GOGO Sale

Christmas is an exciting time for our publishing companies, because our mission is to spread HOPE and there’s no greater time than when we’re celebrating the reason for our HOPE – the birthday of our Savior!

Because our mission is to spread HOPE to as many people as possible, all of our books offer some type of hope – fiction and nonfiction alike. As a way of getting people acquainted with our authors and their books, we’re doing several fun things during the next month, and we invite all of you to come join us! It’s going to be great fun!!

Here’s the line-up:

GOGO Sale – Going on now, the Give One/Get One Free sale. Buy any of our books to give away – in print or digital formats – and get one of our books in digital format to keep for yourself! (Or you can gift that one, too, if you prefer!) We even have some of our upcoming books available for PRE-ORDER included in this GOGO sale! Check out all the details on the Write Integrity Press blog.

Magnificent Hope’s Christmas Party starts TODAY!! We invite you to come on over to our virtual Christmas party. Our authors are there, posting games, photos, memories, recipes, and more. Go to this link and look around. If you’d like to participate in the party – PLEASE DO! – just set up an account (name and e-mail address) and post your own photos, memories, and games – let’s just all interact together in a relaxed time of fun and fellowship! And we’re giving away some goodie baskets – all you have to do is drop in and say hello to register for your chance to win!

Today, we also announce the winner of our Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt chapter contest. In October, we put out a call for submissions for anyone interested in participating in our novella. Eight of our authors have written one chapter each in a single novella, and we invited writers to compete for a spot in the book. Today, the winner will be announced. Monday, we begin to share the story with readers, a section at a time over the next 9 days! So today, drop by www.WriteIntegrity.com to see who won, and then on Monday, come back to begin reading the story they put together. It’s going to be a lot of fun! And there’s another giveaway planned with it, too!

We hope to see you during this wonderful time of year! And we’d appreciate your help in spreading the word about all our festivities!

 

Merry Christmas!

Motivation That Works

By David Megill

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)

This is an amazing verse.  it’s so amazing that many of us not only don’t quite believe it, but we are afraid to even contemplate believing it.  John actually encourages here a very audacious kind of expectation and presumption.  It may seem at first both dangerous and un-motivating, but for some reason John doesn’t think it’s easier.
Walk it through:  He begins by reveling in the truth that God calls us children of God.  This is awesome and yet seems fairly straightforward.  Our salvation has earned us the title “child of God.” While not too many people argue with this, I hear people mitigate it all the time.  We talk about being righteous, “in God’s eyes.”  and being “reckoned” a child of God.  We say these things as if they explain how such an obviously untrue thing can be said to be true.  We say them as if we know better.
God says I’m righteous, but I know myself and I’m not really.
John is prepared exactly for the way his readers will distance themselves from this truth and follows up this amazing statement with the clear declarative, “And that is what we are!”  Who sees reality more clearly, God or us? If God calls us Children of God, says John then such we are.
He then goes on to explain that even we are not clear on what we are.  Our true righteousness and inheritance has not yet been clearly revealed.  But, and this is the really amazing part, He says that when we see Christ we shall see that we are like Him.  The family resemblance will be clear and obvious.  He further stresses that this awareness will be based upon reality (“we shall see him as he is”) and not upon any kind of illusion or wishful thinking.
Imagine, the big surprise when you get to Heaven is not how far from Christ you will be, not how ashamed all your hidden sins revealed will make you, but that as you see clearly for the first time you will find that you are like Him!   This is the power of the Gospel, not only that Christ forgave us but is committed to remaking us, until we will be like Him.
But John doesn’t stop there.  Here’s the mind-blowing part.  All who have this hope in him purify themselves just as he is pure.  In other words, John is encouraging every believer to have a firm confidence in this future (hope in scripture is certain, not wishful.).  The more you believe in this truth, that your righteousness is a guarantee, that your Christlikeness is a settled issue, the more you will purify yourself.  A confident, firm hope in God’s ability to complete the work begun does not make you lazy, licentious, or worldly.  On the contrary it purifies you now.
Unfortunately as pastor, what I find is that people are afraid to believe this.  They fear that too much confidence will lead them to sin more.  They do not trust themselves, and worse they do not Trust Christ in them.
In a well intentioned, but extremely wrong headed attempt to motivate good behavior, pastors too often encourage us to be afraid, wary, expecting shame, at this glorious meeting with Christ in Heaven.
Guilt is an easy tool for a pastor, politician or parent who wants to motivate.  We’re already primed for it with skewed world views, the enemy offers no resistance to it and we’ve all learned to count on it to save us from our own frailty.   This is unfortunate, for guilt does not save us, Christ does.  John says the more we believe in our guiltlessness, the more Godly our life will be.
Holy ones, (for that is what the epistle writers constantly call us) dare to believe that when you see Christ you will see Him just as He is and you will not be ashamed for you will see that you are like Him!  Dare to believe in the Righteousness of Christ bought at the cross!  The Freedom you’ll find will be freedom to live as you’ve been created to, with dignity, righteousness, and impact!

 

David Megill was born in a little village called Rotifunk. This little village happened to be located on another continent (Africa) from the one in which he currently resides (North America). No credit should be awarded to him for this bold move, but rather to his parents who happened to be there when it happened. David was born the baby of the family, for which he should also not receive credit for all people are born babies. David did not know this when he was born but has since learned this after the birth of his own seven kids for which he should receive only partial credit, barely any really, but it is still true that all of them were born babies. This is a fact which David’s wife Ann finds rather convenient.

Through the next four decades David dabbled as a juggler, a magician, a musician, a locksmith, Danny Kaye/Dick Van Dyke wannabe, pizza maker, pizza eater, horse track gate opener (is there a name for that?), thermo-vaccum former operator, dragon tamer (with the business card to prove it!), and various less notable jobs before settling in mostly as a pastor, conference speaker and writer.

David hopes his books, in which he rarely speaks in third person will bring you encouragement, hope, laughter, joy and an understanding that you matter to God.

 ~~~

Sometimes it’s as if the life we’ve been seeking has managed to elude us. We wake up and ask ourselves, “Is this what life is all about?” Life has not turned out exactly the way we expected or hoped. We were promised certain things, by parents, culture, by church, and, as Christians believe, by Christ Himself. Were we lied to? Did we misunderstand the promises? Scripture actually tells us the truth: that life is hidden, not always obvious. This book shares one pastor’s story of walking through such disappointment and the principles of hope he learned. Along the way, we explore the nature of the Hidden life and where to find it, and embracing the Incredible GIFT of God. (Grace, Identity, Faith and Training) At least once in their life everyone thinks they are a failure. Through the counseling and conferences of the last 20 years, I have been able to see people who were stuck in their past, mired in their failures, or simply run out of steam, catch a fresh take on life and find confidence of the God they’d always been hoping existed; a God who truly loves them and needs no cajoling to bless. No one’s life will be “fixed” by reading this book, but this book will give people hope. Hope can transform burden to freedom, despair to faith. Such faith and hope can turn ones eyes back to a God who does save and redeem and to the revelation of the hidden life.

And the Winner Is……

 

The winner is Julie-jliippo.

 She will be receiving copies of “Missing” and “Found” by Suzanne Williams…

The Write Faith

At the end of November I was face to face with a big question. Do I have enough faith to spend my time writing books that logic says won’t sell? As you may come face to face with this same question in your life as a writer, I thought I’d share my story with you.

Can I be totally frank with you?

I don’t write literary fiction. My books aren’t deep, there isn’t a lot of internal monologue, and…here’s the part I hesitate to mention…they tend to average about 3rd-4th grade reading level. For comparison, the NIV Bible is translated into 6th grade English.

My books are full of fun action and snappy dialogue. And they have an ease of read factor that some readers really like.

Nonetheless, many grown up readers find them juvenile, and my reviews at Amazon reflect that. My writing income has been tracking upward since I began in this business a couple of years ago, so I figured my work ain’t perfect, but it’s workin’.

However, several friends have asked if I would consider writing middle grade books, as it seemed like it would suit my natural style.

My two middle grade reading daughters asked me if I would please write kids books for them..

And this spring, I ended up at the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators conference for a day. It felt like the mothership had called me home….And yet I went home and plotted another murder mystery.

You see, I just didn’t want to write “chapter books.”

So far, “chapter books” just don’t sell well at Amazon, and Amazon sales have always been my bread and butter. Why would I step away from something successful to enter into something that looks, for all purposes, like it could only fail?

Put another way: Did I have enough faith to invest my talents, or was I going to keep them buried under the convenient midlist mysteries I have been writing?

At my November critique group our fearless leader said, “Listen, you just need to write to your strengths. Don’t try to do what doesn’t come naturally.” I left that meeting still torn. Was it fair to my family for me to spend my time writing books that might not sell? I posed the question to a publisher friend of mind. I didn’t mention the issue being about children’s books though; I just voiced my concerns over struggling with my writing style in general. She said the same thing. Don’t torture your style to make it match the wrong genre.

They were both right, these mentors of mine. But what if I failed?

And then, I went to a toy store.

It’s a fabulous local place that keeps Girl Scout uniforms in stock. I had to go two days in a row, one to get the vest I needed, and the next to get the stuff to go on the vest. That second day the store owner remembered me. We got to chatting and my books came up. The store owner took one of my cards and asked if my books could be ordered from Ingrams. (The wholesale distributor.)

Do you see what just happened there? A local toy store that stocks books for kids asked if I had anything they could order. And I didn’t but someday I could!

God didn’t hit me over the head with a log and tell me to write children’s books. But I think after the week I’ve had it would be almost disobedient not to try!

Despite middle grade novels being new territory for me, despite them also being new territory for e-readers, I am finally ready to take the plunge. I will step out in faith—with TONS of prayer—into uncharted waters.

And you should too.

I don’t mean that you should write kids books. But you should listen carefully at your critique groups. How do your peers define your strengths? When you write, what part of your book gives you the most satisfaction? In your non-writing life, what gets your heart pumping? Is there a place where these all intersect? Is there an uncharted territory God could be using you in, if you only had the faith to step out?

Obviously, I don’t have a contract in hand right now, or any other BIG sign to close this post with. I just have the faith to try. And that, at least from this side of the monitor, seems like a very big thing, to me.

(In the spirit of full disclosure, I recently finished the first of a three book mystery series that I plan to complete. Funnily enough, when I read the completed story I thought it sounded an awful lot like a Young Adult novel.)

Traci Tyne Hilton is an award winning playwright from Portland, Oregon, the author of the Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and one of the authors in the The Tangle Saga series of science fiction novellas.

Traci earned a degree in History from PortlandStateUniversity and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.

More of Traci’s work can be found at http://www.tracihilton.com

21 Ways to Celebrate Gratitude During Thanksgiving This Holiday Season

Guest post by Shelley Hitz

 Thanksgiving season is soon approaching and this year, I encourage you to take the opportunity to celebrate gratitude.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, take a moment (or two) to celebrate gratitude.

Here is a list of the 21 Ways.  Read about all 21 ways at Shelley’s website: http://www.bodyandsoulpublishing.com/21-ways-to-celebrate-gratitude-during-thanksgiving-this-holiday-season/

 

  1. Create a “Blessing Basket”
  2. Send a holiday care package to a soldier.
  3. Create Thanksgiving placemats
  4. Deliver a Thanksgiving meal to a neighbor that is house bound.
  5. Feed families by donating money to your local mission, homeless shelter or city mission.
  6. Create a Thanksgiving paper chain.
  7. Run a turkey trot (or walk).
  8. Create a journal of thanks.
  9. Mail a hand-written thank you note to someone that you appreciate
  10. Do a chore, provide a service or run an errand for a neighbor.
  11. Say your ABC’s this year …the ABC’s of Thanksgiving, that is.
  12. Send a letter of appreciation to an author that has impacted you through their books.
  13. Decorate your table with thanks.
  14. Create Thanksgiving place cards.
  15. Thank someone at work for doing their job well.
  16. Sing a song of thanks together.
  17. Be tree-mendously thankful this holiday season.
  18. Organize a scripture round robin.
  19. Visit a children’s hospital.
  20. Donate items to charity.
  21. Celebrate gratitude during your Thanksgiving dinner.

Gratitude Resource:

 

21 Stories of Gratitude:  The Power of Living Life With a Grateful Heart.”   Get your copy here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009YWM3WI

Are you living life to the fullest? Or are you merely surviving from day to day?

One way to live life to the fullest is to live each day with a grateful heart. In this book, we share 21 stories of gratitude to give you encouragement and hope in your own journey. Gratitude is possible! Even though many times we cannot change our circumstances, we can change the way we see them. We can ask God to empower us to change our thoughts.

 

Our prayer for you is that you find encouragement within these pages. And we pray that you will ask God for His strength to renew your mind with His truth and the hope He offers each one of us every day. It is only through Christ renewing our minds that we can truly live each day with a grateful heart.

 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

 

Other Gratitude Resources:

 

  • 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge:   Take the 21 days of gratitude challenge to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.  You can do this by yourself or as a family.

 

  • 21 Prayers of Gratitude:  Read a prayer of gratitude for 21 days to focus your heart on God and all He has given us.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Shelley Hitz

Shelley Hitz has been writing and publishing books since 2008. She is also the author of the website, FindYourTrueBeauty.com, that reaches thousands of girls each month around the world. Her openness and vulnerability as she shares her own story of hope and healing will inspire and encourage you.

 

Shelley has been ministering to teens since 1998 alongside her husband, CJ. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements.

 

You can find more about Shelley at www.ShelleyHitz.com or invite her to speak at your event here: www.ChristianSpeakers.tv

 

 

Walking with Jesus

by June Foster

I love rising early, watching the sunrise, and reading my Bible. God is faithful every morning in allowing the sun to come up and granting us another day. As if God is providing music along with all His other blessings, I hear a dove’s call from the giant oak tree next to the RV.

I was reading Matthew 11 toward the end of the chapter where Jesus is talking and teaching in the town of Galilee to any who would give Him ear. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The citizens of Galilee, the ones who had ears to hear, must’ve been comforted by those words. Then I wondered what was going through Jesus’ mind as he spoke them. Did He speak the message as if projecting it across the centuries knowing that people who had ears to hear in the year 2012 would also be hearing those words? I can’t help but imagine that He did.

These words are for me! And you! A thrilling thought. I don’t have to strive to be successful in God’s Kingdom but can rest in Him. How does that translate into my work as a writer? Many times I allow anxious feelings to dominate me. Are my skills improving? Is my novel ready for a publisher or agent? Rest. Jesus’ yoke is light. Halleluiah.

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012.  June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

Found

By Suzanne Williams

When I set out to write MISSING, it was a basic concept for a single story – that of a soldier missing in action and how his wife would move on. Little did I know how it would blossom into not one story, but three, spanning different generations, and subsequently, into a second book.

War and the effect of war on human beings is a tough subject no matter how you approach it. I thought long and hard on how to write each story, how to best represent the sacrifices of so many, and made my goal for you, the reader, to identify with the characters and in some small way feel like you were there.

I learned a lot through my research; I watched difficult films and had difficult conversations with those who served. I stood at the feet of the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall and cried when my father said, “There but for the grace of God am I.” And it has become my goal to never forget.

Yet as much as there were heartbreaking moments, there were joys as well. To represent God’s love on any level – the enduring love of a husband and wife, the love of a father and son, the love of a man for a woman – is a wonderful thing.

I am so excited about the release of FOUND. It represents the culmination of a life-long dream and a stepping stone to more books and more writing.

In celebration of this upcoming holiday season, I’m having a two book giveaway. To receive a print copy of both MISSING and FOUND, leave a comment below with your email address, and I will pick one random winner.

BLURB:

When Molly Sanders answered the phone, she wasn’t prepared for the person on the other end – her husband’s past had come back to haunt them. Yet a tragic accident and the unplanned visit of a boy from France will bring them something unexpected. Forgiveness.

Stephen and Adele Sanders’ never quite overcame the memory of John Davis. When personal tragedy threatens to tear them apart, it will take the divine move of God in a stranger’s life to bring healing.

Tad never fit into society until Beth Sanders loved him. Yet despite their wedded bliss, all is not as it seems. Looking back, Tad tells the tale of the mysterious threats that almost destroyed them, and of love that spans time.

EXCERPT:

(From Steven and Adele, Story #2, FOUND)

August 3, 2010, Hanoi, Vietnam

The Vietnamese marketplace teemed with life. Pressed in on every side, the young American girl sailed down the aisles wide-eyed, soaking in the incredible sights and sounds. She was a long way from home, yet found kindness in the friendly Vietnamese faces smiling at every turn. The sea of humanity sucked her in, and she surged forward.

The market held an impressive array of items: plastic baskets filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, tables of seafood – fish, crabs, and eels – racks of colorful clothing, even crates of live animals. A basket of ducklings peeped vigorously as she passed. Twisting and turning amongst the crowd, her gaze scanned the spectacle, and the crowd propelled her farther.

Her only break from movement came when the snake-like horde of people deposited her in a nook underneath a blue canopy. Here, she sucked in her breath and exhaled in a slow stream. She brushed her hair away from the sides of her face and adjusted the blue cloth ribbon of a conical hat she’d purchased.

An elderly Vietnamese woman extended her hand, a spiked fruit in her palm.

“For me?” the girl asked.

And the old woman smiled widely and nodded.

Lifting the fruit in her hand, the girl admired it, wondering as she had so many times this day what it was and how it tasted.

She reached into her pocket for a few coins, and a flash of light from around the old woman’s neck blinded her. Curious, she leaned forward. What was it? The flash repeated, casting two disc shapes on the ceiling and walls of the tattered canopy.

The girl’s eyes, already large from the day’s encounters, took on a completely new size. “Where did you get that?” she asked, and unthinking, she reached out for it.

But the old woman bowed her head, burying the necklace beneath her blouse.

That won’t do. I must see it.

“No, no. Please,” the girl begged. Her hand grasped the old woman’s shoulder, and at her touch, the woman hesitated.

“Please, I’ll … I’ll buy it.” She scrambled her fingers into her fanny pack, plucking out several crumpled bills.

“Here, take all of it,” she said.

At the sight of so much, the old woman’s face broke into a grin, yet she didn’t act.

***

The old woman stared at the money, her heart in her throat. The necklace meant so much to her for it reminded her of her children, though they were dead many years ago. However, the amount of money in the girl’s fist was a lot, and it would help she and her sister much. They only had each other.

Her hand went to her throat, and she clenched the discs tightly. She would, after all, always have her memories of them. She shut her eyes and heard their laughter again, bubbling in the air. She counted their sweet faces, smiling back at her.

The young American girl’s voice broke into her thoughts. Peeling open her aged fingers, the girl pressed the money into her palm, and instinctively the old woman’s fist curled around it.

She sighed. Perhaps it was time. If the necklace meant this much to her, then so be it. Looping the metal chain over her head, for a second she stared at it and her memories rushed past. Then, crumpling them into a heap, she placed them into the girl’s outstretched fingers.

My Opinion of the Narnia Movies

By Shaina Cilimberg

I am nerdy and immature enough to be a Narnia fan. However, I just want to get some things in the open. I am an author and I get that books take a lot of time, energy and patience. There’s this love/hate relationship going on between you and what you do. However, what annoys me is when people complain about the movies. They may not be exactly like the books, but I like both. To read people’s complaints about the movies, especially the parts I like takes the joy out of it for me.

Another thing is people saying I have to grow up, or being told to read books that would help with my writing. Granted, Narnia was written a long time ago but there is still inspirational stuff in there. Some of my writings have been inspired in part by the books and movies. It puts a lot of pressure on me when people say I can’t be a fan of Narnia, Justin Bieber or whatever do to my age. No, I don’t have posters of either in my room and I don’t kiss every picture of Justin Bieber that I see. I don’t have a Narnia shrine in my room or wear the clothes from the movies all the time. I get that the Bible talks about putting away childish things in 1Cor. 13. If you read the verse, it was about love. So those childish things would be impatience, not being kind, getting frustrated easily, selfishness, etc. They would not be writing “Bubbles” on your Facebook page or getting excited about something. So, being called immature and realizing I cannot make my 21st century characters talk like London kids from the 40s and fifties kind of puts a damper on things a little bit. The books are fun to read though and I love the movies.

I love Narnia because:

  1. Edmund’s Redemption. In fact, Kirk and Josh have hints of Edmund in them if you look closely. I would not mind if someone actually imagined Kirk looking like Edmund (Skandar Keynes)
  2. Eustace’s baptism. Read Acts 2:37-2:38, Mark 16:16
  3. The humor in both books and movies
  4. Lucy’s innocence. I am a lot like Lucy in that people do not usually believe me when I’m telling the truth, even though they should.
  5. It speaks against bullying. Read Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Silver Chair.
  6. Cute guys in the movies. (Will Moseley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter)
  7. Relatable characters. It does not matter what time period or how, bullying is bullying.
  8. Biblical meanings, “There I have another Name”- Aslan. Aslan’s death for Edmund’s sin and Resurrection
  9. Good inspiration for writing
  10.  The fun the cast had while making the movies.

We’ve all sinned, most of us have been bullied ( I have somewhat and not only by people at school), we all need God and face it: the closeness of the characters is inspirational in and of itself.

The Pattern

What Good Friday & Easter Sunday Teach Us about

Christian Romance Novels

You probably have never thought about this.  In fact, I only realized it a couple weeks ago and I’ve been reading and writing and viewing people’s stories for 42 years.  But I think it’s interesting so I’m going to share with you what I am learning about writing, reading, and life.

For a long time I’ve known that I don’t like unhappily ever after books.   I hate books that end in the death of the hero or heroine.  I hate books that string you along only to have a depressing ending. That drives me nuts.

Now I think I’m beginning to understand why.

The other day I heard this quote:  “Death does not win.”

When I read it, I was reeling from the death of someone who had died far too young, with so much left to give to the world.  It sure looked like death had won, but then as I thought about it and read through some comments of others reacting to the statement, I came to understand the paradox that we all live in.  To us, in this world, it looks like death wins.

I’m not just talking about physical death either.  I’m talking about the death of our dreams, the death of our hope, the death of everything we thought would bring us joy and happiness.  Look around you, you will see what I mean.  There’s the young bride who loses her husband in a freak car accident.  The young soldier who comes home crippled.  The child stricken with cancer.  The church that burns. The man who loses his family in his desperate attempts to provide for them.

Over and over you see this pattern played out.  People pushed to and past their limits.  People grieving for a past they can’t go back and fix.  People who are in a living death because moving on is either too difficult or too painful.  It is the story of life itself.

If the story ends there, we begin to believe that death does win, that the bad things are just too much for the good things to ever have a chance.  And if you stay there, in that belief, you’re in serious trouble. I’ve seen what hopelessness will do in a life, and it’s not pretty.

But here’s the thing:  I am beginning to understand that all of this death stuff is simply Good Friday.  Think about it, on Good Friday, it looked like death had won.  Jesus, the Son of God, was hung on a cross and killed.  I’m sure his followers and loved ones knew what hopelessness felt like at that moment when Jesus said, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.”  Don’t you? I’m sure “despair” would only have been the starting place for what they felt.

Now if that was the end of the story, death would have won.  Game, set , match done and over forever.

However, we as Christians know that wasn’t the end!  Think about the great gift we have been given of knowing that as horrifically bad as Good Friday was, that wasn’t the end of the story!  Because no matter how bad Good Friday is in a life, Easter Sunday is still coming!  No matter how bad things get, death doesn’t win. Life wins.  God wins.  And if we believe and follow Him, we win too!

So what does all of this have to do with writing Christian romance novels?

Ah, that’s the cool part!

You see, I don’t just see this pattern in lives around me. I see it in my stories.  The guy who was on drugs but who is trying for a new life and the Good Fridays he goes through of letting himself, his will, his plans go in favor of what God wants for him–commending his spirit into the Father’s hands.

Or maybe it’s the guy who has everything but is holding secrets he’s never told anyone.  Why?  Because giving them up would be dying to the self of perfection.  However, as we read through his story, death of self gives rise to… hope and more joy than he could ever have known holding onto all the stuff God was trying to get him to let go of.

And then there’s the young girl stuck behind her books who thinks life is so much safer when no one knows she’s on the planet.  As you read her story, you come to the understanding that it was only in dying to who she thought she had to be that she comes into who she was always meant to be.  The caterpillar’s metamorphosis into the butterfly.  Good Friday giving way to Easter Sunday.

These and so many, many more!

Think about this pattern in your own life.  What have you had to die to, lay down, surrender in order to get to Easter Sunday (or what might you need to give up, lay down, and surrender)?  For me, it was perfectionism and working to get everyone to approve of me.  It’s different for everyone, but I’m convinced now that no matter who you are, the pattern holds.  The choice is clear:  Stay stuck in Good Friday or give your spirit to God and move to Easter Sunday.

If you care to share a little about your pattern, I’d love to hear it.

I look forward to hearing what you think about this concept and your journey as well!

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012

Staci Stallings

 

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian author and the founder of

Grace & Faith Author Connection. You can check out Staci’s newest release…

For Real

Book 3, ~ THE COURAGE SERIES ~

“It will pull you in and touch your heart.”

Blaine Donovan has a secret, but so far his plan to keep the rest of the world in the dark about who he really is and what’s really going on in his life has worked. If he can just finish school before the demons catch up with him, he knows he can make life make sense once again. However, when he runs into Melody Todd, a semi-friend he had thought was long-gone, life takes a turn Blaine wasn’t at all expecting.

Still hurting from watching her best friend marry someone else, Melody Todd has given up on dating, guys, and on herself. In fact, when Blaine shows back up in her life, she does what she always does with the eligible guys who look her way—she sets him up with someone else. But Blaine soon proves to be much different than he at first seems. Too many things are not adding up the way they are supposed to, and the more Melody digs, the more she sees that the Blaine she knows is not the real Blaine at all…

“For Real will show you how you can lay those things that are preventing you from loving Jesus at the foot of the Cross. It will inspire you and give you hope.

 

Praying For Salvation

By June Foster

 

Is there anyone in your life – friend or family – that you’d love to see come to salvation? Have you been praying for this person for what seems like forever, and sometimes you ask God if He really hears your prayers? I have. And I’d like to encourage you. Don’t give up.

 

Let’s see what God’s word says. First of all, He wants everyone and that means the person you’re praying for, to come to Christ. 11Peter3:9 says “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Just as He waited until you were ready to receive Him, He’s waiting to save your friend or loved one when they are, and He absolutely wants them to enter into His Kingdom.

 

Have you been praying with someone else for that person’s salvation? Matthew 18:19 says “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” I know – God doesn’t violate a person’s free will and force them to receive salvation, but I’d say that agreement in prayer sounds like a powerful tool in seeking God.

 

Now Acts 16:31 says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Again, that’s no guarantee that another will be saved. But still, this statement is in the Bible and worth considering. If that person you’re praying for is a member of your family, I’d take this verse to heart. To me it indicates that there is a good possibility other people in your family will be saved when or after you do.

 

11Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is God-breathed.” This means it comes from God’s own mouth. So if God says something in the Word, we can trust it as truth. Pray for the person who’s on your heart and remind God what He says in His word. I believe when you storm Heaven in this way, your loved one doesn’t stand a chance to hide from God for long. I’ve seen it more than once in my own life.

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