Join Us For A “Guided Prayer Retreat”!

Hi, this is Eric Elder with a special announcement! In conjunction with a new series on prayer that I’ll be sharing online, I’d also like to invite you to join Greg Potzer and me for a “guided prayer retreat”–a time when we can come together and pray, but not just alone in silence. Greg and I, along with some strong praying friends, will be taking 3 days to share with you some of the ways we’ve found to make our times of prayer as effective as possible. Then we’ll spend some time in together in prayer and worship, sharing meals, and making new friends along the way. I believe it will be a powerful time, a healing time, a learning time, a prayerful time.

You can watch the event live online for free at this link:

We’ll be hosting the event at the Billy Graham Retreat Center called “The Cove” in Asheville, North Carolina. We’ll start with dinner on Wednesday, December 7, then continue all day Thursday, December 8, and finish up by noon on Friday, December 9. The cost to use the center is $325 per person, which includes 2 nights of lodging in a double room ($405 for a single room), 5 meals, and full use of the center and their meeting space. Greg and I are not charging anything extra for the retreat itself…we’re paying our own way to get to The Cove and offer this retreat to you–and we’re so looking forward it as well. Your registration fee goes directly towards the lodging, meals, and use of the center.

Christmastime at The Cove

The Cove at Christmastime.


The Dining Room.


A Meeting Room.


A Guest Room.

We have booked this event to take place at the end of the week to make it more economical for those attending and to allow each of you who are involved in ministries at your own churches to attend the retreat and still serve back at your local church on the weekend.

We will be broadcasting this event live online (and saving the videos for viewing later) so anyone, anywhere in the world, can take part in this special event as well. We believe that by having the event both online and in-person, it will enhance the experience for everyone. So whichever way you join us, we believe you’ll be blessed abundantly! Here’s the link again to watch it live online:

To reserve your spot, please use the links below. (Please review The Cove’s “Statement of Faith” and “Our Group’s Agreement with BGEA Guidelines” before registering, especially in regard to age restrictions and honoring The Cove’s Guidelines.)

Click here or click the “Pay Here!” button below to reserve your spot with the full registration amount per person. After you make your payment, we’ll send you a follow-up email to collect the rest of your registration information.

OR you can also send your deposit by cash or check to the address below. Please write in the memo line that this is for the “Guided Prayer Retreat at The Cove.” Please make sure we receive your registration and your cash or check by Wednesday, October 26!

The Ranch Fellowship

25615 E 3000 North Road

Chenoa, IL 61726  USA

Complete pricing, location and schedule of events follows…


The cost is $325 per person in a shared room (2 queen-size beds), or $405 for a single room. After October 15, please contact us first before registering to check if we have any extra space available. If space is available, your full registration fee will be due when you reserve your spot.

A private shuttle service between the airport in Asheville and The Cove is available for $40 each way. Contact GrandyCo at 828-273-3214 to make a shuttle reservation.

Please note for tax purposes that your registration fee is not tax-deductible as you will be receiving a service in exchange for your gift. Any donations made beyond your registration fee, however, are fully-deductible and will go directly into helping us continue to share the good news of Christ worldwide.


— ALL TIMES ARE Eastern Standard Time (-5 GMT) —

Wednesday, December 7
3:00-6:00 p.m. – Check-in and registration at The Cove
6:00-7:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:15-10:00 p.m. – Worship, Prayer and Messages

Thursday, December 8
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Breakfast
9:15-12:00 noon – Worship, Prayer and Messages
12:30-1:30 p.m. – Lunch
1:00-6:00 p.m. – Time for personal prayer, fellowship, exploring The Cove, or visiting the recently opened Ruth Graham Prayer Garden.
6:00-7:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:15-10:00 p.m. – Worship, Prayer and Messages

Friday, December 9
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Breakfast
9:15-12:00 noon – Worship, Prayer and Messages

(Room check-out is from 9:00-10:00 a.m. on Friday (just drop off the key at the lobby), but our program will go from 9:15 until 12:00 noon.)


Here’s a little more information about us…

About Eric Elder and The Ranch

About Greg Potzer and This Day’s Thought

About The Cove (video)

About The Cove (website)

For more information, please use our Contact Form!

Take A Tour Of This App!

Here’s a guided tour of the app to help you discover all that you can do with it!

Click here to watch the 12-minute tour, or read the highlights below.


On the “Home” page (This Day’s Thought), you’ll see a continually updated list of daily posts.  Tap a post to read it, then scroll right or left to read more posts.  To see a longer list of daily posts, scroll all the way to the bottom and it will load more, and more, and more!  To refresh the screen to make sure you’re seeing the latest posts, scroll all the way to the top to refresh the screen.  A “Search” bar also appears when you scroll to the top so you can search for any quote, author or topic that’s mentioned anywhere on the app.


To access the rest of the multitude of features of this app, click the menu icon in the top left corner (the menu looks like 3 white lines in a black box).  You’ll see a menu of all the other sections of the app, such as a Daily Podcasts, Sunday Sermons, books to rad, music to listen to, a place to post prayer requests and more!

Have fun exploring!


On Daily Podcasts, you can listen to all of our daily posts.  Just choose a day and click the play button (triangle).  The podcast will continue to play as you visit other sections of the app, or even if you go to another app on your device.  To read the text of any podcast, simply scroll down the page and you’ll see the full text of that day’s message.  To listen to more podcasts without going back to the menu, just scroll left or right from any day’s podcast.


The Week Sermons are often in series, so this page makes it easy to read one right after another.  Just choose a sermon from the list.  To read the next or previous sermon, just scroll left or right.


You can read the full text of all the books we’ve produce at The Ranch.  Just choose a book from the menu, and start reading.  Each book has a table of contents so you can quickly jump from chapter to chapter, or easily return to a specific chapter if you have to leave the app in the middle of a book.  You can also purchase paperback copies of any of these books by visiting The Ranch Bookstore for a donation of any size.


You can listen to all of the music we’ve produced here at The Ranch, plus a  few more albums from other artists who have given us permission to feature their music for your benefit.  Just pick a CD from the list and click the bright orange play button to listen from the beginning.


When listening to music, if you don’t see a playlist of all the songs from which to choose, you can click the link that says to see the playlist, and you can see a playlist of all songs on a CD like this:


You can watch any of the videos we’ve produced at The Ranch as well, including inspirational shorts like Eric’s Hope or Lana’s Hope, or our series 1-2 minute clips recorded live in famous locations throughout Israel.


To buy any of our books or music in paperback or on a physical CD, just visit The Ranch Bookstore.  You’ll be able to browse through our entire collection in a browser outside of this app.  Just return to the app to keep exploring.


To make a donation to our ministry, just click Make a Donation, and you’ll be taken to a secure page on our website where you can make a  donation of any size.  If you’d like a thank you gift for your donation, just visit our bookstore and make your donation next to the item you’d like.


If you ever need prayer, click “Ask For Prayer” and you can post a public prayer where others will be glad to pray for you as soon as they see your request.  You can also scroll through this page yourself if you’d like to pray for others, either privately, or post a public reply and pray for them on the page, too.



To see our entire collection of over 2,000 quotes and counting, just visit Quotes By Categories.  Choose a category from the top menu (it scrolls left to right to see more categories), and then choose a quote.  Again, scroll all the way to the bottom of each page of quotes to load more, and more, and more.  Scroll left and right to easily go from category to category.



To Contact Us for any reason, just fill out our contact form.  We read every note as soon as it arrives.  Please allow a little time for a reply though, as we do get many emails.  We’re happy to see your comments and questions, so let us know what’s on your mind!



To see our daily Facebook Posts, and watch our daily video recordings, visit Our Facebook Page.



Click “About Us” to learn more about us and why we do what we do!



Thanks for taking this guided tour!  Hope you enjoy the app!


This Day’s Thought from The Ranch- Announcing Our New App!

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Special Announcement! You can now get our daily thoughts on our new app for iPhone, iPod, iPad and Android phones! I’ve just posted a short video tour of the app, which includes not only our daily thoughts, but much more, including music, videos and devotional books to give you a boost in your faith anytime, anywhere.

Click here to watch the short video tour of the app, Then use these links to download the app for your iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android phones. It’s free!

Get the app from Apple's App Store!

Get the Android app from Google's Play Store!

Watch Here! | Listen Here! | Ask for Prayer | Contact Us | Visit Our Website | Subscribe | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bookstore

Announcing The 3rd Annual Ranch Retreat!

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Hi, this is Eric Elder, and on behalf of Greg Potzer and myself, we’d like to invite you to our 3rd Annual Ranch Retreat to be held next month, October 9-11, here in Central Illinois! We’d love for you to come!

3rd Annual Ranch Retreat - Oct 9-11, 2015

Our theme for the retreat this year is “Testimonies,” and we’ve invited several friends to share their testimonies during the weekend about how God has worked powerfully in their lives. Testimonies can give us a boost in many ways whether we share them or hear them. As the Bible says:

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony,” (Revelation 12:11).

We’ll start off with a potluck dinner here at Clover Ranch on Friday night, after which I’ll be leading a time of worship from the piano, followed by inspirational testimonies of people whose lives have been touched by the hand of God. Greg Potzer of This Day’s Thought will be joining us from Colorado, and we would both look forward to meeting you personally.

We’ll continue on Saturday morning with a light and refreshing breakfast, followed by another session of inspirational worship and testimonies.  We’ll take a break for lunch on your own and some free time in the afternoon to just relax, pray or chat with us and some new friends.

We’ll gather again on Saturday night for another great meal, more inspirational worship and more faith-boosting messages.  (If the weather’s nice, we’ll have a bonfire outside, too!)

If you stay over till Sunday, we’d love to have you join us for a time of worship at the local church where I attend, followed by lunch at the church café (dutch treat) for some extra time of relaxed fellowship.

If all that sounds good to you (I know it sounds good to me!), I hope you’ll join us here in Central Illinois on Columbus Day Weekend, October 9-11.  The retreat and three meals are FREE! (You’ll just need to find a way to get here and a place to stay for the weekend; see links below.)


The retreat will be held at Clover Ranch, located at 25615 E 3000 North Rd, Chenoa, Illinois.  Chenoa is about 2 hours south of Chicago and 25 minutes north of Bloomington/Normal.  The closest airport is in Bloomington, Illinois (BMI), with flights to and from major cities daily. Here’s a link to the closest hotel (3 miles away) and other nearby hotels (20-30 miles away).


5:00-6:00 Arrive and enjoy appetizers and fellowship
6:00 Potluck dinner begins (Feel free to bring snacks or a dish to pass)
7:00-9:00 Worship and Testimonies
9:00-10:00 Chat, pray and relax

9:00-10:00 Gather for a light & refreshing breakfast
10:00-:12:00 Worship and Testimonies
12:00 Break for lunch on your own at local restaurants
12:00-6:00 Free time for fellowship, prayer or board games or yard games
6:00-7:00 Enjoy a homestyle dinner and bonfire
7:00-10:00 Worship and Testimonies

9:00 Worship together at Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois
11:00-2:00 Lunch (dutch treat) at the church café for some extra time of relaxed fellowship


For more information about the retreat, housing or any other details, please reply to this note or us the contact form on our website.  Hope to see you soon!

Eric Elder and Greg Potzer
of The Ranch and This Day’s Thought for The Ranch



Marriage Book Is Ready!

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Several people have asked if I would put my recent series on marriage into a paperback book either for themselves or for their family and friends who are newly married, nearly-married or just want to strengthen their marriage no matter how long they’ve been married. So I wanted to let you know the book is ready!

It’s is called “15 TIPS FOR A STRONGER MARRIAGE” and as the title suggests, it contains 15 practical tips to help your marriage be the 
best that it can be. 
I’ve also included a bonus chapter at the end called “12 TIPS ON PARENTING.”  

15 TIPS FOR A STRONGER MARRIAGE, by Eric Elder, featuring 15 inspirational tips to help your marriage be the 
best that it can be. Also available in paperback and eBook formats in our bookstore for a donation of any size!

This is a beautiful little book of just 85 easy-to-read pages.  And like all of our previous books, we’re making this one available either for a donation of any size to our ministry OR for simply writing a 1-2 sentence review of the book on (for those of you who have read the series already).  Your donations really do help us to keep this ministry going for so many and your reviews on Amazon really do help us to get God’s life-changing Word out to even more people who haven’t yet heard about our ministry.  So whether you make a donation or write a review, thank you!

If you’d like a copy of the book, just follow one of these two links:

1) Click here to visit the bookstore at The Ranch website and then follow the links to make a donation of any size for the book “15 Tips for a Stronger Marriage.”  We’ll be glad to ship the book to you anywhere in the world as our way of saying thanks.


2) Click here to write a 1-2 sentence review on, then send us an email with your name, address, and link to your review so we can send you a complimentary copy of the book!  It ‘s really that easy and we’re happy to do it!  (Just remember to email us your name, address and a link to your review!)

Thanks again!
Eric Elder


8 Ways To Enjoy Our Music

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

by Eric Elder

I’d like to share with you 8 ways you can enjoy the music we’ve created here at The Ranch.

I know this isn’t a typical Sunday Sermon, but from time to time, I like to share with you things on The Ranch you might not see otherwise on your own. I also believe music is a huge part of our life of faith and can sometimes speak as powerfully as any sermon. So I hope you’ll listen to our music whatever way you can and enjoy your time with God.

Please known this isn’t a “sales pitch” for our music, as you can listen to it for free anytime day or night on our website. We simply want to help you know how you can access it, whether on our website or on your favorite music players and apps.

I’ve highlighted our most recent CD that we’ve created as an example of how to listen to our music. The CD is called Tenderly and features 100% pure piano versions of 13 beautiful and inspiring songs, all performed by my sister, Marilyn Byrnes.

You’re listening to TENDERLY, featuring 100% Pure Piano versions of inspirational and classical music performed by Marilyn Byrnes. Also available in CD and MP3 formats in our bookstore for a donation of any size!

Here are a few comments that have come in already this week about this CD:

“Beautifully done – very relaxing and calming!” Sue

“I just came across this music and it is awesome!!! It really lifted my spirits and gave me peace…definitely would be listening to it forever :)” Zinta

“I gave this CD a 5-star rating, because not only is it beautifully played, it was inspiring and complete listening pleasure. I would definitely recommend it for anyone.” Lydia

And here’s a link to one of the songs from the CD, “The Prayer,” which you can click and play in another window while you read the rest of today’s message. This is just one of more than a dozen CDs and 150 songs we feature on The Ranch that you can listen to for free anytime. With that in mind, here are 8 ways you can enjoy our music.

1) Listen for free on The Ranch website anytime. Click the “Listen to Music” tab on The Ranch website to see a list and to listen to all the CDs we offer. Many are instrumental so you can just enjoy the music as you relax, pray, meditate or work without words to get in the way of what you’re doing or what you’re hearing from God. Other CDs feature popular worship songs and hymns played in a fresh and contemporary way. And still others include scriptures reading by my late wife, Lana, read to inspirational music. Here’s the direct link to all the CDs:

2) Listen on Pandora. Pandora is an Internet Radio service that lets you listen to customized radio stations that you create. Just go to and create a radio station featuring “Marilyn Byrnes” (my sister) or “Eric Elder” (myself), and you’ll hear one of our songs, followed by a few songs from similar artists, then another one of our songs, an so on. Pandora offers both free and paid subscriptions. Here’s a link that will create a radio station automatically based on Marilyn’s music (and you’ll hear mine, too, as it’s similar!): Marilyn Byrnes on Pandora.

3) Listen on iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio is another Internet Radio service like Pandora, offered for free within iTunes. Just go to your Music Library in iTunes on your computer, or tap the Radio icon in the lower left of the iTunes Music app on your phone or music player, and then type one of our names to create a station based on our music (Eric Elder, Marilyn Byrnes, or Lana Elder, to hear Lana’s scripture CD). Once created, you can click our station anytime in iTunes to heard our songs, along with a mix of songs from other artists. Here’s a link to a station I created with all 3 of our names already entered: Eric Elder Radio.

4) Download from iTunes. You can also download any of our single songs or entire albums from iTunes easily and inexpensively and take our music with you to listen to anytime on your favorite music player. Just visit the iTunes store and search for Eric Elder, Marilyn Byrnes or Lana Elder to find all of our music. Here’s a direct link to Tenderly on iTunes: Tenderly on iTunes.

5) Listen on Spotify. Spotify offers free and paid subscriptions to listen to entire CDs of any of our music. Like many of these services, the only difference between the free and paid subscriptions is whether they display ads or not. But either way you choose, you can listen to our music by simply typing in our names or the names of any of our albums. Here’s a link that will take you directly to the Tenderly CD on Spotify where you can listen to the whole thing. Tenderly on Spotify.

6) Listen on Beats Music. Beats Music is a mobile app for playing all kinds of music instantly. One of the things I like about listening to our music on Beats Music is that you can listen to an entire collection of one artist at a time, without other artists in between and without having to click on a different album when one album is finished. For instance, when I click the search bar in the top left corner of the app, I can search for “Marilyn Byrnes,” then choose her name, then click “See All” and swipe to the right to see All Songs. I click shuffle and I can listen to a mix of 87 of her songs, nonstop for as long as I like! You can download the app from

7) Buy CDs or mp3 downloads from Amazon. If you’d rather have physical CDs for your car, your stereo or just to have in your collection, you can get all of our music from You can also listen to samples and download all of our music in mp3 format as well. Here’s a link to Tenderly on Amazon.

8) Get a CD from The Ranch! Besides offering all of our music to you 24/7 for free from The Ranch website, we also offer all of our music on CD in 2 other ways: 1) Make a donation of any size to our ministry and we’ll send you a CD as our way of saying thanks, or 2) Listen to our music first on our website, then write a 1-2 sentence review of the CD you’d like on Amazon or iTunes and we’ll send you a complimentary copy of the CD to say thank you. Your donations and your reviews help us to create more music and get the word out to others, thereby multiplying the blessing to even more people. Visit our online bookstore to make a donation or follow the links from the bookstore to the CD on Amazon or iTunes where you can write a review. Just be sure to send us your name, mailing address and a link to your review and we’ll ship out a CD to you anywhere in the world. Thanks for helping us to spread the music God has given us!

9) (BONUS!! Updated 8/8/2014) Download The Ranch App!  Now you can download an app for your phone or table and listen to our music anytime.  Look for The Ranch App on your favorite App Store today!

I hope this has been helpful to you, as I know that music is a big part of many of your lives. Music has been around since the creation of the world, and has always been a backdrop for life on earth. As God said to Job in the Bible:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7).

I pray our music brings you pleasure and joy today as well.

P.S. Last week I wrote an article on how you can upload your own music to various music services like we do here at The Ranch so you can share your song with the world. In case you missed it, here’s the link:
Sharing Your Song With The World

Sharing Your Song With The World (Plus 33 Quotes On Music)

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Learn how to publish your music to iTunes or Amazon for free
(Plus 33 Quotes On Music)

by Eric Elder


I love to play the piano.  But until I was 30, I only played for myself.  I just loved doing it for the sheer joy of doing it.  I loved figuring out the notes and hearing them come together to form songs.  To think that the music I was hearing was coming out of notes I was playing was, in itself, fully satisfying.  As Carlos Santana says,

“When you play from your heart, all of a sudden there’s no gravity.  You don’t feel the weight of the world, of bills, of anything.  That’s why people love it.  Your so-called insurmountable problems disappear, and instead of problems you get possibilities.”

I was quite happy to just play for myself.

But one day a friend came over and heard me play.  He said, “You wrote those songs?”  I told him I did.  He said, “You should record them!”

I didn’t know why I should record them.  I just liked playing them.  But he said he had some recording equipment and he’d be glad to help me record them.  So we set up a time for him to come back, and a few days later he had recorded a dozen of my songs.

When he played back the tape for me, I couldn’t believe it.  The songs sounded completely different!  For the first time I was able to hear my songs without having to play the keys in front of me.  It was a totally different experience.

As odd as it may sound for me to say this, the songs really touched my heart.  I no longer heard them as “my songs” but just songs.  Even today, when I hear other people play my songs, I don’t usually recognize them at first.  I just love them.  And somehow, they really minister to my heart in a deep way.  When I first heard them played back, I thought, if they touch me like this, maybe they would touch others, too.

So a few years later I went back and recorded the songs again, this time taking a little more care to record them as best I could; then I posted them on my website.  People started writing in to say how touched they were by the music.  Some even said it was so relaxing that they turned on my music at night before they went to bed and woke up to it still playing in the morning (which makes me wonder how many people have actually listened to my music…they might just be sleeping through it!).

Music has the power to touch people in a way that goes beyond words.  The Bible tells of a young boy named David who played the harp for a king:

“Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him” (1 Samuel 16:23).

Many times as I play the piano, I find it calms my own soul as well as the souls of those who listen.  In the 16th century, Martin Luther said:

“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.”

For me, music is like the oil that lubricates the engine of my life.  Things just seem to run smoother with music, be more enjoyable.  Of course, there are times when silence is golden.  But the right music at the right time can change the whole atmosphere of almost any situation.

I remember walking around SeaWorld in San Antonio one day with my wife and young kids.  As we strolled from activity to activity, everything seemed so perfect and calm and wonderful.  I couldn’t believe it.  Then I realized what was happening.  Although the weather was gorgeous and we were truly having fun, I noticed that there was music playing everywhere we went.  It was coming out of speakers hidden in the rocks in the ground that lined every path and trail in the park.  It was like having a sound track synced to our lives, and it was beautiful.

Whether you’re a musician or not, I’m sure you can appreciate how music can touch people in ways that go beyond words.  As Plato said:

“Music training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the secret places of the soul.”

If you are a musician, I’d like to encourage you today to consider sharing the songs that God has put on your heart with others.  As I’ve shared my story about how I went from just playing the piano for myself to sharing it with the world, others have asked to me help them record their music and put it online, too.

Since that time, I’ve helped to record dozens of CDs and hundreds of songs.  I love doing it because I love to see people come alive as they’re able to share their songs with others, and I love to see how others are blessed when they listen to those songs.  I don’t do it for money.  I just do it for joy!

So this week I recorded a short 15-minute video to show you how you can publish your music online on websites like iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify, BeatsMusic and more.  As an example, I show how I uploaded one of my sister’s beautiful piano recordings of “Amazing Grace” to, who will then distribute it to other music services for digital streaming and downloading.

It’s a fairly simple process that you can do by yourself, and it’s fairly inexpensive, too.  Sometimes it just takes watching someone else walk through the process and then you can do it on your own from there.

I’ve also posted a video previously that shows how you can publish your books and music on for free.  This is especially useful if you want to print high-quality, physical copies of your books or music.  Here’s a link to both videos.

How to publish your songs on iTunes, etc.:

How to publish CD’s on

As a final encouragement, I’d like to share with you 33 quotes on music that my friend and partner in ministry, Greg Potzer, shared with me.  Greg’s a collector of quotes extraordinaire, and his quotes on music are just as fun and thoughtful as the daily quotes he shares with you on this list.  I’ve shared some of them already in the message above.

For those of you who have considered taking up an instrument or singing or songwriting for yourself but haven’t yet gotten to it, it’s never too late to start.  As Michel de Montaigne, a writer during the French Renaissance in the 1500’s, said:

“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.”

I hope this message is helpful to you and that it inspires you to share your music with others.  Only God knows how many lives will be blessed when you do.

P.S. You can listen to my music and the music of my sister and other friends anytime for free on The Ranch at this link:

Compiled by Greg Potzer of “This Day’s Thought from The Ranch”

“Everything you do is music and everywhere is the best seat.”  John Cage

“The greatest respect an artist can pay to music is to give it life.”  Pablo Casals

“Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time.”  Ornette Coleman

“Music is the space between the notes.”  Claude Debussy

“If it sounds good, it IS good.”  Duke Ellington

A young composer once came to Mozart for advice on how to develop creatively.  “Begin writing simple things first,” Mozart told him; “songs for example.”  “But you composed symphonies when you were only a child,” the man exclaimed.  “Ah,” Mozart answered, “but I didn’t go to anybody to find out how to become a composer!”  David Ewen

“It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.”  Dizzy Gillespie

“God created the universe in order to hear music, and everything has a song of praise for God.”  Louis Ginsberg

“An instrument becomes an extension of the player’s own body.”  Mickey Hart

“I can tell you much more about what a man is really thinking by listening to him play than by hearing him talk.  You can’t hide anything in that horn.”  Jo Jones

“Because I am a storyteller, I live by words.  Perhaps music is a purer art form.  It may be that when we communicate with life on another planet, it will be through music, not through language or words.”  Madeline L’Engle

“I never practice, I always play.”  Wanda Landowska

“Ouf!  Let me get out; I must have air.  It’s incredible!  Marvelous!  It has so upset and bewildered me that when I wanted to put on my hat, I couldn’t find my head.” Jean Francois Le Sueur (writing about Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5)

“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.”  Martin Luther

“Music comes to you at strange times but you have to be ready to catch it, because if you don’t she may be gone for good.”  Wynton Marsalis

“Improvisation is not the expression of accident but rather of the accumulated yearnings, dreams, and wisdom of our very soul.”  Yehudi Menuhim

“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.”  Michel de  Montaigne

“When I am completely myself, entirely alone, or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.  When and how these come I know not, nor can I force them.”  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“I wrote more than three thousand songs, seven of them good.”  Jack Norworth

“There’s this great line in a Chrissie Hynde song where she says, ‘When I first heard a song flying to the sun, I wanted to be one.’  You know, it’s not that you want to sing the song, it’s that you want to be one.”  Joan Osborne

“If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.”  Ignacy Paderewski

“First you learn your instrument, then you learn the music, and then you forget all that stuff and just play.”  Charlie Parker

“If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”  Charlie Parker

“Don’t play the saxophone.  Let it play you.”  Charlie Parker

“Music training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the secret places of the soul.”  Plato

“Music, to create harmony, must investigate discord.”  Plutarch

“When you play from your heart, all of a sudden there’s no gravity.  You don’t feel the weight of the world, of bills, of anything.  That’s why people love it.  Your so-called insurmountable problems disappear, and instead of problems you get possibilities.”  Carlos Santana

“The notes I handle no better than many pianists.  But the pauses between the notes- ah, that is where the art resides!”  Artur Schnabel

“My music is best understood by children and animals.”  Igor Stravinsky

“Music praises God.  Music is well or better able to praise him than the building of the church and all its decoration; it is the Church’s greatest ornament.”  Igor Stravinsky

“A wise friend of my father’s had said to me: ‘You should not go into music unless it is a compulsion.  In the end, all you really have as a center is the music itself.  Make sure that you have to be with it every day.  If that’s true, the you should become a musician.’”  Michael Tilson Thomas

“When I hear music, I fear no danger.  I am invulnerable.  I see no foe.  I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”  Henry David Thoreau

“Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until they can’t get it wrong.”  Unknown

If you like piano music, you can listen to our most recent CD we’ve recorded for use on The Ranch website called Tenderly, by Marilyn Byrnes by visiting this link.  The CD features a baker’s dozen (13) beautiful songs songs such as “The Prayer,” “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and my personal favorite, “Can You Read My Mind” (from the movie Superman.)  You can also get a physical copy of this CD in one of 2 ways:  1) Make a donation of any size to The Ranch from this link and we’ll send you a copy as our way of saying thanks, or 2) Just listen to the CD on our website for free, then write a 1-2 sentence review on Amazon from this link, and we’ll send you a complimentary CD as our way of saying thanks!  (Just remember to email us your name, address and a link to your review.)  Your reviews help to get the word out about the music so we can inspire even more people around the world, so thank you!

You’re listening to TENDERLY, featuring 100% Pure Piano versions of inspirational and classical music performed by Marilyn Byrnes. Also available in CD and MP3 formats in our bookstore for a donation of any size!

Sharing Your Book With The World (Plus 21 Quotes on Writing and Perseverance)

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Learn how to publish your book on Amazon
(Plus 21 quotes on writing and perseverance)

with introduction by Eric Elder


A few years ago I was in the midst of a writing project when my friend Greg Potzer sent me a collection of quotes on writing and perseverance.  The quotes helped me so much that I wanted to share them with you today.

Why?  Because I believe that many of you have a book on your heart that you’re wanting to write, but you just need encouragement to write it.

As a Christian, I have a passion for sharing Christ with others, and one of the ways I do that is by writing down the stories of what God has done in my life and in the lives of people around me.  Like the Apostle John, who wrote the gospel of John in the Bible, I do this with the hope that people reading my stories will be encouraged to put their faith in Christ.  John said:

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name”  (John 20:30-31).

And John isn’t the only one who saw Jesus do miraculous things in people’s lives.  John went on to say:

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

If I can write one or two books in my lifetime to help people grow closer to Christ, I know God can use them to touch many people.  But if I can encourage all of you who are reading this message today to write one or two books to help people to grow closer to Christ, then we can reach millions!

When I was writing my first book, I happened to meet an author and pastor named Ray Pritchard who was speaking at a retreat I was attending.  During one of the breaks, I was talking with Ray about my book project when he stopped me and said:  “Think books, not book.”

I hadn’t even considered writing more than one book!  I was just going to be happy if I could write even one book that could help people grow closer to Christ.  But Ray’s comment inspired me, and instead of thinking of just one book, I started thinking of others, and that in turn helped me get my first book out the door – because now I had so many other books I wanted to write, too.

The truth is, it’s easier to publish a book today than it’s ever been before.  You can do it yourself – for free!  With print-on-demand services like Amazon’s Createspace, Lulu or Blurb, you can focus on writing your book and they’ll do the rest.  You just upload a PDF file of your book, choose a cover, and they’ll print it, bind it and ship it to anyone, anywhere in the world.

I’ve published a dozen books this way over the last few years, including my recent two books called, “St. Nicholas: The Believer” and “Making the Most of the Darkness.”  You can also do the same thing with music, uploading your music files to places like Amazon or CD Baby, and they’ll print and ship your CDs out for you.  You can see all of our books and CDs on our website at

A few years ago, I taught a class on how to self-publish your books and music like this.  You can still watch the class online for free on our website at this link:  Self-Publishing Class.

In case you think I’m trying to sell you something, I’m not!  All of our books and music are available for free to read or listen to online on our website ( anytime day or night.  We just make them available to people in other formats for their convenience.  The only thing I’m trying to sell you on is the idea of writing down what God has done in your life so that others can benefit from it, too.  My passion is to get the Word of God out to as many people as possible, whether it’s through my writings or yours!

With that as an introduction, and hopefully as a bit of inspiration, I’d like to share with you the collection of quotes that Greg shared with me that helped me get over a hump during one of my writing projects.  I pray these quotes encourage you, too.

21 Quotes on Writing and Perseverance 

On Persistence – Ernest Hemingway often worked for hours to perfect one paragraph.

“A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” Paul Valery

“Of the making of books there is no end.”  King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

“If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought.” Dennis Roch

“I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.”  Blaise Pascal

“From my first experience of writing a screenplay, I had learned something about the process of revision. You can always make something better, and if you make it worse, you’ll know it. I had learned to have no fear of rewriting. All writers should be so lucky.”  John Irving

“You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.”  Carl Gauss

The story is told of an accomplished artist who was applying the finishing touches to a bronze sculpture. He kept filing, scraping, and polishing every little surface of his masterpiece. “When will it be done?” asked an observer. “Never,” came the reply. “I just keep working and working until they come and take it away.”

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  Thomas Edison

“If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius.”  Michelangelo

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”  Mother Teresa

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”  Walt Disney

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them.”  Henry David Thoreau

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”  Dr. Seuss

“Quit now, you’ll never make it.  If you disregard this advice, you’ll be halfway there.”  David Zucker

“There are two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though every thing is a miracle.”  Albert Einstein

“Most of my friends who are novelists have told me that they never know the end of their novels when they start writing them; they find it peculiar that for my novels I need to know, and I need to know not just the ending, but every significant event in the main characters’ lives. When I finally write the first sentence, I want to know everything that happens, so that I am not inventing the story as I write it; rather, I am remembering a story that has already happened. The invention is over by the time I begin. All I want to be thinking of is the language- the sentence I am writing, and the sentence that follows it. Just the language.”  John Irving

“Do not write so that you can be understood, write so that you cannot be misunderstood.” Epictetus

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.”  Robert Frost

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”  Rudyard Kipling

“When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell him 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life.”  Christopher Morley

If you enjoyed our recent series on how to keep trusting in God even in the face of significant loss, you can now get a paperback version for yourself or family or friends.  The book is called “Making the Most of the Darkness” and there are 3 easy ways to get a copy:   1) Buy the book directly from Amazon at this link, 2) Make a donation of any size to The Ranch from this link and we’ll send you a copy as our way of saying thanks, or 3) If you’ve already read these messages (as we’ve shared them online during the past year) and want to write a 1-2 sentence review on Amazon from this link, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of the book!  Just email us your name, address and a link to your review.  Your reviews help to get the word out about the book so we can get God’s Word out to even more people.  Thank you!

Making the Most of the Darkness , by Eric Elder

St. Nicholas Book Now Available in Paperback!

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

For those of you who enjoyed our special “St. Nicholas” series for Christmas, we have a special offer for you! We’ve just published the book on Amazon on Christmas Eve, and there are two ways you can get a copy.

St. Nicholas: The Believer, by Eric and Lana Elder

1) If you make a donation of any size to The Ranch, we’ll be glad to send you the beautiful paperback version of the book as our way of saying thanks.


2) If you’ll simply post a 1-2 sentence review of the book on, then send us an email with your name, mailing address and a link to your review, we’ll be glad to send you a copy of the paperback at no cost whatsoever! Your reviews help us get the word out about the book, and that in turn helps us to get God’s Word out to even more people.

So if you’d like to make a year-end donation by December 31st (without receiving a thank-you gift), please click here:
Make A Donation

or by mail to The Ranch Fellowship, 25615 E. 3000 North Rd, Chenoa, IL 61726 USA

But if you’d like to make a donation of any size and get a copy of “St. Nicholas: The Believer” as our way of saying thanks, then visit our online bookstore and click “Donate” next to the St. Nicholas book:
Donate from the Bookstore

OR, if you’d like to write a review of “St. Nicholas” on Amazon, and get a copy of the book as our way of saying thanks, click here (and remember to send us an email with your name, address and a link to your review so we’ll know where to send your complimentary copy of the book!)
Write A Review On Amazon

With 5 days left till the end of the year, I also wanted to remind you that if you’d like to make a donation to “This Day’s Thought from The Ranch” for your 2013 taxes, now’s the time to do it! Perhaps you saw our November fundraiser and thought, “I’d like to make a donation,” but never got around to it. Well, it’s not too late! But you’ll have to make your donation online or postmarked by December 31st to count towards your 2013 taxes.

Thanks again for everyone who’s come alongside this year as we all seek to grow closer to Christ together. We truly love and appreciate you!

In Christ’s love,
Eric Elder and Greg Potzer
for “This Day’s Thought from The Ranch”