Legal Property

* * * * * * * * * * * * * This blog is the intellectual property of Anne Baxter Campbell, and any quotation of part or all of it without her approval is illegal. * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Morning Sermonette - Who's Responsible?

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39, NKJV

A woman or man begins to drink or smoke marijuana or take meth--or any other thing that makes a person leave their senses behind. They get into their car and drive, hit another car, and kill the family inside.

So...who do we blame? Some people blame God. I cannot believe that's in God's nature. That attitude totally takes responsibility away from the temporarily crazy person who got high. Doesn't that mean we can do whatever we want, even though we know it's wrong, because that's what God intended for us to do?

This is what I do believe: that God can bring good out of even that IF WE LET HIM. It does take our cooperation, though. God created man and woman, not puppets, to be able to make decisions to do His will or not.

I believe He sets choices in front of us; we can chose whether to do right or wrong. And we can choose to hang onto grudges or to chose forgiveness. I have seen and felt what grudges can do, haven't you? I've been on the receiving end--and, unfortunately, I've been on the grudging end.

I can tell you for sure and certain, forgiving is a lot more pleasant than letting the anger fester until we do something foolish or destructive.

The Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger (Ephesians 4:26). The day to forgive is today so that He can begin to work His healing in your life, so that He can begin to bring good from the bad things that happen.

Father, forgive me for holding grudges. Show me how ugly they are to you. Clean them from me. Help me when I have problems with it to give it back to You. Please bring Your good from the situations that seem so horrible. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Sermonette: Without a Doubt (Saul/Paul)

At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Acts 8:1-3, NKJV

Do you know that just because we sincerely believe a thing, that doesn't make it true? When we're children, tooth fairies, Santa, the Easter bunny, monsters in the closet, boogiemen under the bed--those can all feel very real. Our love of Santa or the terror over the boogiemen can be equally honest beliefs.

Saul honestly thought the Christians were evil, perverting the true religion of the One God of Israel. He was wrong, but that's what he believed and practiced.

Thank the Good Lord, Jesus got through to him. To Saul's credit, when faced with the truth he changed his belief. He became instead a huge proponent and promoter of Christianity.

Now there are hundreds of different belief systems within the Christian religion. Just because you believe a thing doesn't make it true. Check it out, especially with the New Testament. Read the Bible not just once but over and over. Yes, you will find things that conflict--like who saw Jesus first after the resurrection--but much more that agree--like Jesus really did rise from the dead, and He really does love you, and all you really have to do to be forgiven is ask. Well, provided you really do mean you're sorry.

I invite you to challenge your belief system. Find out what Jesus considered important and apply it to your life. It really is of life or death importance!





Friday, April 10, 2015

Author Interview - Stephanie Landsem


Anne: Our interview today is with Stephanie Landsem, multipublished author. Her most recent group of books is the Living Water Series, including The Well, The Thief, and The Tomb. If you'd like to read my reviews of any of them, click on the name of the book. If you click on the name of the series, it will take you to the Amazon buy page for the entire series; if you click on her name, it will take you to her website.

So, Stephanie, what inspired The Tomb?

Stephanie: I've always loved the story of Lazarus because of the utter joy that I think Martha and Mary must have felt as they saw their beloved brother raised from the dead after mourning for him for 4 days. I feel like it's a small glimpse of what we will feel when we enter heaven and are able to see our loved ones that went before us. As I wrote The Tomb, I couldn't wait to get to the moment when Lazarus awoke within his tomb and realized that he was alive again, and the moment that Martha and Mary saw him emerge into the light.

Anne: Tell us a little about The Living Water Series.

Stephanie: The Living Water Series explores encounters with Jesus in the gospel of John. The Well centers on the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well, The Thief begins as Jesus heals the man born blind in Jerusalem, and The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, is about Jesus's relationship with the family of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus in Bethany. I knew when I began The Living Water Series that I wanted the last book to focus on the most amazing miracle Jesus performed before his crucifixion: the raising of Lazarus. The three siblings in this story, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus – are fascinating characters in themselves and I couldn't wait to explore their lives and feelings.

Anne: How do you choose your settings for each book?

Stephanie: In The Living Water Series, I think the settings chose me! The characters are what initially drew me in, and the settings came later as I researched Samaria for The Well, Jerusalem for The Thief, and finally the small town of Bethany where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived for The Tomb, A Novel of Martha.

Anne: Which of the characters in The Tomb was the hardest for you to write and who was the easiest? Can you tell us why?

Stephanie: I’ve always identified with Martha, the worrier, the worker. And as I suspected, she was easier for me to write about. I loved exploring what made her so anxious because many women have some of the same hurts and worries in their lives that they try to alleviate with busyness. The hardest character to write was Penina . . . because she can’t talk! Her dialogue took a great deal of thought and imagination, but in the end I loved her character.

Anne: What outside interests do you have?

Stephanie: I love to travel. I'm lucky that I’ve been able to see many parts of the world and have visited four continents. I’d love to go to Australia before my kids are too busy to travel with us. I love to cook, especially new ethnic cuisines from places where I’ve traveled. When I can’t go to new places, I like to be outside hiking, taking walks, or even snowshoeing during our long Minnesota winters. When it’s too cold, my favorite place to be is inside, reading a good book with a cat in my lap.

Anne: If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

Stephanie: If I had to choose I would say Mary, the mother of Jesus. She knew him best and I would never tire of hearing her stories of her son’s childhood and early years, something we know little about.

Anne: What is next on your publishing horizon?

Stephanie: Writing the Living Water Series was very much like running a spiritual and emotional marathon. I've had some time to recover and catch my breath and now I'm thinking about what I want to do next. Biblical fiction holds a special place in my heart, but I'm also ready to explore other time periods. Right now, I'm brainstorming a story about the parable of the prodigal son—this time a daughter—set in the glamorous world of 1930s Hollywood. I'll let you know if I end up writing it!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Anne. 

Ways to connect with Stephanie Landsem:

sblandsem@comcast.net
https://www.facebook.com/stephanielandsem
https://twitter.com/#!/stephlandsem

http://pinterest.com/slandsem/

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Book Review - THE TOMB by Stephanie Landsem


I know I'm repeating myself, but I love a good Biblical fiction, and this is one of those goodies. Thanks for this wonderful story, Stephanie Landsem!

Martha is a woman determined to be the best woman in Bethany. She obeys every law, even the obscure ones. She has to. She has to make it up to her father for the huge sin in her life that he has hidden from the town. Because of her they have gone from wealthy to poor, and her father has lost his will to live.

Even after he's gone, she still hides the truth. As does her beloved younger brother, Lazarus, who has promised her father he will take care of her. To him that means finding her a husband. He thinks the Pharisee, Simon, will be perfect for her.

Martha's life has turned into a horror story.

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review: LOST AND FOUND BY Diane Huff Pitts


This volume is the last of Sonrise in Sweetland series and a fine fitting finale.

Remember Diane's volume in 'Tis the Season in Sweetland? Rob and Ellen McKenzie's house burned to the ground just before Christmas, leaving them and their five children homeless. The matriarch and owner of Sweetbriar, the eighty-something Virginia Danforth Livingston was about to get married to Dr. Bernard Thompson, a man who lived in the same assisted living establishment as she, and they wanted to move back to the Sweetbriar Estate. The problem was they would need someone around to help out. Thus the McKenzies found a place to live and the newlyweds found live in help to run the big house.

But there's a big difference between "a place to live" and "a home," isn't there? How can this noisy family of seven blend with the aristocratic couple? It's not easy. It might take a joint project and joining forces against a vengeful crook.

Ah, I love a good mystery, don't you? Only 99 cents at Amazon.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Morning Devo - After the Excitement


And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:12-13, NKJV

Jesus the Christ's resurrection had been the most exciting event in the history of humans. Nothing could top it--not Lazarus's coming out of his tomb, not the exodus, not even the virgin birth.

But now the work would start. Were the disciples ready for it?

Some of you know the excitement of finding Christ for the first time. In that moment and for days afterward, you feel like you could leap tall buildings, climb any mountain, swim any sea. It's energizing.

Not all of the jobs Jesus would have us do remain exciting. Sometimes it takes sheer drudgery and determination to push through to the end.

I'm a writer. Sounds exciting? Well, yeah, when I get to the end of a book or story, I'm usually a little excited. But sometimes the middle is just wrinkled forehead, idle fingers, and one more prayer that the next one hundred words will find their way to the paper and won't be drivel.

It's work. I hope and pray and write, wanting to say something that will take you one step closer to God, and something that you and God will like--no, that You and He will love!

Prayer: Father, help us persevere, to endure the drudgery to accomplish Your purposes. Help me remember,  as Pastor Warren wrote, it's not about me. It's about You. I love being a part of Your plan--remind me of that when I get stuck or when I get tired. Thank You, Lord!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

RESURRECTION DAY!


HE  IS  RISEN! Jesus Christ has left the grave!

Hope restored!

Joy abounds!

The Son has dispelled the darkness!

Come out from the hiding places!

We are safe and saved!

Delight!

Fear has fled!

Faith is reborn!

Elation!

Peace has prevailed!

. . . .

Righteousness Reigns!