Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stabs in the Dark

I'm currently in a Beth Moore study called Children of the Day which is a study of First and Second Thessalonians.

In First Thessalonians three, Paul finds himself in Athens, away from the people he wanted to see. He had suffered every kind of affliction and trouble. I wonder if after being forced to leave, he felt a little lost or off track.

Can you relate? When we follow the call of God on our lives, things don't suddenly become smooth sailing. We, like Paul, may have what we think are set-backs or road blocks. But, suppose that is all a part of the whole process.

Beth Moore writes this about her journey: "I now believe those decisions that felt like stabs in the dark at the time were as determined by God as ones that burned with conviction. Every turn was imperative to God's plan for me and led in the direction I needed to go. Even poor decisions that seemed like disastrous detours wound themselves around until even they became crucial to the process." She continues with this: "God can shove us with His mighty hand wherever He wants us to go, or  He can gently blow us there with an almost imperceptible breath. God is ever at the helm, patient and foreknowing."

When things don't work out the way I have imagined, I fall apart or think I've totally missed God's direction. I seem to think that if there's a bumpy way, maybe I've taken a wrong turn. Now, have I taken the wrong path before? Yes. But, there are times when my calling may lead me into a dark place I never thought I would find myself. God may allow these things as part of the whole original process or plan. I may not be able to get to that next turn without a little trouble or struggle.

I can relate to what Beth shares. In my calling I've had times when I've felt so confident of God's endorsement of my next move. At other times I've groped in the dark, easing a step by cautious step forward. I have seen God dim the way before me so I will trust Him and not what I can see up ahead.

I think that Paul would tell us today to stick to that call on our lives. Don't be deterred by trouble that arises. Paul had experienced beatings, imprisonment, and shipwreck. He could have said, "I must have gotten that call from God wrong because defeat seems imminent." Nope, he said, "We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then he moved on to another city and shared the gospel, all the while writing back to encourage those believers in the areas where he was banned.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, keep those eyes fixed on the author and finisher of your faith!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Book Release from Lillian Duncan

Tell us about REDEMPTION.
It’s the third and final book in my Sisters by Choice series. Well, probably last. I do have an idea for a fourth book rattling around in my brain, but it’s only an idea at the moment. Who knows if it will actually grow into a book?
Redemption brings the series full circle and gives closure for those who’ve read all three books. Jamie is the missing twin in the first book-DECEPTION. And in REDEMPTION, we come to learn more about Jamie and her spiritual struggles. But the main story is about a missing child who Jamie is determined to find—no matter the danger to herself.

What’s the setting for REDEMPTION?
This story is all over the place. It starts in Florida, then Jamie goes to Ohio and on to Wyoming and New Mexico—and not all of her own doing!

How did you come up with the title for REDEMPTION?
The story begins with Patti not understanding why her twin, Jamie, continues to place herself in serious jeopardy time and time again. Jamie doesn’t understand either. Only that she needs to help others if and when she can no matter the danger to herself.
As the writer I know why, and I’ll share the secret with you. Jamie is ashamed of things she’s done in her past. As a result she feels God can’t love her the way she is. So she seeks redemption by putting herself in dangerous situations to help other people.
But then I checked out the definition of redemption. defines redemption as an act of atoning for a fault or a mistake; deliverance or rescue; deliverance from sin; salvation; atonement for guilt.
Wow! As I look at those definitions, I realize REDEMPTION is full of all sorts of redemption for many of the characters in the story—not just Jamie’s. No wonder that’s the title I chose.

Why did you write REDEMPTION?
We only catch a brief glimpse of Jamie in DECEPTION and BETRAYED. REDEMPTION is Jamie’s story.

What do you want readers to take away from REDEMPTION?
God loves us no matter what we’ve done in the past or what we do in the present or will do in the future. His love is the one constant we can always count on!

Does REDEMPTION have a theme?
God loves us just the way we are and He is always there waiting for us to come to him.

What’s the SISTERS BY CHOICE series about?
This series definitely has romance in it, but I also wanted to explore the strong bonds that form between women—through blood or through the choices we make. Each story focuses on a relationship between two women that becomes as important to the story as the romantic plot.

Why did you become a writer?
I always had stories in my head waiting to be told. Unfortunately for many years those stories were only being enjoyed by me. One day a light bulb went off—hey, maybe I should be writing these stories down for other people!
That was the day a writer was born, but it took many long years until I could say, “I’m a writer!” Now, I love saying that.

What is your writing process?
I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.
When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face, but anything goes after that. If I’m writing and start to feel bored—then I kill someone or blow something up. And that way it’s a surprise to me and to my readers.

Do you know who the bad guy is when you begin your story?
Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be. As the story comes to a conclusion, I am surprised right along with my readers. REDEMPTION was no exception. I thought I knew who the bad guy was but as usual there were a few surprises!

Most people don’t think of murder mysteries and suspense novels as Christian Fiction. What do you say to them?
I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s all right. I understand that. I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.
As mysteries and suspense, there is, of course, some violence in the stories. However; I don’t promote or glorify violence. I make sure to show characters experiencing the natural consequences of bad choices and bad actions.

Then what makes your stories Christian Fiction?

My stories always have an element of faith in them. How that plays out depends on the individual plots of each specific story. My main characters are always on a spiritual journey, though some may be further along than others.
My stories show characters in crisis. I use the crisis to illustrate how real Christians react to real problems in their life. We all react in different ways when bad things happen and the same is true in my stories. I show characters having doubt but also resolving that doubt and becoming stronger in their faith as a result of the crisis.
One more word about Christian Fiction, it has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Other than erotica, readers can find their favorite genre as Christian Fiction as well as mainstream fiction. There are Christian Fiction books out there for every book lover—historical; romance; regency; science fiction; even horror novels.

If REDEMPTION becomes a movie who would you like to see play your main characters?
I’d love to have the Oslin twins play Jamie and Patti. As for Enrique—a dark, handsome actor with a bit of a Hispanic accent. Mmm, who could that be?

What are you working on now?
In July, I had a new mystery novella series released--DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS. It features a crime-fighting speech pathologist. Having been a speech pathologist for almost 35 years, this story was so much fun for me to write.
The second in the series—NOWHERE TO BELONG—will be released sometime next year and I still have some work to do on the third in the series. Along with that I have a few other projects I’m working on. Busy, busy, busy!

My website is My blog is TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at I also contribute to Putting On The New at

To celebrate the release of REDEMPTION, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. But wait…there’s more! I always feel bad for the people who enter the contest but don’t win. So I’m also going to pick FIVE more lucky names to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Just the right amount to buy REDEMPTION! Just kidding, the winners can use it to buy whatever they wish.
So hop on over to TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at  to enter. Leave a comment on the post REDEMPTION and you’ll be entered to win. Easy Peasy!!

Others may think Jamie Jakowski is a hero, but she knows differently.
Haunted by her past, she seeks redemption by helping others in spite of the danger to herself. However, after almost orphaning her daughter, Jamie opts to retire. When a friend needs her, Jamie agrees to one last undercover operation.
She is determined to reunite a heartbroken mother with her kidnapped son. Used to working alone, Jamie’s not happy when she’s assigned a partner. And after a failed operation and their failed romance, Enrique Rodriguez is the last person she wants to work with—ever.
To succeed, Jamie must confront her past as well as the people who want her dead.

Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!
Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us
Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Are We Holy?

We've come to our last post about our worth in Christ and what that really means. The last letter is H and must stand for holy.

Holy can be defined as worthy of absolute devotion; having a divine quality; devoted to the deity or the work of the deity; sacred; godlike; untouchable; devout, faithful, godly. You might also hear holy meaning set apart, other, and like God.

God says to be holy as He is holy. A lofty goal? Yes! But, as Christians we are called to be holy by God Himself.

So, let's break down the definition above and see how we are doing with this goal of becoming holy.

Worthy of absolute devotion - because God is holy, He is worthy of your absolute devotion. This means there is not a person or a thing to whom or to which you are more faithful or loyal. Is God number one on your priority list? Don't speak too soon. Look at what your schedule and finances prove about your devotion.

Having a divine quality - Christians are called to be imitators of Christ. This would mean that we would have divine or godlike qualities. This doesn't mean we become a god or take on supernatural characteristics. We behave following the example of Jesus. Do lost people notice something different about you?

Devoted to the deity or the work of the deity - Christians are to be busy about the Father's business. We should pray that God would put on our hearts what is on His heart. We should follow His guidance in the plan He has for our lives. Are you busy with your own business or God's?

Sacred - This means set apart for the service or worship of the deity. Christians have been specifically called out to be different from the world in serving and worshiping God. The world encourages serving and worshiping self. Is your service and worship focused upon God or yourself?

Godlike - See the above, having a divine quality.

Untouchable, devout, faithful - These three words suggest being serious and earnest in our goal to become holy. Do you truly want to become holy?

Godly, set apart, other, and like God - Again, these words hint at the fact that being holy means we are nothing like the world. Do you look too much like the world?

Our worth on this earth is so often measured by the money we have, the things we possess, and the status we have achieved.

Remember, worth is defined as the value of something measured by its qualities. Christians' have worth through Christ. Do you have the qualities of Jesus?