Pre Engagement Questions Series

During the month of July I will be doing a series on Pre Engagement Questions before popping the question.

I will be highlighting a few guest posts, book giveaways, and 5 key questions to ask before getting engaged.

This time last year, Marc and I were thinking about getting engaged. We spent much time discussing these are six areas.

We purposefully wanted to ask all our questions BEFORE we got engaged.

Plus, after you get engaged–all you think about is planning a wedding.

We heard how potentially stressful wedding planning could be. Instead of discussing important matters over designing invite cards at my parents house–we decided to intentionally talk about them in private before things got crazy.

Can’t wait for the rest of these seasons posts, and if you have any specific questions you’d like answered–write them below!

Continue Reading

Singleness Is NOT A Disease

[Guest Post] American culture values independence.

Somewhere between my twenty-fifth and twenty-seventh birthdays, my status as a single man in the church downgraded from laudable to questionable. People stopped celebrating my singleness as a gift affording me undivided focus on performing God’s will (see I Corinthians 7) and began seeing it as a problem. They also began analyzing why I had failed to solve it. The message was clear: My “malady” of being single was somehow my fault.

It wasn’t anything I did.

It was what I didn’t do enough of.

I didn’t do enough to prove my independence.

American men who cannot demonstrate enough independence begin to feel weak and undesirable. Once we hit twenty-five, any failure to become fully independent becomes pronounced—especially for men in the church.

Unless you are able to buy a house and afford to live in it by yourself, you might as well wear a sign on you that says, “Not suitable for marriage.”

At twenty-five, I was working my way through graduate school, driving a car that was held together by prayer, and living with a gracious family from my church. I was anything but independent, and I felt like a total failure. Then I visited Argentina the summer before my last year of graduate school.

In Argentina, all my presumptions about independence and manhood were challenged. I noticed how many of the single men or women lived with their families well into their twenties and thirties. They simply didn’t value independence the way I did.

The experience caused me to reexamine what the Bible has to say about independence.

I found out that God doesn’t like it nearly as much as his American children do. He’s into something quite different: interdependence. Why? Because it’s a reflection of his own mutually dependent, three-gods-in-one, nature. As early on as Genesis 2:18, God tells us it’s not good for a man to be alone (and lest you ladies think that doesn’t apply to you, the word for “man” here can also be translated as “human”). In Psalm 68:6, God tells us that he sets the solitary in families. In I Corinthians 12, we are given a lovely metaphor of the church as a body that can’t function unless each part works interdependently. Through scripture, the value on interdependence is upheld as God’s best for us all.

Independence can get ugly.

It promotes loneliness and teaches us to judge those who can’t make it on their own. It teaches us to never ask for help for fear we’ll appear weak. It prevents us from receiving God’s blessings that come through others. In contrast, interdependence is beautiful. It keeps us from staying lonely and builds compassion into our hearts.

When I learned to embrace interdependence as the cultural value of God’s kingdom, much of my frustration as an “old” single man faded away.

It didn’t change the fact that I was single.

It didn’t change how people treated me.

But it did change me.

So where does that leave you? In case you didn’t know, singleness is not a disease.

Are you still striving after independence or have you embraced the kingdom value of interdependence? Do you even know where to start? Lest I leave you empty-handed, let me offer you some parting suggestions:

+Commit to a small group. Almost every church has them these days. Some churches are basically nothing more than networked small groups. As nice as Sunday morning worship services are, you can’t really experience interdependence in larger groups.

+Live in community, not alone. Remember that God sets the solitary in families. This doesn’t mean you should move back in with Mom and Dad, but you should consider finding people to occupy your extra rooms or seek to occupy someone else’s empty room.

+Borrow stuff (and share it, too). Have you ever wasted money on purchasing something you needed to use only once? Could you have borrowed that item from a friend? Independently minded people don’t even think to ask others about borrowing their stuff, and they don’t like lending it. That’s a far cry from the fine folks in Acts 4:32 who “had everything in common.”

+Become a people gatherer. Host events that promote interaction: Bible studies, potlucks, book clubs, game nights, etc. And don’t just invite your single friends. Married people need interdependence, too.

Vinnie Kinsella is in his early thirties and single, which makes him the male equivalent of a spinster by many churches’ standards. He works in the book publishing industry as a book editor and a consultant to independent publishers. He also teaches editing workshops and college classes in and around Portland, Oregon. If you ask him what he feels God has called him to do, he’ll look you square in the eye and say he’s already doing it.

Continue Reading

8 Year Blogiversary

2012 marks a huge milestone in my writing career. It is my 8 year blogiversary.

I began writing 8 years ago in 2004 before blogging was cool, hipster, and on WordPress.

My first blog was called More Words Than Webster on blogspot. I had a lot to say then as I do now! Then I changed the name to E-couragements

After reading some of my four-hundred blog posts–my mentor Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro named me Devotional Diva and it stuck!

I cannot say how grateful I am to have this medium on which to express myself. Without blogging I probably wouldn’t be here today. I went from a shy, fearful girl into an expressive and transparent woman thanks to blogging and writing.

Below are 8 excerpts of some of my favorite blogs and 8 helpful tips (I hope) on writing.

Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a long-time pro like me–we can all use the encouragement to keep writing!

8 Excerpts

1. Ten Tips to Renew YOUR Devotional Life – My favorite ways to stay refreshed spiritually.

2. Beautiful Girl – My favorite poem.

3. I like Big Butts – My favorite revelation from Scripture.

4. I Suck Without Jesus – My favorite devotional from Faithbook of Jesus.

5. When God Says No – My hardest lesson learned.

6. Launching Devotional Diva Ministries – My transition into full time writing as a ministry.

7. Endorsements for Not Another Dating Book – My supporters–I couldn’t have done it without them.

8. Happy Endings Do Exist – My love story.

8 Tips

1. Accidental Author – I didn’t set out to become a writer or dream of the day I’d make a living as an author. I actually wanted to teach high school math. I’m so glad I obeyed God’s nudging into writing because it turned out to be something I love and can use to support myself with.

2. Spur Others Forward – My number one passion is encouraging others through writing (1 Corinthians 14:24-25, Hebrews 10:24).

3. Publish His Deeds – I write because of what Jesus has done for me (Psalm 96:3).

4. Suffer With Those Who Suffer – One of the fruits of the Spirit is longsuffering (Galatians 5:22, NKJV). It’s easy to follow those who have everything going for them, but a real friend is one who can stick close during the hard times. I write for them!

5. Writing Is Worth It – If you’re looking for a wider audience to reach others with your writings I urge you to find a writing mentor, get into a writing critique group, and attend multiple writers conferences. If you feel writing should be your business/calling/whatever then it’s worth making the investment. I spent a couple thousand dollars to rebrand myself, which helped to catch the eye of my first publisher, NavPress.

6. Pay Your Dues – You may feel compelled to write on a certain subject, mainly your story, but to make it in the writing business you’ve got to be versatile. Pay your dues so one day you can write about what really matters to you!

7. Make Friends First – Build your audience with your friends and family first. This is usually the toughest but most loving. If Jesus wasn’t welcomed in his own hometown, then you’re going to be rejected also. Persevere because a crown is waiting for you on the other side.

8. Never Surrender – I can personally attest to the fact that writing is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. Writing my first book put me in the hospital with panic attacks. I continue to write because of the things God teaches me in every day life, and because I’d die inside if I couldn’t express those Truths that transform not only my life, but for others as well.

To watch this Wwek’s Video Blog please click here.

Continue Reading

My Confession

If conviction follows intention, then confession must follow both.

This is my confession.

Before I chicken out; I am taking the rest of the year off from speaking and writing my fourth book.

The past few years I have been furiously working, writing, researching, and speaking towards 20-somethings.

This girl needs a break.

I finished the work, the race, and I sped my little heart out.

My third book is done, minus edits.

My second book is launched.

Now it’s time to rest and wait on God to show me His glory.

Exodus 33:3, NIV84 says, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”

I refuse to go anywhere without God. The blessings of the Lord are not enough. His presence alone is worth more to me than the calf. I have made my blessings into an idol and for that, I confess.

Everything I write and speak must be from personal conviction. My intentions are not good enough. I must leave room for faith.

Hebrews 11:1, NIV84 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

The guest pastor at North Coast Calvary last night said, “Religion is not just memorizing it and doing your best.” I want the thrill of sin to repel me. I refuse to go anywhere unless God goes with me.

This is not an emotional high.

This is about me instantly obeying the voice and command of God to remain intentional.

I wouldn’t have written Faithbook of Jesus, Not Another Dating Book, and especially not my third book without intense years of suffering in prayer for God to restore me so I could publish His deeds across the nations.

With that said, I find myself overcoming self–to once again be led by God. I’m excited to honor two words for the year, “Remain” and “Intentional.” My blogs will still continue, but other than that who knows. God?

To view this week’s video log, click here.

Continue Reading

Happy Endings Do Exist!

Happy Endings Do Exist! I have been searching for the words to write this blog for over a week now.

The fact is, I have another book coming out. Today in fact. I am so beyond excited, but I am also scared.

Will anyone read it?

Will anyone be blessed?

Will I get to hear the stories of personal transformation?

I remember standing up on stage for my first book release party.

I said something like, this is as good as it gets because I’m probably never getting married so I better enjoy the spotlight now!

WRONG.

I was so fed up when I wrote Not Another Dating Book. I had prayed for more than eleven years for a future husband–who was no where in sight. Minutes after I submitted my manuscript to Harvest House, God brought Marc into my life and shocked us all. Seriously. What a shock.

Not Another Dating Book officially releases today, and I’m a married woman.

What most people don’t know is that I tried writing the ending to my book by saying there are no happy endings. Instead, I was humbled by Marc and thankfully my editor was even more gracious. She let me end the book like this instead.

“Proverbs 16:9 says, ‘We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.’ No matter what ideas I have about my future, the only thing I can count on is being surprised. The Lord promises a ripe future for those who trust in Him. We can’t always know what the future will take us, but we can rest in the assurance that it will be a thousand times better than anything we could plan for ourselves! Here’s one of my favorite promises: ‘And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finished finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns’ (Philippians 1:6)…We don’t need to fear, no matter how confusing and complex our relationship may appear. God knows when, who, and how. Praise God that He is the author of love, the giver of all perfect gifts, and the desire of our hearts. Return to God and rest in Him, waiting on the abundant surprise He has in store for you” [Harvest House, (c) 2012].

I’m SO sorry God, Happy endings DO exist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**And now for the shameless plug**

Amazon is selling Not Another Dating Book on the Kindle for only $ 2.99. Please buy yourself a copy…and find your own love story!

Here is a video of me sharing my love story publicly for the first time. I hope you are encouraged.

Continue Reading

God's Calling

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. C.S. Lewis

I just love that quote. It reminds me in a very powerful way that God’s call on our lives is real. It’s tangible. Something we can taste, touch, feel, and see. And it’s not something so far out of our grasp that we’ll fail.

Failure.

Every time I tried to manage my schedule the past couple weeks–I’ve failed. I just wasn’t doing a good enough job. When my panic attacks came back, I felt like a big fat one–failure that is.

I just wanted to cuddle up in my blankets and hide in my bed until things got better.

When they didn’t I roused myself out of bed really early to deal with it. I decided that it’s now or never. I finished writing my third book on forgiveness.

The hardest part for me has been revisiting all the painful stories of the past. When I write books, God doesn’t just give me fluffy words, He reminds me. I get to relive each story in present day. “Oh joy!” I say sarcastically.

Then I read about Joseph in Genesis 39:2 & 21

“The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home [palace] of his Egyptian master…But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.”

The truth is, “we must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God…” says Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together.

It’s funny how God had to interrupt me in my misery. Last week I said in Something Borrowed that I have no idea what to pray for–now that I’m married.

Then I read this in “Seize The Day with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” In it Charles Ringma writes:

“In the final analysis, the key issue is not whether we are married or unmarried, a missionary or a mechanic. The more important issue is that we have made some sense of God’s call in our lives. For that call to be realizable, we need to understand ourselves sufficiently so that we know our gifts, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. When God’s call harmonizes with our giftedness, we become candidates for lasting achievement. And true achievement does not arise from a negative reaction to life, but from embracing God’s perspective on what is good” (Charles Ringma).

Lord, please show me your favor. Everywhere I go, don’t let me be afraid of suffering. It’s not up to me to determine my life, but only You. Help me to stay flexible even when change scares me BIG TIME. Show me how to be blessed like Joseph whether I’m in the palace or in prison. Amen.

p.s. Father, I’m sorry for doubting God’s calling on my life. Please forgive me?

Continue Reading

Endorsements for Not Another Dating Book

In just 27 short days, my second book, “Not Another Dating Book” releases nationwide! Here are the endorsements for my book.

I hope you’ll show your support by ordering a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Harvest House for you or someone you know.

Thanks again for coming on this journey with me. I’m so excited!

“We live in a time when our college students don’t give two cents worth of time or attention to the local church. It is more important today than ever before in history to grab the attention of this age group. Its time for the church to wake up and realize the importance of capturing the hearts of our college age/young adults. I really believe that Renee Fisher shares that same vision and heart.” Blake Bergstrom, Nashville Campus Pastor, Cross Point Church, Nashville

What I loved about this book is that is avoids stereotypical dating advice that seems to only work for 2% of the population. This is a book for the average people with the true aspects of the ups, downs of relationships with insights while pursuing God with our lives.  –Dan Kimball,  author They Like Jesus But Not The Church

“If you are confused by what to think about dating, about singleness, about waiting…then Renee will provide you with straight-talking, grace-giving wisdom. Rather than point you just toward your future spouse–Renee points you to the only place of true life–a daily, growing relationship with God.” –Nicole Unice, ministry leader and author of The Divine Pursuit & She’s Got Issues

Not Another Dating Book is just that… not another ‘how to’ book on the mysterious and frustrating but always soul building work of dating. Written in the a devotional format like her first book, Faithbook of Jesus, NADB is written to the side of dating that is vitally important in preparing a person for marriage – one’s character and faith. Renee’s faith, passion, and struggle to be God’s woman now and not later shines through in this book. This book will encourage you, or a single 20 or 30 year old you know, in the dating process in which one’s faith in Christ is an asset and not a liability. Solid, honest, inspirational, and Biblical, this book is a welcomed addition to all those “other” dating books. – Jim Kane, Pastor, First Church of God; Kendallville, Indiana

In Not Another Dating Book, Renee Fisher takes devotionals to the next level!  The daily inspirations are chock-full of golden nuggets and written with transparency, honesty, and integrity.  If you want to grow in your human relationships, read this book.  –Rob Tucker, Pastor of youth and young adults, Living Word Community Church, York, PA.

As someone reaches out to women in their twenties, I truly appreciate Renee Fisher’s passion and candor in Not Another Dating Book. With in the devotions, the reader will not only relate to Renee’s thoughts, but they will also catch the fire of Renee’s passionate faith and rethink how they presently do relationships. In this day and age, it is tough to find raw and relevant books on godly relationships and Not Another Dating Book by Renee Johnson will not disappoint. I plan on recommending it to all the 20-something women I work with. –Sarah Martin, blogger at www.liveitoutblog.com & author of Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama

Sharing her victories and struggles via social media networks has made Renee a courageous and trusted voice for the twenty-somethings generation. A faithful servant and inspirational leader, Renee’s journey points to God at every stage and encourages her peers to do the same. She continues that journey by addressing the issue of dating as only she can: speaking directly to young adults where they are, in language they understand, dealing with the issues that matter to create a book that will encourage no matter what your relationship status.- Suzanne Physick, blogger

Not Another Dating Book is a refreshing look at dating from someone who is intently putting God first in her life . This is a blessing for singles who are serious about knowing Gods will for their dating life and the kind of book I wish was around when I was “Lookin for Love” in all the wrong places! –Kerri Pomarolli, Comedian Actress Author” Guys Like Girls Named Jennie?” and ” How to Ruin Your Dating Life”

“Like a best friend, Renee Fisher takes single Christian women by the hand and sits down beside them in Not Another Dating Book. Just as the title suggests, this devotional is so much more than a dating book. Renee challenges women to fall in love with God first and above all else so when a man comes along who is truly worthy of her heart, she’ll know it. With thought provoking questions and the truth of God’s word, Not Another Dating Book should be on the nightstand of single Christian women everywhere who long for the love of their life. Which I believe is just about every one of us.” – Crystal Renaud, Author, Dirty Girls Come Clean

“Wow! A book about relationships that I don’t want to laugh at or automatically throw out my window! This book won’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Rather it validates all the things we already feel and deal with in the world of dating, and encourages us along the way.” –Christy Polek is a twenty-something California girl currently trying to figure out love, life, and faith in the big city of Chicago. She shares the way she sees the world at ChristyPolek.com

Not Another Dating Book is a refreshing look at the complicated dating process. Packaged in an easy to read devotional format, it offers you one dating related thought to focus on each day. I love how Renee Fisher is constantly pointing everything back to God and how our relationship with Him is always uncomplicated. I wish I’d had this book when I was still single. It would have saved me a lot of heartache.” –Shannon Primicerio, author of ten books including The Divine Dance

“For those of us deep in the dating world, we know it’s important to be in God’s word on a daily basis. This book is a good tool to lead you in that process.  In the end you’ll be closer to the Lord and just might find the man or woman of your dreams.” –Megan Carson, Author, A Year of Blind Dates

“Renee Fisher truly is a devotional master. Her authentic and practical writing style disarms the preconceptions you came with and you quickly find yourself laughing, sometimes wincing, and somehow unexpectedly engaging God in the process.  It is a worthy read to help navigate that complicated arena of relationships. If you are tired platitudes and prescriptive “how to”s you will love this charming, engaging, and encouraging read that will help you navigate that complicated arena of relationships.” –Michael Forney, Associate Pastor Gateway Church, Poulsbo, WA

Renee Fisher has crafted a unique devotional that tackles core life issues rarely discussed from a biblical worldview. This is much-needed guidance for navigating the ever-confusing world of dating—and an excellent pass-along resource for churches truly wanting to come alongside teenage girls and women of all ages. –Lindy Lowry, editor of Outreach magazine

“You’ll find charm and honesty, stories that will make you laugh out loud and some that might make you cry. You’ll find an author who doesn’t pull punches about the complicated intersections between romance and faith. And you’ll find a message rooted in Scripture from beginning to end. If you want to know what the Bible says about relationships and what that means for you—dating or not—this book is a fantastic place to start.” –Lisa Velthouse, Speaker and author of Saving My First Kiss and Craving Grace

“Renee brings back memories, asks the questions we all have, and directs us to draw closer to God in this book. She reminds us of the desire to love and build relationships in a godly and holy manner and helps us to laugh at the awful dating moments we’ve all experienced.” –Chelsea Curley, blogger at http://kugirl84.wordpress.com

Renee Fisher’s Not Another Dating Book is an amalgam of proverbial wisdom and personal transparency. Diving in to this book is to dive it to an ocean where the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the earth’s floor. You will not have to guess where she stands. You will not misunderstanding God’s commands. If you are single, you need this book!  –Tim Ross, Speaker, Evangelist http://www.timross.org

“If you’re single and not interested in another dating book written for Christian virgins with no dating experience you need to read this book. It’s real, it’s relevant, it’s fresh and it speaks the truth to a deceived generation.” –Pete Wilson, Pastor, Author of Plan B

Not Another Dating Book has ample supply of solid advice for anyone trying to navigate the complicated (but wonderful) world of relationships. With an easy-to-read, topical structure, Fisher offers biblical wisdom and practical advice on dozens of topics like online dating, sexual temptation, purity, and the meaning of Christianese phrases like “unequally yoked.” A fun and helpful read! –Brett McCracken, Author of Hipster Christianity: When Church & Cool Collide

You can count on Renee Fisher’s devotionals to be straightforward, honest, and unvarnished. She’ll make you smile, ponder, and maybe even cringe a time or two as you reflect on what God’s Word has to say about your spiritual identity, relationships, and journey towards becoming like Christ. –Larry Osborne, Pastor, North Coast Church

Honest, on-target, and fun, Renee Fisher has given us the gift of a book that is about a whole lot more than dating. Guided by the wisdom of being immersed in the scriptures for years, she asks the tough questions and digs into the issues we deal with while single, dating, or married. –Ed Cyzewski, author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life

Renee Fisher has done what she does best – take the experiences of today’s generation, blend in a healthy dose of scripture, a cup of common sense, a measure of prayer, and a sprinkle of creativity to produce a devotional that is full of nutrition and substance. As a father of three teenagers, I’m glad she has written this book! –Chad Estes – pastor, blogger, and dad

“The idea that our relationship with God is independent from our relationships with others is false and dangerous.  God calls each of us to honor him in every facet of life, including how we embrace our identity in Christ and its’ impact on our relationships.  Not Another Dating Book is a helpful resource in your efforts to gain understanding and wisdom towards these matters.” – Jason Hayes, Author, Speaker, National Young Adult Ministry Specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources

Renee is right; this is not another dating book.With humor and transparency, Renee invites you to take the masks off, put the cliches aside and engage deeply and honestly about the highs and lows of the dating game.Take her up on the offer. This study will teach you how to pour out your heart’s dreams and heartaches  before God, and to allow Him by his Word to pour into you. –Jo Saxton,

“I have seen lots of dating books make it on the scene, the books with the “how-to’s” and and the formulas. This is not a “how-to” or a formula, this book is real life! It is filled with God’s perspective on our lives, our relationships and most importantly, our hearts! You’ll laugh, you’ll be encouraged and best of all you’ll be challenged. This is an opportunity to grow and see your life change!” –Michael Robison, Lead Pastor of Grace Church

I know Renee, and she cares about people! If you want to protect your heart from a whole lot of hurt, this book is a must read. Better yet, if you want God to do an amazing work in YOU, so ALL your relationships function at their ultimate best- you will love the advice Renee leads you to discover. If you want to laugh out loud and feel better about one of your dates that might have gone wrong, Renee’s humor will help you smile again.  The best part of Not Another Dating Book is you will become the kind of person people love to be around. –Pam Farrel, relationship expert, author of over 35 books including best selling, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, Single Men Are Like Waffles, Single Women Are Like Spaghetti, and 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make.  

“Not Another Dating Book” is immediately arresting to every man and woman that reads it because at some level, we can all relate. I want a copy for each of my kids and if you don’t have kids yet, buy extra copies for when you do! This is not another dating book, it’s one of God’s tools to healthy relationships with boundaries. – Mike Esparza, Radio Talk Show Host, San Diego, CA

“I love how Renee takes us on a new journey over a well traveled topic. Her writing is real…She writes for her own generation. Her writing will cause you to reflect on your dating travels and God’s road map. At times, her writing is  raw. She shares from the heart what it means to be a Christian and to learn to date, to have a DTR with Christ at the center, and at times to break-up. I appreciate Renee because she describes the dating struggles that many of us experience while helping us to discover God’s truth and guidance for ourselves.”  –Pastor Chico Goff, Founding Pastor, Mission Hills Church, San Marcos, Ca

“It is really difficult to be single and Christian. ‘Not Another Dating Book’ is a gentle guide through many scenarios that even the boldest Christian would be nervous to discuss. The pages are filled with humor, love, and a chance to sort out some things in your heart.  I’m left feeling renewed and hopeful that through Christ’s timing, the awkwardness of dating will give way to a life-long partnership that brings glory to God.” –Morgan MacGavin, a 20-something who lives in Nashville and blogs at http://www.reflectinghearts.com

“Renee brings a honesty to the topic of relationships that I found both rare and endearing. She has a passion to put God first in her life spiritually and relationally in a way that makes sense. And she communicates all of it with humor and heart. This is a great resource for anyone navigating relationships in the real world.” – Jud Wilhite, author of Torn, Sr. pastor of Central Christian Church, Las Vegas

Wow! If you are dating right now or waiting on that person to show up in your life. You need to read this book. This is one of those books that I wish I would have had when I was looking for my wife. I believe the truth in this book can help people date the way God intended us to date. It’s more then a good read. It will help you make a lifestyle out of serving the opposite sex and preparing for your mate. –Ketric Newell, Youth Pastor, Crosspoint.tv, Author of Liar, Liar Mullet On Fire

“I loved this book. Renee brings a freshness and openness to the topic of dating without holding anything back. Her passion for God and life experiences are relatable and contagious. My suggestion? Chew on this book slowly and let God speak to you through every page.” – Mark Sorensen, Director of Contemporary Worship and College and Young Adult Ministries, First United Methodist Chuch, Shreveport, LA

Renee meets us where we’re at, offering encouragement and humor in the common struggles singles face, while continually challenging us to practically apply God’s truth in our lives and keep our focus on Jesus. –Franny Huck, Discipleship Pastor at The Salvation Army Kroc Church in San Diego, CA

Renee Fisher is passionate about twenty-somethings, their issues and their ability to sift through those issues with faith. Not Another Dating Book is a daily devotional that weaves through fears about singledom and the journey to feel good about yourself even when you’re not dating. She doesn’t avoid issues that often get glossed over in the Christian dating conversation, such as conservative pressure not to date and how to date if you’re not the virgin the Christian dating empire expects you to be. If you’re looking for a Bible-based daily devotional and workbook on this subject, this is uniquely for you. –Sarah Cunningham, author of Dear Church and Picking Dandelions

“Not Another Dating Book” raises the bar!  Renee Fisher writes freshly and honestly as she biblically caulks the cracks in the often complicated arena of relationships. Her transparent approach and careful exploration of relational struggles, consistently point her readers to God and His wisdom for direction and truth. As a father of three, single daughters, I highly recommend Renee’s acutely profound, God-centered work.  The author’s meticulous effort warrants a congratulatory nod.  This is a first-rate book on doing relationships that doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.  Put “This Is Not a Dating Book” on your must-read list! –Lonnie Smith, Senior Director of Church Partnerships, RightNow Ministries and Bluefish TV

On behalf of Singles everywhere, thank you Renee Fisher for listening to us, acknowledging our struggles, our desires, and our stories and matching them up with the wisdom God offers so tenderly and generously. This is most definitely a book that I will resource time and time again. –Julia Kate Swodeck, Writer at www.Titherofinnovation.com and Agitator for Reform

“A generation of young people has blurred the lines of healthy relationships, author Renee Fisher wants to help you sort out your confusion. Penned from her own personal journey, Fisher will challenge you with questions that clarify what it means to be in growing relationship with others and more importantly with God. ” –Benji Zimmerman, blogger & reviewer at http://Benji.Zimmer.mn

Renee has a way of making it fun to learn about godly wisdom when it comes to dating and relationships. The way she uses scripture to breathe life into dating relationships makes you want to love God wholeheartedly and really trust Him with your singleness. –Lindsey N. Isham, National Speaker and Author of the book, No Sex in the City – One Virgin’s Confessions of Love, Lust, Dating, and Waiting

We all search for the perfect relationship, but do we ask the right questions? Renee brilliantly gives the reader the opportunity to do just that and in the process reminds us to always put God first. –Mike Foster, People of the Second Chance, Author of Gracenomics

Continue Reading

The Power of Forgiveness

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back” (Matthew 18:15, NLT).

The power of forgiveness.

The Bible is pretty clear on forgiving others. With Matthew 18:15-18 as our guidebook, we are shown how to go directly to the person and show them if they have wronged you.

I love how proactive the Bible is on forgiveness.

Maybe it’s because the root of bitterness grows so easily.

I tell you–after Marc and I moved into our new house we quickly realized how challenging our front lawn would prove to be. Those devil grass roots (also known as Bermuda) are tough. They don’t die for just anyone or anything. They need to be sprayed with Round Up numerous times. And you have to wait TWO WEEKS between each spray.

Not to mention we have the pressure of the HOA breathing down our neck.

But isn’t that real life?

We have the pressures of this world and others treating us unfairly. We pray for mercy and grace and yet seem to come up empty. Meanwhile the soil of our hearts grows bitter as we choose unforgiveness.

This week, refuse to allow others to rob you of the joy found in Jesus. Allow the Spirit to help you find and give forgiveness.

Quickly.

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church…I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven” (Matthew 18:15-18, NLT).

But wait there’s more!

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:19-20, NLT).

[Read Two, my devotional post from last week on this very same verse].

I love how God confirms and then expands on the words He’s already planted in our hearts for it is strong enough to save our souls (James 1:21, NLT).

One of the strongest and most powerful lessons I’ve ever learned in Scripture came from that very Scripture in James.

I literally took God at his Word.

And when I did, He healed me.

I’ll never forget the day I couldn’t forgive myself for the lack of skin on my face and feet. I had tried everything. Been to doctors. Even stayed overnight in the hospital a few times. Took cortizone cream. No matter what I did my eczema still refused to cooperate. I couldn’t forgive myself or God for allowing me to suffer. Even though I knew I was doing good I still had to wait. My goodness didn’t, couldn’t, nor could ever guarantee God’s healing.

Like I said earlier, God is sovereign.

It is up to Him to heal.

Or not.

So I waited.

Then one day God told me to act. Quickly. He told me to get rid of all my cortisone creams. This was the only thing saving me and my skin (and my sanity). So I got it all out from underneath my bed (cue the lurking monster music) and put it in a black trash bag and gave it to my mom and told her to dump it in some dumpster and not tell me so there was no way for me to look back!

In an instant my body bag filled with death became the life that I needed.

From that moment on God healed my skin–and got all the credit (and the glory).

Friends, forgiveness is an active and alive process. We cannot lie down and allow the roots to grow underneath us.

Literally.

We have to pull them up and throw them away and move on.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT).

Well, what are you waiting for?

Get rid of it already!

There’s power enough to save your soul.

[Photo taken from iStockphoto.com].

Continue Reading