Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Favorite Authors - James Scott Bell Writes Complex Thrillers

I have been a long-time fan of James Scott Bell. He writes books that are well thought out. They keep me guessing but all make sense in the end. The main characters draw you in immediately and get you feeling for them, and I love all of the minor characters that he throws into the books, and how the settings seem so real. I can still look back on a book that I read of his years ago and remember different scenes from it and what the characters did and said. His books are memorable, and he is an author who inspires me.

If you love thrillers, then you will appreciate James Scott Bell's writing. He has written many great suspense/legal thriller novels. Each of the novels that I've read by him have held my interest and kept me turning page after page without wanting to put the book down. He has long been one of my favorite authors, and I know that you will love his writing, too, if you read one of his books.

Try Dying was the first book I read by him. It's about a lawyer who's fiancee is murdered. And, despite the dark theme, it is humorous, too. It's a well written novel, and I loved everything about it and the sequels that followed.

The Whole Truth was another book that I read by him and thoroughly enjoyed. It is about a man who's brother was kidnapped when he was young. It tells an interesting story, and I have read it more than once. Breach of Promise is another book that kept me turning the pages, and it is about a father trying to keep custody of his young daughter.

All of James Scott Bell's books are worth a read. He really knows what he is doing, and he has even written books on how to become a better writer. He is an inspiration to me as a writer, and I look forward to rereading a few of his novels soon.

Start with Try Dying, like I did, and you will get hooked!

Thanks, James Scott Bell, for writing great books!

Stay tuned for more Favorite Author blogs coming up soon!

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Favorite Authors - Can't Get Enough of Jenny B. Jones

Jenny B. Jones' books have been a favorite of mine (and Emily's) for many years now. I love the humor that she puts into each one of her books. I love how connected I feel with the characters, and how real their struggles are - and how they always face each struggle head on and become a better person because of them.

Jenny B. Jones is a talented author, and she is an inspiration to me. I have loved her work since the Katie Parker Production series, and one of her most recent releases, I'll Be Yours, is one of my favorite books of hers yet. The characters in it are so well thought out, with a story that is equally good, and I couldn't put it down.

I'll Be Yours is a novel about Harper O'Malley, a smart teen, who agrees to tutor the school's football star and takes dating advice from him. Her home life is complicated, and she grows a lot throughout the course of the book.

Jenny B. Jones' books make me laugh. They make me cry. The leave me wanting to be a better writer.

If you love fiction, then you need to check out Jenny B. Jones' work. Her books are some of the best out there. And, even if you are older, you are still going to love her teen books. I do. The stories she writes are so good that adults and teens alike can relate.

I have enjoyed Jenny B. Jones' books for years. She has a great sense of humor and put so much heart into the books, as well, and I know that you will really love her writing, too.

Hers are books that I can read for hours straight. Once I get into one of them I don't want to put it down. I look forward to rereading I'll Be Yours, as I have reread some of her previous books.

If you want to read a book that will make you laugh out loud, and yet that will tug on your heartstrings at the same time, then you need to check out Jenny B. Jones' books.

Start with I'll Be Yours and then work your way through the Katie Parker Production series and The Charmed Life series. Those are my favorites of hers, but all of her books are great!

Thank you, Jenny B. Jones, for putting such great writing out there for all of us to enjoy!

Stay tuned for more Favorite Author blogs coming up soon!

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

God is faithful. Always.

Even during scary times like the flooding going on in Houston, God is faithful.

Even when it feels like there is no hope, he gives hope.

Even during war. Even with the fear of evil, he can be trusted.

God is faithful. He is never going to leave or forsake us.

All that we need he has provided. He is not going to let us down.

No matter what we need, we only have to ask him and to trust him. He won't always do things in the way that we expect, but he will always be faithful to take care of us.

There are many things in life that will get us down and scare us. There are times when we will be so worried about the future that we can't enjoy the moment. But God is going to take care of us, and that is what we need to remember always.

You might be going through a hard time, but God has not given up on you. He loves you, and he is faithful to help you. In all seasons, through all of your pain.

Never fear, for God is with you. He is not going to leave you, but he will provide all that you need, always.

I hope you are encouraged today by God's faithfulness!

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Favorite Author - Susan May Warren is one of the Best

Susan May Warren is an author who is a favorite of both mine and Emily's. Her books are full of drama, love, and heart. She pours herself into her works, and the details in her books are amazing.

Susan May Warren is one of those authors who I wish I could constantly be reading. Like, if every book I read was written by her, I wouldn't mind. She's that good.

She has books that are centered around families and the drama that comes along with them, like The Christiansen Family Series, and I really enjoy her style of writing. I love the stories that she tells and how she works everything together neatly into each book.

She creates settings that you can imagine in your mind, such as the charming small Minnesota town of Deep Haven, and she really captures the heart of the reader in each of her books.

I love getting deeply involved in the story I am reading, and with Susan May Warren's writing, it is easy to do that.

I have enjoyed Susan May Warren's books for many years now, and as mentioned above, The Christiansen Family series is one of my favorites. I felt connected to the characters in each of the books, and it was fun getting to know the whole family and see all of them fall in love.

I recently read her book Wild Montana Skies and it was beautifully written, too. I like that she writes about families and their struggles, as well as love stories. She digs deep and makes the characters seem real. The Shadow of Your Smile is one of my favorites of hers. I enjoy all of her books, and she is an inspiration to me as an author.

All of her books keep me turning the pages because they are so packed with action. There is never a dull moment in them, and I look forward to reading many more books by her in the future.

Never read a book by Susan May Warren? Start with the Christiansen Family series, then go with the Nobel Legacy series or dive into the Montana Rescue series. I know you're going to love her books!

Stay tuned for more Favorite Author blogs coming up soon!

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

Dear God,

Thank You for all of the freedom that you have given us in America.

Thank You for the freedom to worship You.

Thank You that we can write Christian books and have them published in this country without fear of legal trouble.

Thank You for those who have stepped up and fought for our freedom.

Thank You for the history that our country has.

Thank You for the whole concept of freedom.

Thank You for the ways in which you have made us truly free.

Thank You for everything that You do.


By Emily Acker, co-author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Everyone's Different

Everyone's different. God didn't have just one plan that fit with all of the prophets, but he gave a unique plan to each one of them.

God gave each one of them unique gifts and a different way of reaching those they were sent out to reach.

He took Jonah and had him swallowed by the fish to get him to where he needed him to be.

He talked to Moses through a burning bush because that was the best way to reach him.

God knows that each person is different. And he uses the differences between everyone for his good.

It doesn't matter that we're not all the same. It's actually a good thing.

And it doesn't matter that we're not all sharing the gospel in the same way, either. Some people are more vocal about their faith, and some show others their faith in the way that they quietly live it out. The peace that they have in their lives is a testament of their faith in and of itself.

And there are people who are called to be pastors. Writers. Or Christian musicians. There are those who are involved in teaching young people about God. There are those who have a coworker they feel called to minister to.

Everyone is different, and that is a good thing. So, we should embrace the things that make us different and be willing to be used by God always.

No matter what your gifts are. No matter how you feel it is best to live out your faith. Ask God to show you what to do and use your unique gifts for him.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What are We Running After?

I like to shop for clothes. I like to find designer pieces at a good price, and I dream of getting designer pieces at full price. There are times when I will go through a website and just browse those items that I know that I can't afford. I would love to fill my wardrobe with all new pieces - and I would love to have all of them come from high-end brands.

I watch YouTube videos a lot. I see vlogs from people who have houses that are big and beautiful. Houses that are new and perfect. I see their bathrooms, their kitchens, all of those extras outside such as pools and ponds. All of that seems amazing.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36

I could push to gain everything that others have. I could fight hard to earn all of the money that I would need to live an amazing lifestyle. I could attempt to fill my closet with clothing that costs more than it probably should. There is so much that I could fight for, but that is not what is really important.

Would I be willing to give up my soul in order to get those things that I long for? Would it be worth it if I got all that I want but I had to give up my faith? What am I running after, and why am I running after that?

This is not a post about whether or not it is okay for us to become rich while others are poor. This is not a post about envy. This is not a post about giving. I was simply thinking of this truth in writing this: The whole world means nothing in comparison to our faith and our souls.

By Emily Acker, co-author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Comfort From The Psalms

The Psalms are a great place to go for comfort and encouragement. Here are a few great verses from the book.

Hope you are having a great day and a great week!

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We Just Need To Live - And Rely On God Always

You can't be certain of anything in this life.

But you just have to live.

You don't know what plans God has for you. You don't know where he'll lead you.

But you just have to live.

You need to take his direction. You need to be unafraid.

Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen every day.

But it doesn't help anything to worry or fear.

God doesn't want us to be afraid.

So we just have to live.

We need to put our faith and hope and trust in God and his timing, knowing that his ways are perfect.

He wants the best for us, and he will never fail us.

So, we just need to live.

We need to love God, and we need to live.

There are times when stress will take over our minds and consume us.

When pain will fill us up inside.

But we need to press on. And we need to live.

There are going to be good times in our lives, too. There will be joy and laughter. There is a time and season for everything.

God has blessed us with so much. In this moment, right now, we can look around us and see that. And we should be grateful for all we have.

God will never leave us or abandon us, but he will be with us every moment.

So we need to live.

And we need to rely on him always, as we live.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

God Knows What We Want... And What We Need

God knows what we want, but more importantly he knows what we need.

Too often we doubt him in this. We pray for the things we want, and we think that we should get them. And when we don't we feel that God has failed us.

But God never promised us that life on earth was going to be easy. He never once said that it was supposed to be perfect.

Life on earth is hard. It's messy.

Sometimes we might feel like God is ignoring us and our pleas for things to go our way. But he isn't.

God loves us so much and he wants what's best for us. And he always knows what that is.

So, as hard as it is, we need to try to trust God to give us all that we need. We have to leave things up to him and ask him to help us through whatever we are facing.

God knows what we want and what we need. And when we have full faith in him to see us through whatever we are facing we will never get let down.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Do Not Fear For I Am With You

Thinking of the tragedy that happened in Manchester yesterday, I wanted to share some encouraging Bible verses today.

Evil is present in the world, but it will not win. God is life. God is love. God tells us not to fear.

Here are a few of my favorite Bible verses when dealing with fear and anxiety:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6:27

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It's What's Inside That Matters

So often we forget that it's what's inside that matters.

Shouldn't we be concerned with the junk inside more than the messes around us?

Too often we find ourselves focusing on the messes in the world. On the physical mess. On the things around us that need to get cleaned up. But we forget about the junk that is inside and that is messing us up in much bigger, and worse, ways than what is going on outside.

We often think about our looks. About what we can do to be beautiful.

We think about our homes and how to decorate them just so.

But what are we doing to be more beautiful inside?

The Bible tells us that physical beauty doesn't matter. That it is what is inside that counts.

First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
Matthew 23:26

We shouldn't be concerned with impressing others with the way that we look, but we should focus more on our actions and the way that we love others.

This isn't to say that we should neglect ourselves or our homes. I don't think that that is right. But I think that we should focus more on our insides. We should see the junk that is inside of us, and we should do what we can each day to clean it up and be better, more loving, people.

Because, when we are beautiful people inside, that is all that really matters.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Loving Those Who Hate You

Loving those who hate you. It's not normal. It's not natural.

But it's important.

God wants us to love our enemies. To do good to those who wrong us.

It might not be in our nature to love those who are hurting us, but God will help us do it. He wants us to live like he did.

There was no reason that Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins. He didn't have to come to earth to save us.

But he wanted to.

We had wronged him, but he loved us still.

We have wronged God, but he loves us still.

God talks of forgiveness so often in the Bible. He wants us to forgive our enemies. And he wants to forgive us our sins.

So, take a look at these verses;

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:43-45

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Loving our enemies is never easy.

But loving those who hate you is possible. Because with God all things are possible.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What is Love?

Our brother is getting married on Saturday, and the upcoming marriage has me thinking of love. The kind of love that I am thinking about is not the romantic kind, though. This post is about perfect love. Biblical love. The love that we have for family and friends. The love that we have for the hurting and those who are all alone in the world. What is love, perfect love, and how can we live it out?

We love because God loved us first. We are reminded of that in the Bible, and it is something that is important to remember as we think about love. Without God’s love, we would not be able to love. Without God first making us and giving us the chance to live our lives out here on earth, we would not be able to love. When we are filled with God’s love, we can love everyone around us in a beautiful way.

1 John 4:19
We love because He first loved us.

Love is sincere. It is real. It is not fake. Everyone has people in their life who treat them in a fake way. There are people who claim to be our friends but really only want to get something from us. Love is not fake or pretend. Love is real, it is authentic, it is honest. Perfect love is from the heart and something that is true and trustworthy.

Romans 12:9
Love must be sincere…

Love is willing to die in order to look out for others. Most of us have someone in our life who we would die for, someone who we love so much that we would sacrifice our own life for them. True love is strong enough that it empowers us to lay down our lives for others. Perfect love pushes us to give all that we are in order to look out for the ones that we care about.

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Love is greater than everything else. There are rules that we follow. Some of those rules come from the Bible and they are good. We should follow them. But no rule is as great as the rule to love others. Perfect love stands above all else. Living in love is more important than anything else. Out of faith, hope, and love, the greatest one is - surprisingly - love.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love is special and it is beautiful. Let us all cling to love and all that it is.

How can you show love to those around you this week?

By Emily Acker, co-author of No Longer Broken

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

God Is With Us Always

There are many Bible verses we can look to when we need comfort, and this is one of the best. In Matthew, it says, "Surely I am with you always to the very end of the age."

Scary things happen. Evil things are going on in the world all of the time, but we don't have to be worried because God is with us.

God is not going to leave us. He will never abandon us.

Hard times come. Hard times pull us down and make us afraid. But we can have hope in God because he will be with us always.

God will never leave us on our own. He will never forsake us, even when it feels like the whole world is against us. Or that the world is falling apart.

God created us. He loves us. He has a special plan and purpose for each of our lives.

Bad things happen. That's the sin in the world. But God is bigger than it. He is stronger than it. And he will love us through it.

No matter what goes on in our lives we should remember that God is with us.

God's love never fails.

God will never abandon us.

He reassures us that he is with us always, to the very end of the age.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why Me? Trusting God Even When It's Hard.

It's easy to think, "why me?" and it's just as easy to think, "why not me?"

The novel I read recently dealt with this issue. The what-ifs. The why-me questions.

And the reason why everything is so complicated, why we have so many questions, is because there is sin in this world. 

Things are always going to get messy. Life here on earth will never be perfect.

We will always wonder "why me" about something or other. But we need to trust God's plan for us.

There isn't always going to be an answer to the "why me" questions, but we need to know that God has a plan. Through the darkness and pain, God has a plan.

Why was it me who __? Why wasn't it me who __? We all have questions. We all want answers.

But we need to have faith.

Faith is blind. Faith is unexplainable. We won't always get answers.

Faith means trusting.

Faith means letting go of our questions and anxiety.

And faith is what we need in times when these questions plague us.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Joshua 1:9

Strength and courage. The ability to stand strong when faced with a scary situation. The courage to fight the battles that are before us. The knowledge that we have a God on our side who will be with us always. There is a command for us that is shared in the book of Joshua, and it is a command that I feel provides us with much hope.

Joshua 1:9 instructs us to be "strong and courageous". Whatever lies before us, we need to have strength to face that. And we can, with God's help. I love knowing that God is going to help me be strong no matter the battles that come my way.

Courage is important, as it helps us to stand strong when we know the good that we should do but we are afraid. When we see a need but are scared to meet it, the courage that God gives can help us step out in faith.

Joshua 1:9 tells us not to be afraid or discouraged. No fear, no matter what. No need to fear, because we have a God on our side who is stronger and better than anyone. A God who has everything in His control.

Discouragement can drag us down. When we feel that we are not good enough, we feel discouraged. When we are discouraged, we are tempted to give up. God is with us to encourage us, to push us on, to keep us from surrendering and giving up on the life that is before us.

There is instruction in Joshua 1:9 and there is a promise there. We serve a big God, and there is no need for us to become afraid or discouraged.

By Emily Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's Not As simple As Just Reconnecting With Your Child... Or Is It?

""I'm Isaiah. Isaiah Russo," he said, wondering if maybe she had forgotten the name after all of the years that had gone by.
Hailey's face paled slightly. "Isaiah."
Apparently not. "Hello."
"Dominic's father." Hailey leaned against the wall next to the door. "You're Isaiah.""
Excerpt from No Longer Broken.

Everyone messes up. If you have made mistakes in regard to your child, by growing distant, or by abandoning them altogether, don't give up hope.

It's not as simple as just reconnecting with your child... or is it?

You can change the situation. You can love your child and make things right.

Sometimes the first step just needs to be taken in order for good things to occur. And sometimes the first step is easier than we make it out to be when we overthink things.

The journey might be hard, but you are strong enough to overcome the obstacles that get in your way. It will be worth it for you to push past them, so that you can get to know your child once again.

Don't let fear or pride get in your way.

God does not promise to make your life perfect here on earth, but he will help you if you let him. Allow him to lead you and guide you as you are thinking of reconnecting with your child. Draw close to God during this time, so that you will know just what to do and say.

Apologize to your child. Remember that they are the one who should have been able to depend on you through the years. Look out for them now. Be patient with them. Love them. Step back when you need to, but let them know that you are not going anywhere.

Prove to them that you are a changed person. Let them see God in you.

In No Longer Broken, Isaiah meets his son for the first time when the boy is a teenager. And he has to fight hard to prove to Dominic that he loves him and is always going to be there for him. He has to fight to find a place in his life.

Jack, Isaiah's brother, struggles as he reconnects with the children who had been taken away from him. And their father and Isaiah have a hard time as they get to know one another again. The reconnecting in this book is about all different people at different ages and stages in life. And we hope that it might inspire families to reconnect and love each other more.

You might not be able to fix all that has been broken. Real life is not as easy as fiction. But you just might be able to start fresh with a new relationship with your child. And if so, then that will be everything.

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Five Things I'm Grateful For Today (Because Gratitude Is Important)

1. God's Word. The Bible is filled with so much wisdom and comfort. I can look at it anytime that I want. I can read what Jesus has to say. I can read stories of people who lived so long ago, and yet, who are so much like me. The Bible is something I often take for granted, but it is a way for God to speak to me. And I want to be more grateful for it.

2. My Family. I wouldn't be who I am without them. My ten nieces and nephews mean the world to me. I am grateful for my family.

3. Writing. I enjoy all kinds of writing, and especially novel writing with Emily. It has been a blessing to see No Longer Broken published.

4. My Country. The United States of America is a great place to be. We have freedom here that others do not, and I am grateful for the freedom to pursue my dreams.

5. Food. It's a basic. It's something that I don't think to be grateful for often. But there are people who are hungry, and I am grateful for to have all of the food that I need, and to be able to cook and bake and play around with it, too.

What are you grateful for today?

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Matthew 11:28-30

Simple message for you today:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cast All Of Your Anxiety On Him

Cast all of your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

All of your anxiety.

Not just some of it. All of it.

God wants us to be fearless.

He wants us to trust in him completely.

He wants us to take his hand and to know that he will see us through.

We need to fear nothing.

We need to worry about tomorrow never.

He will always provide. He will always take care of us.

Over and over again in the Bible God tells us not to worry. Not to stress. But to trust in him.

We need to cast all of our anxiety on him.

We need to leave it up to him to take care of the big and little things in our lives.

He is so much better at taking care of us than we are at taking care of ourselves. We should know that, and we should trust in him at all times and in all ways.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

By Bethany Acker, Co-Author of No Longer Broken