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Category Archives: Living for God

Are you frustrated yet?

3753584003_95eef4f7ce_oYou’re 18 days into the new year, and you still haven’t lost those ten pounds, finished that novel, or gotten your kids in line. Your plan to get the house clean seems to have disappeared beneath a fresh layer of dust, and you’ve apparently misplaced the organization chart you spent hours crafting. Your decision to work out daily was waylaid by a nasty cold, and your resolution to make it to church every Sunday wasn’t quite enough to drag you out of bed on time.

You started the year with such hope lo, those many months…er, days ago. And now, all is lost.

Or maybe you’re like me and quit making resolutions years ago. If we don’t aim for anything, it’s impossible to miss.

Impossible to hit, too.

I jumped on the word-of-the-year bandwagon awhile back, so every year around the first, I pray about what word God would have me focus on for the next 365 days. Guess which one he gave me this year?

Perseverance.

I wasn’t happy when the word came to me, because it means that those things I want might not come so easily. The ten pounds won’t just slip off like pants two sizes too big. The words of the novel won’t glide effortlessly from my fingers onto the screen. The teenagers won’t suddenly behave like mature adults.

So I’ve decided to look at my word from a different angle. Perhaps my word is not about the goals at all. Perhaps it’s about trusting God with everything and slogging forward—“straining toward what is ahead” as Paul so aptly put it (Philippians 3:13).

Would God ask me to persevere in a lost cause? Would he expect me to keep fighting a losing battle? I think not. I think he wants me to fight for what I want and trust him with the results, so that when I do achieve what I’ve worked for, I’ll have truly accomplished something. And I’ll know he was with me all along.

There are still 347 days left in this year to persevere. Imagine what God can do with a servant unwilling to give up.

Bring it on, 2017. I’m ready.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Check out my latest releases, Convenient Lies and A Package Deal, at my website. Or read more about them below:

Kindle CoverConvenient Lies

What happens when a woman marries her greatest enemy?

When investigative journalist Reagan McAdams discovers her new husband Julien is part of a powerful international crime family, she flees Paris with their newborn, returning to her childhood home in Nutfield, New Hampshire. She plans to gather her inheritance, collect her beloved grandmother, and disappear forever. She’ll do whatever it takes to protect her son from his criminal father. 

But when Reagan arrives home, her heart breaks at the news of her grandmother’s death. Finding her missing inheritance—hidden somewhere on the property—is as impossible as a second chance with her former boyfriend, Brady. Reagan’s feelings for Brady are stronger than ever, but when Julien harms innocent people to smoke her out, Reagan must make a choice.  

What—and who—will she have to sacrifice to save her son?

Only Mine

A Package Deal

Jo didn’t know she wanted children until she learned that cancer had likely ruined her chances to have them. Dared by her friends to try online dating, Jo meets a man who would be perfect—if not for his obvious desire for a family and her too recent cancer scare. 

Carter can’t believe his luck when his first match through the online dating site is the pretty woman from the UPS store. He figures he’ll tell Jo about his five-year-old daughter if things get serious—which he doesn’t figure they will. He’s been burned by enough women not to get his hopes up. 

As Jo and Carter start to fall for each other, they realize the secrets they’ve hidden could tear apart the tenuous bond they’ve created. They both come with baggage. 

Can either of them accept a package deal?

 

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Playing the Comparison Game

 

compare-643305_1280I recently watched a sermon series by Andy Stanley called The Comparison Trap. In it, he talks about how we humans look to the right and to the left to find out if we’re okay. It’s how we decide if we’re doing well or failing, if we’re good enough or not quite making the grade.

I don’t consider myself somebody who falls into this trap often, but listening to him, I realized how I subtly compare myself and my family to others. I compare how we look, how much money we have, the size of our house, what kinds of cars we drive, where the kids go to school, what we do for work… The list is as long as the unique things that define us.

But by comparing my family to others, I’m discounting God’s hand in our lives. I’m judging God’s plan for me based on what He has done for others. And in doing so, I’m throwing myself into an unwinnable game. For every person I compare well to, there are two or three (thousand?) others who are far exceeding me.

But God’s way is better. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.  For we are each responsible for our own conduct” (Galatians 6:45 NLT).

So what’s the solution? Not that I’ve arrived—not even close—but I find I need to keep my focus on God and what His plans are for me. If I focus on my work and pay attention to accomplishing all God has given me to do, then I have little time or reason to compare myself to others.

Maybe my books don’t sell as many copies as another author’s books, but as long as I write what God wants me to write, I’m a success in His eyes. My children have their own dreams, and their plans don’t include top-level colleges. But God looks at the heart, not the resume. Maybe somebody else’s husband has more worldly success than mine does, but my husband loves the kids, he loves me, he loves God, and I suspect God is pleased with him. So who cares what somebody else’s husband is doing?

We’re walking the path God laid out for us. We’re doing our best and striving to obey Him. Success comes through obedience, and since God’s plan for us is different than his plan for everyone else, the comparison game is one nobody can win.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at her website, follow her on Facebook, or keep up with her releases by joining her newsletter list.

 

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Unwanted Gifts

flexible_flyers_in_snowI’m sure you can remember some of your favorite Christmas presents ever. One year our parents bought my sister, brother, and me those old-fashioned sleds with the metal runners on the bottom. A few days before, the skies had dropped frozen rain on top a foot of snow, so that the little hill in front of our house was as solid as the pond across the street. The sleds flew like rockets down that icy incline. It was one of the most fun and memorable Christmases of my childhood.

Other Christmas gifts haven’t seemed so wonderful.

Last year, my 18-year-old son wasn’t home for Christmas. Instead, Nick was in a rehab facility six hundred miles away. While his being there was a gift straight from God, it sure felt terrible at the time.

Some gifts are like that. They come wrapped in hardship and layered in pain, and they carry the scents of disappointment and shame. But when you get through all the coverings, the treasures beneath are priceless.

This Christmas, Nick is home, healthy, and sober. He’s already had a number of opportunities to share his testimony of God’s grace in his life, and he’ll have plenty more as he heads off to Youth with a Mission next month. We will miss him terribly during the months he’s gone on his mission trip, but even that will be a gift, knowing that God is using him to bring light to dark places.

Some gifts don’t look like gifts right away. And sometimes, those are the best gifts of all.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

 
 

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Thanks to God–and You

Have you ever felt hopeless? Had that feeling that all is truly lost? In fiction, we call it the “black moment.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a few black moments in my life. The worst came a little over a year ago and had to do with my eldest son, who’d made some life-altering and potentially deadly choices. All I could do was watch and pray.

But there was one other thing I did. I told a lot of my friends and family about our struggles. Not because they were fun to share—trust me, they weren’t. I told them because the Lord encourages us to be honest with each other and to and pray for one another. When we pray, He moves. (James 5:14-16, I Timothy 2:1) And our family desperately needed God to move.

My friends here at Quid Pro Quills prayed. Other friends prayed. Extended family prayed. Even some strangers prayed. And guess what? Through all those prayers, the Lord reached and saved our son.

Now, he’s home and safe. He’s a new person in Christ. He believes in the power of prayer as much as the rest of us, because he’s experienced the results of it. He’s so convinced of the Truth and so in love with his Savior, he’s headed to Youth with a Mission this January, where he’ll spend three months in Discipleship Training School before heading somewhere in the world (we don’t know where yet) on a mission to tell the lost about the freedom he’s found in Jesus Christ.

Our black moment was turned into victory, and it’s all because of the folks who prayed and this amazing, beautiful, powerful God we serve.

Tweet this: The prayers of good friends turned our darkest moment into victory.

For those of you who prayed, thank you for interceding for my family. For all of you, if ever you need prayer for yourself or someone you love, please ask me. I would be honored to lift you up the way we have been lifted, to be a part of your miracle the way so many of you have been a part of ours.

If you’d like more information or if you’d considering partnering with Nick on his mission trip through prayers or financial support, click here.

If you’d like more information about this amazing organization, Youth With a Mission, check out this video.

 

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at her website.

 

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Praying for Truth in the Misinformation Age

liesI have a friend who suggests that the so-called “Information Age” should be relabeled the “Misinformation Age.” I think he has a point, and that point has been sharpened considerably in the last few months. No matter what you think of our president-elect or his opponent, you can prove your side of any argument with just a few strokes of the keyboard and clicks of the mouse. Anybody with even the smallest platform can publish truths, half-truths, or flat-out lies, and regular folks like you and me are left to parse facts from fabrications.

It’s maddening, isn’t it?

I studied journalism in college, and I was proud to be part of a long tradition of men and women dedicated to ensuring the public knew what was going on behind all the closed doors—in police stations and schools and state houses, in courtrooms and congress and the White House. Today, journalists and bloggers and anybody else with keyboard or microphone can espouse whatever they wish—truth or fiction—with no fear of backlash from the public.

Well, it’s time to lash back. The question is, how?

Tweet this: Only God can replace the lies with truth in the Misinformation Age.

I’m sure there are lots of great answers to that, but I just want to focus on one: Prayer.

I pray that America once again becomes a nation dedicated to truth. I pray that citizens will discard the lies—and the sources that advocate them—in favor of honesty and integrity, even when the truth doesn’t line up with our philosophies. I pray that Americans would again be able to distinguish between falsehoods and facts. I pray that we would become a nation capable again of clear and logical thinking that differentiates between feelings and realities. In short, I pray that, as Shakespeare said, “Truth will out.”

Will you join me in praying Psalm 25:5 over our nation? “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Only God can accomplish this, but God can accomplish it. Let’s pray that He does.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Visit her website for information on her latest release.

 

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Dealing with Disappointment

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Depending upon the results of the United States election yesterday and which candidate you voted for, you may find yourself facing disappointment this morning. Or maybe you are in the middle of a stressful situation with a family member or at your work place. You may have gotten test results back from the doctor that you weren’t expecting. Each of us face disappointment in our lives. Sometimes daily.

I was praying about some recent disappointment and came up with a new motto. Instead of thinking about ________ (fill in whatever situation you are going through), I choose to focus on Jesus. I like these verses from Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV).

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

So instead of wallowing in the muck and mire of disappointment, I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus.

social-media-2015Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. She has a regular column in Home School Enrichment magazine and has written for Christian Devotions. Her newest novella released in November, Love in the Seams. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

 
 

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To Speak or Not To Speak?

repub-and-demoThe closer we get to election time, the more I’m convinced this isn’t a war between Trump and Clinton. It’s a spiritual war. The nastiness being blasted on social media isn’t just among republicans and democrats but between Christians.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve read dozens of Facebook posts by Christians defending Hillary’s stance on abortion. Likewise, I’ve read posts by Christians sugar-coating Trump’s absurd behavior toward others, especially handicapped individuals and women. However, the fact we don’t have a decent candidate to choose from this election isn’t the focus on my post today, though it highly concerns me. What makes steam pour out my ears like Yosemite Sam after a failed attempt to make Bugs Bunny his dinner is the way Christians are treating other Christians in the comments they’re leaving.

I’ve seen more adults act like children while defending their viewpoints, calling each other names (like anyone is going to take them seriously with that kind of behavior), relaying in detail exactly how God will judge that person for their belief (as if any of us are holy enough to make that call), and some even being so bold as to put words in God’s mouth that aren’t even biblical.

I’m appalled.

Truth is, folks have already made their choice on which candidate they believe is best, so to debate, especially on such an immature level, is a waste of time. I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t “like” or leave comments at all, I simply want Christians to think about a few things before sending their opinions into cyberspace.

  1. Why do you feel the need to comment? Are you defending God’s word or are you really just convinced you’re right and they’re wrong?
  2. Is commenting really worth your time? Or risking a friendship? After all, you could spend that time in prayer for your country, witnessing to someone, or reading your Bible.
  3. Do you have sound scripture to defend your viewpoint? (Putting words in God’s mouth is unwise.)
  4. Is your defense based on God’s word or your own understanding?
  5. Is your comment insulting to others (are you name-calling or acting immature)? Are you using the right tone with your words (opposition given in love)

After all, we’re not advancing the cause of Christ if we’re not living Christ-like.

Lastly, choose this day whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:15) DON’T defend something God is against, but you think there should be exceptions to. (Proverbs 3:5-7 and Ephesians 5:17) You’re either following God or you’re not. (Matthew 6:24)

Pray for your country. Pray for your fellow Christians. Pray for wisdom and a right attitude as we prepare to elect the next leader of our country.

Pray for God’s mercy.

~Candice Sue Patterson