Monthly Archives: December 2017

Rejoice – A Word for 2018

“The angel of the Lord said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people!’” Luke 2:10 (Exclamation point added by me, but don’t you think if there’s a place to put one, it’s here.)

As we move on from Christmas and into the New Year, I’m pausing to reflect on the past and consider the future. Mostly because, as seems to be my habit, I get sick in December, and this year is no exception, so I’m writing this post through a fog of cold medicine and blurry eyes with a persistent runny nose.

But while I pause because I’m not feeling great, I hope you also pause to pray, meditate, and choose  . . . a word. That’s right, one word that you will focus on in the next year. Not a list of new year’s resolutions, just a word. Author Beth Vogt gives this challenge every year, and this year, I’m giving it a go. Although I think I probably do this without knowing it every year. Last year, my word would have been hope or delight, and the year before perseverance. This year my word will be REJOICE. 

With this in mind, being a research nerd and Bible geek, I began looking up verses, and immediately landed in Romans chapter five and knew that God had been preparing me for this word. In my Bible study group, two weeks in a row, I was asked to read these verses. The first week the words caught in my throat and brought tears to my eyes, but the next week I read it with gusto, and now, I think they will be my verses for the year. Here they are:

We Rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5

Even as I type those verses, I see my other words and know that this is the place I want to dwell this year. However, just when I thought I discovered the perfect “rejoice” verse, I received my new Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible. Oh, yeah, so excited, I ripped off the plastic and danced to my writing spot. I just knew when I looked up “my verse,” there was going to be this beautiful, inspirational definition in Greek or Hebrew that would bless me with deep meaning. And I would then write the most insightful blog post ever written. It would go viral, and editors would be calling my agent begging to publish my novel. Wow! That would have been fantastic, but it was not to be.

As I read Romans Five in my study Bible, it didn’t even use the word Rejoice. I couldn’t believe it. It said Exalt, but then I remembered what Andi Lee, author of a Mary Like Me, wrote: if different translations use different words than it might mean something, so once again I pulled the cap off my highlighter and searched the cross-references. At this point, I remind you, I’m really not feeling well, so I needed to find something and fast.

And there it was. Halleluiah! (Can’t you hear the angels singing? Or is that the cold medicine?)

Rejoice is a synonym for exalt, but what is really exciting was all of the ways these words work together throughout the Bible. With the words on the page literally swirling, I found something that will keep me studying these words all year. But for now, hear this, rejoice and exult can mean leap for joy. I love that and that is what I want to do every morning, maybe not so much after a long day.

This year I want to learn to rejoice regardless of my circumstances, and although this may seem like a ridiculous goal if you’re not a believer, it is what having the Holy Spirit in you means. Friends, I hope and pray that this year we will rejoice together, and we can leap for joy because we are filled with Holy Spirit.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

May you grab hold of the peace God gives and rejoice.

What word will you focus on this year? Leave your comments below. I’d love to pray with you.

Don’t Miss Christmas by Angel Moore

Merry Christmas Friends! I am so happy to have award-winning and Love Inspired Historical author and my friend, Angel Moore, sharing her thoughts on rejoicing in this season of Jesus and family. I hope her message encourages you to slow down and take time to really be with your loved ones and make special memories. For those of you spending your first Christmas without a family member, I  join you and pray that God comforts us with His peace and fills us with Joy to bring us strength.

Angel Moore fell in love with romance in elementary school when she read the story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Who doesn’t want to escape to a happily-ever-after world? Married to her best friend, she has two wonderful sons, a lovely daughter-in-law, and three grands. She writes STORIES OF FAITH & HOPE.
Her next Love Inspired Historical book, Husband by Arrangement, will release in March of 2018. The final release of her Mail Order Brides of River Bend series, Bartering for a Bride, will release before the end of December. Find all the latest news and all of her books at angelmoorebooks.com

 

Please take Angel’s precious words to heart this year. (By the way, just love that Angel is guest blogging for me at Christmas. Like her name, she is a messenger for God.)

In a few days, we’ll be celebrating the birth of Christ with family and friends. Have you finished shopping? And wrapping? And baking? I haven’t even decided what to cook yet, but I have bought my wrapping paper.

Do you even want to talk about the traffic? I almost had to send someone to the repair shop a couple of times last week. I prefer one car to a lane.

Somehow, Christmas becomes a frenzy. And we get wrapped up in the frenzy.

I have to stop and remember the things I value most at this time of year. Decorating the tree with my grands is one of the top things. I bought acrylic and plastic ornaments—and I was the first person to drop one on the floor.

Angel’s Grandchildren

The kids laughed at me and then covered my tree with snowflake ornaments. The snowflakes were chosen to match the snowflake stocking holders I have for each of them. They are all different. I explain to my little ones that they are all beautiful and unique, just like God’s snowflakes.

 

I treasure the time with my church family. We share wonderful services filled with glorious music and messages about the birth of Christ. Then we enjoy fellowship and food together.

My mom comes to see me every Christmas. It’s a time we set aside for each other.

All of these things mean more to me than anything I could unwrap under the tree. These are the eternal things. It’s not about the money we spend or the gifts we give.

It’s about the time we share with each other remembering the birth of Jesus. In Luke, chapter two, the story of the shepherds leaving their work to encounter the newborn Savior, is one of my favorites. They glorified and praised God when they saw Christ. And they told others about Him. Mary treasured and pondered everything that happened. She stored the memories in her heart.

I see the shepherds as people like us. Working people. Serving God and wanting to be in His presence. They dropped everything and went to see Jesus.

Let’s remember to be like Mary, too. To focus on the Savior. Not just at Christmas, but always.

Jesus came to earth to restore us to Him. Having us in the family of God is important to Him.

Having our family together and serving Him is important, too.

I have to remind myself sometimes to slow down and not let the frenzy of the season keep me from the most valuable things.

Don’t Miss Christmas. Spend it with your loved ones honoring the One Who loves us all.

Angel’s next Love Inspired Historical book, Husband by Arrangement, will release in March of 2018.

An Aspiring Author’s Christmas Wish List

What do you want for Christmas? The question on everyone’s minds this time of year. Someone recently asked me, and my sassy spirit almost responded honestly. I want a book CONTRACT! Seriously, as an aspiring author is that too much to ask? A love may have been all Mariah Carey wanted but I want an acquisitions editor to call my agent and say those magic words. “We want to acquire this book for publication.” From here, I started to write my Christmas wish list.

An Aspiring Author’s Christmas Wish List

  1. Book Contract with a Major Publisher – I mean, if you’re going to ask, may as well go big. By the way, my agent sent my book proposal out to publishers at the end of November, so prayers are appreciated. Although if you happen to be one of the editors who received my proposal, I’ll take a contract with your prayer, please.
  2. Ten Thousand Followers on Social Media – Some of you have been an audience to my begging, but publishers look at these numbers to determine if you can sell books. Ten thousand followers seems to be a magic number. My high school Sunday school class students and my daughter would also appreciate this gift, so they could gain some relief from my weekly, okay daily, Instagram follower updates. Just in case you want to help, here are the links:

Instagram – @lesliedevooght

Facebook – Leslie Kirby DeVooght- Author Page

Twitter – Leslie DeVooght- Twitter

  1. A Box of Assistants, including a Personal Assistant, Web Designer, Editor, Cook, Carpool driver, and Blog Writer. – I’m throwing everyone in here because we only allow our children three gifts at Christmas. We are of the opinion, if three gifts were good enough for Jesus, then it’s enough for our children. (Don’t worry. Their Grammy and Nana totally violate the rule.) Last year, our daughter devised the Box gift. She asked for a “Camp Box” which included a battery-operated fan, bandanas, a bunk hook, compact sleeping bag, and an Eno hammock. This is the definition of loophole, but when both of your parents are attorneys, we call it creativity.

As this year draws to an end, I was asked what my greatest writing accomplishment was for the year. As I responded, I became aware of how big God has blessed me. This time last year, all I hoped for was a writing coach. Well, I found her in February. Thank you God for the gift of Lindsey Brackett, but he didn’t stop with my short list. He blessed me with contest wins, two published flash fiction pieces, and signing with the Steve Laube Literary Agency, not to mention all of the wonderful friends I have made.

Yes, I’ve had several losses and setbacks this year, but I choose to focus on the blessings. For the gifts that went beyond what I desired and was not bold enough to ask for, but received anyway. God is so good.

How has God blessed you in 2017? What is your Christmas dream gift?

Fiery Christmas

Merry Christmas! This month, my daughter Libby wrote a Flash Fiction piece. It is her first try at writing fiction this way. She worked hard on it and endured her mother’s edits. I hope you enjoy it. For more Holiday flash fiction, check out Splickety magazine’s most recent issue.

As my gaze fell upon my seat at the dinner table, my joy for Christmas fell like the shepherds in the field.  “I can’t believe you’re making me sit between the crazies.”  I faced my mother, flipping my hand at the chair.

She didn’t even bother arguing, we both knew she agreed.  My mother’s sisters, Kelly-Anne and Barbara-Jean, were crazier than sprayed roaches.  It’s a wonder my logical, mild-mannered mother is related to them.  I mean, Kelly-Anne thinks she’s Scarlett O-Hara and Barbara-Jean’s still livin’ in the fifties!  It may have made sense if she’d been alive in the fifties, but she was born in 1973, so she had no excuse.  Nevertheless, they’re family, so I took my place and prayed for patience.

“How lovely you look this evening darling,” Kelly-Anne commented in her syrupy Southern accent.  “Barbara, would you be a dear and pass the preserves?”

Barbara-Jean leaned forward for the sweet peaches, tilting her cotton candy bouffant over grandma’s candles. Just a slight wobble and the outdated style caught on the flickering wicks.  The fire ringing her head reminded me of an angel’s halo, but Barbara-Jean was no heavenly being. She shrieked loud enough to scare the birds further south for the winter.

My father ran to the kitchen for the fire extinguisher.

Kelly-Anne flapped her arms. “Gracious darling, your hair’s in flames!”  Apparently, she forgot Southern Belles don’t shout.

Mother attempted to douse the flames with the water from her crystal goblet. However, the hairspray Barbara-Jean covered her hair with every morning fueled the fire.  By the time the inferno was extinguished, the bouffant was little more than a poodle cut.  It took grandma three days, seven vanilla scented candles, and two bottles of Febreeze to remove the stench.  Barbara-Jean gained a little sense that day and never wore her hair in a bouffant again, moving to the sixties with a beehive.