Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Because He Lives" ♦ Hymn Story Devotion ♦ Lucy Neeley Adams


                                                       

Because He Lives

a Hymn Story Devotional from Lucy Neeley Adams

   As we gather together for Thanksgiving feasts and joyful family times, we also remember some heartbreaks of recent times. There has been gun violence and flooding events.  There have also been tensions with leading officials. We can remember these sad experiences in prayers for healing.

   We can also sing this lovely song with the assurance that God is with us so we can face all of our tomorrows.  When it was written in the 1960's the fears of turbulent events involved extreme drug traffic, the Vietnam war and riots that led to feelings of insecurity.  

   The composers, Bill and Gloria Gaither were expecting the birth of their first son and they were concerned about his future.  In praying about these fears and asking God for protection, they experienced a peaceful reassurance.

   So there was much rejoicing when baby Benji was born.  He was welcomed by his sisters, and all friends.  No one knew that a song would soon be written in response to this great event and it would eventually  travel around the world.

   The words flowed from the Gaithers' thankful hearts as they wrote: "How sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride and joy he gives.  But greater still the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain days because Christ lives."

   When Bill and Gloria met, they were high school English teachers in Alexandria, Ind.  As they worked together, they discovered their musical interests and Gloria joined the family trio.  They were married in 1962 and one of the greatest musical teams of contemporary Christian music was formed. 

   The many requests for their songs was surprising.  Gloria says", We had copies stuffed in boxes under the bed and in drawers all over the house.  Our parents helped us fill orders and we knew, very soon, that we were to open our own printing place and devote full time to our music."

   Gaither Music Co. is now a large industry in Alexandria as recording studios and distribution centers have been added.  The couple have composed hundreds of songs and have won many awards. In 1974, "Because He Lives" was selected by the Gospel Music Association as the "Gospel Song of the Year." 

    Of this song they say, "The routine of each day can reflect resurrection hope, and new life.  Before the crucifixion, Jesus said, "In a little while, the world will see me no more. But you will see me, because I live, you shall live also. (John 14:19).

   During this blessed time of Thanksgiving, let us sing joyfully and with blessed assurance:

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow:
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living, just because He lives."





Lucy Neeley Adams     
SONG STORIES



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Spotlight ♦ Time and Tide ♦ Kristen Terrette

Time and Tide

by author Kristen Terrette
a Book Spotlight


Addictions destroy lives.

That’s the first sentence of the back cover of Time and Tide. It’s harsh. Yet, it’s a reality.

My hero, Chad Cusher, was the opposite of a hero, definitely not the knight in shining armor we all wish to read about in our romance novels. His drug addiction controlled him. Tortured him. Motivated him. For years. He chased death’s door for a long time, and then ended up on its doormat, so close to death that his foot almost crossed the threshold.

And then… Chad was the cause of a terrible car accident which almost killed him and another driver. Once he was well enough, and after many surgeries, he went into rehab. He was put on recovery road, though not by choice, but by the law.  Then something happened in his heart as his drug haze dissipated. He realized he did want to be a better man, someone to make his mother proud, someone who wasn’t a murderer.

But certainly, after the accident left his leg permanently damaged, he didn’t foresee love being in his future. Who could love a criminal? An addict? A cripple? Someone so broken?

What Chad didn’t understand was that God was chasing after him. And God never lets up, never fails, and always loves us.

God uses Ryan, my heroine, and Moanna Island local, to draw Chad to Him. Ryan is a strong believer and even though life hasn’t been an easy road for her, she finds joy through it all. Chad can’t understand Ryan and her infectious smile (though she surely knows fiery and feisty too). He can’t understand how she can see the good in him. She sees the knight in shining armor he’s longing to be.

Ryan opens Chad eyes to God, a Person he’s never known. He begins to awaken to Him be real and in his life. This changes everything.

Chad and Ryan’s relationship comes across a few hiccups. But God is there. God is working. God can take the addict, the criminal, the cripple…and make him whole.

And I can’t wait for you all to see how He does it!

I have known quite a few addicts over the years. Some are recovering. Some have been made new. And some are still struggling, treading the endless waters and waves addiction can surround you with. It is my opinion that one cannot truly become healed from addiction without God. And Chad’s story highlights His pursuit to make you whole because of His great love for us. I hope you and those you know battling addiction can find hope through their story.


Bio:
Kristen has a Master's degree in Theological Studies and was on staff as a Children's Ministry Director for over five years. She cherishes her Southern roots and currently lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. With the support of her husband and two children, she stays at home writing Christian fiction, making up fantasy places and characters, allowing God to take the story where He needs it to go. She is also involved in the women's leadership team at her church, and writes for Wholly Loved ministry at WhollyLoved.com. To see her blog and current novels, check out her website at www.kristenterrette.com.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Time-Tide-Christian-Inspirational-Romance-ebook/dp/B072S7KX5J/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
Instagram: @kterrette


Monday, November 20, 2017

A Purpose True - Book Spotlight - Gail Kittleson

A PURPOSE TRUE - Book Spotlight featuring author Gail Kittleson

 Though War Breeds Cruelty and Injustice, Grace Yet Prevails

Southern France - Spring, 1944

German panzer units crisscross the region, dealing ruthless reprisals against the French Resistance, and anyone suspected of supporting its efforts. Secret Operations Executive (SOE) agent Kate Isaacs is tasked with providing essential radio communications with the Allies, while her guide, Domingo Ibarra, a Basque shepherd-turned-Resistance fighter, dedicates himself to avenging the destruction of his home and family.

Thrown together by the vagaries of war, their shared mission, and common devotion to liberty, the last thing Kate and Domingo anticipate is the stirring of affection that threatens to blossom into love. But how can love survive in the midst of the enemy’s relentless cruelty toward innocent citizens?

Everything hinges on the success of the Allied Invasion - L’Invasion.

Purchase Links: 



When Gail’s not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in one edit or another, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. She also facilitates writing workshops and classes, both in Iowa and Arizona, where winters find her enjoying the incredibly gorgeous Ponderosa forest under the Mogollon Rim. Favorites:  walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.


Facebook: www.facebook.com/GailKittlesonAuthor
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/gailkittleson/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/106969195211961187796
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3459831.Gail_Kittleson
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GailGkittleson @GailGkittleson
Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gail-kittleson-b0693543

Friday, November 17, 2017

An Appointment with Caesar

"Do not be afraid Paul; you must be brought before Caesar ..." 
Acts 27:24a [NKJV]

by Peggy Blann Phifer


I think I was about eleven years old walking home from school one day with my little brother and sister, and some of the other children going in the same direction.

At the time, we attended a rural, one-room school, all eight grades, I kid you not. I won't tell you how long ago that was ... one must keep some secrets, right?

Anyway, on the corner opposite the school building, was a little country store where the proprietor's always welcomed us kids after school. They kept a bin of various penny-candy where we could help ourselves to enjoy on our walk home.

But this particular day, for some perverse reason, I wasn't satisfied with their offerings. So I wandered over to where the real candy was and slipped a Baby Ruth candy bar into my pocket. We had a quarter-mile walk ahead, so I dawdled behind the others and surreptitiously ate my stolen treat.

Mothers are omniscient, you know? They know everything. It wasn't long before Mom somehow knew (how do they do that?) about that candy bar. Tattle-tale's maybe, or more likely it was a little bit of chocolate lodged in the corner of my mouth.

I was promptly hauled out to the car and driven back to that little store where I had to confess my theft, and pay for it with a nickel from my piggy bank ... all the while trembling with fear. Of the owner, perhaps, or maybe what Daddy would do when he came home after work.

In the verse above, the Apostle Paul was a prisoner on a storm-tossed ship headed for Rome. They feared sinking, but the Lord assured Paul he wasn't going to die because he had an appointment with Caesar. (Read Acts 27)

I was a prisoner of my own sin, and my Caesar was that store owner whose trust I'd betrayed, and ... eventually ... my dad. God saw to it I kept my 'appointment.'

Prayer Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us even when we do wrong. Because of Your unconditional love, I know I don't need to fear confessing my sins to You because You always stand ready to forgive. This child of Yours is grateful that with You, sins confessed are remembered no more. Amen.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

HUMOR: The Best Medicine?

Humor in inspirational fiction: Is it OK to laugh?

by James Yarbrough

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Do we Christians have a problem with humor?

I love writing humor and comedy. So, this is a personal question for me!

We know not to laugh at bad situations or crude jokes. We don’t want to dispense ill will or magnify the suffering or discomfort of our fellow man. We understand those boundaries of humor and should stay far away from them.

But has all the out-of-bounds “humor” the world pummels us with every day jaded us Christians? Jaded us to the extent that, well, we may avoid humor in our writing?

Whoa! As a famous TV character used to say, let’s back up the truck!

Not only is it OK to laugh, positive humor is a blessing! Humor is a refreshing balm, a tension-reducer, a unifier, and at times, an appropriate humbler. And there are plenty of great examples in the Bible.

Can you sense in Matthew 4:19 (NIV) the good-natured banter by Jesus with the veteran fishermen Peter and Andrew, when He said “I will make you fishers of men”?

And how about the story of Baalam in Numbers 22:21-30? Proud and greedy Baalam is forced to converse with a simple donkey, getting a much-deserved comeuppance in the process.

Then there’s the clever wording and turn-of-a-phrase that appear in many Bible books. As in Proverbs 11:22 (NIV):  “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” I can tell you my tactical recitings of that verse have brought laughs to both of my daughters, if sometimes reluctant ones!

So, what does humor in inspirational fiction look like?
There are so many humor variations, but try this for a basic outline:
  • Start with an unusual situation
  • Add a person who tries to ignore, or manage the unusual situation but for some reason finds that he can’t
  • Then the person gets deeply involved with the unusual situation that he can’t ignore or manage and in doing so, funny outcomes result
How many good TV comedies from the 1950s and 1960s followed this outline? Think the show with a zany red-headed lady and her Cuban-born husband. Or the one with a talking horse.


If you’re interested in sampling some of my humor writings, and see how I embellish the basic outline above, check out these short stories and short story collections:

advanced Christmas meaning family


Or my romantic comedy novella for the Christmas season, Jingle Belles and Christmas Beaus:
book cover
All these are available at www.amazon.com/books.
 
JamesJames Yarbrough and his wife live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and have three adult children. After a long technical career, James began fiction writing in earnest in 2014 and enjoys writing positive, inspirational stories that entertain as well as prompt the reader to enjoy thinking. Follow him on Facebook at James Yarbrough - Author
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a blessed and humor-filled day!
smile

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Spotlight * A Groom for Christmas * Anne Greene * Giveaway

Once again, I'm pleased to bring you author Anne Greene and another delightful Christmas story. And, there's a giveaway involved, too. Scroll down for the details.
A GROOM FOR CHRISTMAS
by author Anne Greene



Felicity’s father dies, leaving her stranded at Ft. Laramie, one-third the way to homestead 640 acres in the Oregon Territory. She has money and supplies to continue her journey, but a woman alone cannot claim the free land. So, she advertises for a husband. Ben’s got massive debt and Gold Rush fever and heads to California. But in Ft. Laramie he’s robbed of everything he owns. His only recourse seems to be to take Felicity as his wife and help her homestead. At the fork in the trail, will he help her homestead, or will she help him dig for gold? Can these two very different people with very different goals find happiness together?

Purchase Link: Amazon


ANNE GREENE BIO          

My home is in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, just a few miles north of Dallas. My dear husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. My little brown and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares my writing space, curled at my feet. I have four beautiful, talented children, and eight grandchildren who keep me running.
I’ve traveled in every location of each book I’ve written, and each book is a book of my heart. Besides my first love, writing, I enjoy travel, art, sports, reading, sailing, snorkeling, movies, and way too many other things to mention. Life is good. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” Whether writing contemporary or historical, my books celebrate the abundant life Jesus gives.
     I’ve written several other novellas. This novella, AVOIDING THE MISTLETOE, is included in the Mistletoe, Jingle Bells, and Second Chances Collection. My novella KEARA’S ESCAPE is included in the Orphan Train/Spinster Collection. DAREDEVILS is included in the North Carolina, 50 States Collection. SPUR OF THE MOMENT BRIDE is included in the Wyoming, 50 States Collection. A CHRISTMAS BELLE, is included in the Christmas Mail Order Angels anthology. THE MARRIAGE BROKER AND THE MORTICIAN is included in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection. My novellas, A FOOL FOR LOVE, A GROOM FOR CHRISTMAS, and A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY are stand-alone novellas.
      Moody Press published my first book, TRAIL OF TEARS. I love writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. My Women of Courage series spotlights heroic women of World War II. You might want to begin with the first book ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS. Read my private investigating series, Handcuffed In Texas. The first book is RED IS FOR ROOKIE. Enjoy my award-winning Scottish historical romances, MASQUERADE MARRIAGE and MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT. I hope my stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Buy my books on http://www.Amazon.com. Anne Greene.

About the Giveaway:

Anne is offering to give away an autographed copy of A Groom for Christmas  to 3 (three) of this post's readers. To enter, answer the following question: 
"What is your favorite type of historical romance to read?"

Be sure to leave your contact information in your comment so we can contact you if you are one of the three winners. Easy as that!

Giveaway ends one week from today, Tuesday, November 21, at Midnight, CST. 

Thanks, Anne, for being my guest again , for for another generous giveaway. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Listening When God Speaks

Listening When God Speaks

a devotional by Olivia Rae

Recently I wrote a devotion on overcoming negative thoughts and persevering even when things don’t go your way. One of the points to overcome the negative is to listen when God is speaking. Immediately after the devotion was posted I received comments from a woman asking, “How can God speak to you through others? How can we discern when that happens? What are the qualities of God's voice? Can listening prayer/meditation help?”

My first reaction was, wow. I never thought this was a struggle with people. Then I sat down and thought about it. How does God talk to me, and how do I know it’s Him and not the devil or my own negative self? Yes, all three exist and all three want me to follow them. But only one stands apart and carries me through the good and the bad times. Since God is my go-to-guy in every situation, here is what I have learned.

I always start with prayer. I come to God with my praise and requests (even though he already knows what I need and want). God wants a relationship with you. It’s like He’s standing right next to you shouting, “Hey, come talk to me.” The Bible says we should pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16), I know that sounds crazy because nobody can do that. But think about some of the places you do pray—the car, while in a group and you are silent, in a sports stadium, on a lake, at the playground with your kids—the point is we all pray in many different places and those around us don’t even know it. Some would call this meditation. I guess if I am going to have to clear my mind, why fill it with anything else other than God? I don’t need the middleman or middle-me. I just need God.

Usually after I pray, God comes on strong. His message may come through scripture I’m reading. Often I’ll go to church on Sunday and the pastor’s messages might be on the same passage. Once I saw the same Bible passage in five different places in one week—through scripture I was reading, through a pastor’s message, a passage on Facebook, quoted on the radio, and this last one sent the chills down my back, but I found the same scripture written on a piece of paper in a drawer I was cleaning out. You can call it coincidence, I call it God banging me over the head to wake up and listen.

Sometimes God talks through others like a friend, a family member, an acquaintance or a stranger, who says or does something profound that sticks with you. BTW, this will never be negative, but it will make you think. Often, it’s not what you want to hear.

Sometimes it’s just God speaking. No, it’s not someone else’s voice, it usually sounds like your own. It comes out of nowhere, like a whisper or a loud shot. It is always calming and uplifting, but it is never judgmental or exonerating. God never says you’re right just to make you feel better, but will encourage you when you are wrong. He’s waiting to fill you with the Holy Spirit, all you need to do is ask.  So slow down your busy life and listen. He is talking to you, just listen.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:3  [NIV]





From award-winning author Olivia Rae comes a story of forgiveness, faith, and a family restored.

They only want what is best for Joshua—but disagree about what that is.

When Dr. Sam Morgan’s estranged wife dies in a tragic accident, he returns home from a months-long, overseas surgical mission to discover his disabled son, Joshua, does not remember him. Sam is convinced that he and Joshua can only overcome their heartbreaking memories by leaving their decaying small town and starting over somewhere else.

Nicole James runs a women’s shelter where Sam’s wife fled with Joshua, claiming Sam was not the saint he appeared to be, but a physical and mental abuser. Nicole is determined to protect Joshua by legally preventing Sam from leaving Cedar Ridge with his son until she can get at the truth—is Sam Morgan an abuser or the victim of lies in a marriage that went terribly wrong?

As Sam and Nicole are forced to work together on Joshua’s behalf, they begin to gain a grudging respect for one another. But will mutual distrust prevent them from realizing that the best thing they can do for Joshua is to fall in love?


Olivia Rae is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary inspirational romance. She spent her school days dreaming of knights, princesses and far away kingdoms; it made those long, boring days in the classroom go by much faster. Nobody was more shocked than her when she decided to become a teacher. Besides getting her Master’s degree, marrying her own prince, and raising a couple of kids, Olivia decided to breathe a little more life into her childhood stories by adding in what she’s learned as an adult living in a small town on the edge of a big city. When not writing, she loves to travel, dragging her family to old castles and forts all across the world.

Olivia is the winner of the New England Readers’ Choice Award, a Buyer Best Book Award Finalist, a Kindle Book Award Semi-Finalist, I Heart Indie Award Finalist, and Grab Me Award Finalist. She is currently hard at work on her next novel.

Contact Olivia at Oliviarae.books@gmail.com
For news and sneak peeks of upcoming novels visit: