  • Roger’s marked up old Bible
  • Catching up with Georgie and Mellie (from previous books in this series)
  • A beautiful scene where an old hymn works truth & healing in Kay’s heart
  • The action—an especially harrowing capture
  • The USO war bonds tour
  • The Nightingale Sisters
  • The sweetly satisfying ending
  • How much my students love these books, as well!

My favorite quotes . . .

Sarah Sundin In Perfect Time“I think the heartbeat itself is a drum message from God. With every beat, He sends His message. His life, His love. His life, His love.”
~Lt. Roger Cooper, In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin~

In Perfect Time Sarah Sundin

“Something warm and light stirred in her soul. Her earthly father scorned her, but her heavenly Father—oh, what He had done for her. He loved her, forgave her sins, and gave her gifts too numerous to count.”
~Lt. Kay Cooper, In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin~

What you should do next . . .

BUY THE BOOK: Take “A Sentimental Journey” today! All you have to do is follow this link to purchase In Perfect Time for yourself. ***Thanks to Litfuse and Sarah Sundin for providing a copy for me to review.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: Click on the graphic below to enter Sarah Sundin’s contest to win a Kindle HDX!

Sarah Sundin Litfuse Kindle contest

READ: Follow this link to check out Sarah Sundin’s previous novels.

WATCH: Follow this link to check out some great World War II movies.

So has this put you “In the Mood” to re-visit the heroes & heroines of the Greatest Generation through books or movies?
Then my job here is done!

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made these graphics with photos from my account at RGB Stock Photos. Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking the pic & adding the quote!

Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

Man’s Best Dreams

Renee Ann Smith —  August 13, 2014 — 14 Comments

Elizabeth Barrett Browning Quote

God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning~

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both Britain & the United States during her lifetime.

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***Photo Backstory:
Warning: Nostalgia Day Re-post!

This iPhone pic shows the beach at Ocean City from two summers ago.
It’s raining here today. But when I look at this photo, I can almost feel that sun . . .


Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking the pic & adding the quote!

Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

A Good Talking To

Renee Ann Smith —  August 11, 2014 — 30 Comments

I awoke anxious and afraid almost every morning during my school-age years.

Nothing traumatic had happened in my past. No one in my family had died. Two stable parents left for work every morning & returned home every night. We always had a roof over our heads & food on the table. The bullies at school didn’t have time to bother me.

Yet still I woke with a sick feeling in my stomach and the urge to hide from the world and the certainty that no one could protect me from the fearful things that were coming my way. My morning alarm was the signal for my current “What Ifs” to begin circling in my brain . . .

 . . . “What if I miss the bus again & this time Mom gets mad? What if the history teacher gives a quiz on the chapter I didn’t read? What if I can’t find anyone to sit with at lunch? What if I do something embarrassing & the whole class sees? . . .”

Somewhere along the line, I learned to give myself a “good talking to.”

Back then, my early morning mantra went something like this . . . “You’re fine. Everyone you know is fine. This is just life. You can handle it. And when you can’t, it’s okay to ask for help . . .”

I didn’t realize until after I became a Christian, what a valuable lesson my young self had learned.

As a dear friend who battled depression for years told me, “When I started talking to myself instead of listening to myself, that’s when I began to heal.”

Talking to Myself Inspre Me (Click to Tweet)

In the dictionary, talking & listening are opposites.

When it comes to our inner life, not so much.

But in the Bible, we see that men like David understood the subtle distinction. Psalm 42 shows us the conversation he had with himself . . . 

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

How freeing to learn that we don’t have to be the victims of the fearful, anxious thoughts that try to take up residence in our brains. Are you experiencing fear & anxiety?

Maybe it’s time to give yourself a good talking to!

Here are a few verses & quotes to start you off . . .

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~II Corinthians 10:5~

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” ~Colossians 3:2~

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8~

“For God has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” ~Hebrews 13:5b~

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” ~Psalm 56:3~

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.” ~Isaiah 26:3~

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~William James, philosopher, psychologist, physician, 1842-1910~

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” ~Corrie ten Boom~

“When fear comes knocking at your door, send faith to answer.” ~Joyce Meyer~

Fear and faith Joyce Meyer(Click to Tweet)

What are some of your favorites?

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made these graphics with backgrounds from my account at RGB Stock Photos.
Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking the pic & adding the quote!

Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

C. S. Lewis quote lunatic sun

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him
than a lunatic can put out the sun
by scribbling the word darkness
on the walls of his cell.

~C. S. Lewis~

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Words of wisdom to inspire you, brave ones, as you shine for Christ in every corner of our world.

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of the pond on my school campus.
I love how the touch of the sun beautifies every twig, leaf & pebble in the landscape.
Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking the pic & adding the quote!

Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

Even the Least

Renee Ann Smith —  August 4, 2014 — 26 Comments

We teachers sometimes say that we’d get so much done—if we didn’t have students.

Of course, we’re joking.

Mostly.

In my early years of teaching (can you believe thirty years ago?!), I so wanted to be an A+ teacher and thought the way to ensure my goal was through paperwork. So I gave much time to benchmarks and reports, to redoing worksheets, quizzes, and tests until I deemed them good.

And I chafed when my class was slow to learn or made messes in my perfectly organized classroom or wanted to discuss life more than they wanted to answer my reading recall questions.

Somehow in the midst of all my efforts, I developed tunnel vision.

I failed to see my students—the questions in their eyes, the hopeful smiles on their faces, the needs in their hearts.

My vision was filled with benchmarks and bell curves, with the small neat squares in my gradebook and with the large empty rectangles in my lesson planner.

Fortunately, back then we took time to attend a yearly teaching conference held by Association of Christian Schools International. It was always a highlight of our year. The seminars informed us, challenged us, and gave us more ideas than we could manage to implement in a lifetime.

One professor was decidedly different from all the rest. He had us laughing in moments by asking all kinds of crazy hard Bible questions, which ended up having clever answers.

Then he said, “Who can—right now—tell me the name of every child in your classroom?”

I pictured that list of names I’d painstakingly inked into my gradebook and scribbled furiously, certain of victory—and maybe even a prize.

Then after far too short a time, the professor said. “Stop! Okay, folks, are you ready? Here it is . . . 

The name of every child in your classroom is Jesus Christ.

Because the Lord said, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine—even the least of them—you did it unto Me.’”

Matthew 25 The Least of Them

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Those words pierced my heart.

I don’t know why I had never thought of teaching in those terms before, but I vowed to never make that mistake again

I bowed my head and prayed that God would change my hard heart.

And I began my quest to actually see my students for who they are—children of the Great King,

Precious souls it’s my privilege to know and cherish,

My fellow travelers as we journey towards Heaven

And to allow God to guide me in meeting their needs through the work we do together . . .

Even if that means He changes my lesson to fit His eternal plan.

Father Jude of Saint Gregory’s Priory put it another way. When he disdained kitchen duty over the other higher, more orderly duties of prayer and Bible study, he realized he needed God’s help “to invest ordinary, everyday actions with spiritual significance.”

If you can’t relate to my teacher story, the words Father Jude prayed as he served might hit the mark for you . . . 

“The body that I am helping to keep alive is destined for a glorious resurrection. The person to whom I am carrying a plate of food is someone whom it is an honor to serve. For he has been invited to eat and drink at the table of the King.”

ministry service daily grind(Click to Tweet)

Let us seek to ascribe Jesus’ Name to all those we serve—Amen?

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made the 1st graphic from an iPhone pic, which shows a bunch of my high school students and a few fellow teachers at a retreat we attended in Pennsylvania last fall. Isn’t the camp beautiful? Of course, I added the Scripture with PicMonkey.

I made the 2nd graphic with a fun, new site called Spoken.ly. Click on the link to check it out!

Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

Two Empty Hands

Renee Ann Smith —  July 30, 2014 — 19 Comments

 Faith is two empty hands

“Faith is two empty hands held open to receive all of the Lord.”
~Alan Redpath~

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So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith
And that you, being rooted & grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all the saints
What is the breadth & length & height & depth,
And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
That you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
~Philippians 3:17-19~

***Alan Redpath was a British evangelist, pastor & author, 1907-1989.

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic I snapped of my little niece & then posterized with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

That’s the Deal

Renee Ann Smith —  July 28, 2014 — 23 Comments

Why love if losing hurts so much?

Probably every one of us who ever lived has asked that question.

After four short years with the wife he lost to cancer, C. S. Lewis answered it this way,

“Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived.
Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man.
The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering.

The pain now is part of the happiness then.
That’s the deal.”

And you can tell he’d do it all over again if he had the chance.

(If you haven’t seen Anthony Hopkins saying these lines as C. S. Lewis in the movie Shadowlands, you need to go right now to Netflix or Amazon Prime & reserve a copy. But come right back!)

In her novel When I Fall in Love, Susan May Warren answers it this way,

“When we suffer, it forces us into God’s arms.
That’s where we find not only what we need, but more than we can imagine.
We find Him.”

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Susan May Warren

I couldn’t help but think of C. S. Lewis’s real-life love story as I read When I Fall in Love.

Both stories reminded me that love is most beautiful when its cost is great. And both stories made me thankful for the people God has brought into my life—even those I lost too soon.

But unlike the C. S. Lewis story which has reached its eternal happy ending, When I Fall in Love explores those ‘What If’s with which we torture ourselves . . .

  • What if I risk my heart & end up rejected?
  • What if the person I love leaves?
  • What if I bring children into this dangerous world & it damages them?
  • What if God doesn’t stop the things I fear from happening?

As it says on the back cover: “If love means having to sacrifice her ideal happily every after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.”

The story focuses on predictable Grace Christiansen, who likes to play it safe, and daring hockey player Max Sharpe, who will risk anything but his heart. Grace & Max find themselves paired up for a cooking class and then a cooking competition (and all in exotic Hawaii!). Though they make a perfect team, they each harbor private fears that prevent them from pursuing a future together.

How they work through their ‘What If’s and fight for love makes for a beautiful story! It’s amazing how author Susan May Warren can touch on our most deeply felt needs and fears, present heart-breaking situations, and find the romance & happy ending in it all. She always leaves me feeling uplifted and hopeful.

What I liked best . . .

When I Fall in LoveWonderfully real, relatable book people

Memorable, romantic scenes between Grace & Max

Vicarious travel to Hawaii & the Deep Haven resort

Swim buddies & hockey dads

Great recipes & descriptions of food

The preacher on the beach

The secondary storyline involving lonely but brave Raina

The charming, exasperating, break-your-heart younger Christiansen brothers

Another favorite quote . . .

Susan May Warren quote

“I think everyone who gets to have dreams should reach for them.” ~Susan May Warren~

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What you should do next . . .

Follow this link to purchase When I Fall in Love. ***Thanks to Susan May Warren & Litfuse for providing a copy for me to review.

Click on the image below to enter the cool GIVEAWAY!

Susan May Warren Giveaway

About the Author:  Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels, whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. Susan May WarrenShe served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.

Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists.

In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Visit MyBookTherapy.com to learn more.
***For any writers out there, joining My Book Therapy was one of the best decisions I’ve made yet in my writing journey. I attended the MBT Deep Thinkers Retreat and found that so many things connected for me during those five days. (I can’t wait to go again!) You should hop to the website and at least check out the free level today!

You can connect with SMW

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made the first graphic with an image from RGB Stock Photos & the second from an iPhone pic of Copake Lake here in upstate New York and tweaked them with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…