Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Visit with Jennifer Slattery

I'm honored today to have as my guest Jennifer Slattery. We first "met" on the American Christian Fiction Writer's (ACFW) online critique group. We keep in touch through the ACFW loop. Through this Christian writing group, God led me into a ministry of writing about hope through Him.

 Jennifer has some thought-provoking words for us, and we always need that.



Jennifer: You know those days when you feel like a two year old in an old woman’s body? When everything feels overwhelming and you’re behaving so contrary to that What Would Jesus Do bracelet dangling from your arm, you’ve seriously considered tossing it?

Well, on just such a day, God delivered a gut-punch through the words of my teenage daughter.

With an eyebrow raised, my daughter crossed her arms, and said, “You forgot to pray today, didn’t you?”

How did she know? By my short temper, frequent bursts of selfishness, and scowls.

Standing in our kitchen, schooled by a child, I realized how much truth she packed in that statement. Amidst the hustle and bustle of my day, I’d inadvertently left God out of the equation, and it showed. The peace that surpassed understanding? Forgot to grab hold of it. The strength made perfect in weakness? Missed that one, too. By neglecting to connect with my Power-source, I’d trudged through my day ill-equipped and overwhelmed. 

Our “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” generation tells us to work harder, strive longer, grit your teeth and get it done, but God flips that. He says, “Slow down and come to me, and let me guide you through life’s hurdles.” God never intended for us to walk through life alone. He’s always there, watching, ready to help us move from stress to peace and fear to victory. All we need to do is abide. He’ll take care of the rest.

The 19th century theologian, E.M. Bounds, said, “The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.”

Fritters away the morning. When I neglect my prayer time, that’s what I do. Run around, expending a large amount of energy, accomplishing little. And yet, when I take the time to pause and connect with God, He stills my heart, fills me with truth and clarity, and helps me navigate through the chaos of my day.

What about you? How do you find–make–time for God amidst your busy day? Notice a difference when you do?

Janet: When I worked away from home, I got up earlier than anyone in the family to have my quiet time. Now, that I'm retired, I can sleep later but still have an increased amount of time to spend talking with the Lord. I love that. If I don't do it early before life interferes, I don't usually work it in. With quiet time first, my day is more productive, my attitude much improved.

You're so right with your devotion, Jennifer. Americans are the worst. We teach our children to be independent thinkers, but God doesn't intend us to be independent of His leading. After all, He should be the one in charge. Great reminder. I love the quote by E. M. Bounds.

Now, tell us about your new novel, Beyond I Do.


Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?
 
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Purchase it here:


 
Sounds wonderful. With all the divorce, we sure need encouragement to remember that marriages lasts for a lifetime. Tell us something about yourself.



                Jennifer Slattery is an avid reader who enjoys long, leisurely strolls with her husband; mall dates with her daughter; and chatting with her girlfriends over hot, flavored milk with a hint of coffee.
 
 
 


She writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet CafĂ© Devotions. She also writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries, an international ministry that broadcasts via radio waves in 32 countries. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her serving in her church, community, or home.

Connect with her online at her blog, http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte, and Twitter at https://twitter.com/Jenslattery
 
 
Do any of you have questions or comments for Jennifer? What is your remedy to finding quiet time with the Lord? Does it help?

Thank you, Jennifer for visiting with us today on Writing with God's Hope blog. The book sounds wonderful. Think I'll mosey on to Amazon and get my copy. I wish you well in all your writing pursuits.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rebuilder of Walls

     And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy, too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

     Your sons will rebuild the long-deserted ruins of your cities, and you will be known as the ‘People Who Rebuild their Walls and Cities’.

        Isaiah 58: 11, 12 Life Recovery Bible

 

 

Though Isaiah prophesied judgment on Judah because of their wickedness, his words brought a message of hope. Hearing the truth is never easy. The people of Judah were living in sin and denial. They were God’s chosen people. Nothing could destroy them, but God sent prophets that would confront them with truth. An enemy would destroy Jerusalem and take the people captive because of their unfaithfulness to the Almighty God. How could the Israelites turn from God after all the miracles?

 

Are we Christians not like the people of Judah? We find grace from God and accept His salvation. The Bible assures us that nothing can separate us from God, so we feel invincible. We walk away from His goodness, from His sacrifice, from His unfailing love.

 

Sneaky sins creep into our lives; a bit of resentment, a smattering of anger, a tad of envy, a small disobedience. Maybe, we give into a compulsion for food. We think it’s not big enough to worry about. We keep going to church and confessing Christ. All is well until someone hits us between the eyes with the truth. Our denial has become the devil’s deceit and our destruction.

 

God’s words of warning to Judah came to pass. They were conquered by Babylonia who took them into exile. Despite their situation, Isaiah preached hope to future generations of exiled Jews.

 

Are you facing truth today?

Is insanity working its way through your divided mind?


Has your denial caught up with you and hit you with depression?

 

Facing your sin isn’t a bad thing anymore than a sick person going to the doctor. Doctor Jesus holds out hope for our situation. He promises to rebuild our broken walls, to repair the breaches of sanity, and to restore our long-deserted intimacy with a Holy God.
 
Whatever your trouble today, I pray this bit of truth will remind you to let God rebuild the broken walls in your thinking. God bless.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

And the winner is ....

The winner to H. L. Wegley's #free book is Jeanne Doyon. Congratulations.

Hope in the Eyes of Kathy Bruins

Writing with God's Hope blog loves introducing authors that are new to her and perhaps, new to this blog's followers. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) puts me in contact with wonderful Christian authors all over the world. Today, Kathy Bruins joins us and tells about her new release and the causes that God has placed on her heart.

First, I asked Kathy to share a short devotion. I don't know about y'all, but a word from God sets to the tone just right for any post.

Here's Kathy's thought-provoking words:

 Retreating to get ahead


“My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. He alone is my rock and deliverance, my citadel high on a hill; I will not be shaken” (Psalm 62:5-6 The Voice).

Being still and silent is not an easy task for me. I normally go day by day checking items off my list. I need to edit a manuscript, write a few chapters, answer emails, send cards, and that’s just for my work. What about the rest of my life?

There’s my family, friends, church, and others. And there’s God. What part of me do they all get? The leftovers? Am I able to turn it around and give of myself to those most important who deserve the best of me?

It takes time to sit quietly to prioritize the important aspects of one’s life. Discovering what we are overlooking in life can bring us to a new level, if we choose to go there.

 

Prayer: You are my deliverer, Lord. You can rescue me from myself, and have done so many times before. You will not give up on me, even when I’m ready to give up on myself. I’m confident in the purpose you have for me.

Faith Tip: Intentionally sit at Jesus’ feet today.

Thanks for that reminder, Kathy. I needed that today. I must constantly prioritize my life to keep first things, first.



Kathy Bruins believes everyone has a story to tell. She walks with her clients and tells their stories through her writing. She has several books, articles and screenplays published. Her latest book is A Season of God's Daily Influence and Vallikett's Journey.


 

Kathy encourages the sharing of truth through her speaking and drama ministry. She is an advocate in raising awareness on the issue of human trafficking, and in finding a cure for breast cancer.

 

Kathy calls southwest Michigan home. She is married to her perfect life-mate, John, and enjoys reading, celebrating life's milestones and knitting socks.

 

Find out more about Kathy by visiting her website: www.kathybruins.com




That's amazing. You are one busy lady. Hope comes through God whatever our story. Kathy, could you tell us something about A Season of God's Daily Influence and Vallikett's Journey?


A Season of God's Daily Influence has 150 short and impacting thoughts inspired through quiet times with God. These readings give small nuggets of treasure to meditate on throughout the day. Allow yourself to be influenced by God every day. He has a treasure of insights just for you.

Since I also wrote a devotion book (Divine Dining), I obviously love them.







What about Valliketts Journey?




Much of The Dakotas were unsettled, and so was Louis Vallikett. He was angry at God. He lost his job, and with no prospects of work to support his family, his brother, Will, a Civil War veteran, tells Louis about the Homestead Act … 160 acres free! His wife, Lizzy, was cautious. What peril would they be putting on their daughters, Edith and Louisa? What about the Indian attacks they heard about, schools, and leaving all they knew? They pack the wagons to ride to Badus Lake in The Dakotas. The terrifying unknowns are brought to light. Challenges on the trail and homestead are hard, and sometimes heartbreaking. Relating with the Indians (both good and bad), along with devastating natural occurrences and other tragedies, challenge the Valliketts, but they find a community of people dedicated to one another, and the dream they all have in building the town of Badus Lake. This is a heartwarming story of love and compassion, faith in God, and an abundance of courage.
                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you, Kathy, for visiting the Writing with God's Hope blog today. I wish you much success in all your endeavors. The books sound wonderful.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Giveaway Chance from H. L. Wegley

My guest today is H. L. Wegley. We met over the American Christian Fiction Writer's loop. I was one of those fortunate ones that won his new release in a giveaway recently. My first time to read one of Wegley's stories was a pleasant experience.

Check out the giveaway at the end of this post. Don't forget. Scroll all the way down.

Before I introduce Harry, I wish to share the Amazon review I put up for Moon over Maalaea Bay a few days ago.

Shows the nature of God through the characters' struggles

You may be wondering if you must first read books 1 & 2 of this series, but you can start with this book 3 & be instantly glued to the page. Wegley's research lends authenticity. He grounds readers into the love life of Lee and Jennifer as they begin their honeymoon in paradise with the future looking bright and hopeful until the bride and groom must face the challenge of their lives and their faith. Why does a loving God allow Christians to suffer persecution and pain? How does He show Himself faithful while they're caught in the clutches of the enemy's trap for revenge? Faith is tested to the limits. God shows up in small prayers and impossible situations. The author packs his story with as much of God's nature as that of the characters. Don't expect your sweet romance. The story will thrill, excite, and make you afraid. Moon over Maalaea Bay will answer many of your questions about "Where was God when ... "  Did I say you could win a free giveaway book at the end of this post?
 
Now, I want to introduce H. L. Wegley, the author of Moon over Maalaea Bay.
 
Harry, tell us about your new release. Explain a bit about why you wrote it.


Moon over Maalaea Bay, completed the story about human trafficking which I began in the previous book, On the Pineapple Express. Rather than me giving you statistics about this cancer growing in American society, I’m going to defer to my heroine, Jennifer, and let you listen to her impassioned voice as she gives a speech at a high school:

“There is an epidemic, no, a pandemic of child trafficking. Its dark, evil thread has become deeply woven into the fabric of our society. First came ethical quandary, then a loss of our moral compass, followed by the proliferation of pornography and the view that prostitution is a victimless crime, perhaps no crime at all.

“Now we have children being lured by predators into a life they would never voluntarily choose, while others are snatched literally from their own front yards.

“The average lifespan of a young girl sold into sexual slavery is less than four years. If she is properly marketed in the right location, she will make four to five million dollars for her owner before she dies. Sex trafficking is so profitable that arms and drug dealers are incorporating it into their highly organized operations.

“The average age of girls entering prostitution is thirteen, but it drops every year. Next year it will probably be twelve. For every eighteen year old, how many nine-, ten-, and eleven-year-old girls are required to produce that average? You can do the math. The numbers paint an incredibly evil, ugly, perverted picture.

“Behind me are Katie, Melanie, and Kirsten. Katie was lured to the street in front of her house by a girlfriend, where she was grabbed and pulled into an SUV by two men. Someone abducted Melanie while she walked home from school in plain view of other classmates. A van pulled alongside, and Mel was gone. Kirsten went shopping at a mall with her mother. She left her mother’s side to visit the ladies’ room. Before she could rejoin her mother, Kirsten disappeared.

“I accidentally discovered the traffickers who abducted these girls while working on the Olympic Peninsula. My husband and I went searching for the place where the girls were held and I was captured, too. The traffickers held the four of us, planning to smuggle us out of the country and to sell us who knows where? Southeast Asia? The Middle East?

“Can you imagine what it feels like when a young girl who is helpless and hopeless catches a glimpse of what’s in store for her? Before I could find the traffickers’ holding location, a sixteen-year-old girl hanged herself with her own shoestrings rather than let the traffickers sell her.

Sell her … that’s an understatement. Children are sold not once, but a dozen times a night for as long as they live.” Jennifer paused to let the information sink in. “And every thirty seconds, somewhere in the world, another girl is victimized by traffickers. In the United States, every two minutes someone’s daughter falls victim.”

Jennifer continued, telling each parent what to look for to prevent their children from being lured into prostitution, what precautions to take to reduce the chance of a child being taken, how to attack the epidemic at its roots—laws with deadly teeth, a moral awakening in the nation, and a sustained public outcry.

Near the conclusion of her presentation, Jennifer asked the three girls to stand. She gestured towards them. “Beautiful, aren’t they? That was their only crime. Look at them closely. Any one of them could be your daughter.”

If Jennifer’s words moved you, there are ways you can help fight this heinous crime against our children. I just googled “human trafficking Seattle” and on the first page of links found 5 local organizations where I could get involved at several different levels of participation to help fight trafficking. At the time I drafted On the Pineapple Express (2010) this wasn’t the case. But now people are becoming aware of the extent of this crime and many are taking action. I challenge you to google “human trafficking ______” and fill in the blank with the name of the closest large city to you. You’ll find information and ways you can make a difference.

Human trafficking is a depressing thing to contemplate. I don’t like depressing stories. Rest assured, Moon over Maalaea Bay is not that kind of story. I think you’ll like the characters and love the ending.

I agree, Harry, it's not depressing at all. Moon over Maalaea Bay brings hope to a dismal problem, even a little humor at times.  Tell us something about yourself.


H. L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. In civilian life he performed research in atmospheric physics. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked 20+ years in systems development at Boeing before retiring near Seattle, where he and his wife of 48 years enjoy small-group ministry, grandchildren, hiking on the Olympic Peninsula, snorkeling Maui whenever possible, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic suspense novels.

 

Links:

Web site & Blog: http://HLWegley.com






 
What a treat to have you visit with us today at Writing with God's Hope blog. Thanks for teaching us more about human trafficking and for sharing the news about your book. I encourage others to buy and read it.


Now, here's Harry's offer to those reading this blog.
 
I will give the winner a choice of a signed, printed copy of any of the books 1 – 3 of the Pure Genius Series? Those books are:
 
1.      Hide and Seek – espionage romantic thriller
2.      On the Pineapple Express – human-trafficking thriller
3.      Moon over Maalaea Bay – Maui thriller
 
A printed copy offer is only for authors in the US or Canada. Other parts of the world must take an e-book. If, for any reason a winner prefers e-books, I can, instead, give them an e-book for just about any e-reader they might have.
 
All you need to do to be entered into the giveaway drawing is leave a comment below before midnight on July 19. Be sure to list your e-mail address, so we can contact you if you win. Good luck.
  

Friday, July 4, 2014

God bless America

God blessed America with beauty. Here's my gift to you: beautiful sites I've visited in U. S. A.  


From the mountains
Mountains in Yellowstone National Park

 
 

                To the prairie          
                                                                   Clara Cemetery on North Texas plains (setting for "Victoria and the Ghost.


 

Charles and Janet at Rockport, Texas beach

To the ocean white with foam
 

God Bless America

Other beautiful sites in America

Overlooking Eureka Springs, Arkansas


 
Hill country in central Texas
 
I'm thankful for America. God has truly blessed our country.
 
 
Hope you're all enjoying your 4th of July weekend.
 
 Where in the U.S.A. do you like to visit?