"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Huckabee Gaining!

I've been listening to Huckabee speeches, reading Huckabee blogs, and reading messages lambasting Huckabee as a "closet liberal." But, where's the balance? So far all that I've heard from Governor Huckabee seems positive and pretty much massages me at all my ideological trigger points. That said, I recall hearing myself preaching to others that we shouldn't believe what politicians say, but rather, look closely at what they've done. And I intend to do just that, and report right here on what I find. To all my readers who hang on my every word and whose opinions I guide through my wise and studied repartee I say, "Stay tuned."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Huckstawhat?"

        When my daughter asked what I thought of Mike Huckabee as a candidate for President of the United States of America, that was my reaction. But I jumped(figuratively) into my www.surfing.chair and clicked on the link she e-mailed me. As I read his positions on issues I consider crucial to our national survival, I found I couldn't disagree with a single position he took.
        I asked myself, "Where has this guy been hiding?" Not only does he passionately hold all the values I embrace, but he presents himself well in every respect. This guy looks presidential!
        For what it's worth, my blog will take the official position of supporting Mike Huckabee for president. I ask all my countless audience(you can't count zero) to seriously investigate this man and his positions on the truly important issues facing our society today. Pop psychology and trendy policies aren't even as therapeutic as a bandage on our wounded and broken nation. Only the most careful surgery, administered by a true statesman, can restore the greatness and world prestige we once enjoyed.
        So join me in carefully and prayerfully supporting the only candidate who speaks for those of us who still believe in a great United States of America:

Mike Huckabee for president

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Black Friday

        An anthropologist in the dim future--face it; the next minute is the invisible future--will puzzle over our name during this period of history for the day following Thanksgiving Day. How could the the only popular holiday that hasn't been coopted completely by retail interests spawn a day sufficiently sinister as to be dubbed, "Black Friday?" What could be so black about such an innocuous day?
        Both those who host that beastly day and those who participate in it have three options: 1, Don't. 2, Continue participating and quit grousing about it. 3, Continue participating and grousing if it makes them happy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Me? A serial killer?

Relating to Trisha's book reviewed below, I want to confess my own adolescent trauma. I know from teen heartache. Yes, I could have chosen some better paths during my youth, but my mistakes weren't those of excess ... unless one includes excessively introverted. I was ruled by fear, governed by dread of anyone finding out who I really was. Shame is an awful load for an adolescent boy to carry, yet, I had overtly done nothing worthy of such shame.
        As a "good" Catholic boy, I constantly bore a super-human load of guilt for my "impure thoughts." Fortunately for the world, I was too timid to act out any of my dark fantasies.
        When I came to the Lord, He took away my sin, but losing that sense of shame is another issue. Of course, like all of life's trials, even that spectre can contribute to God's glory. Due to His infinite grace and wisdom, I still fully understand my unregenerate capacity for evil. Without Jesus in my life, I could potentially become another Jack the Ripper, Jefrey Dahmer, or Ted Bundy.
        Am I really so terrible? Fact is, anyone without Christ has the potential of perpetrating the greatest evil. Praise God, my greatest fear today is of doing anything that might become a reproach to my Father.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Life, Unscripted by Trisha Goyer

If you're a teen, and you're ready to admit that maybe your life is in danger of spinning out of control, get this book. And if you can't afford it, let me buy it for you.
        No, I'm not a weirdo. Well... maybe a little weird. But if you want a personal recommendation that I'm not an Internet stalker, just e-mail Trisha Goyer to ask how dangerous I am.


As the title indicates, the book is, My Life, Unscripted, and here's a note from the author, Trisha Goyer:


Looking back at my drama-filled teen years I now wonder ... What was I thinking?

The truth? I wasn't. I lived from day to day on every wave of emotion. Some days excitement and passion partnered up, pattering wildly within my heart.

Other days, depression and anxiety were my silent friends. I lived each day as it came, with no plan for my future, for my relationships, or for my heart.

I lived my life completely unscripted ... and, well, it didn't go well for me. Teen pregnancy and a broken heart were only two consequences. Yet my prayer is that when teen girls are asked Who's Writing Your Life? their answer will be ME ... with the guidance of God, My Director.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A New Delight

        Anyone who enjoys the sonic flood(please excuse the reference, SF) of organ music needs to click on over to this J. S. Bach site. There, you will find dozens of links to the powerful organ renditions of Bach's music by various talented artists. I particularly enjoyed Pilar Cabrera's lively execution of a number of Bach's masterpieces.
And speaking of masterpieces, the grand Blancafort Organ in Marbella, southern Spain, leaves one breathless with its pure, powerful tonal quality.

They're Watching

          This Our Daily Bread devotional lesson is worth considering. I know it got me thinking.
          All my life I've been consumed with how others see me, that they will like me. As I grow in the Lord I become more aware that this isn't the issue I should be concerned about. So I pray for the illusive ability to see myself as God sees me. Yet, this message suggests that I should be concerned about others' perceptions, that they see Christ in me, rather than this corrupt vessel. Now I'm back to wondering if I represent Jesus to the world in an honest, transparent, convincing way. What a quandary!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Slow, Delightful, Death

        Suicide is one of today's most insidious killers. While it takes people of all ages, it preys most viciously on young people from pre-teenage to early twenties. Their deaths spell tragedy on so many levels, but possibly the most awful aspect is that youth suicide is so easily preventable.
        Though experts implement intervention programs, applying the most advanced psychological theories, trying to save a few young lives from being wasted, the death toll just keeps climbing. With ever more young people becoming tragic statistics despite the best academic minds' best efforts, a new, revolutionary approach has emerged to end this wasteful, preventable, epidemic.
        A new kind of death exists that, rather than wasting young peoples' potential, opens a new door to develop it to a far greater degree than they could have ever imagined. This astonishing new mortality concept, rather than ending their mortal lives, actually leaves them breathing, selectively killing only the diseased part of their character that makes them miserable enough to prefer death to facing an unacceptable life.
        That character disease is the behavioral cancer, present in every living soul, that predisposes its victims to a self-centered pattern of resistance to authority that produces only misery and heartache. Of course, most young people never rush to the brink of suicide, but most of them become miserable enough at some point in their young lives to at least consider that drastic step. And even if they never reach that point of desperation, the mistakes they make due to that soul-cancer affect their entire lives with unnecessary pain and guilt, robbing them of the pure love, joy and peace they were created to enjoy.
        The only procedure effective in eradicating that soul-cancer involves delicate surgery using a unique, double-edged instrument called, The Sword. And only one Surgeon is qualified to use it, but His success rate is perfect—provided the patient submits to the surgery without reservation.
        A passage from The Sword's instruction book explains its use in just a few words: For the Word of God is living, and powerfully working, and sharper than every two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of both soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge of the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 LITV)
        Speaking of the Surgeon's skill: and there is no creature unrevealed before Him; but all things are naked and laid open to His eyes, with whom is our account. (Hebrews 4:13 LITV)
        That Surgeon is, of course, the only divine Son of the Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. By allowing Him to operate on one's diseased spirit, a young—or old—person can become new. So that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17 LITV)
        The old, pain-causing soul-cancer will be gone, and only the Surgeon's new life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control will remain for this lifetime and for eternity.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Dead Whisper On by T. L. Hines



This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing



THE DEAD WHISPER ON


(Bethany House July 1, 2007)


by







ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Tony is the author of the acclaimed Waking Lazarus. He has been an advertising agency owner/principal, a trade amgazine editor, and now a novelist.

He has been a professional writer for more than 15 years with articles appearing in publications as varied as Log Homes, Conservative Theological Journal, and Travel & Leisure. He is also Creative Director at Montana's largest advertising agency.

His long list of past odd jobs includes trimming Christmas trees, sorting seed potatoes, working the graveyard shift at a convenience store, and cleaning cadaver storage rooms.

As a teen he was undefeated in air guitar competitions in which he performed songs by ZZ Top.

He lives in Montana with his wife and daughter,



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Would You Run Into A Burning Building?

Candace "Canada Mac" MacHugh lives a ghost of her former life.

Once a proud Butte, Montana, miner who daily risked her life setting explosives, she's now a garbage collector in her dying hometown.

Her beloves father is dead and she doesn't speak to her mom. More than anything, Candace Mac misses her father. He promised to contact her from the "other side" if he could...but it's been eleven long years. And now even her beloved city of Butte, Montana, seems to be dying off.

Candace Mac is alone. Longing for the past. Dreaming of making a difference.

Until one night when her father's voice speaks to her from the shadows. Bud MacHugh's trademark growl. The dead, it seems, have messages they hunger to share with the world...warnings of impending disasters and grave danger. Of cities doomed to burn.

But they need Canada's help.

T.L. Hines' first novel, Waking Lazarus was named one of the Library Journal's Top 25 Genre novels of 2006. Now he's back with a gripping suspense that brings to light our fears and asks us if we still have the courage to fight for those around us. if we have the guts to be one of those who run into burning buildings.

"Chilling!" Publishers Weekly

"...a well-paced suspense populated by dynamic characters." Kirkus Discoveries

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Void by Mark Mynheir

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


THE VOID

(Multnomah Fiction August 21, 2007)

by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Mark Mynheir is a cop writer. He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One) and From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two).

During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Mark and his wife, Lori, live with their three children in central Florida.



ABOUT THE BOOK:


The Truth Chasers Book Three

Someone’s trying to play God…and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.


Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.

So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.

But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.


The Void is nothing short of a page-turner. Mynheir is truly hitting his stride as one of our industry's most notable Christian novelists. This latest book has it all: suspense, humor, intrigue, realistic police action, and one thought-provoking story line.

Creston Mapes
Author of Nobody


Thursday, August 09, 2007

And If I Die by John Aubrey Anderson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

AND IF I DIE

(Faithwords August 2007)

by

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


John grew up in Mississippi cotton country. After graduating from Mississippi State, he received an Air Force commission and has recently retired after flying twenty-eight years for a major airline. He lives in Texas with his wife, Nan.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

AND IF I DIE is the third book in the Black and White Chronicles. The first was Abiding Darkness (August, 2006), the second was Wedgewood Grey (February, 2007).In 1945, a spirit voice told Mr. A. J. Mason to “Be ready.”
In 1960, the spirit drew near and said the same words to the same man. “Be ready.”
On both occasions Mason ended up in bloody battles with the forces of evil. On both occasions, he saved the life of a young girl named Missy Parker. And on both occasions good people died.
It’s 1968.Missy Parker has been married to Dr. Patrick Patterson for nine years; they live in Denton, Texas. Missy plays tennis and golf; Pat is chairman of the philosophy department at North Texas State University.
Mose Washington, a black man Missy refers to as her almost-daddy, is hiding behind a new name—Mose Mann. Mose and the young black man who poses as his grandson have spent eight years successfully evading the FBI, a murderous congresswoman, and creatures from the demonic realm. They now live in Pilot Hill, Texas—fifteen miles from Pat and Missy. Mose is committing the autumn of his life to the pursuit of the knowledge of God and the protection of his “grandson”. His “grandson” is interested in honing his skills as a bull rider.
Close friends see portents of danger in events of the early summer and converge on Pilot Hill to warn the two black men that yet another confrontation with malevolent beings may be looming.
In the pre-dawn hours, on the second day of the North Texas Rodeo, the voice of an invisible being speaks to Missy Parker Patterson. The voice warns her that it is now she, not A. J. Mason, who has been chosen as the person who needs to “Be ready” . . . and Missy doesn’t want the job.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


RETURN TO ME
by
Robin Lee Hatcher


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin is the author of over fifty novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by Library Journal. Winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin, who is also one of our CFBA members, lives in Boise, Idaho.







ABOUT THE BOOK:

Discouraged and destitute, her dreams shattered, Roxy Burke is going home. But what lies beyond the front door?

Rejection...or a bright future?

A lot has changed since Roxy Burke escaped small town life to become a Nashville star. Her former boyfriend Wyatt has found Christ and plans to become a minister. Her sister Elena, who comforted Wyatt when Roxy ran away, is now his fiancee. Her father Jonathan, a successful businessman, is heartbroken over the estrangement of Roxy from the family.

Now Roxy...her inheritance from her grandmother squandered, her hopes of stardom dashed...finds her way home...not by choice but because it's her only option. Her father's love and forgiveness surprise her, but her very presence throws the contented Burke family into turmoil, filling Roxy with guilt and shame.

Elena is shocked to discover doubt and resentment in her heart after her father's easy acceptance of Roxy into the family circle. Wyatt wrestles with doubts about marrying Elena. And Roxy struggles to accept forgiveness. Isn't she more deserving of rejection? As the story of the prodigal plays out, each member of the Burke family must search for and accept God's grace.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

To Dance in the Desert by Kathleen Popa

But first, a word from your blogger:

Reading this book to Nancy was an unspeakable pleasure. I can't count the number of times I was stricken by the beauty of Popa's prose, more poetic than than most of the poetry I've tried to read. Kathleen Popa's first book rivals the works of Jan Karon for her simple, yet, profound character portrayals and slice-of-life stories. This is unabashedly character-driven, and at the same moment protagonist Dara Brogan's personal demons drive a plot that most authors wouldn't have been able to put across.
        This masterwork is a must-read for anyone who loves well-crafted stories of flesh-and-blood characters facing daunting internal and interpersonal issues, with an unconventional redemptive thread that lifts the heart and makes one glad.




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


TO DANCE IN THE DESERT

(RiverOak, May 1, 2007)

by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Raised in the American Southwest, Kathleen began her love affair with the desert as a child. Before becoming a writer she, among other jobs, worked in both the juvenile facility fro incarcerated girls and a home for emotionally disturved children. Mother of two, sh lives in Northern California with her husband and youngest son. Visit her blog, Reading, Writing, and What Else is There? She is a member of the CFBA, too! Give her a holler!











ABOUT THE BOOK:

“Not a safe world.” How many times had she heard it over and over again? Well, it is not a safe world and Dara Murphy Brogan knew it better than most, which is exactly why she had tucked herself away on a desert mountaintop. Now it was just her, the voice inside her head and the boxes of hastily packed odds and ends—all that was left of her pathetic excuse of a life. Hadn’t she chosen the desert because it was barren and brown and dead looking and far, far away from anyone who may have seen the news?

So what was this, this trespasser, this interloper, this wacked out earth mother doing dancing outside her window? Celebrating life and the Spirit in a way Dara never could have dreamed. Until she opened her door and met Jane Cameron.


A book that makes me laugh is a joy, a book that makes me cry is a rarity. But a book that moves me to dance is sublime. To Dance in the Desert is a spectacular experience. Beautifully written, deeply moving, and warmly engaging—that this is Kathleen Popa’s first novel astounds me. That she will quickly be counted among the top caliber of Christian novelists delights me. I simply loved this book.


~Kathryn Mackel, Author of The Hidden



Kathleen Popa creates a compelling vision of a small community’s power to coax waning spirits back toward life. This gem of a novel worked on me like a dream. Popa’s evocative prose captured the nuance and complexity of transformation with equal parts mystery and truth. She conjures the deserts of Dara Brogan’s life with intimate clarity, reminding us along the way of the profound strength of what we take far too much for granted—the deep friendship of kindred spirits. This is a journey worth taking.

~Jeff Berryman, Author of Leaving Ruin

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fearless by Robin Parrish

SOMETHING PERSONAL

        I had the privelage of reading this to Nancy and I must present the following review with a strong disclaimer: DO NOT HOPE TO PUT THIS BOOK DOWN after the first couple of chapters.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


FEARLESS

(Bethany House, July 1, 2007)

by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Robin Parrish had two great ambitions in his life: to have a family, and to be a published novelist.

In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract.

Born Michael Robin Parrish on October 13, 1975, Robin's earliest writing efforts took place on a plastic, toy typewriter, and resulted in several "books" (most between 10 and 30 pages long) and even a few magazines.

By the age of thirteen, he had begun winning local writing awards and became a regular in his high school's literary magazine. In college, he garnered acclaim from his English professors and fellow students while maturing and honing his skills.

After college, he entered the writing profession through a "side door" -- the Internet. More than ten years he spent writing for various websites, including About.com, CMCentral.com, and his current project Infuze Magazine, which is a unique intersection between art and faith which he also conceived of and created.

One of his more "high concept" ideas for Infuze was to return to his love for storytelling and create a serialized tale that would play out every two weeks, telling a complete, compelling story over the course of nine months. That serialized story eventually came to the attention of several publishers, who saw it as a potential debut novel for Robin Parrish.

In 2005, Bethany House Publishers brought Robin full circle by contracting him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels. A trilogy, to unfold in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008. One massive tale -- of which that first, original story would form only the foundational first volume of the three -- spread across three books.

Robin is the Editor in Chief and creator of Infuze Magazine. He and his wife Karen reside in High Point, North Carolina. Karen works for High Point's First Wesleyan Church, where Robin and Karen are members and Small Group leaders.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book Two of the Dominion Trilogy:

The world changed after that terrible day when the sky burned, and now every heart is gripped by fear...

Earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, and its citizens watch in horror.

But in the darkness there is hope -- an anonymous but powerful hero whom the public dubs "Guardian." He is Grant Borrows, one of a chosen few who walk the earth with extraordinary powers. But while Grant enjoys this new life, signs of a dangerous ancient prophecy begin coming true, and those closest to Grant worry he may be hiding a terrible secret.

A search for answers brings Grant and his friends to London, where an extraordinary discovery awaits that will challenge everything they thought they knew. With a deadly new enemy dogging his steps, Grant realizes that the world's only hope may come from unraveling the truth about himself once and for all. But what he comes face-to-face with leaves even this most powerful of men shaken with fear.

Secrets will be revealed.

Friends will make the ultimate sacrifice.

And destiny will not be denied.

The story continues...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Manpleaser

        As a cardcarrying(it's around here someplace) passive/aggressive, my first impulse when encountering someone is to be seen in a favorable light. That would seem no more than a common, personal quirk, but for Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[slave] of Christ.
        When I read that verse all my little excuses go up in smoke. No longer can I ignore opportunities to share my relationship with my Father God. No longer can I tacitly approve of my Christian brother's public sin by remaining silent when he asks me about it. No longer can I remain unprepared to join in when a conversation involves questions of world view.
       
Father, this is going to be tough. My phobia of confrontation must die, yet I don't know how to kill it. I need your power in my life, to stand and speak when I need to, and not back down out of fear. You have infinitely more than enough power to cover all such needs, so I beg of you in Jesus name, to pour out your Holy Spirit on my fear when it raises its ugly head. Make me able to love you unto obedience.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Island Inferno by Chuck Holton



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing



ISLAND INFERNO

by


Chuck Holton



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chuck served four years in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment–the same unit profiled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Chuck saw combat in Panama in 1989. After leaving active duty, Chuck flew helicopters in the Wisconsin National Guard while attending the University of Wisconsin.

In 2004, after ten years as a stockbroker, Chuck left that profession to pursue full-time writing. At the same time, he began working as the "Adventure Correspondent" for CBN.

He is the author of five books, including A More Elite Soldier, Bulletproof, and
Allah's Fire, the first of three books in the Task Force Valor series.

Today, Chuck, Connie, and their five children live on a farm in Appalachia, where Chuck now pursues his varied interests of farming, writing, adventure travel and public speaking, among other things.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

TASK FORCE VALOR

EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE DISPOSAL--THE BOMB SQUAD


As the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.

A DEADLY EXPLOSION
A new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it's exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides "Rip" Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing...literally.

AN ADVENTURE ABROAD
Fernanda Lerida is a University of Florida grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To Make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.

A RISKY RESCUE
When Rip's path collides with Fernanda's, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?

"Island Inferno is a boy-meets-girl story. But in Chuck Holton's world, boy meets girl in the middle of a jungle at 25mph. hanging under a parachute with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. You'd better plan on reading this in one sitting. And once you're done, you'd better give yourself time for your pulse to calm down."
----TOM MORRISEY, Author of Deep Blue, and Dark Fathom

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Peace of My Mind

        This morning— early, this morning— I sat next to what would briefly become my bed in our hospital's outpatient surgical center, drowsily waiting for my "procedure" to begin. Without consciously eavesdropping, I overheard a young woman in the next bed trying to explain her trepidation about the back surgery scheduled for her. She had dozens of questions for the anesthesiologist standing by her bed, and with each one he commented, "That's a good question." For more than a half-hour he answered those questions, all the time trying to reassure her of the mundane, bullet-proof nature of both the surgery and the process of anesthesia she would undergo.
        When the interview drew to a close, she couldn't stem the tide of tears that had been rising behind her eyelids. She was terrified about the procedure, the anesthesia, even the staff that would quite competently perform their jobs. She was about to traverse unfamiliar territory, and seemed sure something would go wrong.
        Some would call her a worrywart. I call her reaction completely natural— natural, as opposed to supernatural.
        I recalled my episode of anxiety before undergoing "The Knife"; how I'd experienced concerns about the potential pain involved. How I had contemplated the possibility of dying from surgical complications. Yet despite those concerns, I had felt a sweet, unnatural peace while being wheeled into surgery— even before they pumped the feel-good drugs into me. I remembered praying the whole situation into God's more-than capable hands. Would I have the best surgeon for the job? That was God's problem. Would I react favorably to the anesthesia? That was also God's problem. Would some aid loose count of the surgical sponges, allowing an assistant to leave one inside my incision and causing toxic shock resulting in my untimely demise? Even that was God's problem. In view of all those possibilities that were God's problems, I couldn't find a single problem with which to worry myself.
        What could I do for that young woman? The obvious answer was to share Jesus with her. Yet, the nurse had closed the drape between us, trying to keep their exchange as private as possible. Dare I intrude on such a private conversation? If I had known for a fact that her anesthesiologist was incompetent, would I have violated that screen of privacy? Though I longed for an opportunity to share my supernatural peace with her, the young woman left with her husband, still upset about things over which she had no control.
        That was, after all, her most basic fear; after a life of pretending she was completely in control, she faced a situation where she felt powerless. Her life rested in hands other than hers— fallible, human hands. What a difference she would have experienced if only she trusted God for her security, if only she knew the love that drove Christ Jesus to the disgraceful death of the cross for her. Yet, every day uncounted, hopeless people refuse the one Hope that would give them the supernatural peace they crave.
        Lord, give me opportunities to share with others A Peace of My Mind. And give me the grace to live up to your holy Name.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Divine Appointment

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

THE DIVINE APPOINTMENT

(Howard Books June 5, 2007)

by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerome Teel is a graduate of Union University, where he received his JD, cum laude, from the Ole Miss School of Law. He is actively involved in his church, local charities, and youth sports.

He has always loved legal-suspense novels and is a political junkie. He is also the author of The Election, another political thriller that we reviewed November of '06.

Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children...Brittney, Trey, and Matthew...and they reside in Tennessee where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.

You could visit Jerome at his Website, or at his blog Christian Political Blog.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

"They aren't hiding just one something, but a bunch of somethings..."


Small town southern lawyer, Elijah Faulkner is a dying breed...an attorney that actually takes pleasure in fighting injustice by working hard for the little guy. But when he takes on a case to defend a philandering doctor with a pregnant wife in a seemingly open-and-shut murder trial, Eli is not so sure he is on the 'right' side.

Back in Washington D.C., supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative President Richard Wallace to impact the direction of the highest court in the land. He believes God put him in the presidency for just such a time as this...to make a Divine Appointment. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.

A lobbyist with a vendetta, a small-time Mafioso, an investigative reporter with a Watergate complex, and a powerful Washington political machine combine to create a fast-paced suspense novel that explores the anatomy of a murder, and the ripple effect that it creates across the country.

"Jerome Teel has crafted an intriguing political thriller...nice twists and turns to keep you reading. he paints vivid mental pictures that bring characters and locales to life."
--Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee's 7th District

Friday, May 25, 2007

Snitch by Rene Gutteridge



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing



SNITCH
(The Occupational Hazards)

(WaterBrook Press May 15, 2007)

by



MY PERSONAL REACTION:

How was I to know that a woman--Rene Gutteridge--would write a police thriller so gripping, so smoothly flowing, so funny, so poignant, that I would hate to put it down? Yes, that is every author's hope, but Gutteridge met and vastly exceeded that universal goal. If that sounds gender-centric, I'm sorry. But reading novels by women has led me to expect some integral romance, some intuitive sensitivity into the deep, emotional underpinnings of male-female relationships. Snitch blows that prejudice(yes, prejudice) completely out of the water. This is truly a book worth reading, filled with vivid, quirky characters, plot-twists to satisfy a Hitchcock buff, and spiritual insights to justify even the Holiness brethren's time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rene Gutteridge is the author of several novels, including Ghost Writer (Bethany House Publishers) The Boo Series (WaterBrook Press) and the Storm Series, (Tyndale House Publishers. She will release three novels in 2006: Storm Surge (Tyndale) My Life as a Doormat (WestBow Press, Women of Faith)Occupational Hazards Book #1: Scoop (WaterBrook Press).

She has also been published over thirty times as a playwright, best known for her Christian comedy sketches. She studied screenwriting under a Mass Communications degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Oklahoma City University, and earned the "Excellence in Mass Communication" award. She served as the full-time Director of Drama for First United Methodist Church for five years before leaving to stay home and write. She enjoys instructing at writer's conferences and in college classrooms. She lives with her husband, Sean, a musician, and their children in Oklahoma City.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Old School meets New School meets Homeschool

Just shy of retirement and a well-earned pension, Las Vegas Police Department Sergeant Ron Yeager's definition of "active duty" involves shifting his bad leg into a more comfortable position. But when he's requested from his mind-numbing desk job to head an undercover auto theft task force, the former narcotics officer determines to prove he's still got the right stuff.

That is...until he meets his unlikely team of officers.

As Yeager soon finds out, not all the crazies are on the street. An undercover rookie, the audaciously honest Mackenzie "Mack" Hazard sends Yeager's blood pressure skyrocketing by wearing her faith like an ever-present badge. Then there's Jesse Lunden, a maverick undercover officer who refuses to learn anything from an old guy with a cane. Can this tangle of egos and eccentrics be trained into a lean, mean, crime-fighting machine...even while they are being drawn into something much bigger and more dangerous than anyone imagined?

In her trademark style, Rene Gutteridge blends zany, original characters, sincere faith, and surprising plot twists into one hilariously addictive read.

"Snitch is an engaging crime novel, balanced between sheer whimsy and genuine human drama."
....CHRIS WELL, author of Tribulation House

"A wonderful, fully developed ensemble cast makes Snitch an entertaining, engaging read. Rene's flair for a comedic, well-turned phrase shines here. Snitch is worth snatching."

...SUSAN MEISSNER, author of Widows and Orphans

Friday, May 18, 2007

Orchard of Hope by Ann Gabhart


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


ORCHARD OF HOPE

(Revell March 1, 2007)

by


Ann Gabhart


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ann H. Gabhart has published a number of adult and young adult novels with several different publishers. The author of The Scent of Lilacs, Ann and her husband live a mile from where she was born in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. She is active in her country church, and her husband sings bass in a southern gospel quartet.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Nothing will be the same after the summer of 1964.

Drought has gripped the quiet Kentucky town of Hollyhill, and the town seems as if it is holding its breath--waiting. Jocie Brooke is nervous about starting high school. Her sister Tabitha is experiencing the weariness of waiting for a new baby. Her father David is feeling the timidity of those first steps toward true love. All of these pivotal steps in life are awaiting the Brooke family.

Into this cloud of tense anticipation, a black family from Chicago, the Hearndons move here to plant an orchard outside of town. Fresh off the Freedom Train, Myra Hearndon is sensitive to what the color of her skin may mean in a Southern town. Her family will have to contend with more than the dry ground and blazing sun as they try to create their ORCHARD OF HOPE.

Jocie finds herself befrending a boy that some townspeople shun. Due to unspoken racial lines in this southern town, the presence of these newcomers sparks a smoldering fire of unrest that will change Hollyhill..and Jocie...forever.

In this close-knit community, everything is about to change.

Let this riveting novel take you along to experience unexpected love, new life, and renewed faith amid life's trials.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

To Be-lieve, Or Not To Be-lieve: what a question!

          If you were to ask ten people to give their reasons for believing or not believing any proposition, chances are you'd get a few versions of two basic arguments. If, however, you were to restrict the discussion to non-jargonic language, you would force those ten pundits to pry open the dusty trap door guarding their deepest convictions and root around in the cognitive cobwebs and irrational clutter for thoughts that were once fresh, but long since forgotten.
          One issue attracts tremendous attention, as well it should. It determines the world views of millions. Now, the observant reader might wonder why the author limits this to millions in a world populated by billions. In answer, he would ask, "Do more than one-in-a-thousand people in this world bother to define their world view?" Oh, but wouldn't that be an interesting poll?
          But enough beating about the thorny bush, which issue happens to be the existence or non-existence of a personal, Supreme Being outside the material universe to whom all persons within said universe must answer. Those who believe in such a Supreme Being, hereinafter referred to arbitrarily as "God," generally base their belief on the solid, objective substance known as faith. Dis believers, however, might counter that argument with a statement such as, "Fill one bucket with faith, and another with hot-air, and see which weighs more."
          Point well taken. But dismissing all the simplistic, "Bravo Sierra" from both sides, used to cloud the issue for centuries, it all boils down to one coin with two sides: Naturalists, often called Atheists, Agnostics or Materialists, think it's unscientific(stupid) to believe in anything that can't be observed, measured, quantified, and defined systematically. Supernaturalists, despite seeming from the title to be more natural than naturalists, believe the opposite; that the science of the material universe can't explain everything that exists. Another way of expressing their difference is: Naturalists try to prove God's nonexistence through pointing out the lack of scientific evidence for his existence, while Supernaturalists try to prove God's existence empirically, based on subjective experiences and elaborate apologia.
          Objectively, both sides' "proofs" are completely lame, proving nothing but the preconceptions of both sides. Objectively, the question of God's existence/non-existence boils down to one observation and one question.
          First, the observation: The technology of scientific observation changes constantly. What was theoretical last year might just be proven by observation next year. And what "scientists" considered devilish mumbo-jumbo a hundred years ago is now the stuff of high school science class. All the geographic authorities of the fourteenth century taught with absolute certainty that Earth was flat. What presumption asserts that the "supernatural" of today will never, under any circumstances, become the "natural" of the future, based simply on advanced observational technology unknown today? Not too long ago, electricity was as intangible as invisible spirits. Is it impossible that someone might eventually invent a camera or other instrument that will observe spirit beings? Who can say for sure?
          Now, the question(okay, the observation posed a few questions, so sue me): The best "science" of today points to a Big Bang as the material universe's origin. Oversimplified, the Big Bang was the result of near-infinite mass being concentrated in a near-infinitesimal point. Once it reached critical mass, it simply went B-A-N-G, Big Time. So, where did all that mass come from? Perhaps from another universe that went Bang, expanded to its limit and collapsed into the famous point of near-infinite mass. But where did that come from? Etcetera, etcetera. Fact is, no one knows. And that's enough uncertainty to keep billions of people believing in the possibility of God's existence.

Trick Question

      Students today get upset when their teachers ask trick questions. But their beef is not new. A couple of thousand years ago an itinerent teacher and preacher sprung such a question on his students. And coming into the parts of Caesarea of Philip, Jesus questioned His disciples, saying, Whom do men say Me the Son of Man to be? And they said, Some say John the Baptist, and others Elijah, and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. (Matthew 16:13,14 LITV) Then, to demonstrate to us the difference between worldly insight and spiritual insight, he asked the question again. He said to them, But you, whom do you say Me to be? And answering, Simon Peter said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:15-16 LITV) With wisdom not their own, they answered his question exactly as he had asked it.
      Wouldn't you think people today would get that question right, with two thousand years advance notice? Yet, even many of those who claim to follow the Christ can't grasp the full import of Peter's inspired answer.
      Peter's confession, typical of God's word, bore infinite depth with just a few words. You are the Christ ... Though the word christ means annointed, and there have been many annointed prophets, preachers and teachers throughout history, qualifying it with the, identifies Jesus the Son of Man as the only man ever uniquely annointed by God for his specific work. Standing before all the Jewish leaders, with his life on the line, Peter reiterated Jesus' words, This One is the Stone counted worthless by you the builders, the One who has come to be into the Head of the Corner; Psa. 118:22 and there is salvation in no other One, for neither is there any other name under Heaven having been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:11-12 LITV)
      The second half of Peter's confession says even more about Jesus' essential nature: ... the Son of the living God. Again, though the Bible refers to others as sons of God, only Jesus bears the distinction of being declared the Son of God. That uniqueness speaks of Jesus' exclusive claim--confirmed by his signs--of being the Divine Son of the infinite, self-existent One.
      That is where so many would-be followers of Jesus stumble and fall. The fact that Jesus was a man blinds them to his share in the divinity of his Father. The Hebrew word for God, Elohim, is the plural form of a word(eloah) used to refer to man-made idols and the leaders of men. Then concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God except one. For even if some are called gods, either in the heavens or on the earth; (even as there are many gods, and many lords); but to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we by Him. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6 LITV) That Jesus shares the Father's divinity is no more remarkable than a man who shares his father's humanity. The difference is, while mankind numbers over 6,451,058,790, Elohim numbers only three. Yet, even though the logic is impeccable, most people are blind to the revealed facts of God's nature.
      Though Jesus asked Peter a trick question, the Teacher knew he would give the right answer, as the Holy Spirit gave him the words. We too can receive God's eternal truth in the same way Peter did. Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been generated from God. And everyone who loves Him who begets also loves the one who has been born of Him. (1 John 5:1 LITV)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cutting Edge

      A popular approach to problems is if the purported solution isn't cutting edge, it can't be good. For example, the Egyptians wanted to build astrologically correct tombs for their elite. But they faced many daunting engineering challenges. Today's engineers and scientists study their finished structures thousands of years after they were built and scratch their heads over the ingenuity the Egyptians used to solve their engineering problems. By today's technological standards their engineering was hardly cutting edge, but it worked.
      I read an article on Suite101.com that dealt briefly with the thorny issue of depression. Though it was brief, it made a powerful start.
      Just a comment on situational depression and the examples the author provided. Three of the four examples share a common foundational cause: rash or unrealistic expectations.
      Of course, many higher functioning animals respond to dashed expectations with some sort of disappointment, but humans take it a leap further. We allow disappointment to germinate, sending its persistent roots deep into our self-concept, fracturing what is sound, and pulverizing what is not.
      Unlike conceptual structures such as opinion and belief, self-concept has no elaborate, cognitive bulwarks, but it attempts to defend itself with futile, psychological mechanisms. When forces without or within press their attack to the inner self, it reels, throwing up such defenses as rationalization, anger, aggression, regression, blame, bitterness, and a host of others that deal only with the wound, and not its cause. When those defenses fail, which they must, the self folds, collapses and self-destructs.
      Enter the bleak world of hopelessness, despair and depression. Organic mental illness can exacerbate such emotional self-destruction, but it can also cause it. When chemical imbalances send the emotions over the edge, we naturally seek situational causes for it. And where everything is objectively peachy, the sick cerebrum invents causes for depression. And it can be amazingly creative at it.
      All that is to say the human soul is the most infinitely complex creation this side of eternity. To propose one treatment modality, or even a set of them, without considering the Creator's role in maintaining humanity is counter-productive. Unlike many "fundamentalist" Christians, I recognize that there may indeed be truth in psychology and holistic therapies. Tragically, proponents of each modality either ignore or combat those with which they disagree. The true spirit of Holism demands exploration of every aspect of the human soul without engaging in ideological discrimination. The truly open mind will never patently dismiss unfamiliar or foreign ideas, but will carefully investigate, weigh and respect them, even if it ultimately disagrees with them.
      Psychology, holistic therapies and New-Age approaches seem cutting edge to today's "inquisitive" minds. But what really works is older than old. "Eternal," one might say.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Blame Game

      Join, The Blame Game! It's fun, exciting, and oh, so unproductive. The oldest game in the world, TBG enables players to assuage their personal responsibility by pointing the Bony Finger of Condemnation at ... well, anyone and everyone but themselves. The rules are simple: 1; Know your preconceptions. 2; Deny your preconceptions while emotionally defending your objectivity. 3; Bitterly personalize all condemnation to verbally assassinate your opponents. 4; Liberally employ generalities such as "Woulda," "Shoulda," and "Coulda."
      Of course the game's overriding principle is "Hindsight is 20-20." And the unique beauty of this game is all players can claim to be winners, while in fact, no one wins.
      As an example of TBG's expert play, notice the countless ideologues of every stripe who are currently spinning thirty-two senseless deaths to advance their own agendas. Of course I notice these things; I have my own ideological agenda to counter-balance any objective reason that may pass my way. But I'm not playing the game right, am I. Matter of fact, I hope I never get it right.

Friday, April 06, 2007

In High Places by Tom Morrisey




      Nancy and I have rarely read a book with such personal impact as Tom Morrisey's In High Places. Its central theme(When nothing else remains, Hope is enough.) was obvious enough for even me to catch, but not so blatant as to seem didactic. Certainly not the least of this book's strong points was the way it sucked me in to its well-developed characters' heads and filled me with empathy for their pain.

      This book has it all: It's suspenseful without the sadism of a stalker. It's romantic without the mush of a romance. It's technical without having to consult a climbers' manual. That said, I did resort to my trusty desk dictionary on occasion for clarification.
      Yes, rock climbing is central to the story, but after the first couple of chapters I was so caught up with the characters and the dangers they faced that even this strictly level-ground-walker was fascinated by the story's twists.
      What more can I say than "Buy It." You won't regret it.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Reclaiming Nick



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


RECLAIMING NICK

( Tyndale Fiction, 2007)

by




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award winning author SUSAN MAY WARREN recently returned home to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods. Visit her Web site at www.susanmaywarren.com.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

RECLAIMING NICK is the first of The Noble Legacy series. Book Two, Taming Rafe, will be available January 2008.


A Modern Day Prodigal Comes Home...


NICK NOBLE HADN'T PLANNED ON BEING THE PRODIGAL SON.

But when his father dies and leaves half of Silver Buckle--the Noble family ranch--to Nick’s former best friend, he must return home to face his mistakes, and guarantee that the Silver Buckle stays in the Noble family.
Award-winning journalist Piper Sullivan believes Nick framed her brother for murder, and she’s determined to find justice. But following Nick to the Silver Buckle and posing as a ranch cook proves more challenging than she thinks. So does resisting his charming smile.
As Nick seeks to overturn his father’s will--and Piper digs for answers--family secrets surface that send Nick’s life into a tailspin. But there’s someone who’s out to take the Silver Buckle from the Noble family, and he’ll stop at nothing--even murder--to make it happen.

Endorsement:

“Susan May Warren once again delivers that perfect combination of heart-pumping suspense and heart-warming romance.”--Tracey Bateman, author of the Claire Everett series


If you would like to hear more about Nick, he has his own blog. Also, the first chapter is there...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Hand Is Wiser Than The Brain


      Our Daily Bread gave a strong affirmation of mutual love and respect in marriage. Though I've seen and heard many messages on the subject, going back to Ephesians 5 brought it home with fresh vigor.
      Since the Bible plainly teaches it, should we expect our own spouses to conform to that standard? Here's where it gets a little dicey. Christians are unique in having the only perfect Standard by which to live. But our carnality usually turns that holy Standard into expectations that we heap on others, instead of accepting it as God's commission upon our own lives.
      If I hold my hand in front of me, extend my index finger straight out and curl the other three back, I feel an unnatural tension in my hand. Is it possible the human hand wasn't designed to point? But if I pose my hand in a similar, yet more relaxed position, I find I can curl my index finger in a beckoning gesture with little effort. This illustrates how leading(the beckoning gesture) is more natural than directing(the pointing gesture). Now, if only our brains would learn from our hands, wouldn't our relationships function far better?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spiritual Leprosy

      Our Daily Bread today referred to one symptom of leprosy that causes more damage than the virus itself. It seems the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae attacks the pain receptors and nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain.
      I don't know about others, but a pain-free life sounds like Paradise--until I consider my instant reaction to pain-causing injuries. Neither the heat of fire nor the raking friction of abrasion cause us to defend ourselves from injury. Instead, it is the pain of such circumstances that motivates us to take evasive action. Without the pain-warning, we would aggravate injuries by ignoring them.
      Conscience provides the same function for our spiritual and social behavior. It warns us when we're considering an action or thought that crosses our moral code. Without it, no action would be too depraved, no injury to another would be too grievous. Instead of a Hitler or a Bundy being an aberration, their crimes would be the norm and safety would be an unknown concept.
      Nothing as concrete as a virus, however, causes the conscience-numbing that I call spiritual leprosy. Conscience is a respectful being, who will never assert her advice where it's not wanted. All we must do to keep it from bothering us is to ignore it. Before long it becomes jaded and ceases functioning, allowing us to pass into reprobation. To those whose consciences are numbed, reprobation is preferable to having moral rules cramp their style.
      Why do people do bad things? Because they want to, and they've managed to silence their consciences. Moral reprobation--what I call spiritual leprosy--is terminal, but unlike physical leprosy, the death it brings is final and eternal.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Reliance by M. L. Tyndall

The Author


      MaryLu Tyndall grew up on South Florida's shores, where she fell in love with the tropical sea. She has been writing for twenty years and lives in California with her husband, six children and six cats.

The Book


      The Reliance, book two of The Legacy of the King's Pirates, begins with Captain Edmund Merrick trying to keep his wife Charlisse out of Morgan the pirate's marauding hands. With the best of intentions, however, he leaves his wife to care for a group of orphans at a church while he goes to find a wagon so he can take the children to safety. As he rides away on his errand of mercy, the church erupts in a fiery blast. When he is unable to rescue her from the inferno, he descends into his own personal hell, turning his back on the Savior to whom he has dedicated his life.
      Will his apostasy drive him to the depths of depravity he formerly occupied, or will his Savior woo him back? MaryLu Tyndall weaves a gripping yarn of Caribbean pirates' vicious blood lust and insatiable greed, while demonstrating God's grace and redeeming power, even in the lives of depraved criminals.

Warning, Will Robinson

Okay, I confess I'm a Sci-Fi fan, but then, only other Sci-Fi fans will recognize the title of this post. Lost in Space, both the campy TV series and the movie, had a fierce-looking robot who watched out for the shrimpy little genius Will Robinson. Warnings are a good thing, especially when we heed them. In Deuteronomy 28:58-63, the Eternal, Self-Existent One warned His chosen people of the consequences of disobedience. Further on in the Bible we can witness His faithfulness and grace as He was forced to deal with His people's stiff-necked attitude and morally depraved behavior. Eventually, He had to deal harshly with Israel because of one final affront to His love and authority. After killing his prophets, He sent His Son--the only One after His own kind--to bring His people back to him once and for all. Instead of listening to Him, they crucified Him and left Him to die on the tree, fulfilling the prophesy that everyone who hangs on a tree is accursed. But His life was not wasted. Though He died, He rose again, breaking death's bond on everyone who follows Him. That leaves us with the same choice He gave Israel: eternal death, or glorious resurrection. As with historical Israel, we are free to choose.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Jesus Wept

      That's known as the shortest verse in the Bible, but it's also one of the most telling. Our Daily Bread deals with it today, and it's worth the read.       Here's a thought I haven't seen in commentaries about that verse(of course I haven't read many commentaries). Jesus knew He was going to give life back to Lazarus, so He had no reason to cry about losing the man. Jesus' only reason for crying was in empathy for those who felt the loss of his friend. Jesus felt their loss, and shared their pain. This is the strongest evidence that God is not detached from our suffering. It hurts Him just as it hurts us, but He allows it to continue because we need it to mature into Christlikeness.       Thank God for pain!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Valley of Betrayal

      Tricia Goyer is my favorite author, because she's one of my favorite people. Tricia is a young woman who has put in some serious time making many of the mistakes that grey parents' hair. Like Solomon, she has found worldly pursuit purely vain. And like Solomon, she has found perfect wisdom and satisfaction in turning to God's Way.
      In His infinite wisdom, God pointed Tricia toward writing about her mistakes and what she's learned from them in a way other young women could relate to. By following that initial vision, she discovered she could write excellent quality, compelling prose.
     
      A Valley of Betrayal is the latest fruit of Tricia's following her vision. Set in pre-WWII Spain, it tells the story of Sophie, a young woman caught up in the romantic dream of marrying her tall, dark, handsome dreamboat. Pursuing that dream, she travels to Spain only to be entangled in the political web, wanton violence and senseless tragedy of revolutionary war.
      Intrigue abounds while Sophie quickly grows up, finding God has far more planned for her than "happily ever after."
      To say A Valley of Betrayal is a compelling read is a gross understatement. Just ... read it, and keep some Kleenex handy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Christian Writers' Market Guide 2007

      Sally Stuart has outdone herself with her latest writers' market guide, Christian Writers' Market Guide 2007. New resources, more convenient layout, included CD-ROM with 1200 online links... Check it out for yourself in the review below, thoughtfully provided by Bonnie Calhoun, Christian Fiction Blog Alliance director.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
      Sally E. Stuart is the author of thirty-four books and has sold more than one thousand articles and columns. Her long-term involvement with the Christian Writers' Market Guide as well as her marketing columns for the Christian Communicator, Oregon Christian Writers, and The Advanced Christian Writer, make her a sought-after speaker and a leading authority on Christian markets and the business of writing. Stuart is the mother of three and grandmother of eight.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
      For more than twenty years, the Christian Writers’ Market Guide has offered indispensable help to Christian writers. This year, for the first time, this valuable resource comes with a CD-ROM of the full text, so you can search with ease for topics, publishers, and other specific names.
      The 2007 edition also includes up-to-date listings of more than 1,200 markets for books, articles, stories, poetry, and greeting cards, including information on forty new book publishers, eighty-three new periodicals, and thirty-four new literary agents. Perfect for writers in every phase, this is the resource to get noticed–and get published.
      It contains listings for: 695 periodicals, 228 poetry markets, 355 book publishers, 133 online publications, 29 print-on-demand publishers, 1185 markets for the written word, 321 photography markets, 31 e-book publishers, 122 foriegn markets, 112 literary agents,and 59 newspapers.
      It also gives you comprehensive lists of contests, writers groups and conferences, search engines, pay rates and submission guidelines, editorial services and websites.
      Christian Writers’ Market Guide is a "must have' for any serious Christian writer that is looking to get published!

      Look for it at Sally's web site, or at Amazon.com

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I Ain't Scared

They call it The Grand Canyon, but "grand" doesn't even begin to express its scale. Standing at the Yavapai view point, safely behind the guard-rail, the scene is literally awe inspiring, even breathtaking. But if I were foolish enough to climb over the guard-rail and stand at the sheer drop into the canyon, "breathtaking" would no longer describe the feeling. Terror would be more like it.
      The difference between the two sensations is obvious. Viewing danger from a safe place is thrilling. Engaging that danger is something entirely different. Some people are into the adrenalin rush of risky behavior, knowing the same actions have injured or killed others. Or, they simply need to prove they aren't scared of danger.
      From my safe position on the visitors' path, behind the guard-rail, I would stare in disbelief at a daredevil who flouts the park's safety rules--and common sense--by precariously dangling his toes over the canyon's edge. Typically, such an idiot believes the rules are made just to spoil his fun.
      I have the same reaction to the daredevils who flout God's commands, plunging into their own way, believing that He issues those commands simply to spoil their fun. Somehow, the possibility that God is trying to protect them from the awful consequences of their actions never occurs to them.
      Of course, one great difference separates the toe-dangling fool from the God-defying fool. The guy at the canyon's edge doesn't have to take the Park Service's word that toe-dangling is stupid. He can see the sheer drop under his toes, and he's likely heard stories of others being killed while doing the same thing. But the guy who flouts God's laws can't see the future boded by his actions, any more than he can see the fate that befell the fools before him.
      It doesn't take faith in the National Park Service to believe that toe-dangling at the Grand Canyon can kill you. But God expects us to obey His commands by faith, because He is God.
      Psalm 111:10 says, "The fear(holy terror) of the Self-Existent One is the basis of wisdom. All those who practice His commands are smart. Eternal, are the songs of His praise." Those who defy God have good reason to quake in their boots. But those who live in obedience to Him can wisely say, "I ain't scared of God."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ephesus

      Today's Our Daily Bread speaks of losing our spiritual passion, as did the church at Ephesus. It ends with the statement, "Devotion to Jesus is the key to spiritual passion."
      While that is certainly true, lack of such devotion is merely the symptom of much deeper issues, issues that spring not from any religious deficiency, but from our most basic humanity.
      Love is work, and we tend to seek out "labor-saving devices" to make maintaining relationships easier and more efficient. We take short cuts to communication, emphasizing the value of small amounts of "quality time," rather than just plain time.
      We don't deliberately transfer our affections from Jesus to people, work, or recreation. But it happens none-the-less. In fact, we often have the best of intentions when putting Jesus on the back burner. Didn't He tell us to love one another as we love ourselves? And love does take time. And we have only so much time in each day. And Jesus understands that we have to maintain our other relationships. And a more creative person could cop many more excuses for letting our relationship with Jesus slip into limbo.
      All these excuses ignore the fact that any relationship not built on Jesus is doomed to mediocrity. So by shoving Jesus aside and pursuing our lives and loves without His primary involvement, we scuttle the very things we claim are most important. Talk about irony!
      As I write this, I have one accusing finger pointed at the corporate "we," while three point back directly at me. Yes, I am the chief offender, possessing a world-class laziness that flows through life like a meandering stream, always taking the path of least resistance. So my guilt is greater than those who blindly stumble along, not understanding their own sinfulness. But praise God for His marvelous grace!