Faith N' Fiction Saturdays

Saturday, November 29, 2008


It is Saturday, and once again time to do Faith N' Fiction Saturdays with My Friend Amy. Here is the question for this week.

Hello everyone! I was away all this week for the Thanksgiving holiday and just came back to an overflowing google reader and email inbox. But tis the season to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones and what better way than through Faith 'n Fiction Saturday?

As you may know, I launched a campaign to encourage people to buy books for the holidays (you can visit that site here) and there are some fantastic bloggers who have really contributed a lot of great ideas into the blog. I hope you check it out.

But now it's your turn to share some ideas! What books should others be buying for Christmas? Do you need any gift help? You can handle this topic in two ways....either make a list of recommended books to give as gifts this year OR ask a question about what book you should get someone. (for whom you have been unable to think of a book gift for).



I have read some great books this year, and even so not quite sure what to suggest, but I'm going to give it a shot.

If you have a reader who likes a good thriller that will keep them up at night until the last page is turned I suggest Isolation by Travis Thrasher.

For someone who likes chick lit, I'd say Kristin Billerbeck's series The Trophy Wives Club which that is book 1, and Back To Life is book 2 in the series.

With mid teen to young adult women I have to recommend The Daughter's of Boston series by Julie Lessman. The first book is A Passion Most Pure, the second is A Passion Redeemed.
For mid teens to young adults across the spectrum I have to recommend hands down It's Not About Me by Michelle Sutton.
These books are so powerful for our young people today. They speak on a level that they can understand and relate to. They're not preachy or demeaning - they're real.

For suspense I'd recommend Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins.

If you have readers that like the Amish my choice is Cindy Woodsmall's series Sisters of the Quilt. The first book is When The Heart Cries, followed by When The Morning Comes, ending with When The Soul Mends.

For historical I have to recommend the following In The Shadow of The Lions by Ginger Garrett, Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser, Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser, and Just Jane by Nancy Moser.

I can't think of any others. If I do I'll update my post.

Blog name change, and book rating change

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


With the help of a friend I've decided to change the name of my blog, and the rating system of how I rate the books. When I first started this blog it was for a completely different reason than what I use if for now. I originally started it just to keep track of my reading and blog about books here and there. Then I met Deborah of Books, Movies, and Chinese food and started doing blog tours for CFBA. I still kept with the same name and rating system, yet began branching out into wanting to make my blog look a little more reader friendly. Then I joined FIRST blog alliance and met Deena and saw how she rated the books and thought WOW!, I really need to figure out a better way to do this. So, I talked to Deena, she asked me some questions that really helped me focus on what would make this blog unique to me.
My rating system will no longer be stars, I will be using lighthouses. I fell in love with lighthouses when I was very young when I heard the song The Lighthouse by The Gaithers.

My url will not change, but the name of my blog will be Radiant Light. That is what I want to be, Radiant Light for Him. I'm really excited about all that God will do through me with my blog. I hope you all will continue to read along with me.

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving! ~Andie

Monday, November 24, 2008



It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Enoch

Realms (October 2, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Alton Gansky is the author of twenty-one published novels and six nonfiction works. He has been a Christie Award finalist (A Ship Possessed) and an Angel Award winner (Terminal Justice). He holds a BA and MA in biblical studies and has served as senior pastor for three Baptist churches in California, with a total of over twenty years in pulpit ministry. He and his wife live in the High Desert area of Southern California.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 307 pages
Publisher: Realms (October 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159979344X
ISBN-13: 978-1599793443

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


He first thought of his feet.

It seemed an odd first thought, but there it was. His gaze drifted to a pair of soft-topped shoes, each with a symbol stitched to the side.

"N." He wondered why anyone would stitch a letter on footwear.

He raised a foot, then wiggled it. The shoe felt good. He dug a toe in the sandy dirt, then raised his head. A field surrounded him. No crops, no buildings, no people. Just a wide expanse of rugged scrub that shivered in the cold wind.

A full-circle turn revealed nothing but the same: miles of empty land. He blinked against the wind and the bits of dirt and dust it carried. To the west the sun lowered itself to the horizon. In the opposite direction, darkness crawled up the sky, keeping pace as if the descending orb pulled a curtain of night behind it.

Turning to face the sun again, he saw a break in the expanse of near-barren ground. At its edge ran a thin fence. He moved toward it, amused at the soft crunch the earth made with each step of his N-shoes.

Something scampered to his right. A covey of quail sprinted away and then took to the air, flying a short distance before making contact with the earth again. The sight made him smile.

Henick wrapped his arms around himself to ward off the chilling breeze. The material of his multicolored shirt felt soft against his arms and palms. He kept his gaze down, protecting his eyes from the sun's glare and looking up only long enough to get his bearings and check for holes or rocks that might cause him to stumble.

The fence was a simple series of metal stakes supporting four strands of metal wire punctuated with evenly spaced barbs. He extended a finger, touched one of the points, and frowned. The knife-sharp tip drew a drop of blood. He stuck the offended finger in his mouth. A quick scan of the fence's length revealed no gate.

A short distance from the fence ran a wide, smooth, black surface with a series of white dashes down the middle. He marveled at its unerring straightness.

He returned his attention to the fence. He wanted to be on the other side but preferred to arrive there with skin and clothing intact. Placing a hand on the top strand, he pushed down. The metal wire moved, but not enough to make straddling the thing acceptable. He tried again, this time using both hands. The wire fence gave more but still too little.

Henick decided on a different approach. He stepped to the nearest metal upright and tested it. It looked old, as if it had spent a lifetime stuck in that one spot. Seizing it with both hands and careful to avoid the stinging wire, he shook the thin metal pole. It wiggled. He leaned into it and then pulled back, repeating the motion twenty or thirty times. The metal felt cold against his bare hands, and gritty rust tinted his flesh.

When he had worked the pole loose, he lifted its base from the ground, then moved to the next upright and reenacted the procedure. With two posts loose, Henick could step across the barrier without injury.

Once on the other side, he replaced the posts, stomping the surrounding dirt with his foot until the soil was as compact as he could make it. In time, weather would reseal the posts to their original strength.

The exertion had warmed him enough to raise a film of perspiration on his brow and beneath the black hair that hung to his shoulders. The breeze found each moist area and chilled it. He could expect a cold night.

Stepping to the middle of the black path, he bent and touched the surface. It appeared smooth but felt coarse beneath his fingers. The black material radiated gentle warmth. He straightened and looked up and down the long road. It seemed to have no end in either direction. Deciding that one direction was as good as the other, Henick began to walk, choosing his course so the wind would be at his back and not in his face.

When the last of the sun's disk fell beneath the horizon, Henick had made two or three miles. He passed the time by counting the white dashes in the middle of the strange path or wondering about the letter N on his shoes. He liked the shoes; they made walking easier.

A quarter moon replaced the sun in the sky but offered little light. Soon the final light would follow its source below the distant horizon. If he had remained in the open field, he would have had to stop his journey. Walking over uncertain and irregular terrain with no light would be foolish, but the hard path with its white lines made it possible for him to continue.

Just before the sun said its final good-bye, Henick saw a black and white sign with a puzzling, irregular shape and the words Ranch Road 1232. Sometime later he saw a sign that read Don't Mess with Texas.

The air moved from chilly to cold, but the breeze had settled.

Henick kept moving.

Lights and a rumble approached from behind. The light split the darkness and gave Henick a shadow that stretched impossibly long before him. He stopped and turned, raising a hand to shield his eyes against the glare.

The roar grew louder. The lights neared.

A sudden blaring assaulted his ears, but Henick stood his ground.

"What are you? Nuts?"

The voice came from behind the glare. A large metal device pulled alongside. The words pickup truck entered Henick's mind.

The vehicle stopped. "Have you plumb lost your mind, boy? I coulda run you down and not even known I hit ya. What are you thinking?"

In the dim light, Henick could see two people seated in the truck: a man in his sixties and a woman of the same age.

"Go easy on him, Jake. He looks confused. Maybe he's lost." The woman's voice rode on tones of kindness.

"That it, boy? You lost?"

"I am just walking," Henick said.

"In the dark? Where you headed?"

Henick thought for a moment. "That way." He pointed down the long stretch of road.

"Ain't nuthin' that way but Blink, and there ain't much reason for going there unless that's your home. I'm guessin' it ain't. Pretty small town; I think I'd have seen you before."

"I don't live there."

The man the woman called Jake exited the truck and eyed Henick. "It's a bit cold to be out in nuthin' but blue jeans and a flannel shirt. It's supposed to drop into the forties tonight."

"It is true. I am cold."

"Give him a ride, Jake." The woman had slid closer to the driver side door. "We can't leave him out here. He's liable to step in some pothole and break a leg."

"More likely he'd step on a rattler. They like the warm asphalt."

"Either way, Jake, we can't leave the man out here."

"All right, all right, just keep your shoes on." Jake looked at Henick. "Turn around."

Henick raised an eyebrow.

"Turn around, boy. I jus' wanna make sure you ain't packin'."

"Packin'?"

"Totin' a gun. You sure you haven't wandered off from some kinda home for the slow?"

"Jake!"

"All right, Eleanor, I don't mean no disrespect." He motioned for Henick to turn in place. Henick did. "OK, here's the deal. I'll give you a ride, but that's all. Me and the wife were going into town for a meal. Friday night is our evening out. Been doing that for thirty-five years."

"I would like a ride."

"Yeah, well, don't have no room for you up front, so you'll have to ride in the back. I got some blankets to keep the wind off you. It's the best I can offer."

"Thank you." Henick climbed into the bed of the truck and leaned against the cab.

"Blankets are behind my seat. I'll get 'em."

A few moments later, Henick, snug in two wool blankets, turned his face heavenward, gazed at the stars, and wondered what a "Texas" was.

Sunday, November 23, 2008



It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The First Escape

SaltRiver (August 20, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A motorcyclist and former rock band roadie turned Anglican minister, Graham Peter (G. P.) Taylor has been hailed as "hotter than Potter" and "the new C. S. Lewis" in the United Kingdom. His first novel, Shadowmancer, reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2004 and has been translated into 48 languages. His other novels include Wormwood (another New York Times bestseller which was nominated for a Quill book award), The Shadowmancer Returns: The Curse of Salamander Street, Tersias the Oracle, and Mariah Mundi. Taylor currently resides in North Yorkshire with his wife and three children.

Visit the author's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $ 19.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: SaltRiver (August 20, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414319479
ISBN-13: 978-1414319476

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
















The Blood of Our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This is an amazing video! I had the chills watching it! We have an awesome God!

FAITH 'N FICTION SATURDAYS

It's once again time for Faith 'n Fiction Saturdays with My Friend Amy. Here is our question for today. Today's Question:
We've been blessed to finally start seeing some of our favorite Christian books come to life on film. So far, these have been largely low budget films, but they generally get the heart of the books across. But my question for you is...if you had an unlimited budget, what Christian fiction book would you like to see made into a film? Who would you cast in the main roles? Would you have a preference on director? Any songs you'd like to see on the soundtrack?

I'm afraid that my answer is not going to be very popular. I am one of those book readers that cringe when I see one of my beloved books becoming a movie. Why you ask? Because Hollywood gets it wrong, ALL THE TIME! They take out the most important parts of the book, or dialogue, and I sit either in the theater or in my home saying WHAT? WHERE IS THAT? and I end up being so incredibly disappointed that it's just not worth it to me. I have yet to see The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. Tori, my son in law, has the movie, and yet I don't want what I imagined as a child reading the books or even when I re-read them to my children to be diminished. For example . . . The entire Lord Of The Rings trilogy was so far off from what J. R.R. Tolkien wrote it wasn't even funny. They didn't even start with The Hobbit, and talk about a budget, that one was out of this world! I would just rather keep what the author penned, and I imagined in my mind that have someone mess it up on screen.

MY MOST FAVORITE SONG EVER! MAY GOD BE PRAISED!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008



It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Pure Gold

Authentic (September 15, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


PAM DAVIS is an author and motivational speaker who views her charge as bringing the timeworn truths of Scripture to life. Pams candid teaching style not only enlightens but also entertains, leaving her audiences with a refreshed desire for the living Word of God. She lives with her husband, Steven, and three children in Fort Worth, Texas.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Authentic (September 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934068640
ISBN-13: 978-1934068649

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Gold and Grace

I remember a time in college when I headed to the beaches in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for spring break. No, I wasn’t there for something honorable, such as being part of a missionary team doing beach evangelism. In fact, I was more like the prodigal son in the company of swine about to come to my senses.

I sat in my car, thinking, I can’t find you, God. I’ve tried everywhere, good places and bad, but I can’t find you. I’ve tried church, seminars, books, even Bible college.

Then I said out loud, “Running in circles, where to start?” And in my heart, an answer followed: “The answer lies within your heart.”

Hmmm. So I put my hands on the steering wheel and continued out loud, “Running in circles, where to begin?” And again in my heart I heard, “Quit seeking outside and seek within.”

This was such a novel thought. As a child, I had asked Jesus into my heart to save my sinful soul. So where did I expect to find him, except in my heart? As a confused college student, I suddenly realized the extent of my disorientation. Looking for God and his grace out there was like driving the wrong way on a highway. I’m doing everything right—foot on the gas, hands on the wheel, eyes on the road. And yet something’s terribly wrong—I’m causing one crash after another, and I have the dings and dents to show for it. Not to mention the fact that my anxiety is off the charts.

This reminds me of the story of a woman driving down the highway when her cell phone rings. It’s her husband, and frantically he shouts, “I just heard on the radio that a car is driving the wrong way on the highway you’re on. Please be careful!”

“Dear, it’s not one car,” the woman responds. “It’s hundreds of cars!”

We can easily be like that—disoriented. We can easily be disoriented from the truth that if we’re saved by God’s grace—through Christ Jesus—then he’s not merely out there as a transcendent reality. But he also lives immanently, within our spiritual hearts, guiding and equipping us from within. Maybe we become disoriented so easily because we live in a culture so foreign to this biblical truth of a God-within reality. So that there is no confusion as to the term God-within reality, let me quote the words of Bible teacher Arthur W. Pink: “The great mistake made by most of the Lord’s people is in the hoping to discover in themselves that which is to be found in Christ alone.”1 If you have been born again by the Spirit of God, then indeed within you is Christ’s nature, and within him is the God-within reality.

Whether you’re driving on a highway or trying to find God, disorientation can be deadly. Jesus knew this. He sent a messenger to a group of Christians to point out their disorientation and to reorient them. No wonder these believers were disoriented. Look at the foreign environment where they lived. Their society focused on freedom so much that they named their city “Rights of the People.” They built their city in honor of a woman; so if a statue stood at the edge of town, it would have been a woman. These people, richest among their neighbors, established an elaborate banking system. Their textile industry made their citizens among the most finely dressed of their era. Their sophisticated medical school boasted advanced treatments.

No, this isn’t a city in your country! It was Laodicea, the home of a church Jesus sent a messenger to. Listen to his words: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich” (Revelation 3:17–18).

Could Jesus be talking to us? Could our environment be so similar to that of the Laodicean Christians that we’ve also become disoriented, claiming we do not need a thing? His words are addressed to the “church.” Could we—the church—be in a state of spiritual bankruptcy even though we’re saved? If so, what did Jesus mean that we can buy gold from him and become rich?

Let’s find out together—just in case we’re the ones driving the wrong way.


The Commodity: Grace That Yields Life

My friend Laura2 was a worker ant, or so it seemed. When she got up each morning, she organized her day, her husband’s day, and their four children’s day. Efficient, organized, and with a mind that worked at lightning speed, she was a vital member of her church, Parent-Teacher Association, and her husband’s business. I felt tired just listening to her schedule, and I often sighed in amazement at all she seemed to accomplish every twenty-four hours.

Yet this worker ant, who was part of God’s kingdom, grew unresponsive spiritually. Instead of the once-glowing and enthusiastic woman I loved to laugh with, my friend grew uniform and almost militant in her pursuit of productivity. Her spiritual life seemed to exist in a hole that she dug deeper and deeper away from the light. I remember praying, “God, she doesn’t have to be a worker ant. You recreated her to be a queen—one who has wings and can leave the hole she’s digging herself into to visit the heavens. You’ve transformed her and made her capable of breeding spiritual life.”

An opportunity arose in God’s divine timing. One day Laura came over for coffee and noticed a sticky note on my refrigerator that reads, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.” As she read it, she became deeply irritated and cried out, “If I don’t plan things, they won’t happen!” I countered, “Then what? You fail?”

After a moment, tears spilled from the corners of her eyes. Happiness, satisfaction, and joy had subtly been linked to productivity instead of to a relationship with Christ. That was okay for a worker ant. But not for a queen.

As we worked our way through a box of tissues together, we talked about the “have to’s” of life: have to take care of her family, have to fulfill what she felt God wanted to do through her in her church, have to be a helpmate in her husband’s business. Then the challenge surfaced: If she didn’t plan, how would she accomplish all the have to’s? What resource could she draw on?

I told Laura that God had been teaching me how his grace is a resource that yields life. We can accomplish our activities as a manifestation of that life. Each day we can experience joy instead of the slow death of a numbing routine. I knew because I had experienced it both ways. Like Laura, in my attempt to be an obedient Christian, I had somehow missed the message that we not only begin our salvation by grace but also live it out by grace. In fact, I had found a verse that said this perfectly: “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3).

It took some time, but Laura began to yield to God. As she saw him working within her each day, his grace brought excitement and childlike anticipation to her life. Somehow, she still accomplished all the necessary tasks—not always in the order or the ways she anticipated—but they got done. This new way of living surfaced another, more powerful, force behind Laura’s need for productivity: her desire to be in control. Slowly and intentionally she discovered that when she yielded her control to Christ, she experienced his divine grace—the spiritual sweat of God’s diligent work in and through us.

In addition, like a queen ant, she hatched “eggs”—eggs of life. Because Laura possessed grace, other people she came into contact with were dusted effortlessly with life. The worker received grace by faith to be a queen.


Disgustingly Lukewarm Believers

Each of us must receive from the Holy Spirit the very real spiritual commodity of grace to live Christ’s life deposited within us. Receiving this grace comes through faith—faith in God instead of faith in self. Jesus desires that we possess all his riches: “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” (John 16:15).

However, most of us are like Laura used to be. We get so wrapped up in getting through each day in an orderly fashion that we forget to put our faith in God. As we gradually transfer faith in him to faith in ourselves, we become lukewarm.

Jesus addressed this phenomenon in his message to the Laodicean Christians: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:14–16).

Jesus used strong language with these followers. He said, “I am about to spit you out.” Actually, that’s a nice way of saying, “I want to vomit you out”! Why did these Christians sicken Jesus so much?

In the ancient world, the master of the feast served cold beverages to refresh and revive or hot beverages to soothe and comfort. However, a lukewarm beverage—like drinking warm salt water—can make you sick. The Laodicean Christians knew this well, because they piped their drinking water from a city a few miles to the north. So by the time it reached their city, it was often lukewarm and even sickening to drink.

Yet instead of vomiting out these apathetic believers, Jesus offered them gold! This isn’t gold as we usually think of it. It wasn’t a tangible treasure. In fact, the Laodicean Christians had that. They paid more than twenty pounds in gold to Rome for taxes each year, yet Jesus called them “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Instead, Jesus offered gold that the Old Testament prophet Malachi described this way: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness” (Malachi 3:3).

God’s pure gold is his grace. Only this kind of gold can make us truly rich. Instead of us being wretched and afflicted, his grace enables us to endure troubles. Instead of us being pitiful, God’s grace supplies us with the power to perform. Instead of us being poor and empty in satisfaction, his grace gives us wealth of significance. Instead of us being blind, the Lord’s grace enables us to perceive eternal reality. And instead of us being naked, impoverished morally, and dishonoring of our purpose for existence, God’s grace allows us to be clothed in right standing with him and able to offer righteous acts that will revive and comfort our disoriented world. All this will happen as we buy gold from Jesus.

The word buy is interesting (Rev. 3:17–18). Isn’t God’s grace free? Should Jesus have said, “receive” instead of “buy”?

Jesus is specific and intentional, and he indeed does say, “Buy.” Why? Because when you buy instead of receive, your heart moves toward what you desire at a cost. In essence, Jesus was saying to these Christians who lived in a materially abundant society, “Don’t just desire to be rich in God’s grace; take action at a cost to yourself to receive grace.” Let’s examine what that looks like.


Physical and Spiritual Gold

Even though God’s grace is spiritual gold, we can understand it better by comparing it to physical gold. For example, we know from artifacts of ancient civilizations that physical gold has been treasured since the beginning of history.3

Grace—spiritual gold—has also been treasured since the beginning of history. Philo, a first-century Jewish philosopher asserted,

The just man seeking to understand the nature of

all existing things, makes this one most excellent

discovery, that everything which exists, does so

according to the grace of God, and that there is

nothing ever given by, just as there is nothing

possessed by, the things of creation. On which

account also it is proper to acknowledge gratitude

to the Creator alone. Accordingly, to those persons

who seek to investigate what is the origin of

creation, we may most correctly make answer, that

it is the goodness and the grace of God, which he

has bestowed on the human race; for all the things

which are in the world, and the world itself, are

the gift and benefaction and free grace of God.4

Physical gold is also rare and beautiful. Even primitive people greatly desired this precious metal. However, they didn’t value gold for its beauty alone. They thought gold was divine—the sweat of the gods.5 When the ancient Egyptians discovered gold nuggets in riverbeds, they concluded that the gods had been working in Egypt and that the nuggets of gold provided evidence of the gods’ sweat. They also believed that this rare commodity held magical power to cure illness and give knowledge.

Grace, spiritual gold, is certainly rare and beautiful—so rare that we can only find it in one source: Jesus Christ. Grace is also mystical, because we can’t explain how grace given by Jesus Christ can cure illness, give knowledge, and impart life. The apostle Paul expressed it this way: “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! . . . For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ”

(Romans 5:15, 17).

Further, grace is truly divine. We could say that God’s grace is the spiritual sweat of his diligent work. Jesus said, “My Father has worked [even] until now, [He has never ceased working; He is still working] and I, too, must be at [divine] work” (John 5:17 amp).

I like this summary of God’s grace: inexhaustible, unmerited benefits that give us joy, pleasure, goodwill, thanksgiving, and the essential benefit—spiritual life.


A God of Grace

Almost everyone knows the Old Testament account of Noah and the ark. But in the many retellings of these events, we often miss the point. God revealed his abiding presence, provision, and authority, showing himself to be a God of grace, to Noah and his entire family and to generations that followed.

When I think about the story of Noah, I envision it like this:

In Noah’s time, lust had replaced love. The lust

for wealth led to murder. The lust for sex led to

beastly unions. Noah tried to remind his friends

and coworkers that they were fortunate to have

life in their bodies, to have food in their bellies,

and to have children in their arms. All this

provided evidence of the goodness of their God.

But they wouldn’t listen. They didn’t care. Their

evil thoughts and actions vilely betrayed the love

of their unseen God.

Alone, with his eyes toward heaven, Noah

searched for God’s formless face. Silently, he

declared his devotion to righteousness, knowing

in the pit of his being that this pleased God. And

God responded, “Noah, I’m going to put an end

to all people, for the earth is filled with violence.

All the people of earth have corrupted their ways.

I am surely going to destroy both them and the

earth.” The words sent a shock through Noah’s

body. But before Noah could respond, God

added, “But you, Noah, have found grace in my

sight.”

Of course, the rest of Noah’s story is well

known. God instructed him to build the ark,

to gather pairs of every kind of animal, and to

prepare for the flood. Noah and his wife, and

their sons and their wives, along with the animals,

were the only survivors of the flood.

After the floodwaters subsided, Noah stood

with the grass moist beneath his feet and his

sun-kissed face toward heaven. He beamed as

tears streamed down his cheeks. Birds fluttered

overhead. The jackrabbit and kangaroo seemed

to race. Horses galloped by as bears rolled in

the grass, scratching their backs. With his hands

clasped behind his back, Noah felt a fragile hand

in his own. He turned and again was enraptured

by his own mate’s eyes. “God has made a new

home for us,” she whispered tenderly.

At that moment, voices they’d heard a

thousand times registered in their ears: “Mom!

Dad! Look!” Turning toward their children, Noah

and his wife saw the heavens as a brilliant canvas

cascading with vibrant colors. A new home, a

new land, love, harmony, blessing. Fixed on the

glorious sky, Noah declared, “This rainbow is a

sign of God’s grace toward all life on the earth.”

(author’s summary of Genesis 6:9–9:17)


Eternal Drudgery or Eternal Dynasty?

Even today God testifies that he a God of grace. Yet we often fail to stake our claim on the gift of grace in Jesus Christ. Like my friend Laura, we face a choice of what we want to participate in. We might call it eternal drudgery or eternal dynasty. So often we choose the drudge—and we end up feeling lost, hopeless, useless, numb, stale, and even obsolete.

God, however, wants us to choose the dynasty and that is why Jesus warns: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

What keeps us from making the obvious choice—the lifegiving choice of God’s grace? I believe for most of us it is a fundamental misunderstanding of grace. Jerry Bridges wrote, “I suspect most of us would say we declared permanent bankruptcy. Having trusted in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation, we realized we could not add any measure of good works to what He has already done. However, I think most of us, actually declared temporary bankruptcy. Having trusted in Christ alone for our salvation, we have subtly and unconsciously reverted to a works relationship with God in our Christian lives. We recognize that even our best efforts cannot get us to Heaven, but we think they earn God’s blessings in our daily lives.”6

For most of us, just trudging through life day to day blinds us from seeing our need for God’s grace. Look at the following areas of life, and think about how each of these can challenge your need for God’s grace.


• Spiritual life: Do you feel barren or empty? Or do you sense that you’re growing and even reproducing life in others?

• Physical life: Do you constantly sense a decrease in force or energy? Or are you alive with energy provided by your relationship with the Holy Spirit?

• Mental life: Do you feel like you’re regressing from a state of stability—maybe feeling lost or even having perverse thoughts? Or do you feel vivid, charged, and stable, with your experiences creating pleasant and fulfilling memories?

• Emotional life: Do you go through most days feeling numb, lacking power to respond? Or do you feel passionate about your relationship with the Lord—having a relationship that you could describe as glowing or on fire?

• Appearance: When you look in the mirror, would you describe yourself as lacking radiance, cold, or even steely? Or would you say that you’re bright, glowing, and animated because of your relationship with Christ?

• Activities: As you go through each day, week, month, and year, do you see the things you need to accomplish as decreasing in quality or as too uniform and listlike in nature? Or do you find a variety in your activities that allows you to approach them with a sense of vigor and a satisfaction that you’re accomplishing tasks out of your love for God?

• Relationships: Do you find yourself easily offended or sense that your relationships with others are stale? Or would you describe your relationships as pure, vital, and functioning because of who you are in Christ?

If the first question in each of these areas describes you more often than the second, you might sum up your feelings by saying that your physical existence is more an experience of death than life.

But is that really what you want? Instead, most of us would rather answer yes to each area’s second question. Those questions describe true life when we embrace God’s precious treasure of grace.

How conscious are you of God’s desire to extend his grace to you each day? Maybe your image of God is one of a detached king in an air-conditioned heaven, feasting on grapes and wine. But that’s not who God is at all! Instead, he is working, creating you in Christ to be a work of grace and to do his works of grace. God is a hands-on God, who works efficiently, extending grace with his hand of Light—Christ. God touches us with the Holy Spirit, causing us to grow, have life, and bear fruit for him. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:16).

“I chose you.” Those three words alone illustrate how God actively works in our lives. Pastor and teacher Oswald Chambers commented on those three words: “That is the way the grace of God begins. It is a constraint we cannot get away from; we can disobey it, but we cannot generate it. The drawing is done by the supernatural grace of God, and we can never trace where His work begins. Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self entirely into union with Himself.”7


The King’s Throne: God’s Throne of Grace

I will never forget one of the most dramatic examples of God’s grace at work that I have ever witnessed. In October 1996 Yankee Stadium was filled with people on their feet. The roar was deafening. The pitch was thrown, and the home crowd went wild as the pop-up was caught, and the New York Yankees won the World Series. John Wetteland, the thirty-year-old closing pitcher, was swept up in the air by his teammates. My husband, Steven, and I sat in front of our television set with tears streaming down our cheeks as we watched John scan the stands, searching for his wife, Michele.

I first met Michele in the spring of 1990, when both of our husbands were in major league spring training camp with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yet I’d heard of Michele much earlier. Before either of us got married, our future husbands, Steven and John, were roommates during winter ball in Puerto Rico. Apparently, the women pursuing John in his single days were notorious, and the other ballplayers teased John about his pursuers, referring to them as a harem.

Michele was busy pursuing God’s will for her life, attending college and working part-time. When John, the renowned “king of the ladies,” visited her hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, for a series of games, Michele was certainly intrigued and fascinated, but not captured. Michele already considered herself part of a harem—she was a bride of the Lord Jesus, and she resided in his court, respecting his kingdom’s rule.

This posed a problem for John, who indeed was captured by Michele. Instead of being lured by John’s gold and the prospect of more gold, Michele turned away. Like the Grinch in the Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas, John was struck with amazement: What’s this? No cards? No calls? No boxes? No bows?

Intrigued and fascinated by whatever commodity could compete with his own, John met the lover of Michele’s soul—the Lord Jesus Christ. Admitting that he’d been trying for years to fill a void in his life that he never could fill, John surrendered himself to God’s kingdom and received an overabundance of grace—the spiritual gold that really satisfies.

Steven and I watched as John stood beside Michele and their twin daughters to receive the trophy for the Most Valuable Player in the World Series. Emotion-filled words choked from his lips: “I would first like to thank Jesus Christ—my point man. Then my wife, Michele, who is my rock.” John was correct with this declaration, because the Rock of Jesus Christ is inside Michele Wetteland. Her spiritual grasp was stretched in her courtship with John, and now she’s richer in every way for choosing to possess God’s grace, instead of merely the world’s gold.


Thrones of Gold

All of us must make the same choice that Michele faced. Will we place ourselves or the world or a myriad of other things on the throne of our lives? Or will we become royal children of God, placing him on the throne to rule and make us rich with his grace? As followers of Christ, each believer becomes part of God’s royal spiritual kingdom. Since we are his royal children, God doesn’t withhold any good thing from our spiritual life. The psalmist wrote, “The Lord God . . . gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11 nlt).

Of course, the false thrones of the world certainly look attractive. This was true even in ancient civilizations. The pharaohs and high priests of Egypt sat on gold thrones, and their palaces and temples sparkled and gleamed with gold. They sat on hammered gold-sheathed furniture surrounded by golden statues. Gold thread shimmered in draperies, tapestries, and clothing. The very walls shone with gold. At night royalty slept on gold beds. When Queen Hatshepsut rose from her morning bath, she powdered her body with gold dust. The Egyptians buried their royalty in gold, wrapping their bodies in yards and yards of linen strips with golden jewels placed in the wrappings. The coffins that held the wrapped bodies and the jars that held their vital organs were covered in gold. We could say that a royal Egyptian’s journey through life to afterlife was a path of gold.8

In contrast, God offers us his true throne of grace. He and Jesus are seated on this throne of grace. Yet God’s grace also pervades every part of his kingdom. He purchased his royal children’s salvation with grace. We, his heirs, are covered with grace. We display his grace, and we sit with him by grace. Because we are royal children of God, our journey through life to eternity is a path of grace.

The writer of Hebrews described the Lord’s throne this way: “We have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God. . . . Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:14, 16).


God’s Grace: Spiritual Wealth

You might recall the Old Testament account of Sarai and Abram. God gave this husband and wife an opportunity to exercise their faith and to increase their capacity to receive spiritual wealth—God’s grace. God initiated his grace by calling Sarai, and by faith she received grace when she obeyed God by following her husband.

Sarai was stunningly beautiful. Living in the excitement of a metropolitan city, this woman had looks, wealth, love, and servants. Even her name was a blessing: “my princess.” Yet for all the things Sarai had, she lacked one thing—a child. In her day, nothing she possessed compared with what she lacked.

Then God told Sarai, through Abram, to leave her familiar surroundings and travel with Abram to an unknown land that he would show them, promising that it would be worth their while. The land they journeyed to was occupied by another nation, and the people there were experiencing a famine. This meant that Sarai and Abram faced famine as well when they arrived. What were they to do? Trust in self-rule or God’s rule? God had placed them on the road, and they would learn that God would preserve them on the road. They would learn to follow, not lead.

Fearing for his life, due to the famine in the land, Abram decided to take an independent journey, traveling from the land of God’s choosing down to Egypt and right out of God’s perfect will. Then, fearing that the pharaoh might kill him and seize Sarai for his harem, Abram stepped further out of God’s will and hatched his own plan.

Abram said to Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you” Genesis 12:11–13).

The choice Sarai faced didn’t appear to be a grace-laden path at all. Instead, it appeared to be a dead end, where she would lose her chastity, her honor, and her promise for a happy and fulfilled life. She found herself at a crossroads of two kingdoms: not Egypt’s or her husband’s, but self-rule or God’s rule. Certainly, self-rule seemed reasonable, because Sarai thought she would lose everything. Assertiveness, as we will see later, wasn’t something she lacked. Yet God promised her what self-rule could never give her: a child.

So Sarai trusted God, yielding to her husband and obeying his wishes. This placed her right in the gold-adorned court of Pharaoh, Egypt’s ruler. The Egyptian courts at this time were lavish in golden d├ęcor. The Egyptian goldsmiths were experts at combining different colors of gold in their patterns. Adding iron gave gold a purple hue, copper made it red, and silver made the gold pale yellow.

Draped in an array of physical gold as part of the king’s harem, Sarai remained obedient to God. Although she was physically trapped in Egypt, she had not ventured spiritually from the court of the King of Kings. God rescued this royal child and, consequently, her husband and their entire entourage, sending “great plagues” on Pharaoh and his household. This all happened before Egypt’s king could violate her in any way. Abram, her husband, was shamed for his lack of faith in attempting to sustain his life apart from obedience to God.

With Sarai’s spiritual grasp stretched by exercising her faith, she possessed more grace/gold than when she arrived; she left Egypt as a wealthy woman spiritually as well as materially. Pharaoh treated Abram well for Sarai’s sake, and Abram acquired sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and servants.


The Golden Path of Grace

Sarai chose the path of grace. This golden road leads away from trusting in self-rule toward complete reliance on God. As Christ’s followers, we all face this choice. Will we place ourselves or Jesus Christ on the throne of our lives? If we choose to let Jesus reign, God promises that we will experience the richness of his grace in our present life and in eternity. The apostle Paul eloquently described this great gift of grace: “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]” (Ephesians 2:10 amp).

Did you catch that? God has prepared paths for us, and we should walk in them! Yet we so often stumble on the path, failing to live the abundant life God has for us. Paul addressed the reason for our stumbling: “What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone.’ As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame’” (Romans 9:30–33).

How interesting that Paul described Jesus as a stumbling stone. Think about that. You don’t stumble over a mountain or even a huge boulder. You stumble over a nugget that’s right under your nose, because you didn’t see it. That’s the way it is with God’s grace. His grace is right under our noses, there to meet our every need throughout each day. But instead of realizing it, and instead of kneeling down and receiving it, we stumble along in unbelief.

Walking the golden path of grace isn’t a scurry through the mall or a race measured by speed. It’s a deliberate, intentional climb up the jagged face of a mountain with stones mixed in with hard dirt.

When we think about the consequences of stumbling while climbing a mountain compared to stumbling on a flat terrain, we understand why the psalmist declared, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). A light on a dark and dangerous mountain, pointing out nuggets that when overlooked would become stumbling stones, would be the difference between a steady assent and a bloody heap of broken bones.

In the same way, as we travel up the golden path of grace, God’s written Word is the light that points to who Christ is and the grace we can receive. When we see and receive nuggets of truth of who he is on our individual, prearranged path and trust him completely, we are never put to shame. “I want those already wise to become the wiser and become leaders by exploring the depths of meaning in these nuggets of truth” (Proverbs 1:5–6 lb). Possessing his spiritual richness and abundance sounds better

than a bloody heap of broken bones!


—————————— Nuggets——————————

G od’s

R iches

A t

C hrist’s

E xpense

——————— A Prayer of Grace ———————


Lord God, we acknowledge we exist only because of your grace toward us. You are our Creator, and we praise you for our very existence, our planet, and all that spans beyond our universe. We acknowledge the rarity and beauty of your grace given to us in Jesus Christ, and we know that no one can come to you apart from him.

Father, we acknowledge that you are always working in and around us, pouring out your grace as you re-create us in Christ Jesus to do the very works of grace you have preplanned for us. We acknowledge that two roads exist in life. One we walk by our natural resources that lead to destruction. The other we walk intentionally as a spiritual road of grace that leads to life. Thank you for providing this golden road of grace and the gate, Jesus Christ, by which we gain access.

Help us, Lord, to slow our pace, to take our steps cautiously, so as to live the abundant life you have prearranged and made ready. Amen.


——————— Questions for Reflection ———————

• Reflect on a time when you or your family was lost. How did it make you feel?

• What were some of the reasons you lost your way?

• If walking the golden path of grace isn’t a scurry through the mall or a race measured by speed, how conducive is your lifestyle to carefully walking the golden road of grace? Is your goal to keep pace with grace or pace with the world?

• Consider a time when you have stumbled in unbelief in difficult circumstances. How did God show you he was present and there for you?


Notes

1. Arthur W. Pink, The Doctrine of Sanctification (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1955), 200.

2. Not her real name.

3. Richard B. Lyttle, The Golden Path (New York: Atheneum Books, 1983), 15.

4. Philo Judaeus, The Works of Philo (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), CD-ROM.

5. Lyttle, Path, p. 21.

6. Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1991), 17.

7. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1935), 73.

8. Lyttle, Path, p. 10.


FROMMIPOV: I really enjoyed this book. It was one of those books that really allow you to settle down, and quiet yourself before God. While we have the Bible, and can always go there, I also like having a book that helps navigate me when I'm frazzled, and this is exactly what I found this book to be. I highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips

FaithWords (November 5, 2008)

by

Stephen Baldwin
&
Mark Tabb


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

STEPHEN BALDWIN - actor, family man, born-again Christian - makes his home in upstate New York with his wife and two young daughters.

Equally adept at drama and comedy, Baldwin has appeared in over 60 films and been featured on such top-rated television shows as Fear Factor and Celebrity Mole. He has his own production company that is developing projects for television and the big screen. These days, however, his role as director, co-producer and host of Livin' It - a cutting-edge skate video is bringing out his white hot passion for evangelism.

Writer and communicator Mark Tabb calls himself an “internationally unknown author.” Although his books have been published around the world, he is best known for his collaborative works. His 2008 release, “Mistaken Identity”, written with the Van Ryn and Cerak families, hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list for two weeks, and remained on the list for over two months. He and actor Stephen Baldwin teamed up on their 2005 New York Times bestseller, “The Unusual Suspect,” and with their first work of fiction, “The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips,”


ABOUT THE BOOK

Even years of experience haven't prepared Officer Andy Myers for this case---

When Officer Andy Myers met Loraine Phillips, he had no interest in her son. And he certainly never dreamed he'd respond to a call, finding that same boy in a pool of blood. Even more alarming was the father standing watch over his son's body. Myers had never seen a man respond to death-particularly the death of a child-in such a way. When the father is charged with murder and sentenced to death, he chooses not to fight but embrace it as God's will. Myers becomes consumed with curiosity for these strange beliefs. What follows is the story of the bond these two men share as they come to terms with the tragedy and the difficult choices each one must make.


If you would like to read the first chapter of The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips, go HERE

*STRONG LANGUAGE*



FROMMIPOV: When I first received this book I was unaware that this book was authored by Stephen Baldwin of the acting Baldwins. When I was informed of this I got really excited, because I remembered when Stephen Baldwin became a Christian, and the paparazzi hub,bub about it. We were living in the Ventura, California area really close to Hollywood at that time and you would've thought he'd announced he was following satan himself. See in the Hollywood set, if you're not a Christian Scientist you're nothing.
Getting to the book . . . the book is not your mainstream Christian fiction. It has cursing that you would not normally find in an "A" typical Christian book. At first I could see where Stephen and Mark were going with this. The fact that Stephen is coming from the background of substance abuse, no prior relationship with Christ he wanted to portray a similar character and then wanted to bring him full circle. The problem with the idea, was that it went on far too long. We never really saw Andy Meyer's conversion or the conclusion to the death of the young boy. I was really disappointed in this book
!

Jesus Take The Wheel

Tuesday, November 18, 2008



It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God

WinePress Publishing Group (July 1, 2008) )


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Stuart Migdon was raised in Reformed Judaism. He married and became a father at the age of 18. He supported his family, and in four years he graduated college with honors. Through persistence he became a CPA and later a successful insurance agent. With a commitment to hard work and excellence, Stuart continued to achieve every goal that he set for his life. However, all the success in the world could not fill the emptiness that was growing within. In 1991, Stuart came to know the Messiah and began learning what it meant to let Jesus take the wheel of his life. Since then, Stuart has become an avid student of the Bible. Over the last five years, his thirst for more has led him into a detailed study of Gods Word, and specifically the lives of the Bibles two central figures, Jesus and Moses. His book, Jesus Take the Wheel 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God is the result of that study. He and his wife Jeanne have two grown children and one grandson.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 24.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: WinePress Publishing Group (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1579219322
ISBN-13: 978-1579219321

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Perhaps you are like so many, who long for a more intimate relationship with the Lord, but aren’t exactly sure how to go about getting started.

Introduction

Pack the Car/Get Ready for the Journey

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:10)


Introduction
Where are you going?

If life were a road trip, what kind of journey would you say yours has been so far? Are you cruising along on a wide-open stretch of highway under clear, blue skies without a care in the world? Or, like most of us, do traffic jams, unexpected detours, and frustrating dead ends seem to hinder you from getting where you need to be at times? Have you run out of gas lately…lost your way…or realized, after blowing a tire on that last pothole, that your spare was also flat? Would you like to enjoy your journey a little more, and get the most out of it no matter what obstacles you may have to face?

The Christian life can indeed be an incredible journey; unlike any other road trip you have ever taken. Because before you even thought of putting the key in the ignition and starting the engine, the One who created you already had a perfectly planned route mapped out for you to travel on. It is the journey of your lifetime—the one God prepared specifically with you in mind. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” If you want to experience God’s incredible journey for your life, the question you need to ask and answer today is: Who’s really behind the wheel? Is it Jesus? Is He in control of your life, or somewhere along the way have you decided to venture down some back roads, all on your own?

What matters most isn’t the wrong turns you may have made in the past or even that the road you are on today looks a little tricky up ahead. What is most important is that you know who is in control of your life right now. Asking Jesus to take the wheel is more than just a catchy phrase it is the only way to fully enjoy the Christian life. Unless Jesus is truly in the driver’s seat, you will not be able to live the life that God prepared for you, and you won’t feel the peaceful breeze that comes from being on God’s route. Who controls your life is your choice, and it is a choice that you are making—whether you realize it or not—everyday.

In Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God, I will be sharing some of the lessons I have learned as a Christian, and how by letting Jesus take the wheel, my life has been transformed. Like many Christians, when I first came to know the Lord I was filled with enthusiasm and wanted to share what I knew about Him with others. However, early on in my walk with Jesus, I also felt a strong desire growing within me to live a life that would really be pleasing to God—a life that I somehow new was radically different than the one I was currently living. Something was missing in my experience with Jesus. It wasn’t that I was given over to any particular sin, it was just that I sensed within me a knowing that there was so much more to this new life that God had called me to, and with every ounce of my being, I wanted to live that life. The only way I new to find what I was missing was to open up the Word of God, which is what I’ve done for the last seventeen years.

Over the past five years, my thirst for more has led me into a detailed study of God’s Word, and specifically the lives of the Bible’s two central figures, Jesus and Moses, which has literally transformed my life. I was intrigued and challenged each day as I delved deeper into the biblical accounts surrounding their lives. I developed insight that was humbling me and transforming me as I grew more acquainted with these two biblical personalities. I also began to realize that what had been driving me in my own study was more than just a personal quest for knowledge, it was actually a calling from the Lord. I felt strongly that what had become an apprenticeship in God’s Word, was not just for me personally but for others as well, and this book is the fruit of those years of study. My hope is that what is contained on these pages would encourage others to begin a journey with the Lord that would transform their lives.


The Key To Maximizing The Principles In This Book

By picking up this book today, you are acknowledging a desire that is already in your heart to have Jesus take the wheel of your life. Perhaps you are like so many, who long for a more intimate relationship with the Lord, but aren’t exactly sure how to go about getting started. In essence, you are hungry for more.

Jesus Take the Wheel will not only help you to become disciplined in your time with God each day, but through applying the biblical principles and truths it contains, you will begin to discover that what has been impossible for you alone, is very possible with God. He will open your eyes to new horizons, as you slip out of the driver’s seat and let Him take the wheel.

This book is written in such a way that you can read a little each day. You can use it as part of your own personal devotional time, or with others in a larger group setting. Each day’s reading is followed by an application. This Daily Action Step in the section entitled (GPS) God’s Positioning System is a short, practical reflection that is aimed at helping you apply that day’s biblical truths and principles to the circumstances of your life. To get the most out of this study, it is essential that you commit to spending time each day both reading the daily entry and working through the application. As you proceed in this manner, you will notice an accumulative effect as one day builds upon the next.

Plan to do one chapter per week. At that pace, you will complete the study in approximately two months. Each chapter, with the exception of the last one, is broken into seven daily readings. The last day of each week summarizes each of the main points that were covered throughout the week. Your application on that day should be to reflect upon all that you’ve learned during your study that week.

You will also find that the GPS Daily Action Step is a directive that will help navigate your life with Jesus. Assimilating these concepts is so important that you should consider keeping a daily journal. Jesus Take the Wheel: Daily Journal for a Transformed Life is a tool that you may find helpful for this very purpose. It is a journal, that has been designed to be used in conjunction with this book and is filled with additional soul-searching questions, which correspond to each chapter. It is available for no additional cost, at www.letjesustakethewheel.com.

While many of us know we need and want change, we often neglect to allow Jesus to have His rightful place behind the wheel of our lives. As you work through each chapter, realize that no matter how great your initial desire was to draw closer to the Lord, it is not going to happen without a renewed commitment to the process each day. Start the journey today by yielding your life fully to Jesus, fastening your seat belt, and expecting Him to do a transforming work in you.


In order for us to truly grow in our relationship with God and allow the Holy Spirit to change our lives, it’s important to be moldable and teachable like a little child.

Chapter 1
Ignition: Who is at the Wheel? /Be a Humble Passenger

“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest

in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4)


DAY 1—Let Go and Let’s Go!


I’ve Always Had An Interest In Being Behind the Wheel

Family drives were a big deal when I was growing up. Whenever all four of us kids piled into the car, we were always bickering and fighting over who got what seat, and who sat behind which parent—position meant everything back then. So, on those rare occasions when I actually nabbed one of those prized window seats, life couldn’t be better. My dad always drove in those days and I can still remember the sense of security I had as I watched him sitting behind the wheel of our car. I felt safe knowing that dad was in control not only of the car, but also of our family and where we were going. Perhaps that memory still means so much to me today because that feeling of security was shattered at such a young age. My parents separated when I was fourteen, and suddenly it seemed as though no one was in control of our lives anymore.

Like most teenage boys, when I turned seventeen I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license. I equated being behind the wheel of my own car with having more control over the direction of my own life. My first car cost $150, but the promise of newfound freedom it brought was priceless. However, that freedom didn’t actually last very long. The car broke down the second day I owned it and cost me another $125 to repair. On the third day, the engine blew and that was the end of my car, my money, and my short-lived independence. Not one to give up easily—I drove my mom’s old Volkswagen Beetle around until I found a way to get myself back into the driver’s seat of my own car once again. With such an urgency to be in charge of my life, it didn’t take long for me to save enough money to buy another $100 clunker. I didn’t care what the car looked like as long as I was sitting behind the wheel. Freedom! It meant so much to me. It meant I could drive wherever I wanted, when I wanted, without relying on anyone else. Yet, even with that sense of freedom and control, I was still uneasy about so many of the decisions I had to make—I was unsure of my life’s direction.

Then at the age of eighteen, my life took an unexpected detour when my girlfriend, Jeanne, told me she was pregnant. That is when I moved out of my mother’s house to start a new life as a husband and, shortly thereafter, a father. With the birth of our daughter, Jennifer, I was now responsible for two precious lives, and I still hadn’t found a direction for my own. We had no money and barely paid our bills each month. At the time, I couldn’t even afford to fix the car we owned, which had a broken defroster and heater. I remember driving to work on cold winter days wearing an extra layer of socks and two pairs of gloves so I could keep warm. I also had to drive with the driver’s side window open in order to clear off the frost that kept blocking my vision. Being at the wheel of that car was both an interesting and uncertain experience, which seemed to parallel my shaky life as a husband and father at such a young age. Although I tried to make it seem as though I was in total control, life was difficult then and continued to be for a number of years to come. I needed someone to go to; the only problem was—I was the only “go to” guy I knew.


The New “Ride” That Changed Everything

A few years later, at the age of twenty-five, I started a new job and bought my first brand new car—a maroon, 1984 Toyota Celica. I’ll never forget the night I picked up that car. Our three-year-old son, Jason, was antsy and hungry, so Jeanne kept buying him peanuts from the vending machine. After a few hours, we had completed all the necessary paperwork and the four of us eagerly jumped into our new car and headed home. It was the first time I ever experienced that new car smell that everyone talks about. But less than five minutes into that brave new world, we heard Jason complaining that “his belly hurt,” and without any further warning he threw up all over the back seat. Goodbye new car smell! As you can imagine, I was a little upset. Later that night when I had settled down enough to realize the slight humor in the situation, Jeanne and I decided that Jason had officially christened our first brand new car.

For the next several months, I was on top of the world whenever I was behind the wheel of that car. I actually looked forward to my drive to work each morning. What a difference it made not to be behind the wheel of a clunker! In fact, life in general had taken a turn for the best—a new car, a new job, a new sense of control.

However, before long, some complicated issues began creeping into my life creating “road-blocks” that I had to learn how to maneuver around. The stress eventually caught up with me. I felt an overwhelming lack of peace and purpose. Being behind the wheel of my life in those days became exhausting—I was running on empty. I had nowhere to turn, and once again, no one who could help me. That is when I finally turned to Jesus.

Being raised in a Jewish home, the idea of becoming a Christian was not something that I had ever really, seriously considered. But, hearing the gospel made me realize that my greatest need was for a Savior, and that Jesus—the Jewish Messiah—had paid the price for my sin on the cross. So, I gave my heart to Him. At that moment, I knew that the sense of security I had once known as a child watching my father behind the wheel, was now fully realized by asking Jesus to take the wheel of my life. The secret of being able to live a transformed life in this world is first to know Jesus as your Savior, and then to give Him full control over the direction of your life, as Lord.

At the age of thirty-three, I now had a fresh perspective and I was eager to experience all the Lord had for me—the peace, purpose, and freedom that came from being His child. At this point, I no longer wanted to be in control. I just wanted to sit behind Him and watch Him as He steered my life in a brand new direction. I possessed a renewed sense of security knowing Jesus was in charge and would always be there for me. The more I trusted Him, the more secure I felt, and I quickly began to realize that my only struggles came when I once again tried to assume control and go off in my own direction. I learned that what I needed most was to let Jesus take the wheel, every day.

The Christmas Edition by Robin Shope

Monday, November 17, 2008

As usual I'm late. LOL I told Robin I would do this for her and I meant to do it earlier. Time just got away from me. Robin was featured today on Margaret Daley's blog. Here is the link
http://margaretdaley.blogspot.com/ and she is giving away a copy of her book The Christmas Edition. Just drop by and leave a comment.

On Wednesday, November 19 she will be featured on Novel Journey - http://www.noveljourney.blogspot.com/
she will be giving away two copies of her book. Just leave a comment.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51scuSoBmjL._SL500_AA240_.jpg
Lucy Collins has given up on Christmas since the painful break-up with her fiance. Things only get worse when a large newspaper is about to come to town and threatens the livelihood of their family run business, The Turtle Creek Newspaper. At the staff Christmas party, she makes a wish and what seems like the answer to her prayer walks in the front door to apply for the editor position, which they are hoping will bring new life to the paper. Not only is Joe McNamara a genius when it comes to the written word, but he is also gifted with ideas about keeping the newspaper afloat. However, Joe has a secret of his own that he is keeping from Lucy. If she finds it out, then what looks like a promising relationship will unravel, but it's Christmas time, the season of rebirth and miracles. Will the spirit of celebration be enough to heal two hearts? Or will the reality of deception make this the worst Christmas of all?

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

White Christmas Pie

Barbour Publishing, Inc (September 1, 2008)

by

Wanda E. Brunstetter



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband's family in Pennsylvania, WANDA E. BRUNSTETTER combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the states.

This year Wanda also publishedA Sister's Hope


ABOUT THE BOOK

Step into Amish country for this bittersweet holiday romance. Here you'll meet Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, and Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers. Add a desperate father searching for his son, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class romance that will inspire and enthrall.

Abandoned by his father, Will Henderson was raised by an Amish couple. Now he's about to marry Karen Yoder but is having second thoughts. Can Will overcome the bitterness of his past in order to secure his future? Karen cannot break through the barrier her fiance has suddenly constructed around his heart. When she seeks the advice of an old boyfriend, Will begins to see green. Has he already lost his chance for happiness?

When an accident threatens Will's life, the strength of blood ties is tested. Will a recipe for White Christmas pie contain the ingredients for a happily-ever-after?

If you would like to read the first chapter of White Christmas Pie, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:


FROMMIPOV: This book started out really good, and I was really into it and then the author started putting in Amish words and there was no word list in the back or front of the book. Now, I've read other books about the Amish by Cindy Woodsmall, and others, and there is always a word list. When I couldn't figure out the words I lost complete interest. The bad thing is I really wanted to read and enjoy this book.
 
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