Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Greatest Mission Ever!

And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old

when they spoke to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:7, NKJV).

We live in a youth-oriented culture, where anyone over the age of 65 is supposed to hang up their work ethic and spend whatever years they have left chasing a little white ball around a golf course. Nothing wrong with playing golf, mind you, but when it becomes our sole purpose for getting out of bed in the morning, we’ve lost our direction.

God did not create us to serve ourselves. We are made in the image of the Creator, and God has called us to partner in that pursuit, to one degree or another; that partnership doesn’t end when our hair turns gray or our step slows a bit due to arthritis.

I love reading about Moses and Aaron, don’t you? They were in their eighties when God sent them to confront the most powerful man on earth. God didn’t send young men in their prime of life so they could flex their muscles and pound their chest and intimidate Pharaoh. He didn’t send rich rulers from other countries who could threaten him with their armies or bribe him with their riches. He sent two brothers who, between them, had lived more than 160 years on this earth. Neither had experienced an easy life, since Aaron was raised as a Hebrew slave, and Moses, after growing up in a palace, had to flee for his life into the desert. And though Moses initially resisted God’s call to go to Pharaoh, he finally accepted, with his older brother at his side.

We can learn a lot through the story of Moses and Aaron and their ultimate success in leading the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt. First, as long as we live on this earth, we are never too old to be useful to God. Second, if we continue to partner with God in whatever He has purposed for us, we can experience tremendous victories at any stage of life. And finally, though we may consider ourselves inconsequential in the scheme of things, God can use us to effect powerful changes in the lives of others.

So wherever you are today and whatever is going on in your life, listen for God’s voice. He just may call out to you from the burning bush and send you forth on the greatest mission ever.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Start Your Day Off Right!

Don't miss this wonderful new book from fellow author and dear friend Grace Fox!

Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women

Before anyone else in my household wakes, I pour a cup of coffee, open my Bible and journal, and settle into my favorite leather loveseat for quiet time with God. These precious moments set the tone for my entire day and the attitude with which I tackle my to-do list. They fill me with hope, give direction, and grant wisdom. Join me, dear reader, in this discipline of delight and let’s share spiritual aha moments at the start of each day.

Be encouraged…be refreshed…be changed.

NOTE: This book was formerly titled 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women. It’s been reformatted and newly released as a gorgeous little gift book. It’s 4”x6” with a padded hard cover and blue ribbon bookmark. It makes an ideal gift for birthdays, Christmas, secret sisters, anniversaries, and Mother’s Day. Give it as a thank-you gift to your pastor’s wife, a special teacher or youth worker, a missionary. Or give it to a special friend “just because.” Suitable for women from all walks of life—married or single, ages 19-90. Be blessed as you read it, my friend.

It’s available here, on online bookstores,, and at bookstores nationwide.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Li Ying is Free!

Red Ink, my multi-award-winning novel loosely based on the life of one of my personal heroines, Li Ying, has now received its greatest honor. I found out that Li Ying has been released from prison and that she is aware of the book and grateful for it. She has expressed a desire to meet me if she is ever allowed to travel to the US. Please pray with me that it will happen. Here is the press release:

JINMEN, Hubei, China ( Feb. 24, 2012 – A Chinese house church leader and the editor of a newspaper editor has been released five years early, ChinaAid president Bob Fu said.

Li Ying, of the South China Church in Hubei, was released on Christmas day. She’d been sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2002 for “intentional assault.” Fu said a worldwide letter-writing campaign and other international efforts on her behalf helped lead to her release.

Li tearfully told Fu that during her decade in prison, thousands of letters for her were sent to the prison. She said the letters had also helped to significantly improve her prison conditions.

Li was one of the first prisoners featured by the international human rights group Voice of the Martyrs on its website, where concerned Christians could write letters of encouragement to imprisoned Christians. According to Voice of the Martyrs, more than 11,400 letters were written to Li through the site since 2004.
Li is the niece of Pastor Gong Shengliang, founder of the South China Church, one of the fastest growing house-church movements in China. She was also editor in chief of the church newspaper, South China Special Edition (Huanan Zhuankan). Before her 2002 arrest, she’d been incarcerated several times, including spending one year in prison in 1996.

As a condition of her release, Li was required to sign a guarantee to submit to “community correction,” which included the requirement that she live only in government-appointed neighborhoods and attend government-appointed churches, Fu said.

Li was one of 17 South China Church leaders convicted in December 2001 of “using a cult to undermine enforcement of the law.” Five of those leaders, including Li, were sentenced to death.

Fu said an international outcry led to those death sentences being revoked in September 2002. A retrial resulted in the five being convicted of “intentional assault.”

The other four were: Gong Shengliang, Xu, Fuming, Hu Yong and Gong Bangkun. Gong Shengliang was also convicted of rape, Fu said. Three of them — Gong Shengliang, Xu Fuming, and Hu Yong — were sentenced to life imprisonment. Gong Bangkun and Li Ying were given 15-year prison terms.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Fun but Meaningful Read!

Margot Starbuck is back with as much passion and energy as ever. In thirty brief chapters, she invites you to choose the adventure that fits who you are in authentically loving those around you. Yes, she knows: just the thought of adding something more to your life sounds exhausting. But here's the fantastic truth she's discovered in her own journey: "We don't have to add lots more overwhelming activity to what we've already got going. The regular stuff of our lives--the commute to work and the potlucks and home improvement projects and errands and play dates--are the exact places in which we express and experience God's love for a world in need." With a list of resources, a study guide and a six-week "Adventure Challenge," as well as plenty of stories and hilarity from Margot's own life, Small Things with Great Love will open your eyes to the people around you and the huge impact you can have on them through small acts of love. "Small things happen when I learn the name of my daughter's school bus driver," Margot writes. "Small things happen when I listen to the dreams of a woman who lives in a group home on my block. Small things happen when I risk crossing a language barrier even though I look really stupid doing it." And small things add up to big adventures and surprises, for you and others. The biggest surprise of all might be how powerfully God can use you, right in the midst of your walking-the-dog, paying-the-bills, doing-laundry life, when you're living out his love. Do the first small thing by opening these pages--and let the adventure begin!

Check out Margot and her books and speaking opportunities at

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Reminder About Perspective

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2, NKJV).

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to start thinking like the world? The Scriptures warn us against it, and yet we are immersed in that mindset and culture nearly 24/7, aren’t we? As a result we find ourselves thinking and saying things that simply don’t line up with God’s Word. Our values are deeply affected as well.

Now there’s nothing wrong with material wealth IF that’s God purpose for us and we use it accordingly. But when it becomes our pursuit and purpose? Not such a good thing. We know that, but do our actions reflect it? We know too that God does not honor pride but seeks humility and selflessness. Do we honor people based on the same criteria? And oh, how we know that life isn’t about us or even what happens around us in a temporal world…but do we live in such a way as to model that truth?

It all fell into perspective for me earlier today when I got what I consider “over the moon fantastic” news. Now anyone who knows me expects me to get excited if I get a good book review, sign another contract, get a great speaking gig, etc. But this news flash blew away all the competition. I found out that a woman I’ve long admired and been praying for (even based one of my books on her life) has been released from prison after serving a 12-year sentence for printing/distributing Christian literature in a country that does not permit anyone to do so without government permission (which is nearly impossible to get).

Twelve years. Can you imagine? Twelve years away from family and home and everything comfortable or familiar. Twelve years of hard labor and harsh conditions. Yet twelve years during which she continued to serve God and remained faithful to her walk with Him.

Putting things in proper perspective? Absolutely. As Christians we simply cannot allow ourselves to be “conformed” to the world’s way of thinking, but the only way to avoid that and to “transform” our thinking is to continually dwell in the Scriptures, the only solid and reliable guidelines for maintaining proper perspective. Personally, I’m thanking a courageous woman in a faraway country for giving me this fresh reminder.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Review of Honor Redeemed by Loree Lough

Author Loree Lough is a pro at bringing stories and characters to life. She delivers readers right smack-dab into the middle of the action and gives them no choice but to care about the outcome. If you enjoy suspenses, romance, and just plan good writing--not to mention a story that honors the courage of America's first responders--you'll love Honor Redeemed.

Visit Loree and order the book at

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why Choices Matter...and Christians Suffer

Many of you know that I write novels about people who suffer--dedicated, faithful people who love God and others, and yet still don't experience an easy pilgrimage as they make their way home to heaven. Dr. Michael J. Norman has penned a fascinating story that sheds light on this vital topic.


Answering a two-line classified ad in the newspaper had life-changing consequences for a trustingly naive doctor fresh out of school, just starting his career and life as a new father. In a nightmarish true story that could occur to any of us, he innocently takes a part-time chiropractic job from employers who were later found to be a Russian-organized crime ring involved in money laundering, insurance fraud and other crimes. Despite his cooperation in a federal government investigation, the author soon finds himself surrounded by deception on all sides. As his cooperation is turned cruelly against him, Michael endures a federal indictment and an early-morning raid upon his home where he was arrested at gunpoint by six FBI agents in front of his five-year-old daughter. He’s left with two choices: plead guilty to crimes he didn’t commit, receive probation and avoid prison time; or fight the injustice and risk going to prison for at least 10 years. The first means cooperating with the government and lying to put people in prison who may be innocent; the second means doing the impossible and taking on the government.

Unbridled Grace is the true story of how one man rises from the forces of evil through his renewed faith in Christ and takes the reader on a journey to redemption through the bold use of our power of choice for God. Along the way, Michael meets a dynamic Catholic parish priest who gives him the courage to forge a path through this crisis and a hard-working attorney who joins him in this monumental battle. Will their efforts be enough to free the author and his family from this nightmare? It is at this time that a series of seemingly miraculous occurrences begin and the reader is shown what courage, faith and the power of heartfelt prayer can bring to all of our lives when all else appears hopeless.


The question of suffering is an extremely difficult subject for our world today. After searching the landscape for answers, many discover that only the Christian faith has the ability to transform life’s tragedies into a beautiful new creation in union with Christ. Dr. Michael Norman would like to share a passage from his new book, Unbridled Grace: A True Story about the Power of Choice.

The Nature and Beauty of Christian Suffering

As Christian faithful, it is no accident that the symbol of our faith is a cross, a humiliating instrument of torture, rather than a triumphant flag. Christ does not save us on Palm Sunday by His triumphal ride into Jerusalem with honors. We are saved due to a much darker day on Golgotha after all the cheers and waving palm branches have fallen silent. We would never have had the saving redemptive grace of Easter Sunday, without a dark, cloudy Good Friday, two days earlier.

If we are in Christ, suffering and salvation shall always go hand in hand. To separate or avoid either of the two, removes all purpose and reason for our existence. We see frequent attempts at both of these approaches in our world today by false prophets with soft messages. The tragic approach of human suffering without salvific merit, is pain without the promise. This is not united with Christ and soon deteriorates into hopelessness and despair. Equally tragic, is the assurance of salvation through the avoidance of suffering. A reward without struggle robs our lives of meaning and leads to the self-destructive results of swollen pride, pursuit of comfort and self-absorption.

It is always important for us to distinguish between two types of suffering. With painful self-honesty, we must discern between the crosses that God has sent into our lives, and the crosses of our own making. For the answer to this, there is always a question which helps distinguish between the two: Are we working to change what can be changed and accepting what cannot be changed? If the answer is yes, we are walking God’s path.

Along with this question, we must ceaselessly pray for His holy wisdom to know the difference. Although God can work through both types of suffering, it remains up to us to take the first step regarding the crosses we have created. These man-made crosses are a result of our choices in life. Quite simply, if we are unwilling to change what can be changed, we must be content to persist in a hell of our own creation until we respond differently.

When we come to know why we suffer, anything becomes possible. At the center of God’s plan of salvation, redemptive suffering requires a supernatural faith and is part of the necessary path to our union with God. This is how God chooses to unite with us. Worldly attachments to our soul must be removed to make room for God. The kingdom of God cannot be ushered in without suffering. As we wake up to this realization, we begin to send ripples out into the sea of eternity.

Regarding suffering in this life, one question remains: Do we have what it takes to choose greatness? Christ faced His suffering head on, although the overwhelming temptation to turn away, particularly at Gethsemane, must have reached supernatural proportions. Likewise, at this very instant, millions of souls await our decision. One person in this life can make an eternal difference.

True greatness shall only be revealed at the Last Judgment, when we all stand together as the Mystical Body and our salvific work is revealed for all to see. Our time is short in this life to make an eternal difference. Soon, our ability to lift the Mystical Body of Christ with the redemptive grace of our courageous and dignified sufferings, will pass away. If we miss our opportunity, we may, quite possibly, become dependent upon the actions of others.

The paradox is striking. Our periods of trial and suffering in this life can truly be gifts if we allow them to be. Life’s lowest points can bring us our greatest freedom, happiness and fulfillment. A loving Father prunes the branches of His vines to unleash an abundance of fruit. This fruit is a supernatural love for our brothers and sisters which embraces the inevitable pain in this life for their sake. The human tears shed for this noble purpose become the wine of angels and cause for great joy in Heaven.

With each passing day, eternity is approaching and millions of souls await our decision on how we shall spend our lives. What will be revealed of our work on the last day? Did we boldly take the cup and drink from it? Did we choose greatness?

Dr. Michael J. Norman is a chiropractor in private practice in Dallas, Texas. His new book, Unbridled Grace: A True Story about the Power of Choice, is available on his website,, Amazon, Barnes & Noble or ordered through your local Catholic Christian bookstore.

Friday, February 17, 2012

An Amazing Story that Will Bless and Challenge You

I seldom post reviews or recommendations for people I don't know, either personally or by reputation, but Eric Maurice Clark is an exception--in more ways than one. Read his amazing story, and you'll see what I mean!

Here's what I wrote on the back cover of his book, The Experience:

Eric Maurice Clark is a young man on a mission. He knows the looming threat of death...and is grateful for the renewed passion of life. As he says in his book, "Our experiences are the proof that we need to help us realize the reality and the importance of taking life as a bridge to eternity." Read this courageous young man's story, consider his words of wisdom, and accept his challenge to life for the One who redeems our mistakes and restores our hope.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our Part in the Covenant

And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces (Genesis 15:17, NKJV).

God is known by a lot of names in the Scriptures, but as I read Genesis 15:17 this morning, I couldn’t help but think specifically of two of them: the All-Consuming Fire and the Light of the World. Doesn’t the reference to “a smoking oven” and “a burning torch” in this verse bring those titles to mind?

When I think of God as the All-Consuming Fire, I can’t help but think of judgment—and rightfully so. God is certainly the righteous Judge, and we would do well to keep that in mind. At the same time, Jesus called Himself the “Light of the world,” and aren’t we glad? He came to light the way that delivers us from God’s righteous judgment—the only way, according to Christ Himself.

As I pondered those names and their implications, I couldn’t help but picture the All-Consuming Fire (God the Father) and the Light of the World (God the Son) passing through the bloody pieces of the slain sacrifice, making covenant with one another. We often refer to Genesis 15 as the chapter where God made covenant with Abraham (at that time still called Abram), but Abraham didn’t actively participate in that covenant-making process, did he? He simply accepted the terms of the covenant and reaped the benefits.

Is it any different with us and the new covenant established by the bloody sacrifice of Christ, the Light of the world, the Lamb of God? God the Father and God the Son cut and sealed the covenant; like Abraham, we simply accept the finished work and reap the benefits. There’s nothing we can do to make the covenant greater or lesser, nothing we can do to change the terms or the outcome.

What we can do is cultivate a fresh appreciation for the All-Consuming Fire and the Light of the World who established this covenant for us, and then sent God the Holy Spirit to enable us to walk in it. What a mighty and merciful God we serve!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Release

What an appropriate day for author Jacqueline J. Holness 's new book, After the Altar Call, to release--on Valentine's Day! Paper hearts and fragrant flowers--and yes, even delicious chocolates--will fade away, but the true love that is birthed in answering God's call will last forever!

After the Altar Call: The Sisters’ Guide to Developing a Personal Relationship With God is a fresh, real and relevant how-to manual for black Christian women who desire to move past the “church speak” and into an intimate relationship with their Creator. What makes this book unique from other “relationship with God” books is that this book is written from a black perspective and spans a variety of issues typically not included in one book – from being thrice-married to leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As a seasoned journalist, I have interviewed black women from diverse backgrounds to discover what having a personal relationship with God is truly about – beyond the initial “come to Jesus” moment typically associated with the altar call experience. I give readers a rare, personal look into the lives of these women, identify the precepts these women used to develop a personal relationship with God given their life experiences, and create a plan for readers to craft their own relationship with the Father.

The book is comprised of interviews with 24 remarkable women with compelling stories such as the “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd, Valorie Burton, life coach, author and co-host on the Emmy Award- winning show “Aspiring Women” and the former co-host of the national daily television program, “The Potter’s Touch” with Bishop T.D. Jakes; and Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first woman elected to Episcopal office in over 200 years of A.M.E. history.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Peggy Blann Phifer's Debut Novel a Hit!

I recently had the enjoyable privilege of reading Peggy Blann Phifer's debut novel, To See the Sun, and I highly recommend it. Can't wait for the sequel!

Pregnant and widowed hadn’t been part of her “happily ever after” dream. And now, someone was trying to kill her . . .

Erin Macintyre never expected to be a widow and a new mother in the same year, anymore than she expected mysterious notes, threatening phone calls, and a strange homeless man who seems to know all about her. The thought of raising a child without a father is daunting enough—worse when you have no idea who might want to harm you. Put an old flame into the mix, and her life begins a tailspin into a world she never knew existed.

When P.I. Clay Buchanan, stumbles upon Erin at her husband's gravesite, he’s totally unprepared for her advanced pregnancy. Her venomous reaction at seeing him, however, was predictable. But Clay can’t let her distrust, or his guilt, get in the way—not when he has evidence that proves Erin’s life is in danger.

With few options left, Erin begrudgingly accepts Clay’s help . . . and it just might be her undoing.

Buy Links:

· Amazon:

· Kindle:

· B&N Nook:

Buy Links (embeded)


· Amazon Kindle

· B&N (nook)


Peggy Blann Phifer is an author and columnist, whose work has appeared on various Web sites and writer periodicals both in print and online. She is also an avid reader and loves to escape between the covers of a good book. A retired executive assistant, Peg now makes her home in southern Nevada with husband Jim.

TO SEE THE SUN is Peg’s debut novel, released January 2012

Contact her at her website at:

Visit her blog “Whispers in Purple" at


Peggy Blann Phifer is an author and columnist, book reviewer and author interviewer, whose work has appeared on various Web sites and writer periodicals both in print and online. She is also an avid reader who loves to escape by diving between the covers of a good book. Peg enjoys handcrafts of all kinds and her home shows off some of her work, though most end up as gifts for friends and family. A retired executive assistant, Peg now makes her home in southern Nevada with husband of 25 years, Jim.

TO SEE THE SUN is her debut novel, released January 2012

Contact her at her website at:

Visit her blog “Whispers in Purple" at

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Now that the Holidays Are Over...

I'm pleased to have guest blogger Rita Schulte with us today. If you or anyone you know is battling with depression, this post might be just what you need to move into Sonlight and victory!


Moving Past the Holiday Blues

Aren’t we supposed to look forward to the holidays? The truth is many of us find ourselves dreading them. Then after they’re over, we wonder why we seem to be carrying a ball and chain into the New Year. The holidays are supposed to be a time of connecting, sharing with family and friends; yet that thought alone can trigger anxiety, loneliness, and depression, especially if those relationships have been lost or aren’t what we had hoped for or expected.

For most of the year, we can chose to avoid thinking about the disappointments the holidays elicit, but that five week stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s provides a stark reminder for us that the story doesn’t always have a happy ending. Those feelings don’t simply go away after the Christmas tree comes down. They can often be compounded by the stress, exhaustion and disappointment we’ve experienced during the holiday rush. If family reunions haven’t gone as we painstakingly planned for the umpteenth time, we’re likely to feel all the more discouraged.

Moving Through the losses of Life

Life guarantees us two things: change and loss. Together they make up the unpredictable rhythm of life. They can also have catastrophic effects on our hearts, as well as our physical bodies. If you’ve lost a loved one, that loss becomes magnified during the holidays---and that grief can be hard to shake by January 1st. Because many people equate loss primarily with death, many are unaware that abstract losses like shattered dreams, and unmet expectations can have serious long-range consequences on the heart. These are the losses that often lie beneath the conscious surface and contribute to our experiencing that post-holiday depression. They’ve been there all along, we’ve just chosen to bury them in the name of “being strong.” Because loss tells the story of our hearts, it must not be silenced, but instead explored, and resolved.

While most of us have experienced “down” days for no apparent reason, clinical depression is something altogether different. Making our way through it can feel very much like wandering through a desert wilderness----alone. And wilderness journeys always require something of us—our time, our energy, our physical comfort, and possibly our very lives. Those of us who make it out and manage to keep our faith intact go on to experience growth and spiritual maturity. Those who don’t, forfeit their hearts and souls. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between post-holiday blues and clinical depressive symptoms.

Bah Humbug or Serious Depression

So how does clinical depression differ from the weekly blues, and what can we do about it? First, we need to understand the symptoms of clinical depression. The American Psychiatric Association outlines the criteria for major depressive disorder in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders) by the following:

· Persistent blue sad mood for most of the day

· Diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities most of the day

· Significant weight loss or weight gain, or decrease in appetite

· Insomnia or hypersomnia

· Fatigue or loss of energy

· Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

· Diminished ability to think, concentrate, or be decisive

· Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation with or without a specific plan. A suicide attempt or plan for committing suicide

If you or someone you love is experiencing 5 or more of these symptoms consistently for a 2 week period or longer, professional help is necessary. You don’t just get over it.

As for the post-holiday blues, here are some things to do that may help:

· Manage what life stressors you can and learn to let go of the rest. Stress compounds anxiety and feelings of depression

· Practice good self-care skills

· Decide to forgive. Don’t allow past hurts and offenses to weight you down. Remember that forgiveness is for your benefit

· Allow yourself to grieve if you’re sad. When you bury your feelings, you simply bury them alive

· Don’t idealize the past. Your life, and your holidays may not be the same, but you can make new memories

· Surrender your rights to have things be the way you want them to, and be willing to face challenges

Remember you are the only one that can choose about your attitude---so choose life and have a happy new year!

Rita A. Schulte is a licensed professional counselor in No. Virginia. She hosts a weekly podcast show called Heartline where she talks to the leading counselors and authors in the country about cutting edge topics affecting the lives of people today.

Heartline is now airing on 90.5 FM in NC, and Rita’s 1 minute devotional spot, Consider This, is airing on 90.5 FM and 90.9 FM in Lynchburg, Va. Heartline will be coming to Christian Life Internet Radio in February 2012. Follow Rita at for counseling helps and to read the first chapter of her book.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Homesick for Heaven?

By faith he [Abraham] dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country,

dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;

for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:9-10, NKJV).

I’ve just finished writing a novel about a homeless family, and it really has heightened my awareness of the meaning of “home,” and all that goes with it.

I’m a home-body. Oh, I love traveling to fun places, but truthfully, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than at home. I like the comfortable surroundings, the familiar setting, the feeling of belonging, don’t you? And as I researched and wrote about people who no longer have a place to call home, I wrestled with being grateful for all I have while agonizing for those who don’t share my blessing.

The great patriarch Abraham had a way of putting it all in perspective. Undoubtedly a wealthy man, living a life of relative ease before God called him to leave the familiar behind and travel to an unknown destination, Abraham obeyed and struck out for parts unknown. No longer did he have a place to call home, as he and his household became nomads, living in tents. The Scriptures say he considered his new life as dwelling “in a foreign land” while “he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Abraham knew that home wasn’t so much a place as it was a Person. Heaven, after all, is only heaven because God is there. The absence of God is what makes hell a place where no one wants to go.

Dr. Billy Graham just turned 93 and released a book called Nearing Home. Like Abraham, he knows he dwells in a foreign land, awaiting the call to “come home” to be with his Savior and Lord. “Home is where the heart is” isn’t just an old saying; it’s a deep-seated truth that tells a lot about us. Where is our heart? Is it here, in the shadow-lands, desperately trying to hold on to things we cannot keep…or is it already at home with God, just waiting for our spirit to be released to go there?

Whether we live in a mansion or a tent, or even on the street, home awaits. Can you hear the Father calling?

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Face-to-Face Release #1

Here is Janet Thompson's new Face-to-Face release....

Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel and Hannah: Pleading with God

At some time in life we all beg God to perform in a way we think is best. Even a woman of strong faith can experience a crisis of faith when life doesn’t turn out as she expects and she knows God could intervene on her behalf.

Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah thought God should provide a child and pleaded with Him to honor their hearts’ desire. In different ways, each woman took matters into her own hands when God’s timing didn’t match her timetable.

Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah explores various issues in women’s lives that lead to pleading with God and ways they react when He doesn’t immediately respond or they don’t like His answer, as well as guiding women to learn to rest in God’s sovereignty and wait on His timing.

New Face-To-Face Release #2

Dear friend and fellow New Hope author Janet Thompson has just released two more wonderful Face-to-Face studies for women, this one about grandmother and mother, Lois and Eunice. You don't want to miss either one!

Face-to-Face with Lois and Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family

Lois and Eunice followed the numerous Scriptures instructing one generation to pass on their faith to the next generation, and young Timothy grew up to be a second-generation leader of the early church.

Often mentoring focuses on reaching out to others, but as parents and grandparents the first line of mentoring should be within your own family, a concept repeated throughout the Bible. The Bible has many devastating examples of parents who were poor role models or didn’t rear their children to know God, as well good and faithful parents whose children wandered away from God.

Face-to-Face with Lois and Eunice focuses on how women today can be grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and mentors whose faith takes root in the next generation.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Letting God Rewrite the Text of Our Lives

God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes

(Psalm 18:24, The Message).

I seldom use The Message for personal Bible study or quotes, but when I came across the above phrase, the writer in me responded with a hearty “Yes!”

Can anyone relate? Have you ever caught yourself bumbling along, trying to orchestrate your life, order your steps, direct your future—and then stopped and asked yourself, “What was I thinking?”

We are not the captain of our own ship or the master of our own fate, but we sure act like it sometimes, don’t we? Oh, I know, before we become Christians we actually believe that we are and live accordingly. Then we come face to face with the Savior, turn our lives over to Him, and we never make that foolish mistake again. Right?

Well, theoretically, we don’t. And most of the time, not intentionally. But unless I’m different than every other believer on planet earth, we do slip into that faulty thinking on occasion. And oh, what a mess we can make of things! Those self-written chapters of our lives are made up of text we’d like to delete, aren’t they?

Psalm 8:24 holds the secret to the edit button. Though we can’t go back and erase what we’ve already written, if we will be honest with God about the foolishness and regret in our heart, He can (and will) rewrite the text of our lives. Though the sins and mistakes of the past may still have consequences today, we can be assured that the God of the universe will somehow bring good out of even the worst pages of our past.

As a writer, I know how easy it is to go off on a self-imposed tangent, to become distracted and get off-track. The result is poorly written material and lots of wasted time. But just as God has so graciously redeemed my poor writing and wasted time, so He will redeem and rewrite the text of our lives if we will just open our hearts to him and allow Him to finish our book for us.

He is, after all, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Opening Black History Month in Honor of One of My Own Personal Heroes

I "came of age" during the Civil Rights Movement (yes, I'm that old!); as a result, Rosa Parks quickly became and remained one of my life-long heroes. My friend and acclaimed poet Doris Washington has written this lovely poem in Rosa's honor/memory. Enjoy!

Riding The Bus

In fond memory of Rosa Parks

By Doris Washington

Many years have passed since then.

And we reflect when one

Was just riding the bus.

Going home from a long day’s work.

She was just riding the bus

On an ordinary day,

As she was asked to move from her seat,

Because of the color of her skin.

Many years have passed since then.

And we reflect of that one riding the bus.

She refused to give up her seat, and was arrested,

And taken to jail in a land where all are to be free.

Just riding the bus she was, just riding the bus.

Many years have passed since then.

When her arrest spurred cries

For freedom all over America’s soil.

A change was about to come,

For all of us to be free.

Many years have passed since then.

When the fight for her freedom

was the fight for everyone.

Because of her courage, her stand,

She made a difference for us all.

May we never forget the one who was


Riding the Bus!

Riding The Bus copyright © Doris Washington, February 2006. All rights reserved.