Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Call to Fight

859675_book___In my journey through the Bible, God’s showing me a constant thread of struggle and perseverance. From Jacob to Joseph to Moses and the Israelites.

In Genesis 32, Jacob is faced with a potential disaster. His brother Esau is coming with 400 men, and Jacob fears the worst. He even prepares for the confrontation by dividing his people and possessions into two camps. In verses 9-12 he revisits God’s promise of prosperity.

Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

Jacob has struggled with God enough in the past to stop this time and remember God’s promise before reacting. He even reminds God of it. Back in Genesis 28 Jacob reached a turning point by claiming his faith as his own (see verses 20-22). And now, by revisiting God’s promise, Jacob’s faith is re-enforced.

Then there’s Joseph.

Read the rest at S.U.M.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

God's Umbrella

762664_paraguas_umbrella_One morning an interesting thought struck me. All our trials and sufferings fall under the umbrella of God’s protection, but beneath that covering they diverge into two areas: consequences and circumstances.

Consequences are the result of our poor choices. Sometime we just make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Sometimes God allows us to experience them in order to learn from our mistake so that we can make better choices next time. We don’t like being in this place, but we learn and grow. And our character is strengthened.

Circumstances describes those events that upon first glance seem to come out of the blue and can even seem unfair (think of Job). We did not cause the difficult situation by making poor choices and we have little to no control over it. They just happen. God allows these times to mold us, to teach us vital understanding, emotions, and spiritual lessons, which He will call upon in the future. This is when massive connections are forged between past, present, and future. These are the experiences that God often uses to minister to others and bring comfort (see 2Cor. 1).

Both sides converge together in a metaphorical handle in the shape of obedience and trust. In the middle (at the shaft) both feel the same to us, and sometimes we are unsure which side we are on. Spending time with God and in his Word is even more vital at these times.

In the end, the results are the same no matter which side we’re on, and we’ll inevitably be on both sides at various times. But we have the promise that God works for our good regardless of whether the situation is due to consequences or circumstances (Romans 8:28). We can choose to stay under the umbrella and learn what God is teaching, or stray and get extremely wet, downtrodden, and lost.

So if you’re in the rain, run back under God’s umbrella. It’s the best place to find God’s grace, mercy, and unconditional love.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

God's Promises: Abraham Believed

859675_book___The best way I know of getting closer to God and getting to know him better is to read God’s Word daily. Abraham came to know the God of Israel well enough to be called “friend.” This year I’m returning to reading the Bible in a year* to glean more nuggets about God and to know him better. I’m already finding myself journaling about what the Holy Spirit reveals and would love to share those with you.

Here’s what I gleaned this past week:

Genesis 22 tells the story of Abraham called to sacrifice his son, Isaac. In verse 5, Abraham tells the servants to wait. “We will worship and then we will come back to you” (emphasis mine).

Abraham is portrayed as a man of great faith and a friend of God. Either he was lying to conceal what he intended to do, preventing the servants from interfering and scaring Isaac, or he truly believed he and his son would return. Though my human tendency is to believe the first, my faith calls me to believe the last.

Abraham trusted God’s first promise that He would make a great nation from Abraham’s offspring. Even though the current circumstances seemed to contradict God’s promise, Abraham continued to trust God’s plan and was obedient. Abraham knew God well enough to know that He wouldn’t go back on his promise.

Then there’s verse eight. “Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.” This line is prophetic. Abraham not only spoke of the current sacrifice, but He was also giving a picture of the final sacrifice. The Lamb of God—Jesus. God’s promise for us and our loved ones today.

So often God sets examples in which He builds upon and uses as reference points. He knows how limited and doubting we can be in our faith, especially when it comes to praying long term for our unbelieving spouses. Thus He gives us connecting points to use to propel our hearts to belief. These are the points we need to return to continually to remember God’s promises. Again, look at Abraham and Sarah and how long they waited. Yet they had the memory of God’s visit and promise to return to again and again as a reminder. And God kept his promise.

For Abraham, God was truly enough—he trusted God completely and believed.

Praying and believing like Abraham,

*A one-year reading plan can be found in the Upper Room and Our Journey (WalkInTheWord) devotionals. Many Bibles have a plan in the back index or you can use Google to find a plan that works best for you.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

Thomas Nelson (January 6, 2009)

Ted Dekker
Erin Healy

I'm very excited about this book and can't wait to read it! Dekker is one of my favorite authors and Erin Healy has an amazing reputation as an editor. How can these two miss? AND, now the bonus...I have in my hands one hardback copy to give away. Leave a comment to enter the drawing. Send friends over and get your name in twice!

And don't miss the trailer! Very cool...


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.


Erin Healy is an award-winning fiction editor who has worked with talented novelists such as James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, Brandilyn Collins, L. B. Graham, Rene Gutteridge, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Robin Lee Hatcher, Denise Hildreth, Denise Hunter, Randy Ingermanson, Jane Kirkpatrick, Gilbert Morris, Frank Peretti, Lisa Samson, Randy Singer, Robert Whitlow, and many others.

She began working with Ted Dekker in 2002 and edited twelve of his heart-pounding storiesbefore their collaboration on Kiss, the first novel to seat her on "the other side of the desk."

Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a Colorado-based consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She and her husband, Tim, are the proud parents of two children


Let me tell you all I know for sure. My name. Shauna.
I woke up in a hospital bed missing six months of my memory. In the room was my loving boyfriend-how could I have forgotten him?-my uncle and my abusive stepmother. Everyone blames me for the tragic car accident that left me near death and my dear brother brain damaged. But what they say can't be true-can it?

I believe the medicine is doing strange things to my memory. I'm unsure who I can trust and who I should run from. And I'm starting to remember things I've never known. Things not about me. I think I'm going crazy.

And even worse, I think they want to kill me.

But who? And for what? Is dying for the truth really better than living with a lie?

Sometimes dying with the truth is better than living with a lie.

After a car accident puts Shauna McAllister in a coma and wipes out six months of her memory, she returns to her childhood home to recover, but her arrival is fraught with confusion.

Her estranged father, a senator bidding on the White House, and her abusive stepmother blame Shauna for the tragedy, which has left her beloved brother severely brain damaged. Leaning on Wayne Spade, a forgotten but hopeful lover who stays by her side, Shauna tries to sort out what happened that night by jarring her memory to life. Instead, she acquires a mysterious mental ability that will either lead her to truth or get her killed by the people trying to hide it.

In this blind game of cat and mouse that stares even the darkest memories in the face, Shauna is sure of only one thing: if she remembers, she dies.

If you would like to read the first chapter of KISS, go HERE

Watch the Video Trailer

What people are saying about KISS:
“The human brain could actually be the real final frontier—we know so little about it and yet it drives the world as we know it. So when authors like Erin and Ted bravely explore these mysterious regions, going into complex places like memory and soul and relationships, I become hooked. The creativity of this suspenseful story is sure to hook other readers as well. Very memorable!”
~Melody Carlson, author of Finding Alice and The Other Side of Darkness

“Dekker and Healy prove a winning team in this intriguing, imaginative thriller.”
~James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Try Darkness

“Kiss by Erin Healy and Ted Dekker is a superb thriller that hooked me from the first sentence. The original plot kept me guessing, and I may never look at a kiss the same way again. I’ll be watching for the next book!”
~Colleen Coble, author of Cry in the Night

“The writing team of Erin Healy and Ted Dekker has taken me through a page-turner with Kiss. It’s one of those books that you think about when you’re not reading it. I highly recommend it, especially if you don’t mind staying up late because you can’t put the book down!”
~Rene Gutteridge, author of Skid and My Life As a Doormat

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Body of Christ in Action!
Update on Liz and Katy Hughes

I wrote last week about Liz and Katy Hughes, a mom and her daughter who were evicted from their apartment and were living in their car. I have never been more proud of my brothers and sisters in Christ. We have rallied around this mom and daughter in their time of need and helped them on the road to get back on their feet. What a blessing for those of us able to help. And an honor.

Liz and Katy were even featured on the local news here last week and will be interviewed on Good Morning America sometime next week. To read the updates on Brandilyn Collin's blog and Katy's blog, Anywhere But Here, is amazing. God is so good!

My own family has been blessed in a special way in this. Many of you know my daughter, Leslie, was diagnosed with a brain tumor last October and had to undergo two surgical procedures. She's about to start her third week of radiation and is doing great. Leslie reached out to Katy, wanting to get to know another teen facing adversity. This is such a godsend, because Leslie hasn't wanted to reach out like this in a while. She was so excited to get an email back from Katy, and I hope we can meet them soon. Such a blessing!

Please keep Liz and Katy in your prayers. Liz needs a job, and not for lack of trying. She's been looking for three years. Hopefully a lead she has to a job will pan out in the next week or so, and they can find an affordable place to live.

To donate, please send a check to Elizabeth Hughes, P.O. Box 111525, Campbell, CA 95011. Or send through Paypal to: hugheselizabeth (@) rocketmail (dot) com.