I invite you to join discussions, it enhances the reading experience for everyone. Please share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge in a respectful manner. May we all learn something in our endeavor to educate our hearts and minds. I look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, September 28, 2012

40 Days of Prayer Begins Today!

I started this morning thinking about the 40 Days of Prayer that begins today for our nation, our leaders and our election.

I wanted to remind you all to humble yourselves before God and pray for the future of our nation and for righteous men and women to step up and be the leaders America needs.

But then I saw this article and my heart broke.

It's not just our leaders who need prayer. It's our families, our children and our morality that demand fervent  petitions to God.

This video is disturbing, watch with caution or just read the article here.

A group of 6 teen girls video attacking a mentally challenged woman in her home as they laugh.

God help us all.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chron 7:14 NIV

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interview: Ginger Marcinkowski on Publishing Novel Based on True Story

Last month I did a book review of Run, River Currents by Ginger Marcinkowski. This book is based on a true story. Ginger was kind enough to do an interview on publishing such a heartfelt story. Thank you Ginger. 

You can follow Ginger on Facebook, blog, or view her website here. Today you can get her book, Run, River Currents FREE on Kindle. 

1.       How did you come to the decision to share your life story? Did you feel God lead you to share your experience through writing?
I think the decision chose me. In the very first class I attended at Wilkes University, my instructor stood in the front of the class and said, “You all think you are here to write the story YOU want to tell. Well, I’ve got news folks, you can write all you want, but until the story that HAS to be told comes out of you, you’ll never be able to fully write what you want to write.”  At the time, I thought he was crazy. My story WAS going to be a humorous story about my mother and her escapades. I wrote and wrote, what my mentor, Sara Pritchard fondly called “tid-bits.” Everyday she’d call me out, telling me that my writing was good, but there was more to the story than what I was telling. She challenged me to face what I was trying to write, to dig deep inside and tell the story that was buried in me. Out came Run, River Currents. I never knew I’d been holding such pain inside until then.

2.       Were you concerned about hurting family by telling such intimate details of your growing up?
That was another lesson learned from an instructor, Kaylie Jones, daughter of Jack Jones, who wrote From Here to Eternity. An accomplished writer in her own right, she encouraged me to just tell the truth and realize that whatever story I wrote, it was MY story. But remember, I took great liberty in this book of fiction. The places were real. The striking event was real, but the characters were combinations of my siblings and people I love.

3.       Even though you changed names in the story, did get you get permission from family before writing?
I actually didn’t feel I needed anyone’s permission to write this. This is MY fictional story. My siblings are such a special group of people, all of them loving and kind. We lived in the same household most of the time, but our experiences were very different. Some of my siblings had no idea that this kind of abuse had taken place as it didn’t happen to every child. We’ve only begun to talk about it as adults.

4.       Was your family supportive of your decision to publish your testimony of coming to Christ in this manner?
Again, because I didn’t feel like I needed permission, I wasn’t worried about my family’s reaction. Each of us came to Christ in the manner God chose for us. For most of us, it was an ugly journey to the Cross. I will tell you though, that no one could have had more support than I did from their family. I did warn them it would be a dark story. Most of them have read the book now. It’s opened up some wonderful conversations and some beautiful memories as well as dark memories. I’ve only had a little pushback from one sibling, but it is an issue she has to deal with. I still love her to death and she loves me too!

5.       How long did it take you to write Run, River Currents?
The manuscript took me almost four very long, very stressful years. Living in that dark place all over again as once-buried feeling rise to the surface is difficult. Couple that with a full-time job that keeps you on the road for several days a week and you’ve got yourself a basket case!

6.       What’s one piece of advice you would offer to anyone wanting to write a memoir or fiction based on real life experiences?
Memoirs are difficult to get anyone interested in, UNLESS, you are well known or have such a compelling story that it holds a publisher’s interest. Most first-time authors are encouraged to turn their memoirs into fiction as a way to tell a good story and get themselves known. Also, if you write a memoir, you can get too close to the story and feel sorry for yourself, which is something no one wants to read about. My piece of advice for anyone who has a compelling story to tell is to first fictionalize it. I learned that I was able to distance myself from Emily and yet was able to convey her feelings because I WAS Emily. Writing about someone else is so freeing!

7.       Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
Earthly, I’d have to say my grandfather who passed away when I was around fifteen. When I was a child, we visited his home most summers and often a lot of weekends. I can remember sleeping in their old iron bed on the porch of that old house with two or three of my brothers and sisters lumped together, the quilts piled high over us and my grandfather coming out, thinking we were asleep. He was a crippled up old man, but he got down on his knees at the bottom of that bed and prayed for our salvation and our safety in such loving words that they still bring tears to my eyes today. He was a quiet witness whose love and faithfulness to the Lord was a powerful example of Christ’s love.

8.       What’s your favorite Bible scripture?
Hebrews: 13:5 …For He Himself hath said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” That verse saved my life in more than one way.

9.       Will you write any other stories on this topic and why or why not?
I have no plans to ever write such a dark story ever again. It was the book that HAD to be written, and now I can get on with my writing life. My next book is already in progress. It will be a series based on a woman who is a travel agent. The first story is a mystery. Here’s a little blurb.
When the husband of attorney Laura Eden, dies unexpectedly, she withdraws from her life, blaming God for his death. When she resists help from co-workers, her prestigious law firm fires her. With no job, no savings, and no hope, the surprise arrival of an official letter presents her with the inheritance of her grandmother’s historical house in Pella, Iowa, her place of solace as a child.
                Laura’s unexpected arrival into Pella embroils her in a battle of eminent domain. A crooked attorney sets his mind on building a commercial project that includes bribing city officials and enforcing unwritten rules in an effort to take possession of the historical homes in the way of the project. The ensuing battle to save her new home without losing her life reopens the blind eye she had closed to her faith. The setting for the women’s fiction manuscript is Pella, Iowa, known for its Tulip Festival.

10.   What advice/encouragement would you offer someone suffering from a past filled with abuse?
I know at times it might seem as there is no way out, that they might be better just ending their life and being free of the pain and suffering. But there is a way that will not only raise them above the situation from which they think they will never escape, it will also give them an eternal hope. That hope is the fact that Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, gave his life willingly on the Cross for our sins, rose from the dead, and will come again to retrieve those he so loves for eternity. Our job is to admit we are sinners before a Holy God, accept the free gift of our salvation, and make changes in our life that reflect our willingness to follow him. Without Christ and without repentance, there is no hope of anything but eternal damnation. Tough truth for a world that wants to preach everything but God’s Word.

My hope for those that read this book is that they will see my struggles and understand that there IS hope, and that hope is Christ!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Cost of Discipleship Chapter 12

How to turn the other cheek when you crave an eye for an eye.

Bonhoeffer opens this chapter by stating this passage of scripture is “an elaboration of the beatitudes”. 

“He [Jesus] calls them blessed because they are meek. If after giving up everything else for his sake they still wanted to cling to their own rights, they would then have ceased to follow him.”

We either follow Christ or we don’t.


Therefore, we must lay down our rights, even when our flesh desires justice, because this is what it means to follow Christ. 

Contrary to OT law of retribution, Jesus says the way to overcome evil “is not to resist it.”
“When a Christian meets with injustice, he no longer clings to his rights and defends them at all costs.  He is absolutely free from possessions and bound to Christ alone.” 

To be bound to Christ alone. 

That’s tough. 

We can talk a good game about surrendering all.

But in times of persecution, our hearts reveal what we are bound to.

Our pride.
Our independence.
Our control.
Our revenge.
Our way.
Our will.
Our possessions.
Our family.
Our church.
Our friends.
Our Savior.

But how does turning the other cheek defeat evil? That seems utterly absurd. 

To answer this, you need to look at Christ. How did Christ suffering and dying on the cross defeat evil? 

Simple, Christ’s sacrifice took the sting out of death. When we know Him, death holds no real power. 

The same holds true regardless of the crime committed against us. There is nothing we can suffer more powerful or hurtful than the shame, degradation and suffering Jesus willingly endured on the cross.  And in the end, He has the Victory…not death, not sin and not satan! 

This same victory can be ours as well. 

Think of it this way, if embers are not fed, they eventually die out.  

“Evil becomes a spent force when we put up no resistance. By refusing to pay back the enemy in his own coin, and by preferring to suffer without resistance… Violence stands condemned by its failure to evoke counter-violence. When a man unjustly demands that I should give him my coat, I offer him my cloak also, and so counter his demand…the exclusiveness of this adherence is the only power which can overcome evil.”

Love overcomes evil. 

Light trumps darkness.

And Christ conquered death.

“The cross is the only power in the world which proves that suffering love can avenge and vanquish evil.” 

We are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. 

“Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” John 15:20NIV

In this life we will have times we feel justified to retaliate. There will also be times our flesh screams at us to “DO SOMETHING”. But that is not the way of a Disciple.

I’ve been reading about Moses. This man is beyond self-less in my opinion. On numerous occasions he prays for the people who are disrespecting him and God. 

In Numbers 21 the people (yet again) complain.  Before Moses has time to intercede on their behalf, God slams them with “fiery serpents”. They realize AGAIN they have messed up. They ask Moses to pray for them and he does.

I personally would have been really tempted (and probably would have caved to this temptation) to let them get stung a few more times before I prayed for them. But that’s not Moses. 

Repeatedly Moses looks out for the thick headed Israelites. He’s self-less. He responds in love, not justice. He answers with mercy, not retribution. 

To me, Moses is a great example of someone following God’s way and not his own. 

 “They are called blessed because of their visible participation in his cross.”

No questions this week, just share your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Your Opinion Matters

To Re-Cap:
This blog is over a year old. Things have evolved in that time. I do more book reviews than I initially intended and have expanded to bring you interviews from authors when possible.  I’ve also had a few guest posts pop up here and there.

I have done minimal give aways.

I have reduced the number of political/current event postings- leaving these topics to be discussed in more detail in my Newsletter

A few months ago, I began showing you brief glimpses into some of my more personal writings and poetry. 

Each Monday I do a series on “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 

I have expanded and been honored to do numerous guest postings on other sites. Currently my 7 post series on George Soros are airing on Voice of a Patriot each Friday. 

As mentioned above, I now have a Monthly Newsletter that offers things you don’t get on my blog.

Your Opinion Matters- What Do You Want?

While I cannot please everyone, I want to try and give you what you want.
So tell me…

Would you like more political and/or current event posts?

More poetry and personal entries?

Less religious posts or more?

Are you liking “The Cost of Discipleship” Series?

Do you like the book reviews and interview?

What do you want to see more of or less of?

What do you really like?

What can I do to make your reading experience more enjoyable and beneficial?

Please tell me. I do this blog for you!

Also, please remember if you like the political/current events post please sign up for my Monthly Newsletter- top right side of page. Even if I begin posting more of this content on my blog, much more detail will be provided via Newsletter.

Thank you and God bless.

I look forward to your input.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Cost of Discipleship Chapter 11

Matt 5:33-37 Sermon on the Mount Con’t

“The very existence of oaths is a proof that there are such things as lies. If lying were unknown, there would be no need for oaths.”

That’s simple enough. 

There are truths and there are lies. 

Historically oaths were taken to help prove the truthfulness of a statement. So why shouldn’t the disciples use an oath to help testify to the world that God is real? 

“Since they [Christians] always speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth, there is no need for an oath, which would only throw doubt on the veracity of all their other statements.  That is why the oath is “of the evil one.” But a disciple must be a light even in his words.” 

What Bonhoeffer is saying is that Followers of Christ should ALWAYS speak the truth. To use oaths only casts doubts on words NOT spoken with oaths. This would confuse the world and bring division where there should be unity. 

To break this down farther: Followers know they are accountable for everything said, because nothing is outside God’s hearing. Therefore there’s no need for oaths. Everything coming out the mouth of a Christian should be truth. (Now we take a break from oaths and focus on speaking truth)

So why don’t we always speak the truth? 

Because of shame?

Because we fear retribution from men?

Because we have doubts?

Because we don’t want our own sins thrown back in our faces?

Only those who follow Jesus and cleave to him are living in complete truthfulness. Such men have nothing to hide from their Lord.”
Since God knows all and we can’t hide anything from Him, we can walk boldly in truth before Him. Knowing HE is the one before whom we stand or fall. HE is our judge, not the world.

So why do we hide truths from the world? 

I postulate it’s for the reasons I gave above: Shame, Fear, Doubts, Hypocritical 

Here’s what Bonhoeffer has to say about truthfulness:  “Only those who are in a state of truthfulness through the confession of their sin to Jesus are not ashamed to tell the truth wherever it must be told. The truthfulness which Jesus demands from his followers is the self-abnegation which does not hide sin.”  

God brings freedom from the guilt and bondage of sin, making it easier for us to expose our sins to others. Our judgment and mercy come from God alone. When the world sees our imperfections and our joy in serving Christ, they will want to follow Christ too. They will desire such liberty and joy- knowing they don’t have to be perfect to be loved by God. 

But if we are not willing to show our sins, our weaknesses…if we hide our faults behind lies instead of letting the grace of the cross shine, we are disobedient to our call to be lights. 

Lights reveal hidden things. Lights bring freedom from fear. Lights bring hope. 

God wants us to share these truths with the world that is dying for lack of knowledge of how to be set free.

Our lives, all our faults and failures are testaments of HIS goodness and love. 

Perhaps we don’t let others see our sins because we haven’t found the release of sin given to us in the cross.

“But sinful men do not like this sort of truthfulness, and they resist it with all their might. That is why they persecute it and crucify it.  It is only because we follow Jesus that we can be genuinely truthful... The cross is God’s truth about us…when we know the cross we are no longer afraid of the truth.” 

1 John 1:9 gives us liberty. It brings us into right relationship with God. We shouldn’t be ashamed to let our sins be seen, because it will also shine light on the blood that was shed for our transgressions

The world needs truth but so does the Body of Christ. 

“Untruthfulness destroys fellowship, but truths cuts false fellowship to pieces and establishes genuine brotherhood. We cannot follow Christ unless we live in revealed truth before God and man.” 

To sum it all up: 

“The commandment of complete truthfulness is really only another name for the totality of discipleship.” 

1.        Why is it so hard to admit our sins when we know we are forgiven (especially inside the church)?
2.       Is it lack of understanding grace that causes us to hide our faults or fear from stones being thrown?
3.       Do you think the Church breeds an atmosphere of hiding our sins or shining light on the grace found in the cross?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

40 Days of Prayer

If you get my monthly Newsletter, you’ve already heard about the 40 Days of Prayer soon to take place for our nation. If not, then here’s the info! (by the way, why haven’t you signed up? It’s free, it’s easy and it’s a way to learn information you’re not likely to hear in main stream media- cheeky grin from me).
We all know a presidential election is coming up. 

What a great opportunity to not only cast your vote, but also to pray for our nation and our leaders.

I’m not here to tell you who to vote for. That is an individual decision between you and God. 

Each of us is accountable for the things we do and don’t do in this life…voting is no exception.

I pray you allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the candidate to vote for. That you are educated and not swayed by popular opinion, family, friends or media coverage. 

The reason for this post is to encourage you to join the 40 Days of Prayer occurring for our nation (click on the link for more info). It begins Sept 28, 2012 and goes straight up to the election (Nov. 6, 2012).

Individuals and groups are joining together to pray for our nation and our leaders. Even church groups are joining. This isn’t politics, this is Christian responsibility. 

This is a very Biblical thing to do.

2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV was written to Christians, IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (emphasis mine)

I can think of no better time to unite in prayer as we humble ourselves before our creator and seek healing for our land and forgiveness of our sins. 

Nations sin- read the Old Testament. America is no different. 

America needs God’s healing, His forgiveness and His leadership. Let’s do our part of the equation (IF…Then)!

Remember, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48B NIV

As a nation, we have been given much and entrusted with more than most dream possible. Therefore, we have a duty to protect it.

I can think of no better way to protect our nation than seeking God’s hand. Can you?

As Abraham Lincoln said, “I've been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
God heard Lincoln’s prayers and healed our severed nation then (Civil War). He will hear our prayers now.

I have no better place to go than to my knees.

What about you?

FYI, if you twitter, use the hashtag #ifmypeople2012

Praise Report!
Iranian Pastor Youcef was been released from prison after 3 years incarceration for Apostasy. Read of his release here.   Prayers do work! For more information on this courageous man check out these three previous blog posts.