Anne Bogel presents a compilation of strategies to equip readers who struggle with overthinking.
Overthinking has implications for productivity, mental health, and relationships. This book provides concrete steps towards freedom from cycles of overthinking to the joy that comes from making simpler decisions.
This book will spur you towards personal growth and help you harness the gift of making decisions from a posture of peace.
Fear is not the channel that helps build healthy choices; peace and love are the healthy avenues needed to make impactful decisions yielding lasting change.
In a simple conversational style, Anne narrates examples from her own life and provides practical implications that have the power to transform your life. Pick up a copy of this book today to infuse your life with subtle prompts to steer you forward into progress in your projects.
The world has never seemed as collectively still as it does right now.
The world holds many stories of market crashes, terrorism, and outbreaks. Each period is fashioned with its language, brimming with emotions and human experience.
Sometimes, being still can help one listen more intently.
Information is not the only goal in listening but rather, wisdom.
Stories carry wisdom, wisdom that many others need to flourish, gained from an alternative perspective.
During this global pandemic, the economy has fluctuated with job losses and economic upheavals, changing the landscape for all of 2020 and perhaps forever.
The rubric of our world has changed externally and internally, potentially forever. While many are struggling mentally and emotionally, we all have voices that carry energy.
Your voice can release grace and truth to hungry hearts and empty souls.
Paul, the apostle, was familiar with a voice he heard on the road to Damascus. The voice, accompanied by light, transformed his life forever. Although he had a life-changing experience, he still battled blindness and darkness for three days. -Acts 9:3-9. There are seasons where darkness can follow illumination but it imperative to remember, the darkness will not last.
There is hope on the other side for brighter reality. One that needs our voice to usher in the brilliance of hope.
Bread of Angels is based upon chapter 16 of the book of Acts and chronicles the story of Lydia, the seller of purple cloth. She was the first convert in Europe and a female business owner, a rare combination historically.
The novel brings Lydia to life Lydia giving her quirks and passions become quickly evident through this enchanting tale.
Lydia faces upheaval from her hometown as she faces the pain of betrayal, yet she finds a loyal friend despite the pain. She is left to flee Thyratira with her basic belongings and the arsenal of her Father’s secret dye. Rebekah, a single Jewess, discovers a place in Lydia’s heart as they connect as kindred companions. Rebekah begins to plant the seeds of faith into Lydia’s cracked soul.
Lydia’s character is endearing and easy to relate to; she experiences a host of emotions as she attempts to navigate unexpected change. The seeds planted by Rebekah began to take root, and Lydia’s growing faith enables her to overcome the challenges that come her way through reliance on Christ.
I had a hard time putting this novel down. I felt like I was apart of the story traveling from Thyatira to the northern city of Phillipi along with Lydia.
I found myself savoring the flavor of her words, inhaling the content of engaging banter colored with well researched biblical gems.
I also truly enjoyed delving into Lydia’s time with Paul. Reading about Paul makes me want to read more about his accounts in the new testament scriptures and glean from the depth of his wisdom.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I do feel like the ending was slightly abrupt, and I would have liked to hear more about the unexpected budding romance that Lydia found, narrated in greater detail.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“The way of Jesus worked in the opposite direction. It gave without asking for impossible assurances. It gave the way Jesus had, loving to death, knowing he might not be loved back.”
“Dare to try, knowing that you will make mistakes. You will fall short again and again, because there is no effort without error. In the end, you will either know the triumph of high achievement, or if you fail, you will fail while daring greatly.”
“I sometimes fancy that the completed work of the cross casts its shadow on other parts of my life too. Because Christ has finished the most crucial work on earth and in heaven, something of that completion covers all the unfinished parts of my life. What remains undone in me, through me, finds a resting place in Jesus’ finished work.”
As you pick up this novel, you will find yourself immersed in the daily reality in which the book of Acts took place. You will experience the beauty of an ancient city your senses in an enthralling fictional voyage. I found this novel refreshing, and I think you will, too, by how the power of deep reliance on God can turn even our most deep-rooted fears into victory beyond imagination.
Case for grace chronicles Lee’s journey of interviewing various individuals to see how grace has impacted their lives. From a homeless orphan to a murderer on death row, these heartwarming stories share a common thread. Lives transformed by the freedom that only grace can usher.
Lee manages to paint portraits of how grace has transformed lives skillfully. Each story is so diverse, yet grace is an unapologetic celebration of divine acceptance.
God celebrates each of us through adoption as children and also celebrates our revelation of freedom in Christ.
This book is crafted with delightful candor, insight, and is brimming with redemption. It is one of my favorite books by Lee Strobel and one that I genuinely wish I had encountered during the early days of becoming a believer.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption. Of all the gifts of grace, adoption is the highest.” ― J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we are comforted by God. – 2 Cor 1:3-5
God’s comfort is rooted in the stability of His love for each one of us.
Like many others, I have sought the healing balm worship music brings into the valleys of my faith.
Jeremy Camp is a much-adored Christian musician who has sung words of comfort into my life, words that still resonate with me years after I first heard them. His songs Wonderful Maker and The Way remain personal favorites of mine, ones that bring up memories of meditating on the goodness of God.
Named after one of his famous songs, the movie I Still Believe focuses on a season of Jeremy Camp’s faith journey. The film is full of authentic faith, reflecting the moments of faithfulness Jeremy strives to hold on to as well as other times when lacking faith; he learned to lean on God for His faithfulness.
It beautifully narrates a love story between Jeremy and his first wife, Melissa, who is diagnosed early on in their relationship with a terminal illness. Despite this unexpected detour, Jeremy believes faith can sustain them transcending the borders of health and disease, from the harbor of health to the erratic waves of an unknown future.
Not many people would dive into a valley with a fiancé facing an unpredictable future, yet Jeremy decides to heed the voice of God.
In his case, as in many biblical accounts, heeding to the voice of God ensures the will of God accomplish His purposes but does not always produce the outcome our hearts desire.
You may not have suffered the loss of a spouse like Jeremy did, but you may have wrestled with your faith in some season. Perhaps, you have experienced the death of a dream or career, or a meaningful relationship suddenly died.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6 New International Version (NIV)
The process of maturing in love includes handling hard emotions, unexpected losses, and wrestling with our desires.
We can choose, like Jeremy, to still believe the promises of God amidst the wrestling, amidst the dry seasons of faith, where growth seems sparse and painstakingly slow.
God allows us to experience the process of grief, although He desires that we intentionally open our hearts to receive the comfort that His grace offers. His compassion is a reminder of the gift of redemption that our stories may have hues of grief, yet it is the road to redemption that will color us back to life.
Esther was not born into royalty, yet favor catapulted her to a place of regal influence. Thankfully, Esther had the support of Mordecai who trusted the Lord and also believed in Esther’s ability to save the Jews.
Courage set Esther uniquely apart despite her own inhibitions.
The fulfillment of a call takes preparation including silent seasons. Esther remained faithful to trust God and as a result, she saw the faithfulness of God.
Her preparation lasted for a year including the use of myrrh, which is used to heal wounds. This implies wholeness is a deep desire of the Lord for the church.
1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (NIV)
Interestingly, Vashti was banished because of disobedience. A royal decree was made to give her royal position to someone else, someone else who would steward her position better than her. She is banished and her name is not mentioned again nor does she return to the palace.
Spiritually, we are royal stewards of gifts and talents. We are also assigned callings but our calling is contingent upon our response, submission and willingness to develop into maturity so we can serve people the way our Father desires.
In the case we disobey and do not respond, the Lord will still ensure His desires will reach fruition.
Obedience takes courage and yields much fruit. The obedience of Mordecai and Esther brought a cascade of redemption.
Often, it is not about doing things perfectly but responding courageously.
When we respond courageous to God, a sacred wholehearted yes with one individual can bring much change creating a legacy of love that will impact generations to come.
So a fundamental distinction between Vashti and Esther remains their response.
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? -Esther 4:14
Their response to the King determined their connection with the King and ultimately, their destiny.
As my eyes tried to adjust to the stubborn haze, I realized this journey felt familiar.
Years ago, as a new believer in Christ, my spiritual vision was dim. As I made attempts to make sense of Christianity and aspects of the gospel, I often had the sense of stumbling my way forward without clarity.
This new world seemed to hold promise although I didn’t understand how to tap into the promises of God or how to process what my senses were awakening to.
My faith muscles were about to be stretched. Abraham knew what it felt like to follow God into unknown territories leaving behind a world of comfort and familiarity. My journey began to take on a similar route.
As I felt the fog began to lift, I felt more relaxed and it became easier to navigate my trip.
Spiritual vision becomes acute with intentionality and depth in the context of relationships.
As Job states, “ I had heard of you only by the hearing of the ear, but now my spiritual eye sees You.” -Job 42:5
Similarly, as I began to grow in my faith walk, details became magnified as I noticed budding beauty all around me with a fresh perspective.
Jesus engages the senses to make each moment resplendently glorious resurrecting the wonder in each of us again.
John 9 tells the parable of a blind man and his encounter with Jesus.
Jesus creatively used spit to bring vision, turning the mundane into the miraculous.
It is interesting to note, that Jesus restored sight to a man who had never seen.
I hope you enjoy the podcast and it provides practical pearls of wisdom.
I encourage you to check out and subscribe to By His Grace podcast. It is available on iTunes and Spotify. You will grace filled testimonies that will uplift your heart and remind you of the Father’s goodness.
Q: Relationships aren’t always smooth sailing. Priscilla and Aquila in Daughter of Rome have their share of challenges. How did you decide what obstacles to have them overcome together and how do you hope their story will encourage others?
A: Priscilla and Aquila were expelled from Rome, which meant they were forced to leave their home, dear friends, and established business ties. The implied emotional and financial stress in such an unexpected move is enormous and bound to affect even the strongest of relationships. In Daughter of Rome, I tried to capture some of the complexities of love in troubled times. The story reminds us how important it is to choose love in marriage, to guard it, to fight for it. To avoid listening to the negative conclusions that our wounded hearts press upon us. I hope readers will be inspired by Priscilla and Aquila’s brave love for each other, for God, and for friend and foe alike.
Q: Your novels are set during biblical times when courtship customs were different from today. How do you give characters in your novels romances that will resonate with contemporary readers while also not making the love stories feel too modern for the setting?
A: I believe there are certain things about the human heart that never change regardless of the era. Women will always want to be known and cherished. Pursued. Men still need to feel honored and respected. They still dread failure. The ancient Romans and Israelites might not have gone out to the local Italian restaurant for a first date. But the main ingredients of a good romance never change.
Q: Is there a scene between Priscilla and Aquila in Daughter of Rome that was the most fun for you to write? Which scene is it?
A: Oddly, it is the scene where Aquila almost ruins everything. He withdraws his first proposal. Caught in a whirlwind of judgment, he can’t wait to walk away. But the reader is also aware, perhaps more than Aquila himself, that he can’t really let Priscilla go. I love the charged tension Aquila feels in this scene, his heart torn between a consuming love and sharp censure. Even though the scene doesn’t have a happy conclusion, as readers we are aware that it will eventually lead to a more satisfying union.
Q: What’s one of your favorite romantic lines a character says in your novels?
A: Goodness! This one is really difficult to answer. The romance of a line usually comes from the buildup of many previous scenes, adding momentum. But here is a stab at an answer. I chose a short scene from Land of Silence:
He strode toward me without a word and, before I could object, grabbed hold of my hands and hauled me into his arms.
“Ethan! I am unclean!”
He cradled my head against his shoulder. “I have never known a cleaner woman.”
Author Bio – Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of biblical and historical fiction. Her books have won the Christy and INSPY Awards and been voted by the Library Journal as one of top five Christian fiction titles of the year. Her first Bible Study and DVD, The Way Home, based on the book of Ruth, will be released from Moody Publishers in June 2020. Born in the Middle East, Tessa moved to England in her teens where she attended boarding school for girls before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds a Master of Divinity from Yale University, where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship for one year. She worked in women and prayer ministries for twenty years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker.