Lifting Your Heart and Maintaining Your Sanity

Stock images photo taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Stock images photo taken from freedigitalphotos.net

When you see heads turning during worship, people cringing, others whispering… you know Jennifer Slattery is close by. Kicked out of campus choir my freshman year in high school for, and I quote, “throwing the entire choir off-key”, you’d think I would’ve learned to keep my mouth closed, or at least, to sing quieter. But nope. Can’t do it.

Considering I’m tone-deaf, embarrassingly so, some find it odd that music plays such a big part in my walk with Christ. And yet, there’s something profoundly spiritual about lifting our hearts in praise musically. Today my sweet friend and multi-published author LoRee Peery shares some beautiful thoughts on singing.

But first… I wanted to invite you to join me on Dawn Janis’ blog as I talk about the niggling of a story that came in the middle of the Katrina chaos, an idea that was soon forgotten, but ultimately, blossomed into a novel reviewers have called hilarious and heartwarming. Read more HERE.

A Song in My Heart from LoRee Peery

Have you ever considered the possibility of going to jail for being a Christian? What would occupy your mind? You can be assured there’d be no Bible behind those bars.

I have no doubt the Holy Spirit would bring verses and passages to mind, but I believe I’d sing to keep my focus on the Lord as well as to keep my sanity.

David and other psalmists filled the book of Psalms with singing. My Bible is filled with underlined verses referring to music. We are to sing to the Lord, sing for joy, and sing praises.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth, Psalm 8:1.

His song will be with me in the night, Psalm, 42:8.

I will praise the name of God with song, Psalm 69:30.

The Bible references psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We are to sing from a thankful heart and with a joyful soul.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos taken from pixabay.com

Photo by Alexas_Fotos taken from pixabay.com

Sing! Sing of His strength, and praise His mighty power.

My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God, Psalm 84:2.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live, Psalm 104:33.

Sing to the Lord a new song, Psalm 149:1.

We are to use tongue, mouth, lips, flesh, and instruments, according to the writers of the Psalms.

May you take to heart, and implant in your soul, the words you voice during future times of Sunday worship. Go ahead and sing as you meditate on the Psalms.

Oh, my dear Author of music, I pray no matter where You plant me in life, You will bring a song to my heart and mind. I praise you for who You are, I praise You for past victories. I praise You for now. I long to forever sing from my soul to your ear. In your precious Name, amen.

First choiceChristian romance author LoRee Peery writes to feel alive, as a way of contributing, and to pass forward the hope of rescue from sin. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. LoRee clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. She has authored the Frivolities Series and other e-books. Her desire for readers, the same as for her characters, is to discover where they fit in this life journey to best work out the Lord’s life plan. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author. She’s been a reader since before kindergarten. One day she slapped a story in her lap. “I could write better than this.” (Lofty assumption, eh?) Her dear hubby challenged, “Why don’t you?” Thus her writing journey began many moons ago.

Her latest release is titled Where Hearts Meet:

Shattered by the loss of her parents, Deena pours her love into her patients at an assisted living facility. When the son of oneWhereHeartsMeet_w11796_300 her charges starts showing up to spend time with his mother, Deena’s wary heart is warmed by his attention to his mother…and to her. Simon is plagued by his ex-wife’s disappearance years before. When he meets Deena, who closely resembles the woman, he fears his attraction is based only on Deena’s looks. But she exhibits a warmth his ex-wife never had. Dare he risk his once broken heart? As two lonely souls pursue a tentative, budding love, secrets and lies come forward to tear them apart. Can Simon and Deena overcome loss and allow their hearts to mend?

But it HERE!

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! In what ways has music helped to center your heart in Christ or bring you peace and comfort during a difficult time? Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

Speaking of music and praise, I hope you’ll join me and my Takin’ it to the Streets friends for a hilarious, musical, unexpected night of talented performers, exceptional speakers, and great auction items. Tickets are available at Divine Truth Christian BookstoreReality Church, and can be purchased at the door.

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Becoming a Spiritual Cheerleader

One aptly spoken accolade can go a long way toward motivating positive change, giving strength to the weary, and perseverance to those trudging through the mundane. And to the contrary–silence can sap a friend, ministry team member, child, or spouse’s strength. Consider the following: My daughter loves art, and I believe she’s quite good at it. But… she didn’t start out good. No one does. Everyone begins with scribbles which progress to stick figures. Sure, some will show more aptitude than others, but aptitude alone doesn’t necessarily lead to growth. There’s a key ingredient, I believe, in growth and that is encouragement. Hearing someone say, “You’re good at that,” often motivates one to try harder and be better.

In Hebrews 10:24 Paul encourages us to be one another’s cheerleaders when he says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). Today my sweet friend and coffee buddy, LoRee Peery takes a deeper look at this important word, sharing tangible ways we can stand behind and walk beside our brothers and sisters in Christ. As you read her fun devotion, I encourage you to pause to take time to look up and read each verse, asking God to help you put it into practice.

But first, I wanted to announce the winner of last week’s give-away! Sheila Hall, congrats! You won a copy of Shannon Taylor Vannatter’s novel, Rodeo Family! I’ll contact you shortly! 

And speaking of give-aways, Amazon is practically giving away my debut novel, Beyond I Do! They’ve marked it down, print and kindle copy, to two bucks and change! If you haven’t read it and were wanting to, now’s a great time to grab a copy. You can get it here. Might want to stock up for all those upcoming birthdays as well. 🙂

ENCOURAGING WORDS by LoRee Peery

Writers are all about words. Some words jump off the page with meaning. Consider the word encourage. The motivation for encouragement is LOVE. Love abounds in God’s people when we are open to opportunities to encourage one another.

After all, we are continually encouraged through the Holy Spirit as we dig into what God has written to us through the Bible. As the children of God, we have a responsibility to pass on encouragement.

E = EDIFY                        love edifies                                                                   1 Corinthians 8:1_LOW7494small

N = NOURISH                constantly nourished on the words of faith          1 Timothy 4:6

C = CARE                         have the same care for one another                       1 Corinthians 12:25

O = ONE ANOTHER     build up one another                                                 1 Thessalonians 5:11

U = URGE                       urged to encourage the fainthearted                      1 Thessalonians 5:14

R = REFRESH                they have refreshed my spirit                                  1 Corinthians 16:18

A = ACCOMPLISH        prayer accomplishes much                                      James 5:16

G = GIVE                         more blessed to give than to receive                      Acts 20:35

E = EXHORT                  spiritual gift to come alongside.                             Romans 12:8

Hebrews 3:13 reads “But ENCOURAGE one another day after day.”

Sometimes encouragement doesn’t require words. How much do you smile when you’re out in public? I try to make eye contact and smile. Sometimes that’s hard if I’m concentrating on my next purchase, especially in the grocery store. If I’m not a woman on a mission, though, I do try to acknowledge others.

Now, my husband is a retired salesman. He smiles and talks to almost everyone he meets. Sometimes those people don’t even have to be looking at him. But I’ve seen him brighten a stranger’s day many times over. On occasion he doesn’t use many words. He may reach for something too high for an older shopper. He opens doors, he’s put packages in trunks, and he’s aided those dedicated spouses struggling with the wheel chairs of their mates. I can’t count the times some woman has said to him, “You’re the first man to ask if I needed help.”

I encourage you to take these thoughts to heart and make someone’s day by a word or act of encouragement. We are in this faith journey together.

CreightonsHideaway_w11172_300

Creighton’s Hideaway:

Needing to finish her thesis in order to keep her job working with youth in a residential treatment center, Shana Arnold sequesters herself on Creighton Rice’s Nebraska ranch. She expects the secluded hideaway to provide a peaceful environment. What she doesn’t expect is to become the victim of identity theft and a crazed home invader. Creighton Rice has been content to live alone with his God–until he meets Shana. He’s drawn to her, but must fight the attraction. Getting close makes him face a lifetime’s accumulation of scars. Plus, Shana doesn’t share his faith. But when Shana’s life is threatened, Creighton must protect her–even if it means letting her in. Will Shana discover that even when a woman loses everything, she can regain courage and strength through faith in God, and can Creighton allow God to heal scars and open the door to a lifetime with Shana?

Buy it here!

 

 

 

A Nebraska country girl, LoRee Peery attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral and means the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life. She clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith.

You can find her at www.loreepeery.com or the Pelican Book Group site http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! I’ve heard it said, people will rarely remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. We are a tired, discouraged, insecure bunch in desperate need of encouragement. Who can you encourage today, and how? Perhaps make a list. Maybe make a list daily. Your friends, family, and co-workers will love you for it. 🙂

Share your thoughts and ideas here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

For those following my book-launch tour, here’s where I’ve been this past week:

Today I stopped by Angela Meyer’s to talk about the best possible response to a chaotic day. You can read more here.

Yesterday I participated in a book give-away (which is still going on). Give-awa, and talked about how God uses everything–every tear and regret–to bring about His glorious purposes. Knwoing this should bring us great joy and peace, regardless of our circumstances. Read more here.

Yesterday was a busy day, cyber-space speaking. Ginger Solomon interviewed Jacqueline Dunn, the main female character in my sophomore novel, When Dawn Breaks. You can read that here. I also encourage you to read a short story I wrote through the eyes of one of America’s forgotten children. You can read that here.

I also got all mushy and sentimental yesterday on Gail Pallotta’s blog as I talked about what I really wanted this Valentine’s Day. You can read my post here.

Reviewer Sarah Ruut invited me to visit her blog to talk about my novel and passion for writing. You can join our conversation here.

An old writing mentor, Fay Lamb, had me on her blog this past week, starting with a guest post, then a character interview, and finally an author interview. Pop by to learn more about me, my novel, and Jacqueline Dunn.

OLATHE_Slattery signing_JAN15-FBThis weekend I’m heading back to Kansas City (Olatha, KS, actually) to do a signing, and I have to say, my Northland church family has blessed my socks off by their outpouring of encouragement and support. I was touched not only by their actions but by the knowledge that God spurred them to it, which was like a gentle hug from my Savior and a clear reminder that He’s in this writing thing. To my Northland family, I love you guys! Can’t wait to reconnect! 🙂

The following weekend (Feb. 7th) I’ll be speaking at the Art of Marriage conference here in Papillion. I’d love to see you. I cannot recommend this conference enough. It’s one my hubby and I go to annually. It’s that good, and that important! That afternoon, I’ll be signing copies of both my novels at the Bookworm in Omaha (at 4pm). I’d love to see a slew of Christian fiction readers come! I love supporting secular stores that support carry Christian fiction. 🙂