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Leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Tuesday, May 24, 2016 to be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left sidebar “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I'll add your name a second time in the drawing. U.S. mailing address required to receive a paper book. I may or may not have read books offered for giveaways. The mention and giveaway of books on my blog does not in any way indicate any manner of my endorsement of said books. Read book giveaway details at Disclaimers. To provide you security, please leave your email address like this: johnATyahooDOTcom. Winner announced in next Thursday's blog post.
by Jennifer Slattery
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for
NewHope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Cafe Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas' Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at her website and connect with her on Facebook.
Below Jennifer shares her article, “The Best Way to Find Our Strength,” after which she tells about her novel, Breaking Free.
The Best Way to Find Our Strength
by Jennifer Slattery
They didn’t know it, but a small group of ordinary men—most of them fishermen—in ancient Palestine were about to experience the greatest challenge to their faith imaginable. This incomprehensible tragedy was so unexpected, they never thought to prepare. How does one prepare for an unforeseen, faith-rocking encounter, anyway?
Grit their teeth and determine to stand firm?
No, that would only work against them for we are at our weakest point possible whenever we take on the position of self-reliance.
It was the night Jesus was about to be executed, and His Spirit was filled with deep anguish, not only for Himself, but for the twelve who’d given up everything to follow Him, the Man whom they believed would soon change the world and set all the wrong things right. Not only would their hearts be broken; their very faith would take a devastating hit. And they had absolutely no idea the incredible trial that lay ahead.
They couldn’t have imagined such anguish, such fear and confusion, had they tried. But Jesus knew, and, visualizing the depth of their struggle, He gave them an action plan, one that would provide more strength and peace than any other act they could dream up—they were to pray.
But first, a warning:
“When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me’” (Matthew 26:20-21 NLT).
And then, perhaps knowing this revelation didn’t sink in, He repeats this warning a second time, on the way to the Mount of Olives, where He would show them, through His heart-felt actions, just how serious their impeding threat was:
“Tonight all of you will desert Me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered’” (Matthew 26:31 NLT).
But they weren’t listening, perhaps because, as Jesus talked of challenges, all they could think of were their victories: the time when they cast out demons and healed the sick, or perhaps when they watched their Master multiply a small basket of fish and loaves which He used to feed a crowd. Or perhaps Peter remembered when, upon Jesus’ beckoning, he walked on water. True, he sank a moment later, but the next time he’d do better. He’d remain focused, strong, confident. He’d keep his eyes on his master and could overcome anything that came his way.
For truly, what could be more challenging than a ruthless storm or men and women oppressed by demons?
No, they had this, and this, whatever this was.
And it was precisely that type of thinking that led to their failure.
If only they’d listened to Jesus instructions, repeated twice, on that dark, quiet night:
“There [at the Mount of Olives] He told them, ‘Pray that you will not give in to temptation’” (Luke 22:40 NLT).
And then, in deep anguish, He left them, to model the very thing He taught.
But when He returned to them a short time later, He found them asleep, so He warned them a second time:
“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41 NLT).
Did they listen? Or were they still too confused, too unsuspecting, too focused on their strength and ability to “stand strong”?
Who in this account do you more often resemble? Do you regularly pray for the strength to stand strong when temptation comes, or are you relying on your own strength or perhaps even living on autopilot, as if a faith-rocking trial isn’t waiting just around the bend? Let’s be proactive, friends! Because a trial is coming, and we’ve been given everything we—in Christ—to stand strong. So take the time, regularly, to tap into that power source. That’s the only way we can whether the tragedies and trials coming our way.
About Breaking Free
Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of
what really matters.
Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?
Read a free, 33-page excerpt of Breaking Free
Where you can purchase Breaking Free
Christian Book Distributors
Barnes and Noble
Connect with Jennifer
See scene location pictures for Breaking Free on Pinterest
Thanks, Jennifer, for visiting with my readers and me. Jennifer offers a give-away of any one of her novels, reader's choice, restricted to mailing address in the continental US. I will draw from commenters to this post for the winner. Commenters, please remember to leave your email address.
The winner of last Thursday’s blog post for a copy of Sofi’s Bridge by Christine Lindsay is Robin in NC. I’ll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.
Till next time … keep on smiling.
Thanks for reading my blog! Recently released book 3 in the West Virginia Mountains series is titled Promise Me. Available in print and eBook at Amazon!