Stay Where God Planted You

After my morning walk, I approached my house and was amazed to see what looked like a sunflower growing in the midst of my rose bush.

We’ve lived here for fourteen years. The spot was once a fish pond. We did away with that about nine years ago. In its place, I’ve planted peonies, a couple of rose bushes, and lilies, but never a sunflower seed.

How cool it was that God planted it there. Whether a weed or a sunflower, it grew not next to the roses, but in the midst of the rose bush.

God’s precious voice reminding me that we need to stay where He has planted us and He will grow us up. We may feel like a sunflower or more like a weed. We may not know why we’re planted in a certain spot, or see what the purpose is until He starts to grow us and we rise among the roses.

Never doubt where God has you or why, just watch for Him, trust Him and He will fulfill His purpose in your life.

Nothing can stop God’s plan for your life. For the Lord Almighty has a purposed, and who can thwart  him? His hand is stretched our, and who can turn it back? Isaiah 14:27

Books by Dana K. Ray

Absolution Book 1 in The Luciano Series  http://a.co/1hRwM7T or https://danakray.com 

A Second Chance http://a.co/baTuF38​ or https://danakray.com 

 

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Watch, Trust, Do Not be Afraid

I drove to church today overwhelmed.

Our student minister is moving to another ministry. It’s been five months since my assistant and good friend moved. My work load seems daunting. My youngest son is a senior so this year is already bursting with “the last” of so many things. My new book was just released so the fall is full of book events. I have been wondering how long I can keep up with the current pace.

In Children’s Church we learned three things that Isaiah echoed to King Ahaz.

Watch for God.

Trust God.

And do not be afraid.

I asked the kids to tell me when they’ve seen a sign from God. We heard a lot of cool stories. Then I asked them to share some scary things that were currently going on in their lives. Things they had to trust God to get through.

A few answers… My grandmother has cancer. My father recently passed away. My uncle passed away. I had to have surgery last week. The leaving of the student minister. Grandparents getting older.

Some very serious events going on in the lives of kindergarteners through 5th graders. I was humbled, to say the least.

We stopped and prayed to a BIG God and knew that He heard us.

God told Joshua three times …be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.

If you’re overwhelmed, He is there.

If you need a miracle, no matter how big or small, He is there.

He wants to show Himself to each one of us.

Watch for Him.

Trust Him.

Don’t be afraid.

 Books by Dana K. Ray

Absolution Book 1 in The Luciano Series  http://a.co/1hRwM7T or https://danakray.com

A Second Chance https://amzn.com/1632132605  or https://danakray.com

And Now For Something Completely Different…

ABSOLUCover Concept v2_FINAL (Flat)TION – The Luciano Series – Book 1

A mystery. The first book I ever wrote.

I knew nothing about writing except that I had this movie in my head and I had to get this story on paper. The Lucianos needed to come to life.

The first draft I thought was gold. I knew I’d be a New York Times best seller. I shared the manuscript with my family, who all claimed they loved it. Today, I am embarrassed I ever let them read it but thankful they were so encouraging. Their excitement kept me going over the next twenty years as I learned more about writing, editing and refining the craft. Absolution, the first draft, became The Luciano Series with four books in it…so far.

When A Second Chance went to print I was excited to see my dream come to life! It was the second book I wrote. But with Absolution, it’s my baby, the first one coming to life. It’s beyond exciting. It’s like seeing your child taking their first steps, hearing that first word, or seeing that first smile.

The Luciano’s have been in my head for so many years they are like family to me and very real. I know you will fall in love with them as much as I have!

One of my crit partners who edited Absolution and is now re-editing Mercy, book 2 in the Luciano series, sent me this yesterday…

Okay, so I’m only up to chapter 6 of Mercy, but I’ve fallen in love with Antony, AGAIN, darn you. LOL. I’m enjoying this all over again.  

Oh, Antony…. Mmmmwwwwwwwwwwah! Renie (Irene Onorato-amazing author)

Pick up your copy of Absolution TODAY!! I know you will love the Luciano’s as much as I do!

http://a.co/ck0fOpJ  or a signed copy at www.danakray.com (may be some delay, still waiting on my copies)

If you haven’t read A Second Chance, you can grab it also at https://amzn.com/1632132605 or a signed copy at www.danakray.com

 

We’ve Been Robbed

 

We’ve been studying the Armor of God in Bible study and have learned that the key to the armor is in Ephesians 6:18-19. Once you put it on you must… with prayer and petition pray at all times…be on the alert will all perseverance…and pray…
Put it on and pray it up. Those are the words from my wise Bible study leader, mentor, accountability partner and dearest friend. It’s been my motto for months.
Since starting the Bible study about the Armor of God, I feel like I’ve been under more intense spiritual attacks.
This past Saturday, April 1, was no different. It was going to be a busy day filled with lots of non-stop things to do, so being woke up at 7:00 am to the words “we’ve been robbed” was shocking. Unfortunately it was not an April’s Fool joke.
I followed my husband outside. All three cars had their doors opened and trunks popped. Inside, the glove boxes were emptied along with the console. The cars were ransacked and things were missing, but nothing was as bad as the empty spot in the driveway where my husband’s Toyota Four Runner used to sit. Yep, they stole his car and all it’s contents.
4Runner
Talk about one crazy morning. Waiting for the police, hearing our stuff would probably not ever be found, volunteering at the High School, my sons last drumline competition, trying to get my hubby a rental car…it just seemed too much.
When I get overwhelmed, I laugh because it’s better than crying. So I’m laughing, making jokes, trying to see the bright side.  It could’ve been so much worse. The robbers could’ve used the garage door openers inside the cars to walk into the house and take so much more.
I try to be a cheerful person, smile and keep upbeat. Saturday was no different. But within a day or two, the stress does catch up with me. When it does, I usually get hit hard.
Sunday and Monday were overwhelming. If something could go wrong, it did. I found myself throwing off my armor and running to hide. Then I pulled myself up, put each piece back on, prayed it up and continued on the fight.
Today, I am pondering why I took it off in the first place?
I heard God whisper, “Because you thought it’d be easier to hide.”
He was right, as always. I did think it’d be easier to throw a cover over my head and ignore everything, that was going on, but it wasn’t. Hiding drew me into a dark place, consumed by my problems instead of shining His light and watching Him work through all circumstances.
I am still a bit overwhelmed, but there’s no way to get around the hard things that will come up in our lives. To get through it, we have to remember to always put it on and pray it up.
On another bright side, they didn’t take very much out of my car. I’m so thankful because I have a book signing Saturday in Webb City. My car was already packed. They took my box of table decorations and business cards but left my canopy, table, table cloths and books.
So if you come see me in Webb City, MO on Saturday, I have a book to sign for you!
When you feel you can’t move forward, remember to put it on and pray it up! God will always geet you through!
Dana
A Second Chance by Dana K. Ray. If you can’t make it Saturday, you can buy a copy at https://danakray.com or https://amzn.com/1632132605

Let’s Skip Thanksgiving and Go Straight to Christmas

I was blessed today to share at MOPS today. Although starting out shaky (I get SO nervous) I had a lot of fun. I was able to read this to them. I hope it encourages you to dream big but wait on God’s timing!!  Enjoy!!!!
I love to pray with my five year old daughter Lydia. She prays like she talks; very precise, questioning and has no problem telling God exactly how she feels. She is so precious.
Last night she begins her prayers. She prays for her family, the dogs, the man on the motorcycle we saw on the way to Walmart, my horses I had as a child, then, she begins to pray for Christmas. No, nothing religious I could be proud of, but she prays a strange little prayer. She prays, “God, make Christmas come faster. Skip Thanksgiving and all the rest, just bring Christmas.”
I remembered that morning she had asked me how many days until Christmas. I’m curious, so after the prayer, I ask. “Why do you want Christmas to come so fast?”
“I want to see grandma and grandpa and get presents.”
I tucked her blond hair behind her ears. “If Christmas comes first, you’ll miss out on Thanksgiving. You get to see grandma and grandpa then and they always bring you a present.”
“I don’t care.”
“But you’ll miss your Thanksgiving and Christmas parties at school.”
“I don’t care.”
“You’ll miss out on so much if God moved up Christmas. You’d miss Thanksgiving break, birthday parties, all the stuff you learn at school.”
“I don’t care.”
I nodded. It’s usually useless to argue with a five-year-old.
As I walked from her room, I realized I just had the same conversation with my daughter that I often have with God.
Many times in prayer, we ask God to hurry up with an answer. We may be impatient or plainly hurting but the request is the same: answer us, now. We don’t even realize the blessings we might be missing out on if He did.
My daily prayer calendar said one day last week that “patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while we are waiting.”
As I look back over the years, I have a few, personal, long standing prayers. One of them is writing.
I’ve wanted to give up, but every day had a purpose. I don’t always see it or understand it, but like I told my daughter about Christmas, if it comes too fast, we miss out on the blessings in between.
Our prayers may be simple enough that God shows Himself immediately or they may take years for Him to bring it to pass, but wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
Pray on warriors!
Dana
Don’t forget to check out my webpage at www.danakray.com
If you’re looking for a Christmas gift or a good book to read, pic up A Second Chance!! danakray.com or Amazon

My Promised Land

“And after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:15 (NIV)

Have you ever prayed for something for so long that you have to continually remind yourself that God’s timing is perfect? And even though we know His timing is perfect, the wait can be excruciating!

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. God put the desire in my heart at a very early age. Stories have played like movies in my head since as far back as I can remember.

I won my first poetry contest in fifth grade. A simple poem I wrote in 1976, the theme: The Bicentennial.

One of our famous presidents was Lincoln,

He did us lots of good thinkin’

All though he was tall,

He was loved by all and

He kept the southern states from leavin’!

Wow, and I won first place. Amazing, huh? My prize…a book about boys track. Yes, the ultimate punishment, they thought Dana was a boy. Ugh. Not the first time someone thought I was a boy, but I graciously accepted my book, taped my poem in it and have cherished it since. Occasionally I pull it from the shelf, look at it and giggle. It is a reminder of God working in my life even before I knew Him as savior and friend.

I began the year 2015 with these words, “Okay God, it’s been twenty some years since I started putting our stories down on paper and this is the year. It’s time to start trying to get them out to the publishing world. By the end of 2015, I will be entering my Promised Land. And if I don’t have a publishing contract, I will self-publish.”

Reminded of my promise to God daily, and with the help of my critique partner’s encouragement, I subbed one of my books to two publishers in September. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. But God is good and before I knew it, I had both interested and one offered a contract. I’m excited to say that I signed that contract on December 4, 2015 with a release date set for next year. Whew. Twenty plus days to spare.

A Second Chance is due out May 24, 2016.

As I sit here and write this I believe our God to be big and I believe Him to fulfill our dreams. I am a walking example of His answer to prayer. I pray you will dream big dreams and believe our God to be as huge as He really is. Thank you, Jesus, for continued answer to prayer!