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Archive for September, 2019

Social Media …

While social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter appear to connect people more than ever, relying on technology as a substitute for face-to-face interaction is actually detrimental to our health, and does nothing to enhance our relationships. According to a study conducted by the Brigham Young University, “loneliness increases mortality risk by 26%” and “has a greater impact on your health than being obese, or having 15 cigarettes a day.”

Are you someone who maybe has 5000 followers on social media; yet feels lonely at the end of the day? When life hits and hits hard, do you have that one person you know you can call who will drop everything and listen, and then offer to pray with you?

I felt that way several years ago. Even though I was happily married and we were busy raising our children and working, I longed for a friendship with a woman who would pray with me, celebrate with me, and cry with me. Someone who shared my values and wanted to do life with me.

Someone suggested I pray and ask God to connect me with a friendship from Him. A person I could share the good, bad, and ugly of life.

While God didn’t answer that prayer immediately, He did answer in the form of not one special friendship, but a few close friends with whom I could share life. Where I was stronger, they needed more encouragement. Where I needed support, they had wisdom to share.

What about you? Do you have a close friend to “do life” with? Sometimes, even though happily married, it’s nice to have a “Sister in Christ” to share life with and offer support, encouragement, or a different perspective to help us grow, challenge us to take risks, or enjoy life.

If not, have you thought about asking God to bring someone like that into your life? Do you believe He can … and will?

© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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I have a question for all my fiction-loving friends. I’m currently writing a six-book series tentatively titled “The Redeeming of Green Pines,” where you will be introduced to a whole community of people I hope you grow to love as much as I do.

 

While I have two six-book series I have been waiting to write literally for years, most of the other stories God has placed on my heart are two-book series or standalones.

The Redeeming of Green Pines is women’s fiction; stories that deal with issues women (and men) struggle with, all told in a way that encourages you in a deeper relationship with God all while (hopefully) entertaining, encouraging, and maybe even making you think after you have closed the last page.

 

While some of the topics are deep, they aren’t considered scary by any stretch of the imagination. Real life topics with imperfect characters trying to live in a way that honors God.

 

I have one book, though, that can’t wait to be told. I “wrote” it four or five years ago during the summer while mowing our grass. It’s outlined, saved on my computer, and the characters are so real to me, you would think they were my next door neighbors.

 

However, the topic surrounding the story is a little edgier, but told in a way that glorifies God and tastefully done. It’s a book I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have my mom read.

 

My question for you is this: Do you enjoy reading books about imperfect people, living in a sinful world, dealing many times with the effects of other people’s sin and how it affects their lives?

 

Would you be interested in reading about a variety of storylines and subjects, even if some have a little more mature subject matter, yet tastefully written?

 

What is your favorite kind of Christian fiction? I’d love to know. Please reply in the comments below.

 

 

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Hello?

Several years ago I worked a job for a Christian organization where I ran a live chat once a month. Giving out prizes was one of the highlights of the month. The group was made up of approximately 100 faithful readers and we had become a real community of believers.

One particular month, I turned to my daughter and asked if she wanted to pick. She readily agreed, looked over the names, and gave me her choice.

I put the phone on speaker, dialed, and the conversation went something like this:

“Hello? Is _________ there?”

“Hi, Cheri.”

“How did you know it was me?” (I was laughing because I figured this wonderful lady had caller ID since I hadn’t introduced myself yet.)

“During my quiet time today, the Holy Spirit told me I was going to win tonight and when you called, I was to ask you to pray with me.”

I was speechless as the presence of God surrounded me. There was a few seconds of silence before I replied, “I have to be honest. I didn’t pick your name. My daughter, who is sitting right here listening to our conversation, is the one who chose your name.”

While my shock kept me from remembering her response, I do remember asking her what God wanted me to pray with her about and she proceeded to tell me.

At that point in my spiritual walk, when someone would ask me to pray for them, I promised I would and moved on. However, that particular night, I told her if it was okay with her, we would pray right then. And we did. It was one of the most beautiful moments where the Holy Spirit was fully present.

That moment was the beginning of a beautiful, God-inspired friendship.

Have you ever had a similar situation in life when God seems to handpick a friendship, relationship, or maybe even your spouse? When you knew meeting a particular person wasn’t a coincidence but a God incidence?

 

© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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Our family participated in swimming lessons this past summer. We were taking them as a refresher course, but there were some students present who had never had any lessons.

 

On the first day there, there was a lot of fear on several faces. My mother’s heart felt for these kids as they learned how to be comfortable in the water, that they could in fact trust the coach to keep them from drowning, and as they learned how to build their confidence in the water.

 

The coach knew what it would take to get these kids from fearful to confident in 10 short lessons and he pushed them outside of their comfort zones from day one. He knew it was the best way to teach confidence and help them learn how to save themselves in the water instead of drowning.

 

At the end of that first lesson, I overheard a young boy walk up to his parent, tears streaming down his face, and apologize. The mom responded to the boy’s tears with, “Why are you sorry? You did great! Even though you were afraid, you did everything the coach asked you to do the best you knew how. I’m so proud of you! You have nothing to say you’re sorry about.” She then wrapped him in a big hug, continuing to tell him how proud she was of the hard work he did.

Watching that interaction, I wondered if that is how our Heavenly Father sees us sometimes. When He calls us to do something in life, or when life seems particularly hard and we choose faith and obedience despite the difficulties, does He see our obedience and willing heart (despite our fear)?

I know God has invited me to some tough assignments in life. I have chosen to step out in faith (and obedience), trembling the whole time, not knowing who I can trust and feeling like a failure because of doing it imperfectly or afraid.

 

But I believe God is there, waiting to wrap me up in His big arms, proud that I obeyed, pleased that I did it in faith (even though afraid), knowing the outcome because He sees the big picture.

 

Just as that mom by the pool knew in ten short days, if her child continued to work hard and obey the coach’s directions, he would learn how to swim as well as build confidence in the water, our Heavenly Father knows if we continue in faith and obedience to step out and work on the assignments He gives us, we too will succeed for Him as well as build confidence in the gifts He’s teaching us.

 

What’s one area in your life where God is asking you to build confidence, step out in faith, and obey?

 

© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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About the Book:

Book: Seeing Angels

Author: Joshua Mills

Genre: Religion / Christian Theology/Angelology & Demonology

Release Date: September 3, 2019

A recent study found that 57 percent of Catholics, 66 percent of Evangelical Protestants, and 10 percent of Jews have reported having a personal experience with a guardian angel. And 20 percent of those who identified themselves as having no religion also claimed having encountered an angel.

Seeing Angels is one of the most in depth examinations of angelic ministry by one of the cutting-edge charismatic leaders in the church today. Joshua Mills goes beyond the usual takes on angels regarding spiritual warfare and explores who they are, how to recognize them, and what they do.

  • Part I, Understanding Your Angels, is all about understanding who angels are, exploring why they are necessary and how different angels minister comfort, healing, love, prosperity. It reveals who they carry out specific geographic assignments for cities and nations, as well as the more unique and extraordinary assignments they receive.
  • Part II, Discerning Your Angels, explains how to become more aware of the unseen heavenly realm, as well as how to recognize divine intervention when it does reveal itself to human sight. Such manifestations include random strangers, visions, or signs and messengers that believers receive. Joshua also explains the way he has interacted with visions of radiant light, swirling colors, and what he describes as atmospheric shifts. All of this is intended to make believers become more aware of both invisible and revealed spiritual realities.
  • Part III, Working with Your Angels, deals specifically with how to minister alongside these heavenly messengers as they stand watch, provide protection, and administer strength and comfort. This includes recognizing their movements and how to effectively pray for angelic encounters to take place.

With a foreword by Patricia King, Seeing Angels is among the most comprehensive teachings on recognizing angelic beings and understanding how to partner with them in ministry.

 

About the Author

Joshua Mills is an internationally recognized ordained minister of the gospel, as well as a recording artist, keynote conference speaker, and author of more than twenty books and spiritual training manuals. His most recent book with Whitaker House was Moving in Glory Realms. He is well known for his unique insights into the glory realm, prophetic sound, and the supernatural atmosphere that he carries. For more than twenty years, he has helped people discover the life-shifting truth of salvation, healing, and deliverance for spirit, soul and body. Joshua and his wife, Janet, cofounded International Glory Ministries, and have ministered on six continents in over seventy-five nations around the world. Featured in several film documentaries and print articles, including Charisma and Worship Leader Magazine, together, they have ministered to millions around the world through radio, television, and online webcasts, including appearances on TBN, Daystar, GodTV, It’s Supernatural! with Sid Roth100 Huntley Street, and Everlasting Love with Patricia King. Their ministry is located in both Palm Springs, California, and London, Ontario, Canada, where they live with their three children: Lincoln, Liberty, and Legacy.

 

More from Joshua

Angels are a hot topic. A 2007 Baylor Religion Survey found that 57 percent of Catholics, 81 percent of black Protestants, 66 percent of Evangelical Protestants, and 10 percent of Jews reported having a personal experience with a guardian angel. And 20 percent of those who identified themselves as having no religion also claimed having encountered an angel.

 

 

My Review of Seeing Angels:

I was hesitant at first to get this book. I wasn’t familiar with the author and didn’t want to read something that wasn’t based on Scripture, but yet I have always wanted to learn more about angels and their role in helping Christians in our daily lives. I am so glad I chose to read this book. From the beginning, right in the introduction, the author confirmed in my spirit that this book was based on Scripture and warned people not to worship angels themselves, explaining in detail the role they play in heaven and how their sole purpose is to worship God and obey His commands. He quotes Billy Graham, someone I highly respect, often throughout his book, and then he gets right into the meat.

This book was wonderful. I learned so much. The chapters are relevant, interesting, full of information I didn’t know and he helps believers realize we can see angels also in our daily lives if we ask and believe. The book is written with much wisdom but not from a perspective of “too intelligent to understand.” There are tons of personal stories as well as stories from others confirming the presence of angels in our lives and it’s a book I eagerly picked up every day. This is a book I will be telling my family and friends about, encouraging them to read it also.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.

 

 

Thanks for stopping and connecting here at Spoken from the Heart: If you want to subscribe to my email to receive the latest updated information or to just be encouraged, sign up here: www.cheriswalwell.com

As my way of saying thanks, you will receive a free eBook – Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace

Just sign up at: www.cheriswalwell.com

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 10

CarpeDiem, September 11

Godly Book Reviews, September 12

Through the Fire Blogs, September 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 13

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , September 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 15

Vicky Sluiter, September 16

Spoken from the Heart, September 17

For The Love of Books , September 17

Texas Book-aholic, September 18

Retrospective Spines, September 19

Emily Yager, September 20

janicesbookreviews, September 21

A Reader’s Brain, September 22

Inklings and notions , September 23

 

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Joshua is giving away a grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card, copy of SEEING ANGELS, copy of Heaven and Angels by H.A. and copy of A Divine Revelation of Angels by Mary K. Baxter!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e806/seeing-angels-celebration-tour-giveaway

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About the Book:

Book: The Key to Dreaming Again

Author: Rick Unruh

Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational

Release Date: July 10, 2019

“We parked our car in front of Yankton’s Federal Prison Camp and walked through the doors of the control center. ‘I’m Rick Unruh, and I’m here to self-surrender,’ I told the corrections officer. There is no way I could comprehend what those words would mean over course of the next year, as God would begin a new work in me.”

Born and raised in a small town in Kansas, Rick Unruh was called to be in the ministry. But when he lost his mother to cancer despite her unwavering faith that God would heal her, it planted seeds of doubt in his heart. He served as a traveling evangelist for years but later faded away from the ministry.

He and his wife lost their house in a fire, but a year later, far worse pain was ahead when they[dori1] , lost their twelve-year-old son in an ATV accident. Just when it seemed there was hope and recovery ahead, Rick was blindsided by a federal investigation into a mortgage consulting group he’d been involved with. He was eventually charged and then sentenced to over a year in prison, embarrassed and sure that God was done with him this time. But God wasn’t finished.

This book is a testament to the God who restores us and allows us to dream again—if we will only surrender ourselves to him.

 

About the Author

Rick Unruh is a US MAPS missionary and is the founder of Dream Again Ministry. He holds a master’s degree in counseling from Logos University (Jacksonville, FL), with a special interest in grief ministry. He lives in Kansas with his wife, Tamela, and travels the country sharing his Dream Again testimony, a message of hope and finding our purpose. He recently added workshops for the church, helping them understand and minister to the grieving. Rick also recruits full-time missionaries to serve with MAPS.

 

My Review of Self-Surrender: The Key to Dreaming Again:

This book was wonderful. I love how the author was so transparent – telling us about the victories in his life as well as the “not-so-pleasant” moments that God was able to turn around for good. This was a book that I savored, reading a chapter a day so that I could really chew on the meat given in each chapter. This is an incredible story of surrender but also of victory God’s way. I highly recommend it as a wonderful read to those who think God can’t use them for mighty things because they are “too far gone.” This book offers hope and redemption when we fully surrender to God’s plan.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.

 

More from Rick

I actually wrote the first chapter of my book in 2011 and then it just sat there until December of 2018.  I continually have had people ask me to write a book about my story, since I travel nearly every weekend sharing my story.   I could just never get the desire or focus to finish it.  After writing it, I realized, that I was hesitating because I didn’t want to go back to some of those places and dig deep, stirring painful emotions, just to write about them.  I would feel the anxiety building as I was getting closer to those moments. There is great healing in writing, but the early process of writing this book caused me to shed many tears.  But, if it can help others who are struggling with the loss of a loved one or a major setback in life, and bring hope and encouragement, then it has all been worth it.

 

Thanks for stopping and connecting here at Spoken from the Heart: If you want to subscribe to my email to receive the latest updated information or to just be encouraged, sign up here: www.cheriswalwell.com

As my way of saying thanks, you will receive a free eBook – Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace

Just sign up at: www.cheriswalwell.com

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

 

Blog Stops

Through the Lens of Scripture.com, September 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 13

Simple Harvest Reads, September 14 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 14

Betti Mace, September 15

Spoken from the Heart, September 16

Older & Smarter?, September 17

Genesis 5020, September 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 19

Texas Book-aholic, September 20

Blossoms and Blessings, September 21 (Author Interview)

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, September 21

janicesbookreviews, September 22

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

Just the Write Escape, September 24

Inklings and notions , September 25

 

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Rick is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a eBook copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/eb9b/the-key-to-dreaming-again-celebration-tour-giveaway

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I’ve talked (probably too many times) about my love/hate relationship with getting (and staying) healthy. Unfortunately, my personality type is the kind when I’m under stress, I eat. I wish I was like many of my friends and pushed away from food during stressful times.

 

I know what I need to do, and have seasons where I do really well, but I’m not satisfied with seasons. I want a complete and total heart change. And part of accomplishing that heart change (for me) is complete obedience.

 

I know what I need to do, what God has shown me works for my personality, body type, etc. and what’s left is putting one foot in front of the other, or in some cases, pushing that plate away, and doing it.

 

One activity I was consistent with (and really enjoyed) was walking on our treadmill. It was 30 minutes every morning of “me time” I could do while my family was getting ready. I could read my book, relax, and get the energy I needed to fuel my day.

Last year our treadmill broke … or was in the process of breaking. Smelling burnt rubber while exercising isn’t a good sign. We looked into getting it fixed, but it was going to cost way too much, and eventually, in December, to make room for our Christmas tree, we disassembled it and said goodbye.

 

I told God I’d really love to have a treadmill again, but He would have to bring it to me because the price of one wasn’t in our budget.

 

In the meantime, I brought up our exercise bike, but it had arm handles that kept whacking me in the face and wasn’t comfortable. I couldn’t read while riding and eventually quit pretending I was going to use it.

 

God kept speaking to me about obedience and surrender. Obeying His way, not halfheartedly or “my way” (which wasn’t real obedience). And in July I realized I wanted to (once again) do it His way, not mine.

 

The week I recommitted my lifestyle to His way, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a neighbor (and friend) was selling a treadmill. I prayed about it, asked my husband if he minded if I checked it out (and bought it for the right price) and decided we would swing by on our way home. If it was gone, then it wasn’t meant to be. If it was still there, it might be God’s answer to helping me commit to exercising again.

 

Two hours later I stopped at her house and it was still there. She gave me a great price (better than I had hoped) and I got a new to me treadmill. I hadn’t been so excited to work out in a long time!

 

When we choose to do life God’s way, He blesses those choices. Every time I get on the treadmill, I remember how God wants me to succeed in obeying Him more than I desire to obey. And that feels good!

Is there an area in your life where God is calling you to obey? It might not be in the area of a healthy lifestyle. What’s one step you can take today to move forward in the right direction?

 

© Cheri Swalwell 2019

 

 

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