Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Celebrating Seasons

To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV).

The seasons are changing again, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. In some parts of the country, the change is drastic; in others, gradual. Where we live, in the Southern California desert, we’re thrilled that we’ve dropped 25 degrees from the triple digits that plagued us just last month.

A few days ago I was strolling with friends through the botanical gardens in St. Louis, and in the background I heard the loveliest harp music imaginable. I focused so I could make out the song, and it was “Autumn Leaves.” Autumn. The time when the song writer proclaims that he misses his beloved most of all.

I can relate, not so much because I’ve recently lost my mom or because my dad died in the fall twelve years ago, but because I truly miss my Beloved most of all this time of year. Though I walk closely to my Savior throughout all the seasons, there is something about falling leaves that tugs at my heart and makes me homesick for heaven. I suppose part of it is that I am yet another year older and that much closer to my eventual home-going. The thing that struck me most, however, as I enjoyed the splendid scenery at those botanical gardens, is that it wasn’t that long ago that fall reminded me that I was no longer young; I was middle-aged. Now that’s no longer true (unless I expect to live to be at least 125!). No, now fall reminds me that my own autumn season, my middle-aged years, are at an end and I will be soon living in winter—truly the final years of my life here on earth. And that, fellow pilgrims, is a joyous thought!

Seriously, if we actually believe what we say we believe, then each passing year, every falling leaf of autumn, brings us that much closer to being reunited, face-to-face, with our Beloved, in a place where we will never again have to deal with the nostalgic or even frightening reminders of changing seasons. We will instead dwell in everlasting Light, basking in the warmth of the Son, in an eternal season of pure joy. Until then, fellow travelers, rejoice with me as autumn leaves fall at your feet. Resurrection Spring is right around the corner!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Attention All Grandparents!

Whether you're a grandparent or just enjoy the cute things kids say, you will love this new book from Karen O'Connor. (I even have one story included--if you read the book and find it, please let me know and I'll send you one of my books free!)

Check out Karen and her many excellent books at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

First Chapter of More Than Conquerors Available in Spanish

Know anyone who might like to read More than Conquerors (set primarily in Mexico) in Spanish? If so, send them over to New Hope Digital for a free download of chapter 1 in Spanish:

If there's enough interest we just may do a complete translation. Blessings!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

All Means ALL!

I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge

of Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8, NKJV).

There’s nothing better than a serendipitous encounter with the Lord that you realize afterward was a watershed moment in your life. In addition to the obvious one where we meet Christ for the first time in repentance and conversion, we have others along the journey. I had one recently that has brought both excitement and peace, though I have no idea yet where it will lead me.

I was lying in bed, just about to drift off, when I realized God was speaking to me. “Lay it down,” He said. “All of it.”

All of it? All of what?

All of it. That’s what He said; that’s what He meant.

Hanging on to anything in this life—relationships, job, ministry, dreams, possessions, anything—will keep us from clinging solely to Him. You know that; I know that. I knew that when He spoke to me, and yet I resisted by trying to qualify His command.

Have you ever tried to arm wrestle God? Really? How did that work out for you? I’ve tried it several times and haven’t won yet. Still, I looked for a way to make all mean…well, anything but all. But that’s exactly what it means, isn’t it? And so, at last, I agreed. Anything, everything that I might be clinging to instead of Jesus has been laid at His feet—again. (Anyone besides me have to do this periodically?) As a result, I have great peace and a sense of excitement for what may come of it. Most of all, I’m pleased that it brings a deepened awareness and appreciation of His presence.

Lay it down; all of it. He’s the only thing that matters anyway. In light of eternity, everything else is just fluff.

Free download of first two chapters!

Ever wish you could try something before buying it? Well now you can! The first two chapters of Deliver Me From Evil are available for free download at

Give it a try! If you like it and decide to buy the book, just let me know that via an email to, plus give me some feedback on the book and how it affected you, and I'll send you another book (that one or one of my others) for free. How's that for a great deal???

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In God We Still Trust!

In a day when Christian bashing and even outright persecution is on the rise around the world and patriotism is considered "politically incorrect," Stacie Ruth and Carrie Beth Stoelting have taken a strong stand for both. Here is the quote from the inside of their beautiful new album:

In God We Still Trust captures patriotism, faith, and freedom. Recorded at the Gaither Studios, Stacie Ruth and Carrie Beth appear as new leaders of the post-9-11 generation. Their three octave ranges combined with their passion for Christ motivate audiences to move forward in faith. With powerful, heart-stirring songs, In God We Still Trust will make you feel proud to be an American like never before! Available at various stores and and

Monday, September 19, 2011

Join the cry/fight for ABOLITION!

Since this book has released earlier this month and I'm beginning to do a lot more media appearances about it, I'm getting questions about how to practically and prayerfully get involved in fighting this horrible crime of human trafficking. There are many excellent agencies and ministries already doing so, and I encourage you to get connected with one or more of them. (Don't look for a way to get involved on your own; it's far too dangerous.) Here is a great starting place if you'd like to join us in the fight for ABOLITION:

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Power of Small!

Every moment counts, every decision matters, every act has consequences.
Through this 28-day experience, respected author Jennifer Kennedy Dean shows how all big things start small and how a life of obedience is made up of one small obedience after another. Small decisions ultimately affect the outcome of major events. Some insignificant and random event, in retrospect, is pivotal.
Each day includes a devotional thought from Scripture on the power of small; a story, either from Scripture or a testimony, illustrating the principle; and a challenge to one small change today.

This excellent, life-changing book is available in stores nationwide, at most online venues, and at Jennifer's personal website:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We Must Never Forget...

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits (Psalm 103:2, NKJV).

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone, accompanied by many memorial services, TV specials, flag waving, and tears. We’ve heard stories of heroism in the midst of loss, been reminded of the tragic deaths that so many suffered, and re-examined our own lives and priorities in light of such a somber and monumental event.

It’s natural for us to remember major happenings in our lives, both good and bad, whether individually or as a nation. We celebrate birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and mourn the markers of another year since a loved one died. But God calls us into remembrance of Him, of His goodness and mercy toward us, of the countless benefits He has bestowed upon undeserving and often ungrateful people.

The psalmist recognized the importance of remembering God’s benefits and blessings. He even spoke to his soul and commanded it to bless God and never to forget His goodness. This is a great verse—a great chapter, for that matter—for us to repeat and consider often. The psalmist lists many of God’s benefits toward us, including forgiveness of sin, healing of diseases, redemption, loving-kindness, righteousness and justice. It’s relatively easy to be grateful to God for all these undeserved gifts when things are going well, but what about the other times? Sickness, poverty, betrayal, death—all can enter our lives when we least expect them. What better time to recall God’s benefits toward us? What better time to exercise true faith and thank the Lord for His many blessings?

Whether everything’s coming up roses for you right now, or you’re at the bottom of the pit and someone’s tossing dirt in on top of you, why not stop and spend a few moments thanking God for His many benefits? I, for one, plan to make it a daily practice.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Great WW II Novel!

If you like World War II stories (and who doesn't???) and great writing, then you don't want to miss this latest offering in the Wings of Glory Series by Sarah Sundin. I just finished reading it and could NOT put it down till I got to the last, deliciously satisfying page. Check it out at!

Happy...or Holy?

“You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy

(Leviticus 19:2, NKJV).

I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard people—Christians included—say, “All I want is to be happy” or “I just want my children to be happy.” But how many times have I heard people say, “I just want to be holy” or “I just want my children to be holy”? Not nearly as often, I’m afraid.

I expect that mindset from unbelievers, but as Christians we really have no right to say it, as it flies straight in the face of God’s purpose for His people. True, there’s nothing wrong with being happy if it’s a byproduct of serving God and living in the middle of His will. And really, there is no other way to be truly happy. Any other sort of happiness is fleeting at best. But to say that our primary focus or desire is happiness is to show how very shallow we truly are. It confirms the sad fact that we still think life is all about us.

God says otherwise. God is holy, and He desires that we would be holy as well. The problem comes when we think holiness is something we can achieve by doing or not doing certain things. Being holy means being set apart by and for God. By definition, that makes us different from the rest of the world.

One of the biggest threats to seeking holiness in our own lives or others’ is the misconception of unconditional love. Yes, God loves everyone unconditionally. But that love didn’t wipe out the need for a horrible, bloody sacrifice to restore sinners (as in you and me!) to relationship with God. Jesus didn’t willingly go to the Cross simply to set a selfless example for us to follow; He went there because nothing less would satisfy a just God and provide forgiveness for our sins.

Jesus may not have been happy when He hung on the Cross, but He was holy. That’s the example we are to follow—and that is NOT legalism. That is God’s Word to us, His call to us, and the work that only He can do in us. Our part is to have a paradigm shift that says, “Yes, I will allow God to set me apart from the world and do a work of holiness in me—even if I don’t always feel happy about it.”

Ultimately, we will find ourselves overflowing with joy as a result, and that joy will spill over onto others. May we heed God’s Word to be holy…even as He is holy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Free download offer!

New Hope Digital is offering a free download of the first two chapters of Deliver Me From Evil. Here's the link:

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Christmas Journey Home

New Hope Publishers Releases Christmas Fiction Novel by Kathi Macias

(Birmingham, Ala.)—September 5, 2011—Award-winning author Kathi Macias releases a Christmas novel, A Christmas Journey Home: Miracle in the Manger (978-1-59669-328-9, N124135, $12.99).

A Christmas Journey Home is the story of two widows—one driven by fear and a promise, the other by bitterness and revenge—who must make their journeys along different pathways, but with the same destination: a barn full of animals that stands waiting for them on Christmas Eve. Forced to face their personal demons, Isabella and Miriam soon discover a common yearning that will bind them together in a most miraculous way.

“Kathi Macias has earned a reputation for crafting stories that feature believable characters who face true-to-life situations, and she does it again in A Christmas Journey Home,” says Loree Lough, award-winning author of 80 books, including From Ashes to Honor. Readers will quickly identify with Isabella and Miriam—very different women, forever changed by heartache and loss—and find themselves forever changed by Macias’s powerful, spirit-charged story. Definitely a ‘keeper!’”

Red Ink, one of Kathi’s current fiction books, recently won Novel of the Year by the Golden Scroll Book Awards. Red Ink has been named one of three finalists for the Long Contemporary Carol Award by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

About the Author

Award-winning author Kathi Macias ( has written more than 30 books, including the award-winning devotional A Moment a Day and the popular “Matthews” mystery novels. Kathi has won many awards, including the Angel Award from Excellence in Media, fiction awards from the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, and the grand prize in an international writing contest. With women’s ministry as her primary interest, Kathi is a popular speaker for women’s retreats, conferences, and churches. A mother and grandmother, Kathi and her husband, Al, call California home.

About New Hope Publishers

Representing more than 80 authors and more than 130 individual works, the mission of New Hope® Publishers is to provide books that challenge readers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God. New Hope Publishers is the general trade publishing imprint for WMU®, a missions auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention. New Hope Publishers is a member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Living as if death is imminent...because it is!

The laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent

(2 Peter 1:14, NASB).

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines imminent as “ready to take place; especially: hanging threateningly over one’s head.” Quite obviously the Apostle Peter, when he penned the words above, recognized that he could die at any moment.

Why, then, don’t we realize the same thing? We may say we are aware of that truth, but if we really were, I think we might live differently.

Eight months ago I moved my mother into a retirement/assisted living facility where caregivers were available to help her with things that I normally took care of but was often unable to do, especially when I traveled. In an effort to help her make the adjustment, I had business cards made up with her new address and phone number on them so she could pass them out to friends and acquaintances. Because they were designed as business cards, I felt I should put some sort of “tag line” on them, so I chose “waiting for the call to come home.”

It seemed appropriate at the time, particularly since Mom was nearly 90 years old and not in very good health. Yet, when I look at the card now, I think, “Why didn’t I realize how prophetic that was?”

The thought was reinforced yesterday when a column I wrote in June was posted in an online publication on August 31. I’d forgotten I’d written it until it popped up on my Google Alerts, so I clicked on the link to refresh my memory. There it was, an article about my mom, written in the present tense. Now, two months later, I was speaking of her in past tense.

Whether we are nine or 90, we need to live as the Apostle Peter, with the recognition that the “laying aside of [our] earthly dwelling is imminent”—“ready to take place,” even “hanging threateningly over [our] head.” Because Peter understood that, he devoted the last of his earthly energy and time to calling sinners to repentance and saints to a deeper commitment. Time is short, beloved. I don’t want to waste what little is left. How about you?