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Posted in Guest Posts

Guest Article: A Weak In The Life By Travis Cantrell

God brings special people into your life to inspire and encourage you.  One such person is my friend, Travis Cantrell.  You’ve seen his beautiful artwork in the past, including his interpretation of the hero Zorro, on our site.  What you may not know, is that he is an incredible writer.  As well as working full time to support his family, he is a Teacher at his Church, a writer, and an artist. 

The following article first appeared on July 24th on a blog for his church, Community Heights Church.  It was such an inspiration to me, that I immediately asked if we could re-post it.  I hope it blesses you as much as it has me.


 

A Weak In The Life By Travis Cantrell

Sunday: Today’s church service has me so pumped up for Jesus! I can’t wait to get to work tomorrow and share my love for the Lord with my unsaved/unchurched coworkers!!!

Monday: Waking up at 5 AM is ridiculous! Need coffee, stat! I’d share my faith at work, but this day is starting off all wrong and I’m grouchy! I don’t want to be a hypocrite. Maybe tomorrow would be a better day to initiate a God conversation!

Tuesday: *yawn* I am definitely going to bed by ten tonight! I have way too much to deal with today! I wish I didn’t have to work on that project with weird-Angela this afternoon… maybe she’ll be sick today so I can just do it myself! I can hope! Wait, am I wishing someone ill?
On the plus side, I had alone time with God. I prayed for forgiveness for wishing sickness on weird-Angela!
Number of Monster Energy drinks required to make it through daughter’s karate practice: 2
Bedtime: 11:47

Wednesday: I didn’t talk to my coworkers about Sunday’s message yesterday! I’ll start off with that joke the pastor told… let’s see, three guys are on a boat and… how did he say it? Aww, man, we’re learning that new process today. Nobody’s going to want to hear a joke while dealing with that!
Number of Red Bulls to maintain consciousness through training: 3

Thursday: What is that smell? Oh no, I think that’s skunk smell! Did a skunk die under my house? I think a skunk died under my house!
On the plus side, I had alone time with God today. That alone time consisted of praying, “Lord, please don’t let me smell like skunk at work today! Amen!”

Friday: Woohoo, it’s Friday! TGIF! Fridays would be much better if I didn’t have to work all day! I need coffee. And an energy drink. Maybe two. Of each. But it’s family night! Maybe we’ll watch a movie! What could we watch that we’ll all enjoy and won’t damage the children? It’s too much to think about and I don’t want to stop at the DVD machine on the way home!

Saturday: Yes! No work today! Now I can get the yard work done and repair the cabinets and snake the bathroom drain and fill up the kiddie pool and play baseball in the front yard with the children and…. oh, I need to work on my Sunday School lesson! Can I just call in sick to church tomorrow?

Sunday: I should’ve gotten in bed earlier last night. Must wake up children, ensure they’re fed, and get to church with a smile on my face so nobody knows how stressed I am! What would people think if they really knew?
….
Today’s church service has me so pumped up for Jesus! I can’t wait to get to work tomorrow and share my love for the Lord with my unsaved/unchurched coworkers!!!

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If this sounds like the week you’re having, I pray it gets better! We all have times in our lives where we have so much on us and we’re so overwhelmed that it seems like it’s just too much. It seems like the world that we live in demands more time and effort than we have to offer. But is that what God wants for us?
After God completed His creation of the universe, He rested. Had God exhausted Himself over the previous six days? I don’t believe God is exhaustible, but I do believe He did this as an example for us. Later, the Lord declared a Sabbath for the Jewish people. While we do not observe a Jewish Sabbath, the message is clear – God wants us to take a break.

God doesn’t want us to live lives that are so filled with activity, stress, and responsibility that we spend every waking hour wishing we could rest. He didn’t give us bodies that do not tire. If we fail to rest, our week will make us weak. When I fail to follow God’s example, it leaves my priorities askew and hinders my effectiveness in the areas I should focus on. Occasionally, I come to the realization that my life is too busy. So, I’m going to reflect and acknowledge that some things have to go. If you’ve read this and thought, That week sounds like my week and it’s leaving me weak, then hopefully you’re encouraged to do the same!

Posted in 140 Mile Stretch, Serials

140 Mile Stretch: Project Skylark

The Colonel was waiting for the signal, once he had it, he acted quickly.  Within minutes, he was inside the archives.  He had to hurry, the Secret Service would be there within minutes.  Thankfully, this was a time when they still kept physical files.  Cameron found the file marked “Project Skylark”, copied it’s contents, and engaged his time device.

When the agents arrived, they would only find a layer of smoke.  Upon further investigation, they wouldn’t notice anything out of place.  Even though their top agent was a young lady named Phyllis.  This was before her accident, and before anyone knew of her involvement with the agency.

Meanwhile, two men were having coffee in a small coffee house in Philadelphia.  One man was much older than he looked, the other was around 30.  “Councilman, we have very little time.  I doubt you’ll believe it, but my name is Samuel Osgood.” A young Alex Whittaker sat down to listen to what he thought was a crazy man.

“When we leave here, go to the library, and look me up.  I was the first Post Master General of these United States.  Now, I’m a man far from home, on a mission.  Tom sent me, it’s the Tom you know, but not when you know him.  At least not yet, but you will.  One day, you’ll have some important roles in government.  When that time comes, you’ll be involved in something that reopens ‘Project Skylark’.”

As soon as Samuel Osgood mentioned “Project Skylark”, he had Alex’s attention.  “I hoped that I would never have to hear that term ever again.  What do you know about it?”  “I’m afraid more than I should, and more than I would like.  Unfortunately, you don’t know enough.  There is far more to it than the misery you’ve already faced.  I’m afraid, if one person gets their wish, there is much more misery to come.”

Posted in Serials, The Italian Hatmaker

The Italian Hatmaker: Gaining Time

“It is not permitted!”  Princess Laurel said as she rode up with several troops at a gallop following. The small group was alarmed to see her, but none more than Henri. “Your Highness, this is no place for you. What if the two kings follow?”
“They haven’t followed me, I’ve followed them. They both intend to have a resolution. One has announced that he will produce his ally, the Heir Of Alan, while the other threatens to expose him as an imposter.”
Sir Robert sighed, “Henri, your king will accuse England of exactly what it’s Monarch is trying to do. Produce a fake heir. Giuseppe, he has guessed, not hearing from me, that you would travel here. It’s where he expects to meet the Whispering Merchant.”
Giuseppe was angry. “Meaning the power merchant who he has bribed to falsify me as Alan’s heir. I am tired of this. I am Giuseppe Cavallaro, an Italian hat maker. I am not a mysterious king, but I will fight two arrogant ones. Sir Robert, you may return to your camp and tell his majesty, I will meet him tomorrow, on the field of battle!”
Princess Laurel sighed. “That’s the trouble with all of you, too dramatic for your own good. You’re right about one thing, you’re a hat maker. My English cousin, and egotistical brother will kill you! Then I’ll be carted off to marry some political ally.”
Ethan did what only came natural to him, he laughed. “You two sound like an old married couple. She cares for you my Italian friend.” This made Giuseppe laugh, “Hardly, this sarcastic one, the first night we met said how ugly I was.” “I said your mustache was ugly, and I see it’s but a physical reflection of a lack of character!”
Sir Robert interrupted.  “They’ll be time enough for all of this at another time.  Now, we have to secure the safety of England and France.”  He looked at the soldiers of La Garde Alan.  “Is Alan here?”  The leader looked somewhat surprised, but quickly recovered.  “Yes, his tent is ready at our headquarters.”  “Take me to it, I will not leave things this way.”  Henri spoke.  “What are your intentions?  Will you act as the Flying Swordsman, the Servant Of The King, or Protector Of The Innocent this day?”

Sir Robert looked at his friend and smiled.  “Yes to all.  Henri, you know that neither King, although well meaning, could handle what they are attempting to accomplish.  They wish to up end the scales, I wish to maintain the balance.  Today, we will serve all by serving well.  Together, we must do what we can to spare both our countries from getting an upper hand.  Trust me, fight with me, and free both of our countries.”

The two soldiers shook hands, and Sir Robert was off.  Princess Laurel looked at her soldiers. “We will camp here.  If my brother, or my cousin, sees us in the camp of Alan, they will both attack immediately.  We must do what we can to insure we are gaining time to our side.”

Posted in Gallery, iPaintings

iPainting: Manhattan From The Park

I’m a fan of New York City, even if I haven’t made it to visit yet. I do like looking at photos of it though. This digital watercolor whale end after I saw a picture if a different view than I was used too. It’s called “Manhattan From The Park”, and we hope you enjoy it.

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Posted in Messages

Submission, Sacrifice, And Victory

Joshua 6:1, 25-26

6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

6:25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that [is] by it:

6:26 And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.

My Wife and I were listening to the Bible together this week, we enjoy doing that.  It was in the book of Judges concerning the life of Gideon.  God’s Word is so wonderful. No matter how many times that you’ve read it, there is always something new in it.  We both knew the life of Gideon, I had preached on it, and she had taught about him.  However, we enjoyed seeing something that day that we never remembered seeing before.

God told Gideon to take the second bullock, not the first, and to sacrifice it.  He was to do this, after the idolatrous altar had been destroyed.  Gideon was to tear down the grove also, and to use the wood to burn in the sacrifice.  A question came to mind that I never remembered asking before.  Why the second bullock, why not the first?

In Gill’s Exposition, he pointed out that the bullock was the same age as the number of years of Israel’s oppression.  Think of it. On the very day that God used Midian to woo Israel to return to Him, He caused this calf to be born.  Seven years. In the midst of the Midianites taking their harvest, God kept this bullock alive.  He knew that this animal, born on the same day as the start of oppression, would mark the end of the trial, and the beginning of Israel’s deliverance.

It is my belief that God doesn’t do anything through coincidence, so I feel it was no accident that Ashley and I saw this together.  Today, July 25, 2014 is our Fifth Anniversary, and this week we sat listening to this Scripture together.  Why is that wonderful?  Because of the journey that brought us here.

There is almost a ten year age difference between us.  I had intended to marry a girl at eighteen, or at least by twenty, before I reached thirty. God had a different plan.  For years, loneliness invaded my thoughts.  “What was wrong with me?”  “Why did every girl I dated end up marrying someone else?” Ashley had her share of question too.  We both fought this battle for years.  We never realized that, like so many things in life, it was simply a matter of timing.

The Lord purposely never revealed His plan to me or to my Wife.  He would use others to encourage us both along the way, but it was important that we didn’t find out until it was time.  Why?  Had we not spent years coping with the pain and loneliness of walking through life alone, we would not have fully appreciated together.  While, we are both far from perfect, and looking back, at times we’ve argued over the stupidest things.  However, the two of us are not only madly in love, we are each others biggest supporters.  No one is more in her corner than I am, or vice versa.

The Lord took what ruled over us, fear and loneliness, and turned it for our good.  We were in bondage to our own loneliness, and fear of never finding the right person, for years.  Now, we cherish those times of loneliness, not in spite of the pain of them, but because of it.  We learned to appreciate each other, to treat each other with love and kindness.

Again, we’re far from perfect, and we work on things daily.  However, ask anyone that knows us, and they will tell you that we cherish each other.  We give, and we take, because Ashley and I know how wonderful it is to compromise.  Oh, we don’t enjoy giving in, but we do adore the fact that the love of our life is on the other side of listening to the other person’s music, or watching a special on the foods of Europe.

As Gideon sacrificed that bullock, God was saying, “What you were submitted to will turn to a sacrifice of thanksgiving.”  He would save Israel, He would reunite them with their God, their Husband, and their King.  No longer would Israel watch as the harvest left their coast.  They wouldn’t have to again hide in caves and dens for safety, wondering when deliverance would arrive.

No more do Ashley and I spend our days wondering if there would ever be another hand to hold.  Another person to share lonely dinners with, or to share our hopes, and our sorrows.  Every day, every night, we see the very real face of that person we had convinced ourselves didn’t exist.

Like Israel, we didn’t get there on our own.  Our Pastor, Denny Livingston, his Wife “Sis” Alonna Livingston, and Ashley’s Best Friend Brittany Livingston Potter brought us together.  It may seem unimportant to those who read this article, but we also learned from Israel’s treatment of Gideon to cherish those who made your victory possible.

So whatever your situation, whatever your struggle, take heart.  The bullock was prepared before your oppression began.  Midian had attacked Israel for seven years, but the gestation period of cattle is nine months.  Before the sword was raised, the calf was prepared.

God’s not only waiting to listen, but to lead you out.  I know, because I’ve been there.  I’ve heard the clash of the sword.  I’ve felt the pain of the battle, but I’ve also experienced the freedom of deliverance.  Gideon’s name means just that, “To cut down, or tree feller”.  God has not only prepared the vehicle of your deliverance, He’s prepared the driver of that vehicle.

Your hope is out there, God secured it, and the means to take you to it.  Your dream is still alive, don’t give in, and don’t give up.  This doesn’t mean that it will be easy, but it will be worth it.  Like Gideon, you may have to tear down some things that block your way.

God instructed Gideon to build an Altar.  Your problem is real, no one is denying it, nor attempting to diminish it.  I’m simply saying that your victory is just as real as your dilemma! Talk to God about your loneliness, your pain, and your problem.  An one day you’ll kneel in a prayer, not to ask for victory, but to thank Him for it!

 

Posted in Announcements

Our New eBook: Coffee Happenstance

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It’s out! Our latest eBook, and the first in our new mystery series, Coffee Happenstance. The culinary expert, with the unusual name, is about to find himself in trouble. Joining him for this adventure will be his new bride Rutha, strange names seem to gravitate to the Happenstances family. As well a family of characters in there own right.

Together, they will be between the man who was responsible for running him out of town years earlier, and the mob. How will he and Rutha discover the truth behind the masks that these people are putting up? Hopefully with some humor, a god deal of excitement, and a lot of Coffee.

We hope you enjoy our latest eBook, Coffee Happenstance. It’s on sale at our Amazon page now for $3.99. At PruittWrites, it’s always a pleasure to inspire, entertain, and appreciate our readers. It is our fondest wish, that this book will do all three. So curl up in a good chair, grab some hot coffee, and join the adventure.