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Paul: The Unstoppable by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on February 17, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE

I would have hated to be the apostle Paul’s parents while he was growing up. I can imagine them telling him not to do something, but he wouldn’t stop. So, they would punish him. Then he’d turn right around and do it again. What a stubborn child he would have been and stubborn man he grew up to be.

Don’t be shocked, but I made Paul (called Shaul by Hebrews) a boxer and runner in the book, at least in his youth. He had to have been a strong man to have survived treading water “in the deep a day and a night”.  Plus he wrote of winning the fight and boxing and running the race several times.

Paul, the unstoppable, spends his life making up for torturing and killing Christians in his youth. He is driven. To Paul, it is never enough. Gradually, he loses the strength of his youth.

Warning: My book is graphic. Over and over he was beaten with rods and whip lashed and even stoned. I go into slow motion to describe what is happening to him at such times. I, personally, am scared to death to watch horror movies. But I had to include the violence he endured because that was Paul’s reality.  Gritting his teeth, he must have strained his neck muscles and called out “Jesus, this is for you!” Can’t you hear him?

What can I say about such a man? I wrote 550 pages walking with him and all he must have gone through for thirty-five years until his death. The scar tissue on his back must have built up on top of older ones until his back was in constant pain just from the scar tissue. Medical science says scar tissue is twenty times more sensitive to touch than normal skin. But he kept going. City after city. Facing floods, snow, robbers, hunger, ship wrecks, imprisonments, humiliations. But he couldn’t stop.

Why? Love. He loved people so much, he was willing to endure their hatred in order to snatch them away from the gates of hell. Can we do that? Dare we do that? Go through all that Paul did? Or perhaps a fraction of it? To Paul, even in the dank, urine smelling, mold growing, rat infested cell where he sat on the slippery cold stone floor in chains the last few days of his life, he had never done enough.

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase PAUL: The Unstoppable HERE

 

 

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Sue A. Fairchild: Losing More Than the Weight with God’s Plan

Posted by Julie on February 15, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Losing More Than the Weight with God’s Plan

By Sue A. Fairchild

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV)

I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s been a plague on my life since I can remember. I was always “huskier” than other kids and often felt the sting of my peers’ disapproval in the process. Once, in high school, I was asked when my baby was due. I wasn’t pregnant.

One prior boyfriend loved to work out and encouraged me to do so with him, so I did. He pushed me daily, taking inventory of what I’d eaten and condemning me if I hadn’t attended the gym that day. He convinced me it was because he was concerned for my health, but eventually he ended our relationship because I wasn’t thin enough for him.

These things, along with others, caused me to spurn working out. Going to a gym sparked anxiety in my soul and reminded me of my boyfriend’s harsh words that I wasn’t trying hard enough or eating healthy enough.

When I met my husband, neither of us loved working out, but we both needed it. We were unhealthy, overweight and I was often sick. I longed to be thin, but, more so, I longed to have the stamina and strength to simply do. I knew God had placed it in my heart to work with Christian authors, to write His words for others to read and to be His light in the world. But it’s hard to be that light when you’re exhausted, sick or don’t have the strength to do so.

I’d tried various exercise programs and even tried to do exercise by myself, but it never stuck. The old fears and the old doubts always came rushing back in and I’d quit before I’d begun.

So, in April of last year, I chose to step out of my comfort zone and started working out with a personal trainer. Yes, I wanted to be thinner. I wanted to fit into smaller jeans and to look good in all my clothes, but I also simply wanted to be stronger so I could do God’s work in my life. I didn’t want to fail myself, or Him, any longer.

The trainer I chose was a Christian and, within one of our first sessions, she expressed to me how important it was to her to show others how they could take care of the temple God had given them. Her personal training work was more than helping people be thin—she wanted people to wisely manage what God had given them.

I’d never considered this thought before. My body is God’s—not mine. By overeating and not exercising, I had been, essentially, destroying His temple. Plus, I’d let others, not God, determine my journey. I was weak and sick from within because I hadn’t been managing what He’d given me.

The truth was a harsh blow. I have been working hard the last few years to follow God’s purpose for my life, but the entire time I’d been neglecting the vessel He’d given me to do it!

I’m convinced He brought my personal trainer, my new friend, into my life because no other gym, no other trainer, and no other exercise program would have expressed His word for me. The only way for me to accomplish God’s plans were to take care of me, my health, wellness and body, first.

Now, I’ve started classes that my trainer conducts and have met new friends with similar stories. My trainer pushes me in more ways than with my body. She pushes my mind and my walk for God. Even when I don’t want to go exercise, I do. And I’ve been blessed every single time. My body is stronger, but, more importantly, my faith is stronger, too. I’ll never turn back now. My plan was to lose weight, but God’s plan—His plan to bring me closer, expand my mind and my strength—is what I’ve achieved.

 

 

Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.

 

Sue A. Fairchild’s Post: Losing More than the Weight with God’s Plan

What You Think You Know

Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?

Purchase What You Think You KNow HERE

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Kimberly Rose Johnson: My Recent Transformation

Posted by Julie on February 8, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

My Recent Transformation

By Kimberly Rose Johnson

 

Transformation sounds painful, and I suppose it often is. One thing is for certain—it’s a process. Change does not happen overnight. At least it didn’t for me, nor was it instant for Kayla in A Love Song for Kayla.

I’m kind of a control freak, and Kayla is as well. Two years ago, my then publisher, closed the line I wrote for. At that time I wasn’t sure what to do. I sought guidance from the Lord, but I didn’t like the answer He gave me. He was clear that I was to indie publish (publish my books on my own). I did not want to do that. I was petrified at the very idea. Yes, I know I said I’m a control freak and an indie writer is in complete control. However, part of being a control freak is knowing all the variables, and for me indie publishing was a mystery and very scary.

God was gracious and allowed me to publish eight more books with a small press, but this past year He was clear that it was time. So on February first I uploaded my first indie book that I did on my own. I couldn’t believe how easy the entire process was compared to my fear. Talk about a freeing experience! I experienced a complete transformation. I no longer fear indie publishing, and I’m super excited to publish my next book.

A Love Song for Kayla is the book that I published. I recently received my rights back from my original publisher and chose to use this story as my first indie book. I mentioned that Kayla is a control freak too. When she was a teenager some stuff happened that caused her to pick up this trait. Her way of handling it was to create a list of the qualities she desired in a husband—the perfect man. As you can imagine it was close to impossible to check every item off her list but she insisted on hanging onto it. She even framed it and hung it in her bedroom.

When the man for her came along, he wasn’t perfect, and she had to choose. Would she cling to the security of being in control, or would she allow the Lord to transform her heart? I won’t spoil the story and tell you what she did. J

Life is filled with opportunities for transformation. I’m glad I finally obeyed and allowed the Lord to transform me. I can’t begin to explain how different I feel now. I suppose that what transformation does—it changes us from the inside out.

 

Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

 

A LOVE SONG FOR KAYLA

When two strangers cross paths their lives are forever altered.

 

Ever since she was sixteen Kayla Russell has dreamed of her perfect man. She even went so far as to make a list of desired qualities. The list has proven to be a bust since no man is that perfect, at least until she meets Derek. But will his secrets come between them and destroy what could have been something wonderful?

 

When music superstar Derek Parker comes to small town Oregon to escape the paparazzi he goes incognito as a deliveryman. He wants to leave his old life behind, but it proves to be harder than he realized when his past finds him. Now the woman he has come to care for feels deceived and no longer wants anything to do with him.

 

Formerly published under the title A Valentine for Kayla.

PURCHASE A LOVE SONG FOR KAYLA HERE

 

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Luke: Slave & Physician by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on February 3, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

LUKE: SLAVE & PHYSICIAN

 

Physicians were always slaves in first century Roman Empire. Each wealthy household had their own physician, and Caesar began telling his military to have a physician follow them around. This means that “Luke, the beloved physician” that wrote the gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles was written by a slave or perhaps a freed slave.

This says a lot about Luke’s character. He is apparently not bitter.  He rises above what life has handed him.  In early millenniums of history, during war the losing side’s soldiers paid for their loss the rest of their life, for they were made slaves of the winning side.

I investigated major battles of the Romans in the first century and just prior, and found a major battle that took place in Germanica in the area of today’s Holland. It was the Battle of Baduhenna Wood, AD 28.  Since he seemed to be younger than Paul, I made Luke eight years old when his Viking father apparently was killed, and Luke became a slave. That would have made him about fifteen years younger than Paul.

Despite all this, he apparently did not show bitterness toward his master. What master would provide an education for a bitter slave? This slave was taught to write. Not only that, but his style of writing was almost in the classical style.  His master gave him a good education.

Perhaps he had always had a knack for treating people’s wounds and diseases. His master apparently let him apprentice to someone in order to become a physician. Would a master have provided this kind of education/apprenticeship to a bitter slave?

Luke did not meet Paul until around 51 AD.  What does Luke do with his life those twenty plus years? If he was captured during war by Roman troops, whoever took him probably remained in the military. Men signing up for the military signed up for thirty years.  So, it is likely he was with the Roman army most of that time.

In Luke: Slave and Physician he is never sure his father was actually killed. All anyone knows is that he was not there at the end of the Battle of Baduhenna Wood. Throughout the rest of the book, every place he goes, he walks around singing a little song his father had taught him, hoping to find his father someday. He could have been bitter because of losing his father at such a young age.

It wasn’t until he met Paul that he learned about Christianity. Luke was not only a slave all those years, but he was a pagan. He probably many gods. Because he was so open to Christianity, he must have struggled all those years with his beliefs. At one point in my book he climbs Mount Olympus which is near Berea in Greece, so he can interview the gods themselves. Of course, he does not find them, and his anger at the non-existent gods grows.

Throughout Luke: Slave and Physician, Luke is involved in military affairs as his regiment moves from fort to fort. Being blonde because of his Nordic heritage, he becomes a spy for them and goes down into Parthia which Rome was never able to conquer. He is gone several years surviving mining disasters, deathly heat in the deserts and mining accidents. He also meets a young lady and falls in love with her, but she is kidnapped and taken to Kandahar. He follows her there and…well, I’m about to tell you too much.

In my book, Luke writes his gospel and Acts after Paul dies. By then, the apostles have scattered. He travels the world to find them, and usually they are in the midst of some kind of predicament with the local pagans.

Through it all, Luke never becomes bitter.  How could a bitter man write two books of the Bible?

Are you bitter? Do you know anyone who is? Let Luke, slave and physician be your encourager.

 

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase LUKE: Slave and Physician HERE

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MEFIBOSET: The Crippled Prince by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on January 27, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

MEFIBOSET: THE CRIPPLED PRINCE

 

Some of the most inspirational people I have known have had handicaps of some kind. You know the kind I mean: You go to see them to encourage them, and come away feeling on top of the world because they had encouraged you.

Poor Mefiboset (spelled Mephiboshet in most Bible translations ~ too hard to pronounce, and too long to fit on a book title) has suffered degredation in every article I have read about him, not counting references to him in sermons and books.  All I can think when encountering them is, “Oh, brother!”

First, Mefiboset was grandson of King Saul who was probably seven feet tall.  Have you ever seen a six-foot man standing next to a basketball player? The player is head and shoulder taller than the six-footer.  Plus the Bible says Saul was the most handsome man in all of Israel. Wouldn’t you think Saul’s sons and grandson were close to his height and good looks?

Another method Bible “scholars” use to degrade this crown prince is to describe the place where he grew up as desolate and worthless.  Yet, Lodebar was ten miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee on a healthy river out of the mountains and near the crossroads of international trade routes.

There are other ways people degrade Mefiboset. They overlook the fact that he married, had a son, and had four grandchildren.  He spent his entire adult life either living in his grandfather’s palace or David’s palace.

THEREFORE, my book about Mefiboset: The Crippled Prince portrays a man with father Jonathan’s positive attitude, and his grandfather’s height and good looks. He loves an adventure. He laughs easily and sees the best in every bad situation and person.

You will come away from reading this book feeling good about yourself and everyone else around you. Rather than depressing, this is a fun book to read, one that will stick with you from then on.

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase Mefiboset: The Crippled Prince HERE

 

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Transformation: Deadly Silence by Lillian Duncan

Posted by Julie on January 25, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Transformation

 

As I was getting ready to write this post for Julie I asked what she’d like me to talk about, she gave me several suggestions and…this is the one I picked.  It was a good pick for the book I want to talk about but an even better pick for me personally.

Transformation is the act of changing. That’s something that happens to all of us—everyday. So much so that we might not notice. Unfortunately in my case, it’s very noticeable. In 2012 I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors (non-cancerous) and a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).

Since then my physical health has been in a state of transformation… and not for the better! On the other hand my spiritual health has also been in transformation… and I’d like to think for the better!

When you need to rely on God to get you through the bad times, it changes you. And in my case that means it’s changed my writing as well. I wrote Deadly Communications in the summer after I was diagnosed but before most of my difficulties began.

Deadly Silence, the third in the Deadly Communications series, was written after I lost a great deal of hearing along with my balance due to the brain tumors. In fact, I put Layla, a late-deafened adult into the story for that very reason.

As a speech therapist for deaf and hard-of hearing children for many years, I might be a bit better prepared to deal with the realities of my hearing loss but it still hasn’t been an easy transformation.

Transformation rarely is an easy thing, especially when it comes to spiritual matters.

Maven Morris, my main character in Deadly Silence has been through her own transformations. In Deadly Communications she struggled with depression after the death of her husband. In Deadly Intent, she had to make a choice to open her heart to another. And when she’s left at the altar in Deadly Silence, she has a choice—fall apart or keep trusting God.

I’m not going to ruin the story by telling you what happens but I can tell you that most of us will face that same choice at one time or many times in our lives. Each time you make the choice to trust God, the more you will discover that God is indeed trustworthy and faithful.

That doesn’t mean our problems will magically disappear. I’m still almost deaf and have mobility issues because of my balance along with a multitude of “smaller” issues. But what it means is that in spite of my circumstances, I have a supernatural peace that only God can give.

And that’s a wonderful transformation!

 

DEADLY SILENCE BLURB:

 

FACED WITH ONLY SILENCE.

Her happily-ever-after is shattered when Maven Morris is left at the altar. Without a word of explanation, her fiancé, has disappeared, leaving Maven and the church filled with their family and friends. Maven refuses to give into the darkness of depression. Instead she takes on a new speech therapy client. Layla’s life has been shattered by silence, as well. As a late-deafened adult, Layla needs skills to cope with her now silent world.

TRUST YOUR EYES.

Those are words of advice Maven gives Layla. The words stir up something on the inside of Maven as she realizes there wasn’t a hint that Paul’s feet had turned cold about their upcoming nuptials. And that’s when silence turns deadly.

Purchase DEADLY SILENCE HERE.

 

 

Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.



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