Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Frenzy - Next Heroine's picture!

Happy Friday Everyone!  Last week I asked for your help in choosing a picture that best matched the description of the heroine in my next book. WOW did you all give me some great choices!!  THANK YOU! It was a huge help. I had a very hard time narrowing it down, but I got it down to 3 pictures, and finally to one. But first to remind you of the story line and who my heroine, Morgan Shaw, is.
 When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he? 

Pirate Captain Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father.
Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.


Morgan Shaw

Age 24
Long straight brown hair and green eyes. Morgan is medium height, thin, and not very curvy. She's always been self-conscious of her small chest.

Morgan has many good qualities. She's dependable, loyal, follows the rules, efficient, and kind-hearted. She likes a safe, controlled environment and doesn't like to take risks or chances.  Because she's a software engineer by trade, she's smart, serious, solitary, analytical, and detail-oriented. Unfortunately coming from a difficult childhood which involved the divorce of her parents, Morgan also suffers from OCD and Anxiety, so she's normally uptight, rigid, and repressed.

Here's the three finalists! 
Katie McGrath, nominated by Sarah Venable
    


Unknown girl, nominated by Diana Flowers



















Unknown by Jessica Pifer

All of the pictures were so great!  I'm not good at finding actresses or models to match my heroine, so this was a huge help.

The picture I chose was Number 3, The unknown girl nominated by Jessica Pifer!  My reason is she had the perfect combination of innocence, sorrow, and determination I was going for.  So, Congratulations Jessica!  You will receive a free paperback of the Reckoning and will also be mentioned in my Acknowledgements, along with the runners up!
Jessica, please contact me ASAP so I can get your address. Thanks!

Be sure to come back next Friday when I will have another contest to choose the Hero's picture!  Please help!


Friday's Writing Tip
Find a mentor:  Someone who has been in the business awhile and who's been traditionally published. I'm not talking about someone to critique your writing (although she or he may be willing to do that too). I'm talking about someone who can offer you advice, encouragement, and the truth. This is the toughest business I've ever been in, and we all need someone to lean on who understands. The best way to find that person is at conferences or retreats or through online writing groups. Don't be dismayed if you get turned down. Many writers don't have a lot of extra time. But pray about it and see who God brings you.
Did I have a mentor? Not really. But I did surround myself with like-minded Christian writers who are still my friends today. I also joined a number of critique groups, as well as ACFW where I met other authors online.


Don't forget to come back next week!

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015



For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men entrust much, they will require and demand all the more.

 I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish that it were already kindled!

Luke 12:48-49 


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Monday, April 13, 2015

Intimacy with God

Is it possible to sit and chat with the Creator of the Universe?  Remember in Genesis where it describes God coming to walk and talk with Adam (before the fall) in the cool of the evening? I've always thought that was so cool. What would it be like to just take a stroll with God and share back and forth with Him?  What would it have been like to have been one of Jesus's disciples, living day in and day out with Him, chatting about everything!  Incredible.

If you're a believer, you no doubt pray often. You bring your petitions to God and beg for answers. So many of you are going through horrific times right now. It seems that everywhere I turn I hear horrible stories of cancer and accidents and diseases and broken marriages and abused children and lost jobs and poverty.  We come before God and we beg for His help. But wouldn't it be so incredible to just sit down with him in our living room and hear His response? To have a back and forth with Him?

Remember when Jesus said that it was better that He leave the earth for then God would send the Holy Spirit? I always sort of cringed at that. Frankly, I'd love to sit down and have a one-on-one with Jesus. I can't see the Holy Spirit or touch Him or hear Him. Wouldn't it be better for Jesus to have stayed after He rose from the dead?

But the truth of the matter is, the longer I am a Christian, the more I understand what Jesus meant. He died and rose again and ascended to the Father so that we, His followers, could have the same relationship with the Father that Adam and Eve had!  Not in the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm (which is far more real!).  We can walk with God. We can talk with God. And we can hear from Him. In fact, that's the entire reason mankind was created. AND the entire reason the Father sent His Son to die on our behalf. He wants an intimate relationship with us!  He wanted to restore what was lost in Eden.

Yet I meet so many Christians who say they never hear from God. So many who cry out but receive no answer. So many who have this sort of pseudo one-sided relationship with God that is anything but close and personal.

A quick glance through the New Testament reveals that the followers of Jesus should expect to hear from God on a daily basis. The instructions should be clear and loving and directional. So, where have we gone wrong? Why do most of us feel we have to go to our pastor or some spiritual giant to get a word from God? Why aren't we hearing from Him all the time?

I believe the key is found in the following verse:
But if from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessity) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you [truly] seek Him with all your heart [and mind] and soul and life. Deuteronomy 4:29 Amp

When was the last time you actually sought God as if you were dying of thirst in a desert? When was the last time you sought Him with every ounce of your being, with the passion that said if you didn't find Him, you would die?  So many of us set aside 15 or 20 minutes to pray here and there, dump our requests on God, thank Him for listening and then go about our busy lives, hoping He'll answer. But when was the last time you took one of your day's off and sat alone with your Bible spread before you, desperate to hear from the Father?  

Do you have a question you'd like to ask Him? Something burning on your heart you don't understand?  Ask! Seek! Knock!  Sit alone with God as you would a good friend and ask. Then open the Bible and read. Read and pray and read and pray and wait on the Lord. I know a pastor who used to spend 3 or 4 hours at night just worshiping God, just hanging out with the Father. And this man often heard from the Lord. 

I know we are all busy. My schedule is so crazy, sometimes I have no idea how I will finish everything. We have kids and grandkids and jobs, spouses, elderly parents, and homes to take care of, etc..  And sometimes we just can't find time alone.  I get it. I really do. Yet...  we make time to eat. We make time to watch TV. We make time for our hobbies.  What is really important to you?  Maybe we need to rearrange some of our priorities, and make God a priority. I believe that's what it means to Seek Him with all your heart. 

Recently, I scheduled some time alone. I turned off the cell phone, the computer, the TV. I sat in my writing room with Bible open and just spoke to my Father. I had no expectations, no time limit, no desire but to know Him more. And boy am I glad I did! Because in that hour, the Father spoke to me clearly through a psalm I read. He reinforced 2 things for me. One was a promise He'd made to me long ago that my prodigal children would be saved, and the other was that my faith would grow to a point that I would no longer live in fear.  The prodigal question was something I had asked Him to reinforce a while ago. Maybe He was trying all along to give me an answer but I was too busy to hear Him. Anyway, it was a special special time, and proved the Scripture above that if you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him!


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Help me find the perfect picture for my next heroine!

Since it's only three months until the release of my next book, The Reckoning, I would love some help picking out the perfect representation of my heroine, Morgan Shaw.  I have a visual of her in my mind, but I can never find a good picture of an actress or model that fits!!  Since you all have done so well in the past, I'm putting out this call again!! 

Here's the deal. Below, I will give you a description of my heroine, both physically and in her personality. If you can think of someone, an actress, singer, model, etc and you can find a good picture of her online, post her name here and the link to her picture. I'll also put this on Facebook where you can also post a picture.  Then if I choose your picture, you will win a FREE paperback copy of the book when it comes out. In addition, your name will appear inside the front cover with the acknowledgements!  Sound good?? 

First, here's a tiny peek at the storyline. 


When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he? 

Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father.

Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.




Now, let's meet Morgan Shaw. 

Age 24
Long straight brown hair and green eyes. Morgan is medium height, thin, and not very curvy. She's always been self-conscious of her small chest.

Morgan has many good qualities. She's dependable, loyal, follows the rules, efficient, and kind-hearted. She likes a safe, controlled environment and doesn't like to take risks or chances.  Because she's a software engineer by trade, she's smart, serious, solitary, analytical, and detail-oriented. Unfortunately coming from a difficult childhood which involved the divorce of her parents, Morgan also suffers from OCD and Anxiety, so she's normally uptight, rigid, and repressed.


So, give it your best shot!! I'll pick a winner next Friday! 


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Wednesday, April 8, 2015



You Shall not Fear them, for the Lord your God shall fight for you!

Deuteronomy 3:22



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Monday, April 6, 2015

Proof that Jesus rose from the dead!

I'm reposting this article I wrote 4 years ago because it's worth remembering all the evidence of the ressurection. 
 
There is enough evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus that were it taken to court today, Judge and Jury would be forced to admit it's true.  It is one of the things that put the final seal on my fledgling faith years ago.  I'll just give five snippets of the best arguments for the Resurrection below. May they strengthen your faith.  We serve a living Savior!

The Empty Tomb
Although made secure by a Roman guard, the tomb was found empty by several of the women disciples, then  later by several of His closest followers.  In addition, the earliest writings confirm the fact that the tomb was found empty. The Jewish religious leaders were strongly opposed Jesus and His teaching, and were prepared to go to any length to see that His body remain in the tomb because Jesus had predicted several times that He would rise again. The disciples preached the resurrection of Jesus first in Jerusalem, not in some far off land.  If the tomb had NOT been empty, they would never have been able to pull this off.  Adversaries would simply have pointed to the tomb and the body within it and rejected their message. In New Testament writing there are many references to the fact of the resurrection, but NONE defending the empty tomb.  Why?  The answer should be obvious:  this was not a point of contention -- everyone, friend and foe, KNEW the tomb was empty.
 Broken Roman Seal
The seal on the tomb where Jesus was laid was placed there by the authority of Rome. It stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. Even more confusing was why the Roman guards ordered to keep watch over Jesus' tomb ran off? When they knew that doing so was punishable by death. Something pretty dramatic must have happened to scare away the bravest military men of that time.


They couldn't have moved the body. 
The theory that the Jewish or Roman authorities moved Christ's body is no more reasonable an explanation for the empty tomb than theft by the disciples. If the authorities had the body in their possession or knew where it was, why, when the disciples were preaching the resurrection in Jerusalem, didn't they say, "Wait! We moved the body! See, here it is! He didn't rise from the grave."
 The disciples began preaching the message of Christ crucifixion and resurrection in the very place it had happened -- not in some distant land.  If Jesus was still in His tomb, they simply could not have done this -- no one would have believed them.  But as Peter began preaching, "over 3,000" souls were saved that day.

Jesus was SEEN alive over a period of weeks by many people, at many different places.

It was Christ's post-resurrection appearances that assured His followers that He had indeed risen from the dead.  After He arose the Bible reports He was seen by ... 

A.  the women as they returned from the tomb, after having seen the angel (Matthew 28:1-10)
B.  Mary Magdalene at the tomb, during her second visit to the site (John 20:10-18, Mark 16:9-11)
C:  to Peter the day of the resurrection (Luke 24:34)
D.  to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35, Mark 16:12-13)
E.  to ten of the apostles the evening of Easter Sunday (Luke 24:36-40, John 20:19-23, Mark 16:14-18)
F.  after eight days to the eleven apostles, including Thomas (John 20:26-29) 
G.  to some of the disciples fishing at the sea of Galilee (John 20:20-28)
H.  to all of the apostles on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20)
I.    to James (1 Cor: 15:7)
J.   to all of the apostles on the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:50-52; Mark 16:19)
K.  to 500 additional believers at one time (1 Cor. 15:6)
L.   to Paul on the road to Damascus (1 Cor.15:8)
 

All of these people were eyewitnesses to His resurrection.  They saw Him, touched Him, ate with Him, and spoke with Him.

The lives of the disciples were radically transformed. (My personal favorite!)
Jesus's disciples went from cowering followers who abandoned Jesus when He was arrested, to bold proclaimers of the good news of the gospel at the risk of their lives.  Nearly ALL his apostles were killed for their faith as a result.  People will die for something they believe to be true, but they will never die for something they know is a lie.  If they hadn't seen Jesus alive, then all of them were lying.  And let's not forget the millions of early Christians who were persecuted for proclaiming Jesus as Lord. If there was no resurrection and they knew it, why were they willing to die so violently?

"This scared, frightened band of the apostles, which was just about to throw away everything in order to flee in despair to Galilee; when these peasants, shepherds, and fishermen, who betrayed and denied their master and then failed him miserably, suddenly could be changed overnight into a confident mission society, convinced of salvation and able to work with much more success after Easter than before Easter, then no vision or hallucination is sufficient to explain such a revolutionary transformation." - Jewish Rabbi Pinchas Lapide


May you be ever convinced in the divinity of Jesus Christ, His death to pay for the punishment due us, and His resurrection in order that we, too, will some day be resurrected to eternal glory!!


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Friday, April 3, 2015

He Endured the Punishment Due Us!

 Today is the day we celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus. Saying the word celebrate in the same sentence with such a brutal method of dying sounds a bit ludicrous and cold hearted. But in truth, if Jesus had not died for us, we all would still be dead and going to hell.

For me, it's a day of sorrow for the agony and pain He suffered on my behalf, as well as a day of great and humble thanksgiving  for what He did for me. What He willingly did for me.

When I think of the crucifixion, I think mostly about the physical pain Jesus endured, as well as the humiliation and rejection. But I've come to discover in my studies that those things were but (as my pastor says) flea bites compared to the agony of  the separation from God, the Father, and the agony of having His Father pour out wrath and punishment upon Jesus.

Think about it.  Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father have been together forever, bound in this incredibly loving relationship that we humans cannot even fathom. They have such affection for one another, such love, such unconditional giving, that it makes our best relationships here on earth seem petty.  Then, on the cross, while Jesus is in more physical pain than most humans can endure, He feels His Father withdraw. For the first time in eternity, Jesus is separated from His Father. The incredible loss and loneliness He must have felt, would have been overwhelming. It would have broken His heart.

Then as if that wasn't enough, when Jesus released His Spirit, He traveled down to Hell where the Father's wrath (that was due us) was poured out on Him in full measure. 

Your wrath lies hard upon me, and You have afflicted me with all Your waves.  Psalm 88:7

We can't even imagine what He suffered there. But the Bible says He took our punishment upon Him. Are we so naive to believe that meant only physical punishment? Isn't suffering in Hell the punishment we all deserve? Jesus couldn't have taken ALL of our punishment unless He also took it in Hell. 

But He ascended? Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from the heights of heaven into the depths, the lower parts of the earth? Ephesians 4:9

Did Satan and the demons taunt Him? Beat Him? Afflict Him? We don't know. But we do know Jesus was there, suffering everything I was supposed to suffer. 

The Apostle Peter states:

For Christ  died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous the Just for the unjust, the Innocent for the guilty, that He might bring us to God. In His human body He was put to death, but He was made alive in the spirit,
 In which He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
  The souls of those who long before in the days of Noah had been disobedient, when God’s patience waited during the building of the ark in which a few, actually eight in number, were saved through water.  1 Peter 3:18-20

After enduring the wrath of God, Jesus had two other tasks that the Scripture mentions. One, in the passage above, Peter tells us that Jesus preached to the spirits there. I believe these were the righteous dead in Hades, which He then transported up to Heaven. They couldn't go to Heaven before Jesus died and rose again because He hadn't paid for their sins yet.

I believe His other task was to get some keys. Fascinating!


And the Ever-living One. I am living in the eternity of the eternities. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore; and I possess the keys of death and Hades the realm of the dead. Rev 1:18

So why am I writing this? Because I'm hoping that whoever reads this will take a minute (or several) and stop and ponder all that Jesus endured for them. Not just the physical suffering, which is what we tend to focus on, but the emotional, soul-wrenching, tormenting separation from God and the mind-boggling suffering Jesus endured in Hell suffering the punishment due us.

Thank you so much, Jesus!!!

We all have a choice!

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