Archive for the ‘Beyond the Manuscript’ Category

National Day of Prayer

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In 1952, Congress passed a bill that directs the President to declare one day each year as a National Day of Prayer, encouraging the people of the United States to “turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” (Public Law 82-324, Sec. 119)

May 2, 2024 marks the 73rd annual National Day of Prayer, and the NDP Task Force chose “Lift Up the Word, Light Up the World” as its theme, focusing on 2 Samuel 22:29-31.

For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens the darkness, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuse in him. (ESV)

Ambassador International asked three of our authors who have written books on the topic to offer some thoughts on the power and practice of prayer. We trust that their words serve to encourage and inspire your own prayer life. Watch our social media space throughout the month of May, as we continue the theme of practicing a meditative walk with the Lord.

Prayer is Transformation

By Reverend John Clark Mayden, Jr.

Through God, prayer is transformational! James 5:16b echoes this statement: The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Our prayers have an impact.

My demanding six-year ordination process has given me a front-row seat to God’s move through prayer. Initially, I failed my preliminary theological exam twice, which delayed my being ordained. On the verge of quitting, ” I am not cut out for this,” were the words that circulated through my mind and arrested my spirit. However, the Lord prompted me to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and move forward.

Gradually, the Holy Spirit began to change me. I started to see these challenges as opportunities for spiritual growth and deeper Christian discipleship. My mindset changed, and I had a positive outlook on my struggle.

The Good News is that prayer is a vehicle the Lord uses to transform our lives. Set aside time every day to make this journey to God. We will experience God’s life-altering move.

It is reassuring to know that our prayers are not brushed aside. We are changed to handle the circumstances in our lives. Things may not improve immediately, but we must seek God in prayer. Prayer is effective and meaningful!

About the Author: Rev. John Clark Mayden, Jr. is the author of Prayer: The Most Reliable Wireless Communication. He is a Christian and the proud pastor of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Upperco, Maryland. He is married to Kirstyn, and the two have one daughter, Naomi. They reside in Baltimore, Maryland. Rev. Mayden is the author of four books: Breaking the Barriers: 31 Keys to Experience Inner Peace (2018), Breaking the Barriers: Keys to Unlocking Inner Peace (2015), The Victorious Life Prayers for Every Season of Life (2010), and Prayers for the People: A Book of Prayers for All People (2009).

Prayer Journaling

By Rosie J. Williams

I used to cringe when people would talk about being more disciplined with my “prayer life.” When I learned how to write and illustrate my prayers in a creative way, the connection with my Heavenly Father became intimate, personal, and life changing. Here are some ideas:

  1. Read a passage of Scripture. Psalms or Proverbs is a good place to start. As you meditate, ask the Lord to show you how this applies to your life. Pray the words over yourself, your family, and others.
  2. Get the YouVersion Bible app and sign up to receive a verse for the day to jump start your prayer time. Search for my Repurposed Faith Quiet Time Challenge (ten days) on YouVersion.
  3. When I started journaling, I learned modern calligraphy and lettering. Mixing and matching lettering and images sparks your God-given creativity. Dayspring offers many varieties of prayer journals. My favorite, Lettering Prayer Journal by Krystal Whitten, offers demonstrations on YouTube.
  4. “And when you pray, go into your room, and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

Repurposed Faith: Breathing New Life into Your Quiet Time - Rosie WilliamsAbout the Author: Rosie Williams is the author of Repurposed Faith: Breathing New Life Into Your Quiet Time. Rosie utilized her degree in Family and Child Development as a case manager, program director, and business owner. Rosie and her husband Steve work with Point Man International Ministries, a Christian organization for veteran families. She blogs at rosiejwilliams.com and has contributed to Faith Deployed Again; NIV, Military Wives’ New Testament With Psalms and Proverbs; and the Military Families Bible. The Williams have three adult sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren.

Ask, Seek, and Knock

By Curt Richards

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who ask receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-12 NIV)

These are my favorite verses on prayer. I have never interpreted these words of Jesus to mean that all my request will be granted. When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he explained that prayer was a continuous act. He was instructing his disciples how to develop a lifestyle built around active communication with the Father.

These words, ask, seek, and knock are words of action. I take this passage to mean that our prayer life should create in us a vigorous desire to communicate with God. We should ask God to develop in us a loving heart and to open doors as we seek opportunities to show our love to others.

About the Author: Curt Richards is the author of Misguided Passions and the Lord’s Prayer. He is a retired public school teacher from the Upstate of South Carolina. He has taught various science courses for thirty-eight years ranging from middle school to college. During his career, Richards has mentored numerous teachers and practice teachers. He feels that there is no higher calling than to guide young people as well as adults through their education. In his spare time, Richards enjoys studying nature, gardening, hiking, reading, socializing with family and friends, and writing across multiple genres.

Is Christ in Your Christmas?: A Letter from Our Publisher

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For many adults and children alike, Christmas truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.” Families come together, gifts are exchanged, and plenty of food is eaten. But with so much going on, we can find ourselves so wrapped up in the business and blur of the season that we miss what Christmas is all about. We become so enveloped in trying to find the perfect Christmas tree, sing the perfect Christmas songs, and find that perfect gift for loved ones that we forget that these minor things are not the true meaning of Christmas. It is so important for us to realize that we need to slow down and be reminded of our Savior’s birth and the story of the first Christmas.
 Author Karen Straszheim shares her experience and thoughts about Christmas in her book A Sanctuary in Our Midst. She walks readers through that first Christmas night, shares of the events leading up to it, and explores what it means to us today. She reminds us not to get caught up or strung out in the midst of the holiday madness and rush. Her book helps place the focus where it should be during the busy Christmas season: on Jesus.

“People in the Bible were glad for what they learned about God from prophecy. At Christmas, we also can be glad for what we learn about God from Scripture. One day, we will enter heaven with everlasting joy. For now, we can enter Christmas with singing, gladness, and joy. He came so we can know Him.”

“If God had not loved and protected Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, what would have been the outcome for them? In Matthew, it says that “Herod gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.” There was heard among the people “weeping and great mourning . . . Parents weeping for their children . . . because they [were] no more” (Matt. 2:16,18). But Joseph and Mary returned to Israel with their child still living. God’s love was shown to them through the protection of their child’s life.

“Some people feel unloved or abandoned throughout the year and these feelings are noticed even more in the Christmas season. Our culture says this is a time to be with family. But for some, the people they’d like to be with are absent. A parent hasn’t been there for them as a child or an adult. For others, an important person has left, quit, walked out or died, leaving them feeling deserted, cast off, or rejected. A person who has been abandoned can feel lonely, forgotten, forlorn, or sometimes hopeless.
”God, however, says, ‘I will live among the [people] and won’t abandon my people’ (1 Kings 6:13). Jesus had a Father who loved Him and didn’t abandon Him to permanent death. We have the same Father who gives the same love and care to us He gave to His son Jesus (John 17:23, 26). We have hope in a love that is unfailing (Ps. 147:11). He shows us His love with the forgiveness He of­fers us. His compassions are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23). He is merciful and faithful to us (Heb. 2:17). God is a parent who is there for His children. He listens to us attentively: ‘ . . . You will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jer. 29:12-13).

“If you are feeling lonely or forgotten this Christmas, call on your heav­enly Father. A Sanctuary in Our MidstPray and let Him know how you are and what you need. He will be there for you.”
“God is both supremely above us and with us. Jesus, He who saves, is also Immanuel, God with us. He is a king who is a servant to His people (John 13:1-16). God gave me a banquet of knowledge about Himself and then proclaimed a holiday. He “distributed gifts with royal liberality,” which included the gift of rest (Esther 2:18). This idea changed my thinking about Christmas.

“Christmas, for me, now isn’t the usual, a time to be busy. It has become a time for understanding what rest is: rest from sin and rest from work; a time for having joy in who Jesus is and what He came to do. Ezekiel 37:28 says, “The nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy when my sanctuary is among them forever.” As a sanctuary, God shelters His people. He watches over us and takes care of us. He is in our midst to help us in the ways we need. This Christmas, may you, too, find Him doing the unexpected in your life in ways that show you He is a sanctuary.”

To learn more about Straszheim and A Sanctuary in Our Midst, visit HERE.

So What’s the Big Deal with Halloween? A Collective Series

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Leaves are falling and chocolate peanut butter cups line the shelves. It must be October. This October, Ambassador International hosted a five-part series titled: So What’s the Big Deal with Halloween.

We’re going to include snippets of each post and a link to them for your reading leisure! Our goal is to provide resources for you so that you feel empowered to make the right decisions for your family. 

From Allen Steadham​If one is celebrating Halloween in any form, it is giving silent acceptance to all of Halloween, including the harmful and evil representations. Presently, many people do not believe in spirits — or anything they can’t identify with their five senses.

Read the rest of Allen’s article HERE!

 

From Malinda FugateAll holidays are an opportunity to learn history. We find that our modern celebrations have grown from a blend of multiple cultures and periods.
Halloween is no exception; pagan roots mingle with the church’s observation of All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day. This presents us with an opportunity to choose what we’d like to keep and what we reject. In fact, our version of a holiday doesn’t have to look like our neighbor’s, and we can personalize our traditions to remember the past and start something meaningful and new.

Read the rest of Malinda’s article HERE!

 

From Katie Cruice SmithPeople are searching for something during Christmas and Easter, and the Church has the opportunity to show them the One they need. But Halloween does not draw people closer to Christ. The “fun” is shrouded in darkness, with strangers being begged to give candy to our kids. Our children are encouraged to be mischievous for the evening because “it’s all in good fun.”

Read the rest of Katie’s article HERE!

 

From Jake TysonWhile the origins of the holiday may lie in some way with occult practices, that is hardly its state today. While a few practitioners of occult religion might continue to hold those traditions, it is hardly the prevalent theme of the holiday as celebrated by the majority of Americans. When we think of Halloween now, we think of candy, fun costumes, and childhood. For the vast majority, the devil and demons never enter into that framework.

Read the rest of Jake’s article HERE!

 

From Daphne SelfAs I said, I experienced the occult. Not just a brush with it but was involved in it until Christ saved me from that life. But the stain of what I know and seen and experienced stays with me. And it pains me to see fellow Christians defend, or even partake in, such an evil. And I will stress again, it is evil. It is not of God, therefore anything not of God is not good

Read the rest of Daphne’s article HERE!

 

#Throwback Thursday: Political Correctness Does More Harm Than Good: How to Identify, Debunk, and Dismantle Dangerous Ideas

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As we reminisce on the over forty years that God has blessed Ambassador International to remain in business, we are highlighting a different #backlistbook each week in a series called #ThrowbackThursday.

Political Correctness Does More Harm Than Good: How to Identify, Debunk, and Dismantle Dangerous Ideas was published by Ambassador International on October 27, 2020. Why did we pick this book to feature for our #ThrowbackThursday? Because “truth is an early casualty of political correctness.” So, there’s no better time than to close out what the world recognizes as “Pride Month” than by highlighting a book that helps readers fight lies with the truth. Truth matters, and its mechanism of dissemination is words.

In his book, Political Correctness Does More Harm Than Good, Douglas Kruger, an international speaker and author, looks at each of the most popular issues in today’s culture—their origins, their purpose, their arguments, and their lies.

Political Correctness Does More Harm Than Good is a guide to combating toxic Politically Correct culture, from socialism to identity-politics, and halting the creep of harmful ideologies across our civilization. It is a how-to manual for hardcore debaters, who believe in the value of hard-won Western traditions, such as science, logic, free markets, rule of law, and the Judeo-Christian tradition. The book helps readers to understand and articulate the flaws and fallacies taken for granted in “woke” culture today with the end goal of winning hearts and minds.

In this politically correct world, Douglas Kruger helps readers see that being politically correct isn’t creating peace but instead is starting a war. And he gives us the tools we need to ready ourselves for the fight for right.Political Correctness Does More Harm Than Good by Douglas Kruger

The conclusion of Political Correctness Does More Harm Than Good is this: You can have political correctness, or you can have truth. But you cannot have both.

 

You can add Political Correctness Does More Harm Than Good to your Goodreads HERE and you can learn more and find purchase links HERE. This book is available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook.

 

For the next few days, you can grab the Political Correctness Does More Harm Than Good ebook for 2.99!

New YouVersion Plan: Turning Ashes Into Beauty by Anne Farnum

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As part of Ambassador International’s mission to “magnify the Lord Jesus Christ and promote His gospel through the written word,” we are a partner with YouVersion to help people make the Bible a part of their everyday lives. Author Anne Farnum has just released her third Bible plan with YouVersion titled “Turning Ashes Into Beauty.”

Life is messy! Sometimes we need to own the messiness; sometimes, it is just part of living in a sinful world. God takes the struggles and hardships of this world and redeems them. We need to know this truth that God is faithfully at work as we encounter our world. Join Anne Farnum over the next five days and discover what to do with the ashes you hold.

Click HERE or search for “Ambassador International” in your YouVersion app and find this plan, along with all our others, to get started!

#Throwback Thursday: The Sex Spiral

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As we reminisce on the over forty years that God has blessed Ambassador International to remain in business, we are highlighting a different #backlistbook each week in a series called #ThrowbackThursday.

Dustin Daniels is the Senior Pastor of the River Bible Church in Cottonwood, AZ. He is the co-founder of Revive40, a Christ-centered sexual purity ministry that teaches and trains God’s design for sex, marriage, and the family. He is also the host of the podcast, “God, Sex and You,” that is listened to in 80 countries around the world. Dustin and his wife Amy, live in Cottonwood, AZ. Dustin Daniels

Dustin’s book, The Sex Spiral: Forgiven and Free from Pornography, was published by Ambassador International on January 8, 2018. While this book doesn’t fall too far back in our catalogue backlist, we felt this book was appropriate to share during the month of June because Dustin’s book first looks at God’s design for marriage and sexuality.

Every Sunday, in Bible-believing churches across the world, pews are filled with men and women who have been forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ. However, millions of people walk away from the worship service confused as to why they are not experiencing the freedom that the Scriptures proclaim.

The Sex Spiral Throwback ThursdayThere is a direct correlation between the confusion and apathy of sexuality within our churches and the pandemic of pornography in our pews.

Unfortunately, the statistics are too big to quote and we don’t believe them when we do. How is it possible that so many Christians are addicted to pornography? Isn’t Jesus enough? Why are we still being tempted with lust? What’s wrong? What’s missing?

Sexual sin is powerful and unforgiving—it grows if unaddressed and devours lives. Daniels writes that it was only through his active church community and, most importantly, the forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ, which broke his spiral of sin and allowed him the freedom that the Scriptures proclaim. Daniels’ book is not a self-help book or a twelve-step program, but rather The Sex Spiral: Forgiven and Free From Pornography is a Biblical plan to experience not only the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, but also the freedom He promises.

You can add The Sex Spiral to your Goodreads HERE and you can learn more and find purchase links HERE. This book is currently available in paperback and ebook.

 

For the month of June, you can grab the The Sex Spiral ebook for 0.99!

Carol Award Semi-Finalist: Addy of the Door Islands!

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The Carol Award Semi-Finalists were announced this week, and we’re thrilled that Addy of the Door Islands by Judy DuCharme has been listed as a semi-finalist in the young adult category!

Addy of the Door Islands is the story of Addy, a little girl who arrived on an orphan train with her sister, desperate for a home, love, and acceptance. Lainey and her husband Clifford find themselves on the verge of parenthood—both adoptive and biological—and find that their adventures on Door Island are only beginning.

Learn more about this long-awaited sequel to Lainey of the Door Islands HERE and add it to your Goodreads HERE.

#Throwback Thursday: Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual and the Church

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As we reminisce on the over forty years that God has blessed Ambassador International to remain in business, we are highlighting a different #backlistbook each week in a series called #ThrowbackThursday.

Peter Hubbard is Teaching Pastor at North Hills Community Church in Taylors, SC, where he has communicated the truth of the Scriptures since the church began in 1992. He has earned two masters degrees and is currently completing a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral counseling at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

In his book Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual and The Church, published by Ambassador International on June 24, 2013, Hubbard seeks to answer the question, “How can Christians live in a culture that promotes the gay lifestyle, yet worship in a culture that never talks about it—other than possibly to condemn it?”

Homosexuality is one of the most controversial moral issues of our day, yet, sadly the church has often been afraid to talk about homosexuality. Many Christians feel confused and divided between the call to love and the call for truth. And many who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction feel alone and alienated by the church.

Hubbard admits in his book, “The first time I counseled a man struggling with same-sex attraction (SSA), I felt awkward [but] the more I listened, the more I learned, the more I realized—we are not different. We are the same. Our specific battles and sins may vary, but our hearts are the same. And our daily need for the grace of Jesus is the same.”

The time is ripe, now more than ever, for God’s people to think and speak about same-sex attraction in a way that is both biblical and beneficial. We must reject our fears and misunderstandings and see ourselves together in need of the grace of Jesus. Love Into Light is designed to move the church toward that end.

Written from the heart of a pastor with a love for people and a sensitivity to our culture, Love Into Light is your next step toward becoming more faithfully and helpfully engaged with people in your families, in your church, and in your neighborhood.

 

You can add Love Into Light  to your Goodreads HERE and you can learn more and find purchase links HERE. This book is currently available in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and ebook.

 

For the month of June, you can grab the Love Into Light ebook for 4.99 {a savings of 50%!}. Don’t miss out on this powerfully insightful book.