Sunday, August 28, 2016

How About a New Book for Your Reading List?

I am so pleased to welcome fellow author but most importantly, sister in Christ, Danele, back to the blog to share about her new book.

I’ve always loved to read, but I hate that horrible moment when a good book comes to an end. It’s torture saying goodbye to characters I’ve come to love. One of the BEST things about being an author is having control over your own stories. Many of you know that I wrote The Time Counselor Chronicles while I was ill and enduring seven years of quarantine. During that time, I didn’t have control over many aspects of my life, but I DID have control over my fictional characters. I found extreme pleasure in the fact that since I was the author, I didn’t have to say goodbye to Gil, Crystal, Marc, Laura, Alex, or the rest of my crew—I could just write them another story. Time Trap was written for one reason only—I was enjoying myself, and I didn’t want to say goodbye to the people I’d created in Time Tsunami. And that’s why the other books in my series were written as well. By the time I finally sought publication, I’d completed six books. Writing, for me, was an act of pure enjoyment. When I began, I wasn’t thinking about publishers, reading audiences, or profit margins, I was simply thinking about what type of adventure I wanted to write next. My books brought me joy, and that was all that mattered.

For years, I didn’t let anyone know I was writing. TEMCO was my personal world—my escape hatch from illness and pain. I was afraid that if I let others into my imaginary world, it would crumble away. As it turned out, the exact opposite was true. When I finally let my family read my stories, they were extremely enthusiastic with their support. They helped me proofread, and they gave me wonderful advice. They also encouraged me to keep writing—in actual fact, some of them threatened me with dire consequences if I stopped. They had become just as involved with my characters as I had, and they wanted to keep reading their adventures.

I always fill my books with suspense, romance, action, faith, and comedy. I keep them clean, and I work hard to make them full of page-turning fun. Communication is such a wonderful thing. I love the fact that we can relay our ideas, hopes, and dreams to each other. My books are more than just stories, they symbolically chronicle the way I stood up to my illness and fought it. They speak about the value I place on love and friendship. They show that humor can be found even in the midst of great difficulty. And most of all, they demonstrate that a crisis of faith isn’t the end—it’s simply the first step to understanding God on a deeper level.

When I was ill, I questioned every aspect of my Christian faith. I didn’t understand why a loving God would allow me to suffer in such unimaginable ways. What I learned is that Christ suffered too, and when I’m in pain, He stays by my side and helps me bear it—even when I’m hurting so much that I’m not aware of His presence. In a strange way, I’m glad that I went through my illness. If I hadn’t, my books would probably be very shallow. Instead, I’ve filled them with the questions I’ve struggled with—and with the answers I’ve found. Life isn’t easy, but I’ve learned that even in the middle of tragedy, God is faithful and trustworthy. That’s what each of my characters eventually learn, and that’s what I hope my readers will take away from my books.  

When problems arise during a field exam, Director Peter Matthews and Dr. Laura Nelson are sent through a time portal to investigate.  While they search for their missing cadets, they encounter an enemy who is calculating and brutal—a mysterious nemesis who is holding a grudge against the TEMCO program.  As Peter and Laura race to unravel clues directing them to their kidnapped cadets, their own survival comes into question.  A deadly trap has been set, and they are forced to pit their wits against a serial killer who is intent on playing a deadly chess game through time itself. 

Purchasing Links:

 Just her own personal testimony is so inspirational. You don't want to miss the stories that came out of this hard time in her life. 

Thank you, Danele, for sharing and for not keeping your stories to yourself. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Its' Not Just Old Stories

Has anyone ever said that the Old Testament is just history or old stories? Yeah, I've heard that too. I've also heard people say that we can only learn from the New Testament because we are New Testament Christians.

I must disagree with this reasoning. And believe it or not, obviously those first church people also needed to know that the Old Testament was valuable to read and study. Paul actually writes to the church in Corinth in his letter from 1 Corinthians.

"Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.' Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."

Paul is referring back to what the Jewish people did and were punished for. He states that these things were recorded as examples for us. They were written for our admonition.

Admonition means counsel or warning against fault or oversight. The word carries the idea of alarm, alert, caution, and notice. Let's break down this definition a bit more. The word counsel means to give advice, to coach, to show, guide, tutor, shepherd or mentor. The word warn means to put on guard or caution, to give supportive advice to, or to notify especially in advance.

Thus the Old Testament is meant to be read and studied as an advance warning of sin's consequences. The stories are to be an example to guide us away from wrong and following what is right.

When I teach children from the Old Testament, I try my best to relate the story to them. Why? The story of Daniel in the lions' den or David and Goliath are not there for simple entertainment. These were included in the Old Testament to learn from. There is more of a purpose for the Old Testament than just as a history.

Think about your favorite Old Testament characters and stories. I just completed the book of Esther. Great story. But as I finished the last verse, I thought how something from her story could help me. Right now, in my current situation, the Esther story encourages me that even if I feel I don't understand why I'm in a certain position or place, I never know if God didn't plan it for me to be in this exact place for some specific reason. That's how it was with Esther. God planned for her to be in the exact place she needed to be when her people needed her.

The whole of the Bible is applicable to me and my life, not just the New Testament. God didn't have those scriptures penned just to entertain or provide a history. He included them for us to have an example and learn from them.

What was the last Old Testament scripture you read? What could you apply to your life from that story or passage?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Seek With All Your Heart

"Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered." 2 Chronicles 31:20-21.

This verse came up during my daily Bible reading. Made me stop and think. King Hezekiah prospered. Why? He sought God with all his heart.

In another verse in Scripture we see this kind of wording. "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

Have you ever lost something really important? When you set out to search for it, you don't just half-heartedly look. You focus on the task of seeking that item. You keep at it until you find that which you lost. This is the way I see this seeking of God with all my heart.

Hezekiah sought to follow God in every area. Notice the verse speaks of every work that he began, in law and commandment, he sought God wholeheartedly.

Just a couple of chapters after this, Hezekiah's son becomes king. Manasseh tried it his way and was carried off in fetters to Babylon. But God still honored His Word.

"Now when he (Manasseh) was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God." 2 Chronicles 33:12-13.

Really? Had Manasseh not realized why his father prospered? Or did he just have to learn his own lesson?

Whichever it was, even though Manasseh messed up, God heard him when he came to his senses and sought Him. Guess Manasseh had to have proof for himself that the Lord was truly God.

The lesson here? It's worth it to seek God with all my heart. If I try to do things my way, I'll always end up in trouble. It's comforting to know that when I mess up and seek other things that I can always humble myself and seek Him again. He's there waiting. I can only hope and pray that I've learned my lesson and will keep my focus on the only One worth my constant focus.

My next task is to make sure that those I have influence over, such as my daughter, understand the importance of seeking God with their whole hearts.

So precious reader, I implore you to seek God with all your heart. If you do, you will find Him because He isn't lost or hiding. He's waiting for you to seek Him. I believe Manasseh would encourage you to do the same, for he discovered that the Lord was God.