Live These Words


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

finalfinalfrontcoverLTWDo you ever struggle between being with God and doing for God?

We can truly embrace both in our lives – sitting at the Master’s feet as well as walking in His way. “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13.17)

Join me in discovering the many layers of these 40 words from the Word – vibrant words such as fear not, shine, remember, hope, wake up, encourage, forgive, ask, and persevere. Each day includes a memoir, biblical lesson or inspiring profile, ending with a practical action point to enrich your own life and those you touch.

Out of the being will come the doing. As we approach these words with grace and humility, God will weave them beautifully into our own unique stories.

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller who delights in weaving glimpses of grace and mercy into ordinary life situations. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary and Furman University, she has authored 13 books, including Dwelling Places, Ordinary Graces and Live These Words. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England.

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Read about “A Celebration of Words” Book Launch at the Mark Twain House and Museum HERE


Advanced Praise for “Live These Words”

I am so very grateful to these special folks for taking time to read my manuscript, and for their encouraging words about the new book:

“Everyone I know longs to step up to new levels of trust and confidence in God, but how do we begin? How do we take that first step? In Live These Words, my friend Lucinda McDowell has constructed a staircase of 40 key steps to help us to new heights of spiritual intimacy– through life experiences, solid biblical lessons, stellar quotations and prayers. Convicting, yet comforting… I highly recommend this book!” – Joni Eareckson TadaJoni and Friends International Disability Center

“Lucinda’s are clear, practical words, delightfully added to the always needed contemplative conversation that advises us to ‘be’ with God so that we can better ‘do’ for God.” – Robert Benson, author of Dancing on the Head of a Pen

“My friend Cindy’s book, Live These Words, has all the imprints of her personality – profound, really smart, funny and real. It will scoop you up into the wonder of His Word and give you forty days of encouragement and direction on living it. Then, my guess is that you’ll be hooked, and your forty day journey will turn into a lifetime.” –Jennifer Kennedy Dean, author of Live a Praying Life

“Words matter. And they don’t have to be many or long to do so. Cindy Secrest McDowell has selected some of the key words of our faith and put them in settings and stories that are truly encouraging and positive. In fact, I am passing on two chapters to my grandchildren because they are so encouraging for where they are right now. Take one of these “words” daily – for your spiritual health.” -Dr. Leighton Ford, president of Leighton Ford Minstries and author of The Attentive Life

“Live these words, pray these words, trust these words, but most importantly read these words of Cindy’s as part of your daily walk with our Lord.” –Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“In Live These Words you will be drawn deeper into God’s truth and further into a contemplative devotional experience.  The surprise in this book is that often the take-away will involve listening, waiting, meditating, or lingering over a single word, before leaping into action. Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a gifted communicator—both on the platform and in written form. This book is one of her best.  Don’t miss it!” –Carol Kent, director of Speak Up and author of Unquenchable

“Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours exegeting the verbs to doto want, and to have. We’ve filled our lives with incessant noise and activity but discover that our lives are actually rather unfulfilling and exhausting. Cindy invites us to exegete the verb to be, with encouraging words that breathe the abundant life of Christ into our souls.” –Dr. Stephen A. Macchia, president of Leadership Transformations and author of Crafting A Rule of Life

“Warmth, wisdom and wonderful stories pave a path to active living that both lifts the soul and honors God. Perfect meditations for our tough times. Encouraging and hopeful. Two thumbs up! –Patricia Raybon, author of I Told the Mountain to Move

“Lucinda McDowell’s Live These Words challenges the reader to move from head knowledge into obedience through a beautiful blend of being and doing. An encouraging gem of a devotional that draws you closer to Jesus. – Tessa Afshar, author of Pearl in the Sand

“These action verbs from the Bible capture the reader’s interest, and Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s illustrations– stories from real life and the Bible, activities to try and beautiful prayers – invite the reader to draw near to God in new ways. Live These Words is a wonderful guide for Lent or any 40-day period, making the life of faith seem doable, inviting and deeply rewarding.” – Dr. Lynne M. Baab, professor and author of The Power of Listening

“Reading these devotionals I had the feeling of being wrapped in a warm quilt of love and encouragement. The topics presented are thought provoking and timely for each of us who live busy lives. I love Cindy McDowell’s writing style and you will be blessed as you Live These Words for the next forty days. – Carole Lewis, director emeritus First Place 4 Health and author A Thankful Heart

“How could I resist a book that starts with these words: “I spent half a lifetime trying to do enough for God. Enough that He would love me, accept me . . .”? No talking down to readers or attempts at sounding spiritual, she opens her heart and allows us to see her inner self—which enables us to see ourselves. Not only does the first sentence of Live These Words grab me, but Lucinda Secrest McDowell writes with three significant qualities: honesty, warmth, and practicality. Rarely do I find all three in the same book.”-Cecil Murphey, author of 135 books, including, Gifted Hands and 90 Minutes in Heaven

“Take 40 days and fast from every worthless word in your thoughts, in your mouth and on your mind. Substitute these words and you’ll change your life. Live These Words is simply Cindy’s best book ever. I love it!” -Virelle Kidder, author of Meet Me at the Well

“Live These Words by Lucinda Secrest McDowell is my kind of devotional—deep but practical. I need that! These devotionals are also personal and reader-friendly, meaning that I’m encouraged but not intimidated by them. And the forty-day length is perfect!” –Kathi Macias, author of The 40-Day Devotional Challenge

Live These Words is a book I will return to many times–and give to friends.  There is power in Cindy’s story-telling words; a rich treasure of words and prayers from great women and men of faith both ancient and contemporary, and–above all–His Words. Frederick Buechner tells us words make things happen: Live These Words!” –Linda Anderson, president of Mom to Mom, board of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

Live These Words helps believers do just that: apply the Bible to our lives so we can grow deeper with God. Written by a master storyteller who delights in sharing funny and touching stories, this 40-day guide gives you practical steps for making God’s Word real and truly applicable to whatever challenging situations you face each day.”  – Dr. Jennifer Degler, psychologist and author of No More Christian Nice Girl

“Thank you, Cindy, for Live These Words. I know you have invested in the Kingdom by personally living the words of our Heavenly Father for many years, and now through this book, many of us are encouraged to do the same.” – Kendra Smiley, author of Live Free

“Spending time in God’s Word is a given in the lives of most Christians, but after we’ve done some studying, meditating and praying, what’s next? In Live These Words, Lucinda Secrest McDowell motivates us to get up out of our reading chairs and make a difference. Her meaty, diverse and challenging explorations of imperatives from the Bible are a call to action that will transform our relationship with God and redefine the interactions we have with the people He brings into our lives.” –Lauren Yarger – author event producer,

“Lucinda Secrest McDowell skillfully shares how to walk the balance between being with God and doing for God. Using memoir, biblical stories and fascinating profiles, Live these Words takes us on a journey of exploring some powerful action verbs from the Bible and then helps us actually do something with them. I am so pleased to find a devotional book that inspires a daily response.” – Georgia Shaffer, psychologist and author of Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make

“Do you need refreshment? Grab this book. You’ll discover one word to focus on each day — a word illustrated with delightful stories and rich insights which will leave you longing for more. Live These Words is a great book to give to your friends!” –Susan Alexander Yates, author of And Then I Had Kids

“Words matter. For decades I have personally known and observed how Cindy McDowell has deepened through her very unique life-journey. She has given us the best choice of words by skillfully, with vulnerability, weaving scripture, her story and that of others in a way that makes following Christ practical and life altering. Gratefully, each chapter concludes with deep prayers from the ages that can spark a new and vital interest in going deeper into Christlikeness. Crawl into each word with the anticipation of being renewed in thought and action and don’t miss Live These Words! – Gail MacDonald, author of In His Everlasting Arms

“With insight like fresh linen, Lucinda graciously invites us to live the Word of God not merely read it. These forty days will refresh your spirit and encourage your heart.” -Gari Meacham, author of Spirit Hunger

Live These Words contains so many gifts for the reader; gems of wisdom, wonderful stories and experiences are ribboned through every paragraph. Don’t be in a hurry. Relax into each day’s teaching. Do the thinking. Take the time to let these readings wash over you, changing you, allowing you to tap into that grace that can never be earned. Simultaneously meaty and accessible, this is a thoughtful and beautiful book.” –Carol Barnier, author of Engaging Today’s Prodigal

“Lucinda’s book Live These Words – an active response to God, is a 40 day devotional reading with depth.  In each reading, highlighted words of scripture are deliciously presented, savored and afterwards, a sweet aftertaste lingers that compels us to action.” – Leslie Vernick, counselor and author of The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

“I reserve a special section on my bookshelves for titles by Lucinda Secrest McDowell. Each of her works is well researched, thoughtfully expressed and deeply felt. Live These Words is no exception. Get one for yourself and another for a friend who needs the encouragement of the living faith Cindy’s writing reflects.” –Maggie Wallem Rowe, M.A.B.S., speaker, author and dramatist

“Cindy McDowell’s new book Live These Words brings the Bible alive for readers every day. Written with grace and a deep understanding of truth, Live These Words is a must-read. –Cheri Fuller, author of The One Year Praying the Promises of God

“Luminous. Practical. Engaging. With a lovely touch, Lucinda enlightens biblical imperatives with a sensitivity that meets our deepest desires. For our own souls, Lucinda prompts us to hope in God, not worry, and pray continually. For our relationships, she encourages us to lavishly love, forgive, and give to one another. These forty devotional readings remind us that following the Bible’s simple advice fosters a sacred, loving, meaningful life. I plan to keep Live These Words on my nightstand for daily guidance and inspiration.” –Judith Couchman, author of Designing a Woman’s Life

“Words!  There are just over one million words in the English language and Lucinda has captured the essence and energy of 40 transforming words!  Through her personal reflection, practical application, and prayerful guidance, these words have come to rest in my heart and change my life.  Read this book, live these words, and know Him in a deeper and richer way.” -Dr. Cynthia Fantasia, pastor, Grace Chapel, Lexington MA

“Cindy Secrest McDowell has written a unique and dynamic devotional. Through her warm storytelling style, she lovingly shows us how to incorporate God’s action verbs into our Christian life. Live These Words contains words of life, instruction, and hope–all beautifully written and applicable to anyone who wants to grow their relationship with the Savior.” –Grace Fox, author of Morning Moments with God

“Vulnerable or strong, nurturing or longing, this wise women shares what God has taught her so far. On your own journey, Live These Words will put a sparkle in your eye and a spring in your step, offering very specific ways to live out your faith.” –Dr. Miriam Adeney, author of Kingdom Without Borders and board of Christianity Today

“Live These Words will help you both sit and stand. Sit quietly with God and enjoy stories that will help action verbs come alive.   Then stand up and take steps for those actions to take form in your life.” –Anne Grizzle, author of Reminders of God

“Lucinda Secrest McDowell unpacks 40 words that matter from God’s Word.  With her, we travel with Abram, pour out the last oil with the widow, climb a contemporary mountain, and celebrate life’s gifts, even in the midst of challenge.  I found these stories becoming my stories, our stories, woven together with words of wisdom and prayers of well-known pilgrims who have preceded us.  Through these words, we are invited to take the next step – that’s all God asks of us:  take the next step.  Do we dare live these words?” –Dr. Marta D. Bennett, pastor and professor, International Leadership University, Nairobi, Kenya

“Living life according to God’s Word is the secret to joy and contentment andCindy McDowell provides an easy-to-follow format for discovering these truths. Live These Words is a perfect tool to use for your daily quiet time with the Lord.” -Nancy McGuirk, author of To Live is Christ – Philippians

“I highly recommend Live These Words because it holds truth, wisdom, and grace for anyone who desires a daily faithful walk with God.  I love the prayers from many older and contemporary writers, and have been helped by Cindy’s clear and very practical writing.” –Valerie Elliot Shepard, author of Pilipinto’s Happiness

            “Live These Words is an encouraging, deep, thoughtful, practical tool. With forty readings perfect for groups and classes, this book promises abundant fruit from the application of each reading. While we are acclaimed for our hard work for God’s sake, we are rarely affirmed for our resting. We need both. Lucinda writes with insight and imagery and her intriguing use of original language adds depth to the readings and to common, often overused and little understood concepts in faith circles. An excellent journey that will change the way you live.” –Jane Rubietta, author of Finding Life – From Eden to Gethsemene

“As I read Live These Words, I kept thinking: ‘Oh I really love this day’s wisdom, this word Cindy is focusing on, this perfect quote, this personal story, this quickening prayer.  This is the best one!’  Then I thought that again with the next day’s reading.  I hope our intimate God will use this inspiring book in the same way with you.” –Jane Van Antwerp, children’s author of Big Jesus and If We Could See Prayer

“Lucinda’s wisdom in Live These Words is profound, personal and practical. Time spent with her is always rich and with each page, each moment you feel you are becoming a better person.” – Pam Farrel, author of Devotions for Women on the Go

“Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll obey His commands—but sometimes just the thought is overwhelming! There are so many things we feel we could or should be doing. Lucinda Secrest McDowell teaches us to focus on one word — one command – each day. What a practical, powerful, life-changing way to walk in obedience and grow deeper in our relationship with Him.” – Christin Ditchfield, author of A Way with Words

Live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.’ (Colossians 1.10). Lucinda Secrest McDowell inspires and encourages us to do so with the beautiful words contained in her delightful book! Live These Words is a great pick-me-up for the busy woman or man!” – Susan Wales, executive producer of The Annual Movieguide® Awards

“Words inspire, motivate, give value, and have the power to heal. In Live These Words, Lucinda McDowell captures the very essence of target words that can help us live a life of love, meaning, and purpose. Instead of letting emotions rule to diminish hope and dreams, she challenges us to live specific action words to access a supernatural life in Christ. These words may even change your entire life.” –Sharon Hoffman, author of A Car Seat in My Convertible?

“Live These Words is a lot like the author, Cindy, full of deep reflective insight and practical creativity. Springboarding off the action verbs of Scripture, she dives into ancient prayers, contemplative reflections, psalms, hymns and contemporary stories to energize our daily lives with these words of life. This bookwill help the action-oriented live from a deeper, richer motivation and connection with Jesus and will motivate the contemplatives to get in the race and do it!” –Lael Arrington, author of Faith and Culture

“Where are YOU Reading ‘Live These Words’ This Summer?” CONTEST

September 1st (2014) Announcement!

CONGRATULATIONS to our 5 Winners of the “Where are you reading Live These Words this summer Contest!” Our totally impartial judges from 5 corners of the country — Betsy (MD), Claire (TN), Deane (CT), Jim (IL) and Nancie (OR) — named as Winners (alphabetical order): Connie Clements(OR), Gail Cooper/Rhonda Corey (RI), Maggie Wallem Rowe (IL), Marta Bennett (Kenya) and Sandy Hackett (WA)! Thank you to EVERYONE who entered the contest and read the book (all pictured below) Winners receive a copy of ANY book by Lucinda Secrest McDowell signed and mailed to the person of your choice. 

contestcollageFrom now through the end of August we are collecting creative photos of YOU reading “Live These Words” ….. Anywhere! Just post your photo to my Facebook page – “Lucinda Secrest McDowell” or send it to me by email cindy at encouragingwords dot net

FIVE First Place Winners (determined by a non partial panel of judges) receive a copy of “Live These Words” signed and mailed anywhere or a copy of any of my other books. There also may be some ‘consolation prizes.’ Enjoy these entries….


(WINNER) Rhonda and Gail Fooling Around in Rhode Island


Anita on Holiday in Maine


Marishka on Holiday in the Loire Valley of France


Susan Grilling in Georgia


Cindy at a Coffee Shop in New Hampshire


Justin on the Moon! (actually Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington DC)


Tom and Georgan in the Lone Start State – Texas!


Kathy on the beach in Cape Cod


Lael on her Anniversary Trip in North Carolina


Kelly on Sanibel Island, Florida


(WINNER) Maggie Ziplining at Family Camp in West Virginia


Marilyn in Houston Texas Airport


Nancy in Solitude in Connecticut (no one there to take the photo)


(WINNER) Marta on Holiday at the Coast in Kenya


(WINNER) Sandy on Holiday in British Columbia


Sarah being Cozy in North Carolina


(WINNER) Connie on Jury Duty in Oregon


Lori on the Porch in Rhode Island


Professor Yvonne Reading Aloud in Texas


  1. Justine Grandpre on April 9, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Cindy, I am so delighted to learn that you’ve written another book. I will be there on the 20th!

  2. lucindamcdowell on August 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Justine, it was great to have you at the “Celebration of Words” book launch. Sure hope you enjoy reading “Live These Words” this summer. Thanks for being such an encouraging friend.

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