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I am so pumped up about the new year. Lois has an exciting new opportunity looming—please pray—and I have a brand new book launching in just over two weeks.

As I’ve mentioned, Thomas à Kempis’ book, The Imitation of Christ has changed my life—I have mentioned it, right? While I had a degree in theology, and had been writing Christian books and articles most of my professional life, à Kempis had a close, deep relationship with Jesus Christ that I didn’t. I knew Christ, but I didn’t know Christ. I have read through à Kempis’ book at least ten times now, and each time, I find myself knowing Christ in closer and deeper ways.

This past spring, I woke up one morning thinking, Someone needs to put The Imitation of Christ into modern language and organize it into devotional readings. (Whenever you think Someone ought to do something, it’s often God saying, “Yep! And that someone is you.” On a lark, I pitched the idea to my agent.

It’s been one miracle after another as the book has raced toward publication in less than nine months. I sincerely believe this book can change lives. Over the past 500 years, it has done just that, so this could be the edition for the 21st century.

To reach as many people as possible with this life-changing message, I need your help. Would you be willing to share with your friends through social media, emails, newsletters, in your conversations with others, etc., about The Imitation of Christ? Below I have provided you with some prewritten tweets, Facebook posts, links, and images that you can use to help us spread the word. It’s as easy as copying and pasting one or more into your social media networks:

Facebook posts

      Thomas à Kempis’ IMITATION OF CHRIST has been a best-seller for over 500 years! Now it’s updated in today’s language and organized into 90 devotional readings by James Watkins. Available January 12th! http://bit.ly/1O1Z6sz

      If you want to know Christ in deeper way, consider reading James Watkins updated version of Thomas à Kempis’ IMITATION OF CHRIST. It’s available January 12th. Click to read a sample chapter: http://bit.ly/1O1Z6sz

      Read a sample chapter of James Watkins’ updated version of Thomas à Kempis’ IMITATION OF CHRIST. It’s available January 12t. Click to read a sample chapter: http://bit.ly/1O1Z6sz

      Join millions of readers who, over the past five hundred years, have become more like Christ through Thomas à Kempis’ amazing book IMITATION OF CHRIST. James Watkins’ updated version is available January 12th. Click for more info: http://bit.ly/1O1Z6sz

Or feel free to create your own post!

Twitter posts

      James Watkins updated version of Thomas à Kempis’ #TheImitationofChrist is available 1/12. Click for info: http://bit.ly/1O1Z6sz

      Know #Christ in deeper way. Read James Watkins updated version of Thomas à Kempis’ #TheImitationofChrist: http://bit.ly/1O1Z6sz

      Read a sample chapter of James Watkins’ updated version of Thomas à Kempis’ #TheImitationofChrist Available 1/12: http://bit.ly/1O1Z6sz

Or feel free to create your own tweet!

Share a photo from one of these sites (Just click SHARE in the program. Graphics are shared and retweeted many more times than simple text.)

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Instagram
Twitter

But wait there’s more . . .

About the book
About Thomas à Kempis
Read an excerpt
My exclusive interview with Thomas à Kempis
• Daily quotations: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
The story behind this book

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
• Christianbook hardcover eBook

I have so appreciated your prayers and encouragement as I’ve worked on this book. You’re an important part of the ministry this amazing book will have! Thanks.
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WatkinsChristmas2015A

Wishing you a meaningful Christmas and a God-directed New Year from the Watkins family!

We are grateful for a good 2015:

• We both thoroughly enjoyed time with family this past year. We watch Faith’s girls after school once a week, and get to see Paul and Amy’s three kiddos about once a month. Love it! Love them!

Today is Lois and my traditional Chinese lunch (“Fra ra ra ra ra!”), then “Star Wars,” Christmas Eve service and finally driving around looking at Christmas lights with Faith and girls. Christmas dinner with Mom at my brother’s. And Dececember 26, since Mom is in an assisted living home, we’ve booked a hotel for the entire Watkins kin gift exchange and then swim party (much better suited venue for five grands who are “lively and quick.”)

• I signed a book contract for a thoroughly modernized and organized Imitation of Christ devotional. It’s been filled with miracles well before its release January 12. I also enjoyed speaking at 10 writers’ conferences. (Here’s my 2016 schedule.)

• Lois continued working with the physically and mentally challenged.

• Mom moved into a beautiful assisted living facility and put her immaculate house with acreage and woods up for sale. She has found new purpose in ministering to the residents including sneaking a Christmas tree into the apartment of the resident “Grinch.”

• And I’m once again running for president as an independent with The Tupperware Party: Putting a Lid on Government. Thanks for your vote!

• We’re looking forward to what God is going to bring about in our lives and yours in 2016!

Do have a meaningful Christmas and God-directed New Year!
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Related posts
God has plan for New Year
How Christmas saved a “grinch”
The Twelve Sites of Christmas

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‘Peace on earth’ in pieces?

December 21st, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


December 2015

The promise of “peace on earth” seems to be in pieces this Christmas season with news of increased terrorist attacks by Islamic radicals. Pope Francis told churchgoers that Christmas this year is going to be a “charade” because “the whole world is at war.” The earth was at peace on Christ first arrival on earth, but only because the pax romana—the peace of Rome—had completely crushed its enemies and set up harsh military rule in the Holy Land.

However, the hope the prophet Isaiah offered nearly 3,000 years ago is still our hope today!

      The people who walk in darkness
         will see a great light.
      For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
         a light will shine (9:1-2).

      For you will break the yoke of their slavery
         and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
      You will break the oppressor’s rod,
         just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
      The boots of the warrior
         and the uniforms bloodstained by war
      will all be burned.
         They will be fuel for the fire.
      For a child is born to us,
         a son is given to us.
      The government will rest on his shoulders.

         And he will be called:
      Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
         Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
      His government and its peace
         will never end.

      He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
         for all eternity.
      The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies
         will make this happen! (9:4-7).

Our world was dark in 700 BC, again at the time of Christ and now in today’s world of terrorists attacks throughout the world. But we are promised that Christ will return as the “Wonderful Counselor” to heal all our anxieties and brokenness, a “Mighty God” to restore fairness and justice, an “Everlasting Father” to love and provide for us, and the “Prince of Peace” to cause all wars and conflicts to cease.

That’s the hope of Christmas. It’s not a “charade.” Jesus came as a baby to restore our relationship with God—and is coming a second time to restore our world with “peace on earth.”

Have a very meaningful Christmas celebration!
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Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Related post

Are Islam, Christianity “peaceful” religions?
“There is no peace on earth” I said
“Threat level” solidly “green”
Why does “Grinch” Laden hate the U’s


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Imitation of Christ releases in 22 days!

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

About the book
About Thomas à Kempis
Read an excerpt
My exclusive interview with Thomas à Kempis
• Daily quotations: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
The story behind this book

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
• Christianbook hardcover eBook

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

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May the force be with you

December 17th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

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Just 24 hours until the brand new Star Wars blasts into a galaxy near you! So here are some of my favorite columns, cartoons and top ten lists.


Columns from a galaxy far, far away

The Force Awakens universal questions
How does George Lucas come up with character’s names? A drunken game of Scrabble? How do light sabers work? Where do space royalty go for their hair and makeup? Do we all have a light and dark side? [Continue reading]

Star Wars III: modern morality play
Revenge of the Sith is a modern-day morality play where we witness a powerful struggle not only between good and evil, but the temptation to use evil for anticipated good; the end justifying the means. [Continue reading]

This Force never sleeps
In Episode VII, “The Force Awakens.” Has it been taking a nap? Has it been frozen in carbonite? Did it pass out at the Mos Eisley Cantina? I’m glad the real Force never sleeps! [Continue reading]


Top ten lists from Tatooine

Top ten signs Han Solo has turned 70
10. Forgets to turn off directional light on Millennium Falcon [Continue reading]

Top ten surprises in Episode VII
Disney has purchased Lucas Films and is planning to relaunch the Star Wars franchise with a new episodes opening in 2015. So, I have in my right bionic hand, direct from the Rebel base, tonight’s category. [Continue reading]


Cartoons from rebel base

jimshortsstarwars3B

jimshortsstarwarsprequels2

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jimshortsstarwarspen

jimshortsprezlesserevil16
Be sure to visit my James Watkins for President page

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ShockTheClock

If you have a friend who has everything—except time to do everything—Shock The Clock: Time Management for Writers and Other Creatives is the perfect Christmas gift.

I found time—using her practical tips—to interview my witty and wise friend, Jeanette Levellie.

Let’s not waste time. Give me the gist of your book in 15 seconds or less.

If you got an A+ in procrastination, can’t find your car keys, and might need a lifetime pass to Clutterbugs Anonymous, you can benefit from this lighthearted approach to managing your time and getting more writing done.

That was just 8 seconds. So, in the 7 remaining seconds, what will readers learn?

I hope writers and other creatives—from artists to musicians to movie producers to Play-Doh sculptors—will be encouraged by God and my words that you can learn to manage your time, even if you were born disorganized and discombobulated like me.

So let’s reset the timer and ask, What sparked your interest in this topic?

I have learned over the years how to say no when I need to, how to manage small and large chunks of time, and how to pack the most into a day, but also how to relax and play. Some I learned from books, some from emulating organized people, and some from the Holy Spirit konkin’ me on the head.

What person or thing has been most beneficial to your writing career? Fifteen seconds start now.

God, since he’s the one who gave me a brain and all these zany ideas that turn into articles and books, but my biggest cheerleader is you. You published tons of my humor columns in the magazine Vista. Those columns morphed into my second book, The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul. Just having one person who knows the writing industry believe in your work makes the difference between barely hanging on and believing in yourself.

Well, thank you. Discovering new, talented writers is the best thing about being an editor. You are one of my favorite humorists, but enough about me. What advice would you give to beginning authors?

Don’t take rejections personally. I used to be crushed by rejection slips, but now I just move on. It’s not even about me as a person; it’s about what that editor likes, or his or her audience reads. But I do listen to corrections, so I can improve. I’ve also learned to cull out the passive verbs and write tighter, to keep the readers’ interest. I’d encourage new writers that it’s not always gonna be this hard. Just hang on awhile longer.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule of working as a church administrative assistant, writing a weekly newspaper column and authoring books. And thanks for letting me endorse your latest book:

      I’ve never believed in “time management,” but I’ve always believed in self management. So, I’m taking time to recommend Shock the Clock, Jeanette’s warm, wise, and witty book on managing yourself while carving out chunks of time to be creative. And it’s short, so you do have time to read it!

The Internet gods will be angered if I don’t reveal that I have not been paid, blackmailed or in any other way coerced to endorse this book. I’m doing it willingly and with a sound mind. (Okay, maybe not the last part.)

• Buy Jeanette’s Shock the Clock as well as her delightful The Heart of Humor and Two Scoops of Grace with Sprinkles on Top.

• And if you have time, read my post: Managing your time . . . and sanity

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Christmas smells like ****

December 14th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

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Evergreen boughs. Gingerbread. Wassail. Fresh-baked cookies. Frosty winter air. Bayberry candles. The festive fragrances reminded our family that this was Christmas Eve as we visited my wife’s mother in Wisconsin.

“Dad, can we go down to the barn and see the kittens?” Faith and Paul asked. We bundled up and trudged through the snow to the barn.

As we opened the door, the smell of urine burned our eyes and nostrils. Steam from the cattle’s body heat carried the scent of fresh manure throughout the barn.

“Let’s see the kittens and then get out of here,” my teen-aged daughter urged. “My hair is going to smell just terrible after being here!”

We did carry the odor of the barn’s manure, old wooden beams, grain, and fresh straw back to the house with us.

“This smells better,” Paul announced as the aroma of roasting turkey greeted us at the door.

But the true scent of the season clung to our clothes. The holy and pure God had chosen to arrive on earth, not between scented candles in a tabernacle of cedar paneling, but in the stench and filth of livestock.* And in his sacrificial acts, he offered us the “fragrance of life” (2 Corinthians 2:16).

Copyright © 1988 James N. Watkins

Related posts
The Twelve Sites of Christmas

*The word translated “inn” (kataluma) is actually a term for upper room—the same word used for the location of the Last Supper. First century houses used the first floor for housing animals, while the upstairs was the sleeping area. Thus Jesus was indeed cradled in a manger (feed trough) but not in a “stable.”

Photo from MorgueFile.com

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The good news about bad news

December 9th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


December 2015

You know, after reading a few “Hope and Humor” posts, that my mind is slightly twisted, and sometimes completely warped. I see things differently than the average person. For instance, when I see bad news on TV or online, I think I am so glad that made the news! Let me try to explain that for you normal people.

The past seven days, the media has bombarded us with continuous coverage of the horrific terrorist killings in San Bernardino. That event bumped from the front page, a Chicago police officer being charged with murder in the killing of a knife-weilding teen—complete with the graphic video. And Sunday, President Barack Obama made a rare primetime speech to the nation trying to assure the public that citizens are safe from terrorists. There’s no doubt, it has been a bad news week. But . . .

The good news is that these events are considered news!

“Why?” you ask shaking your head in disbelief and reaching for the BACK button. Newsworthiness is determined by events that are out of the ordinary, rare and downright bizarre. “Dog bites man” is not news, but “Man bites dog” is news. People being killed is not news. Every day in the United States, 117 people are killed in vehicle crashes. And that same day, 77 people are killed in bathroom accidents. But when just 14 people are slaughtered by domestic terrorists, that is not normal! And so, it’s news. And it’s so unusual, that the national networks devote the entire evening and the next week covering the event!

Take government corruption. Please! It’s big news in most developed countries, but it wouldn’t make the last page of Section D in many Third World countries. While traveling to an African country to speak, I was told I would need to present the customs agent with a brand new $100 bill to enter the country. And to get out, I had to give the customs agent a brand new $50 bill. The missionary who picked me up at the airport explained that this is just business as usual in his country, as was paying ten-year-old extortionists to guard his vehicle when he parked anywhere in the downtown area. So in that country, political corruption is not news.

And while Americans were shocked at child sexual assault charges brought against Subway pitchman, Jared Fogle, it would not be news in Afghanistan. There young boys are regularly used to gratify older men. One missionary told me, “In this country, boys are for pleasure; women are for babies.” Sex trafficking, particularly of women and young children is rampant in countries such as Cambodia, India, countries in Africa and Eastern Asia.

And while a gun shot fired at the White House made it to the top of the nightly news back in 2011, violence against government leaders is not unusual in many countries. In Mexico alone, drug cartels have claimed the lives of 174 government officials including 83 police chiefs and 32 mayors in just six years.

The good news is that these recent crimes are considered “news” in the United States! Yes, we have terrorist attacks, but only 14 people have died in domestic terrorism since September 11, 2001. Yes, we have political corruption, but nothing on the scale of African, Asian or South American countries. Yes, we have cops shooting unarmed suspects, but they are a newsworthy few. Yes, we have a lengthy list of sex offenders, but it’s still considered an “offense”—contrary to countries where sex with children is the cultural norm.

And that’s good news!

Copyright © 2011, 2015 James N. Watkins Adapted from a column that originally appeared in Presidential Prayer Team newsletter, November 2011.

Related post
• My snarky response to new terror warning system: “Threat level” solidly “green”
Reponding to terrorist attacks

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I love children’s paraphrases of Scripture. During Advent season, one children’s church boy announced, concerning the events of Christ’s birth, “Mary pounded them in her heart.” I like that!

Daily, the world pounds us with its philosophy and its fears:

      “Look out for number one.”

      “Claw your way up the ladder of success.”

      “Buy the latest ego-enhancing luxury item.”

      “Be vigilant as the terror-level is elevated.”

      “The world’s economy is falling apart.”

I have to admit that I’m a news junky: morning news shows, the evening news, and in between checking news sites and Twitter feeds. If I’m not careful, I can get pounded by the all the crime, corruption, political unrest and seemingly hopeless situations locally, nationally and internationally.

But the psalmist reminds us:

      Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them (Psalm 111:2).

Verse 4 reminds us to remember the “wonders” of our “gracious and compassionate” Lord. Verse 5 assures us that “He provides food for those who fear him.”

That’s why I have to balance all the world’s bad news with the Word’s Good News; to pound it into my heart. That’s why St. Paul urges us to . . .

      Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

How about you? When your mind isn’t occupied with work or family responsibilities, what do you ponder? The world or the Word? The greatness of God or the wretchedness of humankind? What are you pounding into your heart?

Copyright © 2011 James N. Watkins

Photo from The Nativity Story


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Imitation of Christ releases in 36 days!

The classic devotional by Thomas à Kempis arranged and organized into 90 devotional readings.

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

About the book
About Thomas à Kempis
Read an excerpt
My exclusive interview with Thomas à Kempis
• Daily quotations: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
The story behind this book

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
• Christianbook hardcover eBook

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

Share


February 2018: Seventeen students and teachers were killed in the horrific shooting at a Lake Park school. Survivors have vowed this will be the “last” school shooting as they lobby for tougher gun control. Here what I wrote exactly three years ago.

My heart is broken for the loss of life in San Bernardino “terrorist” attack. My mind is also baffled! The president and his like-minded supporters promise that “gun control” will eliminate—or reduce—these mass killings.

But Mr. President, California—where this latest gun violence exploded—has exactly what you’re demanding as the solution: background checks, registration, waiting periods, gun bans, magazine bans and an expansion of prohibited gun categories.

The same is true in Chicago, which has some of the toughest gun control laws—and out-of-control gun violence.

And The Washington Post just headlined: “Gun Violence Declining, Except in Gun-Free Zones.”

Finally, Mr. President, U.S. gun crimes are not uniquely “American”, despite your claim they have “no parallel anywhere else in world.” Have you already forgotten two major attacks in Paris? Or Norway, where Anders Behring Breivik used a gun to kill 67 people and wound 110 others? And do you know that three of the worst K-12 shooting occurred in Europe—which has some of the strictest gun control laws?

My heart is broken. My mind is baffled at the naiveté of those who believe public laws can prevent personal evil.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Note
I am not advocating no control over gun sales, however California has some of the strictest gun laws, but the murderous couple got them illegally. Laws will not stop violent sociopaths, because violent sociopaths have no regard for laws of God and man. However, laws do articulate what a society values and believes and do have a positive peer-pressure effect. I am not zealous about gun ownership, but I am adamant about truth.

Related posts
Rx for gun control
Dealing with terrorist attacks

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‘Fear not . . .’

December 3rd, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


It’s honor to have my daughter, Faith, as a guest poster today!

Confidence doesn’t always come easy to us. Some of us struggle all our lives to find self-confidence, even to the point that we are immobilized by fear and fail to experience all we could be. How do we gain confidence and where does it come from?

In my experience, I have become more confident when I face trials or fears and come through them successfully. On January 18, 2015 during a sermon at church about the toxicity of fear, I felt God’s voice clearly calling me to overcome my fear and step out of the boat in obedience. No, he didn’t call me to be a missionary in Uganda or adopt a child from Guatemala, or move my family across the country to work in a recovery center for victims of human trafficking, although he might as well have. He was simply calling me to join the worship band at church. Now being someone who grew up singing in numerous choirs and numerous solo and ensemble competitions, it shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. I should have jumped at the opportunity. But over the years, the waves of life had crashed over me, slamming me up against the rocks leaving me broken and battered. In the process, I lost my “song,” and I lost my self-confidence in those treacherous waters.

Although terrified, I obediently followed Him through the process of interviewing, doing an “American Idol” style audition with the band, all the way up to the eve of my big Sunday morning debut. That Saturday night fear hit me like a tsunami. My thoughts and fears swirled uncontrollably around in my mind: What if I forget the words? What if I hit a wrong note? What if everyone hates me and they think I’m terrible? I ended up breaking down crying in a panic attack in front of my 10-year-old daughter.

“Mom, what’s wrong?”

“I’m scared to sing tomorrow.”

“Well, just call and tell them you can’t do it.”

I love her sweet, innocent logic. Through tears I simply stated, “I can’t do that. God told me to do this and I have to obey Him, even if I’m scared.”

Even as I unknowingly taught a valuable lesson to my daughter in that moment, God was imprinting that truth on my heart as well. I went to my room and fell face down on the floor, a big hot mess drowning in my fears. I confessed to God that I was scared to death and surrendered to the fact that I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed Him and his strength. He began lifting me up with words like, “I have called you to this. I won’t let you fail. You are my child. I’ve got you.” His peace washed over me in that moment and I was overwhelmed by his love and the fact that he has called me His child. Hebrews 4:14 reminds us:

      Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The writer of Hebrews isn’t talking about the secrets of gaining self-confidence in this passage. That is a subject better left to someone like Dr. Phil to address, maybe in a New York Times best-selling self-help book entitled 10 Steps to a More Confident You. He is talking about the secret of having “cross-confidence.” This comes through suffering and experiencing difficult situations in life, all the while knowing that there is a beautiful and glorious outcome because of what Christ did for us on the cross. The passage is full of hope for those of us who have dealt with suffering in this life, pummeled by waves and stripped of confidence. We are children of God, and even as we face the storms of this life, we can have cross-confidence knowing that we have a new birth and an inheritance that will never perish, a genuine faith, salvation for our souls, inexpressible joy and eternal life basking in the glory of God.

That’s something no self-help book can offer us. Like self-confidence, gaining cross-confidence involves facing difficult situations and having a successful outcome. But with cross-confidence, our successful outcome has nothing to do with self, and everything thing to do with Christ. Even if self-confidence is something you lack, you can overcome and have cross-confidence knowing that all the difficult things you face in this life will fade away when you experience the amazing gifts that Christ offers us through the cross. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the first few months with the worship band, the worship pastor unknowingly chose songs for me to sing with lyrics like:

      Your grace abounds in deepest waters
      Your sovereign hand
      Will be my guide
      Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
      You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

      So I will call upon Your name
      And keep my eyes above the waves
      When oceans rise
      My soul will rest in Your embrace
      For I am Yours and You are mine.1

I sang the powerful lyrics of “You Make Me Brave” and “No Longer Slaves”:

      You make me brave.
      You make me brave.
      You called me beyond the shore into the waves.
      You make me brave.
      You make me brave.
      No fear can hinder now the love that made a way.2

      You split the sea, so I could walk right through it.
      All my fears were drowned in perfect love.
      You rescued me, so I can stand and sing.
      I am a child of God!3

Now, instead of drowning in fear the night before or even in the minutes before stepping foot on stage to sing Sunday mornings, I take a moment backstage to quietly remind myself of the ways God has rescued me when I was drowning in sin and how He put me back on solid ground. I remind myself of times He has blessed me beyond measure and opened seas up before me. I remind myself of His promises and I allow Him to whisper peace to my heart because He makes me brave. I can walk onto that stage in “cross-confidence” because I am there to worship the one who so lavishly poured His love out on me on the cross. And as a daughter of the King and a mother, the most amazing thing in all of it is that my girls are gaining cross-confidence by witnessing my journey. So you better believe that when we’re in the car and “No Longer Slaves” comes on the radio, we all belt out those lyrics at the top of our lungs with cross-confidence, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God!”

Copyright © 2015 Faith Anne Spaulding

Faith is a licensed clinical social worker who enjoys helping clients overcome their fears and find strength to overcome. She also enjoys her ministry with Premier Designs jewelry.

1 From “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” Copyright © 2012 Hillsong Music Publishing. Written by Joel Houston, Matt Crocker and Salomon Lighthelm.

2 From “You Make Me Brave” Copyright © 2013 Bethel Music Publishing. Written by Amanda Cook.

3 From “No Longer Slaves” Copyright © 2014 Bethel Music Publishing. Written by Brian Johnson, Joel Case and Jonathan David Helser


IOC WordPress

Imitation of Christ releases in 40 days!

Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ has been a best-seller for over 500 years! Now it’s completely updated in today’s language and organized into 90 devotional readings.

This book changed my life. While I had a degree in theology, and had been writing Christian books and articles most of my professional life, à Kempis had a close, deep relationship with Jesus Christ that I didn’t. I knew Christ, but I didn’t know Christ. I have read through à Kempis’ book at least ten times now, and each time, I find myself knowing Christ in closer and deeper ways. So, I invite you to join millions of readers who, over the past five hundred years, have become more like Christ through this amazing book.

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

About the book
The story behind the book
Sample chapter
Daily quotation

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
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