"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, March 31, 2007

Reclaiming Nick

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


( Tyndale Fiction, 2007)



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.


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...


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.


“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!