God’s Mathematics

By June Foster

When I was an elementary teacher, I used the Venn diagram to teach the set theory showing the relationship between two groups of objects, numbers, concepts, etc.

The other day when I read “Jesus Calling” about our relationship with God, I thought of a small circle with me in the center. Then another with God in the center. I placed the God circle so it would intersect the me circle.

Part of me intersects with the God circle. But I’m holding back the rest of me and not allowing God in. I need to “erase” the two lines. Not only that, I need to move the me circle all the way into the God circle. And of course that circle is infinitely larger than the minuscule me circle. As large as infinity. No man could draw it.

I’m wondering how many of us intersect with God but hold back a portion of ourselves. Let’s erase any barriers that keep us from the Lord. Let’s live in perfect union with Him.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will love it, but however loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8: 34-35.

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.

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Tale of a Harpist

By Lynn Mosher

“Take a harp…play skillfully and make sweet melody…that you may be remembered.”

(Is. 23:16 AMP)

Suddenly taken ill, a renowned harpist was rushed to the hospital. While tests were being run to find the cause of his illness, he lay in his hospital bed, reminiscing over his life.

Seeing himself as a young boy, he remembered his dreams of becoming a famous harpist, even though his family was poverty stricken and could not afford even one string of a harp or music lessons.

Each day, after school, on his way to one of his many odd jobs, he stopped at the local music shop to quickly thumb through the catalogs of instruments, envisioning the day of owning a harp from what little money he saved.

He became great friends with the shop owner who took pity on him and allowed him to purchase, piece by piece, all the parts necessary to make a harp. Each new string added a new dimension of hope to his life.

After many years, he had all the parts and the shop owner assembled the beautiful harp for him. The shop owner’s wife, a music teacher, offered him free lessons, and, under her tutelage, he became an accomplished, well-known harpist in a very short time, thus fulfilling the purpose for his life. He was loved and admired by all.

As he laid there thinking about his life, he remembered the many setbacks and hardships he had suffered. His mother and father, as missionaries in a foreign land, were killed by natives. His sister, whom he loved dearly, was killed in a car accident. World War II took the life of his only son. After many years of marriage, his wife left him for someone else. Now, he was fighting for his life – alone.

As each trial took its toll on his life, he laid his harp aside. Yet, after each respite, he resumed his music, playing his beloved harp more beautifully than before. Each occurrence in his life brought more enthusiastic reviews from the critics.

Now, while lying in his hospital bed, depressed and having no desire to live, he asked the Lord why so many trying things had occurred in his life.

The Lord whispered to him, “You constructed your beloved harp from its many pieces with great love. For it to make its beautiful melodies, much effort and practice time was necessary. To keep it in tune, you tightened its strings every now and then.

“This is as your life, for it was put together with great love. Each sorrow, each disappointment, each heartache added a new string to your life. Each event was part of the process to tighten you and transform your life’s music. It was your choice whether it would be played in harmony or in discord. All prepared you to make beautiful melodies, each as a sweet praise to the Great Instrument Maker.”

After the review of his life, the great harpist rested back on his pillow, satisfied and comforted. He closed his eyes, content that he would awaken the next morning to play sweet melodies of praise to his Master – on his harp of many strings.

 

Lynn MosherThrough many hardships, trials, and health issues, I have learned to depend entirely on the Lord for everything. After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2000, the Lord whispered to my heart to write for Him. So, now, out of a great passion to reach others, I obey His call. You can find Lynn at http://lynnmosher.blogspot.com/

Thoughts on the New Release

By Staci Stallings

Eternity cover“Eternity” might be more accurately called “The one I’m going to get killed for,” and believe me, I fully know this going in.  Why?  Because I already know some of my Christian readers (especially the newer ones) will question the portrayal of Christians in this story.  They will say things like, “I would hardly call them Christian.  They went to church, but it didn’t seem to make any difference at all.”

That’s probably one reason I’ve called “Eternity” an inspirational (rather than Christian) romance in the past because I recognized this void almost from the start.  However, to be completely honest, that’s not totally accurate either.  I think “Eternity” is really about Christians who don’t know and live the meaning of the word.  They go to church, but church and God really don’t affect their lives in a practical way.

In fact, they are a lot like I was when I was younger–back when I thought the 10 Commandments were about God taking your fun away, making life harder with all of His rules, and waiting to bop you on the head if you broke one.  Since realizing God is about relationship more than religion, I now see my Father’s intense and immediate love in giving me these rules because in them, He is saying, “To be able to really LIVE, here are the ways to avoid life’s messiest, rottenest decisions that will really land you in a pit of yuck.”

So, I think ultimately “Eternity” is not just about the decisions and situations, it is also about how lost, confused, and deluded by the world even Christians can get when they see God as the rule-maker and punisher rather than as the all-wise, loving Father He is.

Therefore, if there’s not enough Christianity in this one for you, know that I knew that upfront and that I am simply giving you the story the way God gave it to me–with lost and hurting Christians who don’t realize they’ve had the Answer the whole time.  Call it a practical lesson in what happens when Christian is your label, not your life.

Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, #1 Best Selling Christian author, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Staci’s Internet “Home”:

http://www.stacistallings.net

Staci’s Ebook Romance Stories:

http://ebookromancestories.com

Facebook Author Page at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spirit-Light-Author-Staci-Stallings/266593276699576

A Violent Pen

By Laura J. Marshall

The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.

A violent heaven.

I feel the target as it hangs at my back and see the arrows as they take aim.

Does it matter?  Why persist?  Why resist?

Do I fear the enemy over the Lord?

The words linger and fight their way onto the page.

A violent pen.

I run to my Father and take His hand.

I tuck-in, trusting in His gaze as it sweeps over me and loosens the target.

It flutters to the ground, just paper on the breeze.

I run and grasp it, fodder for God’s purposes.

And equip myself for battle.

Faith, my shield.

Truth, my buckle.

The Word of God, my sword.

A violent heaven.

A violent pen.

laura Laura J. Marshall is a writer and mother of five boys.  Her first nonfiction book is called A Mom’s Battle Cry for Rest: Battle Cry Devotional Series.  You can find out more about Laura and her books at www.LauraJMarshall.com

laura's book

Her book on Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B00BI2HMDM

Breakfast Casserole and Fillers in Novels

By Traci Tyne Hilton

I had a houseful of family today, and I needed to feed them. I went with brunch—the perfect company food, for a million reasons.

  1. Buffet (perfect for a crowd in a small house. Sit wherever you want!)
  2. Donuts! (I mean really, what other meal are you allowed to serve donuts?)
  3. Make ahead main dish. (Mmmm breakfast casserole!)

The variations on breakfast casserole are endless. Every dish starts the same: Bread, milk, eggs. But from there you can do sweets or savories, ham, sausage or bacon, with veggies or with fruit. Basically, whatever you have on hand!

I went with sour cream, sausage and roasted bell pepper (with a dash of Worcestershire and garlic salt.)

Sausage, roasted peppers, eggs and toast would be another great way to serve those same ingredients, but the reason you make a breakfast casserole is because you don’t have enough of those things to feed everybody. Breakfast casserole uses cheap white bread to stretch the yummy ingredients farther. This is a great trick when feeding a crowd, but a terrible way to eat on a daily basis.

And it is a terrible way to create a book.

Once on a writer’s forum someone asked, “What do you all fill those pages between the actions with?” There was sense of panic to the question. The writer desperately wanted to make a whole novel out of a short story. He wanted to make a meal out of a snack. He wanted to know the secret filler we all used to make our novels stretch.

There isn’t one.

You either have enough action for a story, or you don’t.

If you love your story to death, and you don’t want to see it end up as a short story instead of a novel, I have three tricks for you. They aren’t filler. They aren’t for stretching your story the way a loaf of white bread stretches a breakfast casserole. They are good, solid tips for creating a novel length piece of fiction.

  1. Add another point of view. It’s a painless way to give your readers more of your story world and to add dimension to your tale. Dig through your character notes and figure out who you find the most compelling and who has the most at stake in the tale.
  2. Make life harder for your main character. I don’t know what genre you are writing, but if the only hard time your character is having has to do with the main plot line, and then you have plenty of room to explore. Most folks have family life, work life (or finding work life,) school, church, or neighborhood life that intersects and distracts from the main goal. Find ways that these other aspects of your main character’s life can make achieving her main goal harder. Your book will be both longer and more interesting.
  3. Dig into that deep POV! I am pretty sure that anyone writing their fist novel can give “more.” Tell us more about what your main character is thinking, feeling, smelling, tasting, and seeing as she (or he) makes her (or his) way through life. Two or three sentences per page of observation and experience can both deepen, and lengthen a book!

 

Want to know what tortures I put my main character through? Then check out Good, Clean, Murder: A Plain Jane Mystery, available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords!

About Traci

DSC_3217Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and one of the authors in the The Tangle Saga series of science fiction novellas. She was the Mystery/Suspense Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler Contest, a finalist for Speculative Fiction in the same contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. Traci serves as the Vice President of the Portland chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association.

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

Award Winning Mystery from Best Selling Author Traci Tyne Hilton!

Living on her own for her first time, Bible school student Jane cleans houses to make ends meet. But being independent brings big GoodCleanMurder3trials, like falling for a handsome professor, dealing with an obnoxious roommate, and then there’s the dead bodies…

Who knew being housekeeper to wealthy owners of a Roly Burger franchise would mean sweeping up clues to their death, while ministering to the needs of their heirs?

This is one big mess that Jane is intent on cleaning up before things get even worse.

 

BONUS!

 

My recipe for breakfast casserole.

 

I loaf of cheap white bread

Five eggs

Milk (I don’t know how much…enough to make the bread pretty soupy.)

About two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

About a teaspoon of salt/garlic salt

Two cups of red peppers

I package of cheap breakfast links

One cup of sour cream

Cut crusts off of bread, and then cut into quarters. Layer in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Break eggs into bowl. Add sour cream and beat. Add milk.

Cut the tops off of peppers and dice.

Cut sausage links into half inch pieces. Fry them up with the peppers. Add sausage and peppers to egg mixture.

Put half of the bread in the egg mixture. Let it get nice and soppy. Pour this over the remaining bread in the pan.

Cover and refrigerate over night.

Bake at 450 for an hour and a half.

Book review of Mikayla and Gregory Kane’s Angel Crest Deception

by Mary Campagna Findley

What if you were a world-renowned self-help guru with a shocking secret about someone you were completely unable to help? What if the curse of mental illness came mingled with an amazing gift of discernment, even prophecy? What ifyou had to question whether you already accepted the Mark of the Beast? Are you lost forever, already tagged and in the enemy’s camp, possibly participating in his campaign of deception?
The message of the Angel Crest Deception is one of the most unusual treatments of the end times I have ever read. I could hear the buzz of the approaching locust horde from the book of Joel. The torment of each character, the struggle for understanding, the renewing of minds who thought they had things all figured out — it’s all there.
Suspense, subculture influence, media power, are all represented here, and will all keep you reading. And I have a feeling there must be more to come. I know I want there to be.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Angel-Crest-Deception-ebook/dp/B008S1A0FS/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

mikaela book 1

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