Saturday Confession: Loaves, Fishes, Questions and Kickers

Matthew 16:

At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up?

Ever have a verse jump off the page and slap you?

Well, in a way, that happened to me this week.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, earlier this week I shared a “by the way” kind of note from our youngest child’s doctor. The year has already been full of doctor appointments, specialist consults and a lot of lab work. She’s leary and I can’t blame her. Through MyChart online messaging I received feedback on her latest lab work with the new diagnosis of Hashimoto’s.

It’s a term I’m familiar with and it was a question I even asked at the last appointment. But to read it in black and white, to know there’s a new word on her chart, it threw me.

And the internal chaos started.

  • How is this going to affect her now?
  • Through puberty?
  • Through adulthood?
  • Another health issue, Lord? Really?
  • Is she going to be okay?
  • She’s asking tough questions.
  • The whole thing is breaking my heart and keeping me on my toes.
  • Lord, I have some tough questions, too. For you.

And then I read Matthew 16.

At first, I was judging the disciples. I mean, c’mon. Jesus finished feeding 5000 (and that’s just the men, they didn’t count the women and kids) with five loaves of bread and fish. Not only that, but Jesus also inserts the fact that there was so much provision there were 12 baskets left over. And they are wondering, of all things, how they were going to make it when it came to bread?

Then, the kicker. Jesus makes it clear the whole point isn’t about bread or even yeast. It’s to be careful who to follow. Make sure you’re following the true Savior.

And while I’m being all judgy, the same boom comes down on me.

I’m asking a lot of questions for someone who has seen the Lord provide time and time again for this child and her health.

And I’m not fooling Him. Because this isn’t about her or her health or the newest diagnosis. Nope, I’m circling back to that same old struggle that even Eve fought and lost.

Is God enough?

Can He be trusted?

Can He really get the job done?

Ouch. I’m really wrestling with that? After everything He’s done? Healed? Provided? Rescued? Given?

Yep.

Does it feel good to admit that?

Nope.

pen-paper_zps90ecf193But that’s what Saturday Confession is about.  I’m sharing an issue I haven’t mastered. I’m being real. Not to hang my dirty laundry, but to encourage you. If this is your struggle, you aren’t alone.

And He can be trusted.

Even when we whine and cry about the very thing He’s already taken care of.

 

 

Book Review: Arab Spring, Christian Winter by Ralph Stice

91tvIgcl2yL._SL1500_Book Description

Arab Spring, Christian Winter will help you tie newspaper headlines to your scriptural knowledge of the Last Days. Ralph Stice draws a clear link between the Arab Spring and the rise of a worldwide power that appears to be ushering in the coming Antichrist.

This book will also show you what you need to watch for in tomorrow’s news and guide you on how to fortify your faith for stormy days ahead. The Western Church has much to learn from Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Familiar Scripture passages are unfolding with new clarity to believers everywhere.

Learn:
• Why the Arab Spring had to happen to fulfill scriptural prophecy
• How the Arab Spring led to the unleashing of pure Islam
• Which nation could be the crucial link between East and West and produce an Antichrist figure
• The responses of Middle Eastern Christians to intense persecution and what we Western believers can learn from them

Fear not! He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We will discover Jesus in a fresh way when we face true persecution. How will your faith withstand the great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again (Matthew 24:21)? Brothers and sisters in Christ are facing this reality every day, right now.

I can’t think of a book more timely to read than Arab Spring, Christian Winter. The author explains events that took place in the Middle East that started “Arab Spring.” Since then there have been uprisings and tensions reverberating across the globe that have ties to these events.

The author gives a comprehensive look at life in these countries and the current state of things. Although I found a lot to be more opinion than Biblical fact or proof, the author is sounding a warning bell we all need to heed. He wrote this last summer, long before our headlines were dominated by the word, “ISIS.” Opinion or not, he’s right to be aware and want us to be, too.

Although there is a lot to be concerned about as the reader turns the pages, the author doesn’t lose sight of Scripture. Jesus is the victor here in a war that’s already been won. I don’t think the intention is for anyone to be afraid, but to take our country, our world, and God’s people to prayer, and for the utter defeat with those who plot for our destruction.

I recommend you read Arab Spring, Christian Winter.

To purchase Arab Spring, Christian Winter, click here.

I received a copy of Arab Spring, Christian Winter in exchange for an honest review.

***

Did you know I have my own book available? Entrusted is my contemporary romance about surrendering fear, loss and change. Read all about it and find out how to purchase it here.

Book Review: The Berenstain Bears’ Please & Thank You Book by Mike Berenstain

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The cherished Bear family is coming to a new generation of toddler and preschool readers!
Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962 and the Bear family celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012! Here the charming and lovable Bear family is once again introducing children to the typical issues and questions that they face every day.

In The Berenstain Bears’ Please & Thank You Book, little readers are introduced to the importance of manners, through gentle reminders given to Brother, Sister, and Honey as they await their milk and cookies. The shorter story length and well-loved characters provide toddlers a perfect introduction to valuable life lessons and routines. Ages 2 to 5.

There are certain senses that when you encounter them as an adult, takes you right back to childhood. For me, seeing a revised Berenstain Bears’ book, the Please & Thank You Book, took me back to the days when I couldn’t wait to read the next book. I didn’t care if the library pages were crinkled and used, these were books that were funny, visual, and had great messages.

The Please & Thank You Book keeps the nostalgia alive while breathing new life into a new generation of readers. The book is a little shorter for young ones but doesn’t dilute the important messages toddlers need to learn and use—to say please, thank you, and you’re welcome. I especially liked how well the book was constructed. I think it can hold up well against a toddler with sticky hands or a penchant to be a little rough with things.

I think young and old readers will be delighted to have this book. I highly recommend.

To purchase The Berenstain Bears’ Please & Thank You book, click here.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

After The Love Boat Bachelor: For Readers and Writers

It has been a fun ride watching from the inside of Write Integrity Press how readers have embraced our collaborative novels. Remember, before I ever signed for the Adirondack Surrender Romance Series or The Love Boat Bachelor, I was reading A Dozen Apologies, a Ruby Christmas and The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt.

I’ve received great feedback from readers who enjoyed trying to guess who Brent ended with in The Love Boat Bachelor and asking what happens next. I loved receiving updates from Tracy Ruckman as we learned the book was making Amazon Kindle bestseller lists around the world.

Well, I have an update. I also have an invitation for writers to be a part of it.

This announcement first appeared on the Write Integrity Press site.

We’re inviting writers to participate in our next collaborative novel, the sequel to The Love Boat Bachelor. This new book will release on Kindle June 15, then in December, we’ll release all three stories – A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and the new book in one print volume in both print and digital formats.

As we did with A Dozen Apologies, we’re offering the opportunity for writers to submit chapters for the novella, based on the story synopsis and first chapter that we’ll provide by e-mail upon request. 

To be considered, you’ll write two chapters of 2,500 to 3,500 words each in the specified character’s third-person, deep POV. This story will be much like The Love Boat Bachelor and its predecessor, A Dozen Apologies in that the readers will get to vote for the hero they think will be the best man for our heroine. There will be nine or ten authors writing heroine chapters, along with a first chapter written by the creator of the heroine and the final chapter written by the author who creates the winning hero.

There are eight WIP authors writing chapters. We will select one – and maybe two – contestants to participate in the final project. The winning contestant(s) will be offered the same contract as the other participating authors.

The deadline to submit chapters is April 15, 2015.

If you wish to enter, please send an e-mail with the subject line SEQUEL INFORMATION, and we’ll send you the information by March 1. Send your e-mail to editor[at]writeintegrity[dot]com.

Don’t have your copy of The Love Boat Bachelor? No worries. You can purchase it here.
You can also pick up my Adirondack romance, Entrusted.

COTT: A New Clash to Vote For

Hostess: Gail Pallotta January 2015, brought us many great fiction books. Contemporary, historical, young adult futuristic and a suspense novel round out this month’s Clash. Which of these will you put at the top of your to-be-read list?

***
During the 1960s, Henry Youngblood feels the call to plant a new church. Meanwhile, his wife
wonders how to pay the bills for the new baby, keep their teen-aged daughters under control, and temper the family’s dreams with reality.
***
Spain 1493: In order to flee the Inquisition, Isabel, accompanied by the husband she was forced to marry, must sail with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the Indies. There, amid the hardships of the New World, her character is forged and her destiny reshaped as she comes to terms with who she is.
***

When Jen unravels the family scandal within the walls of an English country manor, will she reveal the truth she’s hidden for so long as well? Or will she choose to live the lie in order to keep the man she loves?

***

Sixteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins never questions her country’s pregnancy termination law for underage girls until she becomes pregnant. Now she must comply or fight to save her unborn child, but fighting means Vivica must abandon her mother, a powerful governor, and side with a rebel organization that’s determined to start a revolution.

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Sabbath Sunday: That Brilliant Sun

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January saw its share of dark days and snowy weather. When this rare sunny day came, the sun didn’t play coy. It was a full display, a “look at me” kind of brilliance.

And I realized, I should be that bright for others.

Not so people would see me, but that they would see Christ.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Matthew 5:14, NIV

If you’re in a relationship with Christ, if you call Him friend, don’t hide it. Put Him on full display through your words, actions, thoughts and deeds.

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