Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yet Will I Trust Him!

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

“The best laid plans…” How many times have I quoted that, and then been stunned when life happens and my “best laid plans” are derailed once again?
It happened to us slightly over a week ago. My husband and I had just returned from a short trip and settled down to watch the Lakers game when I noticed a message on my cell phone. I hadn’t heard it ring, but apparently our second son, Michael, had called. We had just spoken to him earlier that day, so I assumed he was checking to see if we’d made it home safely.
I called him and nearly collapsed when I heard his voice. Instead of his usual cheery greeting of “Hi, Mom,” I heard my precious son gasping for air and moaning. “I can’t breathe,” he managed to say. Then I heard something about an accident and the words, “I think I’m going to die.” I begged him to tell me what happened, where he was, if he’d called 9-1-1, but he couldn’t answer. Then the phone went dead.
Does it get any worse than that? My husband and I threw a few things in a suitcase and hit the road, praying all the way. By the time we’d made the 90-minute drive, we’d managed to discover that Michael had been riding his mountain bike alone, far from a well-traveled trail, and had taken a terrible fall. He didn’t remember calling me, but somehow my return call to him pulled him from unconsciousness. The GPS on his cell phone eventually enabled the medical helicopter to locate him, but not before he spent several hours lying severely injured and suffering under the hot desert sun. He was airlifted to emergency with seven broken ribs, a broken shoulder, collapsed lung, and severely dehydrated. But he’s going to make it, and we’re all rejoicing in that.
And if they hadn’t found him and he wasn’t going to make it, would we still be rejoicing? We would be grieving, certainly…but still praising God? There’s nothing like a crisis with one of our children to put things in such perfect perspective, is there? I’m relatively certain I can truthfully say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” But “Though He slay my child…?” A bit tougher, isn’t it?
God knows our weaknesses and frailties, our failures and faults, and He loves us anyway. He understands our struggles to release our loved ones into His care, so much so that He alone gives us the strength to do it. It is only in clinging to Him that we are able to say, regardless of what happens, “yet will I trust Him.” For ultimately, whatever our best-laid plans, that’s really all that matters.
Praying for you, dear ones, that whatever comes your way, you will cling to Him and rejoice as you declare, “Yet will I trust Him!”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In Honor of Fathers...

All right, I’ll admit it. I’m old enough to remember watching “Father Knows Best,” “Donna Reed,” and “Ozzie and Harriet” on TV. But is that really so bad?
I was the oldest of three children and the only girl—and I adored my dad. He was my first hero (my husband is my second!), and there were several reasons for that. One of my first memories is of the day we moved into a brand new house, the one my dad had worked on during his off-hours for many months. I was three years old. I stepped out of the hot sun and into the entryway, immediately grateful for the cool air inside and impressed that my dad had accomplished such a thing.
It was also about that same time that I began having severe asthma attacks, often ending up with pneumonia and having to be hospitalized on many occasions. That was before the days when employers or the government provided health insurance, so my health care was strictly my parents’ responsibility. I may have been young, but I somehow realized that my going to the hospital meant that my already hard-working father would have to work even more hours to pay the bills. Because of that I tried not to show how really sick I felt, but eventually my dad would come into my room and say, “I think it’s time to take you to the hospital now.” Then he’d carry me to the car as I considered how very much he must love me to do such a thing.
In addition to being a hard worker, who nearly always kept two jobs in an effort to provide for us, Dad was a disciplinarian and had high standards. If we were capable of A’s, he did not accept B’s. He drilled us on math and geography, and helped me practice for spelling bees even when he was exhausted from a long day’s work. As a result, I learned to set high standards for myself and to pass them on to others.
And yet, if we are to believe the picture that is painted of fathers in today’s society, I’d have to say that my father’s generation was the last of that exemplary breed. TV sitcoms today are a far cry from the “Father Knows Best” era where Dad was admired and respected. Most of the fathers on television today can’t tie their own shoes without a woman’s help! Even commercials show husbands having to ask permission before eating yogurt from the refrigerator. Is that really the picture we want to paint for impressionable children who spend far too many hours glued to those TV sets?
Call me old-fashioned (seriously, go ahead—I don’t mind!), but I’m concerned about the shift I’ve seen in our culture regarding our view of men—fathers in particular. Not only are they often portrayed as helpless buffoons, but in many cases they are reduced to unnecessary annoyances. Who needs a man around when Super Woman is already there to run things? Even the children on most TV shows know enough not to ask Dad for anything except money because only Mom has enough brain power to answer their questions, and only she has the authority to grant them permission. Mom is in charge, and if Dad dares to challenge that assertion, he will have repented by the end of the program.
How sad. Now admittedly, I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. Neither Mom nor Dad was a true believer at that time, though both had been raised with some religious training. My dad even had a German mother who taught him of “Ye-sus,” as she called Him, but Dad had drifted away from the teachings of his childhood. His moral standards, however, lined up with what he had learned from the Scriptures, and he did his best to institute them in our home. We also had the advantage of growing up during a time when prayer and Bible reading were still allowed in school, so we had at least a smattering of Christian understanding mixed in with our moral upbringing. Our home was a home of absolutes; situational ethics just didn’t cut it. Some might call it harsh; I look back and call it “love.”
Though it was some years after I grew up and left home that our entire family came to Christ, it was Dad’s uncompromising values while we were children that gave us a moral compass on which to base our lives. How saddened I am when I see so many young people today who seemingly have no such standards or guidelines, no compass to point them in the right direction. Can we really be surprised when so many of them seem lost?
How different might it be if we returned to the teachings of the Scriptures, particularly Ephesians 5 and 6, which so clearly outline God’s purpose and order for family relationships? Wives are to respect their husbands, children are to obey their fathers, and men are to sacrificially love their wives and bring up their children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Somehow we’ve gotten it all backwards, especially on TV. Women do not respect their husbands, and children certainly don’t obey their parents. And no one in the sitcoms brings up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. For the most part, even in Christian homes, that scriptural training of children is done by the mothers.
As I said, call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days of “Father Knows Best.” Even without a Christian father, I was blessed to be loved by a man with high standards and moral values, and for that I will always be grateful. The man I called “Daddy” will always be my first hero, and because he finally returned to “Ye-sus” in the last week of his eighty-eight years on this earth, I know I will see him again one day soon. And oh, how I look forward to it!
God in His infinite wisdom and unconditional love gave me the perfect dad, just the one I needed so I could grow up and become the woman I was meant to be. And for that I thank my heavenly Father, the One who truly does know best.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No Greater Love featured on ICFW

Please stop by the International Christian Fiction Writers blog and read the post about No Greater Love. If you have a chance, will you also leave a comment? This is a great chance to win a free copy if you don't already have one (or would like to get an extra copy for someone else).

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Pastor's Wife

If you've ever had a pre-set image of the perfect pastor's wife, get ready to have it shattered in Jennifer AlLee's new novel from Abingdon Press. The Pastor's Wife is a warm, witty, entertaining read, but not light and fluffy by any means. And I like that! This story held my interest and kept me turning pages when I really should have been getting some work done (or some sleep!). But Jennifer's writing style and storytelling abilities make it impossible to put the book down and walk away. Need a good summertime/beach read? Get a copy of The Pastor's Wife! You'll enjoy it--and you just might expand your appreciation of what it means to be a pastor's wife!

Father's Day article up on Crosswalk

If you get a chance, please stop by Crosswalk and read/comment on this Father’s Day-focused article:

Thanks so much!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Archived interview with Jerry Jenkins now available!

If you missed our interview with bestselling author Jerry Jenkins streaming live earlier today, you can stop by any time and listen to it in the archives at Leave a comment, will you? Thanks so much!

Do you need a "suddenly" in your life?

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men!” (Luke 2:13-14)

Have you ever noticed that the Bible is a book of “suddenlies”? In Luke 2 we find a band of obscure shepherds, watching their flock during the night and not expecting anything miraculous or even unusual to happen. And then—suddenly—a heavenly host of angels appears to them and announces the birth of their long-awaited Messiah. Not only that, but they are told how to find Him. What a privilege!
Though this appearance of angels was completely unexpected by the shepherds, the coming of the Messiah was not. All faithful Jews had long awaited the fulfillment of God’s promise of the coming of the Anointed One. No doubt there were times throughout the rocky history of the Jewish nation that people did battle with doubts; some even succumbed to them and stopped believing. How tragic! For some, that point of disconnect with God’s promise may have come on the very eve of His appearing.
Not much has changed, has it? The Messiah came 2,000 years ago, and He promised to return. And so we wait, as both worldwide and personal dangers and difficulties threaten to overwhelm us and diffuse our faith. Can you relate?
• Are you or someone you love battling a seemingly hopeless disease?
• Has a relationship self-destructed, bringing unbearable pain?
• Have financial plans fallen apart, leaving you on the verge of homelessness?
• Have long-held dreams evaporated in the smoke of a harsh reality?
Nearly every one of us can relate somewhere on that list, can’t we? And yet…there is a “suddenly” on our horizon. It may not be the one we’re expecting, but if it’s from God, it’s even better! No doubt those shepherds were in need of some personal “suddenlies” in their own lives, but never did they dream of a suddenly so amazing or glorious as the appearing of angels and the announcement of the birth of the Messiah! When that suddenly-of-all-suddenlies became a reality, all other hoped-for “suddenlies” faded into obscurity. The shepherds had been blessed with the greatest suddenly of all time!
And yet that stunning suddenly will be equaled by another when our Savior returns at last. Will we still be here to greet Him? I don’t know, though I do know that whether He comes for us corporately or individually, it will be the most joyous time imaginable. And at that point, all else will be washed away in never-ending rejoicing and celebration.
If you are in need of a suddenly in your life, don’t stop praying or believing for God to bring it to pass…but remember how trivial it will seem in light of the suddenly of His return. Keep looking up, dear ones, for our redemption draws near!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Interview with Jerry B. Jenkins tomorrow!

Tomorrow's the day when my co-host Ron DiCianni and I will be interviewing bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins about his new book, The Last Operative, and also his new movie, "What If?" So tune in to at noon Pacific--and tell your friends! If you miss it streaming live, we'll be archived for future listening. Thanks--and blessings!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Excellent review of No Greater Love

Please drop by Title Trakk and check out the great review of No Greater Love, book one in the Extreme Devotion series:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Human Trafficking

Please stop by Hartline Literary Agency's blog and read/comment on my guest blog on human trafficking:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Interview with Jerry B. Jenkins on June 10

Join my co-host, Ron DiCianni, and me on Thursday, June 10 at noon Pacific when we'll do a live 30-minute interview with bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins on "Communicate the Vision" ( We'll be talking about Jerry's newest book, The Last Operative, as well as his upcoming movie, so don't miss it!

He will bring forth justice...

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one {in whom}
My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1, NASB).

I hear a lot of talk these days about “social justice” and whether or not the Church should be involved in it. The answer, of course, is yes and no, and Isaiah 42 is the key to understanding the balance.
When Jesus came the first time He was here to “[reconcile] the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19, NKJ). When He fulfilled that purpose by dying on the Cross for our sins and rising from the dead, He returned to the Father, bequeathing to us, His followers, “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18, NKJ). Verse 20 explains that we are “ambassadors for Christ” who implore others on Christ’s behalf to “be reconciled to God.” In other words, while Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, awaiting the command to return for His people and to “bring forth justice to the nations,” we are His representatives here on earth.
Without question, that means we are to be about the “Father’s business” (see Luke 2:49, NKJ) as Jesus was when He was here, reconciling the world to Himself. That includes correctly teaching and explaining the Scriptures as Jesus did, and “imploring” people to repent of going their own way and to return to God by way of the sacrifice of the Cross. That, without question, is our first responsibility as Christians. But does that primary responsibility preclude secondary activities?
I believe that as those who represent Christ, our responsibilities extend to exhibiting social justice as well—so long as we do so in a way that recognizes that such justice can only flow out of relationship with Him. First and foremost, people must be reconciled to God; from reconciled hearts will flow a desire for true social justice. And though that justice won’t be fully revealed or implemented until Jesus returns, we can certainly model it in our daily lives and actions.
How can hearts that have been forgiven and changed by receiving Jesus do anything else? How can we as Christ’s ambassadors desire anything but justice for others? How can we be moved with anything but compassion? Once we have given our hearts to Christ, we no longer have any claim to our own lives. We live for Him—and for those He loves. Since John 3:16 clearly tells us that He loved the entire world so much that He gave His very life to offer them the opportunity to be reconciled to God, then we clearly are called to do the same—for everyone. Our lives should reflect the unconditional love that hung on a Cross—and that will one day return to establish true justice.
And so the answer to the question of the Church being involved in social justice is yes and no. Only Christ can establish such justice, but those of us who follow in His footsteps must do so in a way that exhibits it. That can only be accomplished as we depend on Him and allow His love to flow through us to others. May we walk in that unconditional love and justice today, dear friends!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another book from that great curmudgeon!

Cec Murphey has been at it again, writing yet another book to bless and heal and minister. When a Man You Love Was Abused by New York Times bestselling author Cecil Murphey, published by Kregel, is written with the empathy of a survivor who knows the pain experienced by far too many young males. At last, this awkward subject, often avoided and ignored, is addressed honestly and compassionately, opening the door for many to finally admit and deal with the abuse they experienced as young boys or adolescents. And because the book is directed toward those who love someone who experienced such abuse, the abuse survivor won't have to walk through the healing alone. If someone you love has had such an experience, don't wait another minute to order this book. Then read it and apply it--and be ready to offer real help and healing to the man you love who was once abused.

Another great review of No Greater Love--and a chance at a free copy!

Susan Hollaway has posted a great review of No Greater Love on her blog. Please stop by and check it out, and you just might win a free copy!

Interview on Robin Shope's Blog

If you get a chance, please stop by Robin Shope's "Musings of a Paperback Writer" blog today and read the interview she did with me ( then leave a comment, will you? You just might win a copy of No Greater Love!