Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In the Reconciling Business

In my recent Bible readings in the One-Year Bible, the parables of Jesus from Luke have been the focus in the New Testament segments. Jesus used parables, earthly stories with heavenly meaning, to convey to his audience truths. He used everyday situations and objects to help the people understand the things of the kingdom and of God.

The parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15 is a great example. We first see the set-up or the setting in which Jesus used this story. Several tax collectors and sinners had gathered around Jesus. The Pharisees and teachers of the law criticized Jesus for associating with such people.

This criticism prompts Jesus to tell his parable about the lost sheep. He uses something common that the people would be familiar with - sheep. Jesus sets the stage by saying, "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?"

I can just picture those people relating to the scenario and nodding their heads. They had surely had this happen to them or to someone they know.

Then Jesus continues the story. He states that when that person finds that lost sheep, he is happy. He is so overjoyed that he calls his friends and neighbors and tells them to be happy with him.

Jesus delivers the point of the story by saying, "I tell you in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

Just to get the point across more fully, Jesus tells the parable of the lost coin and the lost son. In another part of Scripture, Jesus says that He came for the sick not the well people.

In these parables Jesus is showing the people and us that God is in the reconciling business. God loves us so much, He will search for us. God did the ultimate act of reconciliation when He sent Jesus to die for us.

Think about it. This parable of the lost sheep illustrates that God will pursue one out of the hundred. He could say, "I have most of my lambs. Ninety-nine - that's only one. No need to waste time to look for just one."

But, He doesn't say this. He basically says, "I can't stand to leave one lost. I will search until I find that little lamb and we are reconciled. I'll do whatever it takes for that one."

Dear friends, God loves you that much. He doesn't want anyone to perish, lost without reconciling.

If you haven't accepted Christ, thus being reconciled to God, consider doing that today.

If you have accepted Christ and are a part of the flock, consider again the love of your Good Shepherd. Just think - the day you were found (saved) all of heaven rejoiced! Your reconciliation to the Father just might be cause for a little praise-party and some thankfulness raised to God.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Renewed Perspective

Just like Christmas, the Easter story can become so familiar that we miss its significance in our lives. When was the last time we fully considered what Jesus did for us on the cross?

First, we must remember that He was the Christ, the promised Messiah. Why is this important? There was no one else who could have been the perfect sacrifice to take away our sin. Only God’s Son who was without sin could pay for our sin.

But, though He was divine, He was also human. He had to become a man to set an example for us as well as prove He could relate with all our struggles. His humanity means that He felt the nails and the agony of dying through crucifixion. He was willing to endure that for our sins, our chance at forgiveness.

What about his resurrection? Jesus was dead and had paid for the sins of all. There was one more proof and one more lesson Jesus was to fulfill. What additional proof would be needed that Jesus was who He said he was than to come back to life? As He emerged from that tomb alive, He proclaimed a message, a lesson, of hope. When we accept and believe that Jesus died for our sins that we might have forgiveness, we rise to a new life and possess the hope of glory in Heaven.
I’ve used a simple illustration with children to drive home the story of Easter. I give each child a biscuit and a marshmallow. The biscuit is the tomb and the marshmallow is Jesus. By wrapping the biscuit around the marshmallow, we seal Jesus in the tomb. I usually roll them in melted butter and a sugar-cinnamon mixture and then bake. When the children open their biscuit tombs, it is hollow inside. Jesus has risen so the tomb is empty but our hearts are full because now He lives in us.
This Easter step back and get a fresh perspective on what Christ has done for you. Though the tomb is empty, our hearts are full.

Is your heart full of Jesus? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Finalist!

Sometimes God really does just knock my socks off! What a surprise to open my email yesterday and find that my novella, The Prayer Shawl, was a finalist in The Carolyn Readers Choice Awards from North Texas Romance Writers of America.

This story is from the two-story collection in my book, Legacy and Love, from Prism Book Group.



Oh, and might I add that my biggest fan and promoter, my mama, says this is her very favorite! Thanks for the encouragement, Mom.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Praying for the Prodigal

I'm thrilled to host Andrea Merrell on my blog today. Her newly released book discusses a topic which many need. Please read about how she came to write this book and about her personal experience with prodigals. 


PRODIGALS AND THOSE WHO WAIT

By Andrea Merrell

It seems everywhere I go someone is dealing with a prodigal. As the mother of two former prodigals, my heart breaks anew as their story unfolds. Depending upon the circumstances, the pain can be almost unbearable at times. Watching your child march boldly into a life of destruction is heart-wrenching. It can bring an extra burden of guilt and condemnation, especially for the Christian parent who feels they’ve done all the right things.

The staggering truth is: even good kids rebel—and even good parents can end up with a prodigal. My husband and I found this out the hard way, and we were devastated. We didn’t know what to do or who we could turn to for help, so we fought this battle alone for five long years. During this time, we shed many tears, experienced sleepless nights, and lived in fear for the lives—and souls—of our children.

The two questions I’m asked most often are:
·        Is there hope?
·        What do I do in the meantime?

The first thing I want people to know is that there is always hope. God’s Word is full of promises, and He is waiting for us to take hold of those promises and believe He will do what He says He will do. The Bible says God is not a respecter of persons. In other words, He doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t esteem one of His children higher than the other. He loves each one of us with an extraordinary unconditional love. God is faithful and there is always hope when we put our trust in Him and pray in faith according to His will.

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a plan for each of His children. He desires to prosper us and give us a glorious future full of hope. The problem is that God’s timetable is different from ours and camping out in God’s “waiting room” can be tough.

If you are currently dealing with a prodigal, what can you do while you wait? In Praying for the Prodigal, I not only share my story, but what I learned during my journey including: setting boundaries, avoiding the blame game, and learning to pray the Word of God over my children daily. You will be encouraged by advice straight from the prodigals, and your faith will be strengthened by thirty days of prayers and Scriptures, equipping you for the battle ahead.

No matter where you are in your own journey, the key is to hold fast to God’s promises, and never, never give up on your children—no matter how hopeless the situation may seem.

  


Eighty-eight percent of children raised in an evangelical Christian home will leave the church by the age of eighteen. Most will turn away from authority, parental values, and biblical teaching, losing their potential, their health, and their destiny—sometimes even their life. As a parent, guardian, or loved one, what can you do to prevent this from happening? If it does happen, how do you fight the battle? Is there hope?

In Praying for the Prodigal, Andrea Merrell shares her journey with not one but two prodigals, and how God protected them, restored them, and brought them back from the very flames of death and hell. She gives you practical survival tips to help you keep your sanity in the midst of the crisis, such as establishing boundaries, avoiding the blame game, and learning how to pray the Word of God over your children daily. You will be encouraged by advice straight from the prodigals, and your faith will be strengthened by thirty days of prayers and Scriptures. This book will equip you for the battle ahead and help you hold fast to God’s promises, reminding you to never, never give up on your children—no matter how hopeless the situation may seem.


Here's more information about Andrea and where you can connect with her and buy her book: 

 Andrea Merrell is Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a freelance editor and has led workshops at various writers’ conferences. Andrea is the author of Murder of a Manuscript, The Gift, and Praying for the Prodigal. To learn more, visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.  

Amazon link for Murder of a Manuscript – http://amzn.to/1HlRLmy
Amazon link for Praying for the Prodigal – http://amzn.to/1BFOhK9
Amazon like for The Gift – http://amzn.to/1rLKAk0

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Book from Deborah Picurrelli



 I wrote Love Comes Calling years ago, before I discovered what my brand of writing would be. A well-known publisher had advertised that they would be accepting submissions for novellas to be combined into four differently themed anthologies. The one called “A Well-kept Secret” intrigued me, so that’s what I chose.
Once I decided on the theme, I needed to come up with a story to fit. I thought about what that secret could be. It would have to be something shocking, for one thing. Even if only to the characters in the book. That secret would have to arise from a situation. But what?
For every story I write, I try to think in extremes. Not necessarily in personality, though that can be a factor, but in other things, too. Background, circumstances, a connection, a physical condition, etc. For Love Comes Calling, both a connection and a physical condition come into play.
With those elements in place, I could let my imagination run wild. And then I wrote to my heart’s content.
A day after I submitted the manuscript, I received an e-mail stating the publisher had decided not to release that particular anthology. Shortly after, they ceased from publishing all anthologies.
Fortunately for me, the months of work spent on this novella were not a waste. Last year, I submitted the manuscript to a contest held by Prism Book Group, and here I am to tell about it. I am happy to say I have a wonderful, trusted publisher handling my beloved story.
Love Comes Calling contains elements of both redemption and forgiveness. (And we can’t forget romance!)  Drastic life changes occur in the hero, Derek Spencer, when he gives his life to the Lord Jesus. This creates a desire to correct the wrongs he’d done in his “wild days.” Forgiveness is displayed in many different ways by many different characters who were affected by what Derek had done. Most importantly, Charlotte Parkes.

Hopefully, Love Comes Calling will emphasize to readers the need to keep ourselves accountable for hurts we inflict on others. On the flipside, those who were hurt can gain freedom from the spirit of bitterness by forgiving the ones who have hurt them. Also important to note is, the one who inflicted the pain in the first place must ultimately forgive himself. 

BACK COVER BLURB



The day new Christian, Derek Spencer, shows up on Charlie Parkes’s doorstep to make up for what he’d done, is the very day he falls in love with her. But Charlie’s sister mistakes him for a home improvement contractor, and he decides to play along until he finds a way to tell her who he really is.

Charlie is attracted to Derek, but knows the attention he pays her is only flattery. How could such a great-looking guy fall for someone with a face like hers? Nevertheless, the two form a relationship that brings a joy to Charlie that’s way beyond her wildest dreams.

But what will happen when Derek’s true identity is revealed?



After years of reading books and watching movies with an element of romance, Deborah M. Piccurelli’s desire to write romance novels came naturally. She is active in her church and is an advocate for sanctity of life. Deborah is the author of two novels, a novella and several cause-related newspaper articles. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the New Jersey Society of Christian Writers. As one of the winners in a contest by The Christian Authors Show, details of Deborah’s writing journey can be found in the 2013-2014 edition of the book, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. Deborah lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two sons.  

Love Comes Calling is a beautiful story you don't want to miss!

Find it on Amazon or from the publisher at www.prismbookgroup.com.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing as a Writer

Please check out this post I wrote for Sandra Robbins' blog. Thanks to Sandra for hosting me.

Guest Post on Sandra's Blog click here


Here's an offer from my publisher for my book, Legacy and Love.

LIMITED TIME BOGO SPECIAL! Buy Legacy and Love by Paula Mowery for $3.99 and Prism Book Group will gift you your choice of one of their other titles via Amazon!

Purchase Legacy and Love here: $3.99 on Amazon 

 View your choices here: www.prismbookgroup.com

To claim your prize, forward your Amazon confirmation for the purchase of Legacy and Love to contact@prismbookgroup.com, along with the title of the book you would like. 

Once Legacy and Love's price drops to 99 cents, the BOGO deal is off! So act now!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Win the book!

Ruthy contacted me and offered a signed copy of her book, His Montana Sweetheart.


For a chance at this great cowboy romance, please comment on this post. If you need more information about this book, see the post before this one.  If you don't live in the U.S. Ruthy will send you an e-copy.

I'll do a drawing and announce the winner next Wednesday. What are you waiting for? Get to commentin'!