Ink from an Earthen Vessel: Stick-to-Your Soul Encouragement
"This precious treasure--this light and power that now shine within us--is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own" (2 Corinthians 4:7).
The next morning Jenny awoke more rested than she’d been since leaving home. She didn’t feel feverish anymore.
“Good morning, Jenny.” No, she wasn’t over the laryngitis. All she could do, even in talking to herself, was whisper.
Maude’s bellow sounded urgent. Jenny missed the rooster’s crow, but there was no way she could not hear the cow’s voice. Then a chugging overpowered Maude’s bellyaching. It sounded like one of those automobiles Jenny saw occasionally in Peachville. She opened the cellar door a bit. A shiny new Model T Ford like she’d seen in pictures rumbled past, its red paint and black leather seats glowing in the sunshine.
Awestruck, she opened the door wide and stood outside looking. Swirls of dust billowed in the wind, but the car disappeared.
She pulled her fingers through her hair. How could a machine be as safe as horses? The thing ate gasoline! Gas was dangerous.
Knees wobbly, she dropped back into the cellar. Since she hadn’t changed out of the dandy clothes, she took them off, put on her brother’s pants, the shirt she got from William, and her boots. She pulled up her hair, mashed on the cowboy hat, and headed for the barn. Today she’d ride Leather around the pasture and make sure it was secure. If it was, Leather could go free. But first, Jenny had to get the milk out of the cow and shut her up.
She no more than opened the barn door when Rocky’s head bowed, aimed right at her stomach. All four hooves kicked up dust and speed. How had she forgotten the goat?
For a moment, anger surged from her head and out her fingertips. “Okay, billy goat, maybe you’ve met your match.” She jumped out of the way. How she wished she could yell instead of whisper.
Rocky burst out of the barn. His head crashed into the back of the chicken house. Chickens and feathers flew in the air, and Jenny would have liked to know what they said to each other with their loud squawking.
Rocky appeared a little dizzy when he picked himself up, but he eyed Jenny again. She stood ready. A coward in disguise, he backed up, stared at her again, and trotted away, head high, like a show animal instead of the baaing idiot Jenny believed him to be.
“You like to shoot your victims in the back, but I got you this time!” Oh, how Jenny needed her voice. A whisper couldn’t make any impact.
She kept an eye on him as she walked to the windmill and washed out the bucket. She sat down. Oh, no, she didn’t wash the cow’s udder the previous night. After two trips to the water tank to fill the bucket so she could wash the teats, then rewashing the bucket, she went to milking.
Would Grouch buy the cow? After all, Jenny would need more money than she had to feed the animals, and Maude was a pain.
As Jenny milked, she kept from getting too close to the cow’s rear end. She congratulated herself when Maude left a significant cow pie, but it didn’t splash. Yet Maude’s tail kept whacking Jenny upside the head. Pure joy filled her when the bucket was fulland the cow empty.
She strained the milk into large jars she found in the kitchen then took them down in the well house to cool.
It was past time to feed the chickens and gather eggs, so she found a basket and went into the henhouse. Several of the chickens sat on multiple eggs and tried to peck Jenny when she reached under them.
Okay, ladies, I’ll leave you to sit on those eggs. She only needed a few anyway. Let the hens raise big families!
Three days later, she walked through what remained from the burned-out house. A huge hole gaped where the fire blazed through the roof around the fireplace. But a nice kitchen stove was intact, and one bedroom still had a bed and a dresser. But everything had been rained on. With the headache remaining from her recent illness, the house looked like a disaster.
If that thief hadn’t swiped her satchel, a little lumber and a good carpenter could fix the house in no time. Window glass even remained. She might be able to chop down trees and shore up the walls. But the roof? Not without money.
Having no heart to cook, she picked up a fork and spoon from the kitchen cabinet and went back to the cellar for jerky and canned goods. This time she saw a section of pearly white pears packed into jars and surrounded with clear syrup. Her taste buds celebrated as she chewed.
She searched the trunk for something to read, but none of the books interested her today. She lay back on her pallet to rest.
Hoof beats pounded and a wagon rattled outside. “Mister MacDougal! Hello! Mrs. MacDougal! What on earth happened here?”
Should she answer? Maybe it was Grouch.
“This is William, the peddler. Anybody home?”
She crept up the steps and peered out the cellar door. The familiar wagon was parked beside what was left of the house.
“They’re not here,” her throat squeaked out the words.
William almost fell off his perch on the wagon. “What? Jenny! What happened here?”
“Mister MacDougal is in the grave up on the hill. He died in the fire. Mrs. MacDougal went back to Boston to have her baby and live with her parents. She gave me this property. Do you know what you’re supposed to do with a billy goat?”
William blinked. “Jenny, you look and sound terrible. Are you all right?”
She couldn’t stop the grin. “Is that a compliment?” A little of her voice came back.
“What are you doing here?”
“I told you.”
He jumped down and tied his mules.
“You mean they gave you their homestead? They loved it here.”
Jenny walked closer into the sunshine where she wouldn’t need to try so hard to be heard. “Not anymore. She never wants to see this place again. What are you doing here?”
William turned, his face freshly shaven. He removed his hat. Except for the ring the hat squashed around his head, his auburn hair lay attractively combed. “Mrs. MacDougal was one of my first customers when I came to this part of the country. Almost bought me out. They were great people. This is a tragedy.”
He walked up the hill toward the grave, his face solemn.
Jenny followed. “You might keep an eye on the goat. He’s a dirty sneak and attacks from behind.”
Help Lord. I
need a faith lift. Why is it that my husband and I can irritate each other so
Daughter, as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another
(Prov. 17:17) and sometimes the sparks just fly.
to change him, Lord. I think I need an anointing oil job before I start to
screech. You said to love one another, and I'm trying. What is Love, for
Love is giving. I so loved the world that I gavemy only begotten son
that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
I see. I can
give without loving, but I cannot love without giving.
you show me one thing I can do to bless my husband today?
Okay, leave him alone.
You don't understand. Being unequally yoked is no laughing matter, especially
when the yoke's on me. Please correct my husband when we're each pulling our
cart in a different direction.
My daughter, let's start by changing you.
wrong with me? You would be so impressed if You only listened to my prayers of
dedication and adoration. . . Oh, I see. I'm not Your advisor. And I don't have
to be in control when I know the ONE who is. But please, just remind my husband
that it's not really him either, okay Lord?
Father, could You
please assign angels with the names Goodness and Mercy to me today?
First you get Patience and Endurance to perfect your
faith. (James 1: 3-4).
(Is that why you instituted
my walk with God began. I wanted instant results. I wanted my husband to be as
fascinated with God as I was.
I was also
just 25 and barren. My desperate prayers for a baby went unanswered. Hannah and
Sara became two of my favorite women in the Bible. Then one day I heard a still
small voice speak to my spirit. “Why don't you fast?” Being a babe in Christ, I
did not recognize it as a prompting from the Holy Spirit for three whole
disappointing months. When I finally did decide to fast, I found such a
glorious moment of peace and joy that I surrendered my desire on the symbolic
altar, saying,” Lord if I never have a child of my own that's okay.” You are
all I want and all I need in this world.”
learned to seek the Giver and not gift.
meant those words. You may have guessed that God smiled on my sacrificial
offering and gave it back, just as He so often does.
later, my dear husband John and I welcomed our baby girl into our world. (I
have since recommended fasting to many women seeking to have a baby of their
and I are enjoying our grandparent roles, and we are enjoying studying God's
word and praying together—something I despaired of ever happening years ago. He
also completely supports my avocation as a faith writer.
When I asked
the Lord for a title to my latest book, He dropped the word “supervention” into
my mind. “Is that in the dictionary?” I asked. It was not in three of the
dictionaries I keep on my desk, however I found it in the Oxford American
Dictionary. It means to interrupt a change in some condition or
That is exactly
what God did in my life. He changed my focus, my direction, and then he gave me
my very heart's desire for a child and also for a believing husband.
And He did
it by changing me!
I find a new wrinkle or an age spot, I remind Him that He said He's coming back
for a church without spot or wrinkle, so “Please hurry, Jesus.”
lift is in looking up for our redemption draws near.
I'm so glad I married John Ford! What a journey we have shared. We're actually pulling together these days.
MEET HARRIET FORD
Ford is an award-winning author of numerous features, articles, short stories,
and is a devotional writer for Faith Writers. She is also an inspirational
speaker for Stonecroft ministries and a member of the Marla Woodmansee Kingdom
Xperience ministry. Visit her blog at www.harriettford.blogspot.com
HARRIET FORD'S BOOK, SUPERVENTION Review: Supervention is a
captivating faith builder. Harriet Ford has chosen stories of encounters with
God that range from miraculous healing to life-changing personal words spoken to
the heart; from personal protection in physical crises to supernatural release
from addiction. If you ever were in a situation where you doubted God's love,
the chances are you'll find a story here to reassure you. I found myself late at
night finishing one story and thinking, "Just one more!". Then, "One more!"
Finally, I'd turn out my light with a deep sense of the security of a God who
cares and involves Himself in the lives of His children.
I'd highly recommend
this book to anyone wanting to bathe in the love of a God who cares enough to
supervene or as a gift to someone who is struggling with life issues on their
own and needs to know the powerful, active love of God.
1858 New England, orphaned, indentured servant Sophie Stalz stabs her master to
protect herself from rape. Now she must rely on her brother and his friends to
protect her. Escaping through the Underground Railroad, Sophie finds herself
stranded on an island in the hands of a stranger.
by the sea and occupied with the duties of a lighthouse keeper, Jackson Scott
just wants to be left alone with his memories. His fortress is about to crumble
when his friend deposits Sophie on his doorstep. An old debt needs to be paid
and the cost is dear.
her master isSeeking
will Sophie and Jackson find a life together free from their past?
MELODY BALTHASERlives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and their three children. She has traveled to Africa to help orphans in Zambia and worked in children’s and women’s ministry. She enjoys traveling, hiking, camping and canoeing, but when winter settles in she heads indoors to sit in front of the wood stove, while a classic chick-flick plays on the T.V. and homemade soup simmers on the stove. Melody’s passion is to encourage people to let God’s love free them of fear and rejection to live the adventurous life their Creator intended.
DON'T BE DEAD INSIDE
By Melody Baltaser
If a lifetime is made up of moments then each moment counts.
Living in the moment must be key. For some, living in the moment means throwing
caution to the wind and giving in to whatever instant gratification is
available, but I think there is a much deeper concept here. Webster defines the
word living as having life, alive, not dead and the word moment as a very short
period of time, an instant. If we take these definitions and put them together
we could say that living in the moment is not being dead in each instant. It
sounds ridiculous but take a closer look.
How many times do we find ourselves dead to what is really
happening around us? We are tuned out from the current frequency because we
need to escape the intensity. We miss the sights, sounds, smells, touches and
emotions as we retreat into our safe cocoon. Then, when we flat line, in order
to survive the boredom that is our existence, we sit in front of a screen and
watch intensely violent, sexually graphic, or terrorizing scenes. Our adrenaline
and endorphins rush through our bodies and we feel alive. It is an artificial
high as well as someone else's adventure.
To be awake each and every instant of our journey, whether
intensely sad or mad, peaceful or passionate, is to feel the emotion deeply. Do
we turn away from the suffering of others because we don’t want to be stirred
to weep? Is there a list of reasons not to try something adventurous or
risky? Do we wait for the moment that
our lottery numbers will be drawn because THEN we will have the means finally
God intended us to have the abundant life in Christ. If we
let Him, he comes into those dark caverns of hurt and self-preservation and
awakens us like a lover's kiss at dawn. When our spirit is in union with Holy
Spirit, we can live with intensity every single moment. Each second pulsates
with potential and possibility. We are truly aware of everything in us
and around us!
We can look at the celebration of Jesus' death and
resurrection and consider our own resurrection in Christ. Jesus said, “The
thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life
and have it more abundantly.” Are you letting the thief steal the abundant life
that Jesus died to give you? I pray this day is an awakening of mind,
soul and especially spirit for you. That it is the
beginning of stretching you wider and calling you higher, deeper, farther in
all the things that God has planned for your destiny.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in
believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope! Romans
Fall. A season showcasing God’s glory in nature and His eternal power. For some all they see is the dying—beautiful flowers , productive vegetable gardens, green leaves falling from trees like a generation of friends and family passing away.
But wait! The naked tree arms stretch heavenward. They are not dead. Come spring, life bursts through every bony branch. Buds, flowers, seeds and leaves erupt. Just like the dead in Christ will awake, a new eternal body will come forth, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
What glory! What wonder!
The hope we have in Christ is the reason I write, and I pray each of my books will be stick-to-your-soul encouragement.
To celebrate the release of my historical novel, The Lady Fugitive, all four of my other books are FREE Sept. 25-28.
The paperback edition of The Lady Fugitive should be available soon. The Kindle version has already received 20 reviews.
By Ada Brownell
How does a
respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?
Jenny Louise Parks
escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for
her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her
remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint
of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the
Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder.
Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
Will she find peace, joy and love?
One reviewer: Jenny will you laughing, biting your nails, wishing you had a gun to
motivational Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look
and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and
marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can
spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and
for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.
believe you could live with someone else’s heart or kidneys, but not without
your body? Evidence shows we’re more than flesh. The author, a prolific
religion writer and retired medical journalist, talks about the evidence; the
wonder of life with all its electrical systems; the awesome truth about cell
death and regeneration; mysteries surrounding the change from mortal to
immortal; where we go when our body dies; resurrection; and a glimpse at what
we will do in heaven. Questions and answers make this non-fiction inspirational
book a great text for group study. It’s written for support groups, religion
classes, people with chronic or terminal illness, individuals who fear death or
are curious about it, the grieving, and those who give them counsel.
Review: “It was wonderful how the
author merged the medical with the spiritual.”
Enter an area
where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the
earth. Joe Baker’s parents are missing and
he finds himself with someone after him. Joe joins a gang committed to
preventing and solving crimes with harmless things such as noise, water, and a
pet skunk instead of blades and bullets Praying for his parents’ return, in his
dreams Joe slips into the skin of Bible characters. He ends up in a mental
hospital. Will he escape or be harmed? Will he find his parents? Does God
No fantasy. No wizard, but suspense. Christian
payload. Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult
“A.B. Brownell weaves a tale of intrigue and faith which captures the reader
from the opening page.”
tells what it was like to grow up in a Pentecostal home, miracles she witnessed,
and then of her own journey following the Lord. Her inspiring confessions of
faith will encourage and bless believers everywhere.
published by the Assemblies of God in 1978, the book was listed in 2011 and
many other years among 10 recommendations on Pentecostalism by The Library
Thing. It was converted to an e-book in 2011.
Of a Pentecostal is
more than just a book or a story; it is an ultimate look inside another
person's faith. Truly remarkable, a book that I will reread time and time
again, I recommend this to anyone who ever wonders about who we are: who are
After I’d been on vacation I
went to the lunch area and my mind must not have arrived yet. I stuck my mug of tea
water in the refrigerator and my Coke in the microwave. I caught myself just
before I pressed the start button.
before Deputy Attorney General Byron (Whizzer) White was appointed to the U.S.
Supreme Court, I walked into the press conference and shook hands with a local
TV news anchor instead of White. Of course, this was early in my newspaper career.
I like excuses for stupid.
Our trio, the
Damascus Singers, was invited to participate in a singspiration service. I was
appointed to introduce our song.
a lot of great music tonight,” I said. “Now we’re going to sing, ‘If it Keeps
Getting Better.’” Took me a minute to realize why the audience laughed.
Some cases of
the stupids are more serious, and could be deadly. Take Eve, for
instance. What on earth was she doing talking to Satan, who took on the form of
a snake that could communicate?
I guess talking wasn’t Eve’s problem, it was the
listening. God already told Adam, and
I’m sure he shared it with his new wife, never to eat fruit from the tree of
knowledge of good and evil. If they did, the Lord warned, they would die.
I don’t think
Eve paid much attention to that. Probably that’s where she came down with the stupids virus
die!” the serpent proclaimed. “God knows if you eat of it, your eyes will be
opened, and you will be like God, knowing God and evil.”
Eve had a
good eye for beauty and saw the tree was good for food and pleasant to the
eyes. If she’d been in a mall, she’d grabbed her credit card. She reached up,
picked it, and ate. Like any temptress, she shared it with her husband.
notice a few bites of fruit? God did because of what the tree represented.
Suddenly their innocence vanished. They tried to hide their nakedness because
now it seemed wrong, yet God knew they disobeyed and elaborated on the
didn't comprehend the horror of yielding to temptation until they had to
bury a son, murdered by his brother. I imagine their tears partly were shed
because death became a fact of life when they sinned against God.
done them no good. God called for Adam. The Lord knew where the man was, but Adam
needed to come out and confess.
God, who gave freedom to choose whether to serve Him, almost instantly revealed
He would bring a way to restore immortality to humankind. He would send a
Redeemer (Genesis 3:15) who would conquer Satan and death. That Redeemer is
Jesus, God’s only Son (John 3:16).
the Bible we see God’s great love and His willingness to forgive sin. He doesn’t
hold being stupid against us. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
flee when we finally get smart. Some good ways to increase knowledge: READ
of the following books contain elements to increase faith, including The Lady
Fugitive where Jenny learns God is concerned for every one of His sheep.
celebrate The Lady Fugitive’s release, all four of Ada Brownell’s other e-books
will be free Sept. 25-28: Imagine the Future You, a motivational Bible study;
Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, a novel; Swallowed by Life:
Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, a Bible study; and
Confessions of a Pentecostal, published in 1978 by the Assemblies of God and
released in 2011 for Kindle.
I guess this is time for
full disclosure—I'm a recovering member of Control Freaks Anonymous. Yes, I
tend to be a bit of a control freak when things are important to me. I'm not
OCD, mind you (meaning I don't compulsively obsess about every little detail),
but I need to feel like I'm in control of the big picture—the outcome. And if things
aren’t moving according to my plan, I can't rest until I've "fixed"
But if you've ever read
a few verses in Proverbs Chapter 3, you probably know God calls us to trust in
His leading, not our own plans. There are literally hundreds of verses
throughout Scripture that talk about how He plans the very best for us.
I just finished writing
my third novel, and as I look back at the spiritual theme in each of the three
books, trusting God's plan for our lives is at the core of each. Wow. As you
can imagine, God has been working with me in this area for a long time. J
So why is it so hard for
me to release control fully to Him? That's a topic great minds have argued for
years. I won't pretend to know the answers or even what makes my own brain
tick, but I will say that God has had to dramatically reshape my life over the
last year to bring me to real trust. Through mind-boggling challenges, He
brought me to the point way that I had no control left. And not even enough
energy to care that I had lost control. And through that experience, I had to
rely on Him (if I didn't, I would have officially lost my mind).
And you know what? I'm now beginning to experience
the amazing benefits of His plan! My
debut novel The Lady and the Mountain Man
will release on Sept 23rd, and I'm already seeing God's hand over it in
humbling ways. The way the publishing has come about did not fit my plan at
all, but after I finally submitted to the Lord's direction, He is blessing the
Can I share with you a scripture that has been one
of my lifelines over the past year? Habakkuk
3: 17-19 - Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though
the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls -
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord
God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me
walk on my high hills.
passage is really the core of the issue for me, and likely for most other
self-diagnosed control freaks. The focus has to shift from me to God. I will
rejoice in the Lord. He is my strength. Only then can I release my fears and
desire for control to Him. No matter what happens around me, I don't have to be
the one to fix it. I simply need to make sure I'm where He wants me to be.
That's hard to know for sure sometimes, but the closer I walk with Him, the
easier it is to tell. And when I am in His will, the outcome may not be what I
had planned, but He'll help me walk on my high hills. And I will joy in the God
of my salvation. J
Misty Beller was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern
roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep
that priority today. Her husband and two daughters now add another dimension to
her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and
the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant
love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.
a dream come true for Misty. Her family—both immediate and extended—is the
foundation that holds her secure in that dream.
Townsend, a recently orphaned heiress, flees Richmond after discovering her
fiancé’s plot to kill her after their wedding. She needs a safe place to hide,
and finds herself accepting a newspaper marriage proposal from a God-fearing
young rancher in the Montana Territory. But when Leah arrives at the mountain
ranch, she learns her intended husband was killed by a grizzly, leaving behind
a bitter older brother and a spunky younger sister.
Gideon Bryant finds a city girl standing in his log cabin, his first thought is
to send her back where she came from. He’s lost too many people to the wild
elements of these mountains––his parents, his wife, and now his brother. His
love for this untamed land lives on, but he’s determined not to open his heart
to another person.
when an accident forces Leah to stay at the ranch for seven more months, can
Gideon protect his heart from a love he doesn’t want? Has Leah really escaped
the men who seek her life?