Book Review – A Voice Of Hope

Book Review – A Voice Of Hope

A Voice of Hope

By Connie Bricker Shaler

You can pick up a copy of her book at

On the back cover of the book where it gives you an idea of what the book is about, it asks “Are you trying to cope with depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, grief, anxiety, lingering illness, or imminent death?”

The story takes a look at the spiritual side of Connie Bricker Shaler and her poor health spanning a twenty-eight year period. It is her spiritual journey.

a_voice_of_hope“A Voice of Hope” doesn’t read like a journey at all. It reads like a Christian self help book or a Christian devotional book. The key words printed on the back cover imply it is being marketed as a Christian devotional book. As such, it is a good book.

Sadly, it doesn’t talk that much about her depression and Chronic Fatigue.

Based on how this book was presented to me and based on what the back cover said, I went into the book looking for a story of a person and how sick they were with depression and Chronic Fatigue. How did those illnesses affect her ability to carry on or did those chronic illnesses interfere with relationships, work, mothering, etc. I expected those ideas to be the subject of the book since depression and chronic fatigue were mentioned as much as they were.

I need to say up front that this book is worth the read. It is thought provoking and inspiring. However, I was disappointed because it referred very little to how her spiritual journey affected her illnesses. Her journey was inspiring, but I would like to have seen how her journey was affected, step by step.

I would like to have had her explain how her CFS affected her daily living over time and how, during the flare ups, her spiritual encounters helped her. There is only a little story behind some of the narration and reflections and then it isn’t in any chronological order.

So enough bashing, because that’s what I feel like I’m doing. I don’t want to come across as bashing the book because it is a good Christian devotional book and if you go into the book properly prepared, I think you will find it enjoyable and inspirational.

I think she should do a book or ebook with just her poetry.

When I realized “A Voice of Hope” wasn’t what I expected, I didn’t put it down or throw it out. I kept reading. I read it like a devotional book, no longer looking for the correlation between her illnesses and here spiritual journey.

My copy of the book has my handwriting in the margins and many sentences highlighted or underlined. I was inspired by many of her thoughts and touched by many of her poems. I have some new outlooks on different aspects of my journey with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Her typical format is to start of a section with some narrative, an occasional original poem and then some related quotes and then a reflection box which often summaries that section and asks probing questions getting you to think about what you have just read. Often those reflections encourage you to think and apply her ideas in your life.

She includes many of her poems and they are very good. Her narration is good also. The book is laid out nicely and it’s got a good readable font. Its 179 pages.

I should have been able to read it in a few hours, but it took several days of reading to get through it because it caused me to think and ponder. It was an inspirational book more than it was an entertaining book. The only real complaint is that for me, it would have been nice to have her narrative and poems interspersed with the chronology of her illness so we knew how she was feeling and what she was thinking about at the time certain events happened. It would also be nice to know how life and her chronic illnesses are doing at this later stage in her life.

I endorse this book wholeheartedly and recommend reading it from the standpoint of being a Christian devotional book more than anything else. I would lovingly encourage her to get it on ebook at an affordable price because this book as the ability to touch and inspire many people, both with and with chronic illnesses.

Christian Daily Devotional – Do It Unto Me

Daily Christian Devotional

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least my brethren, ye have done it unto me. This scripture should be understood and felt by everyone that professes to follow Jesus Christ.


Literally, everything we do for people is as if we are doing it unto Jesus be it good or bad.  If we mistreat others we are mistreating Jesus. If we treat others well then we are literally treating our Savior well.

If we turn away the beggars, or panhandlers, we are turning away the Messiah. If we open the door for others then we are holding the door open for the Master.

If you bear false witness against your neighbor or treat your fellow man bad in any way you are doing the same to our Redeemer. Do these words make you uncomfortable or defensive?  If so then thanks to repentance, you can be forgiven and go about treating all men good. Thus treating Jesus Christ well.

You daily activities and you words you speak and thoughts you think all mean something. For better or worse, they will be used for you or against you depending on how you think and speak and treat others. God bless you all as you strive to serve the Lord through your actions towards others and your thoughts and words as well.

Daily Devotional: Whom The Lord Loveth He Correcteth

Daily Devotional: Whom The Lord Loveth He Correcteth

My son, despise not the chastening….For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth.


This inspirational daily quote tells us that through the Lords love he will, from time to time, chasten us to help us make course corrections. They may seem stiff and unpleasant but sometimes that is the price of salvation. Remember the Lord loves us in good times or bad.

Why Would Anyone Want to Deny Their Savior?

Why Would Anyone Want to Deny Their Savior?

reighn_deny_him If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. (2 Timothy 2:12)

This verse is speaking to those who know Christ but choose, for whatever reason to deny Him. You can’t deny what you don’t know.

This daily devotional asks this question, why would anyone want to deny their Savior, the one who suffered, bleed and died for us that we might live forever?

What are some ways we could end up denying our Savior? Knowing better, we make poor choices that draw us away from Him. Every choice we make has consequences. If we make an impulsive bad choice when we know better could really hurt our spiritual progression.

Maybe we are lazy and in that laziness fail to follow the teachings of Christ. Perhaps in our pride we think we know enough to make choices without praying for confirmation of that choice.

There are many ways one can deny their Savior but perhaps a positive approach would work best. What are things we can do to cement our relationship with our Redeemer?

Pray always. When we are not in a place to kneel and pray we can always pray in our heart and mind seeking his protection physically or spiritually. Seeking help from Him always. This also keeps us humble knowing that we rely on him.

Strive to keep his commandments and repent when we fall short, relying the saving graces of our Lord and Savior. Let us always work to keep ourselves in His good graces so that we might enjoy His tender mercies.


Troy Wagstaff ©

Should We Worship With Our Heart and Mind? Daily Devotional

Should We Worship With Our Heart and Mind? — Daily Devotional

There is a popular “self-help” idea that has been active on the Internet for several years.

This idea is called “positive affirmations” or “affirmational statements.” These are one sentence statements of truth that a person repeats to him or herself many times a day until the person feels like that truth is a part of her.

For example, I would repeat this affirmation statement “I am strong” countless times through the day. The idea being, that I can reprogram myself to believe that I am strong.

What I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it can be used as the yard stick by which we measure truth. When I first came to learn of this “affirmation statement” concept for self-improvement I kind of raised a brow and moved on.

Then I happened upon this phrase while reading in the Old Testament. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) Put another way, thoughts precede our actions. Then I remembered this “affirmation thing” on the Web and looked into it again.

sharper_thant_2_edfged_swordI concluded that for the most part, the affirmation concept for self-help is valid but it is not a new concept, thousands of years ago this idea was addressed in the Bible.

This concept of controlling your thoughts before they become actions was talked about in the Old and New Testaments.

During the Sermon on The Mount Jesus taught that killing someone is terrible but being angry with someone is also bad. Stop being angry with your brother and then killing isn’t an issue.

The same with adultery, it is a terrible sin but lusting after someone in their mind is also bad. It’s easier to repent from lustful thoughts and anger than it is to repent for adultery or murder.

So if we keep our thoughts under control we will act better and be better. Our thoughts are a big part of our worship. The thoughts and intents of the heart (or mind) are extremely important living the gospel.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Not only do our thoughts affect our wardout actions but God can and does discern the thoughts and intents of our heart. This “affirmation therapy” is rooted in doctrinal truth. We need to be clean that bare the vessels of the Lord. That starts with the thoughts and intents of our heart and mind. Let us fill our heart and mind with the love and joy of the gospel.

Troy Wagstaff © All Rights Reserved

Onto One The Least Of These … Ye Have Done It Unto Me

Onto One The Least Of These … Ye Have Done It Unto Me

Daily Devotional

Inasmuch as ye have done it onto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it onto me.

This verse of scripture is frequently used to teach us that how we treat others is the same as doing it to our Savior.

When we are kind to our spouse, which should be easy, we are kind to Jesus. When we take care of a sick child, we are performing the same act to our Savior. When we serve our fellow man, we are serving our Messiah.

Unto One Of The Least Of These

Unto One Of The Least Of These

Keep in mind that how we think toward others and how we treat others is the same as thinking about or treating the Messiah. Do we want to help the poor and needy to the extent our circumstances will allow?

Do we respect others? Are we fair and honest in how we treat others? Imagine what it would be like if those others were Jesus.

The opposite is true.

If we rudely honk at others for something other than a safety concern, we are behaving rudely to our Savior. If we swear at the referees during the kids, soccer game, we are swearing at the Savior.

If we use unrighteous dominion toward our employees then we are like wise behaving the same to Jesus.

If you find yourself pricked at these words then fear not, our Father in Heaven is a kind, loving and forgiving God. Seek repentance, a change of heart, ask for forgiveness and go thy way and sin no more.


Troy Wagstaff © All Rights Reserved.

Daily Devotional With Pictures

Daily Christian Devotional With Pictures

The Living Sermon

Be what the Lord wants you to be, not what the world wants you to be.

Be what the Lord wants you to be, not what the world wants you to be.


Daily Devotional – Persecution

Christian Through Out The World Are Persecuted

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

Christians throughout the world are persecuted in many different ways and for many different reasons and they all have one thing in common. They are disciples of Christ. Christians in the African nations and Middle East are being executed. This is shameful and sad. Blessed be their souls.

The point I want to make here in regards to Matthew 5:10-12 is that the typical kind of persecution most Christians face is verbal insults, laugh and scorn. That’s okay if they are persecuting us “for my name sake” or in other words because we did something Christian-like such as standing up for Gods commandments, refuse to be immoral or we want to take time out to pray or not participate in unholy activities etc.

So go forward with faith in Jesus Christ and know that if any persecution comes on account of your Christian values it will be a blessing to you.

Daily Devotion On Loving The Lord

Daily Devotion On Loving The Lord

The primary message from the teachings of Jesus Christ is love. Jesus taught many times to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” He also taught us to love thy neighbor as thyself.

Then we come to this passage found in Matthew 10:35-37 which reads:

“For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:35-37)

At first glance this passage seems a little vigorous and not the calming message of peace that love is. But in looking more closely we see that this passage of scripture fits nicely within the theme of love. It is a message of prioritizing our love.

We learn that we should love God and His only begotten Son in the flesh more than anyone or anything. Yes indeed, we must love God more than our spouse or children. We must love God more than any feeling or thought in our mind and more than anything in this world.

This kind of love requires great faith. It is easy to love someone you can touch and hold within you arms. It’s easy to love someone you can physically laugh with and find joy with in person. But it takes great faith to love someone you haven’t seen with your mortal eyes. The scriptures teach us to “trust in The Lord with all thine heart.” If we can trust in The Lord with all our heart then we should be able to love God with all our heart and before anyone or anything else.

Love is the greatest human emotion of all. If we can exercise our faith to love our Savior and our Father in Heaven before anyone or anything then we can have faith enough for anything else.

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

If we love God first and foremost then the love we have for our spouse and children and any other worthy thing will be so much the better. That love will be more pure and Christ like.

By Troy Wagstaff © All Rights Reserved

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