Monday, August 3, 2015
[Jesus said] "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34, NKJV
None of us is guaranteed the rest of today, let alone tomorrow.
I'd be willing to bet at least half of the people who die suddenly gave some thought (if not downright worrying) that day as to what they were going to do the next day--tomorrow. A percentage of those had been so worried about what would happen tomorrow that they weren't paying close enough attention to now. Maybe some of them would even still be alive if they had been more concerned about today.
No, I'm NOT telling you to quit planning for your future. In fact, I'm urging you to get ready for the big future. You might meet your Maker today--or tomorrow. It's time you started thinking about that, if you haven't already.
Am I trying to scare you into accepting Jesus into your life? No, not really. Life with the Lord is soooo much happier when He's at the head. I've been on both sides of that fence, and I can tell you for sure. So what I'm trying to do is introduce you to a happier future.
Earlier this week I shared one of those pictures on Facebook. It said, "God doesn't recruit from the pedestal but from the pit." Someone responded that the whole world was in the pit, and where was God?
Where is God? He's standing there holding out His hands to anyone who wants out of the pit. The trouble is, people are so busy observing and surviving in the pit they don't see His hands reaching out to them.
What if you knew there would be no tomorrow. What would you do?
Please don't give up on us. Don't drop that offer to lift us up to You. Thank you for loving us. Please wash all those ugly sins away from us and make us clean. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His [God's] will, he [that person] shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:16-18, NKJV
Okay--guilty as charged, Lord.
It wasn't that I set out to be thought of as a really expressive (and therefore impressive) pray-er. When people would post or email prayer requests, I'd write a prayer in response. I'd start out with the best of intentions, to bless the person who needed it.
But then this little chunk of pride nosed its way into the conversation. See that, world? Wasn't that an astoundingly eloquent prayer?
What was that Jesus said? I've already received all the reward I'm going to get. I hope that wasn't also true for the people prayed for.
Pride goes before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction. Says so in Proverbs 16:18, and it's so very true.
It came as a bit of surprise that He now wants me just to say I'm praying, or to just "like" the post. My prayers are still heard by God, who is the One Who is able to work miracles. That might change in the future, but not until that piece of price is nailed to the cross and dead. I've got a ways to go.
God, please forgive me; I give that piece of ugly pride to You and ask You to work miracles not because of my eloquence but because of Your great power and love. For Jesus's sake, Amen.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
|Dan Walsh and wife Cindi|
Anne: Today's interview is with one terrific author, Dan Walsh. If you've read anything by him, you will know what I mean. I reviewed one of his books yesterday, a murder mystery/suspense called When Night Comes. If you want to read the review, click HERE. Now, Dan, this inquiring mind wants to know--what gave you the inspiration for When Night Comes?
Dan: I actually got the idea for this book back in the mid-90s and made it the subject of my first, unpublished book (I wrote it way before The Unfinished Gift). The book was unpublished for a reason. It was over 600 pages long, the plot moved way too slow and was overly complex. But I loved the concept and felt the story itself was solid. I’ve always loved studying history and have often spent time trying to imagine what it would be like to go back in time and see historic events firsthand. During one of these day dreams, I got the idea for this book. It has elements of time travel involved, but it is definitely not your typical time travel book.
Two years ago, I pitched the story to Revell. They loved the idea but felt that it stretched my “Nicholas Sparks” brand too much. Last year, I decided with all that’s happening in the publishing world, and this new shift toward indie books, it was a good time to dig it out. I rewrote it last summer, taking advantage of all the things I’ve learned about writing since the mid-90s.
Anne: We must be related; I did pretty much the same thing with mine (started writing it years ago). You're well known for writing romances, and though this has that thread, I wouldn't call it a romance. Is there a reason you added this genre?
Dan: I guess the main reason I wrote When Night Comes as a true suspense novel is that I love to read and write in both genres. And now I have the freedom to. I’ve always loved suspense novels and most of my readers can easily see I include a great deal of suspense even in my novels where the romantic thread is more pronounced. But traditional publishing houses rarely allow their authors to write in more than one genre. The belief is that readers only want to read one kind of book (or want you to write one kind of book). But I’m not like that as a reader. Usually, I go through seasons where I want to read a certain kind of book for a while, then I’ll shift to another kind of book. Judging by the response to When Night Comes, and the sales, it would seem I’m not alone. My plan is to write both kinds of books in the days ahead (I’ve already roughed out a sequel).
Anne: I'm happy to hear that--I'd love to read the sequel too! I love the character development in this book. Do you do character sketches before you begin writing your manuscripts?
Dan: I don’t. Although a lot of my author friends do. For them, it really helps if they get to know their characters fully before they start to write. My characters come to life more organically, I guess. As I’m developing the story, I’ll get a good sense of the main characters, but I don’t really know them well. Somewhere in the first 50-75 pages they come to life for me. They move from shallow 2D made-up characters to real 3D people. Once that happens, I go back and make any needed changes in the first part of the book, then continue to write the rest of the book letting them be who they are.
Anne: Ditto here yet again. One thing I'm always curious about: Are you a panster or a plotter?
Dan: I guess my writing has elements of both, but I definitely lean more towards a “pantser.” I do take the time to create a detailed synopsis (maybe 4-5 pages). For me, that’s where the story gets created and the main characters begin to emerge. I think the whole thing through, even the ending. But it comes out as more of a story than an outline. When I can answer the question, “what’s the story about?” in about 10 minutes and have you on the edge of your seat when I’m done, I know I’m ready to start writing the book.
Anne: Hm. I'll have to try that. How long does it usually take you to write a complete ms?
Dan: Since I started writing full-time in 2010, I usually finish the manuscript in four to five months. It takes about another three or four weeks to clean it up. I don’t do a quick first draft, then go back and do a major rewrite. I clean up and edit as I go, so that when I’m done it’s really about ninety percent ready to go.
Anne: You've written fifteen novels (if I counted right); which is your favorite, and why?
Dan: Since I spend almost six months on each book, I get heavily invested, even emotionally, in the story and the characters. It’s pretty hard to pick out one that’s a true favorite. Guess it’s kind of like asking me which of my kids do I like best. But if I had to pick one, it might be The Reunion. Since its release, it’s had over four hundred customer reviews on Amazon, the overwhelming majority are five stars. I especially love reading the ones written by military vets or their families. I wrote the last fifty pages of the book in tears and it seems most readers are impacted the same way (it’s a good cry, though, not a sad one).
Anne: Would you like to tell us about what's next on your publishing plate?
Dan: I’ve just finished the first book in a new trilogy, called Rescuing Finley. These books will be more on-brand with my Sparks-type novels, but will include a great deal of suspense. Finley is a dog. A dog will be a main character in each of these 3 books, but they will also include love stories and lots of relational drama. My wife is a certified dog trainer and an expert in dog behavior (seriously, she could have her own TV show). She will be helping me get all the dog parts right. Finley is a shelter dog who winds up rescuing the female inmate who trains him (a former meth addict) and the Afghan war vet who adopts him (he is wrestling with PTSD). And they might just fall in love.
I’m not sure of its release date yet, but I hope it’s in 2015. I’m exploring whether to release it as an indie book or sign with Amazon to publish it (why the release date is still unclear).
If Readers want to find me on the Internet:
Probably the easiest thing is just to visit my website, check out my homepage. There are buttons there to connect to my blog, send me an email, or follow me on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. They can find me at: http://www.danwalshbooks.com.
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 15 novels including The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and When Night Comes. He’s been a finalist for six Carol Awards and won three, the winner of three Selah Awards, and three of his books have been finalists for Romantic Time’s Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Word Weavers International, Dan writes full time in the Daytona Beach area. He and his wife Cindi have been married thirty-eight years and have two grown children and two grandchildren. You can find out more about his books or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Pinterest from his website at http://www.danwalshbooks.com.
Anne: I don't know about the rest of your readers, Dan Walsh, but I am totally impressed. Thank you so much for being here today, and may God give wings to your fingers!
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Wow, Dan--what a tense, tight story! I love a good mystery, and this one is definitely g-o-o-d!
Jack Turner arrives in Culpepper in the middle of a murder investigation, but the police are refusing to call it that.
The new sergeant doesn't want any murders to investigate. He tells the others to say the young man died of a congenital heart defect activated by a bad dream. Some bad dream. The student at Culpepper University had died with a horrified and horrifying expression on his face.
Jack is a writer and a guest speaker at the college, scheduled to teach some of Professor Thomas Thornton's classes. Professor Thornton invites Jack to his house for dinner, and they talk about old times and about the book Jack is writing, a discussion of what would have happened if WWII military leaders had had to contend with the modern day media.The professor gives him dinner, a glass of wine and a bottle to take with him, and provides an article to read about Pearl Harbor, written in 1944.
A fascinating article, by the way. Jack reads it before he goes to bed and dreams about it in the most vivid nightmare he's ever experienced. The dream leaves him shaken for days to come.
One nice thing about Culpepper--Jack reconnects with a young woman who'd had a crush on him as a teenager. The little girl has grown up, and nicely.
He's just begun to get past the first nightmare when a second one happens. This one leaves him wondering if he's losing his mind. He woke up from this one when he was killed in a parachute jump.
And, speaking of jumps, another student does, from the top of a building.
How are all these people and incidents tied together? Oh, goodness, I can't tell you that! Get the book. Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.... And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, and 13, NKJV
This post is the last of this series and the most important. Paul said when that which is perfect is come, only three of the fruit of the spirit would still be around: faith, hope, and love. That which is perfect--only one thing I know of that is perfect: Jesus and His kingdom. So, when Jesus comes again, we won't need to pray any more. There won't be anything to pray for (in tongues or in your native language)--no illness, no sorrows, no sin, no death. No prophesy needed, we will know even as we are known, and nothing to get impatient over.
But now, ever, and always, love is, was, and will be around and needed.
This weekend I was one of the exhibitors at the Valley Home Educators' conference in Modesto, CA. Problems cropped up at home--175 miles away--and my gotta-go-home genes kicked into high gear. I paced back and forth in my eight-foot cube. Prayers flew heavenward with every breath. And--people stopped and prayed, hugged, and loved on me right and left. What a blessing!
By the time I reached home hours later, things were fine. God had worked His wonders. We have an amazing Lord, and He has some amazing people who serve Him and serve each other with buckets of love, the greatest fruit of the Spirit.
Lord, thank You for that gift. Thank You for giving us this basket of precious fruit--love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control--and thank You for giving us the strength to share them whenever needed. Amen.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, NKJV
When I first came into the charismatic experience, the man who introduced our group to it told us there were two types of the tongues thing--the gift of tongues for use in church and praying in tongues. I'm not sure I could "prove" that difference with scripture, but logic tells me it's true.
The most commonly used kind is the prayer tongue, and normally that's in the privacy of my own house. When I use the tongues nowadays, it's when I'm praying earnestly for someone,whether for healing or help of another nature. Or praise. All I can really tell about it is what it's generally about, because obviously I don't understand the words. I pray until the need or praise seems satisfied, and then I stop.
The other kind is only given in a plural setting. Most times in a church, but occasionally just between two people. THESE MUST BE INTERPRETED! I would add another "rule" to that--it should not happen in a setting where it negatively affects those listening--which is most churches, unfortunately. The whole purpose of this type is to edify Christ's church. If it does not, don't do it.
I heard it described not long ago as something that can't be understood by anyone, but it is sometimes a known language to someone present, just not to the speaker. That's not normally how it is interpreted, though. It's usually interpreted by someone who also didn't actually understand the words but has been given the interpretation by the Holy Spirit.
Now--someone might jump in here and say tongues are of the devil. A word of warning--be very very careful of attributing a gift of God to the wrong entity. Offending people is one thing, but I don't want to EVER be guilty of offending God.
The use of tongues where I have experienced it has ALWAYS been uplifting, and has always drawn the speakers and the congregation around closer to God. That's the test.
Father God, please enlighten us. Draw us closer by any and every means You have. We love You, Lord, and we cherish Your gifts. All of them. In Jesus's precious Name, Amen.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Have I ever told you how much I love this author's writing? Mary Connealy combines a grin-inducing sense of humor with a knack for creating a page-turning historical romance.
This one is about an orphaned girl raised by a harshly critical family planning to marry this hard-working virtual slave off to their son--a greedy-eyed slithering skunk of a man. Ruthy prays for a chance to escape as they travel westward. A flood answers her prayers, washing their wagon and the rest of the family down a raging river. She's washed up on the shore half drowned.
And then there's Luke Stone, the rightful owner of a beautiful spread in north Texas that's been taken over by the typical slithering sidewinder, Flint Greer. Lucas has proof he's the legal owner, despite Greer's claim that Luke's father sold him the place before conveniently dying.
What with a posse after him, Luke's reluctant to take this soggy, unconscious woman with him. She'll only make his getaway that much more difficult, but what's an upstanding Texan gentleman supposed to do? Between making plans to get the ranch back, tending to the injured woman, and hiding from Greer (after losing the posse), he has his hands full. Literally.
Greer has settled himself in the ranchhouse, taken a pretty wife, and set out to buy or steal (preferably the latter) every ranch in the area. He's well on his way to accomplishing that when Luke shows up.
Only God knows how this tangled mess will sort itself out--but you can find out by buying Swept Away. Well worth every cent. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.