Category Archives: Devotional

Review: Prepare Him Room, by Susie Larson

Prepare Him Room, by Susie Larson (Bethany House, 2021)

Did you know there are 24 chapters in the Gospel of Luke? That’s one for each day of December until Christmas Eve.

Prepare Him Room is a gentle invitation to make space in our lives this Christmas season, to take time to refocus our spirits on Jesus and not miss the “sacredness of the season”. As the introduction says,

…it’s precisely this season when Christians most often lose sight of what’s available to them in Christ Jesus. [page 11]

In Prepare Him Room: A Daily Advent Devotional, each reading opens with related Scripture verses and quotes from other authors. In a friendly, conversational style, author Susie Larson shares anecdotes and applications that reorient us to Jesus, His presence, and His power.

Each day concludes with a prayer and a suggested “fast” from a thought pattern, attitude, etc. I’m sure we’re not expected to magically erase each one from our lives in one day, but in training us to notice these things in our lives, the author gives us a tool for ongoing, prayerful growth in the days ahead.

Favourite line:

Even though God delays, He delivers. [page 17]

My review copy is a delightful hardcover gift book complete with ribbon marker. The simplicity of the cover is like a deep breath, slowing me down to rest as I open to the day’s reading. I look forward to going back through the pages when December comes. [An ebook version is also available.]

For more about author and speaker Susie Larson, and for her online devotional encouragement, visit susielarson.com.

[Review copy provided by Baker Publishing Group via Graf-Martin Communications. My review is voluntary and is my own uninfluenced opinion.]

Follow me on BookBub

Review: Psalms 365, volume 1, by David Kitz

Psalms 365: Develop a Life of  Worship and Prayer, volume 1, by David Kitz (Elk Lake Publishing, 2020)

With Psalms 365, author and storyteller David Kitz provides short, practical, and personal daily devotions from the beloved Book of Psalms. I’ve found it to be a valuable addition to my day.

Each reading points to a psalm, drawing on a key verse for the day’s focus. There’s a conversational-style reflection on the passage and a prayer of response. Then to encourage readers to deepen a lifestyle of worship and prayer each devotional concludes with a question to think about and to perhaps take into personal conversation with God.

Anyone familiar with the psalms knows that some are songs of worship, some of lament, others of repentance or even anger. Not always easy topics to draw an inspirational message from! David Kitz mines treasure from each one.

Volume 1 of Psalms 365 begins at Psalm 1 and goes to the end of Psalm 51. Volume 2 is also available, covering the next section, and volume 3 is still to come.

Excerpts from the Psalms 365 series can be found on the author’s blog, I Love the Psalms. On the blog he includes photos, which aren’t part of the books. Award-winning author David Kitz is also a Bible dramatist, conference speaker, and ordained minister. For more about him and his books, visit davidkitz.ca.

[Review copy provided by the author. My opinions are my own.]

Follow me on BookBub

Gifts of Good Words: Christmas Devotions

Visit the Facebook event page by clicking the image above, or click here.

Follow the Gifts of Good Words Blog Hop taking place from November 4-18, 2020, and find quality Canadian Christian books for those on your Christmas list! Then on November 18th, join the Good Words Virtual Book Fair on Facebook (click here).

Who doesn’t need a little extra encouragement this December, after the year we’ve had? Yes, there’s been good as well as the bad, but many of us are a little weary.

Give yourself an early Christmas present! Or give one to a friend.

Tenacity at Christmas is a collection of short, conversational daily devotions for the month of December (hence the “early gift”).

Funny enough, I’ve been working on this little book since releasing the 365-day devotional book A Year of Tenacity back in 2017. Originally this was going to be a free ebook with 7 entries. Then it grew to 12. Now it’s 31.

And did you ever have a project come together so easily it stunned you? That’s this book for me, this year. Even the formatting, which I do myself and which usually leaves me pulling my hair. It took more than one try but far less than the 17-plus my other books need.

I feel like God gave me a bit of extra grace in the writing, finishing, and releasing this one. Not that I’m claiming it has any “special anointing” content-wise! But this is a year when we need extra sources of encouragement. From that perspective, here’s one more resource.

Tenacity at Christmas: 31 Daily Devotions for December
Click the image for more details or click here.

The ebook simply contains the daily devotions. The print version also includes daily guided prayer journal pages. For more about Tenacity at Christmas, click here.

Looking for other books? I’d be remiss if I didn’t let you know about my mystery-suspense fiction and my reader’s journals. Here’s a picture, but you can also find them through the tabs at the top of this page: Green Dory Inn Mysteries, Redemption’s Edge series, and Non-fiction.

Please check out books by my fellow Canadian Christian authors!

Follow me on BookBub

New Christmas Devotional Book

Need a little daily encouragement this December?

Tenacity at Christmas: 31 Daily Devotions for December
Click the image for more details or click here.

Give yourself five minutes and pour a cup of your favourite hot beverage. Let’s read a Bible verse or two and remind ourselves of the Reason for the Season.

In your busyness and life circumstances, good or bad…

In your relationships, sweet or strained…

These short, uplifting readings will strengthen your spirit and inspire your heart.

May this Christmas season bring at least one new treasured memory, and may you be blessed to be a blessing.

Print version includes prayer journal pages.

Follow me on BookBub

99-cent Ebooks While We’re Self-isolating

I hope you’re doing okay in these uncertain days. The most important things we can do are to pray for one another (and for our leaders!) and to care for one another in whatever way we can.

One small thing I can do is to reduce the price of my ebooks — people who are spending more time at home need distractions from the never-ending news loops. Books are great for that, and books that remind us of God’s care are extra-valuable now. Many Christian authors I know have been able to reduce their prices, and we all seem to be saying “it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s something I can do.”

So for the rest of March and into April, each of my ebooks will be 99 cents worldwide.

For convenience, the buy links on my Books2Read page should lead to the appropriate country for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Apple. Link: https://bit.ly/Books2ReadJanetSketchley

This applies for the three Redemption’s Edge novels (suspense/romantic suspense), the two Green Dory Inn Mysteries, and my daily devotional book. Feel fee to share this offer with your reading friends.

Christmas Devotional and Giveaway

If you like Christmas devotionals, check out my guest post at Patti’s Porch. Someone who comments on the post (on that site, not here) will win a print or ebook copy of my daily devotional book, A Year of Tenacity. Draw is on December 17, 2019.
Link: This is the Lord’s Battle.

Angel Song

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
Philippians 2:6-7a, NLT*

No wonder the angels’ announcement split the sky, and the shepherds cowered in fear.

The angels knew what was going on, at least this part of the story. They’d known at least since Gabriel had delivered news to the priest Zechariah that Elizabeth would conceive John the Baptist. They may have known longer.

Among the humans, only Mary and Joseph knew, and Elizabeth and Zechariah.

This huge, astounding, mind-breaking secret: God Himself became an embryo and was born a baby who was fully God and fully human. And somehow still remained God the Father, ruling the universe.

The angels knew. Can you imagine the sheer jubilation of their announcement?

Today, we know. May we take some time to ponder this news that’s more than human minds can grasp. May the Holy Spirit reveal its truth to the depths of our beings.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, what can we say but “thank You”? What can we do but worship You? Please let the magnitude of the Incarnation change us, for Your glory.

Here’s Austin Stone Worship’s A Day of Glory.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Cover Reveal: A Year of Tenacity

My new devotional book releases this month, and it’s time to share the cover!

A Year of Tenacity: 365 Daily Devotions #devotional #ChristianlivingYou may notice a similarity to the background of my website. This image of a wild rose growing in a crack in a huge boulder speaks to me of perseverance and… tenacity! Trivia point: the photo was taken at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, home of a famous lighthouse, numerous tourist attractions, and a colony of extremely large rocks.

I’ll be adding more details to the book page soon, including the release date and pre-order options.

For now, here’s what the back cover says:

365 Daily Devotions to Warm Your Spirit and Encourage Your Heart

“Tenacity” is persistence. Holding on. Not giving up. It’s a quality we need as Christians, and the beautiful thing we discover as we spend time with the Lord is the depth of His tenacity toward us. We may falter, but His hold is sure, His love unshakable, and His grace without limit.

Like the wild rose thrives with its roots anchored in the cleft in the rock, we find life and security when we abide in our Rock.

A Year of Tenacity is a compilation of the best devotionals from the author’s blog, “Tenacity,” freshly updated for this book. Some are short, others fill a page, but each of these conversational-style insights and heart-sharing moments will bless and inspire.

Entries are numbered by day, not by date, so readers aren’t tied to a calendar year and don’t have to play catch-up if they miss a few days.

Honest, engaging, and uplifting, these devotionals are ideal for both long-time Christians and those just finding their way.

 

9 Years of Blogging

Cake with candle and caption: celebrate!Nine years ago today, I posted my very first devotional. So… it seems a good moment to announce the project I’ve been quietly working on for the past year:

A Year of Tenacity: 365 Daily Devotions will be (you guessed it) a one-year book of daily devotionals, compiled from updated versions of the best of nine years’ devotional posts here.

The book will release in print and electronic formats in April, and I hope to do a cover reveal soon.

Does this mean I’m not writing more fiction? Definitely not! The first book in the Green Dory Inn Mystery series is well in hand, and I’m aiming for a late 2017 release. My newsletter subscribers will hear about it first, but I’ll be sharing here on my blog as well. Want to subscribe? Click here: bit.ly/JanetSketchleyNews.

Residual Strongholds

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power.
Acts 8:18, NLT*

Simon had been a magician and a man of great influence before Philip showed up and began teaching about Jesus and doing miracles. Along with many others, “Simon himself believed and was baptized” (Acts 8:13, NLT).

Old ways of life die hard, and his request here shows that he still doesn’t understand the power of God. Peter’s stern response points out that Simon’s motives aren’t right, either. He’s not wanting to be able to do this for God’s glory. Peter sees evil thoughts, bitter jealousy, and captivity to sin (Acts 9:22, 23).

Simon had been using evil power before his conversion. Naturally there would be residual strongholds to tear down.

Whatever our backgrounds, the world around us and our own selfish sin-nature have formed mindsets, attitudes, habits we likely don’t even notice, that keep us from all God has for us.

But God is committed to completing His work in us. When He brings one of these hidden issues to light, it’s never to condemn us or to somehow revoke our salvation. It’s to call us to repentance and into cooperation with Him in changing us to be more like His Son.

Merciful, gracious God who is so kind to us, thank You for Your gift of salvation. You give us spiritual rebirth, and You grow us in maturity as Your children. Give us sensitivity to Your work in our hearts, and help us work with You in clearing out the garbage so Your good can replace it.

I love this song from Vertical Church Band: “Restore My Soul.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.