Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Family in the Bible - Paul and His Nephew

I never really thought about it until recently, but what was Paul's nephew's opinion of him? We hear of the nephew when he warns Paul about the plot that some had to kill him in Acts 23.

And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
Acts 23:16

Did his nephew simply do it out of family loyalty? Or did he agree with Paul in his beliefs? I always assumed he was a Christ follower, too, but was he?

And, if he was, did he become a Christian after Paul's conversion? Did he support him when he was still Saul and was persecuting Christians?

It's always interesting to study Bible stories more in depth. To think about the people and what they were actually thinking, feeling, and going through.

I find families in the Bible especially interesting, and I really wonder what the relationship between uncle and nephew was.

As a aunt myself, my nieces and nephews mean the world to me. I wonder if Paul felt the same way about his nephew. Did he love him since he was a child? Did he spoil him? Or was he distant until the time he saw the light on the road to Damascus, and then did he start being kind to his nephew? Or, maybe his nephew didn't actually know him, but just knew of him.

We don't know a lot about what went on and the relationship between them, but it is interesting to think about, none the less. Paul's nephew cared enough about him to warn him when people were out to kill him, and I think that says a lot.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

But Where Is Our Praise?

Something goes wrong, and we ask God to fix it. We ask him to fix us when we are broken inside. We lean on him during the storm, during our struggles. And while all of this is good, there is one question that I have.

When we are saved from our struggles, where is our praise?

God helps us out in so many ways. Every day he is looking out for us, even when we do not see him at work. He is there. He blesses us with our homes, our families, our jobs. God takes care of us in giving us health. In giving us love.

So, where is our praise?

Sure, we might sing songs of praise on Sunday mornings, but do we really mean it? And even if we do, where is the praise that we should be giving God every day of the week, not just in church?

We are so quick to ask God for help.

We are so in need of what he can give us all of the time.

But where is our praise?

I know that I need to learn to thank God more often. I need to praise him every day for all of the beautiful things that he has given me. For all of the answered prayers. For all of the ways he has made me learn and grow.

God is great, and his mercies are endless. His love is unfathomable. His grace extends to all.

"Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord."
Psalm 117

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

7 Must Read Christian Fiction Novels (not just the typical love stories)

If you are into reading books that are focused on more than just a love story between the two main characters, then you will love all seven of the books listed below.

These books have heart. They have a story beyond what is typically told in a book. And I love them all.

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer
This story is one of a mother who has been constantly on the move since her daughter's birth. But she's now settled in a small town and finally feeling good about being there. Her teenage daughter's pregnancy and the rumors that are sure to come with it make her want to leave again... but will she stay? Loved this book on a topic rarely written about. I found it interesting and heart warming.

The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren
This book focuses on a middle age couple facing divorce. But, just before they are to go through with the divorce, the woman is in an accident that erases parts of her memory. It's an interesting, emotional, and well thought out read, and I loved all of the family drama in the story.

From Bad to Worse by Todd and Jedd Hafer
This is not your typical book in any way. It focuses on a hurting young man and a road trip that he takes home from college with his high school crush. The books gets deep, and it tugged on my emotions as I read it. It was an inspiration to me, and I definitely recommend that you read it if you are looking for something different.

Heart Echos by Sally John
A woman with a hard past. A daughter who never met her father. Secrets between family members... two sisters who need each other's support... This book is one that held my interest from the first page to the last. It was all about a dysfunctional family, and I loved it.

Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley
This book is highly emotional. I cried when I read it. It's a young adult book, but it tells a compelling story, and you will want to read it, no matter what age you are. It deals with heavy topics, such as suicide, and it is crafted beautifully.

In Between by Jenny B. Jones
I have read this book through a few times because it is just that good. I laughed and cried as I read the story of a teenage foster child and her struggles to fit in with a new, Christian family.

A House Divided by Robert Whitlow
I love a book that tackles hard topics and that is different than most, and this one definitely fits the bill. It centers around an alcoholic attorney, who is failing at his firm and with his two adult children. This book is full of drama and is well written. It is interesting, real, and a must read.

So, go ahead and check these books out! You will laugh, cry, and have a great time as you read each one of them.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

No Longer Broken Is One Year Old!

It's been one year since No Longer Broken was released. It's crazy to think that it's been out that long. It's been a great year.

Emily and I have been writing for so long, and we have always wanted to share our writing with others. We have always wanted to make a positive impact with the writing that we do.

We feel so blessed to have been published. We had dreamed of getting a book in print for years, and to have eLectio Publishing choose to work with us and publish our book was an honor.

This past year was amazing. And we hope that people will continue to read our book and be touched by it.

Check out an author interview that we did on SarahRuut.com and was published today here.

Thank you for supporting our writing!

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You'll Take Me Back Always

Christian music is a great source to give us encouragement. One song that came to mind the other day was Jeremy Camp's, "Take You Back." This is such a powerful song with great message.

God will always take us back.

No matter what we have done.

No matter how much pain we are in. We can count on him.

God loves us and forgives us. He is full of grace and mercy.

If you don't know this song yet, then give it a listen now.

Thank you, God, for loving me always.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Have No Fear

When we see bad things happening in the world around us it is easy to get wrapped up in all of that. To become afraid.

We fear pain and death. We fear losing a loved one. We fear war. We fear evil.

And, while those are all very real and scary things, God tells us in Proverbs 3 that we don't have to be afraid.

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.
Proverbs 3:25-26

Does this mean that we will always be safe, and that nothing bad will ever happen to us? No. But God will be with us. He is with us always, and he doesn't want us to fear.

Over and over again the Bible tells us not to be afraid. Jesus says it multiple times in the New Testament, such as in Matthew 6.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

Jesus tells us not to fear tomorrow. To not look ahead and worry about what is going to happen to us or if bad things are going to happen, but to trust him. To rely on him to see us through.

God is in control. Good day or bad, sunny or stormy, God knows what is going on in our lives. He will not let us stumble and fall. He will hold us even through the hardest days that we face. And we can trust him because he made us. He loves us. He watches over us always, as it is said in Psalm 121.

He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber.
Psalm 121:3

So, do not fear. Even when disasters happen, even when your life feels rocky and everything is uncertain, God has it all under control. He is watching over you. He is not sleeping on the job, but he is there for you. You can trust him. Have no fear.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Our Grandmother, an Avid Reader

Our maternal grandmother was a great person for many reasons. (Our paternal grandmother was, too, but we'll save that for another time.) She was happy despite the pain that arthritis caused her. She made jokes and got people to laugh at them and the stories that she told. She cared about her grandchildren. She was generous. I loved her very much.

One of our grandmother's wonderful traits... she was an avid reader. She loved all kinds of books. She devoured books quickly. She was always reading. The librarians in her hometown knew her pretty well.

I love that my grandmother loved to read. I like to think that part of the reason that I enjoy both reading and writing is because of her. Whenever we would go to her house when I was young, she would always have her books sitting around.

There was a period of time when we would go to my grandma's house to clean on a weekly basis. Those cleaning visits were not complete until someone had given my grandma a ride to the library so that she could stock up on books.

My grandma didn't have the best vision in her later years so she would read large print books. That cut down on the number of options open to her. She would pick up anything and everything when we were at the library, simply eager to read.

I remember one time when we took my grandma to a library other than her hometown one. This one had multiple floors and new book options for her. I carried her books around for her, and she kept adding to the stack in my arms. By the time we got down to the main floor and I deposited those books onto the counter to be checked out, my muscles were sore and my arms were shaking.

My grandmother passed away eight months before Bethany and I received our contract for our debut novel. I wish that she would have had the chance to know that we were going to be published. I wish that we would have been able to share No Longer Broken with her. I know that she would have been proud of us.

I am so thankful for the wonderful woman that my grandmother was, and the time that I got to spend with her. I am thankful for her love of reading, and the fact that I have inherited that.

By Emily Acker, co-author of No Longer Broken