Monday, August 3, 2015

A Watchman on the Wall - It's time to get serious

What is a watchman? Throughout history watchmen are those men and women who are assigned essentially guard duty over a piece of property or over an entire city or country. In Biblical days, watchmen were normally posted along the city walls to keep an eye out for approaching enemies. It was their job to warn the people if they saw danger on the way.

God also appointed some of his prophets as watchmen in Old Testament times.

“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me."  Ezekiel 33:7

It was their job to tell the people what God was saying to them and warn them of coming judgement. Most of them who did so were brutally tortured and murdered. Nobody likes bad news, I guess.

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, Isaiah 62:6

Just like in the old days, God has posted Watchmen in our present time. They don't stand guard on the city wall at night, but they stand spiritual guard over the things that are happening all over the world. Their job is to alert God's people to coming danger and also to help prepare them for the return of our King.

I'm not one of these watchmen, but I do follow what several of them have been saying over the past few years, and I feel compelled to mention here that it is my very strong opinion that things are gong to change drastically in the US in the next few years. In fact, there are several prophecies regarding a financial collapse of some sort coming this fall, or at least starting this fall and extending for some time.

Of course you don't have to be a prophet or watchmen to see what's happening in the world or in our country, you just have to keep informed. Race wars, Gay marriage, Terror threats, mass shootings, war in the middle east, Israel surrounded by enemies, economic collapse, disease, famine...   It's bad, folks. And honestly, according to the Bible, it's going to keep getting worse and worse....

Did you ever think to see a huge statue of Satan erected in our country and worshiped by  hundreds who also signed a contract, giving their souls to Satan?  Oh and they are planning a tour... coming to a city near you!  Click here to read the article

I'm not trying to depress anyone and I could certainly go on and on about the signs that surround us. What I really want to say is this:  It's time to get serious about our faith.  It's always been time, but now it's more important than ever. I believe times are coming when our faith is going to be tested in ways we could never have imagined. I believe a delusion is going to come upon this world that will be so powerful many believers in Jesus will be tricked by it and led astray.  Only those who truly know God will be able to stand.

What can you do?
  • Stay in the Word. Daily, hourly, know it by heart, pray over it, ask God for understanding, meditate on every verse.
  • Get connected with other like-minded Christians. I mean really connected. Not just casual acquaintances at church... but real friends, people who you can go to when you're feeling your faith slip, when you're feeling depressed, scared. People who will pray for you and you them. Small Home Bible study groups are great for this, and I believe they will become even more important than attending church in the future. 
  • Stay in the mode of constant communication and prayer to God. 
  • Keep doing what God leads you to do and share the Gospel every opportunity you get!

I realize that some Christians reading this will not agree with what I'm saying here. I get that. I'm turning off comments to this post, because honestly, I've heard all the arguments and this isn't the proper venue for a theological debate.  My intent.. my sole intent in posting this is to warn you and to urge you to get close to the Lord and make connections with your brothers and sisters.  If I'm wrong, doing those things will only benefit you anyway!  If I'm right, you will be prepared in such a way that you can help others find the truth!  And what could be better than that?


Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Frenzy, Results of Survey!

Happy Friday, everyone! A few weeks ago I posted a survey here with a couple of questions about reading preferences. I thought you might be interested in the results.

1. What size book do you generally prefer to read  (60 people answered)

a. Full length novels  (58 people chose this one)
b. Short novellas
c. Medium length books (2 people chose this one)

2.  What format do you read the most?  (60 people responded)

a. Ebook    (18 chose this one)
b. Paperback  (40 chose this one)
c. Audio
d. Other   (2 chose this one) 
  •     Combo of ebook or paperback depending on mood
  •     Lengther books-paperback and 100-250 pages Ebooks

3.What type of book do you prefer?  (60 responders)

a. I love a series where I can follow the lives of the characters throughout  (40)
b. Stand alone books so I don't have to have read the prior books before reading it  (11)
c. Serial novels - novels printed in installments like a TV show  (1)
d. Other  (8)
  •      I love both stand alone stories and series. Depends on my mood which I prefer at the moment. lol Not much of a serial novels, though. 
  •      Funny. I love all three categories as long as the stories are inspiring. 
  •      I love a series where they can stand alone if I haven't read the others (like you do so well) 
  •      BOTH stand alone & series. 
  •      I enjoy both stand alone books and series! 
  •      Serial novels aren't my fave, I enjoy both of the other 2 choices. 
  •      Enjoy both Stand alone and Series Equally 
  •      I enjoy all these options 
So what can I gather from all this?

Most of you still prefer a full length novel in paperback form that is part of a series where you see the characters throughout. I thought that was really interesting because I've been hearing some negative chatter about series.. how it's better to write stand alones that don't tie in with other books. But it would see that having a long series where a reader can revisit old friends from earlier books is something that you all enjoy.  Which is exactly what I'm trying to do with my pirate series!!  So that's good news.

What have I been working on this past week?  

The Raven Saint!  You may know that The Raven Saint is the 3rd book in my Charles Towne belles series. My publisher returned my rights for the entire series last year and I've been furiously trying to get them re-edited, slap new covers on them, and re-publish them afresh!  The Red Siren and the Blue Enchantress are already available, and currently I expect to have The Raven Saint out in September. As soon as I get the first comps of the new cover, I'll share them with you.

I've also started the forth book in the series, Charity's Cross, which I expect to release early next year, God willing.  Now, we finally get to hear about the 4th sister's harrowing story!

I'm off to the Victorian Tea house with my daughter and granddaughter tomorrow. I'll try and get pictures

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” 

John 8:12


Monday, July 27, 2015

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me  Psalm 23:4

When I was little, I always wondered what this valley of the shadow of death was.  Did God mean real death? If so, of course He would be with us! He would take us to Heaven, right? That's what salvation is all about. But I believe the psalmist meant so much more than that.

 When I think of a valley, I often picture lots of green grass and flowers with a river running through it, but this isn't the kind of valley the psalmist is talking about. His valley is dark with lurking shadows leaping out at him. There's no greenery or flowers or flowing streams, and not a ray of sunlight finds its way within. There's only shadows and jagged rocks and high mountains all around so it seems like you're trapped. It seems like there's no way out into the sun again. 

All of us have been in the "valley of the shadow of death" from time to time in our lives. Sometimes those valleys are enormous and deep and go on forever. Sometimes, they are smaller and we can climb out quickly.  Valleys such as loneliness, despair, doubt, loss of job, death of a loved one, marriage problems, divorce, cancer, health issues, money problems, heartbreak, fear, terror, rejection. There are many valleys we must pass through in this world.   In fact, I would venture to say that we are rarely out of a valley, or at least not on the mountain top very long before we tumble right into another valley! 

What I find interesting is that God never promises to air lift us out of the valley. (Although He does do that sometimes!)  Yet, He promises to walk with us in the valley.  Think of that for a moment. The God of the universe, Creator of all things. All-powerful, All knowing wants to walk with you through your valley, your problem, your cancer, your heartbreak, your job loss, your grief. Right down there in the stinky, putrid valley with hard crusty rocks and no sunlight... yup. He would rather be no where else in the universe except by your side.. holding your hand and helping you through. That amazes me! 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,  Isaiah 43:2

And the best part is, if you truly lean on Him, you'll come out of the valley a better person, stronger, filled with more joy and faith than you ever had before. And you'll realize that maybe when you appealed and cried out to God to please air-lift you out of that valley, He didn't do it because He knew if you endured, that valley would change you from a caterpillar into a butterfly! 

Our fallen world is full of valleys. Some are those we cause ourselves, others are caused by our enemy to try and trap us, and others are caused by people who've made bad choices outside our control. Some are just there, part of the landscape that we can't avoid. We are all on a journey after all, a pilgrimage to the most glorious place that ever existed. It is there we will find our rest. It is upon that glorious city of gold where we must keep our eyes focused. If we look away for even a second to our surroundings.. to the valley we are in, we risk losing the hope that keeps us moving forward. 
Just look at what awaits us as the psalm continues:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Psalm 23:5-6 

Forever is a long, long, time!!  Just thinking about the joy that awaits us should help us make our way through the valley. Along with the fact that God is walking right beside us. We are never alone!


Friday, July 24, 2015

What's wrong with "Christian" Fiction?

I feel the need to rant a bit today. Please forgive me in advance. But whenever I hear from another author that their publisher and/or agent has told them to "tone down" the spiritual/Christian content of their "Christian" novel, I want to puke. (Sorry for the visual)  I heard no such demands when I first got published back in 2006, though I know a few publishers were requesting it.  But now, it seems that everywhere I turn, this is the norm.

So, I guess I'm asking why call it "Christian" Fiction if Christ is not mentioned in the pages. Just call it Clean or Sweet, then people will know there isn't any sex or violence or foul language, but they won't take the risk of being offended by the name of Jesus.  It is His name that offends so many, after all. Gee, I wonder why that is?  Could it be that it is only by the  name of Jesus that men can be saved from hell? Wonder who is trying to push that name into the background?  Erase it from the pages of "Christian" books?

I'm not at all putting down Christian novels that are light on the spiritual side. Some authors are called to just write uplifting, clean stories from a Christian worldview. I get that. It's their ministry and they are good at it.  What irks me is that those of us who want to write strong spiritual stories that mention Jesus, salvation, and other spiritual taboos like delivering demons and healings and miracles, well we are told to stifle it. It won't sell.  I had one author tell me she was told to take out all the overt Christian content and resubmit the book. Huh?

Listen I know publishers are in the business to make money. But they are also in the business of publishing Christian books that tell the good news of the Gospel to a dying world. Which is more important?  Which one do you think God will honor them for? Why not do the right thing and let God sort out the money. Didn't He promise to provide for those who follow Him with all their heart?

I'm also not buying the excuse that they hope to reach more  lost people for Jesus by putting out books the unsaved would purchase and wouldn't be offended at. Really?  I don't recall Jesus or his disciples toning down their message to reach more people? Besides how will people ever know the way to eternal life if someone doesn't tell them?

It's all about the money, pure and simple.. and conpromising with the world, being politically correct to make more sales.  You know, I could sell more books if I wanted to. I could take out all my Jesus stuff from my books, add some sex scenes, and I could probably double or triple my sales. Don't think I haven't thought about it. LOL. Why? because I could use the money, and because there's no author in the world who wouldn't want to be on a best-seller list.   But I answer to a higher power than the New York Times Best seller list (Not that I'd ever make that one. LOL)  I answer to God.

And this world more than ever needs to hear about Jesus.

Writing News
Many of you have been asking when the new and improved version of The Raven Saint will be available. I'm editing the old manuscript right now and will be getting a new cover made next month, so I expect to release it in September.

Also, in celebration of re-releasing my best-selling Charles Towne Belles series, I'm adding a forth book, Charity's Cross. For those of  you who have read the series, you know that Charity is the 4th sister who was left behind in England with a horrible wretched husband.  I've started the book now and expect it's release in either December or January.

I still plan on writing my Medieval story, but it has been moved to a late 2016 release. Sorry about that.. but Charity would not keep quiet in my head!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.


Psalm 23

Monday, July 20, 2015

Are you a lion or a lamb?

Have you ever noticed that as you read through the Bible, God seems to have two facets to His personality?  Sometimes He even seems to contradict Himself.  On the one hand He's really tough on sin. The Old Testament is full of examples that probably make most of us cringe!  And on the other hand God is the most merciful, loving, gracious person I know!  The same God who ordered the stoning of an entire family because the father kept some gold for himself from a war raid, that same God sent His only Son into the world as a sacrifice for our sin! 

Jesus demonstrated this two-faceted personality when He was here walking the earth.  He told Peter, his good friend and disciple to "Get behind me, Satan!"  when Peter told Him that He would never suffer and die.  He called the Pharisees a "Brood of vipers!"  "Hypocrites" and "Whitewashed tombstones" and children of Satan.  And remember the time He grabbed a whip and chased away all the merchants from the temple? 

But on the other hand, He demonstrated great mercy and grace toward many others. What about the woman caught in adultery? She should have been stoned according to God's law. Yet Jesus didn't even rebuke her or chastise her. He simply told her to go and sin no more.

I believe God gives each of us a small portion of His personality to be used here on earth for His glory.  Some of us have more of His lamb personality. People like this are more merciful, more understanding, and are quick to extend grace to others. They don't get so angry at injustice or sin, but instead offer a hand of friendship and love to those in need. This is wonderful quality to have!

Then to some of us God gives more of His Lion personality. The lions are the ones who get angry at sin and injustice, who discern right from wrong more clearly and who feel enraged when evil prevails. We are the ones who usually see sin for what it is in a person's life and we want to point it out to them. We want to fix it. We passionately defend God's righteousness .... even to the point of being rude to those who defile His name or plans.  We are the John the Baptists, the Elijah's of the world. We call sin out for what it is and can often appear critical and lacking in mercy, though our motives are good.

The thing is, I'm a lion. And sometimes I can come across harshly to others. It's not my intention but I see something that I know is wrong in God's eyes and I blurt it out in a not-too-diplomatic fashion. Yet, I know people who are lambs who allow sin to flourish around them because they don't want to be critical or judgmental. 

I believe both these sides of God's personality are very important. Both lion and lamb have a role to play in the body of Christ.  Yet so often I see the church glorifying the lamb and tossing aside the lion as a trouble maker. The truth is, both lion and lamb need to pray for God to help them develop a bit of the other side in their personality. Too much of one or the other can be destructive. The Lion needs to learn when to keep his mouth shut and when he does speak, to use diplomacy. The lamb needs to learn when to show mercy and when to call evil evil. 

All I can say is this lion here is working on her mouth and her mercy!  How about you? Which do you think you are?