A Cord of Three Strands

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen the rescue kitten that now runs my house (only partially joking there).

Good news is that low-to-no budget toys are often what makes kitty happiest. The other day, Mom gifted my little Ness with a red crochet strand with a jingle bell at the end. Turns out, it once belonged to some Christmas socks my great-aunt made me … a long time ago.

Despite the years, those three strands remain tightly knit together, at least until my kitten gets the best of them.

In the Bible, Solomon uses the visual of a three-strand cord to visualize why we need strong friends in our lives. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says,

Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (NIV).

This verse reminds me of Proverbs 27:17 which talks about an “iron-sharpening” friend. A true friend challenges us to be better, lifts us up when we’re low, and stays with us during tough times.

How can we be this type of friend in return?

  • Stay in touch, and spend “face time” (not the app) with them. This point may seem obvious, but as we graduate from school and get older, keeping in touch gets harder. The distractions of life and social media don’t help. To be a good friend, let your friends know you’re there for them.
  • Ask how you can be praying for them, and then faithfully present their needs to the Lord.
  • Talk about God’s Word with your friends. Share what you’re learning or reading. If you can, join a Bible study or Sunday school class together.
  • Look for opportunities and ways to bless them. You could do something as simple as picking up a bouquet of flowers, treating them to coffee, or offering to babysit (or kitty-sit, in my case). Speaking from personal experience, I’m incredibly grateful for my amazing friend who watches my fur baby when I’m out of town!
Say hello to little Ness!

One of the Women of Faith Bible studies I use defines a good friend this way:

A good friend is one who trusts, understands, gives space, and is willing to speak honestly into your life. – Building Your Strengths

Are we that kind of friend?

A fictional example

In my prequel to The Revisionary called A Cord of Three Strands, Portia makes a pact with her brother Darius and best friend Luther to stick together like the three-corded rope they use for a fishing anchor. They understand that they’ll be stronger if they watch out for each other. Little do they know what forces are at work to tear them apart.

I’d like to share this novella in e-book format with you! If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, subscribe using the pop-up to receive your free copy. If you’ve already subscribed and would like to receive the novella, please email me at kristen@kristenhogrefe.com, and I’ll send your electronic copy.

Parting thought: How can we be the type of friend God wants us to be?

~ Kristen

Tweetables

A Cord of Three Strands: Free Novella! – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

How strong are your friendships? – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

The Revisionary – Coming June 2017

revisionary-1I have two exciting announcements today! First, I want to congratulate the winner of the random drawing for the Women of Faith books.

Drum roll, please. The winner is … Trudy!

Thank you to everyone who participated! Remember, even if you didn’t win, you can still get these outstanding resources on Amazon or elsewhere. Also, I’ll be doing several more giveaways this year that you won’t want to miss.

Now, for my second big announcement: In partnership with Write Integrity Press, I’m thrilled to share some details about my new young adult fiction novel, releasing this spring!

The Revisionary is a dystopian suspense story laced with American history and flashbacks to its Judeo-Christian heritage. Unlike my first trilogy, which was staged in contemporary times, The Revisionary begins in a futuristic civilization, the remnants of what once was called the United States of America.

The Revisionary: Genre and Preview

A dystopia is the reverse of a utopia (ideal society), and this genre implies that all is far from right in the setting. In 2149, the American Socialists United (ASU) is a technologically barren land cut off from the outside world. Citizens in most squares eke out their existence in cube communities, remotely grateful they survived post-Apocalyptic conditions and painfully aware they owe their lives and fidelity to the Friend appointed by the Dome to rule.

At graduation, young adults receive their work assignments within their squares, except for an elite few selected for their undergraduate achievements. These draftees must report for selective training at the Crystal Globe University and ultimately, service in positions of leadership in the Dome or elsewhere.

The draft brings personal prestige and advancement for the graduate’s family, and no one dares defy it—no one, that is, except for Portia Abernathy’s brother. His rebellion condemned him to a western satellite, a sentence reserved for criminals and raiders.

Now, ten years later, the draft board calls Portia’s name. She hoped it would.

Unlike Darius, she wants to reform the system to make changes that will help the people. If she completes her Revisionary training and earns the Dome seat in her profession, she intends to rewrite the satellite rules to bring back Darius, and for that matter, other unfairly sentenced prisoners.

However, she soon discovers that citizens like Darius aren’t the only ones who need saving, and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or break them like her brother did.

Coming Soon

Fairly soon, I’ll be able to share a sneak preview of my cover. There’s a neat story behind it that I can’t wait to tell you!

In the coming weeks, I also want to introduce you to Portia, my heroine. In the meantime, here’s a trivia question for you:

Portia shares a name with a character from a famous play. Who wrote it, and what was the play’s title?

Also, if you have any questions you’d like me to answer in my next update, please leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Kristen

 

Tweetable

Coming this June! New YA Fiction, The Revisionary – @kjhogrefe and @WriteIntegrity (Click to Tweet) 

Giving God Your Future: A Review & Giveaway

women-of-faithbible-study-giveawayThe title of this Women of Faith Bible study immediately grabbed my attention. Since I was a teenager, I’ve wondered about God’s will, how to know it, and how to live it out each day. After all, doing God’s will today determines where I’ll find myself tomorrow.

Although my desire was in the right place, my motivation wasn’t. I mistakenly thought if I followed the straight and narrow, I’d be able to better manage my life with fewer surprises.

Instead, God’s will sometimes means I have just enough light to see the next step. For a planner like me, that’s been hard. (If you can relate,  chapter 3 “It’s My Life” is for you.)

However, the better we know God’s Word, the better we know God, and the more confidently we can trust him.

That’s why this study has resonated with me. In the foreword, Thelma Wells explains the the book’s purpose this way:

This courageous study will help you to become willing to trust God with your everything because He is the God of everything.

Amen!

Giving God Your Future: A Review

We pick up some books to help us unwind from a long day and entertain us with a story. This Women of Faith study is not one of those books.

It’s designed to be a companion, a tool for those who want to dig deep into God’s Word and learn more about His purpose for their lives. When I open it, I come prepared with my Bible, notebook and pen.

The introduction to each chapter begins with an example or story, along with a “clearing the cobwebs” question that makes sure the brain is ready to engage.

Yes, this book is a study, either for your individual quiet time or for use with a Bible study group. Each chapter breaks down further into sections, consisting of Bible passages to read and questions to consider. It immerses you in God’s Word as you learn more about who God is and what kind of plan He has for your life.

It’s organized into twelve chapters, ideally one for each week of the study. Each lesson concludes with “digging deeper” passages for those who want to spend some extra time learning about the topic.

The chapters also finish with a short section called “Trinkets to Treasure.” These “trinkets” are visual objects or imaginary “souvenirs” to help us remember the lesson itself. For example, chapter one talks about the role of the Good Shepherd in our lives, and the trinket is a “shepherd’s crook,” reminding us “that the Lord will lead us aright” (8).

At first, I thought, “That’s weird. It’s not tangible; it’s just a drawing.” Then, I came to chapter 10 where the trinket is a level. The study says, “We use them [levels] to keep things squared up around the house. We can use this little gadget to remind us to keep our lives squared up with God” (85).

The day before, I had used a mini level to hang a picture in my new house. I’m terrible with tools, but it did help the picture not be conspicuously crooked.

Aha moment! Now the trinket made sense to me. How I would love to have a level that would keep me lined up with God’s Word, reminding me His promises are always true and His Word is unchanging!

This experience taught me that there’s something in a Bible study for everyone. What resonates with one person might not with another. The bottom line, though, is that God’s Word holds the guidance and direction we need for our futures, and when we meditate on it, we won’t be disappointed.

Giveaway: Not One, but Three Studies!

I’m grateful to The Blythe Daniel Agency for the opportunity to review this study and give away, not just one, but three Women of Faith studies!

The winner of the random drawing for Giving God Your Future will also receive the other two, either for personal use or to share with someone else.

To enter, simply do one of the following: 

  • Leave a comment below. (It can be a comment about this post or something as simple as: Please enter me into your drawing.)
  • Subscribe to the KristenHogrefe.com newsletter.
  • Share this post on Twitter and tag me @kjhogrefe.
  • Share my Facebook post with your friends.

The winner of the random drawing will be announced on this blog next week.

On that note, you won’t want to miss next week’s post! I’m also going to share a sneak preview about my upcoming book with Write Integrity Press.

Until then, have a blessed week!

Kristen

 

Tweetable

Women of Faith Book Review & Giveaway – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)