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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Connections: Daily Boost Authors

A Gift of Encouragement

Writers for Daily Boost, the Pentecostal Evangel’s free devotional email service, come from diverse backgrounds. But they all seek to connect readers with God’s Word as a source of wisdom and personal encouragement. Recently, five Daily Boost authors shared with Scott Harrup, managing editor, some of their thoughts on their writing ministries and their own reliance on biblical truth when addressing life challenges.

Rose McCormick Brandon blogs and writes for various publications from her home in Caledonia, Ontario, Canada. Kristen Feola lives in Springfield, Mo., and recently published the book The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast. William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and has contributed more than 100 devotionals to Daily Boost. Gary Rogers, senior pastor of Grand Assembly of God in Chickasha, Okla., is another 100-plus author. George Paul Wood is director of Ministerial Resourcing for the Assemblies of God.

evangel: Why do you participate in the ministry of Daily Boost?

ROGERS: I started a weekly email devotion as a pastor a few years ago. The response from the people was so encouraging. The articles were forwarded to others, and I received feedback from people outside the church in other states and even other countries. When Daily Boost started, I forwarded my weekly devotion. It is exciting to have the opportunity to reach so many different people.

BRANDON: I want to offer readers spiritual food. God has filled my plate with good things. I envision handing readers a fork and inviting them to share my meal.

FEOLA: When subscribers open their Daily Boost email, they’re seeking a word of encouragement to give them strength for the day. Each opportunity I have to speak into their lives is truly an honor. I pray that readers are blessed by my devotions and what God has shown me through His Word.

RICHARDSON: When I saw the invitation for pastors to submit devotionals for a planned website, I sensed the Holy Spirit tapping me on the shoulder. I’d written devotional articles for the newspaper in the town where I pastor. I recognized writing for Daily Boost as an open door God wanted me to walk through.

WOOD: For reasons both personal and pastoral. As a person, my spiritual growth tracks closely with how deeply I immerse myself in the biblical text. As a pastor, I cannot imagine discipling people without walking them verse-by-verse through Scripture.

evangel: How does your own commitment to personal devotions impact your spiritual life?

BRANDON: Prayer fills my soul with God’s wonder. I often need a focus readjustment. The Holy Spirit does this when I spend time with Him. It’s usually during my personal devotions that the Spirit inspires me to write.

WOOD: My spiritual life rises and falls with my practice of daily devotion. There simply is no substitute for listening to God through His Word and speaking to Him in prayer.

FEOLA: When I start my day with the Lord, it makes all the difference the rest of the day. If I miss that time in Bible study and prayer, I will struggle the rest of the day. Nothing is more important than seeking God above all else. Those precious moments with Him enable and equip me to walk in victory.

RICHARDSON: Daily devotions is the oxygen for my spiritual life. I must have that time every morning drawing closer to God and surrendering everything to Him.

ROGERS: Everything I am and do is founded upon my personal relationship with Christ. My personal devotional time is the lifeline that keeps me connected to Christ Jesus. Personal devotions cannot be overemphasized. My ministry can only be as effective as my dependency upon the Lord. My devotional time communicates to God how totally dependent I am upon Him.

evangel: What would you describe as a key emphasis or theme when writing your devotionals?

RICHARDSON: I want to communicate how the Bible applies to day-to-day life, both in speaking to our struggles as well as revealing God’s strategies for our lives.

BRANDON: I don’t deliberately plan a theme, but in looking back I see much of my work is on the theme of encouragement. Many years ago, the Lord impressed on me that He wanted me to encourage His people.

WOOD: The integration of head, heart and hand. I want people to understand God’s Word so that they love Him and their neighbors deeply, and act accordingly.

ROGERS: One of my constant themes in writing is keeping Jesus as Lord of our lives. Jesus came to not just be our Savior, but to be our Lord and Savior. It is so critical that the teaching of Jesus and His principles be the primary influence directing our lives.

FEOLA: My goal is to encourage people to be not only hearers of the Word but doers as well (James 1:22). I share at least one Bible verse in each devotion and challenge readers to find a way to put God’s truth into action.

evangel: Where do you get your ideas?

FEOLA: The Lord! He gives me insight into how to attach biblical truth to everyday life experiences. It’s often just that simple. For example, when we were inundated with several days of steady rain this past spring, God enlarged my understanding of Deuteronomy 32:2, which says, “Let my teaching fall like rain” (NIV). He helped me to see how His Word is like refreshing rain for our souls.

WOOD: I start with trying to understand the Bible myself, then I turn to commentaries, then I turn to everyday experiences that illuminate or reflect what’s going on in the text.

ROGERS: Ideas for devotions come from a variety of sources. My five grandsons provide insights that I’d never have without their perspectives. I use a lot of daily life examples and current events. Sometimes a Scripture from my personal devotional time will be the source by which a devotion is written.

RICHARDSON: I see life abounding with applications to truths in God’s Word. I try keeping my radar on throughout the day to see those applications. Among other things, I’ve been inspired by radio news reports, eBay, Jeopardy! and attending a spelling bee. Often a light comes on when I’m reading or presenting Scripture. For instance, while teaching a Sunday School lesson on the Book of Habakkuk, I realized, “There’s a Daily Boost in this.” There was.

BRANDON: Ideas come from reading and studying Scripture, from personal experience and from my desire to point people to Jesus.

I’m an avid reader of biographies of great Christians, books of testimony, books on prayer and revival, and Bible commentaries. My ideas often come from the testimonies of ordinary Christians. I’m completely thrilled when I observe God at work in a human heart, transforming lives, speaking to His people. These things excite and inspire me. I can’t help but share them.

evangel: How has God’s Word strengthened you during a crisis?

WOOD: Several years ago, I went through a season of clinical depression. I don’t remember exactly what I read or prayed. I simply know that daily reading and prayer kept me spiritually grounded and helped me recover joy in the Lord.

FEOLA: During my early 30s, I struggled with a physical affliction. It was a difficult time in my life, but instead of wallowing in despair, I turned to God’s Word for comfort. One verse that strengthened me was Psalm 119:71: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” The suffering I endured ended up being a blessing because it drew me closer to the Lord.

BRANDON: I faced a serious crisis a number of years ago. Overwhelmed by potential disaster, I felt the Lord say to me, I was with you yesterday; I’ll be with you tomorrow, disaster or no disaster. This word to me encompasses many Scriptures. Two of them are: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).

RICHARDSON: I recall a situation I felt had me up against a brick wall. I sought God for help, with my Bible open before me. After praying, I turned to the Book of Job, to God’s speech in chapters 38-41. God asks Job, “Where were you when ... ?” followed by examples from nature and the universe that prove God’s eternal and infinite power. That prayer session put both God and my problem into proper perspective. I returned to my day confident God was in complete control.

ROGERS: God’s Word is the sustaining power that gives consistency in life. Whether facing a crisis, dealing with a weakness, searching for direction, or needing answers to one of life’s difficulties, the Word of God is the constant in my life that guides me through. God’s Word provides me an unchanging standard of right and wrong. In this ever-changing world, I need the constant of God’s Word.

evangel: What is a favorite passage of Scripture you would suggest as a comfort to someone in need?

BRANDON: Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

ROGERS: First Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (NKJV). We don’t have to hold back anything from the Lord. No matter how insignificant the need may seem or how insurmountable it may appear, He cares and wants to be our answer.

RICHARDSON: Matthew 11:28. We pray for immediate results. They don’t always come. Difficult family matters, financial challenges and disturbing health issues can linger. While praying and anticipating answers, we need to rest in Jesus. He calls to us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

FEOLA: I have so many favorites that it’s hard to choose just one! However, I love Psalm 62:1, which reminds me that God is the One who sustains us at all times and in every situation: “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him” (NIV).

WOOD: First Corinthians 13:12: “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” Our thoughts shape our feelings and actions. Sometimes, when we’re distressed, we want to know why things are happening to us. A better question is when. At the present time, we don’t and can’t know everything. But someday, when all is revealed, we’ll see that what’s really important is that God has known us all along.


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