Food for the Soul

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Posted 4/4/17 at 5:03 PM | Audra Jennings

Putting God back in the spotlight

New Hope Publishers
Chasing Famous by Lisa Lloyd

Lisa Lloyd helps readers live the life they’ve always auditioned for.

Life can be compared to a series of auditions. Regardless of who we are, we are constantly auditioning for a part: to be the most loving spouse, attentive parent or amazing employee. It is human nature to want to be loved, affirmed and accepted. Whether it is conscious or not, all these desires focus inwardly. In Chasing Famous: Living the Life You’ve Always Auditioned For(New Hope Press/April 3, 2017/ISBN: 978-1-62591-517-7/$14.99), Lisa Lloyd helps readers shift the focus outwardly and back on God and His glory. FULL POST

Posted 4/3/17 at 3:01 PM | Audra Jennings

Transform the way you think, feel and live

Tracie Miles helps readers develop an unsinkable faith through all circumstances

David C Cook
Unsinkable Faith by Tracie Miles

Thoughts are powerful and at times cause us to feel and act in ways we wouldn’t normally. In fact, they can become so powerful that if left unchecked, they end up controlling us rather than the other way around. When our thoughts and feelings are largely negative in nature, those pessimistic ideas infiltrate our lives — and our faith — making it increasingly difficult to live with joy. In Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies to Transform the Way You Think, Feel, and Live (David C Cook), Tracie Miles offers practical, life-changing strategies for those who struggle with negativity, leading them to discover how the transforming of their minds can transform their lives.

For some individuals, remaining optimistic about life and feeling positive about themselves are a constant battle. It may even become a battle that seems hopeless, particularly when life is hard and circumstances are difficult. For others, negativity is something that sneaks up from time to time, catching them off-guard. In either case, once dark thoughts permeate the mind, it becomes challenging to see the light. Even with the knowledge that negativity doesn’t come from God, it’s difficult to escape wondering, Is it possible to develop an unsinkable faith that carries us through life with a hopeful, positive attitude, no matter what?

In the midst of a painful divorce, Miles was faced with a barrage of negative self-talk. As she cried out to God through her pain, she sensed Him drawing her nearer. “It was a turning point for me to lean harder into Jesus instead of letting this situation shake my faith,” Miles remembers. “I invited Him to help me transform my thoughts from negative into positive so I could transform and reclaim my life.”

Each chapter of Unsinkable Faith explores personal stories from Miles and others, showing how they were able to rise above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. These inspiring stories illustrate when a person’s thoughts and attitudes improve, their lives do too — even if the circumstances remain the same.

Unsinkable Faith is filled with Biblical wisdom and insight as well as recent scientific findings in support of what Scripture has said all along: It is possible to transform our lives by transforming of our minds. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out” (The Message).

Each chapter comes to a close with “Strategies for Transforming Your Thinking,” which includes a section for mind-transforming personal reflections that will help the reader begin to identify their thinking habits and practically implement tools for positive thinking into their own lives. Also included are mind-renewing scriptures and a powerful Chapter Challenge to empower the reader to change from the inside out. Unsinkable Faith will inspire readers to embrace God’s truth as they discover His tools for a more positive and optimistic outlook. Rather than sinking mentally, emotionally and spiritually, God’s truths and a positive mindset make it possible to live a life of joy, peace and happiness.

Advance Praise

“When life has beaten you down, Unsinkable Faith will pick you back up and strengthen your heart for the journey God has called you to.”

~ Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

“In Unsinkable Faith, Tracie vulnerably shares through her own story how we can break through the stronghold of negativity in our lives by fighting for control of our thoughts and emotions to live a more positive, victorious life!”

~ Michelle L. Bengtson, PhD, neuropsychologist and author of Hope Prevails

Tracie Miles, author of Unsinkable Faith

About the Author

Tracie Miles is passionate about inspiring women to deepen their relationship with Christ, discover their God-given purpose and always live a life of joy, peace and happiness despite their circumstances. She is a speaker and writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries and enjoys sharing at women’s events around the country. Her contributions to the Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today daily devotions reach more than one million women with God’s Word.

Miles is the author of two best-selling books, Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace in Your Chaotic World and Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past to Create a Beautiful Future. She is also a contributing writer to Zondervan’s NIV Women’s Devotional Bible and the Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today daily devotional book. Miles’ latest release is Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies to Transform the Way You Think, Feel, and Live.

Miles lives in Charlotte, NC and is a devoted mother to three incredible young adults.

Keep up with Tracie Miles by visiting,following her on Facebook (p31traciemiles) or via Twitter (@traciewmiles).

Posted 3/27/17 at 7:10 PM | Audra Jennings

Welcome to College helps students navigate the journey into adulthood

Setting the trajectory for a

life of following Jesus

Welcome to College helps students

navigate the journey into adulthood

Welcome to College by Jonathan Morrow

College can be the most exciting, as well as the most frightening, time of a young person’s life. On one hand are all the freedoms a recent high school graduate craves, but on the other are all the freedoms that come with responsibility. It’s a challenging time, especially for Christians coming face-to-face with worldviews different from their own. In Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey (second edition) (Kregel Publications/March 28, 2017/ISBN: 9780825444883/ $21.99), Jonathan Morrow helps students tackle this new stage of life and emerge on the other side prepared for what God has planned for them.

“Is there a more frightening question for a graduating high school senior than ‘What will you do with your life?’” Morrow asks. “In college, whether they realize it or not, students will answer that question every day with each decision. All of the new friends and new experiences of college will shape their future. As Christians, they will have the added layer of trying to figure out what God would want them to do with their lives. It can be overwhelming. It's critical that students know how to handle college before they're in the thick of it.”

College is a critical time for young adults to find and develop a faith of their own. Various surveys reveal between 40-75% of young people abandon their faith during their college years. While even one student walking away from their faith is too much, parents and students need to know and understand that college is not a faith-friendly environment. However, God has called students to more than surviving; he has called them to engage our culture with the life-changing message of Jesus.

Keeping this truth in mind, Morrow tackles the tough questions that arise during these formative years, including:

  • · How do I grow spiritually?
  • · Is all truth relative?
  • · How do I manage my time both to study well and have fun?
  • · How can I discover what I am supposed to do with my life?
  • · As a Christian, how should I view issues such as drinking, dating and sex?

The first edition of Welcome to College, released a decade ago,was extremely popular and still very applicable to today. In this new edition, each chapter has been updated, and Morrow added chapters addressing the tyranny of tolerance and Christianity, homosexuality, and the Bible. He also delves into how social media has changed our culture and how students’ digital footprints will follow them all of their lives. Grounded in both his own extensive experience and biblical truth, Morrow's book is full of quick, easy-to-read chapters and practical advice.

“College is full of opportunities and challenges,” Morrow muses. “I want students to own their faith and not just survive college, but to thrive there and have the kind of influence God created them for!”

Advance Praise

“I know of no better book you can put into the hands of a Christian student headed to college.”

~ John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview (from the book’s foreword)

Welcome to College has been my go-to book for helping students prepare to succeed spiritually, relationally and academically in college. There is no other book that has such depth and balance. And I am thrilled to see that Jonathan has written a timely and helpful update, incorporating many of the biggest issues students face today. This book is a must-read for all Christian students who hope to have a vibrant faith in college.”

~ Sean McDowell, best-selling author, speaker and professor at Biola University

“If I could give just one apologetics book to a Christian going off to college, it is this one. Jonathan Morrow goes well beyond providing evidence for Christianity (as most such books do) — he provides succinct and sound answers to the kinds of moral and emotional issues that often trip up Christian college students. Highly recommended!”

~ Frank Turek, broadcaster and author of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist and Correct, Not Politically Correct

About the Author

Jonathan Morrow, author of Welcome to College

Jonathan Morrow feels like he was able to do college right, with no major regrets. Although he admits to not having all the answers, his mission is to help other students do the same. Morrow is currently the director of cultural engagement and immersion at Impact 360 Institute where he trains high school and college students in Christian worldview, apologetics, and leadership. He also serves as an adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University.

Morrow is the author of Welcome to College,Questioning the Bible and Think Christianly. He also co-authored Is God Just a Human Invention? with Sean McDowell and has contributed chapters to Foundations of Spiritual Formation and A New Kind of Apologist. Morrow has contributed articles to several publications and his books have been featured on a number of national radio programs.

He graduated with an MDiv and an MA in philosophy of religion and ethics as well as a DMin in Worldview and Culture from the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Morrow and his wife are the parents of three and currently live in Georgia.

Learn more about Welcome to College at

Connect with Jonathan Morrow at, via Facebook (ThinkChristianlyOrg) and on Twitter (@Jonathan_Morrow).

Posted 3/27/17 at 1:18 PM |

Q&A with Rabbi K.A. Schneider, author of "The Book of Revelation Decoded"

Q: What are some of the most common misconceptions that Christians have about the book of Revelation?
A: I think the biggest challenge that most Christians have with the book of Revelation is that they are intimidated by it and are confused by it. Many sincere believers begin to read the book of Revelation, but when they get into its contents, it frightens them. They do not understand how the Jesus they read about in the book of Revelation, is the same Jesus that they read about in the Gospels. For example, in the Gospels, we read about the Jesus that blessed the little children and is the Shepherd of the lost sheep. But, when we get into the book of Revelation, we see all these horrendous plagues of God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth. Many do not understand how the Jesus they see revealed in the book of Revelation can be the same Jesus they read about in the Gospels. As a result, many Christians have withdrawn from trying to study the contents of Revelation. In my book, The Book of Revelation Decoded, I hope to help believers understand how Jesus is revealed in this extraordinary Book and to be prepared for His second coming. We have to remember that both the first and last chapters of the book of Revelation promise a blessing for those that will read and heed its contents. FULL POST

Posted 3/1/17 at 6:29 PM | Audra Jennings

Do you have to be the one in control?

Part 1 of an interview with Shannon Popkin,

Author of Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden

of Control from Seven Women in the Bible

Shannon Popkin, author of Control Girl

Many women worry about life spinning out of control and want to be sure of a happy ending. They have a compulsion to make it all turn out just right and are willing to do almost anything to make it happen. When they realize control is slipping from their grasp, they lose control and react in anger or fear. This unbalanced pursuit of control makes those around them anxious and defensive. Author Shannon Popkin knows this struggle well. In her new book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible (Kregel Publications), she reveals to readers the only way to find the deep security they crave is to surrender to God and entrust the outcome to Him.

Q: The title of your new book is Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, but the initial inspiration came from your own life. When did you first realize you had a control issue?

Before I got married, I didn’t realize I was a Control Girl, probably because I could control most everything in my little life. Then I got married, and my husband was messing up all of my plans. He wanted to stay in, and I wanted to go out. He wanted to save our money, and I wanted to spend it. He wanted to get up early, and I wanted to stay up late. These were my first tastes of giving up control, and I didn’t like it. When we added children, houses, dogs and jobs to our lives, my control issues really began to mushroom. There was so much I couldn’tcontrol! God used the chaos of family life to press me to consider my heart’s unhealthy craving for control.

Q: Do you think Control Girls readily recognize their problem with control?

I didn’t. Even as I was behaving like a complete Control Girl, I didn’t see control as my problem. I thought my problem was anger. I was reading books about anger and asking my friends to pray for me. Then one day I was driving in the car, and I heard Dee Brestin on the radio talking about the “sin beneath the sin.” She said we often recognize our surface-level sins, such as anger, but we fail to connect them to the deeper sin. Then she mentioned the sin of control. In an instant, I knew this was my problem.

I’ve found my anger, anxiety and perfectionism often stem from this deep, insatiable, unhealthy craving I have for control. When I see these other things (losing my temper, trying to be seen as perfect, anxiety over safety, etc.) rising to the surface, I’ve found it’s helpful to ask, “OK, Shannon. What are you trying to control? What do you fear losing control of?”

Q: What drove you to explore other “Control Girls” in the Bible?

One day I was painting the laundry room and listening to John Piper preach a sermon on the curse in Genesis 3. He explained that when God said to Eve, “Your desire will be for your husband,” her desire would actually be a desire for control. I remember standing there on the ladder with my paintbrush in my hand, completely stunned. I, as a daughter of Eve, had been cursed with this desire for control. In one sense it was a relief to learn this because for me, it was like being diagnosed with a degenerative disease passed on from generations back. Suddenly all of my control symptoms made sense!

Then I had another thought. If I was struggling under this curse, thousands of years later, surely the first women in the Bible also struggled with control. Later, I began combing the Scriptures, looking for any evidences of this desire for control in the stories of Bible women. It turns out I didn’t have to look very far. I found these Bible women — Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel and Miriam — all struggled with control the same way I do. They took matters into their own hands and tried to make everything turn out “right” from their own perspectives. They also made everyone (themselves included) miserable in the process.

Kregel Publications
Control Girl by Shannon Popkin

Q: Which of your seven Control Girls of the Bible surprised you most?

Rachel. She was the favored younger sister of Leah and the beautiful girl whom Jacob worked fourteen years to have. She seemed, to me, to have a charmed life. Yet Rachel’s story was ugly from start to finish. In every scene in Scripture, Rachel is portrayed as entitled, demanding and controlling. Rachel spent her entire life fixated on trying to have more babies than her sister, which was clearly something she couldn’t control. God did finally give her one baby, but she named him Joseph, which means, “May he add.” She wasn’t content with just one baby; she wanted God to add more babies to her side of the family tree. Rachel’s life was cut short when she died giving birth to her second son.

As Rachel stressed and fretted over her family’s little maternity ward, she was oblivious to the fact God had just birthed the nation of Israel. Rachel was part of a story that was all about God and His people, yet she was making it all about herself. The nerve, right? Yet this is my struggle, too. I hijack God’s story, ignore His greater purposes and make the story all about me and my small idea for a happy ending. What surprised me about Rachel’s life was the stern warning it delivered. Rather than vying for control, God invites us to get swept up in the thrilling story we get to be part of but is all about Him.

Q: What practical advice do you have for the woman who wants to stop being a Control Girl?

Think of the Spirit’s guidance as arrows placed in your path to give direction in life. In the book, I talk about “Big Arrow” surrender, which is giving Jesus control in big, life-altering ways, such as when you first gave your life to him. Big Arrow surrender is essential, but I don’t think we can truly become Jesus Girls unless we also practice Small Arrow surrender in the seemingly insignificant moments of life. Let me suggest one Small Arrow to begin with: the tongue.

James chapter 3 compares our words to a rudder or a bridle. Our tongues are powerful and direction-setting. If we want to turn a new way, we can start with our words. As women, talking is one of the primary ways we take control, so it’s also one of the best ways to retrain our hearts to surrender control to God. If I will repeatedly, day after day and moment by moment, bite my tongue, refusing to say the controlling thing I’d liketo say and surrender to God instead, this will be absolutely transformational.

Q: You end each lesson with a meditation. What does the Bible teach us about meditation, and why is it an important aspect of giving up control?

Control Girls seem particularly resistant to change. We might readily say, “God is in control,” or, “I know this is out of my hands,” but our behavior suggests we don’t believe these things at all. I’m convinced transformation is only possible through revamping our thoughts about God and ourselves. That’s why I’ve included a meditation for each lesson. (These are also available for free download on my site.)

Meditation builds a bridge between what we say we believe and how we live. Thoughts are powerful. When we review, in a focused way, truth about God and about ourselves, we wear new grooves in our minds (Colossians 3:10 and Romans 12:2). By hitting refresh on what we know is true, we curb our controlling behavior. We ready ourselves to face the many situations we’d like to control but can’t. We posture ourselves to surrender to God, rather than caving in to our old tendency of trying to control.

Q: What other resources are available to help Control Girls hand the reigns back to God?

At, you can download my Meditation Cards, which are arranged by chapter. I also have an adult coloring book available, titled Reflections on Surrender. My friend Janyre Tromp did all of the original artwork in this lovely book. We hope that as you fill the pages with color, you’ll also fill your heart with each page’s message of truth about control, ourselves and God.


Shannon Popkin is a writer, speaker and Bible teacher who combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She is a regular contributor for the Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman blog and author of the book Control Girl. Popkin and her husband live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens in Michigan.

Connect with Shannon Popkin and learn more about Control Girl by visiting, following her on Facebook (shanpopkin) or following her via Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).

Posted 2/21/17 at 2:54 PM |

New book by former New Age follower says most Christians are not equipped to battle spiritual warfare

A Barna Research study indicates that a majority of Christians do not believe Satan is a living being, yet in the same study, 69% of Christians do believe that people can be under the influence of demons or evil spirits. It is this dichotomy of beliefs among Christians that author, speaker, and radio host Eric Barger says is creating a generation of young people who are unaware of the concepts of evil and spiritual warfare, and are subsequently, falling under demonic influences. In his latest book, “Disarming the Powers of Darkness: Fearless Conquerors in Spiritual Warfare” (Aneko Press), Barger says that Christians today are often ill-equipped to know how to handle blatant Satanic activity in our culture.

“In a church culture replete with ‘feel good’ sermons that are often light on substance, many Christians are unaware of the Bible’s emphasis on this life-long spiritual struggle,” says Barger, who co-wrote the book with David Benoit. “Others have a mistaken, unrealistic desire to be permanently immune from knowing about, being subject to, or participating in spiritual warfare. The fact is, as long as we’re here on earth, we are going to be in the arena of spiritual warfare. And not enough pastors today are willing to give their congregations the tools necessary to deal with a culture that is saturated in the occult.” FULL POST

Posted 2/15/17 at 1:55 PM |

New ministry project to benefit women and children in 2nd poorest country in the world

In her book, “Six Pairs of Sandals: Yesterday’s Footsteps and Today’s Women’s Ministry,” author and speaker Dr. Deborah Waterbury highlights six women in the bible who personified the qualities of leadership. She also addresses specific areas of need for women to minister to other women within every local church, something she feels has been greatly lacking.

“In the last 10 years of working with women, particularly women in local churches, it has been sad to see how many churches are abdicating the ministry of women within their confines,” says Dr. Waterbury, who founded Love Everlasting Ministries in 2007. “Often it’s a matter of methodology, but just as often it is a matter of scarcity. Too many women either feel they are spiritually inadequate or that they simply lack the gifts necessary to minister to one another in their own home churches. I designed the book so that the reader can read a biblical example of each of the six broad categories of women ministering to women (teaching, prayer, mentoring, service, ministry leader, and small group leader), surmise which of those women she is most like, and then give her a list of practical ways she can step out and begin ministering to the women in her church in that way.” FULL POST

Posted 2/14/17 at 2:23 PM |

Q&A with Master Illusionist Scott Humston

Q: As someone who has been performing in public schools for over two decades, what changes have you seen take place in children in attitude, character or other traits?
A: I don't know that there has been a dramatic change in elementary age children—as far as their response to my shows. Kids love to laugh. Some parents like to laugh—but many have forgotten how. Since the beginning of my school events, creating a connection between parents and kids has been a huge joy for me. Many parents don't see their children "belly laugh" very often—except for the occasional TV show or movie. Children are (mostly) honest and loving. Since the start of my career performing for families, I have seen children with hard hearts. Many times, I've seen those hearts melt through the fun and laughter. Since the beginning, I've been honored to take on a sort of "crazy uncle" role. Unfortunately, many kids don't see their dad in a loving, fun, role. It seems sometimes when a man becomes a father his psyche changes—and now as provider—he is scared just to be himself with his children. It may be difficult for some men to be a bit vulnerable, open and honest. As a father myself, I have to remind myself often just how much my kids adore me, and my role in guiding, nurturing and directing them is vastly important. FULL POST

Posted 1/27/17 at 1:50 PM | Audra Jennings

Surrender the burden of control

Shannon Popkin invites readers to live like God is in control, because he is

Kregel Publications
Control Girl by Shannon Popkin

Many women worry about life spinning out of control and want to be sure of a happy ending. They have a compulsion to make it all turn out just right and are willing to do almost anything to make it happen. When they realize control is slipping from their grasp, they lose control and react in anger or fear. This unbalanced pursuit of control makes those around them anxious and defensive. Author Shannon Popkin knows this struggle well. In her new book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible (Kregel Publications), she reveals to readers the only way to find the deep security they crave is to surrender to God and entrust the outcome to Him. FULL POST

Posted 1/5/17 at 11:41 AM | Audra Jennings

It's time to retreat

Part 2 of an interview with Letitia Suk,
Author of Getaway with God: The Everywoman's Guide to Personal Retreat

Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there's simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.

In Getaway with God, Letitia Suk does more than invite readers to step away from life's pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must --- for your sake and for your family's.

With grace and warmth, Suk provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman on any budget to plan time away, whether it's a quick, half-day break or a weeklong time of restoration.

Q: Why does everyone need to take the time to go on a retreat alone? FULL POST

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