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Writer Wednesday with Award-Winning Author, Bob Hostetler

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I met Bob Hostetler at a recent ACFW-Indiana meeting. I had no idea how much I admired his work until I saw his book table. And there it was. A book that had a huge influence on my life as a youth minister and teen Sunday School teacher:

I raised my kids and a whole passel of other kids on this book. It’s an excellent apologetic in layman’s terms. I think I’ve quoted most of it for the past 20 years over and over again. The title itself is one of my favorite phrases.

I was fortunate enough to visit with Bob during our luncheon that day and he was nice enough to agree to an interview!

Grab your cuppa (I’ve got my iced tea ready!) and get ready to glean wisdom from an award-winning, best-selling author. 

Thanks for agreeing to the interview Bob! I’m really looking forward to your next book! And I don’t care if I am gushing like a giddy schoolgirl. Its delicious purple cover (purple is my FAVE) and delectable content has me salivating already!

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Click to tweet please!

Bob says, “Don’t check your brains at the door!”

Strong Girl Saturday: Different? That’s Way Okay! By Elaine Stock

Today’s Strong Girl post is written by friend and fellow author, Elaine Stock.

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Elaine Stock, Author

Can you see her? She’s the kindergartener reading a book in the corner because a speech impediment tossed bricks between her and the ability to make easy friends. She’s the one whose mom pushed her into awkward social situations that made her feel as if she were an elephant balancing on a tightrope while she watched her mom seclude herself behind a closed door. She’s the serious one, yet a dreamer, the one who writes stories. She’s the one who clung to God even before she understood the full meaning of faith.

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She’s me. And I used to struggle with being what others typed as “different.”

The red and gold bracelet shimmy down her arm

The ankle bells clanks and rings

She hears music and dances steps that calm

Closing her eyes to life’s stings.

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Others laugh

They tease, they taunt

They think they’re cool, but they’re only half

If they really had it all, they wouldn’t have to flaunt.

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She hears the One who loves her so much

Her confidence isn’t dependent on the cruel

Her esteem, rather, comes from Him who has her in His clutch

She learns to love the others, but lives on His fuel.

(© Elaine Stock)

It’s taken me many years to learn that it’s okay to be me. Really, I’m not a bad person. Not freaky. Don’t mess with drugs or drink. I do no harm to others. I admit to owning a few quirks, but nothing in the too-seriously-weird category.

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What I’ve come to realize the past decades of my life is that everyone—without an exception—is singular, as well as we should be. God created each of us in His image, but like each kitten with patches and zigzag stripes or like each snowflake that falls, we are all unique. If we obey God’s words, then our individuality is very okay.

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The popular singer, Taylor Swift, recently said, “Maybe you’re not meant to fit in. Maybe you’re supposed to stand out.” Yay, Taylor! What a bold statement from someone in today’s times who is pressed to be outrageous, but instead is creating her own way and is enjoying each day.

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Be true to yourself. Be a good person. Believe in the One who created you with an expressed purpose. You won’t go wrong.

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Rejoice in the good stuff. Ignore any discouragement.

Author Bio:

Elaine Stock never expected that a college major in psychology and sociology would walk her through the see-saw industries of food service and the weight-loss business; co-ownership with her husband in piano restoration; and ten years in community leadership. All great fodder for creating fiction.

In the spring of 2011 Elaine placed in the Semi-finals category in the ACFW Genesis Contest for her novel WALK WITH ME. In 2013 she received the honor of My Book Therapy’s Frasier Bronze Medalist award for NO GOING BACK. And in 2014 she was blessed with the news that her short story IN HIS OWN TIME won the People’s Choice Award in the FamilyFiction Contest and will be published in a printed anthology. Her short story, THE FOREVER CHRISTMAS GIFT is about to be released in CHRISTMAS TREASURES: A COLLECITON OF SHORT STORIES.

Elaine’s blog, Everyone’s Story has been graced by an awesome international viewership. She hosts weekly interviews and reflections from published authors, unpublished writers, and readers who share inspirational stories. Its viewership is dedicated to “Readers, Writers, and All Those In-between.”

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You can connect with Elaine at:

Website/blog: Everyone’s Story  elainestock.com

Twitter  http://www.twitter.com/ElaineStock

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineStock

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Tweet this: She’s the serious one, yet a dreamer, the one who writes stories.

Lies Strong Girls refuse to believe

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There are a lot of lies out there. But just because they exist doesn’t mean we have to believe them. From the beginning of time the enemy, Satan, has been lying to women, twisting God’s Words and causing them to doubt Truth.

Here are some lies that flow through today’s culture. Lies you don’t have to believe.

Lies a Strong Girl stands up to and dares to defy:

  1. It doesn’t matter who your friends are.
  2. It doesn’t matter how you dress–fashion is more important than modesty.
  3. It’s okay to talk trash about people behind their backs.
  4. It’s okay to use profanity.
  5. Pretty girls/women are more worthy or “I’m not pretty enough.”
  6. Skinny girls/women are more worthy or “I’m not skinny enough.”
  7. Only girls/women who have a boyfriend are worthy.
  8. Your value is based upon how many friends you have on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram (you get the picture…)
  9. It doesn’t matter what music I listen to or movies I watch.
  10. It doesn’t matter what I post online.
  11. It doesn’t matter what I text.
  12. It’s okay to experiment with sex as long as it’s not intercourse.
  13. You can hate your parents or other family members and friends and still be a Christian.
  14. The most important thing in life is to have fun.
  15. Being sexy is more important than being modest.
  16. Education isn’t important or “I’m not smart enough.”
  17. It doesn’t matter how you earn your money just as long as you have the latest gadget or fad.
  18. You’ll never keep a boyfriend unless you have sex with him.
  19. I’m stuck and the only way out is to do something against what I believe.
  20. I’ll never have a friend I can trust.

Through the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing these lies and what our response should be to them.

What lies have you been told?

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Tweet This: A Strong Girl stands up to lies and defies them.

Strong Girls are Happy Girls

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Do you know what kind of girl is a pretty girl?

A happy girl.

Are scowly, bitter girls happy or pretty?

I don’t think so.

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Strong girls are happy girls. And one sure way to keep from being happy is to be unforgiving and spiteful.

I know it isn’t easy. Our nature without Jesus is to take revenge. To give back whatever hurt us is our first reaction.

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But a Strong Girl stops before she reacts. She counts to ten. Or she takes a few days to calm down before reacting. And then, maybe she doesn’t react at all.

It’s good to remember this: you can’t reason with unreasonable people.

If a person has a point of view that isn’t yours, and they aren’t willing to listen because they are angry, hurt or just plain stubborn, then your efforts to change their mind are a waste of time.

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God knows all about human nature, and He’s given us some very good advice on how to treat people who hurt us:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.The tongue of the wise utters knowledge rightly, but the mouth of the [self-confident] fool pours out folly” (Proverbs 15:1 & 2, AMP).

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Being spiteful just continues the cycle of hatefulness. As Strong Girls, we’re called to love and grace, not hate and revenge. And that means laying down our own feelings and obeying God. It’s hard at first, but once you do it, you’ll feel more freedom than you can imagine.

When you continue to hate and feel bitterness and resentment toward the person who has done you wrong, you give them power to make your life miserable. Why let them have the power to keep you bitter? Bitterness just leads to ugliness. Strong Girls are beautiful.

forgivenssCheck out what God has to say here:

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive] (Colossians 3:13, AMP).

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32, KJV).

Do you know what helps me forgive someone when they’ve been mean to me? I remember the words of Jesus as He hung on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:24).”

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If Jesus can forgive those who crucified Christ in the midst of the excruciating pain on the cross, and have compassion for those who hurt Him, the least I can do for His sacrifice for me, is to imitate Him by being a forgiving girl.

why-its-important-to-forgive-and-forget-L-gwe619A forgiving, gracious girl will never be a hard, bitter girl. She will remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit. She will remain tenderhearted and compassionate. This may also mean she will be hurt easier than others, but that doesn’t mean she’s isn’t strong. On the contrary, it takes a lot of strength to live this way.

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But you can do it, Strong Girl. Because it’s not by YOUR might or power, but by the strength that God gives you by His Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).  Ask Him for the strength.

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There have been times when I have been so hurt and it’s been so difficult to forgive someone that I’ve literally had to get down on my hands and knees and cry out to the Lord, “Father, I don’t want to forgive them because it hurts so much and what they did to me makes me want to scratch their eyes out. But Lord, out of obedience to You, I forgive them.”

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Do you think God is surprised by how you feel? No way! He made you. He already knows how you feel, but telling Him about it is very freeing! I know from experience! Nothing I say to Him can shock Him because before a word is on my tongue He knows what I’m going to say. So talk to Him. He can handle it (Psalm 139).

Remember, forgiveness isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision. But there is a huge blessing in it for you!

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When Job forgave those who criticized him and he prayed for them, God gave Job twice as much as he had before! Job was one strong dude because of His close walk with God. But it wasn’t until he prayed for his friends that God began to bless him are restore all he’d lost and much more (Job 42:10).

Jesus said:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44, KJV).

Forgive to forget.

Do you have any questions about forgiveness? About being a Strong Girl? About God and the Bible? Please feel free to ask them below and I will answer them.

twitter37smallTweet This: The first to forgive is the STRONGEST!

Hey, Strong Girl, how much are you worth?

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“But I was lonely, and he was there, so one thing led to another and…”

Just because you’re lonely doesn’t mean you aren’t still a Strong Girl. Everyone gets lonely. I imagine Jesus did, too.

But no one, absolutely NO ONE has a right to your body just because they ask.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body. (Amplified Bible.)

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God loves your body so much that He bought it with the blood of His Son, Jesus. Really. Jesus died on the cross for YOU. If you were the only person in the world, He’d do that for YOU. You are that precious to Him.

Now, maybe nobody’s ever told you before that you’re that precious. But every single hair of your head is numbered by God. That’s in the Bible, too in Luke 12:7. Jesus was telling His disciples not to worry about money and clothes because if God loves the little sparrows and watches them, then He watches, people even closer.

And He knows how many hairs are on our head!

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Do you know how many hairs you have? Does your Mother? Father? Anyone?

Nope. But God does. Now, if God knows how many hairs are on your head, imagine how He watches you ever so closely.

The God Who created everything — mountains, trees, seeds that grow into plants, little tadpoles and butterflies. That same amazing God loves you enough to count the hairs on your head.

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Next time you are tempted to give yourself away just because you’re lonely, think first about how lonely God is for you to say “hello” to Him. Start having conversations with Him everyday as you go to school, ride the bus, or whatever you’re doing. Develop a close relationship with Him and He will become more and more real to you with each passing day. He promises that if you look for Him, you will find Him.

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13, NLT.

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So now that you know that God knows how many hairs your have on your head, how much are you worth, Strong Girl? Do you think you should give yourself away for free? Or do you think you’re worth the wait?

If you develop a relationship with God, does that mean you’ll never be lonely? Nope. You’ll still get lonely, dear daughter. But you will have the strength to overcome that loneliness by focusing on Him. And if you ask Him, He’ll show you how to get past that loneliness.

No one will ever love you like He does. No one. Not even your parents. And certainly not a sexual partner or boyfriend. That emptiness you’re trying to fill is a God space that can only be filled with Him.

Seek Him–the One that loves you most. You are priceless to Him. That’s how much you’re worth.

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Strong doesn’t mean you’ll never cry

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In the dictionary strong is defined as being “able to withstand great force or pressure.”

There’s no doubt girls and women are under great forces and pressure these days. Everywhere we turn there are sexual messages. Movies, commercials, TV shows, magazines all send a message to women that they are valued more for their looks and sexuality than they are for their intellect, talent or character.

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Source: MTV

How does a Strong Girl value herself for what God says she is without feeling the pressure from the world’s messages?

The Bible says in Psalm 46:1 that God is our refuge and strength. To be a Strong Girl in Jesus, means to run to HIM for that strength.

On our own, we’re weak and at times foolish. We can let thoughts overpower us. But if we submit our minds to the Lord, He will strengthen us with HIS resolve. HIS strength. We build our life on the ROCK of His wisdom, His strength, and we are wise, not foolish. Remember this little song we sang in Sunday School?

You see, God is never weary. He is always strong. And if you have Jesus in you, you have HIS power and strength.

Isaiah 40: 29-31 says that God gives POWER to the faint and STRENGTH to those who have none. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary , and the young men shall utterly fall : 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.”

All you have to do is ask. And then listen for His voice.

Often we are in too much of a hurry to wait on the Lord to keep us strong. We want to run ahead and do it our way.

And anytime we run our way and not God’s way, we can expect disastrous results.

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If we believe what a man or boy promises us when wanting us to do something above what God says for us to do, we can expect to get hurt. Sure, God is there with His grace to forgive our mistakes, but we still have consequences on this earth. Pregnancy, STDs, a broken heart, memories that haunt us. God’s advice to us isn’t to keep us from having fun, but to give us a happy life without as much heartache.

If we believe what the world tells us instead of what God tells us, we can expect to be deceived.

But if we believe what God tells us, we’ll experience much less pain. Living in this world is hard enough without us making it even harder.

From the beginning of the time the enemy–Satan–has hated women. “Did God REALLY say you couldn’t eat that fruit?”

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He twists God’s words. And he still does it today.

God’s grace is so full of love that He wants nothing but the best for you. When you really grasp how much you are loved by God, you will run to that source of Strength and let it fill you up. You will have no desire for the kind of acceptance the world gives. All you’ll want is to be full of HIM. All you’ll care about is pleasing HIM because he loves you SO MUCH!

752a68152b266de82bdaddb7da574c46People will fail you. I can guarantee it. They will hurt you, disappoint you, and betray you.

But God never will.

Strong doesn’t mean you’ll never cry. You will still cry. Jesus wept. And He was one strong dude while He walked on this earth. Strong means you admit you’re weak without HIM, and need HIS strength to carry you through.

Cry out to Him when you’re in need of strength. I promise He will answer. More than that, HE promises, too.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

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Strong Girls aren’t mean girls

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Strong doesn’t mean you have the right to be rude. The Bible tells us that our tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Strong Girls use their words to build up, encourage and not tear down (1 Thess. 5:11).

But how do you do that when you’re in the habit of gossiping and being negative?

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Wait upon God before you speak. Seek Him to take control of your thoughts, and when you do that, your tongue will express the sweetness that lives in your mind.

Give your words and your life, Strong Girl, the Philippians 4:8 test:

“…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

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Think cupcakes. Are your words sweet? Are your thoughts following Philippians 4:8?

  • True
  • Honest
  • Just (as opposed to unfair)
  • Pure
  • Lovely
  • Good reports (as opposed to negative gossip)
  • Virtue (good things, pure things, nice things)
  • Praise

I don’t see any nasty gossip in there, do you?

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Tweet This: Strong Girls aren’t mean girls.

Tweet This: Strong Girls don’t believe what the world and its media says they are.

Tweet This: Strong Girls are what God says they are.

 

Can you think of one way you can use your words to build someone up this week? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Strong Girl Saturday: Strong and pretty are not opposites

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On Saturdays I’ll be blogging about being a Strong Girl. While I’ll be speaking to a female audience of all ages, my main focus, initially, will be on young women finding their way in this world with Jesus. We’ll answer hard questions and discuss things that might be a little uncomfortable to talk about with parents, or parents to talk about with their daughters.

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In my 32 years of experience as a Sunday School teacher and youth leader, I’ve seen too many girls value themselves only for what their bodies can offer a boy, or in today’s sexually charged climate, another girl. I’ve seen too many girls who see themselves as weak instead of strong. I see girls who are insecure as they search for who they are, and girls who just have a hard time believing that Jesus is really there for them.

Teenage Problems, Social Issues and Bullying

While recovering from a major surgery (that has required a lot of strength!), I stumbled upon a TV show about women taking men to court to prove they are the father of their children. Woman after woman stepped up to the witness stand and laid out her indiscretions on a calendar for the whole world to see on satellite television.

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Now, we’ve all made mistakes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful these women chose to have their children instead of aborting them. But the numbers of partners these women have within the span of a few weeks is startling.

It makes me mad.

At the destroyer.

The one who beats girls down and convinces them they are no more than a sexual object and that sex equals love. The one that convinces them that they have no value unless they are in the arms of a boy or man.

Girls, if you don’t get anything I ever write, get this: you are not what anyone says you are. You are what God says you are.

And we will explore just exactly what it is He says you are.

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Tweet This: You are precious. You are valuable. You are not your own. You are bought with a price.

 

 

I’ve created a facebook page where we strong girls can hang out and chat about what makes us strong, how to stand strong, stay strong, and ask questions here: https://www.facebook.com/StrongGirls4Jesus

Until next Saturday,

Karla

PS Leave me your questions in the comments below and I will answer them!